And Facebook Just Keeps Growing…

Suddenly there’s a lot of interest in our fintech startup Facebook page – StrongJonesUK.

Have a look here:   fb-art.jpg

What is interesting is that I was under the impression that Facebook was lagging behind other social media platform. It had been “cool” a few years back, but that it had peaked and was now on a plateau, even a slow downward turn.  With Twitter and Linkedin, Instagram, YouTube and all the other platforms heavily in use, it seemed like an “older person’s” (i.e. my friends and I in our early forties) social media network.

Well – Go “older person’s network”!

According to the BBC Business article this morning, Facebook profits are up 186%! They earned $ 2bn (£1.5bn) in the period from April to June 2016, up significantly from the same period last year, which was $ 719m in 2015.

By comparison, Twitter’s MAU increased by just 3% in that period.

The anticipated revenue was $ 5.8bn, but Facebook brought in $ 6.4bn. Mark Zuckerberg was pretty chuffed, as you can imagine.

“Our community and business had another good quarter,” he said, “We’re particularly pleased with our progress in video as we move towards the world where video is at the heart of all our services.”

A year ago I moved to London and left my family, my friends, my colleagues behind. During this week, I was commenting to a friend who was staying in a remote town for business, (over Facebook, as it turns out!), how this particular social medium has been a huge factor in getting over the sense of isolation. I was and am able to tune in to people no matter where they are in the world, and still be a part of their lives. Social Media (and Facebook can take a lot of the credit) has changed the world.

And being social media savvy and banking tech savvy is not an option anymore. You are simply unable to compete if you don’t have access to these platforms.

Banks have their work cut out in trying to adapt and invent products and approaches to deal with the ever-changing demands of their clients. Just the other day, the StrongJones team were thrilled to be invited to compete in the annual BNP Hackathon, proving we are amongst the brainiest 96 startups in the fintech space! The event engrossed teams in eight cities across the world over the weekend of the 17th – 19th June.

And Tech-savvy banking is our game! Our StrongJones financial management for individuals, SME’s and retail is in the Beta stage of it’s growth. At StrongJones we offer up-to-date technology and precise, current banking product information to our customers. It’s really worth test-driving our personalised Savings Marketplace and Digital Dashboard, which, by informing you of the best rates available on the market, help you maximise your cash savings. Drop me a mail if you are interested in joining our Beta Group at heather@strongjones.co.uk

So – I’m not surprised that Facebook has done so well recently – it is still accessible, user-friendly and effective. It has adapted with the times, in fact, has lead the rest in many areas. All I can say is that there may be other platforms out there, but Facebook is still a very user-friendly and Truly Social network for me.

Heather Greig (These views are strictly my own.)

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#UKisOpen to #Business

As we have been advocating at StrongJones, the UK is Open for Business.   As a consistent Top 5 global economic performer, Britain has demonstrated that the full range of business products and services add value to our own domestic market as well as multiple overseas countries.   We are happy that the new Chancellor, Philip Hammond is to showcase Britain’s attractions as a place to invest in a post-EU referendum world.   This will be conveyed at the first gathering of the EU countries’ finance ministers and central bank governors since the referendum.

Hammond’s announcement came hot on the heels of London Mayor, Sadiq Khan’s #LondonIsOpen campaign which launched this week – urging investors and visitors to engage with the city.

220px-Philip_Hammond,_Secretary_of_State_for_Defence Philip Hammond

The chancellor said, “Britain is open for business and one of the most attractive destinations in the world for international investment.‎” The focus is on boosting trade and investment beyond Europe.   Have a look at the catchy #LondonIsOpen campaign video, launched as part of the #LondonIsOpen campaign, below:

Global Business Support for the Campaign

The global trade theme was immediately taken up by new British PM Theresa May, Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, a host of celebrities and major business voices including Sir Richard Branson, Hilton, Merlin Entertainments and Google.   Theresa May was quoted saying, “This is a unique opportunity to take advantage of international trade and business and strengthen our ties across the world culturally as well as financially.

… And a Word for Small Business from the new PM

“Furthermore, small business is the lifeblood of our country and I will do everything I can to maximise opportunities for everyone, not just the privileged few.”

In Britain we are a nation built on solid foundations, and we need to continue with our pragmatic attitude to manufacturing and services, to trade, support small business and function as we did before.  SME’s are part of the future of this nation’s economy. There is now, like never before, a need to create new trade links and to strengthen the old ones.  SME’s are in the “trenches” on the frontline of this new quest, and need all the hope and support from political and other institutions.

