About Fintech Week

The rising costs of cyber security

As the threat of cyber attacks are on an upward spiral, as are the costs for businesses who need to continue protecting their company data. There have been recent warnings from cyber security experts that they anticipate a big rise in hacker ransoms, which will not only affect businesses, but anybody who owns an online device. They expect these hackers will be targeting smartphones, televisions and even fitness watches. The fight against cyber criminals is climbing to a whole new level.

Most businesses have been spending large amounts of money on cyber security for some time now, but regulators are getting tougher on businesses that aren’t complying with the minimum standards. Businesses that are found to have inadequate systems and processes in place will stand to receive large fines. This is on top of the already high risk of reputational damage that any type of cyber security breach will normally entail.

The government budgeted a record amount of money into cyber security for the next five years as cyber hacking is a growing concern which shows no sign of disappearing. The fact of the matter is, the more devices that are connected to the internet, the more opportunities that are presented to the criminals. In a world where it has become the norm to conduct banking and other high-risk transactions using your smartphone, this is a problem that will fail to end any time soon.

The banking sector are prime targets for hackers, meaning it is paramount for consumers to select a back with high levels of cyber security. Whether you are looking for SBA loans or taking out a mortgage, it is important to select a bank who is dedicated to protecting their customers. You can check whether a webpage is secure by looking at the URL address. Sites with security installed will display a padlock symbol. Check LendGenius as an example.

Or course, back in the day, businesses never thought cyber-attacks would ever pose enough of a problem that would result in them spending money in expensive defenses. This is because, as hackers grow in sophistication, businesses must follow for their own benefit and security. When buying cyber security, it is not only a system you purchase, but a person with has the required expertise, and as there is a high demand in the recruitment market for people with these types of skills and experience, they are able to ask for the high figures.

Due to this high request, the experts in this area can demand high salaries, meaning businesses do not have the option to bow out. If you underinvest in cyber security, then you will be subjected to fines and possible reputational damage. However, overinvest and you are paying out huge salaries for the types of skills that used to be set within standard IT pay bands.

Today is a difficult time for businesses when it comes to hiring the right people who possess the skills and expertise for this growing epidemic. With the pattern of increased cyber-attacks looking to rise in the near future, this is a precaution both businesses and governments must consider and continue investing in when combating these criminal masterminds.

5 Website Mistakes You Must Avoid

It is never too late to learn from your website’s mistakes, which could be significantly harming your business. To help you identify where you might be going wrong, we will show you the five mistakes you must avoid on your website.

  1. Under-planning

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is under-planning your website, from its launch to its growth. Unfortunately, if you fail to plan a website, you could underestimate your target market, forget core pages or miss a promotional opportunity.

So, before you even buy the domain, you should sit down and think about your demographic, branding, content marketing strategy and the many pages you will need to reinforce your products and services. You must also think carefully about your call to actions, which could improve your conversion rate.

  1. Focusing Too Much on the Product

Chances are, you have created a website to sell a product or service. Sadly, the biggest mistake you could be making on your website is focusing too much on the product. You must, therefore, aim to identify what makes you different from your rivals, showcasing your personality through your branding. For example, do you have a lengthy history or personal philosophy that make you stand apart from your industry rivals?

  1. Poor Hosting

Does your website regularly suffer downtime? If so, not only could this stop people shopping with you at the checkout, but it can lead to a poor user experience that results in a customer turning to a competitor. Cheap hosting can equal a reliable service – you simply need to do your homework to discover a dependable, affordable hosting provider that will not let you down. So, improve your bottom-line and reputation and change your host.

  1. You’re Not Blogging

A blog is a great way to keep your website fresh, emphasise your tone of voice and promote your products and services. Not only that, but it can also drive significant traffic to your website, as active users are looking for informative, helpful and engaging content.

You can also use your blog to promote your products, release company news or offer helpful tips that aid the customer experience, which could increase your profit margin. You must promote the articles across social media, which can help you attract a considerable amount of new and existing customers to your website.

