Key dates for your business in November

1st November – National Novel Writing Month

If you are running a coffee shop, this one is for you. Perhaps not as well-known as most events, independent coffee shops should delight in National Novel Writing Month and hosting their own Write-Ins. A month when aspiring authors set themselves the challenge of churning out a novel in 4 weeks, twice-weekly meet ups in coffee shops are the norm for these wannabe-writers, and offering them the perfect place to let their words and imagination run free might win you some very loyal customers.

5th November – Guy Fawkes Night

Let the glitter flow, a bit of sparkle on this day is entirely forgivable. Themed offers and tasty treats are sure to be appreciated – sticking a sparkler in your cupcakes might not be too subtle, but neither is a Catherine wheel.

24th November – Black Friday

Black Friday has immigrated to the UK from the US and it’s one you don’t want to miss. Use it to drive people to your business with limited-time offers on your goods. Email your customers in advance to present your offers and prepare them to shop with you.

27th November – Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday is the same thing as Black Friday, just on a different day. This is where your business’ online presence can come into its own, with marketing emails, social media posts and dedicated landing pages to your limited-time deals.

30th November – St. Andrew’s Day

He may not be as well-known as St. Patrick, but that’s all the more reasons your customers might appreciate you acknowledging this day. Add a bit of tartan, shortbread or deep-fried Mars bars to your offerings, novelty is a powerful tool for customer engagement.

Where’s the money? Some advice to improve your business’ Cash Flow

Cash flow is one of the issues SMEs struggle with the most. It is a topic much discussed and many owners of Small Businesses will confirm that it is a major concern of theirs.

In order to keep your business’ cash flowing you will have to make sure you are managing your cash properly. Careful cash management is generating revenues that bring in more cash than you are spending on your stock, your team and other business expenses and to manage this on an ongoing basis. It boils down to collecting data, reviewing and analysing it and then distributing cash where it is most needed. This may sound quite straight forward but most small and medium sized businesses fail to take the necessary steps in this regard.

1. Cash Forecasting

You should review your expenses such as rent, inventory, salaries and wages and taxes on a regular basis. It’s important to always know what costs you have and make a plan for the future as to what those costs will be and when they will hit your bank balance. Plan exactly when and how much you will be spending and always ask yourself why you are spending the money on each expense. This way you will be able to see what your necessary expenses are and which ones you could save on. There are various cash forecasting tools that can help you map out your spendings.

2. Monitor incoming payments

Check your accounts regularly for payments coming in. Late payments are a problem that many SMEs face and they can often be the reason for running low on cash. To avoid this make sure you invoice your customers promptly and to send invoices to the right person. Keep track of outstanding payments and take measures to chase late payments. There is nothing wrong with giving customers a nudge. A great, non-invasive, way of doing this is sending out reminder emails to encourage customers to pay outstanding bills. Visually appealing emails, with a simple call to action, such as “Pay Now”, linking to a payment site, will go a long way.

3. Dream big, stay humble

Having a grand vision of your business’ future is important and ambition is desired. However, it is important to stay realistic. The only certainty you have is that the future of any business is uncertain. Even if you can follow a particular patterns in earnings, it doesn’t mean that these will continue as such. You cannot predict the behaviour of potential customers and rates change all the time, in an unpredictable way. Therefore it is smart to expect the worst while working for the best, when managing your business’ cash.

4. Maximise the returns on your cash holdings

An aspect almost always neglected by SMEs is making sure that the business’ cash holdings are generating the maximum amount of returns, based on the best rates of the market. This is partially due to a lack of awareness of market activity, but mostly it is a lack of time and resources to scan the market for the best rates and then moving the business’ money around accordingly. Akoni stepped up and created a tool to automate this process. We provide a platform that scans the market for the best rates and cash can then be continuously allocated in a way that will maximise returns, in just a few clicks. In this way you can make extra money for your business while not adding another task to the to-do list.

If you follow these basic guidelines your business will be in a secure position to continue running and you can properly facilitate growth with healthy cash flow.

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at AkoniHub.com and follow us on Twitter

 

 

Brexit prompts the rise of the micro business

More business-minded people are taking matters into their own hands.

Figures from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy indicate that there are now more than 5.5m companies in the UK, and 99 per cent of these businesses are small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

This figure is at a record high – jumping dramatically from 2010, when there were 4.5m SMEs, and from 2000 when there were 3.5m. It’s clear that small firms are now the engine of our economy.

Read the full article here.

 

 

How has the Brexit vote affected the UK economy? September verdict

How has the economy reacted to the vote to leave the EU?

Over the past month, sterling has surged to its highest level since the day after the referendum following firm suggestions from the Bank of England that it could raise interest rates from as early as November in order to curb inflation. Although many economists now expect a rate hike in the coming months, some argue the Bank may find it difficult to justify higher borrowing costs amid continuing uncertainty over Brexit.

Read the Guardian’s full analysis here.

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at AkoniHub.com and follow us on Twitter

 

Xero & Santander announce next generation in small business banking service

Xero and Santander have announced an integrated service for SMEs. The service will provide a secure and simple solution for customers that delivers their financial data directly from their bank account into Xero free of charge.

