How to Drastically Cut Expenses in Your Small Business

Sources show that 82% of small businesses fail due to cash flow problems. Money problems are mainly caused by poor planning, overwhelming expenses, and low revenue.

When it comes to small businesses, every penny counts. This means making any possible cuts on expenses and improving productivity wherever possible. It is often much easier to balance the books by lowering business spending than increasing income.

To keep your business thriving, here are five tips on how to drastically cut expenses.

1. Stick to a Business Budget

Careful budgeting is crucial in managing finances. Cutting down on expenses begins by planning the available resource and predicted revenue. This gives you a clear idea of how to spend the funds that you already have and prepare for the future.

A budget is only useful if followed precisely. Practice a high level of discipline and avoid deviating from the laid-out plan. This way, your expenses will remain predictable, and you can easily find areas to make cuts.

2. Digitize Your Business Operations

Use technology to your advantage. With inexpensive and convenient technologies like VoIP and cloud computing, you can drastically cut down on communication, labor, and time expenses. You could even have virtual offices such as Hoxton Mix, and outsource work and services at relatively low cost.

Entire departments or roles can be made redundant by simply automating mundane tasks such as virtual assistance, data management, and emailing.

3. Cut Down on Energy Consumption

The cost of energy keeps going up, and it amounts to a large portion of recurrent expenses. Find ways to reduce your power bill and bring your costs down. The cheapest way to do this is to go green.

Begin by installing solar panels to generate free electricity. You could also modify the building to consume less energy by improving natural lighting and replacing inefficient electrical systems. The initial cost of changing the energy infrastructure may be high, but it pays for itself in just a few years.

4. Ditch the Print Media

On average, an American office worker uses about 10,000 sheets of print paper every year. Now, multiply that with the average cost of paper and the numbers go way up. Sadly, most of this paper ends up in the shredder or the dump.

And that’s only looking at papers alone without the added cost of ink, printers, and other stationary supplies. Transition to a paperless work environment and make huge savings. Use digital documents on computers and smartphones instead of printed reports, receipts, invoices, and postal mail.

5. Maximize Employee Productivity

Use incentives to motivate your employees to be more productive. Introduce training, rewards, and performance evaluation schemes to boost the employees’ morale and increase productivity. Don’t waste labor expenses on an under-delivering workforce.

Try New Creative Ways on How to Drastically Cut Expenses

These five ways on how to drastically cut expenses should guide you to making significant savings on your business’s running costs.

However, don’t stop there. Find other ways to cut more expenses depending on your business model and operations. Identify any cots that the business could do without and cut them off or reduce them.

Keep in mind that decreasing expenses requires a certain level of commitment and flexibility to cope with the changes.

Explore our blog for more business tips.

7 Things Your Business Should Do to Welcome New Hires

Did you know that the Department of Labor predicted approximately 6.6 million job openings in the US in 2019?

This is an all-time high and as employers are looking for skilled candidates, approximately 45% of them will be raising the starting salaries.

This is good news on both sides – as an employee, you have plenty of job openings available and as an employer, you’ll be able to attract a plethora of new talents.

At the same time, you can also do more to accommodate new employees and make their stay a more comfortable one. You just have to learn how to properly welcome new hires. This is not difficult and it can make a great first impression on your new personnel. As you probably already know, the first impression counts a lot.

Top Things To Do To Welcome New Hires

By welcoming your hires the proper way, you will be able to establish a better relationship with your new employees right from the start. They’ll also get the idea that they are valued at appreciated from the very first day. Here’s what you can do to make that happen.

1. Give Them A Tour of the Office

This is probably one of the most important things to do. Everything is new for your fresh hires and by giving them a tour of the company, they get the chance to learn a lot in a short time.

For example, walk your hires to the kitchen and show them the amenities in there such as from where to get fresh coffee, where is the water cooler, etc. Don’t forget to mention where the bathroom is as well. It can be quite awkward for new hires to ask for bathroom directions on the first day and you save them the hassle.

You should also explore the company with your new hires, letting them know where their office is, where is the office of their superior if they have a question, etc. Lastly, the new hires should also be acquainted with emergency response planning, so they know what to do in case of an unfortunate emergency.

2. Introduce the New Hires to Their Coworkers

This is also a good move because it makes new employees feel at home. You should introduce the new hires to a few coworkers who might share the same job description with them. By doing so, the new hires know whom to go to if they have a question.

However, make sure that you don’t introduce the new hires to each company employee because this can be quite stressful. Let them get acquainted with the other people along the way.

3. Have Everything Set Up for Them

It’s recommended to prepare the office for your new hires right from the start, so they can get to work immediately. For example, have a computer and phone ready as well as a brand new office and chair. It would be great to add a notebook on the office too and other supplies they might use such as a printer, calculator, etc.

Not preparing the office space in advance will eventually make the new hires feel uneasy. They’ll eventually have to stay and look around while you make preparations for them and this is totally unprofessional.

4. Take Them Easy on the First Day

The first day at a new job is usually the most stressful one. There are so many new people and so many new things to learn. Keep this in mind and cut your new hires some slack until they get accustomed to their new job.

