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Win £1,000 With the Ahmed Dahab Trials and Tribulations Competition

Ahmed Dahab is the author of The Trials and Tribulations of Ahmed Dahab, an autobiographical account of his experience at the hands of the Kuwait Public Prosecutor, a story of miscarriage of justice, wrongful imprisonment, and mental and physical torture.

Sudan-born Ahmed Dahab is an investor, entrepreneur and businessman. He relocated to Kuwait with his family at a young age. Growing up, Mr Dahab demonstrated strong business acumen, establishing a highly successful career as an entrepreneur and businessman.

Once he had accumulated enough wealth to start investing in real estate, Ahmed Dahab collaborated in a Turkish development project which turned out to be highly successful. However,  not everyone shared his happiness about the project’s success, and it soon became clear that the Public Prosecutor was “out to get” him.

In 2016, a State Security Service officer accused Ahmed Dahab’s company of being involved in money laundering activities following an investigation lasting just 30 minutes. The Trials and Tribulations of Ahmed Dahab documents Mr Dahab’s first-hand experience of the torture, wrongful imprisonment and injustice that followed.

Ahmed Dahab has decided to stage a competition to raise awareness of this terrible injustice. He is inviting readers of his autobiography to either submit a picture of the Public Prosecutor or leave their comment on the story via the competition form on his website. The winning entrant in the picture competition will receive £1,000, and the winning commenter will receive £250.

The competition, which is open to entrants worldwide, closes on the 9th May 2020.

Submit your entries here: https://www.ahmeddahab.org/competition/

Why Modular Buildings Are the Future of Construction

Gone are the days when pre-fabricated buildings were perceived as a last resort quick and homogenous solution to housing. They have been embraced widely and are improving today’s building practices. Furthermore, there is every reason to believe that the future of the construction industry is going in that direction. Among the reasons for this argument is that the eco-friendliness and efficiency of these buildings have reached unbelievable levels. Besides this, the makers of modular structures have already put up masterpieces of buildings across the globe.

Modular buildings explained

Modular buildings are products of modular construction, which is a process where a building is constructed a way for from its site in a controlled factory setting. This method is preferred by businesses and other organizations due to its cost-effectiveness, speed in which the structure can be ready for use, and possibility of different usages.

Among some of the buildings that developers have constructed so far by employing this concept include:

·         Hotels

·         Student housing facilities such as hostels

·         Healthcare facilities like offices and others

·         Residential houses

·         Multifamily structures

Reasons why modular buildings are gaining traction

So, what are some of the factors that are making this technique of putting up structures gain so much traction nowadays?

·         Advancement in technology

There has been an upsurge in the use of digital modelling alongside new manufacturing methods like 3D printing, and these have transformed how people see things. Use of robots and CNC-controlled innovations is happening in nearly all areas of manufacturing including vehicles and furniture. The new ways are getting embraced across industries including construction where modular construction is the best application of these technologies.

·         Shortage of skilled workforce

During and after the recession period which greatly affected the construction industry, most of the skilled workforce lost jobs or switched to other areas. When the recovery period came, there was an immediate acute shortage of skilled labour as the new generations prefer other professions, hence construction lacked the needed workforce. Modular buildings, which need far less labour, became the solution.

·         The best combination for growing economies

Some of the factors which have made modular construction the way to go include improvement in technology, reduced skilled labour, high cost of skilled workforce, and shifts in the economy. The need for quick returns on investment, increased clients demands, and higher quality standards have also made this method the most viable option.

Advantages of modular buildings

Other than being economical, modular buildings are the future of construction because they are environmental-friendly. You can also consider them to enjoy their advantages, but first browse commercial buildings page to learn more about this construction method.

Some of the advantages of modular buildings include:

·         Speedy construction – Putting up structures is done quickly, saving time thanks to the removal of delays due to bad weather or unskilled workforce. Projects can be completed 30-50% quicker since site preparation and construction of modules happen simultaneously.

·         Cost-saving – The level of efficiency is high. Labour costs are greatly slashed because fewer workers are needed, material wastage due to weather elements is eliminated, and the faster completion means quicker returns on investment.

