Moving Forward in the New Year

As a young entrepreneur, you are out to grab the business world by the tail. You’ve got big ideas and the enthusiasm to put them into action. A positive attitude is half the battle. Now it’s time to actually make it happen. Get your plans together and get cracking. Time waits for no one. Don’t be caught standing still.

Consider Investments as a Way to Raise Capital

When you run your own business, funding is always an issue. You’re going to need money to get started. Scope out all of your options for lenders. You can also check out an Online Trading Academy to get the savvy you need for investments and trading. Become adept and you can set aside a nest egg, pay back your loans, and have a back up plan for a rainy day. Always stay ahead of the game. You want extra money in the bank to have a cushion.

Choose a Brand that is Unique

When you name your business, you need to choose something that will stand out in a crowd. It should be catchy and should capture the essence of your service or product. You can ask a marketing firm for help or you can go with your gut. This business will represent you. Make sure you pick something that makes you happy in the long run.

Harness the Power of the Internet

In this modern era, everyone is connected to the Internet. They’re on their mobile devices, laptops, and personal computers. Keep up with the times and create a website that will draw traffic your way. A web design team can assist you in ensuring that your site is at the top of the search rankings as well. You’ll be able to broaden your reach beyond your geographic area, opening the door to opportunities.

Value Your Customers

Your customers will keep your business open. You need to show appreciation for their patronage. Offer promotions that will bring them back for more. Create a rewards program that gives something back to consumers. Plan customer appreciation days from time to time as an added incentive to encourage loyalty. When you do things right, your customers will be spreading the word to others. Positive feedback means more revenue in your bank account. Value the people who support you and it will pay off.

What Is Your Risk When You Invest In A Franchise?

Calculating the Cold Stone franchise cost is the beginning of investing in a new business. Most people who invest in these businesses will be able to quickly see how much money they need to get the business going. There are several costs related to the franchise, and the investor needs to decide if they want to make these payments.

The Original Franchise Fee

The original franchise fee is a lump sum that must be paid before the investor can begin running the franchise. These fees are quite large, and they must be paid all at once. The investor who wants to get the franchise fee in quickly might get a loan, but they will need to make other payments before they can begin working.

The Products And Space

The products and space needed to run the franchise must come in before the franchise can open. The space must be decorated properly, and the products must be ready to go before opening the doors. Also, the space needs to be marketed before it opens. Most people who run these franchises need to do a great deal of advertising before they open the space.

The Training

All the employees of this new franchise need to receive training for the larger company. The training and uniforms must be used properly before the business opens, and many people from the corporate office will make sure that the franchise meets their standards. When the franchise is working properly, it is allowed to open. However, the investor needs to make sure that they have trained all their employees properly. They need to use the right uniforms, and they need to present the proper corporate image at all times.

When a business is trying to operate a new franchise, they need to be sure that they know the true cost of running the franchise. There are many costs that must be weighed, and they happen over the course of time. The investor must prepare for these costs, and they must be ready to incur new costs as the business expands.

Starting off a business and growing it without falling into debt – Top tips

Whenever you hear someone discussing about starting off with a new business venture, the first thing that comes up in your mind seems to be financing. There are in fact many entrepreneurs who are looking to get a start-up and are turning to variety of funding sources in order to launch their businesses. But borrowing cash and going deeply into debt isn’t the only way of starting your business. Money is often the biggest obstacle for starting a business, especially for those who have designed every other idea but are just waiting for the finance options. Continue reading Starting off a business and growing it without falling into debt – Top tips

5 tips for starting your small business

Starting a small business may seem like a daunting task, but it can be one of the most rewarding experiences for any entrepreneur. There are a myriad of informational books, websites and workshops available for those seeking to start a new organization, many of which offer in-depth advice pertaining to one specific sector of your business, such as creating a marketing department or recruiting the right employees.

Before you start delving into the more extensive aspects of small business development, however, it’s important to have the basics nailed down. If you’re thinking about creating your own organization, keep the following five tips in mind as you start planning your next great entrepreneurial venture. Continue reading 5 tips for starting your small business

Do I Really need to Spend Money on Life Insurance?