Ideally, you should give your new employees something to do right from the start, but those tasks should be simple. New hires are always ready to show off their skills and you should give them this opportunity.

5. Tell Your New Hires Where They Can Go For Lunch

Chances are that your new employees are new to the company location as well. They probably didn’t have time to inspect the area and look for a coffee shop, a restaurant, an ATM, etc.

Again, you can save your employees some hassle by presenting them the location at length. You can pinpoint nearby restaurants, coffee shops or even a gym, for those who want to work out during their lunch break. Best of all, take your new employees to lunch on the first day and they’ll definitely appreciate the gesture.

6. Talk With Your New Hires A Lot During the First Day

The first workday is usually filled with anxiety for most new hires. This is normal, but that anxiety must be eliminated. You can do that by encouraging your new hires to talk and ask questions whenever they feel like.

Talking with your new hires often will also make them feel valued and appreciated at the new workplace. You should do that a lot during the first day and continue this habit in the subsequent days. By doing so, your employees are more likely to remain loyal and be more productive in the long run.

7. Assign A Mentor to New Hires

Some of your new employees might be hired to do complex and important tasks. It would be ideal if you can assign a mentor to these people to help them along the way and to avoid costly mistakes.

A mentor could be an experienced colleague who has done that particular job for years. He will be able to make the new employee accommodate easier. Make it clear that the freshman should ask as many questions as possible to learn the ropes quicker. The mentor should also be an experienced and patient worker who can handle these questions.

Now It’s Time to Put These Tips into Practice

As you can see, it’s not that difficult to welcome new hires at your workplace. You just have to look at this process from the employee’s perspective and treat him/her as you would like to be treated.

If you liked this article, don’t forget to share it with your fellow business partners and friends, so they can learn a lot from this too.

Starting a Business Checklist: 10 Things Your Startup Needs to Succeed

According to Forbes, there are 3 essential factors that make or break a startup. They are mastering your market, having the right founders, and hiring the right team.

But how do you go about perfecting these three main aspects of a successful startup? Fortunately, you don’t have to go it alone, or blindly.

Here’s a simple starting a business checklist with 10 things that will help you nail those essential elements and start turning your efforts into cash flow. You got this, now get ready to grow!

Starting a Business Checklist

You can find an endless plethora of online tips for helping your business grow, but sometimes simplicity really is key.

As you review these 10 easy tips, remember that market refers not only to the size of your potential customer base but the timing with which you present your new business.

The founder’s idea is essentially that your business has the ability (and monetary resources) to recruit the right leaders from the start. The team aspect is quite self-explanatory. How well is your business staffed, from logistics to sales, to make every aspect of things run smoothly?

Now on to the simple tips:

1. Make a Plan

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” -Benjamin Franklin

Before you even think about launching a business or even a website, you better have every tiny detailed nailed down. This includes everything from employee responsibilities, product prices, hours of operation, your company “vision statement,” how to handle customer service emergencies and more.

If you’re unaware of how to make a proper business plan, then you may be jumping the gun a bit with this article.

First things first, get your business model established and down in writing. Once you have a plan, you can adapt and modify when necessary.

2. Create a Budget

The majority of new startups don’t start making millions overnight. In fact, we can’t think of a single one that did. This is why creating your business budget is an essential first step to a successful startup.

You need to keep careful records of where every penny is invested.

You also need to be aware of where your own personal living expenses will come from for the first year (or several), until your business starts earning. The old saying is true, “you have to spend money to make money.”

But that means you need to know how you’re going to pay your mortgage and buy groceries until you have a steady income.

3. Branding

The topic of branding could be an entire list in itself. Branding is so vital to the success of your business that you really need to get it right the first time.

This is why we recommend giving it thought and research before you throw a logo or cover-photo out there.

Consider color schemes, fonts, and the “life ideals” of your target audience. You are creating a brand that your niche can identify with. The question is, how well do you know your audience? Will your brand appeal to them? Do you have the analytics to back it up?

Don’t brand blindly. Base your logos, images, everything on the research of your target market.

4. Choose a Name

Funny that this important checklist item is often overlooked. Before you can create a website or start selling anything, you need to choose a good business name.

Preferably one that is unique, memorable, and has the potential for ranking high on Google searches.

5. Register Your Domain Name

What’s the good of a clever, perfect business name if the domain isn’t available? You want to register your domain name as soon as you can.

Choosing something like “mybusiness@wordpress.com” makes you seem small-beans and unreliable. Show your audience you’ll be around for a while and get a legit web name and email address.

6. Get Your Legal Ducks in a Row

Even if you’re a brand new startup, it’s wise to have an attorney and/or account help you with incorporating your business so you’re protected and not left subject to losing your assets.

Decide whether you’ll go the route of sole proprietorship, LLC, or corporation.

Don’t forget to apply for an EIN, employer identification number. Make sure you obtain the proper business licenses for the state or country you are in. Be sure to do your research on what permits or licenses you need if you are running a business out of your home or apartment.

You can get into a lot of trouble, heavy fines being the least of your worries, if you don’t take care of the legal aspects of starting a business before you start selling something.