·         Less impact on the site – Due to fewer activities when delivering materials and constructing, restorative work and costs after the project completion are far less.

·         Eco-friendliness and sustainability – The highly reduced wastage of material and usage of wood (a renewable resource) are indicators of modular buildings as an eco-friendly method of construction.

Conclusion

Modular buildings are certainly the future of the construction industry because it of their high efficiency. They are eco-friendly and solve a myriad of complex problems. The end products of this construction technique are magnificent, customizable for the client, and durable. Technological improvements also support it as well as many other forces. We can only wait to see the future skyscrapers being modular buildings.

Kevin Neal Explains Assets Under Management

Assets under management is a financial term usually abbreviated to AUM, which refers to the total market value of a group of investments managed by a financial services company, portfolio manager, hedge fund, money management firm or mutual fund.

AUM alters depending on the flow of money going in and out of a fund or company, as well as on the value of the fund or the underlying investments of the company.

Kevin Neal is a former independent financial adviser who distributed over $500 million AUM in Dubai between 2002 and 2014. Calculating AUM can be useful for comparing the relative size and liquidity of funds and investments.

Handling Client Money

AUM is one of several quantitative measures that can be used to evaluate the size of a fund. This aspect essentially calculates the amount of client money that is being handled by the firm or fund.  It can therefore refer to the money being handled for all clients across the board, or all assets managed for an individual client.

It includes the total amount of capital the manager of the fund has at their discretion to make transactions for the client/clients. The greater the AUM is, the more liquid the fund tends to be, making it easier for investors to buy and sell in and out of the fund.

Investor AUM

The individual AUM of an investor may be used by certain wealth managers or investment managers to determine the eligibility of the investor to enter into certain transactions, such as investment in a hedge fund. This is to ensure the individual client would be able to withstand adverse market conditions without the financial hit being too large to handle.

Investor AUM may also determine which types of services a brokerage company or financial adviser is most likely to offer. AUM is not the same as net worth but in some cases the two figures will coincide.

Financial Firm Investing

AUM is one of a number of figures that potential investors will consider before buying stock in a bank, brokerage or other type of financial firm. AUM provides an indication of how significant the firm is in comparison to its competitors and gives an idea of the potential for growth based on whether the customer base is expanding over time.

Firms with a larger AUM are also typically subject to more stringent regulations. In the US, for example, the federal investment regulatory agency the SEC oversees regulation for investment firms with an AUM of more than $110 million, while firms with an AUM lower than this are answerable to state regulators. As AUM fluctuates over time, it can only ever provide a rough measure of the potential liquidity and size of a fund. However, when combined with other factors and calculations it can help investors make better decisions.

How Much Should You Pay For A Bathroom Refurb?

Refurbishing your bathroom is a great way to update the space without going over budget. While fitting a brand-new room comes with a steep cost, you can save hundreds if you shop around for clearance deals on parts and accessories. A bathroom refurb will not only change the overall look of the room, but it also allows you to stay on budget.

Why choose a refurb?

Updating your bathroom is one of the fastest ways to boost your property value. However, homeowners quickly learn the cost of tearing out and replacing a bathroom is quite steep. A refurbishment, on the other hand, will save you a lot of money.

A bathroom refurb involves making simple cosmetic changes to the space. Instead of overhauling the entire room, you may choose to replace outdated fixtures or install new tilling. These small changes will make a dramatic impact on your bathroom without breaking your budget.

The total cost

The amount you will pay out of pocket for a refurbishment depends on many factors. The types of fixtures and fittings you choose will significantly affect the price. Even the company you hire will have an impact on your total cost.

On average, most homeowners should allot about £1,500-5,000 for a bathroom refurb project. The majority of the cost will go towards buying materials and supplies. You should also budget about £500 to pay for labour. Planning your budget in advance will help ensure you don’t overspend on your refurbishment.

