Posted by Helen Jackson

Content Strategist, HelenJ Marketing

Tue 27th, Aug

A big YouTube story hit the headlines a few weeks ago, the chaos surrounded Brooke Houts, a YouTuber with over 300,000 subscribers.

The controversy was around an unedited clip of footage mistakenly uploaded to her channel, which appeared to show Houts abusing her Doberman puppy, Sphinx. In the footage, it appears Houts spits on the dog and grabs and pins him to the floor, applying force in the process.

I am not suggesting that Houts’ following would obediently follow her into animal abuse - but with a following of perhaps not epic proportions but a fair amount, her actions are viewed by many impressionable young viewers.

There has been many strong reactions and opinions to the latest YouTuber scandal with PETA calling for Brooke Houts’ channel to be removed - view tweet.

Houts isn’t the only YouTuber over the last few years to reach headlines for all the wrong reasons - YouTuber Logan Paul issued an apology after he uploaded a video of the Aokigahara forest known in Japan as 'suicide forest' - he filmed a dead body and uploaded it to his YouTube channel as part of his vlog - I mean, talk about lack of respect - not only for his impressionable YouTube audience but the person filmed and their distraught family.

Before the video was removed it had garnered over half a million likes and 6.3 million views.

With Paul's subscribers mainly made up of teens and tweens, it's worrying that children are accessing this content without their parents' knowledge. Logan Paul states that his demographic is supposed to be early to mid twenties. And whilst he accepts that his suicide forest vlog was unacceptable, a lot of his other content isn't really aimed at the younger generation.

In an interview with Good Morning America he said:

"I'm gonna be honest with you, Michael. I think parents should be monitoring what their children are watching more," Paul said in the interview. "Every parent I meet whose kids are under the age of like 12 I go 'Hey, you let your kids watch my stuff?'" 

Some responsibility has to lie with the parents, particularly when content such as this is accessed at home. That said, it’s fair to say that these so-called ‘influencers’ are influencing in all the wrong ways.

There was even a bit of Insta-controversy recently in the UK with TV Personality Scarlett Moffatt supposedly abusing her position in the public eye. She had approached My Suitcase Boutique and asked for a custom-designed tulle skirt, costing £150, to wear to New York Pride. In exchange for exposure, the designer had made the skirt and received tracking confirmation that the TV star had signed for the garment.

After many messages from the brand to the star, the brand owner was blocked and unable to further contact Moffatt to retrieve the skirt or ask for the exposure promised. The incident has since been resolved and labelled a misunderstanding - the skirt has now been sent back to the brand.

So, it begs the question, are influencers influencing the younger generation correctly? And what measures are currently being taken to protect the impressionable viewers from potentially destructive or incorrectly persuasive content?

Let’s start with a definition - what exactly is influencer marketing?

For once, Wikipedia has nailed the definition:

Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing involving endorsements from influencers, people and organisations who possess an expert level of knowledge and/or social influence in their respective fields.

It’s fair to say that many brands would jump at the chance to get their products in front of a large target audience who hangs off every word of an influencer. If you had the budget, why wouldn’t you? It's guaranteed sales and exposure.

Take Love Island, for example, the 2019 series has just wrapped up and each of its stars has been plunged into the ‘influencer’ sphere. With runner-up Molly-Mae Hague having now amassed a whopping 3 million followers. 3 MILLION.

Over previous series, no one has ever come out with so many followers. With many averaging around the 1.2 mil mark. But 3?? That’s a lot of influence she has at her fingertips.

I'm not saying she would, but if she decided to be reckless with which items she promoted - what’s in place to help control this?

ASA and CMA bring out an official guide for posting ads

In September 2018, the Advertising Standards Agency and the Competitions Market Authority together released official guidelines around transparency and influencer marketing. The story was covered by The Independent - and it stated that any user being paid for promoting a product or taking part in any kind of promotional marketing, had to use labels including either “ad,” “advertising” or “advert.”

Basically, influencers are responsible for making it clear that the content uploaded is clearly an ad. No longer are labels like ‘spons’ and ‘in partnership with’ tolerated.

If a user has to hunt for signals that the post is an ad - it’s not acceptable.

“If they do not label their posts properly, fans or followers may be led to believe that an endorsement represents the star’s own view, rather than a paid-for promotion,” the Competition and Markets Authority says.