7. Plan Your Social Media Strategy

If you plan to run a successful startup, social media is a must. However, it’s no longer enough to simply create a Facebook profile up and call it a day.

You need to develop a thought-out social media strategy before you create any accounts. Things like:

  • Publishing calendars
  • Voice/tone
  • Image styles
  • Font styles
  • Content
  • Budget
  • Editing rules
  • Advertising

And much more should all be decided upon before getting started.

8. Market Yourself

Awareness is a buzzword among entrepreneurs nowadays. Marketing your new business is one of the main major keys to success.

This will include everything from Google Adwords, search engine optimization, publishing of quality, keywords appropriate content, social media advertising, beautiful graphics like these signs, radio spots, t.v. commercials, whatever type of marketing you’ve found will be most effective at reaching your audience.

Again, doing your research beforehand will save you time and money, while raising awareness about your new business at the same time.

9. Start a Revenue Stream

As soon as you can, start generating revenue. New businesses take a lot of cash to get up. Most of the items on this list can be accomplished with little or no money to start.

This is perfect for helping you get things flowing and raking in as much revenue as you can before moving on to more advanced business-growing steps like renting office space.

10. Design a Website

Even if your product or service isn’t ready to be sold, having a website with company information and details helps build your credibility.

It also allows you to start building that ever-important search engine reputation so future customers can find you.

Ready to Roll

This “starting a business checklist” will help you get the ball rolling right. If you create a solid foundation from which to launch your new business or product line, you are far more likely to succeed.

Don’t get discouraged if it takes weeks, months, or even years to get your business off the ground. With perseverance and the right business plan, your business can make it!

Need more startup tips? Keep reading our blog!

10 Signs of Long-Term Work Team Success

As the owner of a company, you can put together a collection of the most talented employees in your area. But if you aren’t able to get them to work together as a team, it’ll all be for naught.

You can encourage your employees to work together by appointing a strong manager to guide them along the way. You can also do it by posting inspiring quotes about teamwork all over your office.

But it’s ultimately going to be up to your employees to decide whether or not team success is something that’s important to them. Working together as a team requires each and every employee within a company to sacrifice a little bit of themselves for the greater good.

Are your employees working well as a team right now? Here are ten signs that’ll let you know your team is operating at a high level.

1. Your Team Understands Their Purpose

When you bring a group of employees together and turn them into a team, it’s important for you to let them know what their specific purpose will be. Their purpose might be to:

  • Help increase your company’s sales
  • Generate ideas for new products
  • Launch a service in a new area

Regardless of what your team’s purpose is, they should understand it and, to a larger degree, understand the importance of them working together to serve their purpose. As long as they’re able to do this, team success should follow.

2. They Set Goals and Work to Achieve Them

In addition to understanding their purpose, your team of employees should also come together to set goals for themselves. They should work hard — and work together! — to achieve them, too.

You can provide your team with some general goals that you want them to achieve. But they should be able to come up with more specific goals that will allow them to reach their end goal sooner than later.

3. They Assume Clearly Identified Roles

LeBron James is an amazing basketball player. He could very well go down as the best basketball player of all time.

But can you imagine the chaos that would ensue if someone were to clone him and put five LeBron Jameses on one basketball team? A team with five LeBrons just wouldn’t work!

Likewise, your team isn’t going to work if everyone on it is trying to be the business equivalent of LeBron. You need to find employees who are able to slide into different roles on your team and play their position without getting upset about it.

4. They Know How to Make Collective Decisions

It doesn’t matter if your team consists of five employees, 15 employees, or 50 employees. Anytime you ask more than one person to make a decision together, things tend to get messy.

The best teams know how to come together and make decisive decisions quickly without arguing over them too much. That doesn’t mean that everyone on a team is going to agree with every decision that gets made. But a good team will find ways to come to agreements as a whole.

5. They Employ Winning Strategies to Deal With Conflict

You don’t want the employees on your team to spend all day bickering with one another. That’s not going to lead to team success.

But a little bit of conflict within a team is healthy. Your employees will gel better as a unit when they face conflicts and figure out how to deal with them accordingly.

6. They Celebrate One Another’s Individual Successes

Even though your goal is going to be to have your employees work together as a team as opposed to working as individuals, there will be times when certain individuals stand out.

You’ll have an employee who comes up with an idea that’s so good that you can’t help but recognize them for it. Or you’ll have an employee that closes a huge sale on their own and gets a well-deserved bonus for doing it.

Good teams will celebrate one another’s individual successes without showing the slightest bit of jealousy. They’ll understand that there are going to be times when one team member does something that deserves individual accolades.

7. They Motivate Each Other During Stressful Times

When your team is placed under a great deal of stress, how do they react?

Do they turn to one another for support and figure out a way to deal with a stressful situation collectively — or do they freak out and worry only about themselves during the tough times?

Great teams work to motivate each other during challenging moments. They continue to push one another forward, no matter how hard things might get.

8. They Ask for Feedback and Adjust Their Approach to Doing Business

No team is perfect. There is always room for improvement as far as teamwork is concerned.