Hiring a renovation company

While it may be possible to tackle a bathroom refurb as a DIY project, it will take you longer to complete. Many homeowners choose to hire a contractor to do the job for them. However, remember that labour will set you back several hundred pounds. Before you hire someone, it’s best to get a written quotation from several companies. Reading reviews and seeking out referrals will also ensure you pick the best company to complete your refurbishment.

Reducing the cost

Not everyone has enough extra money to budget for a full bathroom refurbishment, while others just want to get a great deal. Regardless, you can reduce the cost of the project if you take the time to shop around.

Refinishing your bath instead of replacing it will save you a good amount. You can also reduce your budget by choosing less expensive supplies. For example, natural stone tiles will increase your total costs. Instead, opt for manmade materials, which are often much cheaper. Shopping for supplies during the off-season is another way to complete your bathroom refurb for less.

Key Figures to Help You with Your First Business

Setting up a business for the first time is home to many firsts. Even if you intend to be a sole trader, there are some key figures who will be able to help you out as you navigate the world of business for the first time. Here are some of the people you should always seek out.

A Solicitor

A solicitor or any other legal expert will be one of the most important figures in the early days of your business. Setting up a business requires you to file an awful lot of paperwork with various bodies. From registering the company to contacting HMRC and more, there are so many boxes that need to be ticked.

Your solicitor will help to ensure that everything is filled out properly and that you are fully compliant. They may even be able to offer key advice like the business structure you should choose.

An Accountant

Once you begin to move money through your business, whether it is expenses or income, you should think about tracking down an accountant. Your accounts always need to be as accurate as possible. Not only will this help to keep you compliant, but it could also help you to identify some key areas where you could make a savings.

An experienced accountancy firm like Hazlewoods might be just what you need. They will match you with an accountant who is ready to make sure that all your accounts are in full working order, and as a new business owner you will need them to help you push your business to its maximum potential.

A Mentor

Though they are not for everyone, seeking out a business mentor might be beneficial to some. If you do not have much experience in the world of business, a mentor can take you under their wing and give you more of an insight into what you need to do to become a success.

They might have an active role in the business, or they might just watch from afar. Listen to their advice and try to learn as much as possible from them while they work with you.

An Employee

At some point you are going to hire your first employee. This is a massive milestone in the business and will be something to be celebrated. An employee will help to share some of the burdens of running the business. Whether it is someone to mind the shop or an expert to help expand and boost your presence online, they will be one of the most significant figures in your business. Many people try to take on running a business all by themselves. While this can work, you can also run the risk of taking on too much. Learning who can help you out, be it a solicitor reading over your contracts or an accountant signing off on your tax return, will be incredibly important. Start building your own network of contacts as soon as you launch the business. You never know when you might need to rely on them.

Diesel and petrol continue to dominate the used car market, with location impacting price

Despite the government’s plan to ban petrol and diesel cars by 2035, the second-hand market is holding steady and there’s money to be made on traditionally fuel-powered cars.

Looking to snap up a bargain ride for your business? Or are you perhaps in the market to sell as a third-party intermediary? You’re going to want to consider where you buy – and sell. As this report by ATS Euromaster illustrates, location has a massive impact on the asking price.

The distilled findings cover Q1 to Q3 2019. Let’s start with car types…

Diesel holds firm

Looking to sell? Keep the following in mind:

  • Diesel cars sell most often. In 2019, 54% of sales were diesel, 44% were petrol, 1.5% were hybrid, with electric bringing up the rear.
  • The average second-hand car on sale has had three owners in total.
  • Hatchbacks go most cheaply, in part because they’re the most common.
  • Conversely, 4x4s can be sold at the highest price
  • A BMW 3 Series has great longevity, retaining 23% of its value after 140,000 miles.

Looking to buy?

It pays to go as far north as Scotland to make a purchase.

The five cheapest locations, in order, were:

  1. Kilwinning, North Ayrshire, Scotland
  2. Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, Scotland
  3. Prestwick, South Ayrshire, Scotland
  4. Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England
  5. Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, England

The five most expensive?

