Tag Archives for " pandemic "

Should I Start a Business During the Pandemic?

When the coronavirus pandemic first broke out and initial restrictions on movement, business and social interactions were imposed back in March 2020, the hope was that it would all be over within a few months, at the most.

When such expectations were shown to be fanciful at best, the impact on the economy became clear as business after business – and sector after sector – started to feel the effect on sales and revenue as they haemorrhaged customers.

For some staff the effect was almost immediate, with record numbers losing their main source of livelihood.

Various schemes were announced by the government and while the support has been lauded as one of the most generous and wide-ranging in the world, it hasn’t enough to stem the tide of closures and job losses.

It’s not all bad news though. As unemployment figures increased there has been a trend which, while fascinating, is just as surprising:

A record number of new businesses were incorporated in 2020. (Incorporation is the process by which a new or existing business registers as a legal entity such as a limited liability company, that is separate from the people who own or run it. This is a good guide to incorporating a company).

When you consider that this does not take into account micro-businesses such as the myriad of new creative ventures on platforms such as Etsy and Shopify, and sole entrepreneurships in areas as varied as consulting, coaching and wellness, it’s safe to say that an unprecedented (sorry, that word again!) number of people have taken the decision to launch out into the deep.

Do you have a brilliant idea, but are discouraged by all the bad news?

Have you spotted a gap in the market, for which demand could be met by an idea that keeps you awake at night?

Perhaps you’ve been put off by the gloomy economic outlook?

Don’t be deterred. I know it doesn’t look like it, but this is a brilliant time to get going with your idea and start a business. Here’s why: 

There is a Wealth of Opportunities:

Without question this is a difficult time, the most challenging of our lifetime. Finances, relationships and even our health is being tested.

But in the midst of it all, there are opportunities to meet customer needs.

An example is the rise in food delivery businesses. With restrictions putting a halt to our culture of dining out and children at home round the clock, takeaways are a saviour for parents who are exhausted with homeschooling during the day, who need some respite at the end of the day.

There are stories of companies that have started or pivoted manufacturing items we previously never gave a second thought, but which are now essential such as personal protective equipment, masks and hand sanitiser.

The drive to provide goods and services online is also a huge opportunity for niches such as web design and development, copywriting, software sales and cybersecurity.

What opportunities could you harness and turn into a going concern? 

There are Significant Gaps in the Market:

Such gaps may have existed before the pandemic, or could have been created as a consequence of it.

Either way, it’s worth taking note and assessing how you could fill one of more of those gaps.

One example is that with the explosion in home working, many have realised they don’t have the best set-up when it comes to furniture. There has been huge demand for items like desks and ergonomic chairs, not to mention devices such as laptops, tablets and monitors which are needed for families to work and do their schoolwork at the same time.

Another is that because we are all more sedentary there has been an increase in demand for the services of professionals such as osteopaths and physiotherapists.

Perhaps you’re mourning the loss of a permanent job in a large healthcare practice or are on furlough. Could this be the best time to set up on your own?

Best Time to Innovate:

Historically, many businesses were borne in the midst of economic adversity.

Household names such as Microsoft, Airbnb, Groupon, WhatsApp and Uber all started when others thought they should have waited till the environment was more favourable.

But their founders knew they had something new and different to offer; something innovative which would make a dent in the marketplace, be of use, and make a positive contribution to communities.

Are you holding back on releasing your very good idea to the world?

It might be big or small, helpful in the fight against the virus or something that provides entertainment and light relief.

Whatever it is, don’t sit on it. Now, more than ever, is the best time to start a business.

What You Need To Start a Business:

One of the first things you need to kickstart your idea and bring it to life is a Business Plan.

It clarifies your intentions and prompts you to carefully consider what your customers need, and that’s just the beginning. Here are the reasons why you need a Business Plan, which I strongly recommend you start off with.

And your size or sector doesn’t matter; a Business Plan is a crucial part of your success.

Some tend to think they don’t need one if they are a sole entrepreneur running a micro-business, for example.

But nothing could be further from the truth! Here are 4 myths about Business Planning and why they are not true.

And finally, I have produced some Business Plan Templates which will make the process of writing yours so much easier.

They are available to purchase; find out everything you need to know about my Business Plan Templates here.

Why You Should Re-visit Your Business Plan

You understand why you need a Business Plan.

Not only did you have plans in your departments and organisation as a whole, they were used to track what the Senior Leadership Team wanted to achieve up until the end of Q1 2020…

…then the pandemic happened, and life as we knew it changed significantly.

