Welcome!

business 3Welcome to equion-energia-gas.com. This website has been set up specifically to help business owners find and read different articles that will help them advance their business.

Competition is strong between businesses with more and more entrepreneurs starting up a business. One of the major problems business owners find is being able to market the business with a limited budget. This is where we can help.

This blog will be updated regularly with different articles designed at helping you, the business owner, further your business on a limited budget. We will be bringing you the best articles from around the internet for you to read.

Enjoy the site!

Why Go for Gas

gas installation connectionsGas is now the most popular type of energy used across the UK with more and more householders looking to connect to the mains gas supply day by day.

Most people opt for gas over electricity for example as it’s a cheaper and more efficient means of heating your home.  For example, for one unit of mains gas (measured in kWh) you will pay about 4p / kWh; whilst 1 unit of electricity from the mains (also measure in kWh) will cost you about 15p / kWh. This means that gas is about 3-4 times cheaper than electricity per kWh.

However, fitting a new gas connection isn’t necessarily straight forward.  Fortunately there are a number of organisations in the UK who are able to help ensure that getting your home connected to gas is sorted out in the most efficient and effective way possible.

Mains Gas Supply

The first step you need to take is to find out if there is an existing gas service linking mains gas to your home.   If there isn’t then you will need to find out if there are plans by any of the local utility companies to set up these connections in your area.   If there is already a mains gas connection but you don’t have gas in your home, then you should also check if you have service pipe installed outside your home.

If you do have one this will save time and money in the long run. If you don’t organisations such as Integrated Energy Services can advise on the best way to get a service pipe fitted and if there is any funding available to get your home connected.

Gas Meters

Once you’ve made the decision to go for gas, then you also need to invest in a gas meter and where you are going to install it ie inside or outside your home.  In most instances, having your meter installed externally makes it easier for the utility company to read your meter and is safer than having it inside.  Your gas meter should be as close to the mains gas pipe as possible.  There are safety and operational guidelines for installing meters and your utility company should be able to advise you.

It is also important to pick a reputable gas supplier to fit your meter and to have a supply agreement in place before your home is connected.   Prices will vary and it is worth comparing these before committing to your supplier.

You also need to ensure that all works are carried out by a registered gas engineer.

 

The business benefits of using a Workplace Mediator

Workplace mediation

Conflict is an inevitable in any workplace and it can be extremely disruptive in terms of employees’ productivity and even, in some cases, the organisations reputation, particularly if the situation ends up in a tribunal.

The consensus among most HR professionals is that workplace mediation is a far better option than going straight into a volatile and costly disciplinary or grievance process.  This is because mediation can help to resolve the conflict more quickly, openly and usually to a positive resolution.

The main benefits of bringing in a workplace mediator, such as the experts at hchr ltd, are as follows:

  • Helps to restor working relationships rather than aggravate them
  • Eliminates the expense of a costly Employment Tribunal
  • Does not damage the organisation’s reputation
  • Comes to a solution far quicker than a formal disciplinary or grievance process
  • Avoids involving other employees  taking sides or being asked to give their views in the process.

How does mediation work?

Mediation is essentially a structured process involving  two parties, who become involved on a voluntary bais, with the involvement of an independent mediator from an outside organisation.   The mediator manages the communication process between the parties involved with the aim of encouraging them to come up with a solution to the issue and, going forward, ways of improving the working relationship.

Postive effects of mediation

There are a number of positive effects when it comes to workplace mediation.   In addition to helping to resolve conflict fast and effectively, it also helps to improve employee morale and teamwork.   It has an impact on employee retention as through this process you are less likely to lose valuable employees.

Workplace mediation has also been known to reduce the likehood of employees going on sickness leave as it reduces the stresses of being involved in the form formal grievance and disciplinary processes.   It can also resul t in improved team morale.

When mediation should be used

ACAS promotes workplace mediation as it beleives that this process allows all parties to share their views in confidence without fear of recrimination.  The overall aim is to reach a mutually acceptable outcome which is achieved by both parties being prepared to work to resolve the dispute.

An experienced mediator will be able to facilitate the process and help the parties to come to a resolution.   It is most effective when it comes to avoiding discrimination and bias, harassment and bullying and costly compensation claims.

