Happy Financial Trip

These 5 Business Tips Will Increase Your Success

A lot of business people are sitting around scratching their heads wondering, “what happened to my business?”

  • You’re living on an overdraft that’s overdrawn.
  • You’re family and friends keep wondering if you’re ever going to “make it work”.
  • You’re ‘friendly bank manager’ is not so friendly anymore.
  • The few customers you worked so hard to win are disappearing or ‘extending their line of credit’ indefinitely.

So what did happen? A global economic meltdown is “what happened” and things are going to be tough for a while.

However, every cloud has a silver lining and there is opportunity in these times for smart business people who are ready to dig deep and swim against the tide of despair.

Is That YOU?

If that is you – if you’re ready to use this ‘downtime’ to improve your business competitiveness, offer better value and sharpen your focus on your market then read these 5 business tips
I have chosen for you 5 business tips (out of almost 80) that I used to improve my business. These tips, can make or save you money starting today:

  1. Most (if not all of your competitors) are suffering the same way you are right now. Many of them are simply ‘throwing their hands up in the air’. Take advantage of their ‘loser’ attitudes and work harder than ever before to improve your business. You can look forward to making their customers YOUR customers when their business finally bombs.
  2. Make the most of your existing client base – make them exclusive special offers, add more value, ask for referrals. It’s a lot easier to sell to someone you already sold to than to someone you have no history with.
  3. Is your marketing material working for you? Is it clear to prospects exactly what it is you have to offer them. (Here’s a little exercise: Sum up your business in three words or less and do it in 30 seconds). Here’s my business summary as an example – Affordable Website Design.
  4. Cut costs. Even the smallest home business is wasting money somewhere. Route it out and cut it out right NOW. Today!
  5. Network. For small businesses this can be the lifeline that will change everything. Get involved with local business networks, enterprise boards, chambers of commerce, whatever. Don’t spend all day on Facebook with people you’ll never really ‘connect with’. Focus on local groups that actually meet in person every month or so. And don’t try the hard sell on these people. Networking takes time so relax and just help people out when you can. In time they’ll refer prospects to you.

That’s just the start and I hope these 5 business tips help inspire you to take positive action to not only survive the recession, but to beat it and profit!

Three Online Business Tips For Your Success

There are overwhelming numbers of online business tips on the web. You can sell a lot of things over the internet. You can find almost everything on the web bags, accessories, apparels, and shoes. Internet has change the way people live nowadays. The accessibility of online shopping opens a huge door for different kinds of online businesses.

Building your own online business is not easy because there are lots of things that you need to consider. Some people who are not determined just give up after a couple of months. If you really want to stay in the business, it is important to accept all possible outcome of your business. You have to accept possibilities that you might experience several failures. The following are helpful tips for people like you who want to try their luck in an online business.

Always keep an eye for possible problems

You have to realize and keep in mind that businesses who manage to stay around are successful because they are solving their own problems as much as they can. These are businesses that do not simply give up because if trials. You can stay longer in the game, if you have the ability to predict future problem that might arise within your business. There is no need for you to have special powers to predict business problems. If you know your business very well, then you will have the ability to know problem that you might encounter in the future. This is the reason why it is important for you to have personal knowledge and attachment to your business.

Check the feasibility of the business in online setting

You have to be aware that there are businesses that are purely business on the net and there are traditional businesses that have their own websites on the web. Businesses which are on a mortar and bricks realize that they can double their profit, if they will enter the world of e-business. Internet technology makes it very easy to reach and approach clients personally. It also increases the chance of having probable customers. Online business is one way to stop creating limitations around your business.

There are businesses that are purely online and this is another story. Online shops and other business that purely revolves around online business is another easy way to start making money online. Online business tips are created for both types of online business.

Create a website and analyze

One drawback of e-business is the cost of doing extensive planning than just implementing ideas. If you have an offline business and you want to create an online version, then you need to find someone that can help you create one. World Wide Web is an amazing place or venue for people who want to build a strong business because of fast turn out of feedback. You can easily improve and change your method by analyzing its effect to your business.