The ASA pointed out that they have in the past banned a number of influencer posts for failing to make clear they were ads, including those by reality TV stars Louise Thompson, Millie Mackintosh and Marnie Simpson.

Reporting content on YouTube

YouTube relies on its community to report content that is offensive or breaching their community guidelines. It is estimated that there are 200 million illegal videos on YouTube - including full-length albums and movies. But once a video is reported, it is not automatically removed.

If the reported content is found to have violated the community guidelines, the content is removed. Or, if it's appropriate for the platform but not for younger viewers, an age restriction is implemented.

Read more about how to report video content on YouTube.

If you're worried about what your children are accessing on YouTube, this video from TechBoomers shows how you can manage parental controls.

The rapid increase in ‘influencer marketing’

Since 2014, the search term ‘influencer marketing’ has increased in popularity, as you can see from the below Google trends data. This graph shows the increase in searches worldwide - so it’s not just a country-specific increase - this is a global takeover! Argh.

When I first started working in marketing agencies, I don’t think I ever really came across this term - it was usually dubbed ‘blogger outreach’. Now there are all kinds of terms that sit alongside influencer marketing - there are also micro-influencers. These influencers have fewer followers, obviously, but they might have more of a dedicated and engaged following - they’re also cheaper to work with for brands with smaller budgets.

Fast fashion brands are perfect for the influencer community - they can showcase the product easily in beautiful, sunny and usually ‘perfect’ images - they’re selling a lifestyle, not just a new wardrobe.

It's easy for impressionable teenagers to get swept up in the influencer world - they're shown new products every day that their new social idols are promoting so they want it all too.

In fact, someone I know asked his children what they wanted to be when they grew up and they both said YouTubers. Influencer marketing is now a viable career for many growing up with this technology at their fingertips.

Instagram’s latest changes could negatively affect influencer marketing

Last month, Instagram announced it was trialling the removal of likes and comments on its posts. The trial is currently taking place in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Ireland, Brazil and Italy.

Mia Garlick of Facebook Australia and New Zealand said: "We hope this test will remove the pressure of how many likes a post will receive, so you can focus on sharing the things you love."

Now that the pressure of likes and interaction has been removed - what will happen to those who make their living through Instagram paid promotions?

It will be interesting to see the results of this trial period - now that users can’t see how much attention a post is getting, will it become as popular or the content as viral as it once was?

Will this new stance of putting the emphasis on sharing content you love as opposed to content that will garner the most interest and likes negatively affect the paid promotion side of the platform?

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see!

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Posted by Dave Saville

Business Unit Director for Wates Construction North West

Tue 27th, Aug

With building work anticipated to commence at Liverpool City Council’s new Cruise Terminal Hotel early next year, main contractor Wates Construction has become the latest voice to join the debate on the importance of industry collaboration across the city. 

Dave Saville, Business Unit Director for Wates Construction North West:

“A silo mentality is an extremely restricting thing and fortunately it is becoming a relic of the past. We have seen time and again what can be achieved when people put their heads together. Collaboration is king and this is especially the case in Liverpool where the public and private sectors have worked together seamlessly to deliver on a joint vision, to create a world-leading city where people want to work, live and visit. One of the most successful recent examples of this can be seen in Peel Land and Property’s 60-hectare £5bn Liverpool Waters, the city’s major waterfront regeneration scheme at Princes Dock and we are very proud to be playing a part in this ambitious masterplan.

“Wates is a huge believer in partnership working so our ethos belongs in this great city. For us, collaboration takes place at every level; it happens within our own teams, with our clients and it runs throughout our supply chain. This is how we deliver projects and it’s how we make sure that this is done to as high a standard as possible. But partnership working is also fostered with our industry peers and amongst regional best practice and skills networks. It is our duty to support the industry and we simply can’t do this if we don’t all talk to one another.

“There is currently some fantastic momentum in Liverpool. In March this year Regenerating Liverpool’s Liverpool Development Update reported that there is approximately £1.44bn of construction schemes on site across the city with a further £300m taking place outside of the city centre. This investment presents us with a collective opportunity. When a city has a buzz, it attracts people, which in-turn contributes to economic growth. Further investment follows - in new buildings, new skills and new industries. We’re in the midst of an exciting period for Liverpool and I am very excited about the role that Wates is set to play in the city’s future.”