  1. Chelmsford, Essex, England
  2. Orgreave, South Yorkshire, England
  3. Chatham, Kent, England
  4. Winsford, Cheshire, England
  5. Acton, London, England
  • A pair of BMW 3 series with 35,000 miles can have a price differential of more than £5,000, simply because you bought the one in Scotland (Kirkcaldy) and the other in a small market town in Merseyside (Newton-le-Willows). There are just 250 miles between these two locations.
  • In theory, it’s entirely possible to catch a train from one town to the next, then drive your new purchase back the other way – all for less than £300. You’re saving thousands of pounds simply because you looked for a second-hand bargain in an area outside your usual boundaries.

So, what’s the most popular second-hand car brand in the UK?

An old-timer remains on top. Yup, the Ford Fiesta comes in first place with its cousin, the Focus, in second.

Fords are a good bet, then, but even here, location matters. To nab the Fiesta, you’re going to want to avoid areas like Billericay, Essex, and look out for quiet towns like Layer de la Haye in Colchester.

London has the greatest number of Fiestas on sale at any one time (200), but it pays to avoid the big metropoles if you can help it. A greater number of buyers equals a dearer asking price.

So, whether you’re looking to buy or sell, used cars remain a viable option, and despite the changes coming in 2035, there’s still a market for traditional cars like the trusty Ford.

No doubt the market will change in years to come, but for now, traditional represents the most value for buyers and sellers alike.

Ultimate guide infographic to buying a used car

Amaiz: One Stop For All Digital Banking Solutions

Amaiz is a digital bank that provides online banking services to its customers, whether they are large or small business owners; Amaiz has services that fit them all. Amaiz has clearly employed an exceptional team to develop their platform, successfully making it incredibly user friendly. Amaiz makes their customer service team available on all days of the year, not to mention, their customer service representatives are incredibly polite and take their time to make sure that the caller gets the proper answers to all their inquiries.

This is quite the plus point for many novice online banking users. It provides its clients with a pricing package called The Starter. This package is available to Amaiz’s clients for the price of £0.00 per month, which is amazing in relation to the amount of services provided within this package, they sound too good to be true. In this package Amaiz gives its users the ability to enter their business data which is then immediately used to generatecash flow charts. As Amaiz’s online banking services are accessible both through their website and app, the app is programmed to send periodic PIN reminders to its users. The clients can also avail the feature of withdrawing their cash for free.  Amaiz users also get cash fill ups for free at the post office. The online service flawlessly integrates their client’s data with one of the top most accounting services, such as Free Agent. Amaiz is one of the leading and most reliable online banking services, which is accessible to you all at the convenience of being at home. So no more waiting in long queues or visiting the bank for small things when you can do everything with Amaiz.

Amaiz offers extremely reasonable prices to its clients which is one of many reasons that people love using Amaiz’s online banking platform. There are many other fintech companies that offer digital banking services however Amaiz offers better services at a relatively lesser cost. This adds a lot of value to the entire Amaiz experience.

Amaiz’s wide range of benefits make it a favourite for many businesses out there. It lets users bring all their banking needs on one platform which is great if you are running your own business. These days you can live without banking. We are all associated with banks one way or an other. So a platform like Amaiz where we can enjoy hassle free banking services on a single platform is no less than a blessing.

If you run a small business and face problems in carrying out financial transactions or in managing your business funds then you need to incorporate Amaiz in your business as soon as possible. Once you start using Amaiz you will see and feel the difference in your business yourself.

How Experiential Learning Can Transform Your Leadership Style

With political changes around the globe, greater advances in technology and various social movements, the way the world does business is forever changing. This pace is something that many institutions like Hult International Business School have to keep up with, which is why they encourage experiential learning as part of their MBA courses. By obtaining hands-on experience, MBA graduates are better equipped to face business challenges and remain competitive and adaptable as leaders in a forever-evolving environment.

Enhancing adaptability

Global markets are often volatile due to influence from social, political and economic issues. MBA students therefore have to demonstrate flexibility and experience in their leadership. Many employers value job candidates with some hands-on experience under their belts, alongside their classroom learning.

