About Monty

Monty Munford has more than 15 years' experience in mobile, digital media, web and journalism. He is the founder of Mob76, a company that helps tech companies raise money and exit. He speaks regularly at global media events with a focus on Africa, writes a weekly column for The Telegraph, is a regular contributor to The Economist, Wired, Mashable and speaks regularly on the BBC World Service.

Half of SMEs wait two months for invoices to be paid

invoiceThere are many injustices in business, but the one thing that is responsible for holding back entrepreneurship is the late payment of invoices.

It appears that the bigger the client is, the longer they take to pay and the smaller the business, the longer it takes to get paid.

A recent poll carried out by YouGov on behalf of FreeAgent reveals that one in eight micro-business owners in the UK has had to wait a year or more to get paid by one of their clients.

Moreover, 13% of micro-business owners said they had to wait for at least a year before a client had settled an outstanding invoice, while 46% said that they had waited two months or more to get paid by a client.

Other salient points of the report:

* 86% of micro-businesses that issue invoices said they had been paid late, while only 14% said they had never been paid late

* 31% of respondents said they wait for a month or more after their payment deadline has passed before chasing up an unpaid invoice

* Only 28% said they would chase an invoice within the first week after it was due

The research, which surveyed more than 500 micro-business owners/sole traders and was carried out to mark FreeAgent’s £1 million crowdfunding drive through Seedrs.

“We know that it can be awkward to chase clients and ask them for money, but if you don’t follow up with late payers from the moment that their invoice is overdue, they may not see the urgency in paying you. And that means you may be stuck waiting for months – or in extreme cases even years – to get paid what you’re owed,” said Ed Molyneux, CEO and co-founder of FreeAgent.

On a personal level, and with hands firmly placed on wood, I am yet to be stitched up by a client or somebody who has commissioned me.

I am wired to call the accounts department the first hour after an invoice is late and am happy to shame these so-called clients on social media if they continue to stonewall me. It is in everybody’s interests for everybody to do the same.

FIVE SUMMER GIFTS #4 – Cat® S40 Refined Rugged Smartphone

CATThe ‘rugged’ smartphone market is growing with more than 10 million sales in 2014. Now, the new Cat® S40 rugged smartphone, an update on the previously released S50 is set to accelerate this market even further.

A recent survey by Cat phones revealed that 80% had damaged a handset in the last five years. Half had cracked or shattered the display, and just less than half had damaged a phone by accidentally dropping and other accidents had befell a further when dropped.

I have done all three things, and that’s only in the past 18 months.

Fixing broken phones is also a primitive business with micro-shops charging ridiculous prices to fix them, so no surprise that groups such as professional tradesmen and outdoor workers are investing in rugged smartphones.

The Cat® S40 rugged smartphone is expensive at around £400 (less on selected sites), but compared with fragile high-end smartphones and virtually indestructible, it is a worthy investment.

Stand-out features of the new S40 include:

● Drop-tested up to 1.8 metres onto concrete
● Super Bright Display capable of being read in direct sunlight
● Large Capacity Battery
● Glove-On Working Technology
● Wet-Finger Tracking Technology
● Waterproof warning sensors lets user know when the phone isn’t waterproof

“Too many people are being let down and left out-of-pocket by damaged smartphones due to them being used in work environments they were not built for. We recognised the need to use our expertise to launch a stylish, rugged smartphone that offers protection alongside style and performance”, said Oliver Schulte, CEO of Bullitt Mobile.

150-WORD BOOK REVIEW: Season Of The Witch – David Talbot

seasonAs a delegate to many trade shows at San Francisco’s Moscone Center, the name of the venue has always intrigued me… but obviously not to the point that I could be bothered to search online.

Thanks to David Talbot’s uber-wonderful Season Of The Witch, I now know him to be the Major of San Francisco who was assassinated a few minutes before Harvey Milk.

The book itself covers the Dark Ages of San Francisco from the time Summer of Love had turned to the Autumn of Homelessness and the Winter of Smack in 1967 to the relative redemption of the San Francisco 49s winning the Super Bowl in 1982.

From the Zodiac killings to the onset of AIDS, from Jim Jones’ malign political influence (which ended in mass enforced suicide in Guyana) to the kidnapping of Patty Hearst, this book has it all. Once upon a time, before Silicon Valley, there was a mess called San Francisco and this is its story during those turbulent 15 years.

FIVE SUMMER GIFTS #3… 2UNDR chafe-free boxers

2undrAs we all become more athletic and obsessed with our bodies and not our brains, our use of the correct equipment becomes ever more important.

For the male of the species, protection of one’s tackle and its surrounding areas is paramount. No mans likes slipping off a saddle onto a crossbar, being hit between the legs by a cricket ball or being pulled from behind in a rugby scrum.

The long-tail of physical exercise, however, is not immediate pain, but long-term irritation and chafing, inflammation and infections. That’s why comfort is as important as defence. So step forward, the 2UNDR range of boxer shorts.

Somewhat weirdly based on the parental relationship between kangaroo and joey offspring (there’s a pouch!), 2UNDR is a useful asset to any regular athlete’s kit. While I have been wearing the Green Envy edition that is pictured here, there are more salubrious colours to sport.

Selling at between £22.99 and £26.99 and available here to purchase this underwear means that awkward conversation early in the morning with a chemist for treating thrush is unlikely to ever happen. If only for that reason, 2UNDR’s boxers are worth a look.

FIVE SUMMER GIFTS… #2 Ridley Road by Jo Bloom

ridleyAs somebody who has just spent lunchtime starfished in the Sussex sunshine, thoughts have turned to summer and similarly lazy days spent reading beautiful books.

Ridley Road by first-time author Jo Bloom is one book I’d recommend, especially for people who have a love of London and the early 1960s… hairdressers who like both of these things will particularly adore it. But this is not a book about celebrity or fringes.

Bloom’s story focuses on a little-known part of London history and anti-fascist Jewish group the 62 Group. This organisation was set up to combat the rising threat of fascism represented by demagogues such as Oswald Mosley, US Nazi leader George Lincoln Rockwell and the lesser-known, if no less dangerous, Colin Jordan.

Bloom’s book, however slight in some areas, is the almost-perfect accompaniment and counterfoil to a lazy, lovely summertime lack of blues… and it highlights a part of London history that deserves to be more widely know.

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