Subject to planning permission, Wates is expected to commence construction at the new Cruise Terminal Facility early 2020. The project is supported with £20m from the Local Growth Fund, which is awarded to the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and invested through the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s Strategic Investment Fund.

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In his latest blog Mitchell Charlesworth partner, Mike Buxton, looks at the impact of technology on the legal sector.

Posted by Mitchell Charlesworth

Fri 16th, Aug

With every industry, technology is leading the way to change and transforming ways of working. Progressive law firms that adopt new technologies are able to pass the benefits onto their clients through increased flexibility, greater transparency and reduced fees. Many traditional law firms may be left behind if these new technologies are not embraced.

Examples of technologies which are improving efficiencies in law firms include:

  • Cloud solutions. These allow fee earners to work more flexibly with clients outside of regular working hours. Cloud accounting software allows the practice owner to run the business more efficiently and frees up resources to focus on other aspects of the practice which may need improving or achieve a better work/life balance.
  • Data management tools. Law firms hold huge amounts of data on clients and case outcomes. Being able to manage this data improves client satisfaction and has the potential to win future cases. Automation tools reduce the administrative burden.
  • Case management tools. These allow the client to view progress on their case and leave comments. AI tools introduce efficiencies and give competitive advantages.

Firms need to use the tech available to them, that suits their structure and ethos. However, technology is only as good as the way it is used. Technology should be used to save the firm money and time and provide added value to the client. If the technology is not being used correctly or does not fit with a firm’s ethos, then this could be an expensive error.

Technology in the legal sector has made client to solicitor contact, from anywhere in the world, a lot more accessible. The move from a traditional 9-to-5 working day to a more fluid, flexible working culture means clients want a more flexible solicitor who is available when they are. This can mean flexible working for employees which can help attract and retain talent within the practice.

This change in working habits has also seen a trend in smaller boutique legal practices establishing themselves. Technology allows smaller firms to complete with the larger practices, by giving them flexibility and access to powerful research tools.

An example of this is in the family sector. Small, nimble, process driven family law practices can provide a service to a client who wants a quick and easy solution. These firms ensure that the client is happy whilst the fee earner ensures that their low costs business remains competitive and provides a flexible working environment.

The risk ahead is for the firms that fail to innovate. Adopting basic tech tools and looking for opportunities to introduce newer technologies will improve efficiency and drive productivity, allowing firms to remain competitive and improve client service.

If you would like to discuss technology in your law firm or how cloud accounting software can support your practice, please contact Mike Buxton on 0151 255 2300 or email mike.buxton@mitchellcharlesworth.co.uk 

To read Mike’s blog on Brexit please click here.

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If you’re assuming that your cloud synching and sharing services, such as Dropbox or Google Drive, are acting as your backup or are taking responsibility for automatically backing up all your data, then, please, think again!

Posted by The PC Support Group

Mon 12th, Aug

The fact that some businesses are making this assumption came across loud and clear at an event we hosted recently to help improve SME’s cybersecurity awareness and skills.  

 

It’s an understandable assumption to make, but it’s also a dangerous one too – that could extract a heavy price if you fall victim to a determined cybercriminal. Let me explain why and what to do to keep your priceless data and systems safe.

 

The boom in cloud-based services is transforming the way businesses operate, with fantastic new capabilities now at our fingertips. But it’s also a complex, and at times confusing marketplace, with new, multi-layered products and services emerging all the time, each trying to outdo their rivals with more and more features and functionality, backed by persuasive sales and marketing campaigns.

 

It’s important to remember that, while cloud file sharing and storage solutions synch your data across multiple devices, this does not add up to a robust back up system. In fact, file syncing services cannot differentiate between ransomware-encrypted files and regular files, and therefore they can sync malware infected data! And ransomware attacks on businesses are rising, up 12% in 2018, with businesses now the victims of more than 80% of all successful ransomware infections.

As a specialist IT support and services company, The PC Support Group devotes significant resources to understanding these cloud-based products, their features, benefits and complexities, so that we can help our clients to make informed decisions about their IT. But for many SMEs, often with small teams and limited resources, it can be very difficult to navigate a safe course.

 

When it comes to backing up your data and systems, our golden rules are:

  • Assume nothing!
  • Question everything!
  • Be certain that you have a dedicated back-up solution over and above your file sharing solution
  • True cybersecurity is about having layers of protection – think of your premises with combinations of locks, alarms, password protected entry systems and CCTV.

