Posts tagged: loans

Small Business Owners Need To Be All-Rounders, Not Specialists

business ideasThere’s a misconception about entrepreneurs that need to be eradicated. It’s the one of the genius leader, the one who can come up with a genius idea, usually thanks to their one track mind. In reality, small business owners don’t need to be specialists in anything; indeed, it’s probably better if they’re not. What they do need to be are all-rounders, able to do a lot of things well, rather than just one thing like an expert. Below, we take a look at a few of the areas that every small business owner needs to have at least a passing familiarity with, and a willingness to learn about.

Dealing with the Public

Your business depends on the public. Without people buying your products and using your services, there is no business. As such, you need to learn how to handle the complex nature of “the public”; a public that is often demanding, and full complaints; though of course, also filled with happy, pleasant people. If you’ve never had to deal with the public, you’d be well advised to put yourself in front of house – that is, if you’re normally behind the scenes – to see what they can be like first hand.

Being the Boss

If you’ve hired a team of staff, then you’re no longer an entrepreneur: you’re a leader. And as a leader, you need to know how to handle underperforming employees, office complaints and arguments, as well as all the logistical issues that go into staffing, such as rota planning, covering sick days, and managing staff holidays. For the personal skills needed to be the boss of a productive staff, learn from the experts. For the logistical side, you can use rota and holiday management software to make your job easier. If your staff are well-prepared and productive, then your company will have the best chance of being a success.

Marketing and Advertising

Once upon a time, it’s possible that your business may have been able to be successful without much marketing or advertising. Alas, those days have long gone; now, you need to commit considerable resources to your marketing campaign and be advertising in a variety of mediums (print, online, etc). No-one’s expecting you to come up with the world’s greatest advertising campaign, but you should understand what works and what doesn’t.

Inspiring, Productive

The company, especially in the early days, isn’t anything overly abstract: it’s you. The quality and success of your business will rest on your ability to be an inspirational and productive worker. While there are a lot of tasks to take care of, it’s important that you’re always well rested and able to deliver your best work.

What To Outsource

Finally, remember that you don’t need to do everything on your own, and you don’t need always to give your staff tasks. Outsourcing will be an invaluable tool for your business, especially when it comes to repetitive and specialist tasks. Use it wisely, and you’ll be bringing the best on board to your company.

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The Golden Rules of Taking Out a Loan

loan timeIf the world was perfect for everyone, no one would ever need to borrow any money. Unfortunately, things just don’t work like that yet – and as long as we have a banking system, it’s unlikely to change. The reality is that we have to borrow money to lead the lives we want. However, there are limits, and many people are guilty of stepping over the mark.

The truth is there are good debts and bad debts, as you probably already know. And even if you are in good enough shape to take out the former, after a few missed payments or a challenging life event, it can quickly turn into the latter.

When it comes to personal loans, the temptation is strong enough to turn heads of even people with the strongest financial constitutions. Advertising is everywhere, and almost all speak to your aspirations and the life you could have – if only you would borrow a few thousand dollars or more.

To make sure you don’t fall into a trap, there are a few things you need to consider when taking out a loan. These golden rules should be set in stone, as when you step outside of them, it’s often the first step down a slippery slope to unaffordable, bad debts. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know.

Always shop around

It doesn’t matter whether you are borrowing money to buy a car, a home, or just pay for something quickly with cash loans, always shop around and look for the best deal possible. You should compare percentage rates for interest, but also check the length of the loan. Sometimes, cheaper interest rates over a longer time period will result in a higher overall cost.

Always check your credit score.

Another thing to consider before applying for a loan is your credit rating. When you make an application and get turned down, your credit score takes a hit. Not only that, however, but when you are attracted by a fantastic looking deal that you see in an advertisement, you have to remember that these deals are only offered to consumers with the best credit scores. If your rating is anything less than perfect, you won’t be offered it, and instead, have to put up with a much more expensive deal than you applied for in the first place. A lot of people fall for this, so ensure your credit rating is up to scratch before you apply.

Always read the small print.

The terms and conditions on loans are notoriously detailed, and the vast majority of borrowers never pay them a blind bit of notice. It’s no surprise – who has time to read the reams of paper that often come with your application form? However, you should make time. Banks and lenders of all varieties depend on your ignorance and lack of time, and will often include some pretty dire conditions that you need to meet to qualify for any of the supposed advantages. Another thing to watch out for is early repayment charges – you should always include them in the overall cost of the loan when you do your initial sums. Ideally, all loans would be free to pay off whenever you want, but the reality is somewhat different.