Many businesses suffered, with some driven to the brink. For others the shutdown and restrictions on movement meant they could not keep up under the strain and unfortunately, they had to close their doors for good.

Still, other businesses found they have either had to pivot or quickly adapt their operating models and offerings to survive. Perhaps your organisation is in this category?

And as 2021 kicks off in earnest, it seems restrictions are set to continue in one form or another for the next few months at least.

With so much change that is fast-moving and new government policies announced at very short notice, it’s easy to wonder if it’s worth bothering to spend any time planning.

And while I sympathise with the sentiment, the truth is that planning ahead is now more crucial than ever. Here are 3 reasons why you should re-visit your Business Plan.

1. Re-visit Your Business Plan to Take Stock

The Number One reason why you should re-visit your Business Plan is to review how your organisation performed during the last year. (Note that this could also be the last quarter or half-year, but a year tends to be the most common time period captured in Business Plans).

The first step to hitting your targets in 2021 is having a clear understanding of:

  • Current status
  • What worked well in the last time period
  • What can be improved on (and how).

Don’t worry if your organisation abandoned its Business Plan amidst the melee of the pandemic. I can confirm yours wasn’t an isolated case! Countless others were thrown off-course by the sudden shock of dealing with and reacting to such unique circumstances, but the point of this review is to take stock and re-group.

2. Re-visit Your Business Plan to Focus on New Priorities

Considering the year we had in 2020, it’s a given that the state of play in your organisation has changed.

From the sudden move to 100% remote work for your teams to decisions about resourcing and headcount, it’s impossible to have reached year-end without being impacted significantly.

And with that impact, your priorities must have changed.

Re-visiting your Business Plan will give you the opportunity to identify new priorities and re-focus. Not just on priorities deemed important, but on those that are truly relevant for your people, processes, technology and customer base in the current climate.

3. Re-visit Your Business Plan to Allow for Contingencies

It has taken us 10 months to get our heads round what can only be described as once-in-a-lifetime events.

So by now you must have some level of experience, and a good grasp of the areas in your organisation where you need to build in more slack.

Re-visiting your Business Plan is crucial to update your contingency plans. And as you now know, this isn’t simply to cover the usual areas as you’ve done in previous years.

Examples of things to consider are:

  • If yet another lockdown is announced – or if the current one lasts longer than expected – what are the logistics for delivering your products and services to your customers? And do you have a backup?
  • Your remote teams find themselves unable to log on to the VPN on a Monday morning. In spite of rigorous efforts to resolve, the problem persists for more than a day! What contingency can be developed around such issues?
  • Are there alternative or additional income streams to research and develop, to ensure your bottom line is not negatively impacted in the event of another protracted lockdown?

How I Can Help

If you need help with Business Planning in your department or organisation, I provide a Business Planning Service.

It’s designed to support organisations that for some reason, are unable to commit the time or resources to do the planning they know they need.

Contact me about my Business Planning Service, and we can arrange to get started on yours as soon as possible.

9 Ways Being Mindful Can Improve Your Productivity While Working From Home

(Source: getstencil)

Many of us had worked from home in one form or another before March 2020.

However, the start of the pandemic ensured it was no longer an optional extra or a perk that companies offered, and remote working quickly became the status quo.

Organisations which had previously baulked at letting their staff work from home occasionally, were suddenly forced to adapt business models and infrastructure to facilitate their entire workforce working from the safety of their homes.

Businesses like Google and Uber announced that their teams would work remotely for at least another year – or in the case of Facebook and Twitter, indefinitely.

This may have been an answer to prayer for some: no more early morning starts, long commutes, exorbitant transportation costs and busy trains are just a few benefits.

But while remote work enables flexibility, is convenient and saves a bundle on travel costs, it has its downsides.

For example, working from home was supposed to facilitate work-life balance. And in a world where we were mainly based outside our homes, having the option to do so a few times each week helped us achieve that.

But now that we are based at home? There have been references to the fact that we are now living at work.

The boundaries between work and home have been blurred and, in some cases, disappeared completely. Work now encroaches on our lives in a way no one anticipated at the start of the year, and until the public health issues with coronavirus are resolved – a vaccine is probably another twelve months away – it will stay that way for the foreseeable future.

There are ways to mitigate the downsides; it’s all about being aware of them and taking the necessary steps. So here are 9 ways being mindful can improve your productivity while working from home.