 

If you’d like to discuss your backup options and how The PC Support Group can  help you to make the most of new technology – and keep your business safe – call our team on 03300 886116 or email us on info@pcsupportgroup.com for an informal and confidential chat.

 

www.pcsupportgroup.com

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Dynamic, thought-leading business owners are failing to include a business lasting power of attorney in their crisis management preparations, a leading solicitor has claimed.

Posted by Claire Currie

Mon 05th, Aug

Dynamic, thought-leading business owners are failing to include a business lasting power of attorney in their crisis management preparations, a leading solicitor has claimed.

 

Claire Currie, head of the Private Client department at Kirwans law firm, said she has been alarmed to discover a lack of awareness among the region’s business community around the importance of making a business LPA (BLPA) to ensure their firm could continue to operate if a significant decision maker was to become incapacitated.

 

Financial LPAs have long been recognised as vitally important for those with any kind of asset, while health LPAs are equally as crucial in order that an individual’s wishes in relation to their health and potential medical treatment are recognised.

 

However, Claire said that little attention has so far been paid to this important part of business planning – appointing a lasting power of attorney to ensure the continued smooth running of the business should a problem arise that the business owner is unable to deal with.

 

She said: “In my role as partner and head of Private Client, I spend a lot of time talking to business leaders in the region and I have been genuinely concerned at the amount of people who say they have crisis management plans in place but have not included a BLPA in those plans.

 

“Without a BLPA, a huge amount of risks arise. Say, for example, one of the bank account signatories suddenly becomes incapacitated. The bank would freeze the account in order, meaning that invoices would go unpaid and even wages would be stopped. Paying tax bills could be a problem too, causing potentially long-lasting effects on the business’s credit record that may take some time to sort out.

 

“Even contracts signed by the person could suddenly become worthless, due to their lack of capacity.

 

“There would be no overnight resolution to these issues either; instead, an application would have to be made to the Court of Protection to appoint a deputy; a process that could take many months.”

 

Claire explained that business owners need to invest in an LPA that specifically concentrates on the business so that a suitable person could take over the running of it and implement pre-agreed plans that would be in the best interests of the firm.

 

It isn’t just company directors who need to safeguard their business in this way; sole traders are also at high risk of business problems and complications should they become incapacitated, and Claire advises that they too consider appointing a BLPA.

 

“Should the worst happen and a sole trader finds themselves unable to look after their business affairs, invoices and tax will still need to be paid in order to avoid problems,” she said.

 

“Many sole traders are the only people who understand what is happening in their business at any one time, and if they are removed from the equation the whole business could go to the wall.

 

“The best way to avoid these worst-case scenarios is to prepare for the worse – and then to hope it never happens.”

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Start-ups and SMEs looking for sources of funding need to think carefully before signing personal guarantees, according to a leading corporate lawyer

Posted by James Pressley

Associate Solicitor, Kirwans

Wed 31st, Jul

Start-ups and SMEs looking for sources of funding need to think carefully before signing personal guarantees, according to a leading corporate lawyer.

James Pressley, Corporate and Commercial solicitor from Kirwans law firm, said that many business owners looking to give their company or start-up a financial boost to help deal with the uncertainty around Brexit may be tempted to take on personal guarantees without properly assessing the risk, or whether an alternative funding source might be available.

 

While personal guarantees can act as a lifeline for obtaining finance, they can result in business owners being pursued through the courts for unpaid debts, should their businesses meet the same fate as that of Jamie Oliver’s restaurants Jamie’s Italian, which lost branches in cities including Liverpool and Manchester in May.

Jamie Oliver is reported to have signed personal guarantees to the bank HSBC and food supplier Brakes, putting his own fortune at risk.

James said: “Personal guarantees are often wrongly portrayed as being the road to financial destruction, but this isn’t necessarily the case.

“Whether they are right for an SME or not depends on the circumstances of each individual business. For some they allow the opportunity to accumulate much-needed supplies or finances at a crucial stage in the business that will ultimately result in financial growth, while for others it could be that different forms of finance would be far more suitable.”

Perhaps surprisingly, given the part it plays in keeping some businesses afloat, research has shown that more than half (55 per cent) of SME business owners don’t actually know what a personal guarantee is.