In summary, workplace mediation enables the employer and employee the chance to sort out any issues or conflict without the necessity of going down the complex and time consuming alternatives.

First Aid Training Courses for Businesses

first rate trainingAs a local business owner, one of the most important things to provide to your employees is a safe and healthy environment for them to work in. The health and welfare of your staff is of paramount importance and all correct measures should be taken to ensure the best possible environment is provided.

This includes having the correct amount of qualified first aiders on hand to deal with any first aid emergencies that may occur. This is a legal requirement so as your business grows in size, local business owners need to ensure that all rules and regulations on first aid are being complied with.

Previously, this meant having certain people within the company who have attended and completed first aid training courses provided by the HSE. But now local businesses, such as First Rate Training, ensure that they are in compliance with the regulations by completing courses approved by the Highfield Awarding Body.

The type of first aid training course that will be required by your local business will depend on the type of business that you are and the general needs of the business. Whilst most local businesses will send their employees on the first aid at work courses to comply with regulations, there are other types of first aid courses that local businesses can attend such as:

  • 1 Day Emergency First Aid
  • 3 Day First Aid at Work
  • 2 Day First Aid Refresher
  • Annual First Aid Update (½ Day)
  • Basic First Aid (½ Day)
  • 12 Hour Paediatric First Aid
  • 1 Day Sports Specific First Aid
  • Automated External Defibrillator

In the video shown below, a local first aid training course provider explains some of the details about one of the courses that they provide.

Once as a local business you are in compliance with the first aid regulations, you can’t just stop there and forget about it. All of your qualified first aiders will need to take part in refresher courses so that they are kept up to date with all of the necessary first aid skills that may be required in the workplace.

So as a local business owner, it is important that you find out what the relevant first aid regulations are for your business. Once you know what the regulations are and whether you are in accordance with these regulations, ensure that enough staff members participate in a first aid training course to become qualified first aiders.

Author Bio: Paul is an employee at local first aid training providers, First Rate Training. They provide a number of different first aid training courses to businesses across the UK to enable them to comply with current regulations.

You can find out more about local business First Rate Training here: First Rate Training

Impact of HR & Employment Legislation on a Small Business

business 3HR and employment legislation can have as much an impact on a small organisation just as on a larger one as both have to comply with the same legislation, no matter what size they are. The difference is that a larger organisation usually has a dedicated HR department, as well as having access to either in-house or external lawyers; but an SME tends not have in a house teams or the same levels of access to legal advisors.

HR in a Small Business

Smaller businesses require human resources support that is affordable for them.  The levels of support required by an SME can be at a hands-on or a strategic level; but many small businesses simply cannot afford the costs associated with employing HR professionals on a permanent basis.   A specialist HR company can provide the same levels of support as and when the company needs it, including providing advice on key issues such as tax and employment law.

There is a lot of helpful information online when it comes to business and HR policies and procedures, though some websites are better than others.  The first port of call for businesses that are looking for information online should be the ACAS website (www.acas.org.uk) which has a range of policies aimed at both small and large organisations.

But even information found on the ACAS website will still need some interpretation and you will need a certain level of knowledget to understand and implement these policies in your workplace.  This is the downside when it comes to using online sources and the reason why larger organisations have their own specialist HR department.

HR Policies and Procedures

Specialist HR companies  frequently help small businesses to understand the documents that they have found on the internet and to apply them to a specific organsiation’s needs. For example, a standard contract will have some paragraphs that may make sense to a business owner, but there may also be some areas that are difficult to interpret and to apply to a specific industry sector.   For example, the content may not suit your businesses hours of work or shift patterns.

When it comes to policies and procedures, many business owners start to get nervous or anxious when they start reading about the potential penalities from employment tribunals.  This is a common problem among smaller businesses that ignore the implications of employment law only to end up with a problem in the longer term.  So one of the key areas for which a business owner should seek professional advice is on employment law and regulations, the implications they can have on the business and the measures that can be put in place to avoid actions such as tribunals further down the line.

Employment Law

There is no doubt that the more an organisation grows, the harder it is to manage staff and to ensure that the business and its employees are protected under employment law. When an organisation is employing around 100 employees then, at this stage, they will usually have an in-house HR team in place.