  1. You Use Low-Quality Photos

Low-quality photos will reflect a low-quality product or service. If you want to maintain a professional, high-quality image, you must only feature the highest quality photos across your website. A professional photographer must, therefore, take the images, so they are not blurry or pixelated and will reflect the high-quality product your business offers the customer. If you cannot afford professional photography services, you could always utilise the many stock photography websites that provide thousands of crisp images that can complement your brand.

Don’t be afraid to look at competitors’ websites for inspiration, which could provide opportunities for you to develop your site or eliminate any mistakes, as well as help you plan something different to your rivals.

Top Fintech Trends You Need to Follow in 2017

There is no doubt that the Fintech industry is looking at a great year in 2017. Aside from some new products being made available and the increasing demand for smarter, more technological financial services, the regulations that govern the industry and other supporting factors are more suitable for rapid growth this year.

There have been some interesting trends shaping up on the market too. These new trends will pave the way for more growth and new Fintech startups creating headlines on the market. In this article, we are going to take a closer look at some of the top Fintech trends you need to follow in 2017.

The Rise of Branchless Banking

Branchless banking, also known as alternative banking, will be a big business to get into in 2017. We already have some new players exploring this growing market. Atom Bank in the UK, for example, offers all banking services that traditional banks offer, but only through their mobile apps. Customers can do anything from open a new bank account to make wire transfers and everyday purchases just as easily.

Branchless banking is also a big business in other parts of the world. In Asia, even conventional banks such as Maybank and DBS are venturing into the world of branchless banking by launching their own sister brands and offering branchless banking services to customers. In Indonesia, BTPN – one of the oldest banks in the country – surprised everyone when they launched Jenius, an app-based banking service for young customers.

The demand for this new type of banking is on the rise too. Younger customers are looking for better banking services that allow them to enjoy all of the conveniences and services offered by a conventional bank, but without the extra hassle of having to visit a branch. App-based banking will continue to be a big trend to watch this year.

Digital Retirement & Investment Management

We live in an era where almost everyone owns a mobile device, so targeting mobile users is a logical step to make. While there are many financial apps focusing on payments and services, a growing number of new startups – and existing financial institutions – are bringing retirement planning and investment management to the mobile landscape.

This trend, paired with the increasing awareness for better retirement planning and the importance of good investments, is transforming the market in its own way. Established companies such as the Alliance Financial Group are making their retirement savings plans more accessible to young customers through the use of mobile apps and other technologies.

The retirement savings plans in particular are an interesting business in today’s Fintech landscape. The use of mobile apps means customers can be more actively involved in dictating the direction of their investments. There are still regulations to follow in most markets, but Fintech companies are innovating with new products that allow customers to enter the financial market and utilize other investment instruments to further develop their retirement plans.

Social Media and IoT

The two additional elements that will make Fintech even more exciting this year are social media and IoT. The recent concept video by Amazon – describing Amazon Go, a retail concept where customers can shop for everyday items without having to worry about making payments thanks to IoT and a mobile payment app – revealed just how amazing the possibilities are.

IoT will soon be everywhere. We already have a massive new array of wearables and devices capable of handling payments and other transactions, which means it won’t be long before these devices are part of the Fintech landscape. Top names such as Samsung and Apple are making their wearables ready for financial usage too.

Social media websites, on the other hand, are providing the perfect platforms for transactions. People no longer have to remember bank account numbers or other details just to be able to send money to friends. It is easy to split transactions using social media handles as identifiers. Messaging apps such as BlackBerry Messengers, LINE and Telegram already have payment solutions integrated into their workflows.

These new trends are shaping the future of Fintech massively. That brings us to the initial goal behind the whole technological revolution of financial services: convenience. New technologies, better services and smart integrations are just the mediums. The main goal of today’s Fintech advancements and new services offered by different companies is to make the financial world more accessible to many.

We’re still a few weeks away from the 2017 London Fintech Week, but we’re already seeing a number of exciting new developments from various Fintech leaders. It will be interesting to see even more developments during the event.

Marketing Advice for Fintech Companies

While it’s not easy to market a financial technology business in terms of regulations, it can still be done with a bit of time and effort and your marketing options are practically endless. If you are currently looking for marketing advice when it comes to a fintech business, have a look at some of the following tips.