Your team should ask you for feedback on a regular basis and take any suggestions you provide for them to heart. They should also be more than open to taking part in online team assessments to evaluate their overall performance as a team.

9. They Genuinely Enjoy Working Together

Does your team enjoy working together so much that they spend time together outside of the office? This is one of the true measures of team success!

That’s not to say that your employees have to spend every waking hour together to be a successful unit. But it does mean that teams that enjoy spending time together both inside and outside of the workplace often function better as a team.

10. They Welcome New Team Members With Open Arms

In a perfect world, you would create a team within your business, turn the team into a success, and then keep the team together for decades to come. But of course, that’s not how business works!

Your team might stay together for a few years. But most people only stay at a job for about four or five years before moving on. As a result, your team is likely going to have team members coming and going all the time.

A truly special team will welcome new team members into the mix with open arms and help them find the role that suits them best.

Make Team Success a Top Priority at Your Company

At this point, sayings like “There’s no ‘I’ in team” and “teamwork makes the dream work” have turned into cliches. But they’re true!

Your company needs to achieve team success if you’re going to be successful. Spend time putting together the perfect team and then keep tabs on them to make sure they’re working well together. It’ll be beneficial for your business in so many ways.

Read through some of our other articles to find out more things you can do to make your business a success.

5 Essential Business Services for Startups (Secrets to Success)

Do you currently run a business or startup, or are you about ready to launch one? There a few things more satisfying than being at the helm of a new enterprise, guiding its growth as it scales upwards.

Running a business comes with many challenges. Client acquisition and brand building a chief among them. Success often depends on establishing your company’s credentials.

However, just as challenging is the minutia of administrative tasks required. Fortunately, many of your business services can be outsourced, freeing you to focus on your strengths.

Keep reading for 5 business services that will benefit your startup.

1. Payroll Services

Building a team means finding people with the right skills and attitude to help you accomplish your goals. It’s important to find people that share your vision and will push to get things done.

However, no matter how dedicated they may be, errors in payroll can have a devastating impact on your corporate culture. Getting your team paid properly and on time allows them to focus on what matters most.

2. Customer Service

Every successful business has an established way that allows customers to speak with a service representative. Whether it’s for information, to manage a complaint, or address any other concern, customer service has a major impact on business-customer relations.

Outsourcing your customer service saves you the overhead of acquiring the necessary equipment and space. It saves you from establishing protocols and training staff.

Instead, you can lay out your expectations and then leave it to the professionals.

3. Marketing

Marketing is as much an art as it is a science. A marketing agency will have the strategies and experience to best target your audience. They have the know-how to make an impact and get results.

4. IT Support

Businesses have never been more dependent on technology. Regardless of the sector, tech plays a major role in any business.

Outsourcing your IT support means that you have a team with the know-how on-call to manage your network. This means that all your IT needs are expertly managed and supported.

5. Legal Services

Having legal support on retainer means that you have the advice and guidance you need at hand at all times. The value expert legal advice can offer is immeasurable when you consider all the potential liability that a business is exposed to.

Final Thoughts on Business Services

Running a startup is an exciting and demanding time. It’s an opportunity to build something fresh and new. But it’s also a time when the finer details of running a business are addressed.

Outsourcing business services allows you peace of mind, knowing that you have a dedicated team looking after each role. It lets you direct your energies where they’re most needed while ensuring that your company runs smoothly.

For more articles on managing a startup, visit the business section of our site.

How to Grow Your Consulting Business: 5 Steps You Should Take

The global consulting industry is worth 262 billion dollars and growing.

As a consulting business owner, there’s no doubt you’re in a lucrative market. But this doesn’t necessarily mean you’re bound to make the big bucks. There are thousands of consulting firms in the United States alone, which means competition for clients is fierce.

So, how do you position your consultancy for growth in a competitive market?

That’s where we come in!

In this article, we’re fleshing out the various strategies you can use to grow your consulting business and pull in the profits.

1. Work on Your Professional Reputation

A consultancy is only as good as the people behind it.

If you have a poor professional reputation, not many people will want to be associated with you. Your business is an extension of your professional brand.

As such, it’s important to keep working on your professional reputation even as you as strive to set up and grow the consulting business. And talking of reputation, we don’t mean just polishing up your profile on LinkedIn and other social media platforms.

In the world of consulting, credentials matters. Clients want to hire firms led by industry leaders who are highly educated. So if you currently have a master’s degree, it’s time you enrolled for a doctoral program or other professional courses that can enhance your expertise.

2. Don’t Be a Jack of All Trades

Consultancy is a wide field. There is:

  • Management consulting
  • Strategic consulting
  • Business consulting
  • Healthcare consulting
  • Manufacturing consulting
  • Information technology consulting
  • HR consulting
  • Marketing consulting.

Common wisdom dictates that offering an array of consulting service is an effective way to increase the size of your target market. Technically, this is true, but as a small consultancy, it’s best to focus on a specific field. This should be the field where you have expertise.

For instance, if you’re a healthcare professional, naturally you will open a healthcare consulting business. You have no business offering, say, IT consulting.

Yes, you can hire in-house IT pros to offer this type of consulting under your firm’s roof, but many clients looking for healthcare consulting services will be wary of working with your firm.

