There are still a couple of months left before we get our hands on Far Cry 6, but if you want a taste of Far Cry action before then, you’re in luck.
Far Cry 5 is free to play this weekend, with Ubisoft letting those on Google Stadia, PS4, PC and Xbox One play the full game from August 5 through August 9.
That’s plenty of time to finish up the campaign and some side missions if you so desire. If you don’t manage to finish Far Cry 5 during the free weekend, or want to spend more time after the time period ends, you will have the option to buy the main game at a discount – with your free weekend save progress carrying over to the full game.
How to play Far Cry 5 for free this weekend
The Far Cry 5 free weekend runs from August 5 through August 9, but timings vary from platform to platform.
Here’s when and how you can play Far Cry 5 for free on your chosen platform:
Epic Games Launcher
You can access Far Cry 5 for free on Epic Games from August 5 at 6pm BST / 10am PT / 1pm ET (or August 6 at 3am AEST) until August 9 at 9pm BST / 1pm PT / 4pm ET (or August 10 at 6am AEST).
You can preload the game from August 3 at 5pm BST / 9am PT / 12pm ET (or August 4 at 2am).
Next to the trial version of the game (marked as free) select ‘Get’
PS4 and PS5
You can play Far Cry 5 on PS4 and PS5 from August 5 at 8:01am BST / 12:01am PT / 3:01am ET (or August 6 at 5:01pm AEST) until 9 August at 7:59am BST / 2:59am ET / 4:59pm AEST (or August 8 at 11:59pm PT).
You can preload Far Cry 5 on PS4 and PS5 from August 3 at 5am BST / 1am ET / 2pm AEST (or August 4 at 10pm PT).
It’s worth noting that PS Plus is required to play Far Cry 5’s online features and that those playing on PS5 will only have access to the PS4 version of the game.
Visit the game page on the PlayStation Store
Choose the Far Cry 5 full game trial (marked as free)
Select the Add to Library button
You can access Far Cry 5 for free on Stadia from August 5 at 6pm BST / 10am PT / 1pm ET (or August 6 at 3am AEST) until August 9 at 9pm BST / 1pm PT / 4pm ET (or August 10 at 6am AEST).
A Stadia Pro subscription is required to play Far Cry 5 for free.
You can play Far Cry 5 on Ubisoft Connect from August 5 at 2pm BST / 6am PT / 9am ET 11pm AEST until 9 August at 9pm BST / 1pm PT / 4pm ET / 4:59pm AEST (or August 9 at 6am AEST).
You can preload the game from August 3 at 5pm BST / 9am PT / 12pm ET (or August 4 at 2am).
Open Ubisoft Connect
Select the ‘Games’ tab
Go to the ‘Free Games’ section at the bottom of the page
Select the Far Cry 5 icon
Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S
You can play Far Cry 5 on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S from August 5 at 8:01am BST / 12:01am PT / 3:01am ET (or August 6 at 5:01pm AEST) until 9 August at 7:59am BST / 2:59am ET / 4:59pm AEST (or August 8 at 11:59pm PT).
An Xbox Live Gold membership is required to play Far Cry 5 for free on Xbox.
Open the Xbox Store.
Select ‘Free Play Days’ on the Store Homepage.
Locate Far Cry 5
Opinion: not the best Far Cry but a good refresher
Set in the fictitious region of Hope County, Montana, Far Cry 5 sees players on a mission to take down a doomsday cult known as the Project at Eden’s Gate, headed by the charismatic (and dangerous) cult leader Joseph Seed.
Far Cry 5 isn’t the best game in the series but it’s good fun, especially if you team up with friends in multiplayer. Plus, being able to access the game for free means that, even if you don’t like it, you’ve not wasted your hard-earned cash.
It’s worth trying out Far Cry 5 for free this weekend solely to get to grips with the series’ mechanics (or to give yourself a refresher) before the release of Far Cry 6 in October.
The next entry in the veteran FPS series is set to be even more bold and bombastic than its predecessor, but it also looks like the new Far Cry will build on features seen in Far Cry 5, such as animal companions, so it’s worth jumping in so you can get an idea of what the next entry in the series is likely to offer.