In fact, according to research by SME loan provider Wirefund, 21 per cent of SME business owners believes it only means that business owners would pay money back on time to the best of their ability.

Furthermore, nearly two thirds (61 per cent) have no idea that personal assets can be clawed back if they default on the loan, believing that only business assets would be affected.

Here James looks at the key points SMEs should consider when thinking about signing a personal guarantee:

1)  Personal Guarantees allow lenders to call on your personal assets if you can’t pay back your business loan (plus interest!)

Your personal assets don’t tend to stop at your watch, jewellery or car; we’re also talking about your home and life savings too. When it comes to personal guarantees, anything you own is up for grabs. If you die with a personal guarantee in place, the lender can even take action to recover money and assets from your estate.

2)  You may be able to negotiate the amount of the loan that must be guaranteed

There is often an assumption that the lender will want the entire loan to be guaranteed, but that’s not always the case. Ask whether they would be open to you reducing the amount that is guaranteed on a capped liability basis. Alternatively, the personal guarantee could be unlimited, meaning that the lender is guaranteed that they will recover the total amount of their debt, including any legal fees, from you. It is important to note that you will always be liable for interest and the lender’s recovery costs as well, even if you have agreed a cap on liability.

3) One in five companies fold in the first year  

If your business is a new start-up, is there a risk that it could be one of them? Risk assess everything to ensure you’re prepared for if things go wrong. A personal guarantee may be an appropriate risk if your business is stable and you have a plan for expansion, but it is unlikely to be appropriate if your business is struggling and you are juggling debt.

4) Personal Guarantee Insurance is now available

A new type of insurance which protects your personal assets should you default on the loan is now available, and is based on what percentage of the Personal Guarantee the owner wants to secure. There are some caveats, however, so be sure to discuss with your insurance broker before going ahead with an agreement.

5) Find out what constitutes a default

At what point will the lender invoke action against you, and what will that action involve? Will they issue a statutory demand which will allow you 21 days to pay up or agree on a new deadline? It is crucial to determine in advance exactly how the situation could look for you should you default on the loan. It is important to remember that, under most personal guarantees, the lender can just proceed directly against you and does not need to take legal action against your business first.

6)  You’ll still have to settle if the business becomes insolvent – even if you’re a limited company

 This is what the personal liability aspect is all about – reassuring your lender that, even in cases of insolvency, they’ll still be able to recover the debt. So, you won’t benefit from the security usually offered by administration; the word ‘personal’ in guarantees makes it clear that the directors’ own assets will become vulnerable.

7)   Find out what the process of enforcing the debt will be

There are a number of ways that the lender can enforce the guarantee, whether through a County Court or High Court Judgement, a Warrant of Execution which bailiffs will deliver, or a Charging Order. Once a charging order has been made, your creditor can apply to the court for an order for sale, to force you to sell your home. Discuss this with the lender so that you understand what exactly is at risk.

8)    Check with a solicitor before signing on the dotted line

As with all contracts, the detail with personal guarantees is in the small print. Make sure a solicitor experienced in dealing with this form of lending checks over the document before you sign to ensure there are no nasty surprises hidden within the wording

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John Drysdale, Managing Director at No Guru ltd

Posted by Liverpool and Sefton Chambers of Commerce

Wed 31st, Jul

Introduce yourself – name, where do you sit in the business, and what does the business do?

John Drysdale, Managing Director at No Guru ltd.  We are a learning and development provider based in the wonderful Cotton Exchange in the heart of Liverpool’s Business District.

What changes would you like to see to improve or develop your sector?

A couple of things, one would be to stop viewing training as something that is always funded externally.  While I think that some of the funding initiatives have very much helped businesses in our region, it has also led to some poor quality training provision and to short term rather than sustainable benefits for the business.

Secondly, that leadership and skills such as coaching and mentoring are seen as having the undoubted value they have. I know from experience how developing leadership has transformed SMEs in our region, creating business growth.

What does a typical working day look like?

