Card Turnover at Small Merchants Up 11 Per Cent

Turnover from card payments at small businesses was up 11 per cent in the first quarter of 2012 compared with the same period in 2011. This is the finding of an analysis of card payments at over 43,000 small, independent businesses by CardSave. The increase in some sectors is particularly marked:  card turnover at taxi companies increased by 95 per cent and at fast food businesses by 85 per cent.

“As the British public increasingly prefers to pay by card, small businesses that accept card payments are seeing the effects on their revenue. For some sectors, such as taxis, card payments are becoming the norm, and we expect to see more taxis adopt card payment solutions over the next year,” explains Clive Kahn, CEO of CardSave.

This belief is backed up by a recent YouGov poll that revealed 62 per cent of people carry £20 or less in cash on them, while 93 per cent carry at least one card. The average card transaction at small merchants in Q1 2012 was £64.13, down five per cent on 2011.

“Consumers feel increasingly comfortable putting smaller transactions on card in situation where previously they would have used cash,” says Kahn.

 

Kahn comments: “In the recent past the option to pay by card was a luxury, but Britain is swiftly moving towards becoming a cashless society and there is now strong customer demand for card payment technologies. Our Small Business Payments Index indicates that business owners with card payment facilities can significantly increase their total business revenue.

“Nearly a quarter of shoppers will walk out of a store if they don’t accept card, and while some will return having withdrawn cash, others will swiftly take their business elsewhere. Small businesses, which are already struggling to maintain their position alongside high street chains need to take cards if they are to remain competitive.” Kahn concludes.

Did your business survive Friday 13!

Were you challenged by  Friday 13th April?  Do you believe it’s an unlucky day … or are you a sensible doubter but still hedging your bets …. just in case it’s true.  Are you one of thousands who avoids social and business activities on Friday 13th?
You may scoff at the superstitious but fear of the number 13th is a genuine phobia called Triskaidekaphobia, and fear of 13 has lead to many buildings avoiding a thirteenth floor (see:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirteenth_floor )
And although it may sound strange, many people do avoid making arrangements on Friday 13th. Airlines confirm that bookings are down http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-2085656/Unlucky-Friday-13-sees-flight-bookings-drop-third.html and financiers have known investments to be deferred until another day.
Psychologists include superstitions among a wider range of human traits collectively called ‘magical thinking’, that includes other questionable beliefs ranging from a harmless belief in fairies through mildly disturbing beliefs in the paranormal to potentially more harmful beliefs such as fanatical religion.
Chartered Psychologist Graham W Price, from Abicord, has helped many clients with phobias and / or superstitious beliefs.
Magical thinking perhaps demonstrates the gullibility of humans, particularly in light of the fact that many such beliefs can be disproved. Track events on Friday 13th and compare the results with any other day and, unsurprisingly, there’s not much difference for the average person.
One might imagine the superstitious belief itself could impact the results. Couldn’t a belief that accidents will happen so distract believers that they become more prone to accidents? The studies suggest that even this doesn’t happen.
In fact a Dutch insurance company study in 2008 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friday_the_13th) actually showed that were fewer accidents on Friday 13th as people were preventatively more careful!
What can you do if you have a superstitious belief, or perhaps many such beliefs, that are limiting you in some way? Perhaps you can’t venture out of the house on Friday 13th and that’s costing you a day’s vacation, on average twice a year.
Graham W Price has some advice;
Hypnotherapy can sometimes help. It works for some, but on its own success is far from certain and relapse rates are high. Cognitive Behavioural Techniques (CBT) are generally more effective and sustainable for most mind-related issues, particularly if they’re combined with modern acceptance-based approaches such as Acceptance-Action Therapy (AAT).
A combined CBT-AAT treatment might involve challenging beliefs using an evidence-based approach, learning to accept any feelings such as anxiety and confronting the superstition by changing your behaviour.
When we act in ways that are consistent with an unproductive belief, we always reinforce the belief. Our mind gets a message that the belief must be true …. otherwise why are we behaving in that way. Conversely, if we repeatedly act in the opposite way, we’ll undermine the belief.
Graham recommends trying the following steps to help you move past the superstition and stop it holding you back:
Create a habit of noticing whenever you “buy into” the superstition and limit yourself.  Accept that this is the way you are right now. Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t get annoyed or frustrated with yourself
Recognise that the superstition is irrational. Remind yourself that studies have shown there’s no evidence to support it
Drop the thought (surprisingly easy once we’ve carried out the first two steps)
Take the action you were hesitating over while accepting any anxious feelings this may generate
“Do this repeatedly and the limiting belief, and any anxious feelings it may be generating, will soon disappear.” says Graham.

