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The Struggles Of Small Business Don’t Bode Well For The Overall Economy

by Andi Gray, president of Strategy Leaders

The year 2020 can’t end quickly enough for most small business owners.

Across the country, the pandemic forced many of them to close their operations temporarily – or permanently – and the continued economic uncertainty threatens to kill the ambitions of entrepreneurs who planned to launch businesses but now must put their dreams on hold.

None of that bodes well for the overall American economy. Small businesses make up 50 percent of the gross-domestic product and also employ half the workforce. What happens to them determines what happens to the overall economy. We as a country cannot afford to fail them.

Look at the 2008-11 banking crisis, a disturbing example of how a national crisis can sabotage entrepreneurship. In 2008, for the first time, the number of business starts fell below the number of business closures. In other words, more businesses were killed … Read the rest

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More pensions fully withdrawn but advised drawdown falls

The number of pensions being fully withdrawn has risen 5.1% in 2019/20 but the number of people taking regulated advice when entering drawdown has fallen by 10% in the first half of the year, according to the FCA’s Retirement Income Market data bulletin.

The latest data from the regulator showed 63% of pension pots entered drawdown with regulated advice being taken, with 27% of plans entering drawdown with no advice or guidance.

For pension pots with less than £10,000, less than half were advised (43%). However, for pots worth £250,00 or more this rose to 83%.

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The Retirement Income Market data bulletin figures showed a 3.3% rise in the number of pensions being accessed for the first time but a 5.1% rise in the number being fully withdrawn.

Of the 673,831 pensions accessed in 2019-20, 56% were fully withdrawn which is up from 55% in the previous 12-month

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Tesla Aims To Mine Its Own Lithium After Dropping M&A Plan

(Bloomberg) — Tesla Inc. secured its own lithium mining rights in Nevada after dropping a plan to buy a company there, according to people familiar with the matter.The automaker held discussions in recent months with Cypress Development Corp., which is seeking to extract lithium from clay deposits in southwest Nevada, but the parties didn’t reach a deal, the people said, asking not to be named because the information isn’t public. The electric car maker, which has vowed to slash its battery costs by 50%, instead focused on the plan that Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk outlined last week to dig for lithium on its own in the state.Producing lithium from clay has so far proven difficult and costly. No company has been able to produce commercial quantities using the practice. But a push into mining is at the center of Tesla’s plan to cut battery costs and deliver on a … Read the rest

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4 Reasons Why Smart Bloggers Are Also Influencers

Once upon a time, blogging was a way for people to share their thoughts with the world, and not expect much in return. While people still share their thoughts for free, smart established bloggers have found ways to make money for their trouble. It all started with the OG of blog monetization: Google Adwords. This was, and still is, an easy way to make a little money for your blog.

However, most people won’t get rich just using Adwords. Generally, it’ll cover basic costs and not much more. Smart bloggers, therefore, monetize more than just their internet real estate. Instead, they become influencers and make money that way as well. Let’s take a look at how this all plays out.

1. Bloggers are influencers, too.

These days, most of us think of “Influencers” as people who sell stuff on social media. In particular, Instagram has become a favorite place for … Read the rest

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Insurers and fund firms raise £100m for Covid-19 charities

The insurance and long-term savings sector has hit its target of raising £100m for charity through the Covid-19 Support Fund.

The ABI says the total makes it the biggest sector fund in the UK.

The fund was set up in May to help charities most hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some £84m has been raised through voluntary donations from firms within the sector and, from this amount, £20m has been granted to an initiative with The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announced over the weekend that it is match-funding that donation with an additional £20m, taking the total in the Fund to £104m.

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The Covid-19 Support Fund has also donated £20m to the National Emergencies Trust (NET) to support community-based organisations across the UK and national charities including Mind, Shelter and Age UK.