If your household budget is tight it can be very tempting to put life insurance premiums at the bottom of your list of expenditure.  According to a LIMRA study in 2013 although 85% of Americans agree that life insurance is required by most people, only 62% actually have it; just one of several shocking statistics. 

It is perhaps easy to understand how this can happen but that doesn’t make it any less concerning.  So what causes people not to have life insurance, and why do they really need to have a re-think? Continue reading Do I Really need to Spend Money on Life Insurance?

How the financial sector benefits from test management software

Test management software is a more vital tool than ever as application portfolios expand. This is especially true for companies in the financial sector, which is leading the charge in application adoption to increase business intelligence. Banking and planning apps have the potential to enhance efficiency and lower costs across enterprise financial organizations, but companies can’t expect to realize these gains simply by deploying software. Without adequate quality assurance, firms can’t be certain that they can avoid poorly functioning apps and a lack of management ability – leaving the door open to software vulnerabilities. Continue reading How the financial sector benefits from test management software

A complete guide to emergency funds – Part 1

Emergency Fund

Update: This post continues to be a very successful post and I have updated it for 2014.

This is a two part post covering the following topics.
Part 1:

  • What is an emergency fund?
  • Why do I need an emergency fund?
  • How much do I need to save?

Part 2:

  • How to get started?
  • How to invest your emergency fund?
  • What are the common pitfalls of emergency fund and how to avoid them?

What is an emergency fund?

An emergency fund is the money you set aside to use when life presents you with unfortunate and unexpected events.

Simply put, emergency fund is the money you save in an easily accessible account so that it can be used to cover up for some expenses which you did not foresee or budget for; like a breakdown of your heating system, major home or car repairs or more unfortunate circumstances like job loss, major medical expenses, disability, accidents, etc.

Why do I need an emergency fund?

While I hope none of these events happens to you but none the less if you do make an emergency fund you will be in a better financial position to handle such an event. Many people seem to underestimate the chance of them having to face such a situation, especially young people, so if you are one of them, think again; Ask yourself, do I have enough saved up to cover for my expenses for some months in case of an emergency?

There are some psychological advantages to know that you have your back covered in unfortunate times, this will really help you live in a better way by relieving some of your stress.

It is very important, considering the critical nature of these funds I would recommended building an emergency fund over any kind of debt (even credit card debt, you heard me right…!).

How much do I need to save?

Unfortunately there is no magic number here but these guidelines should help you come up with your own number.

  1. Calculate your regular expenses. Your regular expenses should include things that you generally spend on, on a regular basis. You could take an elaborate way to fund this out (like the one described here) but a back of the napkin approach works well too. Just add up the following:
    • Your monthly mortgage payments/rent and car loan payments.
    • Your monthly cost of insurance.
    • Monthly cost of essentials (groceries and travel).
    • Monthly miscellaneous expenses, like entertainment, shopping, etc. Your credit card (or debit card) statement should come in handy here.
  2. On average you should save enough to cover up for about three to six months of regular expenses. This should help you in cases like job loss or a temporary disability.
  3. You regular expenses will be higher if you have dependents that you support.
  4. In general you will need more in emergency funds if you have more responsibilities and obligation to take care off. Just be sure to include all such expenses and then add a reasonable buffer on top of that.
  5. Also make a list of expenses that you could quickly get rid off in an event like a layoff, say if you are an iPhone user, you could drop the data plan, or get rid of the extra channels in your cable connection. This might just come in handy. You do not have to write it down; just keep it in your mind. In general the more expenses you can cut down in case of a financial emergency the lesser you will need in emergency funds.

Part 2 here.


Top 5 things to buy from a thrift shop

Musty, ill lit, full of old goods and manned by thickly spectacled ageless old men. Those are images of a thrift shop which pop up in our mind. However, a thrift shop offers unimaginable treasures at unheard prices. Whether you are strolling down a street in Manhattan or London, you will chance upon a thrift shop. For a thrift shop, you need patience, time on your hands and an eye to discover unusual attractive pieces. You should know what to buy at a thrift store. It offers you good bargains and if you are lucky, you can further lower the prices.  These quaint shops are covered with second hand knickknacks in eclectic colours. The smell may deter you a bit but gather your courage and ignore it.  Do up your home with an assortment of goods from these shops. You can stumble upon eighteenth century porcelain, classic old records to designer wears at these shops. Good stuff gets sold out fast; regular trips are recommended.