With our new StrongJones start-up, we are committed to supporting SMEs. We noticed that many SMEs had hard-earned cash earning next to nothing sitting in Savings Accounts due to the attitude of the high-street banks and their large margins and looked to change this – providing the tools and the marketplace for results.   Our team have all grown businesses and have direct experience working hard on all aspects of operations to deliver returns – teams, our lease, our production and customer services. Yet what should be simple – cash management and cash returns – has somehow become complex and time-consuming due to the way banks work.   We have created a simple solution, all with a few clicks.  The StrongJones platform allows businesses to canvas the markets with tools personalised to their business requirements and cashflow needs.     With our tools we can ensure that these cash Savings will be earning the maximum interest possible — even in times of extreme change.

Sign Up & Join Our Beta Group

We are setting up a Beta user group, and if you’re an SME in the UK with cash currently providing a minimal return, we can add significant value.

With StrongJones, you don’t have to worry about the future of your cash, you can be assured you have taken the best options to maximise your Savings. This differential can enable the business to invest in new technology or projects, or employ that extra person.

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register for free at AkoniHub.com

Image from The Telegraph, Google Images

 

 

 

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What a Week!

What a (another) crazy week! The British are suffering from Post Traumatic Brexit Syndrome and now there is a new PM at Downing Street. And Boris is the Foreign Secretary!

Leadership and stabilising the economy

In all the turmoil, it is vital to stabilize the economy – business needs assurance that there is a strong, positive and capable leader at the helm. Most urgent is the need to smooth the waters for the SMEs – the future growth of the country – who are particularly vulnerable to massive currency variations.

Commenting on the announcement that Theresa May will be the new Prime Minister as of Wednesday 13 July, Mike Cherry, National Chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said:“With Theresa May now confirmed as the next UK Prime Minster, the Government must act decisively to secure our long-term economic stability after the decision to leave the EU. Immediate action is needed to improve small business confidence and allow them to reliably plan ahead for the future.

“The new Prime Minister will decide the UK’s approach to EU negotiations, and she must ensure that smaller firms’ interests are taken into account – simple access to the single market, the ability to hire the right people, continued EU funding for key schemes and clarity on the future regulatory framework.

He urged the Government to get it’s business focus back, and now we have an official Leader, to deal with the urgent issues that have taken a back seat as a result of the political situation. These include airport expansion, HS2, energy security and the Northern Powerhouse, delivering on business rates and changing plans for quarterly tax returns.

Interest Rates

And speaking of interest rates – the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee (MPC) voted 8-1 to keep interest rates unchanged at their record low of 0.5%. The reason given is that rate setters want to wait and see how the economy performs over the “coming weeks as the fog of the recent Brexit vote turmoil began to clear,” says Philip Inman in The Guardian.

Another reason for caution is fears over inflation: by increasing the money supply, Banks would increase prices or inflation.  The GBP has fallen significantly against other currencies, which will make imports costlier, and the cost of living higher.   There are many uncertain factors which may impact the average business.

How does this impact my business savings?

And what about savings accounts, particularly for businesses?

Savings accounts have not exactly enjoyed fabulous interest rates for ages. Ben Chu of The Independent, said that a rate cute “may be passed on to savers, meaning further pain. But with interest rates already so low banks may hesitate to pass the cut to savers and choose to absorb the hit themselves.”

Looking forward to the future

Our view at StrongJones is that the country needs is good strong leadership, optimism and confidence. As Stephen Kelly, CEO of Sage Group PLC, said in a recent article, “Whilst big businesses talk about shifting operations, and the media speculates about the FTSE 100 companies, my barber in Richmond, and your baker in Shropshire carry on, driving growth and creating jobs & prosperity for UK.  Let’s remember that going back as far as the silk traders, commerce has always triumphed so it is our responsibility to promote ‘business as usual’.”

We believe that in Britain we are a nation built on solid foundations, and we need to doggedly continue to trade, support small business and function as we did before.

With our new StrongJones start-up , we foresee that SME’s hard-earned cash will be earning the maximum interest possible – even in times of extreme political and monetary policy change.   We are here to help SMEs maximise returns in their business, using the typical under-utilised cash savings.     We aim to provide a range of cash management tools, an area traditionally neglected by larger banks, adding significant value – saving time, providing peace of mind – and earning money.   This frees up resources to be reinvested in the business operations and team.

Speak to us about joining our Beta user group – obtain your personal feedback, setting  up a unique profile, and ensuring we provide value for the daily pragmatic life of your business.

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register for free at AkoniHub.com

Theresa May, new British PM, takes over at Number 10 this week. Photo: PA, from BBC.co.uk