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Business Insights from Experts Around the Globe

In this weeks expert insights, Advisory Excellence is focussing on the “new normal”. Businesses have spent much of the past eighteen months scrambling to adapt to extraordinary circumstances. While the fight against the pandemic is not yet won, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

The new normal is going to be different. It will not mean going back to the conditions that prevailed. The great acceleration in the use of technology, digitisation, and new forms of working is going to be sustained.

Effective networking can provide us all with an abundance of opportunities all enabled through building meaningful relationships with others, from opportunities for personal and professional growth to commercial success.

Many executives reported that they moved 25 to 30 times faster than they thought possible on things like building supply-chain redundancies, improving data security, and increasing the use of advanced technologies in operations.

How all that feeds into long-term productivity will not be known until the data for several more quarters are evaluated. But it’s worth noting that United States productivity in the third quarter of 2020 rose 4.6 percent, following a 10.6 percent increase in the second quarter, which is the largest six-month improvement since 1965.

Now, by leveraging the power of our networks through digital technology, we can further discover, build, support and manage the relationships which create these opportunities more flexibly and at greater scale.

Productivity is only one number, albeit an important one; the startling figure for the United States in the second quarter was based in large part on the biggest declines in output and hours seen since 1947. That isn’t an enviable precedent.

More positively, it has taken a decade or longer for game-changing technologies to evolve from cool new things to productivity drivers. The pandemic has sped up that transition in areas such as artificial intelligence and digitisation by several years, and even faster in Asia.

Companies are three times more likely than they were before the crisis to conduct at least 90 percent of their customer interactions digitally. In short, taking your networking activity online can help create more of these opportunities.

What to Expect in the Workplace After COVID-19

The COVID-19 epidemic has had a significant influence on the workplace. Many employees now work from home, requiring employers to find new ways to keep their workers connected. We’ll talk about what you may expect in your job after COVID-19 in this article.

So whether you are about to return to your usual pre-pandemic office environment or start your own small business from home, you need to read this!

Health and Safety First

The most significant change at work is the increased emphasis on health and safety. Employers are now required by law to provide their workers with a safe working environment. This implies that cleanliness and hygiene will be more important in the workplace. New social distance policies and usage of PPE may also be implemented as a result of this.

Your employer is going to be extra diligent about informing you about changes in policy or practice. They’ll also want to know if you’re okay to go back to work and whether there are any issues. It’s critical that you speak up if you have any concerns so that your employer can address them.

There may be changes to your job responsibilities as organisations attempt to adjust to the new reality. For example, if you work in customer service, you may be required to take greater precautions for client and employee safety. Wearing a face mask and gloves or constructing a plexiglass barrier.

Flexibility in the Workplace

Another difference that you may notice is greater workplace flexibility. Many businesses are now providing workers with more flexible hours and remote employment opportunities. This is to meet the needs of families with children or elderly relatives who require attention. It’s also designed to ease tension for employees in these extraordinary times.

If you’re returning to the workplace, your employer may request that you report in at various hours to avoid rush hour. They may also stagger lunch and break times so that fewer people are in the kitchen or break room at once. These modifications are all made with the goal of ensuring everyone’s safety and health in mind.

What Hasn’t Changed?

Even though there have been some significant changes in the workplace, some things remain the same. For instance, if you are a manager, you will still be responsible for ensuring that your team is productive. And if you’re an employee, you’ll still need to meet your deadlines and goals.

Businesses and organisations have been forced to adapt in order to survive the epidemic. At the end of the day, employers must still accomplish tasks, and employees must still contribute.

The bottom line is that the workplace has changed as a result of COVID-19, but it’s still functioning. Employers are doing their best to provide a safe and healthy environment for their employees. So if you’re returning to work, or starting a new job, be prepared for some changes. But also know that the fundamental goal of most businesses remains the same: to be successful.

So, these are some of the things you can expect in the workplace after COVID-19. Health and safety will be paramount, and there may be some changes to your job responsibilities. You can also expect more flexible hours and remote employment opportunities. Lastly, your employer will want to ensure that you’re comfortable with returning to work and have no concerns. If you do have any questions or worries, don’t hesitate to reach out to your employer!

How Quarantine Has Impacted Online Business and Gambling

Did quarantine negatively impact online business and gambling? The COVID-19 outbreak has created a situation that has never been seen before, with enormous health, social, and economic impacts. Although not all industries were affected equally, the financial markets saw a crash from the outset of the pandemic. One of the least affected sectors by the market downturn has been online businesses like casinos, gaming, and eSports, both in Canada and worldwide. With online casinos Canada joining the regulated gambling markets, quarantine and lockdowns have boosted online business.