Windows 11 has gone from abstract concept to official announcement in a matter of weeks, and now you can try out the new operating system for yourself.
Just four days after Windows 11’s big reveal, Microsoft released the first public beta (or Insider Preview, as it calls it) to members of the Windows Insider Program. This testing period provides a crucial opportunity for the company to fine-tune the Windows 11 experience following user feedback, ahead of the expected full rollout in October.
The Windows Insider Program is open to everyone with a Windows PC and a Microsoft account, meaning you can try Windows 11 for yourself right now. However, this is an early build – some features may be missing, and bugs are likely. As such, we wouldn’t recommend installing it on your main PC.
However, if you have a spare device available, it’s a great chance to try out Windows 11 ahead of time. Without further ado, here’s how to download the Windows 11 beta now.
Check your PC meets the hardware requirements
There’s no point following all these steps if your PC won’t ultimately be eligible for the free Windows 11 upgrade. While the vast majority of current Windows 10 hardware will be supported, that’s not the case for all devices.
That’s because Microsoft has updated the hardware requirements for Windows 11. Notable changes include the need for a TPM 2.0-enabled processor (although there is a workaround), alongside at least 4GB of RAM and 64GB of on-device storage.
This counts a lot of older hardware out, including Surface PCs from 2018 or earlier. Learn more and see a full list of hardware requirements in our separate article: Will my PC run Windows 11?
Microsoft wasn’t enforcing hardware requirements when early builds were available in the Dev Channel, but that’s changed now it’s an official beta.
How to get the Windows 11 beta: Join the Windows Insider Program
The Windows Insider Program (or Programme as it’s known in the UK) is the only way to get access to this early Windows 11 build. Provided you’ve got an active Microsoft account, signing up is a simple process:
On your Windows 10 PC, open Settings
Head to Update & Security and choose ‘Windows Insider Program’ from the left pane
If you’re not already signed up, click the ‘Get Started’ button
From the pop-up that appears, click ‘Link an account’
Choose from an account that’s already signed in, or log in with new details
On the next screen, choose either the ‘Dev Channel’ or ‘Beta Channel’, although we’d recommend the later if device stability or bugs are a concern. Windows 11 isn’t available in the ‘Release Preview Channel’ yet
Hit ‘Confirm’ on this screen and the next, which indicates you agree to the terms and conditions
To complete signup, you’ll need to restart your PC. Choose whether to do that now or later
That’s the hard bit done – now you’ll just need to install the beta like you would any other update.
How to install the Windows 11 beta: Download the update
Once you’re a member of the Insider Program, installing the Windows 11 beta couldn’t be easier:
Head to Settings > Update & Security
From the Windows Update tab, choose ‘Check for updates’
After a few seconds, an update named ‘Windows 11 Insider Preview’ will automatically begin downloading
Once it’s finished, you’ll be prompted to restart your PC. Click ‘Restart now’ to do it straight away
That’s it! Once your PC has installed the update, the Windows 11 beta will be ready to use. Don’t worry, all your apps and files will remain intact.
How to switch from the Dev Channel to the Beta Channel
Until 29 July, the Dev Channel was the only way to get access to preview builds of Windows 11. Microsoft acknowledges that these early versions can have “rough edges”, recommending them for “highly technical users”.
However, with the latest version now available in the more stable Beta Channel, many people will want to make the switch. Here’s how it’s done:
From any Windows 11 build, open Settings
In the top-right of the window that appears, choose ‘Windows Update’
Under ‘More options’, click ‘Windows Insider Program’
You should now see a ‘Choose your Insider settings’ option. Click it and then select ‘Beta Channel (Recommended)’
Your Windows 11 PC will now be switched to the Beta Channel. This is a much simpler process than usual, but Microsoft has indicated that it won’t be around for long:
We are allowing it for a short period of time. If you want to switch, now is the time. This is mentioned in the blog.
