The Advantages of AI Technologies in Financial Trading

Artificial Intelligence in finance is transforming the way we interact with money. Providing a faster, more convenient, and  safer way to access, spend, save, and invest. But it’s not just in traditional financial settings that AI is being utilized. 

Many traders are turning to AI technologies like the MT4 platform to help them with their financial trading too. 

How is AI used in financial trading?

As more and more traders turn their backs on the traditional stock market for their investments and turn increasingly to the foreign exchange or forex market, we’re seeing AI transform the sector. 

AI applications can be used in a number of ways, including algorithmic trading, portfolio composition and optimisation, model validation, back testing, robo-advising, virtual customer assistants markets impact analysis, regulatory compliance and stress testing, to name a few. 

Thanks to AI’s ability to digest and analyse huge volumes of data faster than any human, as well as recognise any trade anomalies, traders are cashing in on this technology. 

Andrew Ng said “AI is the ‘new electricity’….just as electricity transformed many industries roughly one hundred years ago; AI will also now change every major industry.” 

The advantages of AI technology

It’s fair to say that AI is revolutionising forex trading, thanks to numerous advantages including:

Predicting with accuracy

In 2019 Triennial Central Bank found that the forex market was trading with a daily volume of $6.6 trillion. With so much money at stake, AI-led technologies are being utilised to reduce trader risk and increase accuracy. 

These innovative technologies enable traders to analyse large volumes of data easily allowing traders to execute transactions with a lower risk of failure. In part thanks to being able to constantly track their performance in real time. Helping traders in the long-term to make informed decisions. 

All the tools they need

Not only does AI technology help predict trades and markets, but it also helps traders quickly and easily identify red flags – at the touch of a button. 

AI predictive platforms also shows traders not only what data to collect, but how to collect it. Helping them gain a better understanding of the market, these tools can teach traders how to decide which data is relevant, and, more importantly, how to use the data they collected to make informed decisions. 

Additionally, the algorithms the AI platforms use are particularly useful at times of high volatility when there is a high chance a trade can go wrong, helping traders to minimise their losses during unfavourable times. 

Convenience

Traditional trading meant that traders and brokers alike were working long, unhealthy, and often unsociable hours. With the constant stress leading many to suffer burnout, however with the emergence of AI-led platforms, a trader is able to save a lot of time without compromising on trading quality. 

By giving traders all the tools and information they need within a matter of minutes, if not seconds, and enabling traders to make better decisions, they’re able to make informed trades and better understand external influence, strategies, speed and computational power – in short, giving traders complete peace of mind. 

Entrepreneurship Lessons: 5 African Business Owners Share Advice for New Entrepreneurs

Meet the Founder is Founders Africa interview series where we pose to same questions to business owners in the continent.

One of the questions is, ‘What advice will you give young entreprreneurs who are just starting out?’

We’ve compiled a list of some of the best responses so far.

1) Ophelia Crossland

CEO, Ophelia Crossland Designs

Every young person needs to work extremely hard. Entrepreneurship is not a 9-5 experience but a 12-12. There will be good days and bad days but keep your head up. Your product is the solution to a need and you’re really important.

2) Andrew Pfaff

CEO, Rental Planet

I’d say starting as early as possible. If I had the chance back then, I would have started in first year varsity, the earlier you start, the less obligations you have and the more risk you can take.

For those who have already started, I’d say talk about your idea with as many people as possible. It’s often a misconception that someone will steal the idea and your project will disappear from you. The earlier you talk about it the better and the advice you get is invaluable.

3) Brendan McNulty

Founder, Now Novel

Three major things:

The more you focus on your customer the better you can create something that will work for them

Be a cockroach, it’s a long game and by surviving you’ll stand in better stead of succeeding

Content marketing (and SEO) helps to create an audience that continues to interact over time. Invest in it.

4) Temie Giwa-Tubosun

Founder, Lifebank

Be dogged and consistent, there are lots of factors that will try to pull you down, from policies to resources.

Have your eyes set on the goal and consistently give it your best. Be consistent with your thought, purpose and action.

5) Blondie Okpuzor

CEO, Bathkandy

It is so important to work hard and master your craft. You cannot avoid the work you need to do as an entrepreneur.

Success is hard but the hardwork serves as building blocks that build the bridge from your now to your successful future.

You must know your industry and your craft like the back of your hand and you really cannot fake it till you make it, the work must be done.