1.      It Helps To Have a Routine

(Source: getstencil)

Your commute has been reduced – significantly.

Instead of travelling for an hour (at least!), you only need to travel from your bedroom to your home office or desk.

Don’t get into the habit of rolling out of bed and logging onto Zoom with your pyjama bottoms on. While you no longer need to wake up two hours before work starts, setting your alarm to go off at a set time helps. That, and taking the time to prepare yourself mentally for the day ahead.

2.      Dress For Work

No one is expected to wear a suit at home, but deliberately dressing for work is a useful practice.

Comfortable clothes in the smart-casual category send the message both to yourself and others you’ll encounter in the course of your virtual working day that you’re in work mode.

3.      Designate a Work Space

(Source: getstencil)

As much as you’re able and depending on how much space you have available, assign an area in your home to be used specifically for work.

That will help establish the “I’m going to work” prompt in your brain, and is great for setting boundaries between your home and work lives.

And if possible, avoid working from the sofa or your bed. Doing so doesn’t help with those blurred boundaries and if nothing else, curling over your laptop while slumped in those locations isn’t good for your back!

4.      Watch The Clock

It’s no surprise that we’re all working longer hours. Since we’re saving hours on commuting, we’ve shifted to starting work earlier and finishing later.

Reports confirm the length of work days has gone up by an average of two hours, which is a significant rise.

Clock-watching is usually frowned upon – we all know that person who always made a beeline for the day at 5.00pm and wouldn’t stay a minute later. But, useful practices such as taking lunch and coffee breaks, and consciously shutting your laptop after a certain time are healthy ways to enforce boundaries and stop work encroaching on the rest of your home-based life.

5.      Watch What You Eat!

(Source: getstencil)

You’re at home, and the fridge is right there.

You have back-to-back calls to get through, and grazing while you sit mindlessly through them might help you get through the day…

…the convenience of having food and snacks within reach makes snacking and constant grazing tempting!

But it’s useful to be aware of how much you’re eating and when. Remember that you’re probably less active than you were six months ago; sticking to fixed mealtimes and being conscious of snacks and portions will help ensure you don’t end up with a significant increase in your calorie consumption.

6.      Make Exercise Part Of Your Routine

And linked to point 5 above, keep moving!

Now more than ever, it’s crucial to make exercise a part of your daily routine. There is more tendency to lead a sedentary lifestyle, which the World Health Organisation warns could be among the ten leading causes of death and disability as it increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and high blood pressure, among others.

So make a conscious effort to go for a run or walk before you start work in the morning. Or if you can make it to a gym after you’ve shut your laptop for the day, even better. Gyms are open and obliged by law to follow official guidelines to make their spaces COVID-secure, so call and ask what safety measures they have in place first.

7.      Take Breaks Between Calls

(Source: getstencil)

If you can, take breaks between Zoom calls.

It’s easy to go from one call straight onto a series of others, and before you know it, you’re left wondering why you feel drained and exhausted. After all, it’s not as if you’re doing anything other than sitting there, right? Regardless of how widespread the technology is, staring at small squares of ourselves and our colleagues is not normal and Zoom fatigue is real.

One way to guard against it is by taking breaks between those calls. Block out between 10 and 15 minutes in your diary, so anyone view your availability when trying to book a meeting will see that you are unable to meet at those times. This will force your colleagues – and you – out of the habit of booking and sitting through back-to-back calls.

8.      Switch On Your Camera

The majority of business meetings are being carried out via video conference, but it appears many of us aren’t comfortable being seen by our peers and so, decide not to switch on our cameras.

And it may surprise you to learn that only 55% of women enable cameras on video conference calls, compared to 65% of men.

While there is unspoken pressure to act a certain way when visible – not to mention that your colleagues can easily spot when you’re multi-tasking! – speaking to a series of dark squares is de-motivating and doesn’t do much for building rapport. Which is already hard enough to do virtually.

So if you accept an invitation to a Zoom, Skype or Microsoft Teams call? Switch on your camera and prepare to be seen.

9.      Use The Phone

(Source: getstencil)

It’s easy to forget that all meetings don’t have to be video conferences.

You can use the good “old” phone instead, or schedule a conference call if more than two people need to be in that meeting.

As mentioned above, there is an unconscious pressure to perform when you know we’re going to be on display, and that extra pressure can be taken away by having voice calls only where appropriate.

These tips should help you increase productivity while looking after your mental and physical health in this season.