 What to Buy From  A Thrift Store

Outfits on sale: These second hand stores offer clothes to fit different sizes at reasonable prices. Specific thrift shops have celebrity hand me downs on display which are sold with the aim of helping charities. You can be lucky enough to find a classy dress, a suit or an old pair of jeans. Clothes may be outdated and a size big or small; and may require altering. Expect a button missing or a seam torn when you pick up a garment. A wash or dry cleaning will get these clothes ready to be worn. Thrift shops are great places to look for costumes for plays.

Interior designer’s delight: If you are doing up your home on a shoe string budget, visit thrift shops to get a range of stuff. You will find old curtains, upholstery, bed linen, odd pieces of furniture to place around your house. You may discover paintings hidden in junk. A Chinese laughing Buddha or a grandfather’s clock, who knows what you will discover here. If eclectic colours are not your thing you can buy furnishings in similar or neutral colours. A thrift shop will help bring down your cost of hiring or buying furniture.

Books galore: Thrift shops have a collection of books for the book lover; though there is a possibility of missing pages. You can browse and come across forgotten popular classics or recent best sellers. Books by award winning writers or two month old magazines can be bought at special throw away prices. Before you go looking for books in a book store, try a thrift shop instead.

Pick up accessories: Thrift shops offer you used items. You can pick up leather goods- bags, belts and shoes. You may need to polish them and spruce them up with laces. These things may need repair but will still cost you less than a new item.

Bargains at thrift shops: Sales at thrift shops mean a further slash in prices. Thrift shops rid of stuff that has been lying around for a long time. Keep a watch out for sales that will give you another reason to visit the musty old shop.

photo by: Lance McCord

Effects of American Economic Crisis on the Baby Booming Population

The Americans have always had a question is mind; “When is a good time to retire in the US?” With the recent economic situation as flimsy these days, the question fits apt among the American aged citizens today. To a greater extent people in the US are facing the evidence that their financial assets shall end much before their retirement years do. However there are a few who may even prefer to retire early. Here’s how we will try to analyze and answer this never getting old question.
Effects of decreasing funds over the ever-increasing lifespan

Around three out of every five retired people of the nation who have retired from their employment discover that very little amount is left over with them at the end of their paycheck in their bank accounts after their employment period. One of the reasons behind this syndrome is the spending habits that were made at the time of earning; many people become unable to adjust to their spending habits once the inflow of the income reduces or stops. Decreasing the amount you spend may definitely help, but you cannot take this as a ‘silver bullet’ for your problems; this is due to the increasing facts of the economic crisis all over the nation. It is more like healing a broken leg with a band-aid.

Live Like a King or a Pauper – Make a Choice

Becoming realistic in how you would live up to your retired lifespan will also help you in living a contented lifestyle during your golden years. If you become prior-prepared about the methods of your spending, then it will also help you to plan your living for your future years. Health is another factor to consider; your current health situation shall decide on your health levels during your retirement lifespan. You should give importance to regular exercises to minimize health related medical expenses after retirement. Medical insurance is another favorable option to be considered for a better and healthier future living.

Delaying Retirement for a Better Living

With the baby booming population who enter their retirement period, many of them have started revising their decisions over retiring on their set age; this is due to the current financial situation of most people in the United States today. The shrinking personnel and dire predictions about less than stellar investments and savings along with the nearing age of retirement; more and more people prefer to extend their employment period; that is, work even post retirement age.

The average age of retirement has increased from 59 years to 62 years that is from the year 1991 to 2003 respectively. Click here, to know about the social security retirement ages in the United States of America. The age for becoming eligible for complete benefits of Social Security payments across the nation is 65 years and above; again depending upon the year in which you were born. The advantage of remaining in the workforce helps citizens to avail the company’s medical plans and reduce their overall pocket expenses.

A personal finance blog