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The Top Internet-Based Industries in the U.K.


There is no doubt that the Internet has revolutionised the global economy. Internet-based technologies have clearly contributed to the expansion of globalisation and have opened a wide range of previously inexistent opportunities for both business owners and consumers. In barely two decades, the global economy has been profoundly transformed by new and powerful technologies, and this has had an impact on a large number of industry sub-sectors. Internet-based industries are certainly alive and kicking in the United Kingdom, and the opportunities for development are far from exhausted. This post will look at the top Internet-based industries in the UK and their most recent performance.

E-commerce

E-commerce and Internet technologies go hand in hand. This sector has grown enormously over the past few years, and there are now dozens of online retailers that are clearly successful and generate millions of pounds in revenues every year. According to an article published by The Guardian, the British Internet industry contributes more than £100 billion to the country’s economy (accounting for nearly 9 per cent of the UK’s total GDP), and the sales figures keep rising. In fact, when per capita expenditure is taken into consideration, the UK’s e-commerce industry is the world’s largest. British consumers spend up to 5 times more shopping online than in store, and in 2013 the average UK shopper spent over £1,200 in online purchases.

E-commerce has survived the crash of the dot-com bubble and has particularly benefited from the development of mobile technologies. A recent Interactive Media in Retail Group / Capgemini report has shown that m-retail sales figures increased by a staggering 138 per cent in 2012, generating revenues that were in excess of £3 billion. The past year has seen such a large increase in m-commerce sales figures that online retailer John Lewis has gone as far as coining the expression “mobile Christmas”.

The booming sales do not only correspond to businesses that are exclusively run online, since traditional retailers have also jumped on the e-commerce wagon and are now seeing obvious benefits. Click and collect schemes have been incredibly successful, partly because they combine the best of both worlds. It can be said that UK consumers have the world at their fingertips thanks to e-commerce.

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The Top Internet-Based Industries in the U.S.


The Internet has opened up expansive opportunities for businesses in the U.S. By developing a website or taking advantage of social media, a business can quickly soar to success. Certain Internet industries hold great promise in the U.S., and a few examples include the development of consulting firms, freelance writing agencies, tutoring firms, legal services and more. Here is an in-depth look at the top web-based industries in the U.S.

Consulting Firms

Online consulting is an industry that has taken the U.S. by storm in recent years. Individuals in virtually any field can become consultants by starting a website. One can take all of his or her knowledge gained from a particular industry to start his or her own consulting business. There are numerous free blog and website makers available on the Internet to help an individual start a consulting firm with little capital.

Green Energy Companies

The Internet now provides small businesses with an opportunity to provide additional services that may have not been otherwise offered. The local plumbing or appliance repair company may decide to provide energy consulting appointments to homeowners. The Internet provides these companies with a powerful platform to advertise additional services. Homeowners can now set up online appointments for energy consulting services. With energy consulting services, homeowners are able to decrease their monthly utility costs.

Freelance Writing, Editing and Publishing Firms

Another top Internet industry consists of the many freelance writing, editing and publishing companies that operate solely online. Through these types of services, businesses are able to order content on demand. Individuals can receive professional assessments of a novel, white paper or other publication that they have produced. Also, individuals from all backgrounds can become freelance writers and editors. An individual does not need to have a full-time career at a major magazine or a B.A. in English in order to become a freelance writer. Those who want to try their hand at writing or simply enjoy the activity can take advantage of the opportunities to create content through online firms. Online firms can also bank on the decreased costs of hiring freelance writers on an independent contractual basis.

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Rules and Regulations Concerning E-Commerce in the U.S.


Before you begin selling products online, it is important that you are aware of the plethora of rules and regulations impacting e-commerce in the U.S. Laws currently govern e-commerce issues like the protection of consumers’ privacy, online advertising and marketing, copyright, contract requirements, terms and conditions and the collection of sales tax online. Violating one of the many e-commerce rules could subject your business to civil penalties or even criminal sanctions. Here is a brief overview of the e-commerce laws that you need to know in the U.S.


Consumer Privacy

Because businesses often handle sensitive consumer information to facilitate a transaction, such as credit card or social security numbers, it is vital that businesses have strong protections in place for this information. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is responsible for the enforcement of privacy matters. Businesses have a responsibility to take steps to protect this data. These steps may entail investing in software that encrypts and stores consumer data. All e-commerce business owners should ensure that a privacy policy is posted in a public area on the e-commerce website. The privacy policy should provide consumers with an overview of how their data is collected, used and viewed.

E-commerce business owners should be familiar with PCI compliance and its role in storing and processing credit card data. The Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) is an important standard that sets the measures that must be taken to ensure consumer financial data security.