Experiential learning allows business students to apply what they have learned in the classroom to real life-like business scenarios. Through doing so, students learn more about themselves and their leadership style. Experiential learning also enhances students’ skills in dealing with stressful and difficult business scenarios, as well as problem-solving in managerial situations. 

Personal development

Experiential learning is essential for an MBA student’s personal development as an entrepreneur or manager in business. By being taken out of the classroom into a scenario that mirrors a real-life business environment, MBA candidates can reflect on their skills and realise their full potential. They are forced into situations where good communication is essential, confidence must be harnessed and social and professional etiquette must be tried.

By having these aspects of their professionalism and character tested, a candidate’s confidence should increase overall. In a Hult International Business School classroom, students are also encouraged to question business scenarios and see an issue from multiple angles. They are taught that they should not be satisfied with simply one interpretation of a situation.   

Experiential learning is completely unlike the classroom and is an immersive experience. Students cannot decide to switch off or become disengaged – in the moment, they need to use all of their problem-solving and analysis skills to learn more about themselves and their leadership style. There is much personal investment in experiential learning, with many students keen to succeed and make a good impression, thereby taking responsibility for any problems that arise (whilst learning from them).

In real-life business scenarios, an MBA student can note the cause and effect of other business persons’ behaviours, analysing such outcomes and making comparisons with how they deal with situations themselves. From this, they can identify personal weaknesses in their leadership style, all the while learning integrity, harnessing accountability and cultivating self-determination.

Project management skills

Experiential learning exposes MBA candidates to scenarios in which they would be required to lead a team and harness project management, goal setting and task management skills. Team building will test how the candidate reacts to conflict resolution, leading with confidence, future planning, company strategy and managing a budget. Managing people requires a delicate balance of understanding and leadership, and experiential learning will test whether candidates have aspects of this balance already, or whether this is something they need to work on to get the most out of their team’s productivity.

Communication

Experiential learning exposes MBA candidates to important business skills like public speaking and giving presentations, obtaining the trust and respect of employees through speech, effective writing methods, how to inspire others, and how to listen when it is most important. Communication skills are also vital for conflict resolution and persuasion in business. Those who are good at communicating with others often make the best business leaders. Without good communication at the top level in business, colleagues are left uninspired, unmotivated, and projects often end up being disorganised and at risk of being unfinished. In taking a positive approach to communicating openly and effectively, MBA students will develop genuine and positive professional relationships with colleagues.

In a class with Prof. Rukare at Hult London International Business School, students are taught to respect one another’s learning styles and to not put down other students if they are learning something new. This creates an equal learning environment while encouraging a mind of curiosity. In having a background of seeing people who are disadvantaged, Prof, Rukare encourages students to take every opportunity presented to them and to develop their collaborative and communication skills by discussing the various aspects and angles to a topic with their peers. 

Networking

Experiential learning isn’t just about exposing students to business scenarios that mirror reality, it also gives them an opportunity to network and create their own business opportunities. This is very important, as the business world is constantly evolving and changing. By establishing a network with other students and business leaders through experiential learning, MBA graduates are more prepared to hit the ground running once they have completed their courses, helping them to advance their careers and in turn develop better leadership skills.

What Is Responsive Web Design and Why Is It Important?

One of the biggest trends in building websites today is using responsive design. With the unprecedented increase in mobile use, it makes sense from a business perspective to respond to the preference of consumers. Consumers today are always looking for fast and convenient ways of doing things. If your business does not recognise the importance of designing for mobile use, then you will be edged out by competition.

What is responsive web design?

As explained by a web development Oxford agency, responsive design is not synonymous with having a mobile-friendly site. The main difference is that a responsive site adjusts to any screen or device the user views it on without compromising resolution and quality. As such, consumers can use a tablet, phone, or computer and have the same experience. 

In this article, we will discuss further several of the significant benefits of having a responsive website.

More traffic from users that prefer mobile devices

Not too long ago, the practice was to create two site versions – one for mobile users and another for computer or laptop users. Although there are some companies that still adhere to this practice, the trend is to build one website that responds to all types of devices. This strategy reduces the time and expense required to design and maintain two websites. Moreover, you are not alienating mobile users, but instead giving them more options to view your site using whatever device they feel is more convenient.