Take Advantage Of the Many Available Tradeshows

Fintech is gaining more popularity thanks to the hundreds of tradeshows available throughout the year. This gives you an instant opportunity to set up your own stand and mix with journalists to try and get your company out there. Having a press release ready to dish out at these events it’s the way forward. This has helped hundreds of fintech companies off the ground in recent years, and that means yours can follow suit.

Keyword Research is Especially Important

When it comes to keyword research for the search engines, it’s paramount you think differently than your competitors. You don’t want to just target keywords that could be hard to get ranked for, you also want to think outside the box and come up with something different. Lengthy keywords are usually a good idea, as you’ll not only be able to target those keywords with ease, but you will also be ranked for other shorter keywords, too.

Social Media Could Prove to Be Key

A lot of B2B businesses in a variety of industries shy away from social media because they feel it is only relevant to the younger generation, when in fact they couldn’t be any more wrong. Social media is now a massive industry when it comes to commercial businesses, and there is no reason why you shouldn’t jump on the bandwagon. There are so many benefits to having a social media presence, with free traffic and potential clients being just a couple of them. Get your business on Social Media and you will quickly find how beneficial it is.

Take Advantage Of Email Marketing Practises

A lot of fintech business owners feel email marketing is souring, but it still offers a very good way to market your products and services without taking up too much of your time. This is especially great if you can build a reliable email list, or if you have managed to purchase one. Once you have a big list to market to, you can easily use a service such as theemailfinder.co to try and verify those domains so you are not just sending out emails to non-existent email addresses.

Just because your fintech business is in the financial technology industry, it doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the above marketing methods to ensure it is successful. Pitching at tradeshows is one of the best ways to market your company, as not only will you be able to get your name out there, but it will also give you a chance to make business connections.

How to Get the Most Out of Fintech 2017

Fintech Week is a much anticipated event for many who are looking to network, educate themselves, and get a look at the latest trends all in one place. Taking place in London from July 7-14th, the event is set to be bigger than ever before with delegates from more than 50 countries attending each and every day.

For U.K. companies, Fintech Week is extremely important as this is the country’s prime opportunity to showcase Britain’s financial status and attract new investments. Whether this is the first time you plan on attending the event, or you’ve attended in the past, you want to get the most out of it. We’ve got some tips you can use to help ensure that happens so that you can return to work with all the information and contacts you set out to get.

Take a Look at the Schedule in Advance

The number one tip is to make sure you take a look at the full schedule well in advance of the conference. From the schedule you can then set up your very own agenda. Decide what it is you hope to learn from the conference, who you want to network with, what message you may try to get out there, based on your business goals.

Show Up Early and Familiarize Yourself

Whether you are attending the full conference, or just planning a one-day visit, make sure you show up early to familiarize yourself with the conference space. This will help ensure you get to meetings, workshops, and events on time.

Take a Look at the Attendee List

If possible, it’s a good idea to take a look at the list of exhibitors and attendees in advance. This again will help you to create your schedule and game plan.

Look for Learning Opportunities

Sometimes it can help to think outside the box as you attend conferences and events such as Fintech Week. Maybe you are struggling with creating the perfect digital marketing campaign, and you’ve been thinking about hiring professionals such as Click Intelligence. Use the conference as a way to gauge what others are doing, what is working and what isn’t. This will help to create a stronger vision for your own company, which the professionals can then make happen.

Give Yourself Lots of Time and Chances to Network

While there is a lot of attention paid to workshops, seminars, and keynote speakers at Fintech, another huge aspect of the event is that it’s an excellent networking opportunity. This is your chance to get in front of new investors, customers, and industry experts. With that said, make sure you provide yourself the opportunity to network by attending events such as the various drink receptions and meet-up receptions.

Make it a Successful Event

By using these tips you’ll ensure that your attendance at Fintech is beneficial to your company and your growth in the business. Giving yourself enough time to prepare and plan your time in advance, will guarantee you accomplish all you set out to do.

The Common Causes of Data Loss

Data loss can be incredibly frustrating and could be caused by one of many reasons, such as a hard drive issue or software problem. To prevent you from losing your important documents, audio files, videos and photos, we are looking at the most common causes of data loss.

