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Should Your Small Business Go Cashless?

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Together with the rise of new online payment methods such as PayPal and Google Wallet, going cashless has just become more convenient. This trend is made even more essential by the global pandemic that urges individuals to practice physical distancing and heightened safety measures. In the 2018 Global Payment Report by Worldpay, usage of mobile payment channels around the world is predicted to increase to 28% by 2022, beating cash and cards. 

As we are presented with this information, it may be time to ease your business more into mobile channels and discourage cash payments altogether. It may seem like a hard turn to transition from accepting hard cash, but there are a lot of benefits that could make you reconsider. Here are the top three reasons why your small business should go cashless.

1. It makes checkout faster

People these days prefer not to waste time falling in line to check out. Therefore, high-traffic establishments such as Starbucks encourage the use of mobile order and pay apps that enable customers to accomplish their transactions. This way, customers just head to the store to pick up their orders- fast and easy. In fact, a study by eMarketer shows that 43% of internet users in the United States prefer to “scan and go” rather than falling in line.

Furthermore, going cashless will enable your business to be more flexible. If you decide to join fairs or have a pop-up shop, you won’t have to haul your register along. Mobile or online payment channels will conveniently allow you to accommodate your customers wherever they are.

2. It helps manage cash flow easier

Online payment channels automatically track and record every deposit and withdrawal made to your account. This makes it easier to manage compared to literally counting every dollar and penny from a register at the end of each day. It will save you so much time from working out your accounting manually. Plus, you will no longer have to go running to the bank for over the counter transactions.

Most importantly, there is almost no room for error because your account is updated in real-time. You can easily check your revenues and cash flow from a mobile phone. This could also help you look out for potential opportunities that you can enhance or maximize in your business.

3. It diminishes potential risks

Although we want to say that we can trust each and every person that walks in your store or even those who handle the register, leaving hard cash could increase the chances of theft. Unfortunately, some employees steal from their workplace, and robberies are unpredictable. 

Baltimore’s Park Cafe & Coffee Bar was raided at gunpoint five times in a span of 4 months. This made the owner decide on transitioning to mobile payment channels despite some loyal customers who did not have credit cards.

However, the management worked around the situation by providing other perks to their patrons in order to keep their employees safe and their money protected from burglars.

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How the Pandemic Is Killing Small Businesses with False Hopes of Reopening

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With the ongoing pandemic, many businesses—both big and small—are severely affected by declining demand from consumers. With everyone currently living amidst the virus, small businesses are slowly reopening. Here is why some small businesses do not thrive in this type of market.

It can be expected that an economic downturn will happen with the ongoing pandemic. The question is, until how long? With the threat of the virus still looming above everyone’s head, small businesses are forced to reopen because of near-empty financial gains. With the current market, however, financial games are more difficult to attain more than ever. First, people are more cautious than ever to leave their residences because of health and safety concerns. Even if small business establishments have reassured people that they have enough social distancing protocols, people are hesitant because of the virus’s ongoing threat. Second, because businesses and companies are starting to shut down because of low financial gains, many people are unemployed. They prefer to invest their money in purchasing essentials instead of wasting it on entertainment and other non-essential items.

Let us look at some small businesses and how the pandemic has slowly killed their economy.

How Small Businesses Are Losing the Financial Battle with the Pandemic

Small Businesses Losing Steam

One of the main attractions of Chicago is Navy Pier. It is a perfect way for people to relax and unwind with its many attractions that boast of various food establishments, entertainment areas, shopping districts, and rides! The Pier closed during the March quarantine lockdown and reopened in June 2020. However, even with many safety and social distancing protocols, the Pier only garnered 15% attendance compared to the previous year. Because of low profit, it shut down again during Labor Day and plans to reopen in 2021 when things are (hopefully) in a more stable condition. 

One of the reasons why the reopening businesses cannot save the economy is that even if these amenities are open, the demand for them to stay open clearly isn’t there with most people wanting to stay indoors or that they cannot simply afford these types of luxuries.

Small Businesses Flourishing

AltCap is a financing and loaning agency that has supported numerous businesses amidst the pandemic. According to AltCap CEO Ruben Alonso III, the pandemic’s effects have affected businesses across the board – with other small businesses permanently shutting down while others are flourishing. For example, a cotton candy business that was thriving well before the pandemic. When the pandemic hit, and the cotton candy business was affected, it evolved into something new! The dessert business was converted into a dessert tricycle that popped at local restaurants and coffee shops, serving sweet treats. With this fast and innovative way to still sell sweet treats, the business flourished and had enough money to set up a storefront space. 

It pretty much boils down to small businesses adaptability, innovation, and flexibility to transform according to the consumers’ needs and demands.