A further £2.5m has been donated to Business

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HSBC Posts Biggest Jump Since 2009 as China’s Ping An Buys

(Bloomberg) — HSBC Holdings Plc rose the most since 2009, recovering from a 25-year low, as its biggest shareholder raised its stake in a bet the embattled lender will return to paying dividends.China’s Ping An Insurance Group Co., which last week bought 10.8 million shares to boost its stake to 8%, remains confident in HSBC’s long-term prospects, a spokesperson said. The recent slump in the share and the valuation only increases HSBC’s appeal, the spokesperson said.“Ping An believes HSBC’s suspension of dividend payments is a short-term issue and has been actively communicating with the lender about the possibility of restoring dividends in the future,” the spokesperson said.HSBC shares in Hong Kong on Monday rose 9.2%, the biggest gain since April 2009, clawing back most of last week’s tumble and adding $6.8 billion to its market capitalization. In London, HSBC rose as much as 11.5% — also the most since April … Read the rest

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Staffing Agencies – A Good Or Bad Choice For Startups?

Finding talent in competitive markets is a huge challenge for a startup these days. Reviewing applications to conducting interviews and discussing salaries and terms and conditions for the contract can be quite time-consuming and intimidating for the new business owners. 

Furthermore, since new business owners do not have any experience in the field, they may end up hiring the wrong individuals for the job. This can ultimately hurt the business in the long run. This is why many startups today are partnering with staffing agencies to recruit suitable employees for the job. 

From hiring a CEO of your business to a generator, staffing agencies are equipped to provide you with individuals at all levels. But the question here is whether these staffing agencies are the right choice for a startup?

To answer your question, we researched and found some of the major benefits that staffing agencies have to offer to Read the rest

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More than 120 firms apply for PFS Associate status

More than 120 financial businesses have applied for Associate Firm membership of the Personal Finance Society in the first month.

Among the first to commit to associate status were Lowes Financial Management, Susan Hill Financial Planning, Bateman Asset Management, Morgan Williams & Co and Red Star Wealth Management.

Associate firms sign up to a ‘closer relationship’ with the Personal Finance Society and back the PFS’ standards.

The PFS says the aim of associate membership is to create a ‘united profession’ approach to building public trust and “elevating the importance and value of financial wellbeing through Financial Planning and investment advice.” However, some have criticised the new ‘light touch’ membership as causing confusion about types of membership.

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Associate Firms get an Associate logo, including an aluminium plaque to display commitment to a set of core professionalism principles. The logo can be promoted at reception and on websites. They will

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Oil Heavyweights Look Ready for a Showdown

(Bloomberg Opinion) — Oil producers could be set for another showdown before the end of the year, with heavyweights Saudi Arabia and Russia holding different views on how to approach the halting recovery in oil demand.Renewed restrictions on travel and social gatherings across Europe, along with the tapering of state support packages for companies, are having a chilling effect on demand for crude, just as the OPEC+ group of oil producers, who cut production by a record 9.7 million barrels a day in May, begin to contemplate the next easing of limits on their output. We should all remember what happened last time they couldn’t agree on what to do. The International Energy Agency and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries have both resumed cutting their forecasts for this year’s oil demand. In the past two months, the IEA has trimmed its forecast by 400,000 barrels a day, while OPEC … Read the rest

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How To Improve Your Personal Finances Before Starting A Business

Before starting a business, it’s a good idea to get your personal finances in order. Too many ambitious entrepreneurs jump into the business creation game before they have stable financial footing in their own lives, and it ends up limiting their full potential.

Mastering your personal finances is a process that could take months, or even years in extreme cases, but the time you invest upfront could set you up for a much brighter future.

Why Personal Finances Matter.

Why do your personal finances matter when you’re starting a business?

There are several benefits of working on your personal finances first:

Loan availability.

First, when your personal finances are in healthier shape, you’ll have a much better chance of getting a loan with favorable terms. You’ll have a selection of loans with lower interest rates, and you’ll be able to qualify for them easier. You don’t always want to Read the rest