Online business tips like this one can really help people to have concrete ideas on what to do, but it is in your own hands on how you will use these tips for your advantage.

Home Based Business Tips

While you are beginning your path to financial freedom, there are a some tidbits of wisdom to consider from those who have been on this journey before you. The first tip is regarding your taxes: Be extremely careful that you do not over-deduct. A good rule of thumb is that deducting expenses which are equal to about sixty percent of your income, or more, might be inviting a tax audit. Another important thing to consider is that if you employ any workers, be careful to pay all applicable taxes. You have to pay unemployment tax, Social Security and Medicare, plus federal and state income tax of course. Another tip regarding your taxes is to be aware of what is known as offer-in-compromise. If you are behind on your personal income taxes, you may be able to get caught up with this program. If you are just starting your business and are not a Corporation, you are well advised to form one since there are just so many tax advantages not to and especially because you cut down your personal liability to almost nothing. Just make sure to speak to a certified professional regarding which kind of corporate entity you should choose, as each one has specific advantages and disadvantages. When choosing where to incorporate, most Home Businesses are advised to incorporate in a State where they do the most business. Out-of-State incorporation often results in extra taxes and fees. But not setting up a corporation is perhaps one of the the biggest mistakes you could make. Remember, a corporation is your shield from personal liability and business debts.

As a broad rule, The IRS looks favorably on home business ventures. The more money that you save via tax deductions, the more you will have to grow your business, eventually paying more to them in taxes.

Another important part of the success of your Home Business is to have a Mission Statement. This is like your business philosophy, ultimate goal, long and short-term plan rolled into one. It will be your guiding light and focus point during gloomy times. One way to look at a Mission Statement is to think of it as the spiritual side of your business. All entities have (or should have) spirits, including your Business. Don’t think about it, just do it. A Mission Statement for a real estate development business could be “To provide affordable housing to the maximum number of people”, for instance. Businesses that have clear goals and a clear mission Statement have a better chance of success than businesses that do not. Just as Robert Kiyosaki. Remember that when you write out your mission statement, it is not set in stone. You can take it out and edit it from time to time. Have a meeting with the other members of your business and decide which Mission Statement is best for you.

When considering beginning your own business, make sure that you have found a niche that will allow you to serve customers that no one else is serving. Working from home is a big commitment and it can take some time to get started. It is very important to take the time to research what kind of home position is right for you.

When you own your own home business, you have to be self-motivated. Your success depends solely on you so you need to be determined, efficient and a little bit stubborn to succeed.

For more home business tips go to Home-Business-Match.com and browse the free reprint home business article archives.

Can You Trust Your Financial Adviser?

Heroes or villains?

“All industries have a few bad apples. I would say that 80% of financial advisers are either good or very good” or “It’s just 99% of financial advisers who give the rest of us a bad name”

Financial advisers, also called financial consultants, financial planners, retirement planners or wealth advisers, occupy a strange position amongst the ranks of those who would sell to us. With most other sellers, whether they are pushing cars, clothes, condos or condoms, we understand that they’re just doing a job and we accept that the more they sell to us, the more they should earn. But the proposition that financial advisers come with is unique. They claim, or at least intimate, that they can make our money grow by more than if we just shoved it into a long-term, high-interest bank account. If they couldn’t suggest they could find higher returns than a bank account, then there would be no point in us using them. Yet, if they really possessed the mysterious alchemy of getting money to grow, why would they tell us? Why wouldn’t they just keep their secrets to themselves in order to make themselves rich?

The answer, of course, is that most financial advisers are not expert horticulturalists able to grow money nor are they alchemists who can transform our savings into gold. The only way they can earn a crust is by taking a bit of everything we, their clients, save. Sadly for us, most financial advisers are just salespeople whose standard of living depends on how much of our money they can encourage us to put through their not always caring hands. And whatever portion of our money they take for themselves to pay for things like their mortgages, pensions, cars, holidays, golf club fees, restaurant meals and children’s education must inevitably make us poorer.