Why?

You guessed it. Jacks of all trades are masters of none.

That said, you can expand your service as the business grows, just as long as you don’t stray too far off your niche. If your business offers management consulting, for example, you can gradually expand into strategic consulting, because the two are closely related.

3. Build a Competent Team

You might have started your business as a one-man band, but as clients start streaming in, you’ll need more people pulling the strings.

Now, recruitment is one of the tasks many consulting business owners do wrong. There’s lots of talent in the labor market, meaning it can be difficult to pick the right job applicants, especially if you’re not a human resources consultant.

Just because a job applicant has stellar academic qualifications and meets your experience requirements doesn’t mean they’re a good fit for your company. Yet, if you go ahead and make a wrong hire, your company will pay the price. Replacing a worker can cost you up to $15,000.

This is why you need to put a lot of focus on your recruitment strategy. Look for workers who’re also a good cultural fit and have a real passion for consulting. Alternatively, you can outsource the task to a recruitment firm in your niche.

4. Build a Strong Online Presence  

Americans aren’t just purchasing physical products online. They’re also looking for service providers on the web.

If you want potential clients to find you, your business needs to be where they are: online.

You’re probably thinking, “But I have a business website and the company has social media profiles and sales aren’t getting any better.”

Well, having a website and being on social media is just a starting point. What are you doing to, for instance, ensure your website ranks on Google’s first page? Do you have a blog where you share your expertise with the world?

To build a strong online presence, you’ve to invest in digital marketing services. This way, you’ll have professionals who will craft and implement an online marketing strategy for your business. Gradually, your business will be easily found on the web and sales will pick up.

Another benefit of having a digital marketing agency on your team is your company gets real-time reputation monitoring and management. These pros will deploy online listening tools that will catch negative reviews and comments about your firm.

5. Keep Up with Industry Trends

The consulting industry might not be as fast-changing as other industries, but every new year comes with a couple of trends.

For instance, the advancing technology means consulting firms have to stay abreast of tech innovations and integrate them into their operations. If a client is tech-savvy, they will also want to work with a company that’s up to speed tech-wise.

Therefore, it’s vital to monitor developments in your niche. Read industry magazines, follow niche leaders on social media, and attend conferences and other events.

Take Your Consulting Business to the Next Level

The demand for consulting services will always be there. As a consulting business owner, the key to success lies in knowing how to tap into this demand.

Lucky for you, we’ve outlined effective strategies that can help take your business to the next level. Your responsibility now is to put them to use.

All the best and keep reading our blog for more business tips, tricks, and insights.

Business Plan: 6 Key Questions to Ask Before You Start a Business

As of 2015, there are over 25 million entrepreneurs in the United States.

With the accessibility convenience that the Internet provides, it’s also easier than ever before to start your own business. Many times, you can even do it from your own home.

But, just because it’s easier than in the past to start your own company doesn’t mean you don’t need to be cautious.

In fact, there’s a handful of questions you need to ask yourself before you dive in.

Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we got you covered.

Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about what you need to consider while creating your business plan.

1. “What Problem Can My Business Solve?”

This is one of the most important questions you can ask, and it’s important that you be honest with yourself.

If what you offer to your target audience solves a problem or makes their lives easier, they’ll likely pay money for it. But, if it doesn’t bring them much value, you may find that your company’s performance will struggle.

The good news is that the answer to this question isn’t always complicated.

It could be as simple as an app that helps budding musicians find open mic nights in their city, or a platform that lets people hire local petsitters.

2. “What’s My X-Factor?”

So, you’ve found what problem you’re going to solve. That’s great!

Except, it’s likely that plenty of other people have the same mission.

While competition isn’t inherently bad, it can make things a bit difficult as a business owner. This is especially true when you’re just starting out.

So, you’re going to have to find a way to stand out from the crowd if you want to get your audience’s attention.

Ways you can help differentiate yourself include:

  • Provide above and beyond customer service
  • Develop a powerful culture around your brand (Nike, for example)
  • Have a relatable cause or story behind your business
  • Be weird and unconventional

The more effort you put into being unique as a business, the better off you’ll be.

3. “What Funds and Resources Do I Have Available?”

This is another one where you’ll need to be completely honest with yourself.

If you don’t have the proper funds and resources (or can’t definitively secure them), don’t get too caught up in bringing an end-game vision to life.

For example, there are people out there who dream of having their own office and a dozen employees working under them. But, there’s no need to spend money on renting a workspace if you’re just starting out in most circumstances.

Instead, focus on what you can realistically obtain with what you have access to.

Even you only have a few thousand dollars or only know a couple of people in the industry, it’s important to accept that you’ve got some work to do before you start scaling your company.

4. “How Well Do I Know the Market?”

You wouldn’t set out to sea without checking the weather, would you?

The same applies here when entering a market for the first time.

You could provide the best product or service the industry has ever seen, but introducing it at the wrong time could spell the end for your business.

Similarly, you’ll also need to consider unexpected factors, such as unforeseen costs and how your audience reacts to your branding/marketing.