Hardware Failure

Unfortunately, hard drive failure is one of the most common causes of data loss, and it can also be one of the most challenging problems to fix. Many people do not realise the complexity of a hard drive, which has been created using intricate machinery in a particle-free clean room. The meticulous design is a testament to the skill of the engineers, because it is a feat that the hardware can even be created.

As hardware issues can be difficult to fix, the best solution will be to consult a data recovery expert to retrieve your lost data. To avoid data retrieval in the future, you must be prepared for the day when a hard drive eventually comes to the end of its life, which is why you should start backing up your files.

Software Issues

One of the easiest hard drive problems to recover from is a software issue, as it can be simple to retrieve documents that have been accidently deleted. There are, however, some software issues that are a little more complicated to remedy, but they are not impossible with the help of an experienced professional.

Viruses & Malware

Viruses attack computer systems every day. Unfortunately, once they are in, they may significantly affect your software, corrupt data and could misuse an internet connection. The damage they cause will be dependent on the type of virus you encounter on a computer.

Many cyber criminals will make it their mission to gain access to a company’s computer to steal or destroy a person or organization’s valuable data, which could offer everything from financial databases, client information, transactions and more. Many cyber criminals attempt to gain access to a company’s financial details, whilst destroying the operation system to cover their tracks.

You must therefore take steps to strengthen your network security to prevent a cyber-attack. Also, as mentioned earlier, ensure you regularly backup data, so you can gain access to the files once a virus has been removed or you have changed computers.

Power Failures

Nothing can be more annoying than working on an important presentation or graphic design only for a computer to experience a power failure. You may therefore be kicking yourself that you didn’t regularly backup the file. This is a common way to lose data, so regularly save a document whilst your work.

Many people may not be aware that shutting a computer down without following the correct procedure may harm a device. By unexpectedly turning a computer off, you could cause significant hardware or operating system issues, which could make it difficult to access data in the future.

With affordable data recovery prices available online, it is worth contacting experienced professionals to retrieve your important files.

How to Reduce Your Cart Abandonment Rate

If cart abandonment is significantly affecting your company, you must look for ways to encourage customers to complete their online transactions. This means resolving any issues with the checkout experience, whilst finding ways to encourage visitors to shop with you.

Technical Issues

Many people are forced to abandon a shopping cart due to a website’s technical problem. Slow loading times are often one of the biggest technical issues affecting a business’s turnover, which can waste your company’s time and investment.

With customers expecting a website to load within two minutes, you can guarantee they will become annoyed if they are forced to wait any longer. Not only is it annoying, but it will make your company appear unprofessional. In fact, 40% of visitors will abandon their shopping carts if they are made to wait for more than three seconds. This could result in your business losing out on a considerable amount of money.

There are numerous ways to reduce your load times, such as by minimising HTTP requests, optimising images, placing stylesheets at the top your website and placing scripts at the bottom. Your hosting provider could also be letting you down. If you want your website to offer quick load times that won’t frustrate your customers, you will need a dedicated IP address, which means finding the best web hosting for your ecommerce website to effectively deal with an influx in web traffic.

Email Marketing

According to a study by Marketing Sherpa, 50% of customers believe abandoned cart email reminders are helpful, because they prompt them to purchase a product they may have forgotten. Opt for an email marketing automation service, which will remind potential customers to complete a transaction on your website – and a percentage could soon return to shop with you.

Payment Options

A lack of payment options could be causing customers to abandon their shopping cart. Most customers expect to find multiple payment methods at the checkout area, such as credit/debit card options, mobile payment apps or third party payment gateways, such as PayPal. If a person’s preferred payment option is not available, they may choose to leave their items in the middle of the transaction.

A third-party payment option also reassures a customer that they are dealing with a reputable company, so they will more likely to trust your company and purchase a product or service.

Long Transactions

A long checkout experience will only result in one thing: abandoned carts. The more complicated the checkout, the more frustrated your customers will become. You must look for ways to simplify transactions, which can be done by eliminating the need for an account creation, or by featuring a step-by-step marker on how long a customer has until completion.