Collection of Taxes

Online businesses are subject to tax laws. If a business maintains a physical presence in a state, then it must collect state and local sales tax from customers. Businesses that do not maintain a physical presence in a state will not have to impose a state or local sales tax on individuals. Certain states do not have a sales tax, so e-commerce business owner may want consider operating out of these states. States without a sales tax are Hawaii, Delaware, Alaska, New Hampshire, Oregon and Montana. Also, some states provide tax exemptions for certain types of items. Business owners may want to familiarize themselves with tax exemptions to see whether any apply to the products that they sell.

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The Internet Continues to Transform the Way we do Business


The Internet is continuing to change the way business is done and has truly transformed the nature of business in the country, giving even local companies the chance of a global presence on a level playing-field. Sites like Bizwiki can be a useful way for companies and non-profit organisations to provide information to local customers and obtain some free advertising, but can also provide a platform for companies to present themselves to a far wider audience.

The appearance of the Internet has brought about some wide-ranging changes to business practices and to the way consumers go about making their purchases. The scope of these changes is incredibly varied, so in this post we have summarised the key ways in which the Internet continues to transform business and the economy in the UK.

Opening up the possibility to participate in a truly global economy

According to historians, 5,000 years ago, three quarters of all trade and commerce took place within a 12-mile radius. As trains, steamships, and planes began to be used as part of the world’s distribution network, the possibility of reaching consumers on the other side of the world became more real.

However, the true global global commerce revolution did not appear until Internet technologies were applied to business. The development of e-commerce allows UK businesses to reach a potential customer base of millions of people, regardless of their size or location. In fact, e-commerce is currently Europe’s fastest-growing retail sub-sector, with the UK online market dominating the continent’s online sales. In 2013, online sales in the UK amounted to £38.8 billion, which represent a 16.8 per cent increase over the previous year.

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Changes to how SME’s Advertise Online in the UK


Advertising is a fundamental aspect of business management, as no company would survive without some form of advertising, regardless of its size or location. The digital era we live in has brought about a number of significant changes to the world of corporate advertising, as marketers are increasingly moving away from traditional advertising methods and give preference to digital options. In this article we take a detailed look at how UK-based small and medium-sized companies advertise online and at the digital strategies that they use to sell their products and services. 

SMEs and online advertising: the latest general trends

It is evident that when it comes to online advertising, British companies have come a long way over the past few years. A 2011 study carried out by the Internet Advertising Bureau found that only three years ago, companies devoted £1 out of every £4 to their online advertising budget. Today, this figure is close to 30 per cent of the average advertising budget. The most recent data show that there are still many small and medium-sized companies that spend considerably less than 25 per cent of their marketing budget on online advertising, but far from being a negative point, this figure itself is a good indicator of how quickly digital advertising is taking over traditional advertising methods.

The unstoppable rise of mobile advertising

PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Internet Advertising Bureau have published the latest research findings on how small and medium-sized enterprises in the UK are using online advertising. The report dates from April 2014 and examines the strategies used by British companies during the previous year. One of the most significant trends evident in this report involves the unstoppable rise of mobile advertising, as expenditure in this area has grown by 50 per cent and now exceeds the £1 billion mark. The report also indicates that mobile advertising currently accounts for more than 35 per cent of all digital and social media advertising. The most remarkable growth has been experienced in the tablet-optimised advertising sub-sector, which grew by an astonishing 400 per cent during 2013. British SMEs went from spending £6.8 million in tablet advertising during 2012 to investing nearly £35 million in 2013.

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What will changes to credit card chip and PIN services in the US mean for businesses?


In 2015, major credit cards will begin to utilize chip-and-pin technology instead of black magnetic strips. Current credit cards in America use technology that is a minefield for hackers and easy to access. The new cards that will be introduced in 2015 feature a microchip that makes it extremely difficult for hackers to access. Every time a consumer uses a credit card, he or she will simply need to swipe and enter a PIN number.

 

New PIN Technology

 

With the new technology, staff members will not physically handle one’s credit card. When a staff member handles a credit card, he or she has the opportunity to write down a credit card number or make additional purchases with a card. The new technology allows customers to maintain control of the credit card.

 

Implementation of the Credit CARD Act

 

The Credit CARD Act will call for the new technology changes in 2015. Businesses will also be impacted by other aspects of the Act. For example, businesses will be restricted in the fees that they can charge for accepting credit cards. The new law requires that businesses charge “reasonable” fees for processing credit card transactions.

 

Other Effects on Businesses

 

Under the Credit CARD Act, businesses will need to invest in new equipment to be able to process credit cards. The new equipment may cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. Without the equipment, businesses will be unable to process credit cards in 2015.

