5 Shopping Hacks To Get High-Quality Products At More Affordable Costs

Shopping is a necessity in life and something we all do, whether we want to or not. Some of us love to shop, whereas others would much rather spend their time on other things. Whichever way you feel about shopping, you still want to buy great products without having the sky-high prices. If you’re reading this blog, you’re ready to take the first steps in making better and cheaper shopping purchases. Whether it’s shopping for the latest fashion on the high street or buying a new electrical gadget online, you need to know these awesome hacks right now.

Shopping Hacks

Be on the lookout for freebies

Let’s admit it, we all love stuff when it’s free! It always gives us a thrill when we can get a cheeky something without having to splash out on the cash. Free stuff is everywhere, you just need to know where to look. The internet is littered with freebie websites which do all the work for you and find the best free stuff from your favourite brands.

Keep an eye out for sales

Sales are happening all the time. Depending on what type it is, you can get fantastic bargains. Shops may have clearance sales if they’re closing down and will advertise this on their website. However, there are times when we buy something for a fantastic deal, just to see it break a few days later. Know your consumer rights and don’t feel bad about returning a faulty item.

Become a pro-discount hunter

Just because you’re frugal with your money doesn’t mean you can’t live in luxury. You can still buy from designer and high brands for cheaper costs. There are lots of discount sites on the internet in which you can sign up to and receive regular updates on awesome deals, for example, Tarte discount code on DontPayFull. Next time you’re craving a delicious meal from your favourite restaurant, check on the company’s website for any promotions currently going or have a look at their app. 

Grab those bulk deals when you see them

If you see deals such as 2-for-1 or 3-for-the-price-of-2, get them if it’s something you always need. Of course, don’t go buying every bulk deal you see, be practical and only get what you would use in the future. Another important tip is always to watch your products going through at the checkout. Sometimes, certain deals don’t go through properly, meaning you’ve missed out on the deal you wanted. Tell a member of staff about this so they can fix it!

Compare prices before buying

Many people tend to be quite impulsive when they go shopping and may buy something without comparing the prices of the same product elsewhere. Typically, this is easier to do with online shopping. Price matching is also a key rule to shopping and an essential way to save money. Some stores advertise the fact that they price match, meaning if you find the same product at another retailer for a lower price you should challenge them. There’s no harm in doing this and gets you a better deal!

Squeezing The Most Value Out Of Your New Vehicle Purchase

We all know that getting set up with a vehicle is expensive. It’s something which must be done if you’re to have any traveling freedom and agency over your travels, but that doesn’t mean it comes cheaply. If you’re to spend a considerable amount of money getting set up, you should make sure you’re truly squeezing the most value out of your new vehicle purchase.

New Vehicle Purchase

It’s likely this promise drew you to this article, so we’d like to forget overly long introductions and instead help you immediately with the following advice:

Consider Seller Reviews

If you’re visiting an independent garage or a private retailer who might sell a niche variety of vehicle, take a few minutes to check online for reviews. This can help direct you to some issues that you’d rather have known beforehand, and not experienced later. It might also help lend some more professional insight into a seller. Perhaps a particular retailer charges a slightly higher price for the vehicles they sell, but they give you a long time warranty, they have spend money restoring the car and ensuring its service has been recent. Sometimes, price is not always a rip-off, but you’ll only be able to find and understand this if you’re subject to quality reviews. Check multiple sources, from Yelp to auto trading forums. 

Shop Around
The only way to truly gain the most bang for your buck is to shop around, and then inform those garages of better prices you have found elsewhere. This might motivate them to sweeten the deal, or to dissuade you from a sale. This way, you’ll find the right price. You’ll also find the right seller, because trust means everything when you’re purchasing a vehicle.

Access To History

A good seller will give you a full history of the vehicle, such as previous owners, servicing dates and repair work done. If they are effusive or otherwise hostile about you requesting this information, then take your money and invest it elsewhere. You need to know exactly what your money will acquire you, so make sure you have a great understanding of where the vehicle is, and who it’s been with.

Test Drive

Most vehicles should be available for a test drive, especially if they are being sold with the understanding it’s road worthy. This will help you get a good feel for the vehicle, but any issues will also become apparent relatively quickly. This is also a great place to inspect the vehicle inside and out. If you’re unsure of the intricacies of vehicle maintenance, and what to look for when you purchase, it’s important to bring someone along with you who knows what they’re talking about. If you don’t, it will be very easy to identify your lack of knowledge, and potentially hide issues that a more shrewd eye would have identified. 

Finance

Financing your vehicle through a service such as https://www.allcarleasing.co.uk can help you save plenty of money in the short term. For a loan contribution either monthly or weekly, you can purchase a car slightly out of your current price range. If you submit to a credit check, have a decent income that can comfortably cover the monthly payments, and are happy with the duration of the contract terms, there is simply no better way for you to acquire a vehicle slightly out of your budget. Buying quality will always be worthy, especially when it comes to something you hope to drive daily in all likelihood. When you’re driving on the highway, you’ll sure appreciate a vehicle you can be comfortable with, and feel safe in.

Buy Pre-Owned

A new car comes at an expensive price. The moment you drive it off the lot, over 20% of its value is lost. For this reason, purchasing used can always be a preferable option, particularly if the previous owners have treated the vehicles well. High mileage is not always a sign of negative car durability. This can help you acquire models in great condition, so long as you’re happy to trust the seller is being upfront about the vehicle's history. 

In fact, purchasing a pre-owned vehicle should always be your default option if you’re hoping to make a wise use of money. Purchasing new is possible, and you can do it, but only if you’re willing to sacrifice initial purchase value after you use vehicle, or if your finance terms are good to you.

Trade Car

Your current vehicle can be used as a token to chip down the price of your new vehicle. For example, if your children have grown up, changing from a people carrier to a smaller hatchback can be more economical, and your larger vehicle is sure to fetch a respectable price. Trading your car in this way not only helps you subvert the effort and cost of sending it to scrap, but finding it a new home can help you become that person who provides a much-needed car for the next person, similar to the situation you find yourself in now.