Put simply, you need to put in the time and research everything you can about the industry you’re about to enter. This means analyzing your competition, your audience, and the performance of the market itself are all crucial.

5. “How Do I Plan on Marketing My Product/Service?”

Yet another one of those make-or-break questions.

How you market your product or service is just as important as what you’re actually offering. But, it’s not quite as daunting as it seems to come up with a strategy.

To get started, consider what is known as the Four P’s of marketing:

  • Product- What you offer and how it will stand out among other products. Also, consider who you want to buy it.
  • Price- What you charge for what you offer. Pursue the ‘sweet spot’ in terms of price that will optimize sales.
  • Promotion- How you frame your product or service. For example, it could be marketed as a premium purchase or something that is intentionally barebones.
  • Place- How you reach your audience. Essentially, this is your chosen method(s) of making sales (online store, phone, retail, etc.).

Flesh out each answer as thoroughly as possible and you’ll end up with a solid marketing plan.

6. “What Is My Exit Strategy?”

Sometimes, things don’t go as planned. That’s why inventions like seatbelts and lifejackets exist.

The same applies when starting your own business. Unforeseen circumstances could very easily cause your company to enter a downward spiral, such as an imploding market that leaves no need for what you offer.

So, you need to come up with a plan to cushion the blow as much as possible (or eliminate it entirely).

Common exit strategies include:

  • Selling your company to another business owner
  • Shutting down all operations and liquidating
  • Merging with another company that provides similar products or services

Think of what the ideal solution to an emergency scenario would be, and then plan for it.

That way, you’ll be one step ahead when the need for a way out arises.

Coming up With a Solid Business Plan Can Seem Difficult

But it doesn’t have to be.

With the above information about developing a business plan in mind, you’ll be well on your way to giving your company the best chance of success.

Want to learn more about how to succeed online? Make sure to check out the rest of our blog!

7 Key Tips for Finding the Perfect Financial Advisor

You want to grow your wealth and the easiest way to do that is by working with a financial advisor. And there are plenty to choose from.

Believe it or not, there are more than 200,000 financial advisors in the United States. And with so many, finding the perfect financial advisor can feel like a challenge.

It doesn’t have to be. Read on for a few simple tips to help you find the best advisor for your financial goals.

1. Think About Your Goals

Financial advisors help you build wealth over a long period of time. But they’re better able to do this if they understand your goals.

Think about what you want to accomplish with your investments.

Are you looking to increase your monthly income? Do you want to aggressively save for retirement? Or are you planning for your future to give your family the life you’ve always imagined?

Once you know what your goals are, write them down. It’s okay if they change over time, but this will give your advisor a starting point. And with that starting point, they’ll be able to create a strategy to help you meet those goals.

2. Know How Much You Can Invest

Unfortunately, some financial advisors require that their clients have a minimum amount of investable assets. If you don’t have enough, you won’t be able to work with them.

Think about how much you have on-hand to invest. If it’s just a few hundred dollars, you’re probably better off waiting or finding an alternative. But if you’ve saved up and are ready to get serious about your future, a financial adviser is the smart choice.

That said, it’s okay to start out on your own, especially if you don’t have much to invest. Robo-advisors offer a low-cost alternative to traditional financial advisors. And many investment platforms allow you to directly make trades on your own.

Keep in mind that if you go this route, you’ll want to be careful. Remember, investing on your own means you’re relying on your own experience and knowledge of the industry.

For most people, this means slower growth and less return on investments. And sometimes, it can mean catastrophic losses.

The last thing you want to do is lose all of your hard-earned money on investments that weren’t the right choice for your needs.

3. Get Referrals from People You Know

The best place to start looking for the perfect financial advisor is by talking to your friends, family, and coworkers. Online reviews and internet searches can only tell you so much.

But the people you know are likely the people you trust to recommend products and services anyway. Ask if they have any financial advisors they’ve worked with in the past. And don’t be afraid to ask what they thought about their services.

If they’re comfortable working with them and had positive experiences in the past, you’ll likely receive the same quality service.

And don’t be afraid to ask the people you know if they have any advisors they didn’t like. This will help you narrow down your choices.

4. Look at Their Credentials

Experience does matter when it comes to managing your investments and growing your wealth.

When researching advisors in the area, pay close attention to their credentials. Look for distinguishing certifications like the Certified Financial Planner distinction or fiduciary status.

These help ensure that you’re able to work with an advisor that’s out to help you, not just make a fast buck. You’ll also want to pay attention to their educational background. Remember, you’re paying them to help you make sound financial decisions.

5. Schedule Several Consultations

Remember, you’re looking for an advisor that you can work with for many years to come. And that means you’ll need to interview several advisors before you can find the one that fits your needs best.

Schedule consultations with at least three advisors and see which one you feel most comfortable with.

They should be willing to listen to your concerns and able to answer your questions in a way that you understand.

If at any point you feel uncomfortable, don’t agree to work with them. It’s okay to leave the office feeling like you need to keep looking. Don’t give up. You’ll find the perfect financial advisor eventually.

6. Make Sure Your Comfortable with Their Fees

Financial advisors charge for their services in different ways. Some expect a flat fee each quarter while others charge commission on each trade or investment.

