Are you ready to take on Entrepreneurship Full-time? Asks Jessie Hughes of Altitude Acquisitions

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To limit the number of entrepreneurs who dive into business under-prepared, sales and marketing firm Altitude Acquisitions have outlined the sometimes brutal truths about entrepreneurship so that professionals can increase their chances of success.

There seems to be a belief emerging among young professionals that the only way to succeed in entrepreneurship is to drop everything and dive in. Whilst this commitment is admirable, and a sudden shock to the system is sometimes the push new entrepreneurs need to launch a successful career, this approach is also leading to a rise in the number of new entrepreneurs who begin their journeys before they are truly ready and as a result, fail to get past the starting line.

These days, it pays to have more than one job

The pace of today’s business world has meant that many professionals are facing the unknown. As such, many have more than one thing going on at one time to ensure they have a strong skill set and a backup plan, should their entrepreneurial endeavours not work out.

Don’t expect it to be fun and games

Many people may think of entrepreneurs as being able to pick and choose their hours, swan into the office when they like and delegate their workloads. However, in the early days of a start-up this could not be further from the truth. Starting a business is a long and stressful process which will eat up sanity and can be incredibly isolating if an entrepreneur is not careful to maintain their social connections. However, this hard work will pay off eventually.

Don’t peak too soon

Too many entrepreneurs do themselves a disadvantage by telling people about their venture before they actually begin. Not only does this ramp up the pressure to succeed, it also opens them up to a sea of negativity, especially from friends and family who may not be able to understand why they would want to put themselves at this kind of financial risk.

You will fail

The odds are very much not in favour of entrepreneurs, and almost without exception all entrepreneurs will fail at something along the way. The distinguishing factor however between the successful and unsuccessful is how this failure is dealt with and the lessons that are learnt from the experience.

iTrinegy Enhances its VMware Ready™ Product Range With the Launch of Profiler Plus Flex

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iTrinegy, the leading provider of networked application risk management solutions, today announced that it had added to its virtual appliance product range with the introduction of Profiler Plus Flex for Network and Application Performance Measurement. Like the rest of the Flex family, Profiler Plus Flex has achieved VMware Ready™ status. This designation indicates that these products have undergone detailed validation procedures to achieve VMware’s highest level of endorsement and are supported on vSphere® 5.5 for production environments.

“With organisations increasingly virtualizing their IT infrastructure, the need has arisen to allow full network profiling in the virtualized world and ourProfiler Plus Flex solution addresses that requirement”, explains iTrinegy Product Director, Frank Puranik. “It enables you to quickly understand who is using your network, what it is being used for and how long operations take. Alerts can easily  be set up to  warn when application performance falls below specified thresholds helping support teams to always be a step ahead of end-users. Additionally, Profiler Plus’ network metrics can also be used together with iTrinegy’s INE Flex Enterprise to recreate test networks based on your real-world experiences in the virtual world”.

“We are pleased that iTrinegy Profiler Plus Flex qualifies for the VMware Ready™ logo, signifying to customers that it has met specific VMware interoperability standards and works effectively with effectively with VMware infrastructure, which can speed time-to-value within customer environments,” said Howard Hall, senior director, Global Technology Partner Organization, VMware.

The VMware Ready program is a co-branding benefit of the Technology Alliance Partner (TAP) program that makes it easy for customers to identify partner products certified to work with VMware cloud infrastructure. Customers can use these products and solutions to lower project risks and realize cost savings over custom built solutions. With thousands of members worldwide, the VMware TAP program includes best-of-breed technology partners with the shared commitment to bring the best expertise and business solution for each unique customer need.

Worldpay’s Pioneering Pricing Plans Allow Greater Flexibility for Britain’s Small Businesses

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Worldpay has today unveiled a unique offering for the UK payments industry that will provide a greater range of payment pricing options, meaning SMEs can find the perfect payment plan to fit their business.

Taking inspiration from the mobile telephony industry, the UK’s number one payment provider has added ‘Pay As You Go’ and ‘Fixed Monthly’ card payment pricing plans giving Britain’s small businesses more flexibility, simplicity and choice for taking card payments.