Sharkonomics spreads fear amongst market leaders

Sharks are not only nature’s most revered killing machines, they are highly strategic and efficient predators. Studying their behaviour and instincts can provide lessons for companies of any size who want to attack the competition.

Stefan Engeseth, author of the new book Sharkonomics, argues that taking market share from market leaders is about being aware, creating presence and punching above your weight. By applying the behavioural traits of the shark, Engeseth has created a number of highly practical business strategies which include striking unpredictably, developing a sensory system, hunting in packs and how to locate blind spots. The more competitive your marketplace, the more effective Sharkonomics can be. After all sharks have been evolving for over 420 million years and are still very much the leaders in their space.

Why Sharkonomics
Quite simply, nature is smarter than the likes of Stanford, Harvard, MIT, McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, Bain, IBM, Apple and all of the other Fortune 500 companies. In nature, sharks have to move to survive. But in business most market leaders remain static, because they are stuck in history – and eventually they become shark food. Sharks don’t perform by producing endless Power Points; they bite into market share. Sharkonomics will reveal how the logos of market leaders will have more chunks taken out of them than a seal after a shark picnic.

It’s not just about attack
! Sharkonomics also includes tactics for companies to defend themselves against attack. It is important to state that Sharkonomics is inspired by nature, but Engeseth’s intention is not to spread fear in any form-except perhaps in boardrooms!

Stefan Engeseth, the author of Sharkonomics, dived with sharks in South Africa as part of his research for the book!

Take a bite of this new book at www.Sharkonomics.com

For more information, videos and book samples go to www.Sharkonomics.com.

Blueair Named as finalist for International Housewares Association Innovation Awards

Blueair, the world’s leading maker of indoor air purifiers, has been selected as a finalist in the first annual International Housewares Association Innovation Awards. In- novated with love in Sweden, the Blueair Sense being unveiled at the Chicago International Home + Housewares Show is the result of a unique partnership between Blueair and the Swedish globally acclaimed architecture and design studio, Claesson Koivisto Rune.

This is the first time exhibitors’ at the Home + Housewares Show, which runs from March 10 to 13, will see their cutting-edge innovations receive recognition through the IHA Innovation Awards. The finalists will be judged by a panel of industry experts and news media with the winners to be announced on Saturday, March 10 at 4:30pm in the Innovation Theater.

Claesson Koivisto Rune has created a contemporary glass and steel design for the Blueair Sense to deliver an out-of-the-box experience beyond giving users unbeaten removal of airborne pollutants for improved health and wellbeing. Designed to blend seamlessly into any home or office environment, Blueair’s latest air purifier will be available in an enticing color palette and boasts a unique tempered glass top with interactive motion sensitive controls.

Blueair air purifiers have won multiple awards for their superior performance in removing allergens, asthma triggers, viruses, bacteria and other airborne pollutants from the air people breathe at home or in the workplace. Independent tests show that Blueair air purifiers are best in the world when it comes to cleaning more indoor air faster than any other air purifier.

Believing clean air is a human right, Blueair works hard to help raise public awareness about the potential health hazards of indoor air pollution, which can be up to 100 times more polluted than the air outside.

“We see the Blueair Sense as the forerunner in launching a revolution in our homes and workplaces in the same way household refrigerators changed the way people ate and helped them live more healthy lives,” said Herman Pihlträd, Blueair chief executive.