To make a reasonable living, a financial adviser will probably have costs of about £100,000 to £200,000 ($150,000 to $300,000) a year in salary, office expenses, secretarial support, travel costs, marketing, communications and other bits and pieces. So a financial adviser has to take in between £2,000 ($3,000) and £4,000 ($6,000) a week in fees and commissions, either as an employee or running their own business. I’m guessing that on average financial advisers will have between fifty and eighty clients. Of course, some successful ones will have many more and those who are struggling will have fewer. This means that each client will be losing somewhere between £1,250 ($2,000) and £4,000 ($6,000) a year from their investments and retirement savings either directly in upfront fees or else indirectly in commissions paid to the adviser by financial products suppliers. Advisers would probably claim that their specialist knowledge more than compensates for the amounts they squirrel away for themselves in commissions and fees. But numerous studies around the world, decades of financial products mis-selling scandals and the disappointing returns on many of our investments and pensions savings should serve as an almost deafening warning to any of us tempted to entrust our own and our family’s financial futures to someone trying to make a living by offering us financial advice.

Who gets rich – clients or advisers?

There are six main ways that financial advisers get paid:

1. Pay-Per Trade – The adviser takes a flat fee or a percentage fee every time the client buys, sells or invests. Most stockbrokers use this approach.

2. Fee only – There are a very small number of financial advisers (it varies from around five to ten percent in different countries) who charge an hourly fee for all the time they use advising us and helping to manage our money.

3. Commission-based – The large majority of advisers get paid mainly from commissions by the companies whose products they sell to us.

4. Fee-based – Over the years there has been quite a lot of concern about commission-based advisers pushing clients’ money into savings schemes which pay the biggest commissions and so are wonderful for advisers but may not give the best returns for savers. To overcome clients’ possible mistrust of their motives in making investment recommendations, many advisers now claim to be ‘fee-based’. However, some critics have called this a ‘finessing’ of the reality that they still make most of their money from commissions even if they do charge an often reduced hourly fee for their services.

5. Free! – If your bank finds out that you have money to invest, they will quickly usher you into the office of their in-house financial adviser. Here you will apparently get expert advice about where to put your money completely free of charge. But usually the bank is only offering a limited range of products from just a few financial services companies and the bank’s adviser is a commission-based salesperson. With both the bank and the adviser taking a cut for every product sold to you, that inevitably reduces your savings.

6. Performance-related – There are a few advisers who will accept to work for somewhere between ten and twenty per cent of the annual profits made on their clients’ investments. This is usually only available to wealthier clients with investment portfolios of over a million pounds.

Each of these payment methods has advantages and disadvantages for us.

1. With pay-per-trade we know exactly how much we will pay and we can decide how many or few trades we wish to do. The problem is, of course, that it is in the adviser’s interest that we make as many trades as possible and there may be an almost irresistible temptation for pay-per-trade advisers to encourage us to churn our investments – constantly buying and selling – so they can make money, rather than advising us to leave our money for several years in particular shares, unit trusts or other financial products.

2. Fee-only advisers usually charge about the same as a lawyer or surveyor – in the range of £100 ($150) to £200 ($300)) an hour, though many will have a minimum fee of about £3,000 ($4,500) a year. As with pay-per-trade, the investor should know exactly how much they will be paying. But anyone who has ever dealt with fee-based businesses – lawyers, accountants, surveyors, architects, management consultants, computer repair technicians and even car mechanics – will know that the amount of work supposedly done (and thus the size of the fee) will often inexplicably expand to what the fee-earner thinks can be reasonably extracted from the client almost regardless of the amount of real work actually needed or done.