Keep Good Credit

The most favourable loan terms will always come when you keep good credit. This matters for purchasing vehicles, because you may get shorter loan terms, less interest, or even be eligible for help-to-buy schemes. Take good care of your finances, always prioritize saving, and you may just find that premium car deal just around the corner.

Take Good Care

The best way to squeeze the most longevity out of your vehicle is to take good care of it. It’s really that simple. Drive safely, always seek to become a better driver, and pre-plan your routes. Never drive drunk. Maintain your vehicle often, and learn how it works. Get great insurance, and coverage for roadside breakdowns. Clean it at reasonable intervals. If you can afford it, use better and more premium diesel. When you take care of your vehicle in this way, its lifespan improves, even if it has less than one hundred miles on the clock.

With these tips, you’re sure to not only achieve a car you love, but you’ll have a car with plenty of value.

Tax Planning? Avoid these common mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes. It is the way of life. But it can be very helpful if someone just points out and gives a ‘heads-up’ before you make one, right. Think of this post as a heads-up when it comes to tax planning. So, read on to know some of the common mistakes you should avoid when you do your annual tax planning exercise.

Mistake #1: Delaying your tax planning 

Procrastination: even the best of people indulge in it. Apparently, Leonardo da Vinci was a master procrastinator. He took nearly 15 years to complete the Mona Lisa. Sadly, tax planning is not a work of art. Most people think of tax planning only during the last quarter of the year (sometimes even later). By doing so, you can make rushed decisions which could lead you to pick wrong investment products.

Tax Planning

Mistake #2: Blindly fulfilling the 80C limit

Under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, you are eligible for tax deductions up to Rs 1.5 lakh. But that does not mean you simply try to reach that limit without carefully checking your investments. This may help you earn short-term tax benefits but you might lose out on long-term investment opportunities.

On the other end of the spectrum, many people are unaware of the limit. As a result, they do not make use of the tax-saving opportunities. Therefore, you should understand the rules and invest in an investment vehicle that can get you the best of returns as well as tax benefits. Public Provident Fund (PPF), National Pension Scheme (NPS), Equity Linked Saving Scheme (ELSS) and Unit Linked Insurance Plans (ULIPs) are some of the investment options that can help your wealth grow and also help you save on taxes.  

Mistake #3: Turning your back on basic exemptions

It is said: Ignorance is bliss. But, it certainly isn’t when it comes to your money. Just imagine that after the deadline you find out that you could have saved another Rs 50,000 in taxes! 

There are many deductions available apart from Section 80C. You can avail deductions on education loans, donations, medical expenses and even on interest on housing loans. These come under various sections such as 80D, 80DD, 80E, 80GG and many others. 

Mistake #4: Investing in tax-inefficient schemes

A lot of people in India invest in fixed deposits (FDs). You are allowed to make a one-time tax claim on the investment you make. However, they may not be very useful when it comes to saving taxes. This is because the interest you earn on your FDs are taxable. Instead, you could opt for tax-efficient schemes such as Public Provident Fund (PPF) or even diversified tax-saving mutual funds

You could do this by investing through systematic investment plans (SIPs). SIPs are a very efficient way of gaining investment returns as well as tax benefits at a low level of risk. 

Invest in Equity Linked Saving Scheme (ELSS) funds to qualify for tax exemptions under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act.

Conclusion

So, whether you like it or not, you cannot avoid your tax planning. So why not do it well? Avoid the above mistakes and enjoy the extra monetary benefits you can gain from saving tax.

Business Finance Tips from the Trusted Name Freedom Debt Relief

Plenty of people have great ideas for new products and services, but it takes a lot more than a great idea to create a successful and lucrative business. A lot of new start ups don't make it more than a year, even more succumb within five years, and only a third of all news businesses will still be in operation ten years after they open for business. There are a lot of factors that contribute to this, notes Freedom Debt Relief, but a lot of the problem ends up being related to the financial health of the company.

Business Finance Tips

It is easy to see how this happens, most people with good business ideas are not economists or financial experts and thus, this is the area of running a business they struggle with the most. Problem is, as Freedom Debt Relief explains, this is the most important aspect relating to a business being a success or failure. One must be able to manage their expenses while also turning something of a profit, otherwise the business is doomed to fail.

What follows are just a few tips from Freedom Debt Relief on how to stay on top of your small-business finances so as to improve your chances for long-term business success.

Use the Tools At Your Disposal

The first recommendation from Freedom Debt Relief is to use all the small-business tools that you can get your hands on. If you are willing to look for it, there is tons of help and assistance available for the small business owner. Affordable digital tools like financial software packages take a lot of the guesswork out of things like billing and payroll, ensuring that all of these elements are properly attended to, but that don't require you to spend all your time managing these important, but tedious, tasks.

Keep Business and Personal Life Separated – Financially

A big mistake a lot of small business owners make, according to Freedom Debt Relief, is not properly separating their personal and business finances. You should avoid using your business resources for personal use and vice versa. It might seem easier or more convenient to keep the lines blurred, but it is actually a very bad idea. Pay yourself a salary from a separate business account and never have any personal ties.

Be Involved in Accounting

Though it is not everyone's proverbial cup of tea, Freedom Debt Relief points out just how important it is for you to take a personal role in your business's accounting. This doesn't meant that you have to keep the books, that is not at all what is being suggested. Rather, look into the books on other occasions than just when you receive your monthly statement. You can better understand areas where the company might be able to save, as well as identify waste or fraud more quickly, by taking a more active role.

The tips provided by Freedom Debt Relief will help you develop better business financial practices that will help improve the chances of success for your business. The sad reality is that only about a third of new businesses will still be open after ten years, and bad financial management is often a key factor in the failure of two thirds of all newly started businesses. Following these tips will keep your business finances more streamlined and help you to avoid the common errors that failed small businesses make.