Consider insurance

Loan insurance gets a bad rep, because of a lot of malpractice in the past. However, it’s a valuable protection if you can find the right deal. For a few dollars a month you can protect yourself in the event you suffer an injury at work or get ill and can’t earn any money to pay the loan back. Again, shop around – there are varying rates from all kinds of lenders and insurance companies, and you will often find it is more expensive to buy insurance from the company offering the loan.

Compare with a credit card.

Another major misconception is that personal loans always have better deals than credit cards. To be fair, this used to be the case, back in the day when credit cards were only for the very wealthy, but times have changed. When you consider the long 0% deals you get on credit cards – some of which go for around 18 months at the moment – they often compare very favorably to a personal loan at, say, 6%. And if you can pay off the card before those 18 months are complete, it won’t actually cost you a penny.

Pro tip: borrow more money

As a rule, you should never borrow more than you can pay back. However, when you consider that banks and lenders will offer lower interest rates for higher loans, wouldn’t it make sense to get the better deal? In short, of course, it would, but you have to have a lot of self-discipline. You could borrow a larger amount of money, only spend what you need, and then pay it back over time using a combination of your personal repayments and the surplus. Over the course of a 4-5 year loan, this could actually save you a four-figure sum, so it’s well worth investigating – if you have the discipline, of course.

Be careful with secured loans.

Secured loans will always give you a fantastic sounding deal. But there is a reason – it’s because you have capital at stake. When a loan is secured against your possessions, lenders tend to sleep easily, content in the knowledge that if you fail to pay, they get your house, car, or treasured objects. Yes, the deals can be tempting. But unless you are 100% sure that you will be able to pay them back. Unsecured loans may attract higher interest charges, but ultimately if you have a problem paying them, there is little a lender can actually do.

Always stake the shortest path.

Finally, whenever you take out a loan, the cheapest option will always be to pay it back as quick as possible. It’s down to your personal circumstances, of course, but if your idea of the perfect loan is that it ends up costing you less, it’s the only way to go.

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The Best Financial Advice For College Students

money for studentsDespite all their partying and endless nights of fun, college kids actually have it rough – financially speaking, anyway. It’s a tough period as students have a lot to pay for, and not a lot of money to pay for these things.

As such, if you’re a student, here’s some of the best financial advice you’ll ever read:

Make As Much Money As You Can

The grind never stops – or at least it shouldn’t stop – during your college years. Any opportunity you have to make money, take it! You will need money now more than any other time in your life. If you’re earning while in college, you can start paying off some of your student loan debt while you study. This lowers your interest rates and means you have less to pay when you graduate. It’s also mentioned on businessinsider.com that the earlier you start to pay, the faster you can pay your debt off. Plus, it’s always handy to have some disposable income for college essentials.

Find a part-time job in the town near where you’re attending college, or look for jobs around campus. Some final year students will often pay other students to take part in research projects or to be test subjects for them. The way I see it, this is basically free money for a student, so you should do it!

Raise Your Credit Score

College is usually a good indicator that life is getting serious and it’s time to do some adult stuff. One of those things is raising your credit score. Do this during college, and you can leave with a very good score that opens your world to many possibilities.

You can raise your score in various ways, but there are two main ways a college student can do this. The first is to use a credit card responsibly to build up your creditworthiness. It’s mentioned on studentcredit.cards that some companies offer credit cards with low-interest rates specially for students. The second thing you can do is avoid going into your overdraft and taking ages to get out of it. This doesn’t make you seem very creditworthy, and your score won’t grow.

Learn How To Budget

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that most people haven’t budgeted before they go to college. You don’t really have any need to before then, your parents tend to take care of everything. Now, you’re on your own, and you have expenses to pay, and you want a social life too.

So, you have to learn to budget your money. Do the math, work out how much you have, how much you need to spend, and how much you’ve got left over. The money you need to spend is essential payments you know you have to make, such as your tuition fees and accommodation costs. What you have left over will be split up into food money, toiletry money, and so on. Stick to your budget, and you will make it through college without much financial trouble.

Don’t become one of the many college students that manage their money badly. Work on improving your financial life while you study, as well as setting yourself up for a less stressful financial life after college.