If you signed up to the Windows Insider Program just to get the Windows 11 beta, you probably won’t want every new release in the Dev Channel. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to turn them off straight away:
From the new-look Windows 11 desktop, click the Settings cog icon in the middle of the taskbar
This now automatically opens in System settings. From the left pane, choose ‘Windows Update’
Click ‘Windows Insider Programme’ (or Program), one of the four main options on screen
From the next screen, click ‘Stop getting preview builds’ and then ‘Unenroll this device immediately’.
For this option to work right now, you’ll need to clean install Windows 10 back on your PC. We’d recommend not doing this, so only download the Windows 11 beta if you know you’ll want to keep it.
AMD is at last putting its latest generation of Ryzen 5000G APUs in the hands of DIY builders. These processors, with Vega-powered integrated graphics, let you play games without having a discrete GPU–a much-welcome alternative after months of waiting out sky-prices on graphics cards. Of course, they also provide the best performance you can get from a CPU.
But perhaps you don’t relish the idea of chasing after yet another component likely to be in high demand. Or maybe you don’t want to deal with building your own PC right now, period. You’re in luck—you don’t need to wait for the August 5th launch of the Ryzen 5 5600G or Ryzen 7 5700G. You can find those two chips, plus the even more affordable Ryzen 3 5300G, in pre-built machines right now.
Here’s the best of the bunch, plus what you need to know for upgrading them down the road.
HP Pavilion Desktop TP01-2337c (Costco)
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600G Processor with Radeon Vega Graphics
RAM: 8GB DDR4-3200MHz RAM (1 x 8GB)
Storage: 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 Solid State Drive
Wireless:11 Wireless-AC (2×2) and Bluetooth® 5.0
OS: Windows 10 Home
Price: $650 (On sale for $600 until August 8, 2021)
That said, the configuration isn’t perfect. We strongly recommending adding a second stick of 8GB RAM for optimal performance (which, according to HP’s support pages, should be an easy addition to make).
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600G Processor with Radeon Vega Graphics
RAM: 16GB DDR4-3200 MHz RAM (2 x 8GB)
Storage: 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD + 2TB 7200RPM SATA HDD
Wireless:11 Wireless-AC (2×2) and Bluetooth® 5.0
OS: Windows 10 Home
Like its Costco alter ego, this HP Pavilion featuring the 5600G costs less to build than its DIY equivalent. We recommend the Costco model before this one, though, due to this version’s storage configuration: It has a smaller SSD, which means you’ll be storing most of your big game files on the HDD (or doing a lot of musical chairs with file storage). But otherwise, it provides good value.
HP Pavilion Desktop TP01-2155m (HP)
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5300G Processor with Radeon Vega Graphics
You can only get the entry-level, budget-friendly Ryzen 3 5300G in a pre-built machine—and this HP model is one of the better configurations that features it. As you’ll be really only playing non-system intensive games on that chip (e.g. indie games), you’ll have more than ample storage to accommodate your Steam backlog.
If you can afford it, we recommend spending a little more and opting for the $650 5600G pre-builts on this list, since that’ll bump you up to a more powerful processor overall. But this 5300G PC would serve as a good PC for everyday tasks and lightweight gaming.
HP Pavilion Desktop TP01-2066 (Office Depot)
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5700G Processor with Radeon Vega Graphics
RAM: 16GB DDR4-3200 MHz RAM (2 x 4GB)
Storage: 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD
Wireless: 11 Wireless-AC (2×2) and Bluetooth® 5.0
OS: Windows 10 Home
Pre-built PCs with a 5700G and no discrete graphics card are actually rare. If you want only the APU, you’ll have to go with this HP Pavilion, which is fairly bare-bones in what it offers. We strongly recommend adding more storage, as the lone 256GB SSD will fill up quickly during normal use of the PC.
We expect that most people considering this PC plan to pair the 5700G with a discrete GPU later, to make the most out of having a higher-end processor. If you fall into this group, be aware that like the other HP Pavilion models on this list, this PC uses a proprietary motherboard and power supply. To support a discrete GPU, you’ll have to make some part swaps—investing more money into the system—to accommodate a beefier graphics card.
Can you upgrade these pre-builts?
Yes and no. You can easily upgrade storage and the amount of RAM in your system (up to 32GB for all of these HP Pavilion models) and the storage.
