Funding Veterinary Bills – Tips from eni’s Work/Life Experts

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Your dog is sick, you’ve just made an emergency trip to the vet’s office and now it’s time to pay up. You’ve just paid for your own expenses and don’t have much in your savings, what now? Here are some options for paying large and unexpected veterinary bills.

Pet Insurance

Consider purchasing pet insurance for unforeseen circumstances. Before choosing a policy, make sure you understand what will and will not be covered. Visit http://www.petinsurancereview.com for information on how pet insurance works.

Payment Arrangements

Talk with your vet’s office. Often, if you are an established patient they will work out an arrangement with you to pay over time.

Care Credit

CareCredit is a credit card specifically for health and wellness needs. It can be used for your family and your pet’s medical needs. When used to make a purchase $ 200 or more special financing options are available. Call 800-677-0718 or visit http://www.carecredit.com to learn more.

Crowdfunding Websites

Crowdfunding has become more and more prominent in recent years. Individuals can use these crowdfunding sites to post a cause and receive monetary donations from the public. Generally anyone can use these sites for any cause (read about the man who raised $ 25,000 on Kickstarter for potato salad here. 

Here are a few crowdfunding sites you can use to raise money if your vet bills become exorbitant:

www.gofundme.com  

www.indiegogo.com

www.youcaring.com

www.giveforward.com

Charitable Organizations

There are also non profits and funds available for owners and pets in need. See http://www.humanesocietynational.org/veterinary_care_help.html for a list of national, regional, and breed specific assistance options.

211.org

This is an information and referral service run by The United Way. Dial 211 from your area or visit www.211.org and they will provide information on any additional programs in your area.

eni’s Personal Assistant Service is designed to help our members effectively balance the competing demands of work and life while achieving optimal levels of productivity.  Our Work/Life experts are available 24/7 to assist our members with everyday issues that require their attention, like finding money to care for a sick or injured pet, so they can focus on the job at hand.  


Dynamic Work/Life Solutions Blog

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When To Move On

S. writes in:

I started out as an intern last year on [redacted tabloid show]. Before my internship was over, I was offered a freelance Set PA position. The season ended in May, and I stayed on in the summer to work in the office. A few weeks ago, the EP asked me into her office and basically told me that I will be a Booker PA next season and could possibly be an Associate Producer by the end of the season if I perform well.

My problem is… not really a problem, but I would like to be in a bigger market. I mean, of course, I want the AP position, but I don’t want to get stuck in a 2 year contract, and I also don’t want to be stuck doing this type of television. But I also understand that leaving is basically starting over and its definitely going to be harder to work my way up in a larger market. I really would like to work on something scripted and I don’t know if being and AP here, would allow me that opportunity in the future.

This is the reality television trap. People get promoted very quickly, and their pay rate, while oftentimes less than their scripted TV counterparts, goes up faster.

You really have to decide if this is a job, or an adventure.

If you really (want to) care about your job, you need to seriously think about whether you’ll be happy working in reality for the rest of your career. Because once you become a producer, that’s pretty much where you’ll be.

Some people are perfectly happy with reality shows. Hell, millions of people watch them every week. If you like that, more power to you.

But that’s not you. You want to get into scripted, and wants to work in a major market, like Los Angeles or New York. With a year of PAing under his belt, now’s the time to move. You’re young, you have no responsibilities or anything tying you down. Just go.

Sitting around and thinking about it isn’t going to get you closer to your goals. Doing something will. Go to one of those major markets, meet people, show them your resume to prove your experience, and back it up with skills on the set.

There’s no guarantee you’ll make it, but if you don’t try, I guarantee you won’t make it.

The Anonymous Production Assistant’s Blog

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Post Production Coordinator Zach Moss

Today we hear from post production coordinator Zach Moss, who is recently off the first seasons of Red Widow and Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. He’ll tell us about stock footage, post production security, and the many uses of the back of the actors’ heads. (No, really!)

The producer of today’s episode was Chris Henry, who also wrote the theme.

If you like the show, please rate and review us on iTunes. You can also subscribe via Stitcher, or with the Crew Call xml feed. Back episodes of Crew Call can be found on the Anonymous Production Assistant website.