Our author, Kevin N. Cochran, a gaming expert, has put together the following article on how quarantine has affected online business and gambling.

You can view his other works here:

Increased Online Activity

It was vital for people to engage in things that provided them satisfaction and excitement at home because they did not have a clear grasp of their future. While everyone adhered to lockdowns and COVID-19 rules imposed by their local governments, people attempted to find new indoor activities to deal with the health crisis and its consequences.

Thousands of people worldwide, including many Canadians, turned to gamble during the quarantine to pass their time, connect with other like-minded players and earn winnings.

Improved Mental Health

Due to the global emergency, governments in many countries implemented quarantine and lockdown measures to mitigate the detrimental impacts of the global pandemic. As a result, educational institutions and cultural and entertainment venues have been forced to close for a while.

Anxiety, uncertainty, and the desire to relieve a low mood have all contributed to an increase in the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), such as television, online gambling platforms, and video games.

It appears that the online gambling and gaming industries have discovered the right combination of ingredients to thrive amid the pandemic.

Aside from the fact that they are feasible, appealing, and entertaining, online casinos and games are an effective way to raise general mood levels and, ultimately, improve mental health. This is particularly true for those forced to spend a significant amount of time alone due to quarantine.

Rise of eSports

Several major league games, including soccer and basketball, and sporting events, have had to be postponed or cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Therefore, these leagues have been compelled to rethink their commercial purpose almost from scratch to remain competitive.

Sports organisations have been more open to the eSports model as a result of the increasing importance that the internet and online gaming have played and will continue to play in the future. Physical contact is avoided in eSports, which reduces the risk of health complications. When faced with adversities such as the COVID-19 pandemic, this feature makes eSports a particularly appealing extension of traditional sports.

A large number of reports indicate that around one-third of Canadian e-Sports fans take part in online sports betting. Many gaming and sports organisations are attempting to expand their market penetration due to the great potential in this area. They have received additional funding, which will aid in expanding the business.

E-Sports is undoubtedly one of the most appealing businesses for companies. Its growth is expected to be sustained in both developed and developing economies over the next few years.

Innovations in the Gaming Industry

As a result of the quarantine and worldwide social isolation, users automatically seek action-packed online games that provide them with a rush of adrenaline to help them cope. They are visiting more online casinos in search of fresh and exciting experiences.

Traditional games are increasingly going out of fashion. As a result, the emerging games are focused on plot, the extraordinary, and relevance in today’s world. Online slot games with themes like the apocalypse, bacteria and viruses, blockades, and other anti-utopian elements are becoming increasingly popular. And the game developers, as well as the casinos, have achieved success by providing innovative gaming experiences.

Increased Demand for Virtual Reality (VR)

Technology is a significant growth engine in the gaming industry. Facial and sound recognition, gesture control, and virtual reality (VR) have completely altered online games and piqued great interest in people who had previously avoided playing them.

Players can enjoy a near-reality experience using virtual reality technology as long as they are physically active and engaged in the game. Many active competitive gaming websites and online casinos are now using VR. As a result, developers are now concentrating on augmented reality and virtual reality technology to differentiate their games in the market.

Conclusion

Online casinos and gaming provide some respite from the stresses of long-haul quarantine and mental health strain. The enormous expansion of gaming throughout the epidemic has demonstrated that many people have discovered a new outlet and a much-needed connection during their time of adversity.

A Useful Guide on How to Grow Your E-Commerce Business

Do you want to grow your e-commerce business? Never have online businesses been more active than during the COVID-19 pandemic. The lockdown, and general inability to get outside without restrictions confined many to their homes.

Fortunately, the existence of e-commerce allowed a large number of people to get essential products and goods with the click of their mouse. Those who already had an established e-business reaped the fruits of their labour and those who were sceptical got motivated to start their own. Yet, some might have found themselves not getting the desired sales.

Here is a guide on how to boost and grow your e-commerce, if you already have one and are not happy with the current situation of trade.

E-mails Are Not Dead

One simple piece of advice on how to grow your already existing e-commerce business is by simply giving potential customers the option of receiving news, offers, and information about related products via email. It might seem like a long shot but believe it or not, a great number of people still check their email regularly, especially the more mature part of the population.