But most people asking this question want to know if you can add in a discrete graphics card down the road and call it a day. Unfortunately, you can’t.
The motherboard also caps RAM speed at 3200MHz, so you won’t be able to coax more performance out of the APU’s graphics by switching to faster RAM, either.
Instead, the majority of folks will need to replace the case, motherboard, and power supply for these HP Pavilions to accommodate a discrete graphics card. The included PSU is rated at only 180W, which won’t provide enough juice for a dedicated GPU, even one that can draw power through the PCIe slot alone. The motherboard and case are both proprietary, so you can’t use an off-the-shelf power supply or mobo.
A potential alternative is combing through HP’s forums and YouTube to find a compatible higher-wattage HP power supply that will work with these pre-builts. But that’s a gamble in more than one way: It’s not officially recommended by HP, and if you wait to buy the part, one that works may no longer exist by then.
In the end, expect to shell out about another $130 to $150 to support a discrete GPU. If that’s too much to stomach, you may be better off going the DIY route after all.
Of the big PC vendors like HP, Lenovo, and Dell, HP dominates the offerings. Whether it’s these basic Pavilion models or higher-end lines where the Ryzen APUs get paired with discrete GPUs from the get-go, HP seems to be the main company that’s gone all in on Cezanne.
The most choice you get is where to buy the pre-built. Buying through the direct website isn’t always the best—sometimes you can find better configurations and prices by looking at partner retailers like Best Buy, Office Depot, and Staples. That’s how we came to our mix here.
You can find system integrators that offer these APUs, but at the time of this article’s publication, we couldn’t find any that sold the PC with only the APU. Stock seems to fluctuate too: iBuyPower offered the 5700G when I began my research, only for it to disappear when I went back to verify the configuration.
Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.
It has always been a challenge to run a successful business, and with less resources, experience and cash than bigger organizations, keeping yours afloat gets even more daunting. And while this was true before the COVID-19 pandemic, this “Once in a lifetime” scourge on humanity has made this at least a few magnitudes more difficult with over 34.6 million cases and 610,000 deaths in the US according to the Johns Hopkins Resource Center as of the end of July. Also realize that while larger businesses often garner the attention, 99% of businesses in the US are considered small.
Businesses, and particularly small businesses have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. A survey released in July 2021 done by NEXT Insurance gives us an idea of the toll this virus has taken on business. It really has represented the largest threat to business over the last century. This has included that 44% of small businesses have experienced a “Major impact” from COVID-19, consisting of loss of revenue. The toll has been even greater on some subgroups, as among Millennial, and Baby Boomer business owners, the revenue loss is greater than 50%. In this survey, over half of respondents- more precisely 56%- indicate that they took advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for revenue supplementation and to meet business expenses. According to the US Chamber of Commerce, a staggering 1 in 5 businesses had to close at some point during this pandemic, either fully, or partially, and approximately 80% of them had to make adaptations.
Given such a severe situation, it should not come as a surprise that businesses were hit very hard from this pandemic. In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, an additional 200,000 businesses permanently closed due to COVID-19 as the US hit the one year mark. However, what is more surprising is that US businesses have shown some resilience, and even optimism for the future. When asked, according to the NEXT Insurance survey, among small business owners, “84%… said they are somewhat, very or extremely optimistic about a recovery,” and they are even more optimistic about their own business with 94% expecting them to recover.
While COVID-19 has created an unprecedented roadblock for small businesses, but they have risen to the occasion in many cases. Still, small businesses have their challenges, with in one study, 73% of them not being aware of digital resources.
With increasing frequency, small businesses have been forced to turn to digital technology, and in fact embraced it to assist in the recovery. In a way, this should not be surprising as all of us have had to reexamine so many things we do for daily life, and adapt them for this pandemic, for example moving our shopping from in store to online, having online video parties, and remote education, to name but a few. With such rapid transition of these routine activities, it has created opportunities for small businesses as well to support these endeavors. Additionally, small businesses need to reexamine even simple processes from a pandemic standpoint, such as offering home delivery where there was no business case before, or even ditching reusable menus at restaurants in favor of QR code online menus.