To help support Crew Call, simply click on the Amazon banner before you go shopping.

The Anonymous Production Assistant’s Blog

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Two Resumes

Scott writes in:

The NBC Universal Careers twitter tweeted this link about the automated systems that scan resumes for keywords.

I’ve applied to a lot of jobs through these horrible portals such as Brassring and I’ve never gotten a call back. This infographic is interesting, but whenever I see these types of tips I always think they never really apply to TV/film industry type jobs. They aren’t traditional in that sense. A good 85% of my resume is simply position, show title, production company. No dates, explanation or keywords. One thing I did take from this infographic is to spell out Bachelor of Arts instead of B.A. Although the part about not submitting it in PDF form is a bit puzzling. I know when I upload my PDF resume it shows it after it’s done uploading and it looks fine.

So my question is what is your take on this? Should I create a new resume just for these portal job pages geared towards getting the attention of the robot? What do I add/change? Should I add a 2nd page (since it says it’s ok to have a resume longer than 1 page…contradictory to everything I’ve heard) to my current resume and fill it with keywords in size 1 font in white text?

If you’re applying for both PA and assistant jobs, you should definitely have two different resumes.

The reason I offer my resume editing service is that many people don’t know how to properly format a production resume. Like Scott said, it should be in three columns, with position, title, and company. That’s because, on most shows, the job is largely the same.1

For a corporate job,2 the situation is totally different. They expect you to have a traditional resume, where you list your responsibilities and accomplishments, the dates you worked, stuff like that. Hell, they want to know the address of the place.

So, yes, if you want to be a suit, by all means, game the system as much as possible. Add key words and phrases, write an “objective” section, all that nonsense. There’s a million examples out there. Just make sure it’s clear and easy to read.

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. Well, the responsibilities are the same. No two shows are exactly the same.
  2. Studio, network, agency.

The Anonymous Production Assistant’s Blog

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Knowledge Points: Connecting Employees to their Benefits

“Knowledge points” provide employees unparalleled access to information on their entire benefit package.  Knowledge points generally include a single call center where an employee can receive live assistance with any/all benefits in their package, a web portal where they can access all of their benefits and see how their benefits can be used together to provide a complete solution, and of course a mobile application, that enables employees to access their benefits anytime from their mobile device. Having defined knowledge points at which to access information and offer assistance with the entire benefit package simplifies the process and cuts down on both confusion and underutilization.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these knowledge points:

Benefit Information Line

The main features of a Benefit Information Line should include:

  • One toll free number, through which employees can access information about all benefits.

  • A team of experienced Benefit Information Specialists, trained to assess each caller’s benefit needs and identify and recommend supporting benefits and complementary external services. 

  • Benefit integration software that guides Benefit Information Specialists in assessing caller needs and in making benefit recommendations.

  •  24/7 availability.

  • External third party vendor, which provides employees with a higher level of perceived confidentiality regarding benefit inquiries and corresponding life event needs.

With a Benefit Information Line, each caller would experience an immediate connection with an intuitive and supportive Benefit Information Specialist, who explores the caller’s request while using benefit integration software to ensure consistency of service and process.  With the click of a button, this software analyzes the caller’s information and recommends additional benefits and complementary services, specific to the caller’s needs.  In addition to resolving the caller’s immediate concern, all available employee benefits as well as national and community resources will be considered in such a system. 

Benefit Information Portal

The main features of a Benefit Information Portal should include:

  • An easy-to-use web portal, through which employees can access all of their benefit information.

  • Benefit Integration Software, which guides users in addressing their benefit needs and connects them to additional benefits within their plan that can further support their needs.  The software should also allow users to explore their benefits and how they will support life events and individual interests.

  • Live chat support linking back to a team of experienced Benefit Information Specialists. 

  • 24/7 availability.

The Benefit Information Portal should work synergistically with the Benefit Information Line to drive a higher return on investment for your employee benefit dollars.  Each user can access all benefit information electronically, ask specific benefit questions, and receive individualized benefit recommendations that assists the user’s specific requests.