Acknowledging the honor of being chosen as a finalist in the IHA’s Innovation Awards, Mr. Pihlträd said the Blueair Sense not only is “highly efficient at cleaning indoor air of airborne pollution, but also has incredibly cool looks that will blend naturally into any living or working environment.”

Indoor air health threat more acute and widespread than public is aware

Just found out something really scary. According to Blueair, the world’s leading maker of indoor air purifiers, that contrary to what many believe, indoor air is often far more polluted – and harmful to health – than the air outside.

Blueair responded to a study of pregnant mothers by Umea University in Sweden, which indicated high levels of traffic exhaust fumes and ozone could lead to a bigger risk of premature birth than the mother smoking. But solving the problem is not as easy as just staying inside. Apparently, the buildup of polluted air indoors poses a major threat to health and wellbeing that many people don’t know about, according to Jonas Holst, Blueair Global Head of Sales and Marketing.

Describing the new findings as very worrying, Holst said the Umeå University research reflects just the tip of an iceberg and to get rid of the problem people need to take measures to clean their indoor air far more than today.

“Our homes and offices are constantly being bombarded by high levels of airborne pollutants that most people are unaware about,” he said. The US Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, has stated indoor air levels of many pollutants may be more than 100 times higher than outdoor levels. Air pol- lutants in buildings are of particular concern because most people spend as much as 90% of their time indoors, according to the EPA.

Blueair is currently launching a campaign in Europe, Asia and the USA to help raise public awareness about the health dangers of indoor air pollution. The campaign is designed to also show how people can dramatically remove 99.97% of everything potentially harmful, including traffic exhaust particles and other allergens.

“It’s amazing that modern cars are fitted with air filters to protect drivers and passengers, but little is done to improve healthy air conditions inside our buildings where we live and work,” says Jonas Holst.

Great Brit Band Graffiti6 Are Taking USA By Storm

There’s nothing like an emerging success story to please all of us small businesses.

British band Graffiti6 are taking the USA by storm and a performance last Friday on TV show Conan was no different. The soulful group featuring lead singer, Jamie Scott, stopped by Conan for a live performance of “Free” their first hit single, which appears on their now available debute album, Colours. Watch their performance here, or copy the following link into your browser title: http://popcrush.com/graffiti6-perform-free-conan/

Below you can read some of great things being said for the British band’s debut album.

“Graffiti6, the duo of singer/songwriter Jamie Scott and songwriter/producer Tommy “Tommy D” Danvers, makes the art of crafting pop gems seem like the easiest task in the world.” -Billboard

Spray painting their debut album with ‘60s psychedelia, rave music, and falsetto-kissed soul (courtesy of dreamy lead singer Jamie Scott), this UK duo makes a vivid splash.” –People Magazine

“Using acoustic guitar and electric piano as primary colors, they combine smoky falsetto-soul melodies and breakbeat rhythms.”  –USA Today

“Pop at its most glorious” –Marie Claire

Kaleidoscopic beat tornadoes” – Entertainment Weekly

Small companies create 85% of new jobs

85% of net new jobs (new jobs created minus jobs lost in a given period) in the EU between 2002 and 2010 were created by small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). This figure is considerably higher than the 67%-share of SMEs in total employment. During this period, net employment in the EU’s business economy rose substantially, by an average of 1.1 million new jobs each year.

These are the main results of a study on the essential contribution of SMEs on job creation presented by the European Commission last month.
With 1% annually, the employment growth for SMEs was higher than for large enterprises with 0.5%. A clear exception is the trade sector, in which employment in SMEs increased by 0.7% annually, compared to 2.2% in large enterprises. This is due to the strong increase of large trade enterprises, in particular in sales, maintenance and repair of motor vehicles.

Within the SME size-class, micro firms (less than 10 employees) are responsible with 58% for the highest proportion of total net employment growth in the business economy.

Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for Entrepreneurship and Industry valorised the relevance of SMEs for European economy, recognising the need to support them at all levels, since they represent a clear key for restoring economic growth.
More information can be found on the webpage of the SME Performance Review.