Many businesses were forced to completely shut down, literally closing their doors to customers. While some accepted this as a “COVID reality” moment when ‘Stay-At-Home’ orders were implemented, other businesses used this as an opportunity to trial remote working.
While major corporations have offered remote work positions for years, this has not been embraced by small businesses historically. However, this trend is not going away, and it is expected that by 2025 that fully 70% of workers will work from home for five or more days each month. Furthermore, a survey done by Intermedia last year indicates that over half of small business owners plan to continue this work model even after the pandemic.
While the remote work model may not be practical for all businesses, such as your local plumber, or restaurant, it is more than reasonable for a wide spectrum of activities, from financial advice, to tutoring, and insurance sales. It also does not need to be an all or none phenomenon with remote work being done as little as a few days a month, to a full time model.
Supporting the remote workers is a key to productivity, and there are a variety of digital platforms to do this. It starts with verbal communication, so reliable phone access is a must. Smartphones can certainly be a simple solution, whether company provided, or on a ‘Bring your own device’ plan (BYOD) for work. This has advantages such as easy availability, minimal investment, and the employee can be working from anywhere, whether at their home, the local coffee shop, or in a car.
Small businesses looking to take this a notch up should look at VoIP plans. These digital voice communication platforms facilitate more complex communication within a business structure.
Examples of this include Ring Central Office, Ooma Office, and Aircall, among others. This can allow an employee to then forward their business phone calls to any phone line, whether a landline in the office, a business provided smartphone, or even their home phone number. This also opens up possibilities for a virtual receptionist on the small scale, to a unified virtual call center as your business grows.
These VoIP services can also integrate neatly with other platforms, such as Customer Relationship Management software (CRM) that can offer additional automation and support, such as recording of phone calls, and robo dialing.
Audio conference calls can be a good way to hold a meeting among remote workers. This can include meetings among team members, or also with clients as well. Check out services such as Free Conference Call for occasional use, or more dedicated solutions for more intensive use. Also keep in mind that just about every video conferencing solution can also be used for an audio conference as well, simply by users turning off their video cameras, or with dial in options.
With COVID-19, travel has also been restricted, with challenges such as travel advisories against foreign travel to certain hotspots. Domestic flights have also had issues (many of which started prior to the pandemic), including high prices, baggage restrictions, limited availability, and less direct flights. Given the ongoing concerns, and also just perhaps the need for some human contact, it follows that businesses of all sizes have embraced video conferencing.
While hardly new, video conferencing, given the availability of broadband internet connections- both via wired, and also mobile- has experienced significant growth fueled by the pandemic. According to Digital In the Round, their research indicates that among employees 76% of them use it for remote work, productivity via video meetings is improved by 50%, and 47% of video conference users indicate that they have been able to gain a benefit in the reduction of their travel costs. It is no wonder that for 2020, video conferencing internet traffic saw a staggering rise of 535%, resulting in a global video conference market that is valued at just over $6 billion in 2021.
While just about any business smartphone can support video conferencing, a handful of platforms have emerged as the leaders when it comes to small business. Thankfully, what would have been a frustrating exercise a decade ago can now be done with ease with the available solutions that all have cross platform support via a web browser, and smartphone apps. Differentiating points to look for other than costs are the number of simultaneous users on the platform, the ease of which a screen can be shared among conference participants, the ability to record the conference, and whether there is support for custom backgrounds.
Having video meetings for business has become such a thing these days, that the term “Zoom meeting” has become a vernacular statement. For small businesses looking to get started there are plenty of free options to try this out, such as Facetime for iPhone and other Apple devices, and support for video in Google Hangouts and Skype. Beyond the basics, there is no shortage of video conferencing platforms available via a subscription. Market leaders have emerged that include Zoom, GoToMeeting, and Google Meet.
Small businesses also need platforms to gain efficiency, such as when making a proposal. For small companies that need to do such a task, such as a contractor or other service provider, this can be a bit of a time sink, with scraps of notes taken down on a clipboard as time is spent with the client, and then reviewing old proposals to formulate a competitive price. Also realize that all of this is done to try to get a job that you may never hear from the client again! Additional barriers are that regular mail has been slower in the pandemic making it truly snail mail, along with many clients would prefer to receive proposals electronically, eliminating issues of transmission of COVID (although paper is quite porous making this is an unlikely way to transmit the virus, although clients may not be aware of this).