Reduce the cost of site maintenance

If you still have two versions of your website, then you must be paying a lot for design and maintenance. Perhaps it is about time to contact your designer and discuss having a single responsive website to accommodate all users. Yes, the initial investment of redesigning a site will be significant, but the savings you get later on will make up for the initial cost.

A responsive site is also easier to set-up and maintain. The free time allows you to focus on more important aspects of running your business.

Users enjoy a seamless experience

Providing users with a seamless experience on your site has countless additional benefits. For instance, it can help increase conversions, especially from mobile users. Unresponsive web design tends to distort content when viewed using a mobile device; hence, it could potentially deter consumers.

Increasing conversions is one of the primary reasons you should consider abandoning outdated web design and shift towards a responsive site that does not alienate any user. The versatility of your site will far outweigh whatever initial investment you make in building it.

Increase the success of SEO and other digital marketing efforts

A responsive website is more likely to get a higher ranking. By putting the user experience on top of your priorities list, you are helping increase the success rate of all marketing and SEO efforts. Besides, even Google recommends using responsive design.

In conclusion, using a responsive web design is a best practice you should not ignore. It will not only save you money, but also help attract, retain, and convert more site visitors in the long run.

Tips for reducing debt in small businesses

Debt is almost a dirty word in the world of business, with directors often doing all they can to avoid it; as if having any amount of debt will somehow lead to the company’s downfall. While being in a small amount of debt may be unavoidable, if your balance sheet is regularly tilted more towards the red, it might be time to think about taking the necessary steps to reduce them.

Cut down your expenses

It might sound like the most obvious piece of advice ever, but when running a business, losing track of your outgoings is easier than you think. You could even have outgoings that are no longer required, for example; services or premises that are too large for what you need. All of which can be an unnecessary drain on your finances. Even if you are covering all your outgoings now, if the business hits a dry spell and becomes short on cash, some expenses may become unaffordable.

You should regularly take stock of all your outgoings; overheads, hiring, staff, etc., evaluate what you’re spending, and potentially shop around for lower-costing alternatives. Doing so could save you a pretty penny.

Make sure you’re paid on time

One of the most common signs of increasing amounts of debt is the inability to pay your bills on time. However, if your balance sheet shows unpaid invoices or outstanding amounts from clients, you shouldn’t ignore these as they can negatively affect your cash flow.

It’s therefore, a good idea to maintain a positive relationship with your clients and those you supply to; being on good terms means any instances where you might need to nudge people for payment shouldn’t be as awkward.

If you have multiple clients late paying their invoices, your cash flow is likely to take a hit, which could harm your credit file. Should this become a problem, you can apply for invoice finance to help bridge the gap.

Maintain a positive relationship with your creditors

While it’s always a good idea to build positive relationships with your clients and those who’ll be paying you, maintaining relationships with those who you owe is arguably just as important. For example, your business may encounter a period of negative cash flow or lose a large contract, impacting your ability to pay on time. Your creditors may be more understanding, and less likely to resort to debt collection methods if you’re on good terms.

Consider a repayment plan

Sometimes a business can have so much debt that it risks becoming insolvent, or unable to pay its liabilities when they’re due. If left unchecked, this level of debt can even lead to the winding-up of the company through compulsory liquidation. Thankfully, there are several repayment plans available, both formal and informal that allow insolvent companies to repay their debts at an affordable rate.

Summary

Although a small amount of debt is unlikely to sink a company, you should keep an eye on it to ensure it doesn’t grow to a stage where it becomes problematic. Before you run into more serious issues, you should make sure your expenses are necessary and sustainable, both in the current working climate and if you encounter any financial difficulty. Keep an eye on your income too, and make sure anything you’re owed is paid on time. Having a positive relationship with your creditors can help if you do fall behind on your liabilities, as they may be more understanding. If your debts become severe enough to make your company insolvent, then you can explore the options for a formal repayment plan.

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