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Employee Rights in the US for 2014: First Quarter


There have been some monumental changes to employee rights in the United States so far in 2014 that are worth investigating. Some of these changes were put in motion a while back, such as the changes to minimum wage laws. But there have been other worker rights stories that have occurred within 2014 and some of them could change the way corporations operate.

Dish Network Forced To Compensate Whistle Blower

In March 2014, OSHA told Dish Network that it had to pay a whistle blower back wages and damages for firing the employee after he spoke out against a vendor. The significance here is that the government stood up for the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in a way that sent a strong message to all United States employers.

Many American workers do not realize that it is OSHA which enforces whistle blower provisions of the work laws. With this ruling, the government is encouraging employees to point out corporate indiscretions and not fear losing their jobs.

The Minimum Wage Goes Up

The federal minimum wage was not raised in 2014 for all United States workers, but there were some states that did bring up their minimum wages in 2014. The United States federal government raised the minimum wages of employees of government contractors, but not the entire country.

In all, 14 states raised their minimum wages in 2014 to levels that are beyond the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour. The state of Washington has the highest minimum wage at $9.32 per hour, with California and Oregon close behind at $9.00 per hour. All in all, 21 states have a minimum wage that is higher than the federal minimum.

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Key Tax Dates for UK Businesses


Running a business efficiently requires being able to juggle many responsibilities at the same time. One of the most important duties that you have as a business owner involves making sure that your company complies with the relevant tax regulations. While you do not need to be an expert in fiscal matters to do this, it is very important that you have a clear idea of the key tax dates. Many business owners are so busy taking care of other aspects of their business that they overlook important tax deadlines. This can be a costly mistake that you want to avoid, as there are steep penalties involved.

 

To help you avoid unsavoury surprises, we have put together a list with the most important tax dates and deadlines for the 2014-2015 fiscal year, so make sure that you mark these dates on your calendar.

 

April 2014

 

5th April

 

Since April marks the end of the fiscal year and the beginning of a new one, you will want to make sure that you submit all your PAYE payments by 5th April, following the real time information guidelines. Remember that real time information overrides forms P14 and P35.

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Business and Economic Forecasts for the UK 2014


Just a few months into 2014, and trends for business and economic forecasts for the UK start to emerge. Surprising growth figures for January 2014 show the long anticipated recovery “green shoots” promised by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

There certainly seems to be a methodology for business and economic forecasts in the UK, revolving around an intense battleground, featuring the UK government Department for Business and the Treasury spokespersons. A hallmark of this government under coalition, in one corner, valiant Liberal Democrat Vince Cable, backs all things to do with business. On the other side of the same ring, Chancellor George Osborne hammers home a staunchly conservative, with a small ‘c’, approach to an austerity vision he not only pioneered in the UK, but sold to the rest of Europe.

The word ‘austerity’ caught on like the battle cry of an ancient Celtic warrior in 2013. What, politically, was so out of fashion, now seems the accepted call-to-arms of the international economic community. We are a long way from Milton Friedman’s lasseiz-fare capitalism, sailing a course for the unknown. This is what makes business and economics forecasts for the UK in 2014 a little hard to predict, but incredibly important to watch and take note of.

One ancient British obsession, the weather, will have an impact on many forecasts for 2014. Unprecedented flooding reminds us all that you are ‘only as good as’ your profits last year. Insurance companies are sure to be downsizing float capital in preparation for payouts to the water-stricken victims of Somerset and beyond.

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USA Business Tax Changes for 2014


As with every other year, business owners around the United States have to learn about the new business tax changes that will come into effect for 2014. When learning about these amendments to tax laws, it’s important for you to understand that not all of these changes will directly impact your particular business. Some of these tax modifications will only effect people in the highest tax brackets while others may actually be helpful to your business. Either way, it’s advisable to take some time to learn about these changes so you can prepare your taxes accordingly.

Federal Income Tax Increase

As of the 2014 tax season, the federal income tax rate for businesses and individuals earning $400,000 or more jumped from 35 per cent to 39.6 per cent. This is the highest base rate that can be applied to income in the United States. Of course, it should be made clear that the 39.6 per cent is not set in stone as there are many tax credits and benefits that can be applied for depending on a number of different circumstances. Marginal increases may apply to businesses and business owners in lower tax brackets, but it depends on a number of factors.

New Medicare Tax

For businesses that are heavily involved with investments, there is a new tax on the books that you need to know about. It’s known as the “Medicare Investment Tax” and it applies to all investment income you make throughout the year. The tax is 3.8 per cent of the total income made through investments and it is added onto the new capital gains rate that was passed down this year. Last year, capital gains tax held steady at 15 per cent. This year, the capital gains tax has risen up to 20 per cent not including the Medicare tax. With the Medicare tax applied for investment income, the total capital gains tax liability of the average business will be 23.8 per cent.

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