Are you tired of attending Business Award Ceremonies and coming way empty handed?  Do you wait patiently each year in anticipation, only to watch another team walk away with the accolade? Or perhaps you feel deflated when you thumb through your Business Sector magazine and read articles of a team that’s smashed their targets for the third year running?  The secret to High Performing teams is, of course, teamwork.

As a manager, it’s important to know the keys to developing an effective team.  Let’s have a look at seven ways you can do this:

  1. Communication – Sounds like a simple thing, but if a team doesn’t communicate effectively how do they know what goals each other have and what the expected outcomes are? Effective team communication is essential to the success of the group in performing its role as well as to the morale of staff and their motivation to succeed at work.
  2. Utilizing varied strengths and abilities - Team leaders should never forget that one of the key benefits of teamwork is the individual strengths of its members. Some members can be good organisers, others are innovative, others may be good motivators.  Remember that it can be the blend of different strengths which makes a team effective.       
  3. Goals - The whole team must understand what the goals are and should be committed to achieving them. Goals give the team clear direction, if there is an agreed purpose and specific path to be followed it will promote effective teamwork. The team clarity is reinforced when the organization gives clear guidance relating to the team's work, goals, accountability, and outcomes.
  4. Cooperation - Cooperation means working together, for everyone’s benefit.  Work teams succeed only when all staff are fully ‘on-board’ in sharing ideas and undertaking tasks. These cooperative qualities make an individual much more valuable to his team. Getting actively involved and cooperating also earns the respect of other team members, making them more susceptive to hearing your ideas.
  5. Managing Conflict - Provide specific and detailed instructions on how to resolve problems that arise among team members.  This will instill teamwork by encouraging members to solve issues efficiently and productively. Instead of creating a culture of blame in the workplace, create an atmosphere of being proactive and solution oriented.
  6. Participative Leaders - This is demonstrated when leading meetings, assigning tasks, recording decisions and commitments, assessing progress, holding team members accountable, and giving directives to the team.
  7. Effective decision making - A confident and effective team leader looks to the team for answers and welcomes constructive challenges and suggestions for alternative courses of action.  On occasion, the leader must be prepared to take difficult decisions and be willing to explain the basis on which they have been taken

Of course, this is not a definitive list.  Why not also think about ways to motivate, reward and bring your team together?  Have you considered implementing a Recognition Program for staff? Or, you may want to encourage social activities outside of the work environment. There are also many companies that offer team building activities in London, Manchester, Birmingham and other UK cities.

Whatever you decide, be sure that your efforts to improve teamwork will result in a greater performance and you never know, maybe the odd shiny accolade for you to put pride of place in the office!

Business travel tends to come and go in favor. In today’s digital age a lot of businesses are cutting down on their employees’ travel somewhat, instead having them connect through the use of technology like Skype.

Despite the tendency to want to move away from business travel in lieu of cheaper and more convenient digital solutions, there’s still a lot of value in traveling itself, when your company is smart with your strategy and policies.

Some of the main reasons companies still rely on the use of business travel include customer visits, sales and marketing, employee training and internal meetings, as well as conferences and conventions.

The following are some of the important things to know about employee travel in your business.

Expense Management Software

First and foremost, when you have employees doing any level of business travel, it’s essential that you choose the right global expense management software. A big concern with business travel is the fact that it’s difficult and time-consuming to deal with expense reports and submissions.

Advanced software platforms alleviate this difficulty with centralized visibility and reporting, easy mobile tools that let employees make submissions on the go, and easy global capabilities that are integrated with the software.

In general, when it comes to business travel, automation makes the process simpler and more efficient for everyone involved and takes some of the burdensome decision-making out of business travel for employees while letting them focus their energy elsewhere.

Be Clear and Specific With Policies

While choosing the right expense software is important and can go a long way in helping you have the most successful employee travel, you also need to have clear, specific, defined policies in place. Your employees and your bottom line are going to benefit from clarity in your policies.

By being clear and removing potential gray areas in travel policies, you can save money, ensure that trips are productive and keep employees happy while maintaining compliance.

One department that should be included in travel policy planning but often isn’t is HR. Human resources is an essential part of bridging travel and expense policies with the actual functionality of employees.

Human resources can help look at things such as the impact the travel will have on the employee and the corporate strategy. Human resources can also help look at ways the travel can benefit the employee along with the company, and identify what all key stakeholders stand to gain from the experience.

Another way human resources should be involved in policy-making in this area is to make sure that comfort and safety standards are being adhered to, and that there is a consistent process in place for employee travel outside of only expense management.

Collaboration with CFOs and Travel Managers

Finally, your travel managers shouldn’t exist in a vacuum. They need to work together with other key stakeholders including CFOs. You want to make sure you’re identifying all potential opportunities to improve and optimize your ROI when it comes to corporate travel, and collaboration between travel managers and CFOs will help with this.

There’s need to be a shared strategy and by pairing CFOs and financial professionals with your travel managers you’ll be more strategic in how all employee travel is carried out.

You can’t turn on the television or open your Facebook feed without reading a political news or opinion article. Democrats, Republicans, and everyone who identifies somewhere between are watching the United States as it navigates what can only be described as a political divide. For some, the situation is uninteresting or stressful, but for people who enjoy politics, it is an interesting topic for conversation and debate. Now, Redwerk has gotten into the political game in the literal sense of the word. combines arcade-style gaming with politics to create a unique gaming experience.

First Impressions

Upon opening the game, the first thing you’ll notice is the caricatures. Whether intentional or not, Donald Trump sits to the left of the game and Hillary Clinton sits to the right — the exact opposites of where they fall on the political spectrum. Like most caricatures, the likeness is slightly exaggerated, but the art is excellent and not over the top. The first thing asks you to do is to log in. You can either do so as a guest or link to your Facebook account. From there, you’ll decide whether to play as a Democrat or a Republican.