Joining Worldpay’s current Standard plan, the two new payment plans will be available for both Point of Sale and eCommerce card payments. They come with additional optional ‘Bolt Ons’ providing small businesses access to Worldpay’s added value services such as Worldpay Benefits Club and My Business Dashboard which have been designed to help SMEs grow their businesses.

“Pay As You Go” is a flexible low-commitment option for small businesses or start-ups who may not necessarily know how they will transact. Perfect for the likes of seasonal businesses who don’t take payments all year round, the simple transaction fees are only charged when the customer makes a payment and there’s no fixed monthly commitment.

“Fixed Monthly” meanwhile is an option for established companies who are looking for peace of mind with inclusive transaction fees and terminal rental. With one monthly regular fixed fee, businesses can have a cost that gives both inclusive transactions and terminal rental.

The addition of the new plans comes after dialogue between Worldpay and small businesses across the UK which suggested that current pricing plans didn’t suit the needs of all businesses and that there was demand for greater simplicity around the costs of taking card payments. No two businesses are alike and the new plans allow businesses the freedom and flexibility to pick the option that best suits the needs of their business.

Dave Hobday, UK Managing Director Worldpay, said “We’re very excited to be unveiling this game changing proposition for the UK card payments market.

“By providing greater flexibility, simplicity and choice we want to open up the possibilities for small businesses to take card payments, regardless of the structure, size or maturity of their business, helping them grow by increasing the ways they can sell to their customers.

“By listening to SMEs we understand that payments can be complex. We’ve simplified this by replicating the language of the mobile telephony world to present customers with options that they’re already familiar with. This will help them get the right plan that ultimately meets the needs of their business.”

Worldpay “Pay As You Go” and “Fixed Monthly” will be rolling out in the UK over the next few weeks and will be fully live later in May. For more information on Worldpay services visit Worldpay.com.

Complete One Director Glen Lowes Explains Why Not Everyone is Cut Out for an Entrepreneurship

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Entrepreneurship is becoming an ever-more popular career choice, thanks in part to TV shows such as The Apprentice. Glen Lowes of Complete One outlines why not everyone is destined for entrepreneurial success and shares what it is takes to succeed.

Entrepreneur and Managing Director at Complete One, Glen Lowes has vast experience working with budding entrepreneurs, coaching and mentoring them. In his role as MD at Complete One, Glen Lowes has a proven track record for developing many budding entrepreneurs into successful businessmen and women. Glen Lowes believes that not everyone can be an entrepreneur, and that whilst he does support the idea that everyone has the potential, not enough people have the focus, drive and desire to take on entrepreneurship and win.

1. Willpower

The initial period of excitement can soon ware off once the reality of the day to day running of a start-up kicks in. Getting a start-up off the ground and making sure it beats the odds and survives the first year can mean sleepless nights, having little or no money and having to overcome an endless number of obstacles.

Through sheer willpower, the most successful entrepreneurs are able to become problem solvers and turn what started as an impossible dream into reality.

2. Resilience

It can often take multiple attempts for success to be achieved. The most successful entrepreneurs will have hit walls, and been told ‘no’ multiple times. World-renowned author of Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling was turned down by 12 publishers before Bloomsbury picked it up for an advance of just £1,500. The series went on to sell more than 450 million copies worldwide.

Successful founders need thick skin and the ability to bounce back from failure. Failure is an inevitable part of life and the most successful entrepreneurs learn from those failures and make sure not to fall into the same traps in the future.

3. Decisiveness

Decisiveness is what separates the average from the extraordinary. It can be hard to make tough decisions that might be unpopular, however it is an important step in becoming a successful entrepreneur. When making critical decisions, entrepreneurs cannot afford to over-analyse or hesitate as indecision can leave the outcome to chance, thereby handing the advantage to a competitor.

Newcastle-based events promotions firm, Complete One help people within the industry to fulfil their entrepreneurial potential. As supporters of entrepreneurship, Complete One offer unrivalled business development opportunities to the people they work with. The firm provides opportunities for their contractors to learn all aspects of their internal workings as well as providing them with the skills and knowledge in the following areas: campaign management, client relations, finance, HR, motivational and public speaking, sales and marketing strategies.