And if you need more support as you make that transition to working from home long-term?

I offer a Remote Mentoring service which will help you tackle that inertia you’re feeling, and give you practical tools to get back to delivering on your targets.

Contact me to discuss your specific challenges and how I can help you.

3 Small Business Grants You Can Apply For Right Now

(Source: getstencil)

You may not know it, but if you are based in the United Kingdom there are several funding options available for businesses, many of which were made available as a direct result of the pandemic.

While many are loan facilities such as the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), there are three grants you should know about.

What Are Grants?

(Source: getstencil)

Grants are sums of money given by the government or a public body for a particular purpose and unlike loans, are not liabilities to be repaid.

There are eligibility criteria to meet, and bodies which provide funding through grants will usually specify what the money should be spent on.

Are There Problems Accessing Grants?

Especially for small and medium-sized enterprises there is a surprising amount of this kind of funding support available, but the challenge with gaining access is two-fold:

  • There is limited knowledge about their existence. They either tend not to be widely publicised, or there is a lack of adequate explanation about the nature of the funding and how it works. This is unfortunate, as businesses which desperately need the lifeline don’t get the opportunity to apply for it, as has been the case since the end of August . Schemes such as the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) were announced to provide relief to businesses as a result of the pandemic, but were ended a few months later without an estimated 2 in 5 eligible businesses applying.
  • When researching available grants, it is rare to find relevant information that is up-to-date and collated in one location in a way that is easy to read and assess.

What Small Business Grants Can You Apply For?

That being the case, here are 3 Small Business grants you can apply for right now:

1. THE EUROPEAN REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT FUND (ERDF) PROGRAMME

This was announced by the Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government in July, and consists of £20 million of new government funding to help smaller businesses recover from the effects of the pandemic.

Who Is It For?

Grants from this fund are for small and medium-sized businesses.

What Is The Grant Amount?

It is a one-off cash amount of between £1,000 and £5,000.

Who Distributes The Grant?

The grant is distributed by Growth Hubs, which bring together the best of public and private sector partners to promote, co-ordinate and deliver business support based on local needs. They are embedded in local areas across England.

Who Is Eligible?

Your business qualifies for this grant if it is based in England.

How Can You Make a Claim?

Locate and contact your local area Growth Hub.

2. THE KICKSTART SCHEME

(Source: getstencil)

This was announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in July, and consists of £2 billion in funding to create more jobs for young people between the ages of 16 and 24.

Who Is It For?

Grants from this fund are available to businesses of any size to create new job placements and support young people on Universal Credit or at risk of long-term unemployment.

What Is The Grant Amount?

Funding is available for the National Minimum Wage for each role, and there is also £1,500 available for each job placement to set up support and training.

Who Distributes The Grant?

The grant is distributed by central government.

Who Is Eligible?

Your business qualifies for this grant if:

  • It is based in England.
  • The job placements are for new roles.
  • The roles are for a minimum of 25 hours a week and will last a minimum duration of 6 months.
  • At the very least, successful candidates will be paid the Minimum Wage for their age group.

How Can You Make a Claim?

  • If your application is for 30 or more job placements, complete your application online.
  • If your application is for less than 30 job placements, you’ll have to partner with other organisations to have a minimum of 30 placements. You can either find a representative to help you do this by getting in touch with your local Kickstart Scheme employer contact, or become a representative of a group of employers yourself.

What Else Do I Need To Know?

You’ll need the following details to complete your application:

  • The Companies House reference number.
  • The business address and contact details.
  • Details of the Kickstart scheme job placements and their location.
  • Supporting information to confirm the placements meet the criteria of the scheme.
  • Details of how the business can develop the employability skills of young people.

Once your submitted application is checked to make sure it meets the criteria, it will be reviewed by a panel. Current government estimates are that applications should be responded to within one month.

3. LOCAL LOCKDOWN GRANTS

(Source: getstencil)

To avoid a second wave and the need for another national lockdown, the government strategy to contain the spread of coronavirus now involves implementing restrictions on a local and regional basis.

Since many businesses caught up in these local lockdowns will see their revenue-generating activities halted, the Treasury has announced new funding to support and protect them.

Who Is It For?

Grants from this fund are for businesses forced to close as a result of local lockdowns or targeted restrictions.

What Is The Grant Amount?

Larger businesses will receive £1,500 every three weeks for the duration of any such closure. Smaller businesses will receive £1,000.

Who Distributes The Grant?

The grant is distributed by local authorities.