Five Skills You Need to Become Successful at Trading

Many people find the opportunities to trade online from home appealing. It promises a lot of free time, flexibility, and financial freedom. If you are thinking about trying your hand at forex or any other day trading, you need to first check whether or not you have what it takes to succeed. While some companies will tell you that all you need is a laptop and their software, there is actually a lot more to it. Find a list of five skills you will absolutely need to succeed in trading online.

1. Good Habits

You will need to develop habits that will help your business over time. Make sure that you wake up early, get organized, and get rid of all the distractions. You cannot be focusing on trading while you are having a chat with your friends or watching the news on the television. At least not in the beginning. If you want to be good at your job, copy the behavior of people who have already managed to build a successful portfolio.

forex trading

2. Self-discipline

You need to stay focused and have a rigorous schedule. If you skip one trade, and fail to follow up your positions, you are likely to lose the momentum, and this will have serious financial consequences. When you start up as a trader, you will have new methods and analysis to implement, and this means you have to give it a hundred percent, or you will make mistakes and fail.

3. Good Decision-Making Skills

If you cannot make decisions on time, you will be following others, and make little or no money. While learning to spot opportunities and trends is an advanced skill, if you don’t take chances, you will not make money. If you want to become better at making decisions fast, you can learn it from online resources. To make good decisions, you have to have a clear mind every day, and start fresh, without allowing previous trades or failures influence your trade.

4. Willingness to Learn

It is absolutely necessary that you learn from the best in the trade. Check the resources of successful traders online, such as http://trustedforexbroker.com to see what experienced traders have to offer. Seek advice and enroll on a professional trading. Don’t rely on the “magic bullet” software alone to make all the decisions for you: remember that there will be hundreds of thousands of people using the same system.

5. Analytical Skills

You need to have advanced analytical skills to spot opportunities and assess risks real time. While some people are naturally good at this, others simply learn the skill from others. It is not illegal to follow the trade of advanced traders and learn from them. Analytical skills will help you see clearly in every situation and make the decisions that result in the best possible outcomes.

There is more to creating a successful online trading business than a software and patience. If you want to beat your competition and make better decisions than most of the traders, you need to engage in learning and developing your skills.

Tips To Help You Save On Fuel This Holiday Season

Travel Reduction

The truth is, the best way to save money on fuel is to consume less fuel; but that can be easier said than done. Still, there are methods you can use to reduce your gas expenses during the holidays. Following are a number of suggestions which may save you enough to increase your celebratory budget!

Strategic Traveling

If you’re savvy, you can save gas just by the way you travel from one destination to another. Here are some holiday travel tips to consider. If you really want to save during the holidays, you need to drive around the traffic.

travel expenses

If you get stuck on a Southern California freeway near a holiday rush, it could take you three hours to go thirty miles. That’s on a good day. You could be stuck in the mousetrap as long as eight hours. You can watch over and over again all the commercials next to the road, on you can go through your social network. You can make yourself not so bored today with all the gadgets. But this is bad for the engine, bad for your gas tank, bad for your peace of mind, and bad in general.

But you know when there’s no holiday rush, even on the eve of the date? Two in the morning. Nobody’s out at two in the morning. The roads are clear. You can go the speed limit, or get to your car’s most optimum operational velocity—both of which will extend the mileage of your vehicle, meaning you get more per gallon.

Plus, it’s cooler at night, so you don’t have to stress your engine as much as you otherwise would. Night driving can be dangerous for reasons of vision reduction and fatigue, but if you have little traffic you can rely on your brights, and if you sleep strategically, you can wake up right before your 2 am drive—and there’s always pulling over somewhere to nap.

A Technological Solution

If you’re especially strapped for cash, you may find people have a more giving spirit during the holidays, and a modest crowdfund profile could net you the needed funds to underwrite your journey. This is a bit of a long-shot, but if you can outsource the cost of your trip entirely, that’s 100% fuel savings.

Discounts

Sign up for a Safeway card, a King Sooper’s card, a Von’s card, an Albertson’s card, a Piggly Wiggly card, a Gelson’s card—any supermarket you can find. You’ll encounter diverse outlets that have gas stations, and you can save pennies on the gallon.

Double-Down On Travel Conservation

If you’re a professional driver, you may have your own big rig that is regularly used hauling equipment. Well, during the holidays, you’ve got the choice of driving through town to find hotels, and expending fuel, or just sleeping in the truck. This can be uncomfortable if you don’t have a sleeper model.

One thing to consider when you’re perusing semi trucks for sale is a sleeper compartment; according to MyLittleSalesman.com, “…sleeper trucks are designed for long hauls where sleeping lodges are not always readily accessible.” You might even trade your existing truck in, or make an upgrade.

Avoiding Risky Routes

Not every location has the traffic of San Francisco at rush hour. You’re pretty much never going to encounter real traffic in Wyoming. You might be delayed a minute or two here or there, but that’s it. Sometimes what you want to do is take a less-than-common route to get to your destination.

Sometimes you want to take the highway rather than the interstate, sometimes country roads are recommendable. Also, slower speeds are generally better for fuel economy; and on these roads, those slower speeds represent the limit. Generally, your ideal range will be between 45 and 65 miles an hour, depending on your vehicle.

Save Money, Save Time

The best gasoline conservation measures involve taking shorter routes unless there’s traffic, getting discounts, upgrading vehicles, underwriting your journey, and driving at your vehicle’s optimum efficiency. Practice strategies like these and you’ll potentially save hundreds of dollars a year.

The People To See To Improve Your Business

Business is a world of its own, with plenty of marketing avenues to go down, plenty of people who can work wonders for you, and many sales to make when you’ve built yourself a good customer base. However, getting there in the first place can be hard, and you might need a bit of a helping hand. Here’s a couple of ideas about the people to contact and bring on board when you feel a little down and out on your business luck. 