Given these issues, small businesses have looked to upgrade from clipboards and paper to proposal software. This allows a business to grab a template, which can automate the writing process, combine elements for a professional look, and use email to send out the proposal right away. All this combines to enable a small business to get the edge when making a proposal, and to get back to working. Market leaders that have emerged in this segment include Better Proposals, Pandadoc, Nusii, and Proposable. Features to seek out include the number of available templates, mobile support, flexible pricing plans, and integration with other software, such as Customer Relationship Management software.
Not every solution for small business needs to be so fancy, or complex- enter mobile scanning. With workers remotely and more mobile during this pandemic, there is a definite need to be able to efficiently scan documents. While dedicated desk scanners with paper feed mechanisms are a good solution for office based workers, this would be an expensive outlay to give each remote worker. Also, factoring in the scanning of documents may be only an occasional task. Again realize that sending documents through email is 100% COVID-19 free. Once you enjoy the convenience of having the power to snap a pic of a document with a phone, and turn it into a PDF in seconds, there is no reason to go back to photocopying pages.
Enabling your small business staff with mobile scanning is as simple as choosing which app to download onto the smartphone. Start with a look at Evernote Scannable, ABBYY FineScanner, Adobe Scan, and Microsoft Office Lens. Features to look for cover integration with online storage solutions, integration with email, tiered pricing plans to suit your needs, support for multi page documents, and optical character recognition (OCR) that can transform the scan into an editable Microsoft Word document.
Third party delivery
Restaurants are especially hard hit by COVID-19, with many forced to shut down their dining areas to comply with government mandates. Even when reopened, guests have been reluctant to return, and volume has been down. Enterprising restaurants have offered takeout to patrons, and for even more convenience, delivery.
While a restaurant can offer the delivery inhouse, with the difficulties of finding help to employ, third party delivery has been an attractive route. After all, this way the delivery service is always available, ready to go when needed, and there is no need to pay someone while waiting for an order. Furthermore, the transportation is provided as well so the small business obviates the requirement to acquire a vehicle, with the included maintenance costs, and not to mention the fickle fuel prices. Finally, the third party delivery service can also work with the restaurant to put the menu online, and provide a method for consumers to order as well as pay, especially with a mobile app.
With COVID-19, “Delivery has become a lifeline for restaurants and grocery stores, with 81% reporting that they would have had to lay off staff members if not for third-party delivery, and 75% reporting that they would have had to close their business,” according to UberEats. Furthermore, 82% of the restaurant owners report that UberEats has been a crucial partner during COVID-19, with over 90% indicating that the plan is to continue working with them even post pandemic.
There are plenty of providers for third party delivery services to restaurants. In addition to UberEats mentioned above, also making the list are DoorDash, GrubHub and PostMates. Differentiating factors to assess when looking to partner in this space include the fees charged, which can be a hefty premium on top of the menu prices, the speed of the delivery, and the quality of the delivery. Also keep in mind that there are some potential downsides, so choose carefully, as the delivery service becomes the front face for the restaurant, and customers often get upset with late deliveries, cold food, or missing items, for example. An investment also needs to be made with themed bags and containers to bring forward branding with customers.
With a risk of infection, consumers have shied away from using cash whether paper currency, and also coins. While the actual risk of COVID-19 infection is likely low from using cash, the experts continue to go back and forth on this more potential than actual route, raising concern from consumers. Perhaps it is hastening a trend already in progress away from cash, but in 2021, consumers are not using cash, and turning towards contactless payments. In fact, as related by CNBC, while the US Mint is encouraging consumers to use coins for payment, a rising 3 in 10 consumers go through an entire week, and never use cash to pay for anything.