Mobile App

In the Information Age, it is necessary to have a mobile application that complements your Benefit Information Web Portal.  Through the mobile application, users will be able to access their entire benefit package anytime, anywhere from their mobile device!

By creating defined knowledge points and housing all benefit information within these knowledge points, the process of communicating and obtaining benefit information is simplified, thereby reducing the need for lengthy orientations and repeated communications that employees ultimately forget.  Employers will have greater success simply connecting employees to these knowledge points, rather than attempting to explain the depth and breadth of each available benefit.  These knowledge points also have the ability to highlight the natural connection between benefits ensuring that your organization receives a high return on your benefit dollars, that employees are using their benefits properly, and that they feel adequately supported by their benefit package.

For more information on more successfully connecting employees to their benefits, check out eni’s newest solution BalanceBenefits!


Dynamic Work/Life Solutions Blog

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When You Don’t Know Their Name

Steph writes in:

I am in the process of sending over my cover letter and resume to an open crew call for a new series. I am putting my name forth to be a Set PA. My issue right now is that I am unable to verify if the AD or 2nd AD that worked on the pilot (as I found on the IMDB page) is still in charge for the new episodes that will be shot later this year. I have Googled their names and checked LinkedIn to no avail.

Would it be okay if I simply put “Hi” as I did in this email, then go into my cover letter? Would that look bad?

It doesn’t look bad at all. They know you probably don’t know their names. Hell, you meet so many people in this business, the two of you might have met and don’t even remember

Starting your cover letter with a first name is a bonus, a way of connecting you and the employer as people. But if you can’t do it, you can’t do it. No harm. It’s much worse to get the name wrong.

For those of you who may be confused about why this issue would come up in the first place– many series turn over their entire crew between the pilot and series. One big reason is that California’s tax incentives give money to shows that return from out of state. It can make sense financially to film a pilot in, say, Georgia, and the series in California.

Also, networks like to hire feature directors for their pilots.1 Those directors will often bring their key departments heads (including and especially the 1st AD) onto the pilot, only to take them to their next feature once the series is under way.

And then there’s the simple fact that there’s usually a several-month gap between the pilot and the series. Many people find other work in the meanwhile. Remember, just because someone worked on the pilot, doesn’t mean they worked on the series.

Not that that prevents the pilot director from being listed as an Executive Producer on every episode. Yet another reason to not trust the credits.

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. A foolish idea, in my opinion, since its the episodic directors who really create the series over the seasons.

The Anonymous Production Assistant’s Blog

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Internal IT Customer Service from eni’s Experts

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eni has long believed that providing outstanding customer service is the cornerstone to providing any and all of our services.  It is a core value that we’ve made the crux of all we do with our corporate partners and members who receive our services.  To that end, we also take great pride in the way we approach Internal IT customer service.  Depending on the type of work and department, internal customer service can be grouped in to three main categories: skill/knowledge, responsiveness, and most important – communication.  In this article, we’ll examine how, when handled correctly, these three areas can strategically provide great internal customer service.

Skill/Knowledge: Let’s face it, without at least some level of skills and knowledge, it will be difficult to effectively respond to, manage, and improve the technology needs of the company.  Whether IT is outsourced at 100% or there is an entire internal team of dedicated resources, it is important that the technology team members within the company stay current regarding emerging technologies, particularly technologies within the organization’s industry.  By staying current and developing greater knowledge, internal customer service is improved via better input in projects, improved responses in help desk ticketing, and better corporate strategies to emerging threats such as viruses and end of life technologies.  For IT leaders, developing and learning new technological skills is important but it’s also important to seek training in effective management of vendor partner relationships and project management in providing outstanding internal customer service.

Responsiveness: As we can see, skill/knowledge is a very important area, but it’s not worth a thing without responsiveness.  A technology team member can have all the capability in the world, but without putting this into action whether providing information or fulfilling a help desk ticket in a prompt and acceptable manner, you cannot provide great internal customer service.  Your customers, aka fellow employees and managers, rely on technology to do their work effectively.  If the response is too slow, they cannot get their work done and internal customer service fails. 