How to Increase Work Productivity

Every entrepreneur at one time or another sometimes feel overwhelmed when completing assigned tasks become a difficult thing and with the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office it is very easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

Here are a few tips to improve work productivity:

1. Cut Down on Meetings

Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You will be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

2. Utilize Tools

Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal.

Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

3. Declutter and Organize

Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information. Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.
Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it.

A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.

4. Take Breaks

Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

How to Build a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Most people think that maintaining a work/life balance is easy when you’re an entrepreneur, especially when you have people working for you,that you typically work from home and you have no one else to answer to, so it should be easy to switch off.

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. In fact, many entrepreneurs struggle to strike a healthy work/life balance because the lines are more blurred.

Here are a few tips for achieving and maintaining a healthy work/life balance.

Prioritise your time

You may have a to-do list with 50 tasks on it, so you need to prioritize those tasks into four categories.
They are:

• Urgent and important
• Important but not urgent
• Urgent but not important
• Neither urgent nor important.

Know your peaks and troughs

Are you a morning person?
If you are, assign tough, high-concentration tasks to the mornings. Don’t leave the tough tasks until its night time and vice versa.

Plot some personal time

When personal issues arise, it can be tempting to bury yourself in your work. Don’t do it If you don’t make time for your personal life – your “me” time, including your family and your health – you won’t have a business to go back to

Have set work hours – and stick to them

Set work hours for yourself and do everything in your power to stick to them. Otherwise, before you know it, you’ll be working until midnight every night.

Find time for your finances

Whether you work for yourself or not, it’s important to feel confident about your finances. In order to do this, you need to get some accounting software in place and use it from day one.

Cash flow is one of the biggest challenges facing small businesses. You should start using accounting tools early on so you know what’s going on, financially, from day dot.

Manage your time

Create a timeline of your activities. Specific computer programs can help with this, or you can customize your own Excel spreadsheet or Word table.
Put dates across the top and activities down the side. Break each task into components.

Include family commitments – such as holidays, birthday parties, etc. – so you don’t forget that you are unavailable for work on those days.

Tap into technology

Instead of driving to a meeting, use Skype or conferencing technologies like GoToMeeting. But remember to switch them off.

Know and nurture your network

Prioritise growing your network and have a structured lead/conversion system in place so you can track the time/cost involved to grow your network.
Set the benchmarks early on and learn the lessons early.

Be realistic

At the end of each working day, perform a little self-analysis. Ask yourself what worked today, what didn’t, what went wrong and how the issue can be fixed.

Remember there are thousands of businesses just like yours learning the same lessons every day. Don’t forget to tap into the valuable resources around you for help.

Get a business coach

Find the cash for a business coach. That way, you can find out sooner rather than later how to get rid of bad habits and implement good ones.

Take a break

Remember to take time out throughout your day.
Some tasks are easier than others, so if you find yourself with an hour up your sleeve, be realistic about whether you can “afford” to rest or not.

You might not have time every day to simply sit and “be”, but do your best to give yourself a lunch break.
Also, make a point of getting up and stretching every 15 minutes. It will help you become clearer, more focused and more productive.

How to Become a Successful Solopreneur

The term “solopreneur”, while not new, has gained popularity lately as a way to describe the growing number of “solo entrepreneurs” out there today.

And even though there is a lot of overlap between an entrepreneur and a solopreneur, there are subtle distinctions to be made between the two.

Solopreneurs place a high value on control. By definition, a solopreneur is a one-person operation. By contrast, an entrepreneur is building a team of people who specialize in specific areas of the business. Think sales, accounting, customer service etc.

Becoming a solopreneur can be exciting, rewarding and lucrative. But it’s also a lot of work. Sometimes, people become overwhelmed at the thought of doing everything themselves.

So, here are some tips you can use to lessen the burden and become a successful solopreneur.

1. Have a Solid Plan

Just like any business, it’s important that you set goals both long and short term so that you can measure your progress.

To that end, you should develop a mission statement and a vision statement that you can refer to down the road.

Your plan should include four components

• How will you grow your business?
• How are you planning for that growth?
• How do you plan to create passive income?
• Will you be expanding by adding additional products or services?

If you can map out where you want to be, you’ll have a much easier time getting there.

2. You Don’t Have to Go It Alone

One of the most intimidating things about becoming a solopreneur is the amount of work involved. After all, if you’re in charge of sales, marketing, customer service, accounting, advertizing, branding, social media and more, it quickly becomes overwhelming.

But here’s the good news, you don’t have to go it alone. There are a ton of other solopreneurs out there willing to take on the tasks that you can’t or just don’t want to do.

