Our staggering mobile future

In 2009 some 300 million mobile apps were downloaded. In 2010 the number of apps downloaded rocketed to a staggering FIVE BILLION!

The surge in mobile social media platforms saw 347 percent growth inTwitter mobile usage, 200 million mobile Facebook users and 100 millionYouTube videos played on mobile devices every day, according to leading industry blog mobilefuture.org.

UK custom publishing company tkgb.co.uk in a recent report noted that today consumers are being offered a mindboggling array of applications and social media platforms that are pushing mobile growth to dizzying heights.

An independent study at the end of 2010 of over 5,000 US adult smartphone Internet users by Ipsos OTX, an independent market research firm, provided some useful insight for business into consumer mobile trends. For example, key findings included 71% of smartphone users search because of an ad they’ve seen either online or offline; 74% of smartphone shoppers make a purchase as a result of using their smartphones to help with shopping, and 88% of those who look for local information on their smartphones take action within a day.

Such figures indicate the potential value mobile offers to smaller business to engage and connect with their valued audiences, but questions remain about corporate social media and its mobile approach. Is the corporate app merely going to remain being about building relationships and generating loyalty or is there another dimension yet to be unveiled?

A Fortune Magazine report last year concluded that Fortune 500
companies today typically leverage social media technologies like blogs and Twitter in order to improve their communications approach, build internal knowledge and improve marketing, for example.

Yet research from McKinsey suggests that high end companies using social media or “collaborative Web 2.0 technologies” are also achieving higher profits, according to wallblog.co.uk. The blog notes the report says those companies that fail to implement social media could be making a “critical mistake”.

EU firms write off a staggering €312 Billion due to bad debt – more than the total of the financial packages given to Ireland, Greece and Portugal!

Crikey, I just read the research released in Stockholm, Sweden, by leading credit management services company, Intrum Justitia, showing that the annual European written-off debt – monies owed to a business but never paid – has reached the record level of €312 billion – a figure exceeding the EU/IMF financial assistance package of €273 billion* granted to Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

Intrum Justitia’s annual European Payment Index survey of almost 6,000 European businesses also shows a divided European economy, with large differences between different countries.

“Talking about a single European Economy being in or on its way out of a recession is not relevant any more. Instead we see a much more fragmented picture, where some countries are doing better and better and others are becoming worse and worse. Billions of Euros have been poured into Greece, Ireland and Portugal. Although we have seen a very troubling development, these economies together only make up a little more than a third of the UK GDP. The surging debt write-offs in the UK are a clear call for action in combating late payments,” comments Intrum Justitia CEO, Lars Wollung.

Now in its seventh year, the survey also reveals that days to payment continue to increase. The EPI 2011 reveals the average time from a business-to-business invoice being issued until payment is received to be 56 days.

In October 2010, the European Parliament adopted a directive stating that unless otherwise mentioned in a contract, the business-to-business deadline for payments is 30 days. Member states have two years to adopt the new directive. The Intrum Justitia EPI 2011 clearly shows that time to payment in Europe has to decline drastically in the years to come to meet the implemented directive on late payments.

“The new European Late Payments Directive is a step forward in getting a better payment culture in all of Europe and allowing businesses to help put Europe on a path of solid economic recovery. However, legislation is not enough – companies need to have better credit and cash-flow management systems. Pre-emptive work on credit policies and credit decisions, by giving credit in a responsible way, is essential and should be a top priority for enterprises all over Europe,” says Lars Wollung.

On average, the public sector in Europe takes 65 days to pay its invoices. Payments from consumers are made in 40 days.

“Governments all over Europe must also take their share of the responsibility, since public authorities more often than not are the worst late payers. Governments should be at the forefront in developing a sound payment culture. One important step in this direction would be committing themselves to fast-tracking the implementation of the new Late Payments Directive – not waiting the full two years.

Joint efforts on late payments would be a necessary and efficient complement to other initiatives taken to restore the European economy,” says Lars Wollung.

*IMF/EU has granted 110 billion Euros to Greece and 85 billion to Ireland and 78 billion to Portugal.

About Intrum Justitia

Intrum Justitia is Europe’s leading Credit Management Services (CMS) group and offers services designed to measurably improve clients’ cash flows and long-term profitability, including purchase of receivables. Founded in 1923, Intrum Justitia has some 3,100 employees in 22 countries. Consolidated revenues amounted to SEK 3.8 billion in 2010. Intrum Justitia AB has been listed on NASDAQ OMX Stockholm since 2002. For further information, please visit http://www.intrum.com

About the European Payment Index
The survey was conducted simultaneously in 25 countries between January and March 2011. The survey was conducted in written form and almost 6,000 companies responded. This is the seventh year that Intrum Justitia has run the survey.