There’s no right or wrong method, but you need to make sure you’re comfortable with how they charge for their services. And you need to be able to afford what they charge for their services.

Before leaving the consultation, make sure they explain their fee structure in detail. If you have any questions or concerns, ask them during the appointment. And if the advisor can’t explain things in a way that makes sense to you, keep searching.

7. Check Online for Complaints

Online reviews are not the best way to judge a financial advisor’s skills or reputation. In fact, most are anonymous and those complaints may not even be real.

Instead of relying on sites like Yelp and Google, dig a little deeper. Sites like FINRA’s BrokerCheck allow you to research individual financial advisors and firms to assess their reputations.

If anyone filed complaints against the broker, you’ll know what they were and what, if anything, happened to resolve the issue.

And if there are no problems, their record will be clean.

Final Thoughts on Finding the Perfect Financial Advisor

Finding the perfect financial advisor takes time and effort. You need to meet with advisors in order to know if they’re the right choice for your needs.

Be patient, do your research, and choose an advisor that you’re comfortable with. This way, you’ll have someone in your corner for the long-run.

Looking for more helpful tips and advice to grow your wealth? Check out our latest posts.

Top Financial Tips Young Investors Must Remember

Did you know that the Social Security Retirement age keeps increasing and will rise to age 67 for those born 1960 or later? It’s important to invest young so you can retire when you want no matter the age! Young investors have certain tips and tricks they abide by which will lead to higher returns.

You can be a young investor, and have all of your dreams and goals come true for your savings. In this article, you’ll learn all about investing the right way and tips for investing young. Read on to discover these tips and be sure to implement them!

1. Young Investors

Dreaming of investing and building your savings? The first and most important thing to do is to start! If you’re feeling overwhelmed, just know that you can learn by doing. When you’re a young investor you have time on your side, you’re young so have plenty of time to study the market and strengthen your strategies.

2. Compounding

Investing young you can take advantage of what’s called compounding. Compounding is a return earned on your principal and past returns. If you have your money in an investment account, it’s the percentage you earn on top of the original investment and previous earnings.

If it’s a traditional bank account it’s the interest on that amount plus past interest earned over time. As you see here, the sooner you begin investing the more compounding can happen!

3. Hold a Diversified Portfolio and Risk Take

Investing is also about taking risks to build. One of the best ways to invest money in your 20’s is to build a diversified portfolio. It’s great to have your savings, but you’ll want to invest as well to build up your savings and never to put your eggs in one basket.

It’s important to use stocks, bonds, and assets because the more places you have your money, the lower the chances of losing a lot of money.

4. Make Regular Contributions

When you’re investing young, you’ll want to make regular contributions in your investment accounts. You’ll want to come up with a certain % that comes out of your paychecks and into your investment accounts.

When done well this not only will set you up for the future but will make sure it’s a steady amount that won’t hurt the bank.

5. Save More as You Age

When you’re in your 20’s you might have more goals such as buying a home, paying off student loans, or purchasing a car. It’s great to have those goals, but also make sure you’re saving and investing.

As you age, you’ll want to invest more. When you’re young, you can invest and still go after your goals, once you reach those goals, you can increase your investing percentage. Along with raises, you might not even notice the increase!

6. Avoid the Seven Layer Dip of Fees

When investing, the choices can be overwhelming and confusing about what’s considered smart investments young adults. You’ll want to seek guidance from a financial advisor or broker to avoid large fees and losses.

Watch out for these fees:

  • Mutual Fund Surrender Penalties
  • Mutual Fund Fees
  • Brokerage Trading Commissions
  • Wrap Management Fees
  • Internal Mutual Fund Operating Costs
  • Markups on New Issue Securities and Bonds
  • 12b-1 Fees

Always speak with your advisor about these fees and avoiding them!

7. Never Withdraw Early from Your 401-K

Your 401(K) is used for retirement and if you take money out too soon you can receive hefty fees. There’s a 10% tax penalty for withdrawing early from the IRS.

It’s a good idea to have an emergency fund in case of a job loss, unexpected expenses such as work needed for your home, etc. This emergency fund is important so you won’t have to withdraw from your 401(K) and suffer from taxes!

8. Ignore Competition

Healthy competition is fine, but if you’re seeing celebrities on tv or people you know who are wealthy, avoid trying to keep up with them. If you’re not at that point yet financially, it’s best not to rush it, and better to keep your goals in mind.

Remember, you want to be young investing, but also smart about it so you don’t wind up bankrupt! Don’t go investing with money you don’t have and wrack up the bills because you can’t pay off your student loans.

If you’re looking at your friends traveling and their lush lives, keep in mind they might have just put that on a credit card, and might not be saving for the future. Focus on yourself and your life. Educate yourself on investing and bettering yourself with reading as many books and researching as much as possible!

9. Automate Investments

One of the best things you can do for your investments and saving time is automating your investments as much as possible. This will teach you to save over time and remember that you’ll have money for yourself plus for investing. A 401(K) is one way to do just that!

From your job sign up for your 401(K) and have them take your pay automatically out of your check. You can also automate your high-yield savings account and a brokerage account.