Someone to Work the Web

The web is the biggest place to advertise for your brand, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to immediately receive traction. 

Improve Your Business

Be on the lookout for an SEO specialist to keep an eye on everything to do with your online content. It’s easier to keep a track of the rest of business this way, and makes the website more relevant for search engines and customer search terms. Involving this professional element means you can also learn from the masters, and soon you might not even need to outsource like this anymore. 

Someone to Make the Sales

Now usually this would be you, as the person bringing up their own business. If you’re the founder of a company, then you’re going to need to be on the shop floor most of the time, trying to increase sales and securing new customers. 

Yet, if you’re busy coming to terms with every other business operation, such as sorting your inventory, maximising on it, looking to increase your online reach, and taking care of the books day after day, you might want to try delegating. 

There’s no harm in taking on a hire or two to work the shop floor when you’re not there, but looking for a designated sales person that can take on most of this work to make connections and find friends amongst partners and the odd competitor is a saving grace at your disposal. Of course you’ll want to balance this carefully, as as the founder you’re going to need to be involved at the beginning and still have touchdowns after this, as customers and investors love to see the face of the brand. 

An Accountant

Finances are one of the most tricky things to get to grips with, and if you’re just starting off with little or no previous experience, you’re going to need to get a little helping hand with them.

However, a lot of the time startups like to believe they can do their financing themselves, and whilst that can be pulled off, it might not go as well as someone who is just finding their feet in the corporate world thinks. That’s not to say coping with business finance is impossible, it’s just made easier and a lot smoother to learn when you have a professional on your side. Edge ahead of the competition by hiring yourself an accountant and giving your startup a firmer foundation. 

Use these people as liberally as you like and for good measure. 

Be The Boss: Three Ways To Earn Money From Home

Sick of being stuck in the rat race, working yourself to the bone to earn lots of money for a big corporation? Why not take the plunge and become your own boss instead, more people than ever have been able to make the move from employee to boss and you could do the same too, there are some great ways to make reliable money from home these days. Here are a few ideas.

make money from home

Start a Business

Running your own business is the dream for many, you get to pour your passion and creativity into something you really believe in. Even setting up a small online business from home can earn you a fantastic amount of money if it does well, so if you have an idea for a business don't overlook it. If you don’t have a lot of money to have a website created (and then promote it which is expensive within itself) sell through an online marketplace like Amazon, Etsy or eBay. This way you have your own shop instantly, and are likely to be seen by a larger number of customers since these sites already have a huge customer base. Once you’re turning a profit you could then look into having your own website designed by a professional.  As a business owner, just be sure that you’re doing everything by the book. If you’re hiring additional employees, for example, you’ll need to make sure they’re treated fairly, or you could end up with a lawsuit on your hands. You’ll need to look into avoiding director disqualification since this can jeopardise your future as a business owner. You will need to make sure you have the correct insurances in place, that way if something does go wrong with your products or services you don’t end up out of pocket. 

Go Freelance

If you have a skill but are being employed by a company, why not cut out the middleman and go freelance instead? It could be writing, design, art, gardening or whatever else you currently do. For lots of skills there are freelance sites out there, you can sign up to and bid on jobs. Otherwise, you could advertise your services online. On the downside, you do have to advertise and find your own clients so work can be unreliable, but once you have regular clients, it can give you that bit of security. 

Write a Blog

Blogging has taken the internet by storm over last few years. What was once very much a hobby can now be lucrative, with the big companies of the world discovering how influential bloggers could be when it came to promoting their products. Getting a blog to the stage where it's earning money takes work, but if you've already been blogging for a while and are established, look into ways to monetise. As a bonus, bloggers tend to be sent a ton of great things to review as well as opportunities like holidays, days out, courses and so much more.

It’s Time to Make Your Company More Open and Accessible

These days, it’s not alright for your business ignore the needs of your customers and you can’t ignore issues of accessibility and the needs different kinds of customers will have. If you want to present your business as one that’s modern and progressive, you should be working towards making it open and accessible for everyone right now. It might seem daunting to make big changes to an otherwise successful company, but it will all be worthwhile and beneficial to your business in the end.

company office

If you’re not sure where to start with making your business more open and accessible than it currently is, the guide below will help you out. You’ll find information on where to start and which steps are most logical for your business.

Offer a Warm and Helpful Welcome

The way in which you welcome your customers as they walk through the door will have a big impact on how they experience your company. You should be there to offer a warm welcome and a helping hand should your they need one. It shows that your business is open and willing to help people out. That makes a difference and it’s also a simple change for you and your staff members to implement. 

Train Your Employees to be Sensitive

Sensitivity training is very common inside companies these days. You don’t want your employees to say the wrong thing or fail to speak to people politely. Customers will not come back if they feel that they’ve been treated badly by your staff and no business can afford to lose customers over such needless things. Given the right training and the right guidance, your employees will be able to behave properly and interact with customers in the positive way they expect. 

Install Proper Disabled Access

Disabled access is not something that should be considered optional. It’s a vital part of modern companies, and if disabled people don’t feel able to use your company, you’re unfairly rejecting people based on something that’s no fault or choice of their own. Places like Terry Lifts offer disabled access facilities like lifts and other things that can make your company more accessible. It might be a big financial commitment right now, but it will pay off in the long-term.

office interior

Offer Equal Opportunities to Employees and Candidates

Accessibility is not just about physical needs and stair lifts either. You also need to make sure that your business is open to and accepting of all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds. This is something that should be at the forefront of your mind during the hiring process. You want people to feel like they’re being given a fair opportunity and that there is no prejudice. There’s no room for anything that runs counter to those kinds of principles inside any modern business.

Make Sure All Washrooms Are Accessible

The accessibility of washrooms is an important point to consider from the point of view of your customers. There should be washrooms in place that can be used easily as and when they're needed. These facilities should not just be viewed  as nice added extras. Some of your customers might have health problems that mean they need access to these kinds of facilities, so they’re necessary for any modern company. You can also make the business more accommodating to parents by offering baby changing facilities too.