Who Is Eligible?

Your business qualifies for this grant if:

  • It is based in England.
  • Occupies a property or part pf a with a rateable value, annual rent or mortgage less than £51,000 (this qualifies for the £1,000 payment).
  • Occupies a property or part pf a property with a rateable value, annual rent or mortgage of £51,000 or more (this qualifies for the £1,500 payment).
  • Local authorities will also receive an additional 5% top up amount to enable them to help other businesses affected by closures which may not be on the business rates list. Payments made to businesses from this discretionary fund can be any amount up to £,1500, and may be less than £1,000 in some cases.

How Can You Make a Claim?

Contact your local authority.

What Else Do I Need To Know?

If you make a profit, you will be liable to pay tax on it.

What Are Your Next Steps?

If you think your business qualifies for one of these grants, speak to your accountant in the first instance to clarify details such as tax implications before completing and submitting an application.

Summary of The 2020 Summer Economic Statement

(Source: theguardian.com)

Did you listen to Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Economic Statement last Wednesday 8 July?

“We will not be defined by this crisis, but by our response to it,” he said, and respond he did.

It was the second stage of his response to the coronavirus pandemic, and the focus is protecting, supporting and creating jobs.

The first stage involved providing crucial and immediate support in March through initiatives such as the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme, where employees are furloughed on 80% of their salaries. £20.8 billion has been claimed by businesses so far, which has ensured that 9.1 million people kept their jobs.

However it was never expected to run indefinitely, and Mr Sunak confirmed the scheme will wind down by October and be replaced by a Jobs Retention Bonus Policy aimed at retaining people in work and staving off the threat of unemployment for millions.

Here’s a breakdown of the policy, and a summary of the Summer Economic Statement: 

Protecting Existing Jobs

Jobs Retention Bonus Policy:

The policy has at its core a reward system for employers who bring back furloughed staff and retain them till January 2021. Companies will be paid a Jobs Retention Bonus of £1,000 for each employee, on the condition that they are paid a minimum of £520 per month.

Financial commitment: £9 billion.

Hospitality & Leisure:

(Source: getstencil)

There was an acknowledgement that these sectors employ more than 2 million people who tend to be among the lowest paid n the country. Consequently, people who work in this sector have been some of the hardest hit by the pandemic. And the numbers don’t lie; 1.4m have been furloughed!

The Chancellor announced two new measures to revive the hospitality and leisure industries. The first is a VAT reduction on food, accommodation and attractions such as amusement parks from 20% to 5%. The reduction on this sales tax takes effect on Wednesday 15 July and will run until 12 January 2021.

It’s expected to benefit 150,000 businesses and protect 2.4 million jobs.

Financial commitment: £4 billion.

The second measure to facilitate recovery in the hospitality and leisure sectors has been designed specifically to get customers back into restaurants and pubs. The government-backed “Eat Out to Help Out” discount will be available for everyone in the country to use on certain weekdays this August.

Patrons will benefit from a 50% discount (up to a maximum of £10 per head) from Monday – Wednesday for the month, and businesses can register from Monday 13 July.

Supporting People To Find Jobs

Kickstart scheme:

(Source: getstencil)

A new kickstart scheme targeted at young people will pay employers to create new jobs for 16-24 year-olds at risk of long-term unemployment.

To qualify, the jobs must last six months, be for at least 25 hours per week and pay at least minimum wage. With a £6,500 grant per person and no cap on available places, the expectation is that this guarantees that the youth do not bear the brunt of the economic effects of the pandemic.

Financial commitment: £2 billion. 

Apprenticeships, Trainees & Support for the Unemployed:

Mr Sunak also announced schemes to encourage employers to take on trainees, Career Advisers to support 250,000 people, an expansion of the universal skills offer (with plans to triple existing places), apprenticeships funded at £2,000 each, and support for the unemployed with more work coaches, and £1 billion pumped into the Department for Work and Pensions to help support people back into work.

Creating Jobs

A Green Recovery:

(Source: getstencil)

Government ministers have previously talked about making this a green recovery, and the Chancellor announced a historic investment in infrastructure & jobs in the sector by way of a green homes grant, which will provide homeowners and landlords with vouchers to make their homes more energy-efficient from September.

Expected to make 650,000 homes more energy-efficient, the vouchers will cover two-thirds of the cost or £5,000 per household. This will double for low income households.

Financial commitment: £2 billion.

