Reece Mennie is the CEO of Hunter Jones
Entrepreneurship – Perceptions Vs Reality
Being your own boss is an aspirational dream for many people in the UK. Some will be natural entrepreneurs with a ground-breaking product or service, whereas others will fall into business ownership because of a profitable side hustle that develops into a full-time job. The reality as we all know, is that being successful in business is hard work and high pressured.
It is natural as a first-time business owner to feel that your best isn’t good enough or your present circumstances do not match where you feel your business should be in terms of your strategy or personal expectations.
In fact, a survey by OnePoll of 1,000 UK CEOs of SMEs found that many respondents felt a lack of business experience and perceived skill deficiencies were key barriers to the growth of their companies, while 45% of said their businesses had not only turned out substantially different from what they had envisaged. Such findings are not unexpected, but they are troubling given Companies House reported that there were 672,890 new companies registered between 2018 to 2019, the highest number of incorporations since 2009 to 2010. Yet in that same year, the UK saw the largest number of dissolutions since 2009 to 2010 with 508,865 companies dissolved.
Speaking from experience
It may make you wonder if many of these businesses might have survived to trade another day if the owners had a bit more experience of running a business or at least a mentor to turn to for support and guidance. When I left school I dived straight into entrepreneurship , but with no mentor to guide me, I quickly found progress slow going. My lack of business acumen meant that the decisions I made took time and often proved costly if I got them wrong. Reading books and listening to podcasts on personal development, business and leadership, were great for getting me started as a businessman, but I quickly realised that the communication is one way, and doesn’t allow for questions or clarification. I also found that I felt quite isolated working by myself. For some people this can be especially mentally taxing, especially if they feel things are going wrong and need some advice to get motivated or make an important business decision.
When I made the decision to find a mentor I reached out to someone with great experience in business as well as understanding of my industry. It is still one of the best business decisions I have made in my life, as I made new contacts through my mentor and gained indispensable business strategies and advice. Most importantly I made a great friend who I can turn to for advice and support.
A mentor will help steer your business through turbulent waters
If you are thinking of starting a business or are in the process of growing one, do not be afraid to reach out to other business owners and ask for help. A successful mentor can give you the benefit of their business experience and provide counsel whenever you need it. Membership organisations like the FSB frequently host networking works that give you access to a range of talented individuals who can provide much needed support and advice.
Find a mentor. Let them support you to on your path to success and growth, and the results will speak for themselves.
WHY 2020 IS THE RIGHT TIME FOR FS MODERNISATION
Chris McLaughlin is chief product and marketing officer at Nuxeo
Few would argue against the notion that the UK financial services (FS) industry is facing many challenges as both a new year and new decade begin. Uncertainty over Brexit, the potential threat from new competitors and Big Tech brands, and rising customer expectations are just some of the challenges facing the sector.
But for every challenge, there is also opportunity. Digital banking paves the way for greater service continuity, making it easier for banks to capture and analyse data (with consumers’ permission), reduced repetition of information collection, and delivering more of what customers want in terms of products and services.
By innovating with richer and more convenient online and mobile banking experiences, and by using technology to deliver smarter and more streamlined backend operations, traditional FS providers can roll out and execute services more cost-efficiently too.
But many FS firms have been restricted in their ability to innovate and realise such opportunities, due to the outdated and inefficient systems and applications to be found in many organisations. However, with many FS workers believing that the challenges the industry face could see their company lose customers in 2020, the time is ripe for FS firms to embrace modernisation.
The 2020 agenda according to UK FS workers
Nuxeo recently surveyed 501 UK FS workers that focused on the challenges, concerns, and opportunities facing the industry. The main 2020 FS industry challenges were Brexit uncertainty; cybersecurity threats and information or data breaches; physical branches closing down; the burden of increasing regulation; competition from Big Tech firms potentially moving into FS; and competition from new challenger banks.
Perhaps of most concern to the industry is the fact that 59% of FS workers in the study felt that these challenges left their organisation vulnerable to losing customers over the next 12 months. But there are signs that FS firms are adapting to the new market reality and embracing technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) that can help them modernise and address such challenges.
Almost two-thirds of respondents claimed their organisations are committed to innovation, and more than half (58 per cent) believe that firms which use AI in creative ways make for more attractive employers. 68% of respondents say their organisation is already using AI for content search or is in discussion to do so, and 67% say the same for automating backend processes, suggesting that FS firms are alive to the value that can be achieved.
Transforming customer service delivery is also a key focus for AI ambitions, with more than one-third (34 per cent) of respondents saying their organisation is already trying out AI in this context. Chatbots, often used to improve the customer experience, are being used by one-quarter. Meanwhile, 41 per cent are already using AI-based capabilities for some form of data analysis, suggesting that FS providers are attuned to the need to target their activities more strategically.
