What Any Startup Needs to Know about Accepting Payments

Businesses process payments have seen incredible change over the past couple of decades. In the UK, cashless payments have now overtaken the use of notes and coins. 52% of transactions made over the last year were made electronically and this number is expected to rise over the next ten years as the popularity of debit cards, contactless, and mobile payments continues to grow.

 

Credit and Debit Cards

 

Credit and debit have become to the preferred method of payment for most consumers now. Not only is it more convenient for your customers, though, recent statistics show that shoppers are more proven to indulge in so called “impulse buys” when using their card over cash. Fast-food giants McDonald’s also found that their average transaction rose from $4.50 to $7 when customers weren’t reliant on the amount of cash in their pocket. The easiest way for your small business to accept card payments is by investing in a PDQ terminal. Short for process data quickly, PDQ terminals are now available from suppliers such as Card Cutters in multiple forms, including low-cost, portable solutions. These machines can process up to 650 transactions on a single charge, and can easily be used for both mobile and stationary businesses.

 

Online Payment Methods

 

The number of online payments is increasing every year in the UK. For younger generations, this is becoming the de facto way to buy goods and, similarly, older generations are also becoming comfortable enough with technologies to also pay for items. PayPal is currently the world’s number one online payment system with over eight million accepting businesses. Because PayPal offers customers security that their transaction is protected against online scams, accepting payments through the online payment system is one of the first requests any new website will receive.

 

Near Field Communications

 

Finally, near field communications (NFC) is a new technology you can expect to see a lot more over the next few years. NFC allows smartphones and other similar devices to establish a radio communication with each other. Because this works throughy close-proximity, usually between 10cm or less, it’s also known as “tap and go” technology. Last year, Apple launched its own payment service, which is coming to the UK this summer that allows users to pay for goods through their iPhones and Apple Watches. Adopting the latest technology can get your company noticed. If you want your customers to be able to buy their goods via Apple Pay, you’ll need to invest in NFC-compatible payment terminals.

 

Payment processing is both a fast-moving and important section of any business. Making sure you can accept a customer’s preferred solution could be the difference between either a sale or the shopper looking elsewhere.

Three Top Cost-Cutting Tips for London-Based Start-Ups

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that London, the land of

opportunities, can pose a real challenge for start-ups. Although the location

offers a brilliant springboard for new businesses, it also requires more capital,

time and commitment than setting up anywhere else. Competition is fierce, and

the price of property is exceptionally high. Although there are a wealth of

chances for new enterprises, there are just as many trials and tribulations to

combat.

So how can you work around them? Cutting costs is a great place to start, so here

are three top tips to help you do just that…

Tip #1: Use a Virtual Office

One of the greatest challenges for London-based start-ups is the incredibly high

price of property. Renting and buying in the capital costs more than anywhere

else, and unless you have a very deep fund to dip into, this throws a serious

spanner in the works. This is where serviced offices can come into play. If you

have a business that you can conduct largely from home, then take advantage

and do exactly that. This will significantly cut your costs, and you can still benefit

from the perks of a top London postcode by using a virtual office. This will

provide you with a prestigious business address and telephone answering

service, without the associated costs of a physical office.

Tip #2: Use a Virtual Secretary

If you can’t cut costs by working from home, there are other ways to lighten the

monetary load, first among them a virtual secretary. This role is vital to most

companies, significantly relieving the pressure of running your own business at

the same time as fielding enquiries and dealing with the administrative side of

things. However, secretaries in London will need to be paid more than anywhere

else, thanks to the increased cost of living in the capital. The answer: a virtual

secretary. They’ll make your job easier, and cost you far less than employing

someone in an ordinary secretarial capacity.

Tip #3: Explore Outsourcing

Our third and final tip is this: always explore your outsourcing options. Although

most business owners assume that doing everything themselves will cut costs,

this simply isn’t true. Expansion requires money, so adding new departments or

arms to your business will always have a high initial outlay. If you’re not ready

for this, outsourcing can provide a great solution. It will give you access to

experienced professionals and high-end equipment, without the cost of investing

in these yourself.

Cut your costs today with these three top tips.

How does the Know Your Client – KYC look like?