I am still actively involved in delivery so mid week I generally deliver workshops, seminars and courses.  I am back in the saddle with my running again, so ideally start with a run and space to think about the day ahead.  Then getting to the venue I usually run through my approach – I sometimes rehearse in the car what I am going to say and get the voice warmed up.  I like getting there early - my top tip is get there very early, get the tech working and run through any visuals you are using and set the room up to be a brilliant working environment.  I love feeding off the audience, stimulating discussion and using humour appropriately.  I work a lot in Universities with some really clever people so you have to be on your game. I like to think I give it my all which means after this, I generally catch up emails before recharging the batteries  for the next day.  I like to be in Liverpool at the start and end of the week and I’m heavily involved with networking and helping others generate referrals as well as hopefully picking up new clients for ourselves.

What advice would you give your teenage self?

To find out what you love doing much earlier.  I grew up thinking I was bang average at most things and settled for a lot of average jobs in which I excelled at being average. Landing on my feet one day, I was given the role as ‘trainer’ and immediately realised I was good at getting information across to people. I never looked back in my career and now my mission is to help people to ‘not settle for average’ in their working lives and beyond.

Where would we find you on your day off?

I enjoy running and the outdoors when I get the chance. My big passion is music, I am a musician (playing sax and guitar) and I enjoy all aspects of music and going to concerts with my wife Fiona – we are lucky as have similar tastes (mostly).

What is the best advice you have been given in your career?

A few years ago I felt a bit stuck in my own business and enrolled on the Asentiv programme in Liverpool.  One of the key things I learned was in being really specific about the target market you want to work in.  I work mainly with higher education people and I can describe precisely the sort of client I enjoy working with and who like what I do. It has changed my whole approach and the work with universities increased dramatically. I became a coach for Asentiv too as a result of the learning I received.

Who is your role model in business?

I suppose someone like Julian Richer of Richer Sounds. ‘Hi-Fi’ is such an old fashioned term these days but those of us who appreciated proper sound systems spent many happy hours in his stores buying kit to make lovely sounds. He has a reputation for his motivational style of management and recently transferred 60% of his shares into a trust giving employees control of the company (as well as cash).  Now that’s motivational!

Why choose Liverpool City Region?

I think it is an easy to place to make connections or rather, the right sort of connections to help your business.  It does have a vibrancy about it and working in the business district especially gives you a sense of that.  I find people really receptive to having a coffee and a chat and its great having local support networks, such as the Chamber, on hand to help your business.

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Mike Buxton of Mitchell Charlesworth looks at the challenges facing law firms

Posted by Mitchell Charlesworth

Mon 29th, Jul

In the first of a series of blogs, Mitchell Charlesworth partner, Mike Buxton, looks at the impact of Brexit on the legal sector.

Brexit has been looming over us for almost 3 years now and latest reports say that a no deal could cut the UK’s growth by half. That will inevitably have an impact on almost all businesses, including those in the legal sector.

There is a large risk of economic downturn once we move into the Brexit negotiation phase, but I am already aware of a number of companies that are putting their business growth strategies on hold due to Brexit, whether this be investing in new premises, acquiring new businesses or agreeing new supply contracts. Without doubt, this must already be impacting on the professionals dealing with these transactions such as law firms and, in turn, the fees generated from completing this work.

Brexit is such a moving feast that it has been difficult for businesses across all sectors to navigate and predict the new landscape and uncertainty remains a key issue at present.

Brexit will bring the biggest ever change to the UK’s legal framework, and it presents both opportunities and risks for the legal sector. Potential changes to legislation may mean that some areas of law are completely transformed, for example, employment, competition and intellectual property law are closely linked to that of the EU. Lawyers active in areas like trade, foreign investment, property and finance will also be affected. It is also unclear whether UK trained lawyers can still work in the EU and vice versa, following Brexit.

While it is difficult to prepare for the unknown, law firms need to be nimble enough to react to any impact and then be ready to exploit any opportunities that come their way. Once we begin to see adjustments to the laws and regulations affecting businesses, lawyers’ skills and knowledge will be in demand as business owners seek their advice on the changes.

If you would like to discuss the impact of Brexit on your practice, please contact Mike Buxton on 0151 255 2300 or email mike.buxton@mitchellcharlesworth.co.uk

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Whilst we have all been enjoying the recent heatwave, our computer equipment definitely has not

Posted by The PC Support Group

Mon 29th, Jul

When switched on, our computers’ internal components generate heat, so if they are exposed to additional heat, it can cause major problems.  For example, the hard drive can expand in heat and consequently fail which could result in you losing your files.