Understanding the Value Mobile Payments Bring to your Marketing Strategy

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As an affordable tool that small businesses should leverage in their marketing strategy, mobile payments can not only improve operational efficiencies, but they can also empower your customers in meaningful ways. Processing customer payments on a mobile device allows the entire purchase experience to be on your customer’s terms, which also improves their overall buying experience.

With customers placing their trust in purchasing decisions from larger merchants, offering mobile payments can help you overcome any negative perceptions of being a small business. Customers may not have the assurance that you’ll honor returns or exchanges, and mobile payments can help you overcome those purchasing hurdles.

Many mobile payment providers integrate with a merchant’s existing loyalty program and that can eliminate the need for a physical loyalty card, which can significantly lower your costs in the long-term.

OpenFin Works With ICAP Global Broking to Deploy Its Next Generation Fusion Desktop Offering

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OpenFin, today announced that it has provided ICAP Global Broking with its industry leading HTML5 container technology, which will be used with ICAP’s next generation Fusion Desktop platform.

Fusion is the ICAP Global Broking eCommerce portal that enables customers to transact across multiple asset classes and provides access to aggregated information, real time market data, analytics and live news.

Previously only accessible via a web browser, Fusion Desktop now also allows customers to access the portal in a next generation, segregated desktop application which uses HTML5 technology from financial technology provider, OpenFin. To date, Fusion Desktop has been deployed to trading desks at over 40 sell-side companies.

Dean Berry, CEO of e-Commerce, ICAP Global Broking, said: “Fusion Desktop provides our customers with a next generation platform that significantly advances traditional voice broking technology systems. In working with OpenFin, customers have access to a fully interactive desktop experience run on the most robust HTML5 engine available. Enhancing customer user experience is extremely important to us and we will continue to make investments which make the process of trading in hybrid environment more interactive and efficient.”

Mazy Dar, CEO of OpenFin, added: “ICAP Fusion is pushing what’s possible with user experience for traders. We’re delighted they selected OpenFin and are pleased to be working with the ICAP team to establish OpenFin as an industry-wide standard.”

Are you an authentic leader? You should Be Warns Arete22

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Many famous leaders have changed the world: Nelson Mandela, Steve Jobs or Martin Luther King are only a few to name. Arete22, an outsourced event marketing specialist based in Liverpool, says: “Many have asked the question: What makes a great leader? Fact is that all great leaders have one thing in common; they come across as authentic.” Arete22 insists that businesses must understand the impact of leadership on their company’s success. In fact, research shows that 75 percent of people who leave their job voluntarily do not quit their job, but their boss. Great leadership has a positive impact on productivity, engagement and staff turnover. As a result, businesses that provide support and guidance to develop their leaders achieve a higher ROI and experience lower turnover rates.

Business Students Maintain a Global Mind-set Despite Rising Geopolitical Risk and Instability

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KPMG International has conducted its third annual survey of business students studying at some of the world’s leading universities in 23 different countries. Ninety-three percent of the students, all on the verge of entering the workforce, said that they were concerned about the impact of ongoing geopolitical risk and instability on their careers. Despite this finding, they maintained a global outlook, with nearly the same number (89 percent) saying they would be prepared to move regularly to a different country for the right job opportunity. Eighty percent also said they expected to work in 3-6 countries during their career.

This year’s survey also showed that a significant majority of students would consider working for the same company for their entire career (70 percent), with 20 percent of those even saying it was likely, or indeed very likely. The students also showed they have a focus on the future, 64 percent already have a clear idea of what profession they want to work in. Finance (37 percent) and Professional Services (27 percent) were two industries the students labelled as most desirable to them. Technology, which in 2014 was favoured by 18 percent of students, had less appeal in 2016 with only 8 percent picking it out as a desirable industry to work in. This is despite the fact that among the students, 66 percent said they expected the technology sector to be the most successful over the next 20 years, professional services (15 percent) and finance (10 percent) both ranked well below this.