Communication:  Responsiveness has a “big brother” and it’s called communication.  Communication is the cornerstone of all customer service, but in technology, its importance is often overlooked. Let’s face it, when a person needs their technology to work in order to hit their own deadline, they are often stressed and not thinking clearly.  They need to know how quickly the technology will be available or repaired.  Sometimes this is difficult to predict, but it is paramount that communication lines are open and transparent.  It’s not necessary to always provide every detail about the technology but it is important to provide enough so each party understands how long it will take and/or have a better idea of progress that has been made. This leads directly to greater understanding and improved internal customer service.  By “placing yourself in their shoes” you can better identify the exact need and perhaps identify alternatives or “work arounds” that can satisfy the internal customers’ needs.

By identifying the long term goals of your internal customers, you can put technology solutions in place that will continue to meet and exceed their needs now and in the future. 


Dynamic Work/Life Solutions Blog

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Special Enrollment Periods For The Marketplace

Open enrollment for 2014 coverage is over, however, you may still have options to get health coverage through a special enrollment period for qualified health plans on the Marketplace.  Special enrollment periods are available only if you meet certain requirements.  Although, if you qualify for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), you can enroll in those programs at any time of the year.

What you need to know before you apply:

If you have experienced a qualifying life event, you are eligible to enroll during the special enrollment period.  Here are some examples of qualifying life events:

  • Marriage or divorce.

  • Having a baby, adopting a child, or placing a child for adoption or foster care.

  • Moving your residence, gaining citizenship, leaving incarceration.

  • Losing other health coverage – due to losing job based coverage, the end of an individual policy plan year in 2014, COBRA expiration, aging off a parent’s plan, losing eligibility for Medicaid or CHIP.

  • Gaining status as a member of an American Indian tribe – members of federally recognized American Indian tribes can sign up for or change plans once a month throughout the year.

  • For people already enrolled in Marketplace coverage:  Having a change in income or household status that affects eligibility for premium tax credits or cost-sharing reductions.

If you think you qualify for a special enrollment period based on the above criteria, you can go to HealthCare.gov and start a Marketplace application.

If none of these options work for you, the Open Enrollment period for 2015 coverage begins on November 15, 2014.

Important:  If you don’t have minimum essential coverage, you must either pay a fee or have an exemption from paying the fee.  To find out more information on exemptions from the penalty, visit www.healthcare.gov/exemptions.

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To learn more about special enrollment periods go to www.healthcare.gov.

This article is designed to provide general information and is not a substitute for legal advice 


Dynamic Work/Life Solutions Blog

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The Importance of Taking a Vacation – Tips from eni’s Experts

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When you think of the word vacation, what comes to mind? Some may think of the beach, a lake, or the mountains and for others just stepping away from the office for a few days is enough. Whatever your ideal vacation looks like, the importance is to just do it. It is vital to your mental and physical health and may even improve your relationships.

In today’s world many people are lacking the ability to fund a vacation without going further into debt, while others struggle with anxiety about missing a few days of work. Whatever the case may be, we challenge you to take that vacation anyway! There is always a way to make a vacation work.

Here are a few tips to help you disconnect from it all:

If you are struggling financially like much of America, get creative. Research nearby parks; grab some books or sporting equipment and go! If you have no idea where to go, ask a friend or co-worker. The most important thing is to do what you want to do and what is within your financial means. The last thing you want to do is go into debt for an expensive vacation and spend the whole time worrying about how you will pay for it. This is counter-productive and will just cause more stress.

Perhaps you feel anxiety about stepping away from the office for fear that things will not get done or maybe you are nervous that if you do, you will be perceived as slacking. We challenge those of you in this category to realize that this is the very reason that you need to step away. None of us are invincible and it is inevitable that you will increase your risk of burnout, depression, and many other disorders that come as a result of over-taxing your body.

The benefits of stepping away from it all include increased mental health, decreased stress, and less chance of burnout. Countless studies have proven that stress weakens our immune systems and increases our chances for illness and disease. Would you rather spend your paid time off being sick as a result of pushing yourself too hard or using it to actually relax doing what you want to do? So, go ahead and start planning that vacation and most importantly have fun!

eni’s behavioral health experts are available to provide our members with confidential assistance 24/7 on a wide variety of topics such as stress relief, time management, relationship/family concerns, substance abuse, grief, and much more.  Contact eni today to learn how our EAP service can help your employees more effectively balance the demands of work and life, resulting in a happier, healthier, more productive workforce!


