Why You Need An mPOS For Your Business

If you are running a business nowadays, you definitely need a mobile card reader or a mobile cash register. The General Mobile Point of Sale industry is increasing by the day and as the festive season approaches, you will need a MPOS more and more, especially if you are a small business. At this time of year, Christmas fairs, fetes and shows where you can show off what you have to offer are everywhere and with card being much more convenient for people nowadays, you don’t want to be left behind by only accepting cash payments (plus constantly having to worry about change too!). Why not take both?

SumUp is the leading mPOS company in Europe. They were established in 2012 and have steadily built themselves up since then, offering card readers and a POS system. It baffles me in this day and age that there are many small businesses who don’t accept card payments via a mobile system.

SumUp have explained here how Chip & Pin technology works but their mobile card readers accept tap (contactless but NFC is not available in the US just yet), Chip & PIN and swipe. I can’t believe that many small businesses haven’t yet taken advantage of such technology – their machines accept all debit and credit cards, there are no fixed costs and you can sign up in just five minutes.

So what are the benefits to small businesses in having such a payment system?

The fact that it accepts ALL debit and credit cards

This is great – even some card machines in shops don’t accept all cards. The reader connects via Bluetooth and is compatible with IOS/Android smartphones and tablets.

The fact that there are no fixed costs

You don’t pay out a fixed amount – you only pay 1.69% per transaction. This means if you have a lean month, you haven’t got to worry about a fixed payment going out and you also always know where you stand should you have a really busy month. Payments go straight into your bank account.

It is a quick and easy signup

Sign up takes just five minutes and is totally online. There is no fixed contract and no paperwork so you can see if it works for you – it will – and if it doesn’t which is unlikely, you aren’t bound into any contract.

You’ll be on the same level as your competitors

So many of your competitors are already using card readers so if you aren’t, you are falling behind. You want to be on the same level or even ahead of them – it makes smart business sense.

They have the highest security standards

Security is at a high – everyone’s details are fully secure.

They say cash is king but it is no secret that card payments are on the rise and many people don’t carry cash with them at all anymore. Do you want to be left behind or are you willing to invest in your small business and help it to grow?

With the Christmas season fast approaching, what are you waiting for? A mobile card reader is calling your name.

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What Kills Startups? How To Avoid Your Own Business Venture Dying

During the recession, the statistics for business startups failing were abysmal. According to statistics, in 1998 only 44% of startups had survived four years later, and although the worldwide economy has recovered a lot since then, there are still plenty of risks to startups that entrepreneurs should be aware of. In this type of career, the more you know really does ring true. There are lots of ways your startup can be quickly killed off before you’ve even had chance to get it off the ground. But you can avoid your own business venture dying, by being aware of these top startup killers, and the way to survive them:

Drowning In Everything But The Important Stuff

There are endless representations of entrepreneurs in popular culture where they are tired, drinking a lot of coffee and surviving in a small makeshift office space surrounded by stock or paperwork. These are more realistic representations than images of entrepreneurs with a laptop in front of them on a beach in some exotic location looking carefree and fresh-faced that is for sure.

 

What often causes this kind of exhaustion isn’t necessarily the hard work involved in making a business succeed, but more the fact the founders are literally drowning in every single job that needs doing. This renders them exhausted and takes the focus off the main jobs that do need attention. In the beginning, plenty of attention is paid to the key jobs, and time is allocated well, but before long, time is spread across miniature task after task and the once sharpened tool for business (the founder) is now expected to be a jack of all trades.

Surviving This Risk

To survive this risk, always prioritise the most important tasks above everything else and then any minor jobs that are not getting attention, allocate elsewhere. You could deem them unnecessary by reevaluating their value, outsource the work cheaply if it renders acceptable results, or simply delay the completion of the task if it is acceptable to do so.

Lacking Focus

Entrepreneurs can easily become distracted by what will make them money quickly, above the bigger picture and the long game. This results in a lack of focus that can inevitably quickly burn a business out and kill it off. The reason for this is that entrepreneurs can get cold feet or get a little spooked when their first business plan doesn’t instantly become successful. Sure, flexibility is important in any business in order to survive the quickly changing consumer climate, however, wildly switching tactics and chasing money over a sensible lifelong plan is never a good idea.

Surviving This Risk

Create acceptable timescales for each goal stage so that you can know you are either justified in changing tactics at that time, or that you need to stay on the same path and make tweaks to try and make the current direction work.

Founder Divorce

Not commonly discussed because it isn’t a particularly palettable or ‘sexy’ subject to report on, founder divorce is actually a very common cause of startup death. Founder divorce is where founders fall out with each other to the point where the joint business venture is no longer viable. Being in a startup with another person is like being in a relationship with another person. You spend tons of time with that person so if there are even the smallest cracks in your relationship, they will get bigger and turn into huge, vast crevices very quickly. These issues can quickly cause damage, either directly through conflict, or through a breakdown in trust and communication. Startups are so fragile they don’t do well under this kind of undue pressure, and neglect.