These people specialize in services like website development, email marketing, copywriting, accounting, graphic design, social media management, and a lot more.

By using these other solopreneurs, it will free you up concentrate on the most productive areas of your business.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to “Pivot”

All too often we get a vision in our head of how things need to go or what they should be like. But the world doesn’t really work that way.

Circumstances change, markets change and customer’s taste’s change.
Be willing to adjust your priorities, goals and even your vision of the company to correspond with these changes.

After all, this is one area where you, as a solopreneur have a huge advantage over your larger competitors.

4. Don’t Be in Competition with Anyone but Yourself

Trying to compare yourself to others is always a losing game.
First of all, you will always be behind someone, and ahead of others. We tend to always focus on who’s in front of us, and not who’s behind us. This is a mistake on two counts.

By only focusing on who is ahead of us, we may miss that person behind us that came up with a new strategy and is about to leave everyone in the dust.

Secondly and more importantly, it’s too easy to get discouraged and give up if you are constantly seeing your progress as not measuring up to others.

Plus, remember that you are only comparing yourself to what others want you to see. We all put our best foot forward in public situations but, no one really knows what it’s really like for other people.

In short, the best way to progress is to celebrate all your successes, both large and small and stay motivated.

5. Automation

This is the best friend of the solopreneur. You should always try to automate as much of the work as possible.

Use email autoresponders to market to customers. Use Sales funnels to acquire customers and sell products. Use social media scheduling software to make regular posts.

There is a lot of automation software available today that entrepreneurs can take advantage of.

5 Business Lessons for African Entrepreneurs

Oftentimes, we wonder why some entrepreneurs in Africa succeed while others fail? Most people hold the opinion that it is that one thing that successful entrepreneurs have that unsuccessful entrepreneurs don’t.

All entrepreneurs especially the upcoming entrepreneurs in Africa are all looking for that one thing which can make them successful.

In this article, we will share some of the lessons that successful African entrepreneurs are using to succeed in their businesses. The success of an entrepreneur in Africa is made up of so many factors.

Things such as personal life, the quality of your products or service, the latest changes and trends in your industry or niche, may influence your success as an entrepreneur in Africa.

Below are 5 business lessons which if you implement in your life as an entrepreneur, will see massive success in your business and life:

1. Patience

Many entrepreneurs in Africa fail because they lack patience. When starting out a business, the amount of money you put into your marketing and advertising in the beginning, turns to yield no results.

It’s perfectly okay. That’s because you are just starting. You have to develop the patience to wait for your business to produce some results.

In the beginning, Africa’s most successful entrepreneurs nurtured a lot of patience. While they put in a lot of time and energy into the business, their businesses took some time to mature.

For everyone that desires to become a successful entrepreneur in Africa, it is important to learn how to develop that same mentality: patience.

2. Learning from failures

The worst enemy of any entrepreneur in this world is pride. Successful entrepreneurs in Africa have a lot of experience because they have learned from their previous mistakes and failures.

Tony Robbins in his book, “Awaken the Giant,” said: “success truly is the result of good judgement. Good judgement is the result of experience, and experience is often the result of bad judgement.”

If you don’t accept failure, do not start a business because failure is what makes most entrepreneurs in Africa, successful. When a successful entrepreneur fails, he learns from and moves on.

3.Trusting your employees

An idea has no stand except when one has a team to nurture it with. It is quite possible to have the most amazing idea in the world but building a team to work on that idea is quite helpful.

Successful entrepreneurs are constantly trying to bring great minds together so that they can help in building their business.

It is also helpful to trust your employees to an extent that you can allow them to contribute their own ideas to build your dreams.

4. Innovation

The one thing that most African entrepreneurs have in common these days, whether it is IT, management, accounting, marketing or product, is simply Innovation. As an African entrepreneur, you have to innovate constantly in order to succeed in business.

5. Passion

It is obvious that as an entrepreneur, you will not always do what you are passionate about. Successful entrepreneurs learn how to do a variety of tasks that actually get them out of their comfort zones.

Successful entrepreneurs are constantly pushing beyond their boundaries to learn new skills that will help them grow their business and become successful.

To be a successful entrepreneur in Africa, you will have to learn to delegate some of your tasks and focus on your strengths to build up yourself. And if you focus on what you are passionate about, you will be able to amplify your strength.

Business Tips Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know

The right approach can mean a world of difference in business. Part of setting up a long-term plan is knowing where the problem spots are, as well as which business philosophies work better for which industries.