It is undeniable that tackling abandoned shopping carts can be quite a challenge, however, you must act to resolve the problems so you can reap the rewards. With a simplified checkout experience, faster loading times and various payment options, you could find customers return to shop with you in the future.

4 Things Your E-Commerce Platform Must Have

When it comes to running a successful e-commerce site, there are certain things that you might want to have but there are at least four things that are an absolute must. With the object being to make sales, these things are what you need to convert visitors to buyers. Here are the leading four things that every e-commerce platform must have.

1) Fully Integrated CMS

The most important thing your site must have is a fully integrated CMS. This is a platform that integrates front and back end so that there is a seamless process that keeps everything under one roof, so to speak. If, for example, your corporation runs a platform such as SAP, take a few moments to check out the weaveability.com website and you’ll see exactly what a fully integrated SAP CMS can do for both you, in terms of managing your SAP e-commerce solution, and your customers, in terms of having a real time view of their account, your product stock and overall product data. In fact, the right platform lets you handle everything from managing categories, products, catalogues, SEO and specific product attributes. Thus enabling your customers to easily navigate your site and find what they are looking for.

2) Fully Responsive Web Design

As of 2015, more people searched and bought from a mobile device than from a PC at home or work. This being the case, Google has made it mandatory to offer a responsive web design or you could slip down on the SERPs. It’s all about UX (user experience) and if users can’t view your site on the tiniest device, you don’t have what it takes to give them that great shopping experience.

3) UX Designed to Convert

When you have your website built for you, the one thing you must expect from your web development company is a site that is designed to convert. This means taking visitors through a logical progression of pages and steps that take them to the ‘close.’ Without knowing it, they will be led from an introduction of a product or service to information detailing what it is or how it can benefit them right through to the shopping cart where they will hit the ‘Buy Now’ button. This is something that will most likely take a professional web development/marketing firm, so don’t skimp here. After all, you are running an e-commerce site and the object is to make sales. This takes the expertise of experienced professionals, so pay now to earn later. It’s a simple formula for success.

4) User-Friendly Interface

From the way in which your pages are arranged to the ease at which visitors can navigate your checkout process, a user-friendly interface is an absolute necessity. Just as a SAP ERP makes your life easier from ordering to selling (and everything in between) so too is that user-friendly interface a must. The object is to convert and if a visitor can’t easily see and navigate your site, they will bounce off to the next merchant listed in the SERPs.

While there are a number of other features which a good e-commerce site should have, these are of ultimate importance if you want to be a success. Streamline everything with the right solution, and make the site user-friendly and responsive. If you can accomplish that, you will convert at higher rates than you ever thought possible and that, after all, is why you are in business. You are looking to convert visitors to customers and this is how it’s done.

Why Cashflow Is the Lifeblood of Small Business

Your cashflow shows the overall health of your business. The money that you have left each month, after you’ve received payments from clients and paid your outgoings, is your net cashflow. If you have money left over, then your cashflow is positive and your business is in good health. If, on the other hand, you have more money going out than you have coming in, then your net cashflow is negative, and your business could soon be on life support. Read on to find out how to establish good cashflow practices to protect your business.

Work Out Your Cashflow Forecast

A cashflow forecast is a tool that you can use to get a broad overview of your finances for the coming weeks, months or year.

On your forecast, you would include:

  • Anticipated income from sales.
  • Costs and overheads.
  • When payments leave your account for things like loan repayments, payroll, and taxes.

Setting out this information helps you to plan ahead and make decisions about staffing costs, raising prices, outsourcing, and getting additional finance in place.

If you do need to obtain financing, then your lender will want to see your cashflow projections, so it’s a good idea to get into the habit of producing cashflow reports so that you have one ready when you need it.

Ways to Improve Cashflow With Your Customers

Use payment apps so that you can take payments from customers right away instead of sending out invoices or waiting for checks to clear. Take a look at solutions like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Pay Anywhere, to see if they would help you to get faster payments from your customers.

Set faster terms wherever possible. Some customers won’t want to lose the benefits that come with having 60 or 90 days to pay, but others will work with you where they can.

Make sure that you have an accounting system set up that automatically sends out payment reminders for late invoices and alerts your staff to make follow-up phone calls. Often invoices are paid late due to the customer being disorganized rather than any malicious intent, and a reminder is all that you need to get paid on time.