Smarter management of data, content and information
One of the major threats to productivity is the inability for FS firms to connect and organise all the data they have at their disposal and there is a real need for smarter management of data, content and information. Compared to newer industry market entrants, established banks and FS providers have far richer data going back decades or longer. If institutions could tap into this considerable resource, it could be used to distil invaluable intelligence and insights into consumer trends, product performance, and relative account profitability.
Although organisations have all the underlying information stored within their legacy systems, it is typically very difficult for teams to access, combine and cross-analyse this data. This is because, too often, systems are unconnected, use incompatible data formats and feature considerable data duplication between applications.
In the Nuxeo research, FS providers confirm that, on average, they store information and content across nine different systems. And these systems tend to operate in silos: almost three-quarters of respondents say their organisation’s systems are not fully connected with each other.
System users who need to access information as a regular part of their jobs can be spending up to an hour a day (52 minutes) searching for what they need because it is not readily discoverable. Given that this equates to four hours 20 minutes each week per employee spent looking for information, the total time wasted across an organisation over a year is quite significant.
Embarking on a managed journey of modernisation
13 per cent of respondents in Nuxeo’s study believe their organisation’s inability to adopt AI quickly enough is one of the main challenges facing UK FS in 2020, so it’s something that will need to be addressed sooner rather than later.
But a managed modernisation journey, incorporating wider use of AI, which can help address many of the issues that are so concerning to those that work in FS, is already underway for many. Such modernisation can deliver quick wins, without incurring new risk or detracting from other critical work that needs to be done in 2020 and should be embraced wholeheartedly as the FS industry embarks on the new decade.
WHY MAKING MONEY ON YOUR MOBILE IS EASIER THAN YOU MIGHT THINK
Aaron Brooks, Co-Founder of Vamp
For Millennials and Generation Z, becoming a social media influencer is an increasingly desired career. According to a recent study, 86% of millennials want to use their social platforms to post sponsored content. It comes as no surprise. Getting paid to produce content about the products you love, why wouldn’t you?
It’s more than just a pipe dream too. While marketing used to revolve around big brands, employing big agencies to create ads, technological advancements have created a user generated content boom. Thanks to smartphones, most of us now have a 12 megapixel camera in our pockets. Brands have capitalised on this, launching campaigns that harvest user generated content, asking their customers to share their brand experiences through pictures, videos and reviews.
Social networks have normalised the sharing of content, which has helped propel this movement further. ASOS’ UGC hashtag #AsSeenOnMe has over a million entries on Instagram. Then of course there’s Apple’s incredible ‘Shot on an iPhone’ billboards, which use their user’s images to promote their phones.
Influencer marketing takes this a step further. These social creators produce high-end content and have engaged followings – both a valuable commodities for brands. 93% of marketers now using influencer marketing. So if you’re looking to make your mark as a content creator, there are plenty of opportunities. Don’t be put off if your Instagram following isn’t in the high thousands either. Micro influencers, with their small but highly engaged audiences, have become popular among marketers and this trend will continue to grow in 2020.
Of course, brands want high-quality content to represent their brand, but if you’re keen to kick start your creator career and start making money, a smart phone and a creative eye is a good place to start. If you want to take it further, then follow these three tips for success.
Hone your personal brand
Rather than trying to be fashion, art, foodie and travel all in one neat package, find a niche and create a consistent message. The same goes for photography styles. If you want to be the flatlay expert, I’d recommend sticking to that at least 80% of the time.
Finding your niche and making it your hallmark will let people know what they can expect from you. It’ll make you more likely to maintain follower loyalty and help you to stand out from the crowd. Make sure it’s of genuine interest to you. You’ll need enough enthusiasm to post consistently in order to build your authority in that area.
Cultivate an engaged following
While a high follower count was once the most prized possession of the influencer community, times have changed. These days if you want the attention of big name brands, not only do you need a beautiful feed, but a highly engaged following. That means people who follow you, spend time with your content and engage with it.
Actively engaging with your existing audience and contributing to the larger Instagram community will help you build relationships on Instagram. This means replying with genuine
comments and pro-actively engaging by offering your own comments on other accounts.
While it might be tempting to take shortcuts by buying fake engagement or followers, it will only sabotage your efforts. Software has become increasingly effective at spotting fakes so chances are, you’ll be found out and blacklisted.
Maximise influencer marketing platforms
Once you’ve honed your personal brand and cultivated an engaged following, you can begin making money on your mobile. Rather than waiting for these opportunities to find you, you can take a proactive approach and join an influencer marketing platform.
These technology services connect brands with content creators. Depending on the platform, it may have a database of thousands of pre-vetted influencers who have opted-in to receive content collaboration briefs from brands. You’ll get opportunities delivered direct to your mobile and will be able to choose whether you opt in or not. This gives you the freedom and flexibility to work with brands that truly resonate with you and balance the work around other commitments.