Rachel Campbell, KPMG’s Global Head of People, speaking from Dubai, where KPMG is this week hosting the final of KPMG’s leading student International Case Competition said, “I think it’s really interesting that the vast majority of students would consider working at the same company for their entire career. Millennials and Gen Y are seeing the value that large multinational organizations can bring to their careers. As businesses grow their global footprint and service offerings, people now have a greater opportunity than ever before to have several different careers within one organization.”

“This finding was backed up when we asked the students to rank the most important factors in choosing a company to work for; career opportunities, professional challenges, continuous training and having an international mobility program, all ranked in the top 10. The other significant finding was that students (88 percent) are really passionate about working for a company that contributes positively to the world, with 90 percent saying it was important that the work they do in future drives positive and sustainable change in society.”

The winner of this year’s KPMG International Case Competition (KICC) will be announced on Thursday 14 April, by John Veihmeyer, Chairman, KPMG International. “KICC is the largest business case competition of its kind,” said Veihmeyer. “KPMG has been running this event for 13 years and it’s always incredibly rewarding to see these students grow in confidence as they analyze and present their solutions to a panel of KPMG Partners. It brings to life just how talented these individuals are.”

StorageCraft Launches Disaster Recovery Cloud in Europe

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StorageCraft Cloud Services features fast, reliable offsite backup storage and disaster recovery capabilities.

StorageCraft® Technology today announced the availability of its purpose-built backup and disaster recovery cloud for Europe. StorageCraft Cloud Services™, which is already trusted by IT professionals throughout North America, Australia and New Zealand, allows users to customise cloud coverage to meet their unique recovery needs.

StorageCraft Cloud Services features an easy-to-use portal and provides several flexible recovery options to mitigate system downtime and data loss with quick recovery through fully virtualised and networked systems in the cloud. StorageCraft Cloud Services also features a budget-friendly pricing structure that does not have hidden fees.

“In today’s high-tech world, it is important that an organisation has access to its mission critical data and computer systems at all times. StorageCraft Cloud Services is a best-in-class business continuity solution that reliably allows organisations to resume network and business operations after a disaster strikes,” said Brandon Nordquist, StorageCraft’s vice president of product management. “In addition to being a best-in-class business continuity solution, StorageCraft Cloud Services’ simple pricing structure allows IT professionals to focus on recovery after disaster strikes, not on how to pay for recovery at the worst possible time – during an emergency.”

StorageCraft Cloud Services, built on technology from the award-winning StorageCraft ShadowProtect® suite of software, provides the following features to IT professionals:

  • Instant virtualisation and networking of cloud-based backups.
  • Granular file and folder access.
  • Seed and bare metal restore (BMR) drives shipped directly to and from your location.
  • Personal control of cloud backups for fast recoveries.
  • Tier-3 datacentre security and encryption standards to ensure the most secure cloud hardware and software architecture possible.
  • An easy-to-use self-service, Cloud Services portal, for simple and fast recovery of systems and data.
  • 24 hours a day, 365 days a year global Network Operation Center monitoring and Support Teams.

StorageCraft Cloud Services is available in flexible tiered options and service levels:

  • Cloud Basic: Secure offsite storage of critical business backups with full system restore via a BMR drive.
  • Cloud : Includes everything in Cloud Basic, plus immediate file and folder recovery.
  • Cloud Premium: Includes everything in Cloud , as well as instant virtualisation of data and systems in the cloud.

IBS Intelligence Launches the CedarIBS Fintech Index (CIFTI)

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IBS Intelligence has launched an innovative service offering for the financial technologies marketplace, the CedarIBS FinTech Index (CIFTI). The CIFTI is a unique equity index comprising of selected FinTech companies from around the world, across 25 exchanges.

There are 4 key indexes that enable one to track performance CIFTI 50, CIFTI Large Cap, CIFTI Mid Cap and CIFTI Small Cap. Indexes are computed every 2 hours; and are comparable to all major indices such as S&P, Dow Jones, NASDAQ etc.

The CIFTI can be compared to other global indexes on a percentage change basis, as an indicator of the performance of this segment of companies compared to other global benchmarks.