Many smaller organisastions who, due to expansion, are finding that employment legislation and other HR issues are becoming more of a concern will require support to help them deal with this key business activity.

Heather Cooper, Director at hchr explains why this is so important in today’s business world:

 

BUSINESS BENEFIT OF SETTING UP A LASER HAIR REMOVAL CLINIC

 

Business benefit of a Laser hair removal clinicLaser treatment has become the gold standard for permanent hair removal and is the first choice for many people suffering from excess body or facial hair.

 

When this treatment is carried out using the correct machine, it is a very safe and effective procedure. At present, in United Kingdom, all laser clinics using medical laser devices are regulated by the Care Quality Commission as a health provider for these treatments.

Medi-Spas

 

The buzz name for these laser clinics is Medi-spa which is completely different from a beauty salon for example.  Some salons also offer laser hair removal treatments but more often than not they are not up to the standards set out by the Care Quality Commission and so do not have the same level of medical expertise required.

 

People are prepared to spend a lot of money when it comes to laser hair removal because tests show that this is the most effective, permanent option on the market today.  So a business owner stands to benefit a lot by setting up a laser clinic specialising in hair removal. Some of the benefits are discussed below:

 

Setting up laser hair removal clinic can be another source of revenue for a business owner.  As mentioned, there are many people who are ready to spend huge amounts of cash on laser hair removal treatments. This trend is particularly prevalent among Indian women for example who suffer from excess dark facial hair.

Marketing

 

If you are planning to set up a laser hair removal treatment business then you need to be sure to market your clinic correctly, focusing on niche markets such as Indian people where there is a growing demand. It’s all about identifying a need and then meeting the demand for that need.

 

To develop a successful laser hair removal clinic, it is also important to pick the right technology. Once you have made this investment, then the day to day treatments can be delegated to a professional clinician to boost the professional and medical image of the clinic.

This video by laser expert Dr Neil White of Laserase Wales explains the techniques used in laser hair removal treatments and why it is important to check on the clinic before committing to treatments:

 

Expanding your Treatments

 

Regardless of your own medical experience, investment in laser hair clinic will provide you with huge profit potential.  If you can expand your laser treatments to other options such as acne scarring removal or tattoo removal then you will have a whole load of other opportunities to develop your business.

What is a Community Interest Company?

Community Interest CompanyCommunity Interest Companies (known as a CIC) are one of the fastest growing community oriented enterprise movements in the UK.  Roughly 1 in every 200 new companies last year was set up as a CIC, and as of March 2014 there are almost 9000 CICs on the UK companies register.

CICs  can vary from small ‘kitchen table’ type organisations, to multimillion pound turnover companies employing thousands of people.  They can be set up as both Company Limited by Guarantee and Company Limited by Shares, and are often described as Mutual or Social Enterprises.

Benefits of a CIC

The main benefit of setting up as a CIC is that it  provides a simple legal structure to enable these organisations to engage with their local communities, such as Warm Wales.

The CIC legislation was introduced as a legal form under the Companies Act 2006 and is subject to that Act and company law in the same way as other UK companies.

The primary features of any company holding CIC status are two fold;

- Assets owned by the company are held in an asset lock which secures those assets the good use of community.

- Limitations are applied to dividend and interest payments made to shareholders and financiers ensuring a profit can be made, but the primary focus remains on achieving benefit for the community

Regulations

Both of these features are regulated by the Community Interest Company Regulator via an annual report, known as the CIC34, which is submitted to the Regulators office on an annual basis. The Community Interest Company Regulator’s office is a part of Companies House and governed by The Department for Business, Innovation and Skill – BIS.

The range of industries and markets within which CICs are forming is as varied as the economy itself – the majority still tend to be within traditional Third sector activity areas such as Health and Social Care, Education and Community Services, but with an ever increasing number trading in traditional private sector activities such as property, financial and other professional services.

Developments

To represent the CIC Community, an Association – known as the CIC Association – was launched on the 9th of September 2009, with 3200+ members as at Jan 2014.

It is the hope of the CIC Association to aid in the development of this legislation to help it continue to represent the growth of community enterprise under CIC regulation as both a brand and landmark legislation.

The Fitted Kitchen Market

 Fitted KitchensWhenever it comes to home improvements we are all governed by both our tastes and perhaps more importantly, our budget!