Presentation Is All

If your customers check your website and get lost trying to find what they are after, then most of them will just redirect to a less complicated, better organised, and tidier site. The way you present and display your products, the way you categorise the items you offer, and the overall clarity of the website might change your sales. If you are feeling a bit lost, start from product photography for e-commerce which has proven as a great way to boost your business. If your items are properly displayed and posted, for example, all the right angles are seen, or the light is highlighting the colour and texture of the product, there is a greater chance of keeping customers and scoring sales. Furthermore, be careful not to overdo it with colours, especially bright ones which can be a bit distracting, and pin some descriptions to every product, such as the quality, material used, and other characteristics.

Social Media Availability

Sending email and keeping in touch with your customers will get you a long way, but your presence on social media is a must. From platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to TikTok and Snapchat, whatever the case may be, being and staying active on social media will help you:

  1. Building Brand Awareness
  2. Letting a larger number of people know about your business
  3. Keeping track of the most sold and sought-after products
  4. Target groups of people more specifically by tracking their likes and interests on social media.

Also, and this one is important, optimise for mobile phones. Let’s be realistic, most people check their media via mobile phone, rather than laptop or desktop, therefore it is highly recommended to make your website available for phones as well.

Go International

We live in the age of globalisation, meaning people from one end of the planet know exactly what’s going on in the USA or France without even stepping a foot in these countries. The availability of news and information nowadays is something out of a sci-fi movie, yet no matter how strange it might seem it is our reality. Going global means making it possible to ship internationally. This expands your customer group extensively and will triple your current sales with the help of proper marketing and advertising. Furthermore, it allows you to create discounts or offer FREE shipping under certain conditions.

Keep Track of What Is Going on

All this advice seems proper, however, feedback and keeping track of your sales is the way to success.

Firstly, leave the option of customer complaints or suggestions open on your website. The best way to build awareness about your business is to know what your customers and buyers like or do not fancy when it comes to the services you offer.

Secondly, give some products another chance. For example, by keeping track of the sales you make, you’ll notice, inevitably, that certain products are more popular than others. You can either completely cut those products from your offer or maybe try a different approach such as giving them at an amazing price, offering them as a gift, or simply putting a discount. Still, have in mind that no matter how hard you try, there will always be products which somehow are left on the shelves, so you should maybe target a different group of customers who you think might be more interested in these particular products.

Thirdly, be there for your customers. It seems impossible to always stay alert but it plays a huge role in keeping and getting customers. Everybody loves when their email is answered right away or their message on social media is seen in an instance. Great service and general attainability give a sense of security and faith in your company.

A Lot of Free Stuff

No, those are not the products you purely sell, as we have already given the advice, but rather, newsletters, coupons, and even stuff completely unrelated to the product you offer- from shampoos, bumper stickers, and pencils to little cards with messages and quotes. This will create a more intimate bond with your customers as they will certainly appreciate the little signs of attention. Also, wrap them nicely and make sure your products arrive in one piece if you are shipping something fragile.

Finally, patience is the key. Sometimes you do everything right and things just do not go according to your plan. This however should not discourage you since the way to success is paved with failure.

Why Now Is The Right Time To Start An Online Gaming Business

In the past few years, online gaming has been growing at a staggering rate. While there are a handful of established gaming developers, many new developers have begun to see incredible success in this industry, and the future looks bright for online gaming.

Nonetheless, before you go barrelling into setting up your own casino business, you should first understand some of the reasons why online gambling is going through a period of rapid growth.

Why Would You Want To Start A Casino Business?

Besides the obvious benefits, such as the potential for huge profits, it has become easier than ever before to set up your own online casino business. Due to the rapid increase in online gambling, there has never been such a great time to start for the reasons discussed later in the post.

Furthermore, the barrier to entry has decreased considerably with options such as white label casino solutions that make it far more straightforward to set up shop. You can use these solutions to essentially buy into a franchise. While it is not strictly a franchise, you will receive all the tools and licenses you need to start.

This can be hugely beneficial if you already have business experience but are new to the online casino space. As discussed previously, there has never been a better time to begin, but what has influenced this increase in online gambling?

Global Lockdowns

There is nothing more beneficial to online platforms as a global pandemic! Even though it is not something to laugh about, it remains the case that people still have to do something because they have been locked inside their homes for over a year.

This, coupled with the extreme boredom that accompanies lockdowns, has led to many people turning to the internet for entertainment. One form of entertainment that has proven popular is gambling and playing the multitude of different games available.

Many other casinos have discovered that catering to newcomers has increased their revenues substantially. Nonetheless, there is still plenty of room for other players, but you may miss out on the lockdown wave if you don’t start now.

It Is Highly Accessible

Even if you were to factor out the COVID-19 aspect, most people still prefer the convenience compared with a traditional casino. For example, you can choose any game you like at any time of the day and pay however you want. You can’t get much more convenient than that!