If you need to, don’t be afraid to add a note about late charges to your invoices. When customers know that late payments will cost them more money, they are more likely to prioritize paying you.

Use accounts receivable financing to get paid for your invoices immediately. Different invoice factoring companies have differing levels of service, so shop around for one that meets your needs.

How to Manage Your Expenditure to Free up Your Finances

Look at every expense that your business has. Is each one necessary? If it is, research your options and see if you can find a lower cost alternative. For example, you could switch to a bank with more competitive fees.

If you purchase stock, can you negotiate a discount for buying in bulk, or can you get freight included in the price?

Try to arrange better terms with your suppliers. Having a 60 day buffer before payment is due gives you time to collect from your clients.

Don’t forget to claim all of your tax deductions. You can claim for business use of your vehicle, paying contractors, rent on your premises, utility payments, supplies, repairs and maintenance, insurance costs, advertising, legal and accounting fees, interest on business loans, business lunches, and more.

It’s a good idea to hire an accountant instead of wrestling with the tax forms yourself. Your accountant will know all of the deductions that your business can claim, and claiming deductions that you may well overlook, can more than cover the accountant’s fee.

Use an accounting system to keep your accounts organized so that your accountant can get your taxes prepared on time and save you from late filing fees and interest payments. You can find a wide range of low cost and free accounting systems online. Some of the most popular systems are QuickBooks, Sage Online, Wave, Zoho Books and FreshBooks.

It’s important to keep a close eye on your cashflow and take swift action when finances get tight. By working out your cashflow projections and taking steps to keep your business’s lifeblood flowing, you’ll be able to plan ahead and work out which courses of action to take and when to take them. The technology available today makes keeping control of cashflow easier than ever, so running that side of your business doesn’t need to be a constant source of friction for you.

Why Networking at Conventions Is Essential in the Finance Sector

Once you land an entry level job in the financial sector, the only thing you can think of is working your way up the ladder so that one day you will be a financial guru like your boss or your boss’ boss. You have been bitten by the promotion bug. So what do you do? The natural progression here is to take that bachelor’s degree and work towards an upper level finance degree, online or on campus, but always with the intention of rising up through the ranks to a position of authority. One of the ways in which you can begin rising, even before you have that degree in hand, is to network at conventions. Here is why this is so important.

Getting Acquainted with the Various Careers within the Sector

Every year, there are literally dozens, if not hundreds, of different types of conventions within the financial sector. Some are local, some are statewide; some are even international because the financial sector isn’t limited to national boundaries. It is becoming increasingly common to reach trade agreements on a global level and as such, it is interesting to learn first-hand what experienced professionals in the field do within their job description.

Looking for the Right School

If you are working towards your undergrad degree in finance, you may be looking for the right school to earn a graduate degree within the financial sector. This is where you also decide if you want to continue on in your same job while studying part-time evenings and weekends, or do you perhaps want to earn your finance degree online. Taking an accredited online degree program would then, most likely, be your best option.

If You Are Entertaining the Notion of Changing Employers

One of the things you can accomplish at conventions in the finance sector is to meet potential future employers. In between talks and demonstrations, there is plenty of time to mingle with other attendees. Sometimes this is during a banquet or during a cocktail hour and other times it is while browsing the various displays set up in the main convention hall. If you ‘feel’ that connection when speaking with someone who has the potential to hire you in the future, these are the ones you make note of to follow up on at a later date.

Where to Go from Here

The question you want to answer at this point in time is probably, “What can I do with a masters in finance?” This is where you’ll get ideas for your career going forward because conventions are attended by professionals from literally every end of the business. From newcomers like yourself to professionals who have made a name for themselves in the industry and are highly admired, you will get tons of ideas on what you’d like your future to hold. Why is networking at conventions essential in the finance sector? If you are looking for a career it’s a great way to learn the various jobs you could do and if you are already a budding professional, you can make contacts at these events that can lead you into the future.

If there is a financial sector convention to be held near you, get your tickets sooner rather than later. You just never know who you might meet and how they will factor into your future.