Never has this been more apparent than in the fitted kitchen market.

Fitted kitchens were always considered to be expensive projects but that all changed when companies such as MFI and IKEA started supplying flat pack and inexpensive self-assembly units.

Now whilst this may have brought the concept of fitted kitchens within the budget range of the majority of consumers it also brought its own problems.

Looking at a glossy magazine and choosing some cool looking units doesn’t mean it is going to have the same look and feel in your home.

What you have to remember is that the kitchens fitted in the magazines were installed by professional people and the lighting set up for maximum effect. This is also the case in showrooms where you are viewing your dream kitchen.

Now back to reality. Your walls are not square, the plaster on the walls is uneven, your kitchen floor is slightly uneven, etc.

As a  non-professional person you are now trying to replicate that dream kitchen you saw in the showroom or glossy brochure with your limited handyman skills!

Or, if your budget allows, you can go to the next level which is to buy a good quality kitchen from a reputable company and have their professional team install your dream kitchen.

Yes, in most of these cases you are being from a glossy magazine or viewing an example in the showroom but the two biggest differences are usually …

  1. Superior quality of the kitchen units
  2. Professional fitting

The interesting thing here is that these kitchens are not expensive if you shop carefully and you get a gorgeous looking kitchen.

Of course the other extreme is to have a totally bespoke kitchen that has been handmade for your kitchen. In this case you can expect to pay top prices as their is a lot of work involved but at least you know that you have a unique kitchen.

In fact, it is in the ‘bespoke’ kitchen range that the  lines are particularly blurred.

Many kitchen suppliers are using words such as ‘bespoke’ when in reality they mean high quality engineered kitchens. Whilst these kitchens may be fabulous to look at and are certainly sold at high prices they are not necessarily ‘bespoke’!

The fitted kitchen market is very lucrative to those who have found their niche and target market as they can deliver the best quality at competitive prices as manufacturing costs continue to fall.

Author Bio: Steve has been in the fitted kitchen industry for over 25 years and is the director of Swansea Home Improvements, a fitted kitchen company based in Swansea, South Wales.

If you want more information about the fitted kitchen industry or Swansea Home Improvements you can find further information here … www.swanseahomeimprovements.co.uk

 

Using Social Media to Market your Acne Laser Treatment Centre

Laser treatment for acneSome businesses are still ignoring social media as a cost effective and efficient marketing tool.   As social media tools centre around interaction with both potential and current customers it is an ideal platform to promote your laser acne treatment clinic.

What’s more, key social media platforms such as Facebook and Pinterest are highly visual and so are the perfect platforms for showing before and after photos of successful skin treatments.

If you haven’t already started to use social media to market your business, it can be a rather daunting prospect and you may not know where to start.

Low Cost Tools

To put social media into context: it is a low-cost tool that combines technology and social interaction.  It gives business owner a voice and a way to communicate with existing customers and potential ones.   It personalises your brand and can help you to spread the message about your laser acne treatments in a relaxed and conversational way.

The one negative about using social media as a marketing tool is that you must make it an integral part of your everyday business communications activities in order to ensure information is relevant and up to date.

And don’t think that social media is only for small businesses.  All major brands are now embracing the social media phenomenon to drive up brand awareness and, in some instances, to generate conversations and debate about their products or services.  For example, Absolut Vodka uses videos on their You Tube and Facebook accounts to promote their Top Bartender fan pages; whilst BMW uses Facebook to promote their Series One road trips.

Videos

Videos are as powerful as images when it comes to social media sharing.  The examples above show how platforms such as You Tube and Facebook can promote a brand or a specific initiative.  They are also extremely powerful when it comes to educating people about your business.  This is particularly pertinent to a acne laser treatment business as illustrated in the video below from Dr Neil White from Laserase Wales.

 

By explaining the causes of acne and the different treatments available before resorting to laser treatment for acne, Dr White is showing that he is a medical expert and not simply trying to sell his services.

So in summary, social media can be used to createrelationships with people who might not otherwise know about your products or service or what your business represents.   It helps to make an organisation or brand ‘real’ to consumers; an opportunity to share your personality with them.

The key to making social media work effectively for your laser acne treatment business is to see it as a powerful communications tool that encourages interaction and debate.