Keep Paths Clear

Tripping hazards can become major problems in companies with a high levels of foot traffic. Refusing to act until something does go wrong is not the way forward because the injured party will have grounds to sue you.I’m sure a legal battle that could end in you coughing up a lot of compensation doesn’t sound too appealing. Avoid any such eventuality by keeping the paths clear and monitoring the situation throughout the day.

Provide Adequate Lighting

The lighting inside your business might not seem like a huge deal to you, but lighting the path and making sure people can always see what they’re doing and where they're going can actually help to prevent accidents. You don’t want people to get hurt because of a simple matter like this one, so it makes sense to take action. You can improve the lighting by extending it throughout any areas that can be used by the customers you rely on. The usability and accessibility of your business will immediately be given a boost and it won’t take much time or money to get it right.

Making these changes to your company will instantly have a massive impact on it. Most importantly, it will positively impact the experience of your customers, making more of them feel more welcome.

Too Small To Hire But Too Big Not To?

There comes a time for every startup when things suddenly happen. The weeks and months of struggling for that first customer or client are long forgotten. You’ve been working steadily to build your portfolio. You've developed your marketing strategies, and nurture your first few clients. But now it’s all paying off. You’ve planned and planned to make this happen. But did you plan on coping when all this happened?

business strategies

As a one-man-band or an entrepreneur, your gifts are clear. You come up with great ideas that others believe in too. And you know how to package that idea up into a profitable product. Your marketing skills are excellent, and your visions for growth have come true. But you’re not a receptionist. You’re not an administrator. You’re not a media buyer or a customer service representative. If you don’t hire someone soon, though, you’ll have to don all these hats and more.

Fast Rising Star

The trouble with growing from nothing to something quickly is that you have no track history to rely on. You can’t yet risk the expense of a sales team, or a customer service team because you have no reliable forecast for the future success of your company. There is no history there to determine that you can cover their wages in a year or three years. Then there is the pension, the insurances, the taxes, and the benefits. Is now really the time to commit to all that?

Is There Another Way?

We’ve all heard of outsourcing, but not many startups actually use the full range of services that might be available to them. Outsourcing helps your company to run smoothly. This applies if you're just starting or you're a well-established and profitable business. Using outsourced services means you can have specialists working for you. It’s usually set up as a ‘pay-as-you-go’ provision so you can hit the stop button when you need to.

What You Can Outsource

What you need will depend entirely on your business model. If you are a retailer, you might choose to outsource your customer service department. Chances are you need to strategically coordinate several marketing campaigns and promotions. That is a lot even for a whole team of marketers to take on. As well as a customer call center and marketing agency, you’re likely to need a logistics team to manage each order. Packaging and coordinating pickups and deliveries isn’t something you can realistically manage on your own.

If you’re a B2B company, then you might need a dedicated sales team. Sales personnel are often commission-based. Some are happy to work like this, managing their own workload. They are effectively freelance or self-employed. The sales process for B2B is much more lengthy in time and steps. This means you will need a freelance copywriter managing each of your newsletter and email campaigns. Chances are you need your website to be rich with SEO content too. 

outsource

Regardless of your business type, you still need to run the company. This includes handling inquiries by telephone, email, and contact form. It might also include social media engagement. You’ll need to handle accounts, invoices, and taxes. And sometimes you’ll need to take meetings with regulating bodies, local authorities and big clients. Your home-run business is starting to be stretched beyond the walls of your spare room!

You can outsource every service you wish to provide your customers. And yes, this does include your very own company office! There are many benefits of using a virtual office. Perhaps the most important one is that you can pass over those tasks and concentrate on being an entrepreneur. Someone else can pick up the phone and field calls. Someone else can manage the office cleaning. Someone else can pick up the bills from owning premises like that too. You use it as much as you need for a fee. Like all other outsourced services, it’s designed to be hassle-free for you.

Expanding and Growing or Getting Bigger Than You Can Handle?

Ultimately, there is a crucial point for any business - that moment where you can no longer personally fulfil your customer’s requirements because you’re too busy handling all the others! If you don’t get some help to manage each of the tasks we’ve discussed, you could start to let customers and suppliers down. Before you know it, your company reputation is in tatters, and you’re about to lose your business.

Outsourcing gives you the opportunity to grow and continue to expand without any big initial outlay. Services tend to be pay-as-you-go, so that means that you cover those costs as you’re getting paid. This can continue for as long as you need it to. Of course, eventually, there might come the point where it is cheaper to handle that volume of sales in-house. When you reach that scale, then you can simply turn off the services you don’t want outsourced anymore.

When Should You Hire?

Hiring is a huge undertaking. You don't just need a reliable and consistent revenue stream. You also need to dedicate the time and resources to creating roles, advertising the jobs and interviewing. Of course, you could always outsource this process too! Recruitment agencies can send you temporary workers to fill a role for a week, a month, or ongoing. You might then choose to make it a temp-to-perm role. That means the candidate they send for the role could be interviewed to determine if they are right to become your permanent employee. You will have to pay the agency a ‘finders fee’ of about ten to twenty percent of the agreed salary.

Taking a candidate on that has already been doing the job for a while is hugely beneficial for you. They’re already trained and competent so you won’t have to do that task twice. Best of all, you’ve already spent time with them and know they’re a good fit for the company culture you’re developing. You know you can get on with that person. 

If you’re too small to hire just yet, but struggling to run your business alone, there are plenty of outsourcing solutions. Which do you need?

5 Car Repairs You Can Do Yourself to Save Money

There’s nothing worse than starting up your car and realizing something just isn’t right - your brakes are squeaking or your window is stuck or maybe it just feels “off.” That’s when you get that sinking feeling in your stomach: you need to visit a mechanic and there’s no money in your bank account for this unexpected expense. 