Small businesses are smart to embrace this trend. Rather than using the traditional credit card systems, with the older magnetic stripe technology, or the newer (and much more secure) chip readers, consumers are expecting to have contactless payment options. These are the so-called “Tap and go” transactions that happen via radio waves and antennas with digital tokens for security. This allows a fully contactless payment system, where the credit card has no chance of picking up COVID-19 viral particles by being placed into a credit card reading machine.
Unfortunately, the US is behind the rest of the world, where contactless payments have become dominant, accounting for 79% of payments, according to CreditCards.com. Customers are also using digital wallets, with options such as Google Pay and Apple Pay. Beyond that, small businesses would be smart to get ahead of this trend, and consider accepting even more progressive payment options, such as PayPal, and Venmo to attract millennial customers.
Small businesses should upgrade to these contactless payment platforms that do require hardware upgrades to enable the credit card to be read in this fashion. Services to look into include Square, Clover and Leaders Merchant Services. Differentiating factors cover pricing, the available hardware, available support, and which payment options are supported.
Remote working has its challenges, and an important one is keeping the team synchronized, and working together from multiple locations. Keeping the team on the same page can start with a shared calendar, also known as a synced calendar. While this once may have represented a daunting task, with an executive assistant in charge of the coordination of multiple calendars, this has been simplified through the use of the cloud.
Solutions in this space run the gamut, from established providers, such as Microsoft Outlook, iCloud and Google Calendar, that are practically household names in this segment. However, small businesses should choose this platform carefully, as it impacts other platforms chosen, and there are also dedicated providers in this area, so be sure to check out Calendly, Taskworld, and Teamup. When making a choice, be sure to consider integration with other apps, such as GoToMeeting, and mobile app support so that workers can access the calendar from anywhere they happen to be.
Ask anyone that has run a small business, and any of them will tell you that you need to do more with less. This includes the important task of marketing, which is a crucial task for any organization, but for a small business the challenge is that the message needs to be communicated, while “Doing more with less,” so that the budget remains under control.
With COVID-19, this became even more of a challenge, with small businesses having the burden of keeping engagement with its customers, while intermittently shut down, or working remotely. Also, there is a need to communicate a rapidly changing landscape of changing hours, reduced services, delivery menus, and even new or modified offerings, depending on the business. Some establishments that do this well can benefit from the opportunity to strengthen relationships with loyal customers.
Depending on the small business, there are various methods to accomplish marketing. Direct outreach via phone can work with existing customers, and can be appropriate to a limited extent in some circumstances. Use of social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Yelp has also increased, which is well suited for a rapid roll out of short term info, such as a daily special at a restaurant.
Beyond that, small businesses should look into digital marketing platforms that can take this process to the next level. This includes activities such as search engine optimization (SEO), influencer marketing, affiliate marketing, and mobile marketing, to name some of the more specific activities, among others. Examples of small business marketing firms to be evaluated include Sprout Social, SalesForce, Marketo, and TrueNorth. Be sure to assess your needs- and your budget carefully, as these services can run the spectrum from only focused marketing activities, to a much more widespread customer relationship management approach that covers more than just the marketing.
Take it from us – the importance of the POS system in business cannot be understated. The development and evolution of point of sale systems (or ePOS) has increased rapidly over the past 20 years, benefiting the retail, leisure, and hospitality sectors by integrating cloud services, mobile and a multitude of other handy features designed to improve your bottom line.
Ultimately, POS systems are about maximizing sales – something that they do in a multitude of different ways. There are plenty of game-changing features we could mention, but we’ve stuck to the five main reasons why your business needs a POS system.
Hopefully this will help you determine if a modern POS system is the right investment for your business.
Prioritise business sales with a POS for faster payments
1. Simply tell us your needs
2. Receive free quotes
3. Compare prices and save money
1. POS systems save time and money
If the old adage of ‘time is money’ is to be believed, your company’s profitability can shoot up after getting a POS system.
That’s because you can become more efficient in multiple areas of the business – not just sales (though it plays a large part). Even becoming 10 per cent more efficient in your operations processes as a result of using a POS system can have a huge impact on your bottom line.
Using an efficient POS in your business will make you more cost-focused and can be a powerful motivator in helping your employees (and managers, for that matter) achieve individual sales targets and objectives, in addition to identifying where sales can be improved.