With brands constantly searching for people who boast content creation skills, there are plenty of career opportunities in the influencer space. For those looking to make money in this space, all you will need is a smart phone, passion and creativity to begin carving a career as an influencer.
HOW ENTERPRISE INFORMATION MANAGEMENT, CLOUD AND ANALYTICS WILL IMPACT FINANCIAL SERVICES IN 2020
Richard Mill, director at Business Systems (UK) Ltd Business Systems’ Will Davenport on which drivers of change will most...
CAPITAL MARKETS PARTICIPANTS HAVE HIT A WALL WITH COMPLIANCE, NEW INTERNATIONAL STUDY FINDS
The research suggests that many broker-dealers and other trading entities have come to a fork in the road, where they...
BANKS UNDER ATTACK: HOW FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS CAN PROTECT DIGITAL GROWTH
By Victor Acin, Threat Intelligence Analyst, Blueliv Financial services firms are increasingly being told to embrace disruption in order...
THE ROLE OF NEW TECHNOLOGY IN DEVELOPMENT OF MYANMAR’S BANKING INDUSTRY
U Htoo Htet Tay Za, Managing Director, AGD Bank Myanmar’s economy is one of the fastest growing in Asia...
WHY 2020 IS THE RIGHT TIME FOR FS MODERNISATION
Chris McLaughlin is chief product and marketing officer at Nuxeo Few would argue against the notion that the UK...
WHAT DOES 2020 LOOK LIKE FOR P2P LENDING?
By Roberts Lasovskis, Investment Platform Lead, TWINO It’s a new year; time for resolutions and forward planning, positivity and...
WHY MAKING MONEY ON YOUR MOBILE IS EASIER THAN YOU MIGHT THINK
Aaron Brooks, Co-Founder of Vamp For Millennials and Generation Z, becoming a social media influencer is an increasingly desired...
DIFFERENTIATION – THE KEY TO THRIVING IN A SATURATED MARKET
Graham Glass, CEO of Cypher Learning What has enabled Cypher to continue to grow in an increasingly saturated market?...
WILL BLOCKCHAIN REVOLUTIONIZE FINANCE?
By Ken Timsit, ConsenSys Over the last 10 years, researchers, software developers, start-ups, and large companies have been conducting...
FIVE FINANCIAL SERVICES TRENDS FOR 2020: BIGTECHS SWOOP IN, BANKS GO ON THE OFFENSIVE AND CRYPTOCURRENCY STALLS
Rahul Singh, president of financial services at HCL Technologies We’ve just finished a very exciting decade in financial services, with new...
COMBATING INSURANCE FRAUD WITH MACHINE LEARNING
By Georgios Kapetanvasileiou, Analytical Consultant at SAS Most insurance companies depend on human expertise and business rules-based software to...
DELIVERING SUCCESSFUL IT SYSTEMS THROUGH THE POWER OF PARTNERSHIPS
By Mike Smith, Executive Director, Virgin Media Business (Direct) Is there anything more frustrating than finding out your bank account...
BATTLEFACE RECEIVES INVESTMENT FROM FINTECH VENTURES FUND
battleface Inc., a rapidly growing tech-enabled insurance startup focused on providing travel insurance products for unconventional travellers worldwide, announced today...
VANQUIS BANK PARTNERS WITH HOOYUTO DIGITALISE KYC PROCESSES
HooYu KYC digital journey deployed during the customer lifecycle on a risk-based approach Leading customer onboarding and KYC technology...
WHY NEOBANKS ARE ON THE RISE IN THE UK
New research by SmallBusinessPrices.co.uk analyses how neobanks are on the rise and why they’re so popular amongst consumers compared to...
RECOLLECTING 2019 CRYPTOCURRENCY TRENDS & LOOKING FORWARD TO 2020
Marie Tatibouet is the CMO at Gate.io It has been a bold and progressive year for the digital asset...
WILL HONG KONG REMAIN THE JURISDICTION OF CHOICE FOR OFFSHORE BANKING?
Hong Kong has traditionally been seen as a tax haven and the financial hub of Asia, if not the world....
HOW CHARITIES CAN MEET TOMORROW’S DIGITAL CHALLENGES?
By Steve Georgiou, Business Consultant at Xpedition Charities are under constant scrutiny for how they handle their finances. Budgets...
RECALL YOUR REPUTATION: HOW TO HANDLE PRODUCT RECALLS
By Alex Balcombe, Partner at Harris Balcombe John Lewis, Tesco, and Hotpoint have all been in the news in...
THE WORLD’S MOST ENTREPRENEURIAL COUNTRIES PERFECT TO START A BUSINESS IN
Latona’s has analysed The Global Entrepreneur Monitor data to reveal the world’s most entrepreneurial nation. Analysing each country by a...