3. The commission paid to commission-based advisers is generally split into two parts. The ‘upfront commission’ is paid by the financial product manufacturers to the advisers as soon as we invest, then every year after that the adviser will get a ‘trailing commission’. Upfront commissions on stock-market funds can range from three to four per cent, with trailing commissions of up to one per cent. On pension funds, the adviser could get anywhere from twenty to seventy five per cent of our first year’s or two years’ payments in upfront commission. Over the longer term, the trailing commission will fall to about a half a per cent. There are some pension plans which pay less in upfront commission. But for reasons which should need no explanation, these tend to be less popular with too many financial advisers. With commission-based advisers there are several risks for investors. The first is what’s called ‘commission bias’ – that advisers will extol the massive potential returns for us on those products which earn them the most money. So they will tend to encourage us to put our money into things like unit trusts, funds of funds, investment bonds and offshore tax-reduction wrappers – all products which pay generous commissions. They are less likely to mention things like index-tracker unit trusts and exchange traded funds as these pay little or no commissions but may be much better for our financial health. Moreover, by setting different commission levels on different products, it’s effectively the manufacturers who decide which products financial advisers energetically push and which they hold back on. Secondly, the huge difference between upfront and trailing commissions means that it’s massively in the advisers’ interest to keep our money moving into new investments. One very popular trick at the moment is for advisers to contact people who have been saving for many years into a pension fund and suggest we move our money. Pension fund management fees have dropped over the last ten to twenty years, so it’s easy for the adviser to sit a client down, show us the figures and convince us to transfer our pension savings to one of the newer, lower-cost pension products. When doing this, advisers can immediately pocket anywhere from three to over seven per cent of our total pension savings, yet most of us could complete the necessary paperwork ourselves in less than twenty minutes.

4. As many fee-based advisers actually earn most of their money from commissions, like commission-based advisers they can easily fall victim to commission bias when trying to decide which investments to propose to us.

5. Most of us will meet a bank’s apparently ‘free’ in-house adviser if we have a reasonable amount of money in our current account or if we ask about depositing our savings in a longer-term, higher interest account. Typically we’ll be encouraged by the front-desk staff to take a no-cost meeting with a supposed ‘finance and investment specialist’. Their job will be to first point out the excellent and competitively high interest rates offered by the bank, which are in fact rarely either high or competitive. But then they will tell us that we’re likely to get even better returns if we put our money into one of the investment products that they recommend. We will be given a choice of investment options and risk profiles. However, the bank will earn much more from us from the manufacturer’s commission selling us a product which is not guaranteed to return all our capital, than it would if we just chose to put our money in a virtually risk-free deposit account. A £50,000 ($75,000) investment, for example, could give the bank an immediate £1,500 ($2,250) to £2,000 ($3,000) in upfront commission plus at least 1% of your money each year in trailing commission – easy money for little effort.

6. Should you have over one million pounds, euros or dollars to invest, you might find an adviser willing to be paid according to the performance of your investments. One problem is that the adviser will be happy to share the pleasure of your profits in good years, but they’ll be reluctant to join you in the pain of your losses when times are tough. So, most will offer to take a hefty fee when the value of your investments rises and a reduced fee if you lose money. Yet they will generally not ever take a hit however much your investments go down in value. The benefit with performance pay for advisers is that they will be motivated to maximise your returns in order to maximise their earnings. The worry might be that they could take excessive risks, comfortable in the knowledge that even if you make a loss they’ll still get a basic fee.

Am I qualified? I’ve written a book!

One worrying feature with financial advisers is that it doesn’t seem to be terribly difficult to set yourself up as one. Of about 250,000 registered financial advisers in the USA, only about 56,500 have the most commonly-recognised qualification. Some of the others have other diplomas and awards, but the large majority don’t. One source suggested that there may be as many as 165,000 people in Britain calling themselves financial advisers. Of these about 28,000 are registered with the Financial Services Authority as independent financial advisers and will have some qualifications, often a diploma. But only 1,500 are fully qualified to give financial advice. The in-house financial advisers in banks will usually just have been through a few one-day or half-day internal training courses in how to sell the particular products that the bank wants to sell. So they will know a bit about the products recommended by that bank and the main arguments to convince us that putting our money into them is much more sensible than sticking it in a high-interest account. But they will probably not know much about anything else. Or, even if they are knowledgeable, they won’t give us any objective advice as they’ll have strict sales targets to meet to get their bonuses and promotion.