For example, through means such as improving customer service. Companies that don’t bother with a POS system (or implement one effectively) will often suffer from long queues at the checkout; they also find it more difficult for cashiers to retrieve information for customers who want to find out more about items. By being intuitive, today’s cloud-based POS systems reduce risk by preventing frustration and minimizing the loss of time and productivity, all for the benefit of the customer.
2. Increase functionality and ease of use
You can greatly improve the functionality of your business through a POS.
One of the main ways this is possible is by selecting a system that is cloud-based, which allows you to run the business and retrieve reports and useful data from any location and on any device.
That said, employees can only make the most of a POS system’s useful functionality if it’s easy to use. Unlike traditional cash registers, which were not designed with ease of use in mind, POS systems are designed to be as useful as possible to companies within certain sectors.
For that reason, it’s worth doing as in-depth research up front as possible to determine whether a POS system has been designed for the sector that your company is based in.
Ones designed for retail, for example, will offer inventory management functionality, while ones designed for restaurants will sport large interfaces that make it easier to book tables in darkened environments.
3. Reduce (or eliminate) employee error and theft
POS systems do a lot of the hard work for employees and their managers. Not only will they calculate all manner of sales-related activity, they can also hold employees to account and figure out which are performing best (and, conversely, which aren’t pulling their weight).
They can also reduce error: if you are calculating stock takes or orders manually, then it means that your business is being exposed to unnecessary errors caused by your human workers.
This wouldn’t be a problem if it happened once a day, but when multiple errors go undetected it can add up.
Additionally, POS systems can detect employee theft, which is the original reason that inventor James Ritty invented the very first POS system back in the late 19th century. Any decent small business POS has the data needed to understand the source of losses and determine where weaknesses are, and where action needs to be taken.
4. Get real-time actionable reports and data
A POS system opens up your business to the world of customer data and all the benefits that brings. Over time data can be collected and utilized in many ways, to reap rewards. After all, you cannot run a business based on insight and intuition alone. Through accurate data collection you can create successful strategies and make informed business decisions.
When you have sufficient data, for example, you can order in exactly the amount of actionable stock that a certain store needs (and has proved popular with customers). You will be then able to introduce price reductions and special offers on goods according to that data.
A POS system will also offer analytics features that provide specific information, such as low stock count; best selling items; worse selling items; off-peak hours; and peak hours.
5. Improve the customer experience
Using a POS system can greatly improve the customer experience. This is achieved using features such as customer ordering and inventory tracking, which enables product look-up and ordering to a store from other franchise locations (for example).
Additionally, a cloud-based POS system frees up your employees to provide customer service and sell items directly from the shop floor on a mobile device – such as an iPhone or iPad – which then feeds back to all other areas of your system.
The best POS systems will record thousands of existing customer enquiries, meaning that other customers who have the same problems or queries can be served more efficiently faster, when compared to stores that would have to look up answers without that context each and every time.
For anyone who has been searching for where to buy the Nvidia RTX 3090, you’ll know how hard getting hold of this graphics card has been, despite its high price, so it’s exciting that it’s come back into stock.
However, as always, we’re not sure how long it will remain in stock. With 24GB of GDDR6X RAM and Nvidia’s very latest graphics tech, this is a GPU that may be overkill for many people, but is incredibly future-proof. It’s also capable of gaming at 8K on some titles like Red Dead Redemption 2 – though with a little help from DLSS.
The scarcity of other GPUs, like the RTX 3080 Ti and RTX 3070 Ti, have inflated the prices of those lower powered cards, which means the RTX 3090’s £1,399 asking price isn’t quite as bad as it first seems. If you want to upgrade your PC to the very best GPU out there, then jump on this deal now.
We should point out that Scan’s web page for this deal sometimes goes down, possibly due to high amounts of traffic, so try refreshing the page to see the deal.
Nvidia RTX 3090 deals:
If you miss out on Scan’s Nvidia RTX 3090 stock or simply want to know where to buy RTX 3090 quickly, you’ll find all the links to buy the RTX 3090 at various retailers below. Keep checking these links as you never know when more consoles will hit the shelves.