One way you can help prevent repeated trips to the mechanic for repairs is by keeping up with your car’s regular maintenance, and fixing small problems as they arise. With a little confidence, you might even be able to do some of this work yourself. 

5 Car Repairs

Check out this list of five car repairs you can do yourself; all you need is your owner’s manual, a quick YouTube tutorial, and an auto parts store that you trust. The rest, well, it’s up to you!

1. Replace your air filter

When your air filter is too dirty, it impairs your engine’s function and impacts your gas mileage; changing it regularly will help prolong your engine’s life. How often you change your filter will depend on how much you drive, but your owner’s manual should have information on when you should be checking it out. If it’s dirty or clogged, it’s time for a new one. Air filters are generally inexpensive and can be purchased at an auto parts store. This is an easy job that should only take you a few minutes - and might boost your confidence to try some other quick fixes. 

2. Replace your windshield wipers

When you start to notice your windshield is looking a little streaky, it’s probably time to change your windshield wipers. Other giveaways include squeaking or skipping wipers, or noticing that your wipers aren’t making proper contact with your windshield. Having good visibility when you’re driving is a matter of safety, so don’t put off this simple fix. This is another easy job that doesn’t warrant a trip to the mechanic’s. 

3. Replace a headlight/taillight

The timing on this one is a no-brainer - you need a new headlight or taillight when your current bulb burns out. Your owner’s manual should give you the information you need to buy the right bulbs. You might also start to notice your headlights becoming foggy or less bright. This is also a problem you can fix yourself with a headlight restoration kit. Not only will your lights be shining brightly after this easy job, but it will also freshen up the look of your car.

4. Rotating your tires

Rotating your tires refers to changing the position of your tires to even out tire wear. Doing this regularly will help to extend the life of your tires, so you’re not paying for replacements more than is necessary. If you know how to change a tire, you have the skills to tackle this job (and if you don’t, it’s a good thing to learn). You can also install your winter tires when the time comes, something that will keep you safe in cold and snowy weather and could qualify you for a discount on your car insurance

5. Touch-up scratches and scuffs

Surface scratches and scuffs on your car don’t just look bad, they also put you at risk for further rust and damage to your car’s body. That being said, you don’t have to run to the auto body shop every time you ding your vehicle; many surface scratches and scuffs can be repaired at home. You can keep some touch-up paint on hand - just make sure that you have the proper colour for your car. The factory paint code should be found on a sticker under the hood or inside your door. A quick search online will give you many cheap but effective ways to handle touch-ups yourself and keep your car beautiful. 

Whenever you decide to handle a repair job yourself, make sure you are consulting your owner’s manual and doing your research. If you’re unsure that you can handle a project, it might be best to leave it to the pros. If you can tackle a few small jobs, though, you’ll save money and learn some new skills that you can brag about later.

What financial benefits can you reap by leasing your car?

Car leasing or personal contract hire as it is called alternatively has always been one of the most popular ways of driving a car throughout the world and if you check in the United States, one among four cars is out for leasing. Personal car leasing has become popular all over the world but there are still many drivers who are not aware of the benefits associated with leasing and hence they end up taking out car loans or personal contract purchase agreements to obtain their vehicle.

car leasing

Car leasing can provide benefits which can be an attractive alternative to buying but this option isn’t for everyone. If you’re still not aware of the financial benefits associated with car leasing, here are some that you may consider.
  • Reduced monthly payments: Since you have to pay only for a part of the value of the car which you use, the monthly lease payments will be 30-60% lower than what it would be when you buy a car with the same loan amount and with the same repayment term. You don’t require paying anything extra for every month of investment in ownership of the car.
  • No requirement of down payment: Car leasing offers you the option of no downpayment but you still make the payment of the first month and the official registration fees and official tag. There are some promotional lease deals which need down payment to grab the deal. 
  • More car for money: Since the monthly car lease instalments are lower than with purchasing a car, you get enough cars as against your money and you can drive a vehicle every 2 to 4 years. A luxury car can be leased often for either similar or lower payments than the loan payments for a costly economy car. 
  • No headaches about maintenance: Majority of the people love to lease for a term which coincides with the length of the warranty coverage so that the repairs are covered when anything goes wrong with the leased car. There are few car companies which offer free routine scheduled maintenance for the lease term. 
  • Tax bites will be lower: In majority of the states like Canada and the US, you don’t require paying sales tax on the total value of the vehicle that is leased in a way you would if you bought it. You will be only taxed on the part of the value which you utilize during the lease. The tax is paid along with the lease monthly payment instead of having to pay all together. 
  • No hassles of used car: When you lease, the issues of selling a used car can be done away with. When the lease ends, you give it back to the leasing company and you’re done with it unless you trade it or buy it. 
Therefore, now that you know the different benefits of car leasing, you should always opt for it instead of purchasing a car. Make sure you understand the terms and conditions of leasing before you take the plunge.

3 Ways to Improve How Your Business Operates

When you’re running your own business, it takes a multi-talented person to do well at it. You must be organized, a good planner, know how to delegate and develop a team that gets the job done. Not everyone is suited to be an entrepreneur, but if that’s you or something you want to develop into, then the good news is that it’s a role you can learn to play well.

Here are three ways to improve how a business performs over the medium to long-term. 

Develop Better Communication

Companies run through people. Without great performance from the staff, the business is likely to perform as poorly as the staff. Motivating staff to deliver their best work is part of the responsibility of the managers and motivating the managers is the responsibility of the entrepreneur. You may think that the managers should motivate themselves, but ultimately people come to work for more than just a paycheck and need some “attaboys” to feel good about what they’re doing. 

Improve Your Business

A leader leads. By this we mean, the person at the top points to the direction that the business should move and it’s up to the managers to push their staff to deliver on this objective. Therefore, communication matters from the top on down. A leader who fails to lead creates a rudderless ship, essentially, which doesn’t deliver meaningful business results.