This is also why having a strong group of peers and mentors is so important for leaders: An outside perspective, or someone who has already faced a similar misstep, can mean all the difference between struggling and finding success.

Find out more on why every entrepreneur needs mentorship here: https://foundersafrica.com/why-you-need-a-business-mentor/

Research and Understand Your Market

Take the time to do market research and really listen closely to your ideal client’s needs. Get really in tune with them to know where they’re at right now: That is different to where you would like them to be.

Take this intel and craft it into an irresistible solution for them to be able to get easier yeses in your business.

Put in The Hard Work

Starting a business is exponentially harder than another other job. Successful entrepreneurs need to operate well across a variety of functions: sales, marketing, finance, operations, HR, etc.

On top of that, creating an enterprise from scratch requires creativity, persistence and continuous learning.

Listen to Your Clients

Truly listen and empathize with your clients. Everyone is so interested in getting their own personal message across, that no one pauses for a moment to actually listen and hear the root of the problem or pain.

Believe in listening 80% of the time, clarifying 10% of the time, and responding wholeheartedly and intentionally, is the remaining 10% of the time.

Learn with A Team

Most leaders settle for learning by themselves. They read a book or attend a conference by themselves. Good leaders learn with the help of a mentor. A coach can come alongside a leader and help the leader see things from a different perspective. The best leaders learn with a team.

An old proverb teaches that where there are many advisors, there is much success.
when considering starting a new business venture, despite the fear it may not work out.

One needs to adopt the mindset that the whole journey is a big experiment and that “failure” is not an option, because ultimately it is learning and growth that we will get. Focusing on the rewards instead of the fear is the real key to success.

Network with Experienced Executives

Take any opportunity to network and learn from more experienced executives, as well as to be mentored and coached by some of them.

Further, exposure to specific meetings, boardroom discussion, and strategic planning would be utterly beneficial.

8 Professional Business Etiquettes Every Entrepreneur Should Know

Many people assume ‘etiquette’ refers to which fork you use for the salad and how quickly you should send a thank you note after receiving a gift. When it comes to the business world, however, the way you behave says a lot about your professionalism.

Here are a few business etiquette rules you need to be aware of and avoid breaking at all cost:

Use your full name when introducing yourself

Let’s face it, a lot of people are terrible about putting names to faces. You run into someone you met at a conference last year and it’s clear they can’t remember what your name is.

Introducing yourself with your full name helps distinguish you from the sea of Matts and Lindsays they’ve met.

Knowing your last name also makes it easier for people to find you on sites like LinkedIn so you can stay connected.

Stop crossing and uncrossing your legs

When you’ve been sitting for a while, it’s natural to get uncomfortable. However, repeatedly rearranging your legs is distracting. Instead of fidgeting, try to find one comfortable sitting position and stick to it.

Keep personal items off the table

Ten years ago, there would have never been purses, wallets, or any other personal item sitting on the table during a meeting or business lunch.

But now, none of us can survive unless our cell phones are within arms reach. Keep your cell phone stowed away. Having it out on the table is a sign to those you’re with that they don’t have your full attention.

Keep questions to a minimum in meetings

Meetings are a great time to bring up questions or concerns you might have. Having multiple people there ensures you’ll get the right answer.

However, if the meeting is running late because of all your inquiries, it’s a waste of everyone else’s time.

Limit yourself to the most important questions during the meeting and then follow up with an email if you still have more after it ends.

If you did the inviting, you pay

Nobody like doing that back and forth dance of how-do-we-split-the-check. Especially when the answer is so simple: if you invited clients or co-workers, you pay the bill.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a business dinner or a quick cup of coffee to catch up, the tab is your responsibility when you invite others somewhere.

Reply to everyone on emails when it’s necessary

As dangerous as the ‘reply all’ button can be, you need to be in the habit of using it when it comes to sharing important information.

For example, say someone sends out a group email asking about some project details. If you respond to just the original sender with the answers, everyone else is out of the loop.

Now, either people don’t have the information they need or the sender needs to waste time forwarding your email to everyone in the chain.

Remove people from email threads who don’t need to be there

On the other hand, having your inbox overrun by email chains that are useless and irrelevant to you is annoying. If the email thread gets more specific, remember to remove people who don’t need that information.

Limit your “Thanks Yous”

There’s nothing wrong with showing appreciation, but if you’re repetitive with your gratitude it begins to make you seem a little insecure. Instead, one confident and sincere thank you is enough.