Here are our top tips to keep you and your equipment working safely:

     1.Avoid direct sunlight

If your computer is near a window, make sure it is not in the direct sunlight otherwise it could overheat and even become dangerously hot to touch. 

Consider closing a blind and opening a window or if either if these are not possible move to another part of the room that is not in direct sunlight.

     2. Think cool temperature

Make sure any place or room with equipment in is below 23 degrees centigrade. An airconditioned office is obviously best for maintaining a reasonable temperature but failing that get a fan to blow air onto the computer

Equally, if you have to leave your laptop or equipment in a car, make sure they are switched off and in a shaded place, preferably the coolest place within your vehicle.

     3.Equipment positioning

Make sure your computers and other computer equipment have access to an airflow/ventilation to keep them as cool as possible and, try not to put devices too close together. Servers in particular need to be kept cool so a small unventilated cupboard is the worst place for them in hot weather.

Also, laptops typically have fans underneath, so try to avoid having your laptop on your knee, better to have it on a flat surface.  If you can hear the fan constantly, it’s a sign of potential overheating.

     4. Unplug equipment that doesn’t need to be on

Make sure you unplug unneeded equipment to stop unnecessary heat from circulating.  If equipment is plugged in and switched on, it is generating heat.  Likewise, once your equipment is fully charged, remove the charger which can also overheat.

     5. Consider a move to the cloud

A move to the cloud means less physical equipment in your office or wherever you work which means less hassle for you.  Instead any equipment is looked after externally in a professional and well-equipped environment, that would take all of the above into consideration.

If you would like to find out more about IT and telephony support that we provide at The PC Support Group, please get in touch on 03300 886 116 or email us on info@pcsupportgroup.com if you would like to subscribe to our useful bi-monthly IT emails for SMEs.

www.pcsupportgroup.com

 

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Posted by Debra Allcock

chief Executive, DSC

Mon 29th, Jul

If you ever said 'they're all the same', you are a reason you don't get the politicians you want.

If you ever said ‘they’re all the same’, you are a reason you don’t get the politicians you want. If you have been rude about a politician on social media, you are a reason you don’t get the politicians you want.

Well, I managed, through some miraculous (and, frankly, unfamiliar) feats of incredible self-control to navigate my way through the Christmas period without falling out with anyone about Brexit or politics. We have opposing and strongly held views, so it’s not always easy – but it works when we remember there’s a person behind the politics.

But folk are strange aren’t they? They complain that politicians are out of touch with real people, yet have a massive hissy fit if one lives in social housing.

They despise the “elite”, whom they accuse of not understanding the general public, yet vote for those very same people.

They say they want politicians to concentrate on running the country, yet object vociferously to salaries that in theory free MPs from worrying about the bills when they should be worrying about the state of the nation.

They accuse MPs of having big egos yet expect them to be immune to any and all personal attacks.

I have met quite a few MPs. Some I have found to be arrogant and dismissive of opposing views.

They’re the exception. Most of them I’ve experienced as hard-working, decent people trying to serve all their constituents, not just the ones who voted for them. They’re not all vying for power. Many of them just want to do a good job for citizens and country.

It seems to me that to stand as a public officer (MP or local councillor) takes an enormous amount of courage. They are vilified on mainstream and social media; their families are treated as fair game; they are subjected to breathtakingly shocking, horrendous personal attacks, especially if they are from a BAME background or a woman or gay, or hold a position contrary to yours.

If you stand for public office, you seem instantly to become a figure of hate simply because you have the letters “MP’” or “Cllr” attached to your name.

If you have ever said “they’re all the same”, then you are a reason you don’t get the politicians you want. If you have ever been personally rude about a politician on social media, then you are a reason you don’t get the politicians you want. If you have ever muttered “well they weren’t forced to be a politician, so they shouldn’t complain about being personally attacked”, then you are a reason you don’t get the politicians you want. And if you have ever said “they’re all in it for themselves”, then you are a reason you don’t get the politicians you want.

Of course, there is no denying that there are other problems with the way we get the politicians we get, such as the huge costs of running for office, but if you’re one of those people who think it’s ok to make ad hominem attacks on politicians, then you’re a powerful reason why lots of really good people are never going to stand for public office.

By all means criticise the policies, the positions, the politics. Vociferously. With passion. But lay off the personal attacks. Remember, there’s a person behind the politics.

This article was first published on the Third Sector website

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