Additionally, many casinos offer the chance to play via an application that you can download directly to your phone or mobile device. There has also been an increase in casual gaming, whereby people no longer play only to win but also because they find it exciting and enjoy gambling as a pastime.

Many players enjoy playing poker for fun, but they may not be able to organise a poker group from their friends or acquaintances. The next best thing would be to use an online casino with live poker tournaments.

There Are More Games Than To Choose From

Large game libraries have been commonplace since the dawn of online gambling. Still, the main difference these days is a massive proliferation of high-quality titles ready to play at any time. Moreover, the companies providing gaming solutions to online casino entrepreneurs keep upgrading their offerings and hiring talented developers to stay competitive.

This creates a snowball effect as more players join because of an ever-increasing game selection but stay gambling as those games become even more exciting.

Your business will benefit from this improvement in in-game quality by differentiating itself from your competitors, even more so if you keep your selection up to date and stay perceptive to your customers’ playing habits.

Secure Payment Methods

In choosing a casino, most players are concerned with how to make a deposit. Additionally, there is another concern for any casino player who wins money: how to retrieve their winnings. Today, online casinos have made it easier than ever to make deposits and collect winnings.

With the advent of multiple secure payment processors to handle these payments, it has become elementary for players to move their money around.

Moreover, players are increasingly being provided with the option of using cryptocurrencies as their preferred currency. Consequently, more international players who have traditionally been locked out from global banking systems can now sign up and participate without restriction.

There Is A Real Chance Of Winning Money

Although there are more and more casual players onstream, the fact remains that most players are competing to win. This is no bad thing, as the more players can win, the more likely they will continue playing at their favourite casino.

In general, online casinos offer far better odds than their brick and mortar counterparts, making it more attractive to move from the real world to the online world.

This means that if you are to open your own online casino, you should see which casino software solution offers games that appeal to your sense of risk.

Easy For Beginners To Get Started

Perhaps the most significant reason to open an online casino as soon as possible is that it has never been easier for new players to start gambling. In the past, conventional casinos were perceived to be the hangout of professional gamblers.

In some cases, there are even entrance fees, body searches, and if you are unlucky, tap-downs by big, burly security personnel. However, these days, nothing could be further from the truth.

The process of opening an account, depositing money, and playing either the computer or other live players is no longer intimidating for a beginner.

Incredible Analytics

Most gambling software solutions will come with an advanced suite of analytical data that you can employ to increase your revenue. A range of factors can be considered, from marketing performance to how long players stay with a specific game. These data will help you determine what you need to do to boost revenues and attract more players.

Since it has never been easier or more lucrative, there has never been a better time to start an online gaming business.

Whether it’s being able to attract a captive audience or the plethora of payment options making it easier than ever to keep players inside your ecosystem, there’s never been a better time to get started.

What Does The Evergrande Group Debt Crisis Mean?

Evergrande is the second largest property developer in China by sales. As the COVID-19 virus spread across China in the early months of 2020, some expert commentators dubbed it as China’s “Chernobyl moment” – an event that would undermine the legitimacy and rule of the Communist Party.

A much more likely candidate for that title has emerged, though, in the form of the debt crisis enveloping Evergrande Real Estate Group.

China’s second largest property developer and the most indebted developer in the world with over $300bn of liabilities is out of money, and unable to meet interest payments due to both banks and foreign bondholders — though it was reported on Wednesday 22 September that some agreement has been reached to meet an interest payment to domestic bond holders.

Evergrande Real Estate Group is also a kind of metaphor for the wider debt crisis in the Chinese economy. Material consequences for both China and the global system are sure to follow in the coming months.

The immediate problem is the unravelling of Evergrande Real Estate Group, which owns more than 1300 properties in more than 280 cities across China. Until now, the Chinese government has refrained from stepping in, choosing instead to make an example of Evergrande’s “capitalist excesses” to banks and others as a way to encourage more conservative methods.

Yet some sort of state bailout or restructuring is inevitable for the developer, at least to buy time. Otherwise, the financial contagion, and economic and social instability consequences of a messy default, would be catastrophic for Xi Jinping, especially ahead of the important 20th party Congress in November 2022.

Consider that much of Evergrande Real Estate Group’s liabilities comprise pre-sale deposits by almost 1.5 million households, all of which would see their savings lost. Evergrande’s employees and others bought financial products that it issued to help fund itself, and they too would risk losing money in a worst case scenario.

The Chinese government will not want unhappy citizens to be on the hook. We expect that rather than a spectacular “Lehman-type” crisis, China will go through a period of financial distress, which will postpone growth.