Once you’re spetting up a comany or opening bank account, you might be asked to provide the following documents:

1.       Any corporation Agreements

2.       Certificate of incorporation (notarized)

3.       Certificate of Incumbency no older then 3 months (notarized)

4.       Appointment of first directors (notarized)

5.       Power of attorney (notarized)- if any

6.       Scan of the passport (notarized) or personal ID

7.       Proof of address (any utility bill or invoice carrying name and address of  the person (electricity, phone bill, bank statement)

8.      Beneficial owner agreement if any plus  points 6 and 7

9.       W8 form - if you provide any financial services

10.   KYC (know your client) questioner

Please let us know if you need any help to collect any of these documents.

regards,

tom

Three Top Tips for Keeping Your Startup Business Safe

As a business owner, your employees are the greatest assets available to you. Handpicked and able, they’ll be beside you every step of the way on your road to success.

 

It’s only fair, then, that you repay them for this favour by taking care of them. This not only means securing the future of your business and their continued employment but also, more literally, keeping them safe in the workplace. Increased health and safety procedures have gone a long way towards helping employers in this regard, but there is still more that you, as an individual, can do.

 

If you want to do the best by your workers, here are three top tips to help you ensure that they’re as safe as can be whilst they’re on your watch.

 

#1: Educate Your Employees on Health and Safety and Company Protocol

 

The best way to keep your employees safe during working hours is to help them to help themselves. Health and safety protocols exist to regulate every industry, but it’s not enough simply to have them in place; they also need to be accessible. Make sure that you have printed signs dotted around your workspace, and that more in-depth guidance is available on your company website. You could go even further than this and offer workshops or presentations on these guidelines, to ensure that your workers know how to keep themselves and each other safe at all times.

 

#2: Provide First Aid Training

 

Most industries will be required to provide some medical training to a set number of workers, but we recommend that you take this a step further. Basic medical skills are useful for all staff members, so that everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency. Thus, as well as offering your employees guidance on avoiding accidents and injury, it’s a good idea to have a few appointed representatives that are able to provide first aid training to all members of staff. It’s also useful to have a couple of employees – usually those who provide this training to other staff members – whose medical skills are more comprehensive, to ensure that any problems or accidents that do arise can be dealt with immediately.

 

#3: Provide All Necessary Safety Equipment

 

Finally, always make sure that your staff members are fully outfitted with any necessary safety equipment. Again, certain industries will be very specific with regards to the items that must be provided, but even where such stringency is not required, it should still be practiced. This means that hard hats should be available in any situation that poses a risk of head injury, gloves should always be provided where there is a chance that toxic or irritating materials will need to be handled, and lifting equipment, available from companies like Handling Equipment Online, should be made available to avoid handling heavy loads.

 

Follow these top tips today to keep your staff members safe in the workplace.

How Technology Can Get Your Company Noticed

The biggest task that any start-up company faces is simply getting noticed. You might have a great service but if no-one knows about it, it doesn’t make a good business. Lots of people will tell you that the best eventually rises to the top, but how can you speed up that process? This is where technology comes in. By letting the latest software to do the hard work for you, you’ll still have the time you need to focus on the core areas of your business.

 

Mobile Apps

Unlike mobile versions of websites, dedicated apps for smartphones and tablets often provide a much smoother shopping experience. Software developers like Phorest could create an app for you that’s accessible from both the major operating systems, iOS and Android. This opens up your business to millions of potential shoppers who can find you whenever they’re searching the App Store or Google Play. They also serve as a consistent reminder of your company’s brand right at the fingertips of your customer. You can even customise your app so that it perfectly matches the look and feel of your brand.

 

Social Networks

One of the best ways to improve your search results is getting your name in as many locations as possible. The best places to start are the most popular social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Hootsuite syncs all your accounts in one location and is a useful tool for those that don’t want to spend all your time flicking between every one of their feeds. If you’re struggling to come of with original content, don’t be shy about linking to other people’s work. Because the Internet is so vast, curators of interesting content are becoming just as important as the writers themselves. Just remember to always credit the original author.

The main goal of technology is to create convenience. It makes what use to be time-consuming manual processes a part an automated background. Make sure you’re using the best modern technology has to offer so you start-up gets the attention it deserves.