Next Steps

In this article, you learned all about young investors, and the tips they use for the biggest profits. Remember to come up with a goal and plan, and then make it happen.

You can invest as you learn, don’t worry about learning as much as possible at first. As you learn while investing, you’ll be able to see what works and what doesn’t. Before you know it you’ll be compounding and so glad you invested young!

Would you like to learn more for everything from content strategy to inbound marketing? Check out our articles!

How to Start a Real Estate Business (Your Complete Guide)

Have you been thinking about entering the real estate profession? The real estate business is lucrative.

Agents can rake in high commissions in a matter of weeks. Did you know the average earnings for a real estate agent in New York is $102K a year?

But these high commissions come with wisdom and expertise. Navigating the real estate industry can be complex and overwhelming. Especially for buyers and sellers.

That’s why both parties need knowledgeable real estate professionals to guide them.

In this post, you’ll learn the steps to gaining this knowledge and how to begin building a profitable real estate business.

Keep reading!

1. Know Your Neighborhoods

It’s no secret that real estate is a competitive industry. It’s unlikely you’ll be the only real estate agent in your area when you start your company.

To be successful, you need to assess your knowledge, experience, strengths, and weaknesses.

After doing a thorough examination, you can learn more about the area to position yourself better in the marketplace.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • How fast are homes selling in each neighborhood?
  • What is the mean of selling prices from block to block?
  • Are sale prices close to asking prices?
  • Are there any conditions in the neighborhood that is affecting the real estate market?
  • Are some streets safer than others?

It’s important to familiarize yourself with the market where you intend to set up your real estate business. Having a handle on the market will put you ahead of the competition.

Stand Out Among the Competition

Your expertise will present you as an established professional. Knowing the cities, towns and surrounding neighborhoods where you’ll match buyers to sellers is key.

You must know a market analysis, accurate data for schools, crime rates and the reputation and characteristics of each neighborhood.

Mastering this knowledge will give you a leg up on the competition. And help buyers and sellers refer you to their friends and family.

Another important point for success is knowing your competition. Perform some research about how other real estate businesses approach selling in this market.

You can join online forums, join professional real estate groups, attend industry seminars and workshops or research real estate industry publications and news online.

2. Specialize in a Market Niche

Another way to make your real estate business stand out is to specialize in a niche market. A niche is an area of specialization. For example, would you prefer selling to investors, developers or target the residential market?

Or do you want to focus on a certain geographical area like the upper east side of Manhattan? Maybe you want to specialize in selling coops or condominiums?

Does becoming the expert in short sales and foreclosures pique your interest? If not, maybe you want to narrow your interests to rental properties or retirement communities.

When you narrow your interests to a specific niche, you’ll have a better chance of success.

3. Get a Real Estate License

If you’ve never worked in real estate, you’ll need to obtain a real estate license to begin selling or renting properties as a licensed realtor.

Every state requires agents to be licensed. But before you take the real estate exam required in your state, you’ll need to enroll in a prelicensing real estate program.

The program will teach you the subject areas and the topics you’ll need to know for the exam and for operating a real estate business.

Here are some of the instructional content taught in real estate programs:

  • Types of  property ownership
  • Titles, deeds, and contracts
  • Fair housing laws
  • Fiduciary responsibilities
  • How to work with financial lenders
  • Real estate laws
  • Federal laws

Keep in mind, rules, and regulation may vary from state to state, depending on the state where you will practice real estate.

After you pass your licensing exam, you’ll need to submit a licensing application. The state where you reside may also require you to submit fingerprints and a background check.

Once your application is approved, you will pay the licensing fees to become a licensed real estate agent. Then you may be hired by a real estate company or broker.

4. Write a Business Plan

Once you’re ready to open up a real estate business, you’ll need a business plan. A business plan is a document that outlines your goals for your entire business and how you will achieve them.

This document will detail how you plan to operate your business and accomplish each objective. In your business plan, be as specific as possible.

While your business plan doesn’t need to be 50 pages long, it does need to present an action plan with dates and milestones on how you’ll reach your goals.

5. Get a Business Insurance Policy

Many new business owners overlook the importance of protecting their real estate business with an insurance policy.

The insurance may cover your business for theft, fire, intellectual property litigation, property damage, and other coverages.

It’s essential to obtain insurance before you incur claims. This will protect your business in the event of a claim or accident.

When you’re advising a real estate client, they can sue you for professional malpractice. When you’re covered, it can be the difference in keeping your business running or having to close your doors.

6. Set Up an Attractive and Functional Website

A website can be a key moneymaker for your real estate business. It can attract people to your website and convert leads into paid customers.

To drive leads to your business and keep them, you’ll need a website that’s attractive, functional, easy to navigate with links that go to the right pages.

Your website should also be created with responsive design so it looks great on any device. You’d be surprised at how many real estate companies drive potential clients ways because of basic real estate website mistakes.

Time to Start a Real Estate Business!

Now you know the steps to building a successful real estate business. Put them to use and before you know it, you’ll be on your way to high commissions!

Need more business tips? Keep reading our blog.