Launching in the coming weeks, small business owners will receive the benefit of their accounting software and bank accounts communicating with each other through seamless Application Programming Interface (API) synchronisation to enhance business productivity.

Read more here.

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at AkoniHub.com and follow us on Twitter

UK government support for SMEs waning?

SMEs have been promised £1 in 3£ of the government’s procurement budget by 2020, but it seems as though it is not exactly planning out that way.

Governmental services seem to be attempting to go with the tide and expand their digital services in order to digitalise citizens transactions as much as possible. Today we are able to do so many things online, saving us time, money, resources, and so much more. In just a few clicks we can do money transfers, school applications, ordering new passports, drivers license, learning new languages…to mention only a few of the vast options we have today. As for citizens transactions we could be doing things online, such as renewing car taxes, filing income tax self-assessments, obtaining licenses and permits, paying taxes and more.

Citizens transactions are more and more digitalised and it only makes sense to do so. The transformation the government needs to go through, costs a huge amount of money, which it seems to be willing to spend. The question now is, where is this money spent? Where does the government get its resources from?

Chris Middleton, co-editor of Unified Communications Insight, and founder and editor in chief of the Strategist Magazine, writes:

So the tide seems to be turning against SMEs within the public sector: a cause for serious concern post-Brexit, when the UK will have no choice but to nurture its home-grown talent. Reversing that trend will demand real leadership, but the government may feel it has more important things to do.

What we would like to see is that the project to facilitate digital transformation would at the same time support SMEs and their possibilities to grow and give their valuable contribution to our economy. But despite the plan to allocate the said amount of government spendings to small and medium sized businesses, the public sector seems to prefer to turn to enterprise giants.

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at AkoniHub.com and follow us on Twitter

Response: Brexit, UK businesses demand minimum three year transition period

Businesses are facing a very difficult time with the implications of Brexit looming on the horizon. Whether for small businesses or larger ones, the changes will inevitably cause huge disruptions in so many different sectors. When it comes to importing goods, businesses will suddenly be faced with border controls, tariffs and therefore with a slowing down of their production, in addition to further higher costs involved. Of-course this is only one aspect that will prevent businesses from growing and our collective economy prospering as a result.

“Uncertainty” is a term we hear all the time now. The government is not able to provide any insight into what we will have to deal with in the next few years and it is leaving everyone guessing. Experts provide their predictions, usually based on their personal preferences of leaving or remaining in the EU.

Whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations will be, businesses will need time to adjust. Even if the arrangements are clear within the next months, businesses must be given a chance to function within the new regulations and see what sort of adjustments they will have to make.

Surely it is in everyone’s interest to cause minimal damage and support our businesses with smooth transitions, as much as possible. We also believe that some sense of support and positive actions towards small and medium sized businesses would do so much to encourage the morale of the brilliant entrepreneurship in this country.

We at Akoni are not only in the business of supporting SMEs in maximising their cash returns but, we are a business in our own right that may be effected by cross border financial and business regulations in the future.

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at AkoniHub.com and follow us on Twitter

 

Small Business Grants: No-strings-attached SME financing done right

GrowthBusiness.co.uk’s sister website SmallBusiness.co.uk has introduced a new initiative giving away £5,000 in a regular competition.

Business growth is almost entirely dependent on healthy cashflow. Research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) shows that more than 35 per cent of small businesses to run into cashflow difficulties, forcing one in three to use their overdraft facilities.

At the more extreme end of the situation, cashflow issues can cause businesses to fail. The FSB estimates that this issue has caused more than 50,000 businesses to close annually.

Read the full Article, written by Praseeda Nair, here.

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at AkoniHub.com and follow us on Twitter

Are you an easy hacking target? Cybersecurity tips for Small Business

Small businesses and self-employed people are big targets for hackers, and the financial implications can be crippling. Gone are the days of thinking “It’ll never happen to us”. A total of 61% of all data breaches this year occurred in businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees, according to the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report. Estimates vary on how much a breach truly costs, but it can often be millions of pounds.

To read the full article, written by Sam Nixon, click here.

Blockchain: The quiet revolution for next generation SME businesses

Blockchain is, slowly but surely, reaching corporate consciousness. As the Harvard Business Review has put it, blockchain is a “quiet revolution.”

First used with bitcoin in 2008, it has gradually grown in use as the technological underpinning of cryptocurrency. However, whilst interest in bitcoin has waned, blockchain has found more and more application in industries outside of finance.

Concerns relating to trust and risk are allayed by the very structure of blockchain. Often described as a digital ledger, it is actually a distributed database that supports a continuously growing list of ordered records called blocks. Each block contains a timestamp and a link to a previous block; all blocks are linked together and encoded using cryptography, so there’s no central point of failure.

One of its major benefits is that its structure offers protection in the growing battle against cyber warfare.

Because blockchain enables the recording of transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way, its use in financial services has helped to lower costs and reduce complexity, and, perhaps more importantly, it has had a distinct impact on improving transparency and regulation.

Keep reading, to see how that would benefit SMEs, here.

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