What Electrical Equipment Does Your Startup Need?

We are now more dependent on technology than ever before. Because of this, it’s crucial that

businesses invest in electrical equipment like a data server or backup generator to keep them

going even if there’s some kind of disruption.

Data Server

Even for a small business, the question is not whether or not you need a server, but how

many you need and to what capacity. Unlike your regular PC, which you use for surfing the

web, sending emails, and web processing, a server is used as a database for large pools of

information such as the company’s shared calendar or other documents. The main role of the

server is to make it easier for employee’s to collaborate on projects by acting as a central

repository for all this information

The main benefit of having your own server is the added security and reliability it provides.

Your data is a valuable asset. Manufacturers realise this and they design servers with

specially designed components that are more reliable than your average desktop PC. Servers

generally use multiple hard drives as this allows you to more easily create backups of your

data. These can be switched out easily if there is ever a hardware failure so your office

productivity won’t be interrupted. Now you can make sure that all of your data is accessible

to the people who need it by creating accounts for certain departments or individual

employees.

Backup Generator

We’ve all dealt with power cuts at work at some point in out lives, whether it’s the result of a

hardware failure, human error, or even severe weather conditions. In the majority of these

cases, everything is back up and running soon. However, studies show around 90% of

businesses will experience a power outage at some point. Depending on the length of this

disruption, this can have a significant impact on your company’s productivity at what might

be peak times.

Fortunately, there is an easy solution to this problem. Uninterruptible power supplies (UPS),

such as those available from Critical Power, make sure that your company can access power

in an emergency situation. UPS work by providing emergency power when your mains

power fails. A UPS can provide almost instantaneous cover from a power outage, by

supplying reserve energy stored in batteries. Because the majority of cases don’t last for

extended periods of time, your battery backup will give your company the power it needs to

work through the blackout or make backups of the data you were working on.

It’s difficult to imagine our workflow without access to computers, the web, and cloud

storage plans. Make sure your business is able to stay productive at all-times by investing in

some backup equipment.

The Benefits of Temporary Structures for Your Startup Business

The biggest problem every start-up company faces is simply getting noticed. It’s difficult to

find an industry that doesn’t feel overcrowded at this stage and, even if you feel your

company is both unique and offering a higher quality service than your competitors, it

doesn’t mean anything if nobody knows about it. This is why temporary structures can be a

great way to advertise your business.

Test Locations

Test locations are an ideal way to expand into new areas with little risk. Rather than sign up

to a costly real estate lease, companies like Neptunus can create a temporary store that can be

used for as little as a few months. The building can be constructed to your needs using a

variety of modular and flexible designs. They also offer a variety of options relating to

climate control and sanitation facilities, which means that they work for a variety of

businesses whether they are in need of an office, retail store, or supermarket. The truth is,

even if you’ve done your research, expanding into a new area presents risks. Using a

temporary location allows you to minimise these risks and still reap the benefits of increased

publicity.

Hosting Events

Hosting an event could be the perfect way to announce your new product to the industry.

However, not only does this require a lot of time to plan—from choosing a date that works

for everybody, finding an appropriate venue, and filling the guest list—it’s also a big

expense. You can save money by using temporary structure that’s custom-built for your

event, whether it’s a small outdoor tent to house a few dozen employees or a large building to

welcome all the major players in your industry. A unique off-site location could be one of the

long-lasting images that your event leaves in your guests’ memories.

Trade Shows

Industry-related trade shows are the ideal platforms to meet potential business partners. Many

shows are also open to members of the public, offering you a direct way to meet individuals

who may already have an interest in the types of services your business provides. Take the

opportunity to hand out business cards, merchandise, or free samples so that your brand stays

with them even after the event is over. With a newfound dependence on technology, many

business owners are left wondering if events like trade shows and conferences have a place in

the contemporary business world. It doesn’t need to be an either/or decision though.

In increasingly competitive industries, a small business needs to take advantage of everything

available to it to have any chance of long-term success. If you’re company is trying to get its

brand into the public consciousness, consider how you can use temporary structures to your

benefit.