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Apartment Rates Are Plunging Quickly in World’s Richest Cities—Time to Negotiate!

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If you live in an upstate part of a rich city such as Sydney, New York, Vancouver, and Tokyo, it is time for you to sit down with your landlord and negotiate the rate for your apartment. Read on why you need to do this NOW with the current market.

With the ongoing pandemic, bed and breakfast, Airbnb’s, and transient houses have minimal to no revenue as travel opportunities ceased with government travel regulation and social distancing protocols. With all this happening, the market for apartment rates is spiraling downwards. Aside from this, the main demand for upscale apartments is international students who are now stuck at home due to the quarantine. Hence the demand for chic apartments in rich cities is much lower as compared to previous years. Also, millennial renters who are also stuck at home no longer have the motivation to pay additional for cool spaces when the city’s usual hustles and bustles, which ordinarily attracted them in the first place, is non-existent because of the pandemic. 

If you live in an upscale apartment in some of the world’s richest cities such as Sydney, New York, and San Francisco, it is time to act now and initiate a conversation with your landlord about rent rates, especially with the ongoing pandemic.

Apartment Market Trends in World’s Richest Cities

Sydney, Australia

One of the renters who took advantage of the current market value and trend of plunging apartment rates is Christine Chung from Sydney, Australia. She negotiated a 9% drop in her current space at the classy Enmore (10km away from the city) that she shares with three other tenants in Sydney, one of the world’s most expensive cities. She recounts that the process is not easy – she had to track down and wear down the landlord for five weeks of avoided phone calls until the landlord agreed to reduce the rent from AUD895 to AUD810 every week. 

Manhattan, New York

Manhattan is considered one of the prime destinations for apartment real estate. However, with the ongoing pandemic, Manhattan apartments had sunk to the rate back in 2013! Listings for available Manhattan apartments and studios have tripled during the pandemic with a lack of tenants or renters due to closed entertainment establishments. Another lure of tourists and tenants to be in Manhattan is its rich Broadway culture. However, with Broadway cinemas closed until May of 2021, the market to support this culture is also surging fast.

San Francisco, California

In the past, San Francisco was considered as one of the bustling metropolitan areas for millennials who want a taste of San Francisco energy. San Francisco faced a housing issue not too long ago, where Silicon Valley workers had to rent RVs to work in the city! With companies encouraging employees to work from home next year (and maybe permanently), rent prices are splurging downwards. The median rent for San Francisco had a 31% decline, as compared to a .5% decline across the US.

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How Traders are Capitalizing on Virtual Reality Goggles

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Bank trading is getting a tech twist. UBS is giving its London traders an opportunity to test out trading rooms by employing VR goggles from Microsoft.

Since the pandemic started, it goes without saying that corporations were not prepared, which in turn reduced the number of people reporting for work, and coming to banks. While the lockdowns have been lifted and some businesses are slowly opening, the risk of the COVID-19 cases spiking is not a threat to be taken likely, which is why banks like UBS have been looking into other ways to simulate a regular day in the bank.

Beatriz Martin, the chief executive of the UBS UK branch was the first to consider this idea and has suggested starting working groups to work on reimagining the trading floor and also set up screens on the trader’s desks alongside their coworkers to encourage collaboration. 

Some banks such as JPMorgan have attempted to bring their workers back to the office but have had to send some workers home after one of them tested positive for the coronavirus disease. 

Meanwhile, other banks such as Deutsche Bank have made returning to the office as voluntary to avoid the risk of spreading the virus around and that most workers can return to the office in the middle of 2021 when the virus has been contained. 

BlackRock’s chief executive Larry Fink does not expect 100% of the workers to return to the office with the current situation, which is why virtual reality tools would be helpful to aid productivity from the safety of their homes. 

How VR changes the system:

With COVID-19 as a threat, it’s only natural that people are warier about coming back to work in an office, which is why it’s convenient to incorporate virtual reality so that you can simulate a normal workday without risking your health, and the health of others. 

The good thing is that there are multiple companies that specialize in virtual reality, which means you have options to choose from, which works for you. Microsoft launched HoloLens in 2015, and while it was initially perceived to be a gaming device, with their headphones at a price of $3000 upwards, it has since been considered by companies to be a tool for communication.

The first bank to consider using HoloLens for their trading business was Citigroup, in 2016, they developed the Citi system which combined financial data with 3D holograms. While they were looking into making the graphics in a way where clients could interact with the data, Citigroup decided against using the headphones because they felt it was too limited in terms of battery life, display size, and processing function.

Banks are an essential business, and staying afloat is one of the most important things they should focus on when it comes to the pandemic, which is why implementing virtual reality is a good move to replicate trading rooms for bank traders and their current investor clients. 

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