Embrace Project Management

As your business grows, the number of client and business projects running consecutively will expand exponentially. It becomes increasingly difficult to manage the individual projects well and juggle the needs of multiple projects running concurrently. 

You’ll want to try different project management software and begin using GANTT charts to become better organized. Based on the information fed into the software, it’ll produce one of these charts to help you visualize the different parts of each project, who’s responsible for each task and make it clearer how things are progressing. There are paid tools like Microsoft Project and open-source project management tools like Odoo and MyCollab that will help with this.

To develop some advanced skills in project management, you might wish to consider a masters in project and program management program at Brandeis University. The online MSMPP degree helps you to work with best practices across multiple industries, learn new business tools and develop leadership communication skills too.

Outsource Smaller Tasks to Specialists

While your business may already have some full-time or part-time staff, you should also consider outsourcing minor tasks to outside contractors or use the services of a virtual assistant (VA). VA’s are available inexpensively when using workers from the Philippines who have good enough English to do a reasonable job with administrative tasks where some grasp of the language is required to complete the task. The company doesn’t have to pay many of the usual costs associated with a full-time employee this way and takes the load off staff who have better things to do with their time than knock out small, yet time-consuming tasks.

Once your company is up and running and beginning to show signs of progress, it’s time to pause to survey the scene. What things are being done poorly or could benefit from a change in processes to achieve more? Many newer businesses don’t have good operating procedures written down for staff to follow yet and would do well to draw them up.

Don't Believe These Finance Myths!

Let's face it; finances can be incredibly complicated. Money is the thing that most of us spend the vast majority of our time thinking and worrying about, and yet many people still don't fully know how well to take care it. One of the most common reasons that this happens is because many people have simply been given terrible and incorrect advice. There is so much bad financial advice floating around that it's a wonder that we haven't all gone bankrupt! Of course, if you do end up following bad financial advice, the consequences can be everything from a minor inconvenience, to serious financial danger. In order to prevent any of these things from happening, here are some financial myths that you need to stop believing right now!

savings

You should never rent

This is perhaps one of the most common pieces of financial "advice" that you're ever likely to hear. We're all taught that renting is a total waste of time and money and that you should only ever focus on being able to buy your home. The truth is that there's a lot of validity to that claim. Rent is almost always more expensive than the monthly repayments on a mortgage, you won't come away with any equity, and you're always at the mercy of your landlord. All of these things are totally valid criticisms of renting. But here's the thing: also renting serves an incredibly important purpose for a lot of people. It allows them to live independently when they're not yet in a position to buy a house themselves. Sure, most of us would rather buy but renting is a great option when that's not possible. Not only that but it also allows you a great deal more freedom to move around than you would have if you bought a house.

Debt is inescapable

Debt is one of the scariest words in the world for a lot of people, and it's pretty easy to see why. The idea of being in a position where you're paying out a chunk of your paycheck every month to someone else just to pay off money that you owe is incredibly scary. And a lot of people would have you believe that the moment you end up in debt, you're doomed forever. This simply isn't true. The reality is that getting out of debt can be a serious challenge; there's no doubt about that. But just because something is difficult doesn't mean that it's impossible. There are plenty of ways that you can deal with debt from reducing your non-essential spending to downsizing your living situation; the important thing is to be sensible and careful with your money, even after it's all paid off.

Saving is impossible 

If you mention saving to a lot of people, especially younger people, they will often tell you that they would love to save money but that they simply can't. This is often because they've been told that they can't save money because they don't have a huge amount leftover at the end of each month. And sure, being able to put hundreds into your savings account every month would be nice but even if you only have a tiny amount of money leftover, setting that aside can make a big difference. Even the smallest amount of money can start to add up over time if you just leave it alone. Sure, that means that it's going to take a long time to be able to save for anything specific, but if you're patient, then it will almost certainly be worth it.

You shouldn't ever treat yourself

The cost of living is high these days, there's no doubt about that. Not only that but many people's wages are stagnating to the point where it's getting more and more expensive just to get by in the modern world. Because of this, a lot of people end up acting as though spending any money on yourself for any reason is somehow immoral or wrong. The truth is that, when the weight of the world is on your shoulders, sometimes it's okay to treat yourself to something nice. Sure, you don't want to go overboard to the point where you're not able to afford necessities like food and shelter. But something nice like a treat for your family or something simple for yourself can help you to forget the troubles that you're dealing with, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

There's no help out there

Far too often, modern society is built around the idea of the "self-made man." This idea is totally ridiculous. No human being is self-made. We're all products of our environments, and all of our successes are just as much off the backs of those around us as anything else. But because of this attitude, a lot of people end up feeling as though, if they don't take care of their finances alone, they're somehow weak. The truth is that there is nothing wrong with wanting to reach out to others for some help with your finances. Human beings are always stronger together, and if you need a helping hand with your finances, then there's nothing wrong with that.

One of the best ways to know whether or not a piece of financial advice is correct or not is simply to think about it and ask yourself if it makes any real sense. We're often taught that it's better just to listen to what other people say when it comes to money, but a lot of the time common sense is all you really need. Are you spending more money than you have? Then your finances are going to suffer. Can you put aside a tiny amount of money each month? Then over time, that amount will grow. These might sound like the most obvious things in the world, but you really would be surprised at just how often people end up forgetting about simple common sense when they're surrounded by huge amounts of financial jargon, fear, and bad advice.