Furthermore, IBS Intelligence allows users totrack over 140 FinTech companies across 25 stock exchanges globally; by looking at key stock metrics, P/E and Market Cap. Users can study the performance of a single stock or multiple stocks, collection of large cap, mid cap and small cap stocks, or benefit from a comparison of a stock against any of the major indices to see how a stock is performing relative to the overall market.

The CIFTI has been envisioned for the investors, board members, leadership teams and customers of FinTech companies and financial investors in the banking and private equity industry. In addition to the CIFTI, IBS Intelligence has insightful industry reports covering many of these companies.

Till date, there has been no single source globally for an instant review of stocks specific to the financial technologies marketplace. The CIFTI now provides this.

Mr. Sanjiv Anand, Chairman, Cedar Management Consulting International said, “This is an important milestone for Cedar and IBS Intelligence as we present financial companies with a first-ever global benchmark of FinTech companies. The CIFTI will be instrumental in tracking market trends and will offer a historical point of view to the performance of FinTech companies. This is yet another endeavour on behalf of IBS Intelligence to make it a one-stop shop for everything Fintech!”

Established in 1991, IBS Intelligence is the definitive source of independent news and analysis relating toFinTech, globally. Its iconic publication IBS Journal is recognized worldwide. Its comprehensive range of Reports and Case Studies are driven by its independence and expertise. IBS Intelligence is a division of Cedar Management Consulting International, LLC – a leading global management and technology consulting firm.

Crisis Communication Tips for Small Businesses

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As a small business owner, you might not have a dedicated PR team equipped to handle a disaster or crisis, but that doesn’t mean you cannot arm yourself by putting an executable plan in place before it’s needed. For crisis management to be effective, small businesses should focus on delivering key messages in a timely and accurate manner in order to strengthen damage control.

Phillip Thune explains that when a disaster strikes, businesses are not doomed to fail. Thune provides three crisis communication tips:

Respond quickly. Don’t allow your customers to become frustrated if they are left in the dark. Ensure you are responding in a timely manner and providing all information that is available. If you don’t have all the answers that is okay – identify that there is an issue and you and your team are working on a resolution. Social media might be the first channel to communicate through, since it is such a quick way to reach your audience.

Answer honestly.  Don’t exacerbate the situation by avoiding the issues at hand. Provide transparent and honest answers in order to demonstrate trustworthiness and show your customers that you care. Having a plan in place ahead of time can also provide your staff the necessary tools they need in order to respond to the influx of calls, emails or social media enquiries.

Arete22 Implements Customer Retention Strategy

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With the fierce competition present in modern business environments, it’s crucial to do everything to protect the existing customer base.

Arete22’s expertise in this area has acted as a driving force in the firm becoming one of the most sought after outsourcing customer acquisitions solution within the sales and marketing industry.

Arete22 believes that a company’s ability to retain customers is based on how smooth and efficient their internal operations run. There are significant costs in finding new clients in the form of marketing costs, and Arete22 argues that positive word of mouth can prove to be an extremely cost-effective form of marketing. Word of mouth is the act of encouraging communication about a brand, and Arete22 believes it is the strongest form of recommendation, as it can spread like wildfire. If people are talking about a business, recommending it to friends and family then it is extremely likely there will be an increase in sales from new customers. If a company has a dedicated core of customers who are repeat purchasers, they are likely to pass on good reviews to further prospects.

Creating consistency

Whether it’s through amazing products, great customer service, incredible brand stories or even funny disclosure, Arete22 argues that it doesn’t matter – as long as it’s aligned to the needs, wants and desires of the consumers. Creating a consistency in the way a brand completes routine tasks for their customers is essential to this process. Arete22 believes that businesses need to determine the best way to complete tasks, and then develop a standard method or guideline of all operating procedures. This will also help to create confident workers who can truly say, “Yes – I do know how to complete that task.”

Proactively seeking feedback

Arete22 believes that – where possible – businesses should always attempt to get customer feedback immediately after their experience with the company. This is because feedback is a valuable source of information that can be used to make important decisions. Indeed, top performing companies are top performing companies because they consistently search for ways to make their best even better. Proactively seeking feedback, both internally from employees, and externally from customers, is likely to result in an improved experience for both parties.