Surviving This Risk

Start a business with someone you have known for a long time. Startups built on people who haven’t known each other for long are less likely to survive. It is also a good idea to work with someone who has complementary skills to yours. Having the same mindset is good but having different perspectives and skills works well when it comes to starting a business. Diversity is never a bad thing. In all cases, communication is key. Being open and honest at all times can only lead to an excellent business culture that should stand strong against founder divorce.

Losing Cash Flow

Even the healthiest looking business can go bankrupt. It only takes one small change in demand, customer drops, marketing need or general unforeseen circumstances and suddenly the cash flow is non-existent and the business can easily flop. Unfortunately, attention to cash flow isn’t a given with startups. Despite it being such a key part of starting a business, it isn’t something that entrepreneurs think about as much as they should. According to recent statistics, 25% of businesses fail because of cash issues.

Surviving This Risk

There are many ways to avoid cash flow issues, but the most important is to be aware of your cash flow at all times. Know your numbers and know where every penny is coming in and out. You can also try your hardest to have a low overhead business to keep costs down, have a selection of cash flow options such as invoice discounting and business loans and consider a financial advisor quite early on. Financial advisors aren’t necessary in all cases, but if you do find your company struggling and you need advice, it could be worth investing a bit of money in order to get your cash flow back on track long term.

Your Business Doesn’t Need To Die

Your new business is not destined to die. There are many ways for you to avoid falling into the pitfalls and traps of many entrepreneurs before you. You’re already ahead of the game by educating yourself on common startup killers, so you can avoid those issues and survive. Stay educated, aware and ahead of the game and there’s every reason your business will not only survive, but thrive.

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Could self-driving vehicles result in job losses?

Automotive technology has been rapidly developing for many years with now more safety kit and more cool tech in cars than ever before so it was only a matter of time before self driving vehicle technology would be developed. We could be seeing self-driving vehicles a lot sooner than we might think.

According to Sky News, self-driving lorries have been given the green light for trials to begin across UK roads – to which the Government have committed to a £8.1 million investment to finance the trials. This comes as no surprise to the UK who already have vehicles on the roads which operate with semi-autonomous driving systems, from cruise control and lane departure warning to active park assist. But as the Government funds further developments, we could see them on our roads sooner than we think.

It’s not just driverless cars that are going to be introduced to the UK roads, self-driving trucks and lorries are said to be amongst the first autonomous vehicles to be rolled out across our roads. The Government’s funding will go towards paying for semi-autonomous platooning lorries, which will drive closely behind one another and linked via electronic connections which communicate with GPS, radar and wi-fi. By reducing the gaps between the vehicles, it’s said to reduce air drag, cut fuel consumption and reduce emissions, potentially by 20%. But what does an autonomous fleet of lorries mean for UK truck and lorry drivers?

Specialists in long term van hire, Northgate, have investigated if self-driving vehicles signal a major loss of jobs, due to the driver essentially being taken away from the process.

After all, autonomous technology aims to take away the human need in driving. Those who drive for a living worry that it could be the end of the road for their career. In the US alone, it is predicted that there could be up to 25,000 jobs lost a month, according to Goldman Sachs. With truck driving one of the most common occupations in the US, that figure could turn into over 300,000 job losses per year. In the UK, low-end estimates suggest that over 1.7 million truckers could also be replaced by self-driving counterparts – which could rise to as high at 3 million, suggesting many could rid their manual drivers of their job. Steve used to do driving as a job and may be going back to it part time so this could be a worry for us.

Einride have already developed their own self-driving truck, that will be ready for 2020, and it does not have space for the human driver, or even passengers. The all-electric T-Pod truck measures approximately seven metres, can carry up to 20 tonnes in weight of freight and is fully autonomous. The vehicle is capable of self-drive on motorways and highways, and can be controlled remotely at a driving station for urban areas. The first fleet is estimated to be active by 2020, in the cities of Gothenburg and Helsingborg in Sweden – and they aren’t the only manufacturer to show keen interest in developing electric and autonomous commercial vehicles, with Mercedes revealing a glimpse of their 2025 concept, and Tesla indication their interest.

However, some industry professionals believe that autonomous cars, and trucks or lorries, could actually create jobs for people. Just as automobiles created millions of jobs for people, it is suggested that autonomous vehicles will do the same – though, they might be different to those jobs that face a loss. The UK aims to be at the forefront of development of autonomous alternatives and predict that acting as a world leader in the sector will boost the UK’s economy. The SMMT valued autonomous cars and the systems that connect them to the internet as being worth £51 billion a year to the UK economy by 2030. Success in the field could also see around 320,000 jobs created. 

Additionally, drivers will need to form semi-autonomous platooning lorry convoys – a lead driver is likely to be essential to the process which the government proposes. For lorries to follow safely, a lead driver is likely to needed to navigate the first lorry – and of course, there are likely to be jobs created to build new road infrastructure required for autonomous vehicles.

Whilst autonomous technology could cause a potential temporary job shortage/loss for those who drive for a living, we must remember that this could just be temporary, plus autonomous technology will also improve road safety and reduce harmful emissions too. In the US alone, there are over 350,000 road accidents a year involving trucks, which the majority of those are traced to human error. Similarly, with the UK, there were over 1,810 incidents in 216 where someone was killed or fatally injured in a road traffic accident. Autonomous vehicles eliminate human error on the roads to make them a safer place.  

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