Three Ways To Move Things Forward Financially In Your Business

If you’re turning a profit and things are going well in your business that’s great- but now isn’t the time to get complacent! If you want to keep growing, expanding, getting ahead and doing the best you possibly can it’s important that you are constantly adapting and moving forward. Here are some of the ways you can continue to expand operations and continue doing better when business is already going well.

business

Have an App Created

When you had your website created, your designer will have course have made sure that it was optimised to all devices, so your site can be easily viewed on tablets and smartphones. However it’s important you don’t just rely on this, because having an actual app created can do fantastic things for your business. It allows you to get your business details onto the phones of your customers which is a very good place to be. You can communicate things like offers through notifications, and it makes your business look reliable and trustworthy since apps have to be verified. More sales are now made on tablets and smartphones than laptops and computers, so this is something you can’t afford to pass up as a business owner. Find a great app designer and have them create you something interesting and responsive. 

Ship Products Globally

If you’re currently only selling your products in the country where you live, you could be missing out on a whole lot of profit. If you’ve ever considered ‘how can I export my products overseas’ but passed up on the idea because it seems too complicated then it’s time to think again. Sure, things like packing and shipping can be an issue since your products have to travel further, but being able to reach an international market can mean an explosion of profit in your business. If you sell smaller items you may be able to send them via the postal service, just make sure they don’t contain any prohibited items. 

Manufacture Your Own Products

Manufacturing is a massive task, and so many companies choose to outsource in order to save time and hassle. However when you’re paying a company to produce your products, it takes a cut out of your profits. Setting up your own manufacturing plant isn’t for the faint hearted, there’s a whole lot of upfront costs since you have machines, vehicles, premises hire and so much more to consider. On top of that you need to find the right workers and make sure health and safety is up to scratch. This is a bigger job than in most other kinds of workplaces since things like power tools, machines, chemicals, high heat and more may be used. But in the long run, it’s far cheaper, quicker and more efficient than outsourcing. 

If your business is doing well, have you considered what ways you can move things forward? Have you done any of the above in an attempt to boost profit and expand operations?

Tried And Tested Ways To Land New Clients

The hunt for new business is never an easy one, and when you work in the B2B industry, it can be even more difficult to land new clients. Do you feel like your current efforts are falling short of your objectives? Perhaps it’s time you tried some new tactics. Take a look at these tried and tested ways of landing new clients and watch as your business starts to boom.

business plans

Trade shows

You might not have considered going to a trade show before, believing that they’re fruitless or are too much effort to get right but the truth is that going to trade shows can be an easy way to connect with a whole new client base and increase profits for your business. Among the benefits of visiting trade shows for businesses are being able to showcase your products and services and being able to meet people face to face, while also being able to check out your competition. Put some effort in when it comes to your stand and any giveaways you plan on handing out - these will help create a lasting impression with the people you see on the day.

B2B Telemarketing

Telemarketing is a classic method of generating new leads for your business, but many people forget about this because they think it’s a dated form of chasing sales. However, the right telemarketing services provider can help you through offering an expert service that will only work with the types of business you want to work with, not waste time chasing up those with no interest. Combined with market research, this could be an effective way for your business to increase its client base.

Social media

Social media is the ultimate marketing tool, allowing businesses to reach out to others in ways that simply weren’t possible before. It’s often ignored by B2B companies who typically associate social media with B2C marketing, but the right strategy could prove very useful in connecting you with other businesses online. Showcase your achievements and not just those like winning awards or recording bumper profits - highlight the work you do within the community and the benefits your business offers others. Get some advice on creating the right B2B social media campaign and start using it to reach out to new clients.

Host events

Events are a great way for you to reach out to new clients and can be done in several ways to be effective. For example, hosting workshops or specialist seminars on subjects within the industry you work in could help to grow your reputation as experts in your field while also providing you with an effective networking opportunity. Combine your efforts with other local businesses or organisations and make a day of it that offers benefits to all involved.

Seeking new ways of finding new clients is important to help ensure growth for your business, no matter what size it is. Offer them improved services, such as being there for your customers at all times and better customer support. Thinking about the alternative ways you can win new clients could help your business to grow - so leave the old methods behind and try something new.

Do you need a loan urgently? Here is what you need to know before taking one

Times are tough at present. The economic meltdown has affected most sectors of the economy and this has resulted in a decrease in the cash reserves available to individuals and businesses. People are finding it difficult to pay their bills and businesses are being auctioned off to pay off company debts. Fortunately, for individuals and businesses getting a loan for your financial needs is easier than it was before. Thanks to technology, financial institutions can determine whether an individual or a business enterprise qualify for a loan. This happens in a matter of hours and applicants are able to get their loans immediately for their business or personal needs. Before taking a loan, however, there are a few things that individuals have to understand lest they get loans that they can’t handle. To help applicants in this regard, here are a few things they need to know before applying for a loan.

loan

1. Understand your loan options

There are a lot of lenders in the financial marketplace and an applicant shouldn’t just settle for the first lender that they come across. Repayment terms and interest rates vary across institutions and it’s up to the applicant to find the best terms for his or her loan. Most lenders publish their loan repayment terms online and you can easily access this information to find out how much you will pay for your loan from that particular institution. Check another financial institution to determine its rates as well. Continue this search until you find the institution with the best rates and repayment terms.

2. Get in touch with the bank’s representatives

The next step is to get in touch with your bank’s representatives to find out more about their loan processes. There are a lot of things that banks and other financial institutions do not share on their online portals and it is only when you talk to them that you will be able to understand some of these things. Some of the things that you should seek to find out from your account manager and bank representative include issues such as the penalties for defaulting a loan and whether they allow clients to pay off their debts earlier than it has been stated in their loan agreements. Some of these things may appear minute but they are very important in the loan acquisition process and applicants should not ignore them.

3. Know your loan limit

It sounds cliché but you should not borrow more than you can pay off. Doing so will put you into a lot of financial misery as your possessions may be auctioned off to pay your debts. Your loan limit is determined by your salary if you are taking a personal loan and your business finances if you are taking a business loan. Before taking a loan, you should be sure that your salary and business income are sufficient to help you pay off your loan comfortably.

Conclusion

A loan can help you out of a financial situation but it can turn into a disaster if you take more than you can pay off. Use the above-mentioned tips when taking your next loan for the best results.