Why chose Singapore to incorporate your company

Here are a few pros why to set up your company in Singapore:

  • SG is ranked the third wealthiest nation in the world by Forbes magazine.
  • has been ranked as the third most globalized economy among 60 of the world’s largest economies in the recently released PWC 2011 Globalization Index
  • is rated #1 as political stable country in Asia
  • SG is rated #1 in Asia for quality of life, # is Hong Kong for doing business
  • Corporate tax rates are about 8.5% up to $300K profits and a flat 17% above that
  • There are no dividend tax
  • no gains taxes
  • There is no estate/death/inheritance tax in Singapore
  • is rated #1 in the world by World Bank for ease of doing business

Entrepreneurs and SMEs – Making the Most of Your Employees’ Individuality When Hiring New Staff

As an entrepreneur or SME owner you’ll want to ensure your business grows quickly, effectively and successfully. Part of this growth can often see the expansion of your enterprises through increased trade, physical expansion of your workplace and the investment in new staff.

That latter of these aspects is arguably one of the most important: your new staff are the future of your company and naturally you’ll want only the best. But how can you be sure whether a) you’ve got a decent candidate, and b) they can offer your business something positive in the long term?  This is where you need to turn to the expertise of the staff you already have.

Promoting Positive Values

As a small enterprise you may presently only have a small staff roster, but among them you’ll have a pool of qualifications, skills and abilities that you can proudly demonstrate to prospective applicants as part and parcel of working in your industry. Before you publish any advertisements for new roles, be sure you’ve referenced some of the skills your employees have as this could be appealing to potential candidates who share common interests.

A Thorough Interview Process

Depending on which role you have on offer, a way to help assess and properly consider interviewees is to have one of your existing staff on the panel. Get them to ask challenging questions about their shared specialist area to really put the applicant to the test. This way you can know for certain that this person really knows their field well and isn’t just trying to bluff their way through the interview.

Not only can this be a good way of vetting people, you can get an honest and more reliable opinion post-interview about whether your employee thinks they will be a good acquisition for the future. Equally you can decide whether they have the potential to develop further with extra training and support – which again your current staff can offer advice on.

Added Benefits

Another positive to consider is the effect such actions might have on the morale of your staff. They may feel flattered and proud for you to ask them to do this and be pleased that you acknowledge their hard work and skills, which in turn could see them working even harder and more productively.

So if you want to see your company head in the right direction, look to your current staff and what they have to offer to ensure you find the best fit for your business.

Does your Business Need its Own Mobile App?

Apple recently announced one of the biggest profit margins in history and according to the New York Times has a “93% share of the profit in the handset industry”. These figures have come predominately from Apple’s massive global sales of its latest iPhone model, with millions sold in China alone.

What’s perhaps more incredible about this, is that this is only one of the leading smartphone companies. Other tech giants like Samsung and HTC can also boast healthy sales figures of their devices and you only have to take a look around you on a busy street to see just how many people are using a smartphone.

But should we be surprised by this? Gone are the days where a mobile phone was just that, a phone, with the occasional luxury of being able to send a text. Today they are portable multimedia platforms allowing users to do pretty much anything tech-based from the touch of a button. Whether it’s taking a photo or organising a date, I’m sure you’ll have heard the expression ‘is there an app for that?’ being asked at some point.

The Answer

So, really the answer to the above titular question should be a resounding ‘yes’. The bottom line really is that if you want your business to connect to your clients, then going via their smartphones is a sure-fire way to do so.

Creating Apps?

The creation of an app may well exceed your computing capabilities but that’s where companies like Evolve. These specialist firms can create bespoke apps for businesses which can offer as much or as little as they want them to.

What Benefits?

So aside from being able to showcase your business, other benefits you can realise from an app include:

  • Being available 24/7 – apps aren’t limited to working hours and depending on the nature of your service you can provide for customers around the clock.
  • Improved Communication Services – businesses can go above the standard phone call or email communications that the average company offers. Apps can feature messaging services meaning you can directly answer, and ultimately deal, with any issues far quicker.
  • USP – at the moment, you can market your app as a unique selling point and it can make your business stand out from the competition.

These are just a few generic examples of what having a mobile app can bring to your business, again depending on your service you could offer much, much more. So if you are in a position to invest in such features, be sure to do so to tap into a huge global market.