Dynamic Work/Life Solutions Blog

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Guest Posts – The Trials of Being a PA

I wrote a guest blog post for Staff Me Up! Check it out.

And since I wrote for them, here’s a guest post from one of my more experienced readers:

1. Let’s assume you, the PA, are asked to take orders and deliver lunch for five people. Boring, demeaning, pointless work, right? WRONG! This is a test of critical skills. Can you politely interrupt five people of various ranks to ask them an urgent question (what they want for lunch)? Do you have the judgment from subtle cues to realize you’d better NOT interrupt someone after all? Can you interact gracefully with everyone from the executive producer to the unpaid intern, treating every single one with respect and as though they matter over a lunch order? Do you approach every meeting (yes, a lunch order is a meeting) with pen and paper so you can write down your instructions?

2. And, here is the real test: Given five people’s different orders (and yes, I know every order is slightly different, hold the mayo, get extra ranch on the side, etc), how quickly and efficiently (read: with zero drama) can you give each person exactly what they ordered?

Write down every stupid detail of every order (“bacon extra-crispy,” anyone?) and make the cashier at the restaurant show you that you are getting exactly what you asked for. Double check with your notes. Triple check.

You think you are delivering lunch, but really, you are delivering proof that you are not a fuck up. That you can be trusted not to fuck up. That you are detail oriented. But, wait, you say, “it’s just a missing side of ranch dressing, right?” — yes, technically that is true. It is a stupid condiment. But if you can’t be counted on not to screw up the trivial stuff, why should anyone trust you with anything that might actually count??

This is a more subtle point, but you need to understand that the people you are getting lunch for would PREFER to go out in the middle of the day, stretch their legs, see natural light, order their own lunch, etc.—but they don’t have time. And, if they had time to order their own lunch and go get it, they’d be just as detailed with the instructions (extra ranch, hold the cilantro, etc). So, by screwing up a lunch order, you’ve both reminded them that they are too busy to see sunlight and that they can’t even get what they’d’ve been able to get had they had the time to see the sun.

3. Speed on lunch runs matters too, because it is also really a test. Can you get things done almost before someone asks, or do you take forever? Sometimes you really can’t help it that lunch is late — there was a traffic accident; the restaurant kitchen caught on fire; etc.

Then, use this opportunity to show your good judgment: call back to the office, explain why the current lunch order cannot work, and suggest an alternative. But there is never any excuse for bringing lunch late “because the restaurant was hard to find” or “parking was tough.”

This is a test as well: Can you plan in advance? Can you solve problems? Don’t know where the place is? Google it before you go. Call the place and ask. Print out the directions. Put Waze on your iPhone. Trace the route in your head until you can visualize it. And, if parking’s going to be a problem, how well can you solve that problem? Take a second PA to double park? See if the place will bring the food out to the curb? Google parking lots near by? Bring quarters for the meters? Before you leave, what is your plan?

4. Sorry, but don’t count on any other PA not to screw something up that will come back on you. Your buddy PA says he’ll grab the lunch order and bring it back to the office for you? Do you trust him to check for the side of ranch? Do you have a good reason to trust that? Maybe you do — but if you do, it’ll be because he’s proven himself competent. And, if you do take him up on his offer and he screws up the side of ranch? It’s all on you, man, it’s all on you. When push came to shove, you couldn’t get it done.

5. Never trust another PA’s work when it might make you look bad. True story: my husband (a former PA) was sitting around with another PA (hereinafter “Dummy”) waiting for the call sheets to copy, so the two of them could distribute them. Dummy took the final call sheet to the copier to make 200 copies, and came back to the office to wait. Producer stuck his head out his door, asking why the call sheets still hadn’t been distributed. Dummy said, “oh, they are still copying,” and sat there. My husband perked up, went to check the copier, and realized Dummy had made 1 — count it — 1 copy, not 200. He quickly made the other 199 copies and got them distributed. But if he’d relied on Dummy, well, he’d have looked like a dummy too.