Why Networking is Important for your Business

Most business owners use networking as a means to form relationships with others, in like or related fields, that help to expand their business’ ability to find new customers, partner and grow.

A key element to effective networking is to make you known. The premise being that the more people you meet, the more people there will be to get to know and remember both you and your business.

You should use every professional and social opportunity to meet and connect with new people.
Here are some key reasons that clearly outline why networking is important for businesses.

1. Business Leads

Networking is a great way to acquire new business leads. Using the contacts, you make when you meet people can open doors for business opportunities.

Communicate professionally when you follow up on leads. People want to help others but aren’t interested in someone badgering them for business.

Be sensitive to timing and use common courtesy when following up with contacts.

2. Identify Best Practices

Networking is a great way to identify business best practices or industry benchmarks. Learning from what others do is a valuable strategy for all businesses.

For example, if you own a restaurant and you belong to a restaurant association, you can find out what the latest software programs are or employee management practices that you can bring back to your own business.

3. New Business Trends

Networking can help you stay on the cutting edge of technology and new business trends. These types of relationships and “inside” information can give you an advantage over your competitors by implementing new and fresh ways of doing things.

Having said all of this, networking is a skill and some people are just naturally more gifted at mingling with people they don’t know and making friends on first contact.

Practice being friendly and learn the art of striking up conversations. Learn the trick to remembering people’s names that you meet. Get a system; write something specific about a person on the back of their business card so you can remember them when you get back to your office.

4. Increased Confidence

By regularly networking, and pushing yourself to talk to people you don’t know, you will get increased confidence the more you do this. This is really important as a business owner, because your business growth is very dependent on talking to people and making connections.

Networking is great for people that aren’t confident as it really pushes them to grow and learn how to make conversations and lasting connections with people they don’t know.

5. Connections

“It’s not WHAT you know, but WHO you know”. This old adage is absolutely true when it comes to building successful business.

To grow your small business quickly you will need to have a strong source of relevant connections in your network that you can call on when you need them.

Networking can open the door to talk to highly influential people that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to easily talk to or find.

It’s not just about who you are networking with directly either, that person will already have a network you can tap into as well. So ask the right questions to find out if the person you are networking with knows who you want to know.

Why Entrepreneurs Need Business Savings Account

Usually, Saving is not always easy for small business owners. But, regularly setting aside small amounts of money helps you maintain long-term financial health.

Opening a business savings account is one easy way for your company to save funds.

A business savings account is a bank account you can use to save earnings for future business use. You can quickly and easily access money from your savings account when you need it. It is not compulsory to deposit large amounts of money into a savings account. Instead, it is advisable to save as the business grows.

Every business uses a savings account differently. Some experts suggest you start by saving 10% of your profits. Once you build a good cash cushion, you can cut back the amount you save. Deposit money into a business savings account as a part of your business budget.

Below are a few benefits of a business savings account:

1. To Prepare for Unexpected Events

As a small business owner, you know it’s hard to prepare for unexpected events. But, unanticipated costs are inevitable. A business savings account gives you an extra cushion to deal with out-of-the-blue expenses.

Business savings accounts are liquid assets. That means you can use the funds in a savings account to quickly pay expenses. You can easily move cash from your savings account to the person or business you owe.

Using liquid assets is the simplest way to make payments. Liquid assets make the lowest impact on your expense account.

2. You Earn Interest

You can earn extra money just by keeping cash in a business savings account. The interest rate for a savings account is usually low. Most often, the interest rate is under 1%. Ask your bank what interest rates are available.

Because a business checking account doesn’t earn interest, consider using a savings account for some funds. Even though you gain a small amount, earned interest can add up.

3. Add to Retirement Funds

Saving a small amount in a business savings account helps you prepare for retirement. You can use the savings account in addition to any retirement plans you carry, such as an IRA.

A business savings account also provides extra security if you sell your business. When you are ready to sell, the market might make it hard for you to find the right buyer.

Or, your small business valuation may result in a smaller worth than you anticipated. You can fall back on a savings account if the sale of your business doesn’t go as expected.

4. Your Funds are Protected

Business savings account funds are protected in the bank. Whether you have an unexpected expense or plan to make a large purchase, sometimes you need extra cash.

You can get the money from borrowing. Or, you can use your own money.

5. It Saves Borrowing

Borrowing works well for many small businesses. But when you borrow from a lender, you incur interest. You also must make fixed monthly payments, regardless of the revenue you make each month.

If you build a savings account, you may not need to borrow as often for large expenses. You can use your money to fund bigger purchases.