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Your Flexible Friend? Four Things That You Should Know Before Getting a Credit Card

before getting a credit cardIf you’re thinking about getting your first ever credit card, then it may just seem like another way of spending money and making purchases. But in reality, and something that is often forgotten about, it can be much, much more. If you use a credit card wisely, it can help to give your credit score a boost. If you weren’t aware of that, though, then it could damage your credit score without you even realizing it. Experian.com explains that a credit score can be an influence when it comes to things like mortgages, loans, and even a new cell phone contract, you want to make sure that your score is a positive one.

So, what are the other things you should know before getting yourself a credit card? Here are some things to be thinking about or finding out the answer to before you commit to a credit card.

You Should Know What a Credit Card Is

It might silly, but you’d be surprised at just how many people think that a credit card is like a debit card. In the ways you physically use it, they are basically the same. But in terms of money, they couldn’t be more different. A credit card is like a small loan essentially, that you have been approved for. But you have to pay it off each month. Otherwise, it costs you more than it would have been if you’d used your debit card.

You Should Know Why You Want a Credit Card

If you’re looking to get a credit card, simply because you find yourself in your overdraft each month, then that is not the wisest of reasons to get one. If you’re looking to get it to help build a credit score and to practice discipline with money, then that will stand you in much greater stead.

You Should Know How To Budget

Again, in order to make your credit card work for you, then it is a good idea that you know how to budget. A credit card can be helpful when you don’t have money right now, but you have some coming in. You need to know your finances well, as well as being able to budget, to really make your card work for you. If not, it can spiral out of control, and the next thing you know, you could be looking at a site like consolidate.loan in order to help you to consolidate your credit card debt. So budget, know your finances and pay off your card as soon as you have the money to do so.

You Should Know About Interest Rates

If you are getting a credit card, then you need to know all about interest rates. What interest rate does the card you have, or are looking at, have? If you don’t pay off your card in full each month, then what will it mean for your finances? How much will it end up costing? A credit card only works for you, if you don’t have to pay any interest.

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3 Ways Living In An Apartment Can Save You Money

money for apartmentsThe standard way that we’re all meant to want to live is in a house. A house that preferably has a garden, nice friendly neighbors, and even a white picket fence. That’s meant to be the ideal.

However, the need for space to be utilized as well as possible has meant that apartments are a common feature throughout the country. While they might not be the house that you always dreamed of, they do have a few upsides — despite general opinion running to the contrary.

So if you’re in the process of deciding you want to learn more about an apartment you’re considering, then you’ll definitely want to factor in the potential for money-saving. You need to consider areas such as…

Fewer Security Measures To Be Concerned With

While living in an apartment doesn’t necessarily mean you can leave your front door unlocked like they did in the old days, there’s no doubt you will have fewer security issues to contend with. There is inherent security in the entrance points to your home being at height, while collective security measures for the front entrance and lobby give a shared responsibility for ensuring the building is as safe as possible.

The fewer security measures you have to put in place, the more your saving — but this aspect is particularly beneficial if you’re renting. All the existing security equipment and measures will be maintained by the landlord, meaning your security spend could conceivably be zero.

No Garden To Drain Money From Your Finances

Gardening is an expensive hobby. From the cost of plants to the sheer amount of time you have to give over to maintaining it, if you’re looking for cost-cutting measures, then ridding yourself of a garden is hugely beneficial. As well as gardening itself, you don’t have to worry about the security of the garden or the upkeep of buildings and furniture you use in the garden itself. Combine all of those savings together and they begin to look very substantial.

While you might fret over the lack of outdoor space, you still have the option of public parks if you want to spend time outside. Parks give you the opportunity to enjoy being outdoors and — most importantly — they’re free! Enjoy your time outdoors and leave the expensive maintenance to someone else.

Lower Heating Bills

It’s a little known fact but definitely a reality: apartments are cheaper to heat than houses (though you’ll want to avoid the top floor to maximize this benefit). When you live in an apartment block, the other apartments effectively operate as extra insulation. During the winter, you will immediately feel a difference; apartments are warmer, and you need to use less fuel to keep yourself feeling snug and cosy. If you’re tired of paying a fortune just to keep warm through the colder months, then this could be a real money-saver for you.

So, do you think you could be tempted to move from a house into an apartment — potentially saving yourself a bundle of cash along the way?

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