How to Play the Game

Just like real life politics, the object of the game is to win the most votes. Players begin as a small party cell that grows as they collect votes and financial contributions. Other players are moving around the board at the same time. Players should avoid opposing parties that are bigger than theirs but chase down and consume opposing parties that are smaller. Other players aren't the only pitfalls, either. Players also need to work to navigate around protests, dislikes and damaging evidence like foreign donations and email scandals.

Game Controls

People who choose to play on their desktop or laptop computers will use the mouse to control their political cell. The closer the cursor is to the cell, the slower it will move. The further away it is, the faster the cell moves. Players can use the faster flow to navigate to groups of votes and donations and switch to the slower flow to move through the groups and more easily avoid dislikes and other negative impacts. When necessary, players can hold their mouse button for a quick boost of speed, but this function should be used sparingly since it uses votes to perform.

Winning the Game

Simply put, players win the game improving their party’s rating with likes, votes, and financial donations. At the top right of the game screen, players can check out a list of other players. The list includes players’ names, how many points they have, and where that puts them on the leaderboard, making it easy to see who the real competition is.

Symbols in the Game features several symbols players must pay attention to as they navigate the map. Financial donations, likes, and votes are available in the form of orange dollar signs, blue like buttons, and yellow checkmarks. Players should avoid purple dislike buttons, purple protest buttons, and red scandal signs. Be careful when navigating to new parts of the map as there could be a large foreign donation or email scandal right in the path.

Other Notes

Like most arcade games, provides players with a predetermined number of lives. Unlike other arcade games that usually only offer three or five to start, this game gives players 10 lives. A new life is available every 30 minutes and players can rate the game to get more if they would like to.

Final Thoughts is a fast-paced and fun game that is perfect for anyone who has basic political knowledge and a love for classically styled arcade games. The easy controls and simple rules make it perfect for people of all ages. Adults can use the game to pass the time as they watch TV, ride the train or bus to work, or wait for a conference call to begin. Teachers can use it for students who are just beginning to learn the basics of politics and enjoy learning via gaming. is available as a web-based app or as a download for Apple or Android smartphones and mobile devices. Should you decide to play, don’t forget to show your high scores off to your friends via Facebook sharing.

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 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 see

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.  

It has been more than a couple of months since Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon. No later than April 2019, Britain should officially exit the European Union. This transition period is expected to be quite turbulent as demonstrated by the dramatic fall in the value of the GBP since the Brexit vote last year. While the government has eased interest rates in order to boost the economy, business confidence in the country has continued to weaken.

Uncertainty in the economy is never good news for business owners. Consumers no longer buy as much as they usually do and this hurts a business in terms of revenue. Cashflow is affected too since your vendors may now start demanding upfront payment or may at least stop offering generous credit periods like they once did. This hits your working capital which may necessitate your business to seek short term loans that often come with high interest rates. All of this has a cascading effect on the economy in general and your business in particular.

The first thing that a business owner must do under such circumstances is to maintain a steady working capital and cashflow. This way, one could make sure that the business survives the turbulent times till the economy picks up once again.

Pay As You Go (PAYG)

The easiest way to improve your cashflow situation is to cut down on excesses. Do you have a chauffeur-driven office car? Use Uber instead. Do you pay a monthly retainer to your PR agency or lawyers? Try to exit this arrangement and pay them by the hour when necessary. This is, of course, assuming that you do not need your agency or lawyers round the clock in which case it makes sense to have them on a retainer. The idea here is to bring down the outgoing cost wherever possible by paying just for usage.

Fixed Cost Alternatives

The PAYG model can backfire in some instances. Take your company’s website hosting for instance. A sudden increase in traffic could shoot up your bills beyond your monthly budget and this can hurt your cashflow. As Henrik Printzlau, CTO of Templafy writes, such fixed cost subscriptions “make it easy for you to win certainty over software expenses and allow you to budget your business purposes without any hidden money pits.”

Choosing between a PAYG model and a fixed cost alternative essentially boils down to your specific needs. If you have a hundred percent utilization of the product or service in question, then it is advisable to pick a fixed cost solution. On the other hand, if you will only need the product or service for a few hours a day, then it is good to choose a PAYG alternative. If the utilization percentage of the product itself is uncertain (such as web hosting), then it is better to err on the side of caution and pick a fixed cost solution.

Incentivize up-front payment

The biggest threat to your cashflow comes from the non-payment of dues from customers. This is exacerbated in an uncertain economy since businesses you transact with may shut down, or may have not been paid by customers they work with. This messes up the cashflow for everyone who is higher up in the chain. The ideal fix to this problem is to do away with credit periods. But this may not be practical all the time. A better solution is to create incentives for customers who pay up-front. For instance, you could offer a 5% discount on the invoice if the customer pays up-front. This is a win-win for both parties since the customer can now enjoy lower cash outflow while you can benefit from a predictable inflow of cash.

Managing contracts and retainers

The way to achieve healthy cashflow during uncertainties is by maximizing your predictable cash inflow and minimizing your outflow. The PAYG and fixed cost solutions mentioned earlier in this article primarily deal with cash outflow - the money you pay your vendors, attorneys, staff and for resources. This may require you to end contracts or retainers that you have signed up for with various partners. But while this is true on the supply side, businesses must move towards more contracts and retainers on the demand side of the chain. By pushing your customers to sign an annual contract or hire you on a retainer basis, you establish a cash inflow process that is a lot more stable and predictable.

The mantra to surviving a business uncertainty is simple - minimize outflow and maximize inflow. A sustainable working capital helps you tide over any uncertainties and ensures that your business survives to profit from a booming economy that is not a long time away.