The questionnaire was translated into the respective national languages. Dispatch and return of the questionnaires were carried out on a decentralized basis by the countries concerned, whereas the analysis was carried out centrally in accordance with predetermined guidelines. All information has been verified and uncertainties were not included in the evaluation. Furthermore, not all anonymously sent questionnaires were taken into account for the evaluation. Companies in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland were questioned online by a specialized company (BING Research).

Tips to ride out of the recession as a small business

Worried about how to ride the post-recession wave to future business success? Some answers were provided by small business expert and business catalyst, Susan L. Reid. In a recent article on openforum.com, she wrote that as we move slowly out of financial crisis small business owners should be positioning themselves and their business for post-recession success by implementing seven basic steps. Read what Susan Reid proposed… 1. Invest in education Without spending too much, invest now in any education you need to make your post-recession business a success. Attend seminars online and in person, read books and trade magazines, and make sure you’re reading what’s on the cutting edge in your industry. 2. Pay off debt If you can pay off any debt, now is the time to do it. Taking on debt during a recession is common; however, now that the recession is lifting, don’t add to it. Pay cash for everything you need. Put your credit cards in the freezer. 3. Go “Zen” on extras Now that money may be flowing a little more, resist the urge to splurge on extras you don’t need. Think before you add all the bells and whistles to your business or cell phone. Think before you buy new technology. Do you really need that Starbucks’ latte twice a day? 4. Follow the market Read the papers or watch the news. Know what is happening and stay on top of it. 5. Renew contracts Have your new clients sign a long-term contract and your current clients renew or extend their contracts with you. 6. Hang on to your property While it may seem like a good time to sell your home or business property, don’t. At this moment in time, you won’t get top dollar and may still end up losing money. Instead, begin projects that will improve the quality (and eventual selling price) of your home or office 7. Don’t cut prices Right after a recession, it is common for small business owners to think that cutting prices will help them attract more clients and customers. Don’t do it. Keep your prices steady, while offering your customers a coupon or a rewards program, to reward them for sticking with you during tough times. Susan Reid’s suggestions, reprinted on SmartBrief.com, make total practical sense . Harness them as a ’eureka moment’ to help change the way you and your team gear up for a profitable future. And if you are looking for some highly efficient, cost effective promotion and marketing help we at Wanobe highly recommend Lupo Publicity (a wiz PR firm) and TKGB (a superb producer of digital publishing tools and content)…

App future as business tool further defined…

Setting a benchmark for corporate App development, delegates at a major social media conference in Amsterdam last week created, built and published on iTunes a unique iPad app.

The Social Media in a Corporate Context (SMCC) app was workshopped in a session led by David Noble, managing director of TKGB, a pan-European custom publishing agency that can be seen at http://www.tkgb.co.uk. Containing graphic and video content, the SMCC app was designed and completed within just four hours and made available for free download on the  iTunes App Store the very same night.

The app focused on content delivered by speakers at the conference, arranged by leading European comms publication, Communicate Magazine. So successful was the trial that Communicate is planning to repeat the exercise at its SMCC conference in London on June 2 at The Grange St Paul’s Hotel with industry leaders from across Europe.

Commenting on the achievement, David Noble said: “The lightning speed in turning around an app of high quality design and content is a clear demonstration of how such tools can be leveraged as a corporate communications channel. It clearly signals how easily high quality mobile apps and other social media tools can be created to promote stakeholder relations using high a quality journalistic design and writing approach.”

The SMCC app will be updated at the London conference and its content overhauled, showing once again how speedily mobile communications can become part of a communications strategy. TKGB will be incorporating live text and videos from SMCC London. If you have an iPad you can download the first SMCC app for free athttp://itunes.apple.com/us/app/smcc/id434826199?mt=8&ls=1

TKGB Limited is a ground-breaking media company producing a full spectrum of digital content and video designed exclusively for web platforms and mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPad and others, as well as traditional print publications and video for corporate brand clients. TKGB is partnered with top Scandinavian content publisher Tidningskompaniet with over 18 years of high quality content publishing expertise with corporate B2B and B2C clients. This is their web site, if you are in business it’s worth looking at … www.tkgb.co.uk

Helping micro businesses in Europe

The EU wants to help small businesses across Europe grow and show more innovation.

The reason is that some 23 million small and medium sized enterprises (SME) employ 67% of the private sector workforce and if just 50% of them employed one extra person that would create 10 million extra jobs.

One step the EU commission has initiated is a new initiative to speed payment of invoices, due to come into effect within the next 18 months.

The EU has now put in place a late payment directive providing a statutory right to interest 60 days after the date of an invoice, for example. But to work it must be backed by national legislation and less bureaucracy.The UK government has placed a moratorium on regulation coming out of Europe for the next three years.

But the British Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) remains worried about red tape originating in Europe, saying that 72% of the total cost of UK regulation now comes from Brussels. It said Brussels has enacted more than 100,000 pages of regulations since 1997, annually costing EU businesses an estimated £109bn. What do you think governments could be doing more about to help micro businesses growth and innovation?