However in the world of financial advisers, not having any real qualifications is not the same as not having any real qualifications. There are quite a few training firms springing up which offer financial advisers two- to three-day training courses which will give attendees an impressive-looking diploma. Or if they can’t be bothered doing the course, advisers can just buy bogus financial-adviser qualifications on the Internet. A few of these on an office wall can do much to reassure a nervous investor that their money will be in safe and experienced hands. Moreover, financial advisers can also pay specialist marketing support companies to provide them with printed versions of learned articles about investing with the financial adviser’s name and photo on them as ostensibly being the author. A further scam, seen in the USA but probably not yet spread to other countries, is for a financial adviser to pay to have themselves featured as the supposed author of a book about investing, which can be given out to potential clients to demonstrate the adviser’s credentials. If we’re impressed by a few certificates on a wall, then we’re likely to be doubly so by apparently published articles and books. In one investigation, journalists found copies of the same book about safe investing for senior citizens ostensibly written by four quite different and unrelated advisers, each of whom would have paid several thousand dollars for the privilege of getting copies of the book they had not written with themselves featured as the author.

Of course, only a very small number of financial advisers would resort to tricks like fake qualifications, false articles and bogus books. But the main point here is that far too many of them may know a lot about a few specific products which they are highly incentivised to sell, but may be insufficiently qualified to offer us genuine financial advice suited to our particular circumstances.

Online Business Tips For Success – Charting The Right Course Across The Ocean of Online Opportunity

Online Business Tips For Success

Thinking in terms of your typical “how to” approach to online business opportunity, those immortal words branded as the “boy scout motto” come to mind. Namely; “Be Prepared.” Just as many a weather beaten “the sea is a harsh mistress” sea fairing captain will tell you (not that I know any, Just speculating here), preparation is the key to weathering any storm.

Online Business Tips #1:
By preparation, I don’t mean to imply that by completing a few tasks here and tying up a few loose ends there, that the job of preparing is something that you can forever leave in your wake.

If anything, the steps you’ll take to prepare to launch your business will be much more like a routine that you’ll maintain to be certain you’ve battened down all your hatches so to speak.

Online Business Tips#2:
Steps like market research to determine income generating potential, financial planning and promotion budgeting, mission statement and company vision; these are all constantly changing values which need to be assessed on a periodic basis.

Much like checking a compass every so often, just to make sure you’re still on course.

These types of measures will make sure that your operation stays afloat and avoids running aground.

Online Business Tips #3:
One of the best pieces of advice I or anyone else can offer to those preparing to embark upon their maiden voyage in online business is this; learn as much as you can from as many different sources as you can before you decide to commit to a particular course of action.

Take a lap around the harbor before you set off around the globe…

Online Business Tips #4:
What I mean quite simple. Take every given opportunity to minimize your risk as well as increase you knowledge base.

I you intend to develop the most incredible product the world has ever seen and completely revolutionize life as we know it. Good for you.

However, you may want to reduce you initial risk by trying your hand at several affiliate programs first. This way, you gain the experience of marketing products without having to invest as much time and money in product research and development.

Taking the same piece of advice a step further, you should definitely invest time and perhaps a few bucks to learn more about how to market a product before you spend any cash on an advertising campaign.

If you stick to these basic guide lines, you’ll quickly find yourself in the favorable position of knowing what to market, how to market it, and how to leverage all the information you’ve gathered to create the greatest return on your investment.

So, don’t just take any one persons word for anything, not even mine (I think), see for yourself. That’s the real beauty of the working online and this new age of information as many call it.

Online Business Tips #5:
A literal fountain of knowledge is constantly available to you, just at your finger tips. All of the information you find may not be as accurate as it could be. But, such is the nature of any medium that allows so many to voice their thoughts and opinions.

It’s really up to you to decide for yourself what pieces of information are useful to you and therefore worth keeping.

I hope that this little blurb has helped to inspire those of you who are still on the fence about taking the plunge and perhaps provided some useful tips for those who are already sailing off into the horizon.

Information’s pretty thin stuff unless mixed with experience.
-Clarence Day