5. Bringing pen and paper to meetings is a sign of respect, pure and simple, even if you think/know there will be nothing to write down. Never be without them. Never. Seriously.

6. Entertainment offices and locations are casual. People make jokes, and tease each other. Things that would never be heard in a legal office are unremarkable in the entertainment industry. Get comfortable with it, so people will feel comfortable having you hang around while they talk about editorial cuts, future plans, etc — the inside dirt on the biz. Don’t be the quiet, dour guy that no one really likes or remembers and no one felt relaxed around. That said, don’t push too many edges yourself. Don’t be the PA everyone remembers for his raunchy sexual jokes, or for the CFM boots and sheer dresses she wore everyday. The rules that apply to everyone else don’t really apply to PAs. Sorry.

7. If you are in charge of craft service for the office — take a survey and ask everyone what THEY would like to have to snack on and drink. No one cares that the PA is a vegan organic seed obsessed health nut — do you really want to be the PA “who fucking never bought anything good to eat”? It’s okay to get a range of stuff, but unless you get specific requests for healthy stuff, assume people mostly want junk food. If something sells fast, buy more next time you go shopping. And go to store as soon as the office is out of key things like plastic forks, coffee cups, and junk food. Don’t wait until someone — in hungry desperation — eats that last box of chia seed bars. As soon as the good stuff is gone, you need to go to the store again, even if the rest of what you got is still gathering dust. You, the PA, are not the office’s mother — trying to free the office to be healthy will just annoy everyone. And always have extra Diet Coke on hand. That stuff goes FAST.

 

The Anonymous Production Assistant’s Blog

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Run Your Business Well

Every individual tries their best to achieve success. They adopt every profession with some passion and then they do their best to carve a niche in that. It is always difficult to run a particular business as competition is increasing day by day. It is generally seen that most of the business houses hire some professional people so that they can keep on getting regular professional help. A professional assistant has been a very sought after profile as business assistance is in a great demand. The readers who are also under the same category can ease their burden with professional help. Many online links can be clicked for this purpose. There are many professional identities that relay help in this aspect and then they have been registered as the most reliable resource.

Professional Assistant is that pillar that can be depended on during the time of crises. There are many situations that require instant decisions and then there is a need for those who are well versed in decision making tendency. The professionals can be the only option in that situation. The search for those assistants can be made from those job searching sites where the resumes are uploaded by the aspirants only. These sites can be subscribed at by paying a nominal amount and then regular alerts can be received in that aspect. The suitable one can be hired as per the requirements of an organization. They are made clear about the rules and regulations and the conditions are also put forth. It is the time when they are told about the future aims of an organization so that regular steps can be taken in that regard. The aspirants who are hired are considered highly important to achieve those goals. This is the reason that every decision taken by them is given prime consideration so that the business can run successfully. Facilities management companies such as Fidelis Contract Service at 197-201 Streetly Road, Birmingham, B23 7AJ (Phone: 0121 683 6933)

The professional assistance is also provided by private organizations that provide a facility to hire their candidates. They have an expertise in training their candidates so that quality stuff can be ensured and good decisions can be taken at the time of need. These candidates have a great experience in the same stream and their professional career is justified by their career profile only. The kind of assistance that they provide is relevant enough and their decision can be worth spending time upon.

The contact details of professional assistants can be grabbed from the respective sites so that an instant help can be assured. It's also worth mentioning that to assist a personal assistant's operations, some sort of unified communications service may be needed, similar services are offered by Aitch Telecom, found at; Regus Building, Central Boulevard, Blythe Valley Business Park, Solihull B90 8AG. Telephone: 01564 330 802. Thus, last but not the least, it can be stated that there are many avenues in a business that need urgent care and attention and that attention can only be assured by those who have a deep insight for the same. It’s not just about doing hard work but this modern era is more focused on smart work. The individuals that are hired should be competent enough to handle the pace of competition so that a constant rate of success can be made sure for a particular business entity.