Stamp Duty Cut:

(Source: getstencil)

Probably the most eye-catching announcement was the immediate cut in stamp duty on property sale transactions below £500,000 until 31 March 2021. This is expected to resuscitate the property industry and In the Chancellor’s estimation, this temporary cut will benefit 9 out of 10 people buying their main home.

Total financial commitment for these announcements and initiatives is £30 billion. The third phase of his coronavirus response will be announced as part of the Autumn Budget & Spending Review.

Impact of Coronavirus Pandemic on the Payments Sector

In the course of the coronavirus pandemic the world we knew has changed beyond recognition.

This has had a significant impact on the Payments sector, and resulted in new trends and unintended consequences.

Here are a few:

Should Businesses Be Expected To Work For Free During The Pandemic?

The first is the expectation that products and services should be available at no cost, or at the very least with a sizeable discount.

Now, I understand that many of us are in dire straits when it comes to our finances and disposable income, what with the economy being shut down for two months and counting. But what chance is there of a recovery if the few businesses that can operate are unable to pay their teams?

Is it acceptable for more people to depend on the government?

Colonel Tom Moore (Source: bbc.com)

Here’s an example of what I mean. The incredible Colonel and recently knighted Tom Moore – who’s one hundred years old! – raised more than £30 million for the National Health Service doing a fundraising walk in his garden during lockdown. He used Justgiving’s online platform for it, but the company has come under fire for taking a percentage of what he raised in fees. Even the Prime Minister weighed in.

Why should the company face a backlash? The fees cover operating costs such as wages for 150 staff, and includes bank processing fees which it has no control over.

It’s unfortunate that their specialty in processing large volumes in payments is so undervalued. Surely critics don’t want the task performed by elements who lack the necessary accreditation and knowledge to do so?

I don’t subscribe to profiteering – especially not in the middle of a global pandemic. But surely where businesses can work and get paid, they should?

More Refunds In the Travel and Leisure Sectors

Another consequence of the pandemic on Payments will be an increase in refunds requested by customers, and the subsequent increase in related exceptions processing.

(Source: getstencil)

Customers who have booked flights and holidays don’t appear to be getting much in the way of good service. When things go wrong, whether self-inflicted or matters outside your control as a business such as a global pandemic, positive and proactive engagement with customers is the recommended and best course of action.

Unfortunately, customers have reported not being able to contact airlines, travel agents and others in this space, refund requests rejected and being strong-armed into accepting credit vouchers instead.

Since these businesses have prioritised issuing vouchers instead of refunds in a bid to survive, customers are waking up to their rights under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act of 1974 which protects credit card purchases.

As long as the transaction amount is over £100 but less than £30,000, any customer with a cancelled holiday can make a claim, since the Act makes the card provider and retailer jointly liable if a product is faulty, not delivered, fails to match the advertised description, or the retailer stops trading.

Growing dissatisfaction with the industry, coupled with customers’ genuine need for funds during this period means we are likely to see more of them go down this route.

Note: While refunds are not the same as chargebacks, there will be an increase in those too.

Rise In Contactless Payments

I’m usually an advocate for cash, but I haven’t touched it since the outbreak.

And I’m not alone: the use of contactless payments has jumped by 40%!

Card providers quickly responded to the demand by increasing the spending limit on contactless card payments from £30 to £45 from 1st April, which has helped customers complete many purchases without having to handle notes and coins, or input a PIN.

Making the Case For a Cashless Society?

And as more people use contactless cards more frequently, cash use has dropped.

(Source: getstencil)

There has already been a significant reduction in the infrastructure around cash as a payment method; could this drop further build the business case to continue down that path?

I hope not. Many use and prefer cash for various reasons, and let’s not forget that for a significant proportion without access to banking, it’s their only option.

Cash is crucial to facilitating and maintaining financial inclusion, and must not be removed from the landscape as a payment method. It has to stay available and affordable.

More E-Commerce Transactions

We’ve all been stuck at home on lockdown with nothing to do other than exercise, homeschool if you have children, bake banana bread, make TikTok videos…

…and shop online. According to The Wall Street Journal, some countries have experienced a soar in e-commerce transactions have increased by as much as 81%.

Retailers with sleek, efficient supply chains and distribution channels have reaped a return on their investments (I see you Amazon), while those who have not kept up with the times in that regard must be kicking themselves.

It means that payment processors, acquirers and gateways are seeing more traffic than ever come through this channel, and it goes without saying that their infrastructure and back office functions must be robust enough to cope with the increase in volumes.