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Oct 12013

What Your Store is Missing to Boost Up Sales

By |October 1st, 2013|General Personal Finance|1 Comment

There are many tricks to make an online store successful. You probably already know a few of them, like using a good web design that is easy on the eyes, building up a shopping cart that works, or using social media to reach more customers.

But that’s not all there is to it, and you can still do more. The idea is not about getting more customers, but about making the ones you already have come back for more so that they will spend more money on your products.

Keep Them Informed

People love talking, and they love to talk about the things they like. If they are clients of your store, they like what you have to offer, so you should let them know everything about your product so that they can talk about it as much as they want. Build a blog for your store, and write regular posts about upcoming sales, forthcoming seasons, and special events. Give them guides and reviews of the products they can or have already bought. There are many things you can do on a store blog. If you set up an ask questions option, you will be able to tell your customers exactly what they need to know as if they were right in front of you. This kind of personalized customer service will make them stick around and spend a lot more.

Sell up to the Last Item

A shop is all about selling, and you shouldn’t feel any hesitation about it. When seasons change, or new products become available, you can find yourself with old items that are going to collect dust in your storage forever. Instead of returning them, or just counting them as a loss, if you see that a regular sale is not enough to push these items toward your customers; inventory liquidation can be a good option for you. There are whole websites that already focus on this kind of sale, but you want to keep as many benefits for yourself as possible. Having a section of your store where you set up liquidation of old or out of season items at discounts you don’t usually offer, will have your customers checking regularly, and buying things they may not otherwise because of the lower prices. You won’t be making as much profit, but you will still earn some money, and cut loses due to a lack of sales.

Have a Contest Page

You are possibly wondering what a contest has to do with selling more. Well, it’s pretty easy in fact. People love getting things for free, and they love games and contests as well. You can give them all of it, and still make a profit. That way everyone is happy. For example, you could try lottery games where every purchase gives your customer a chance to win something, or encourage them to participate in “Best Of” contests related to your product, where they submit pictures, ideas on how to use your items, recipes, and tricks. The competitive angle will make them try again and again, and buy more. At the same time, they’ll have some healthy fun, making it a win-win situation.

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Sep 292013

9 Things Businesses Need for Success

By |September 29th, 2013|General Personal Finance|Comments Off on 9 Things Businesses Need for Success

Owning a business is very different from having a job because a business owner has to know about everything. The owner may not be an expert in everything, but he or she needs a working knowledge on a variety of different topics in order to create a successful business. Here are 10 things almost all business owners must consider.

1. Web Design

It’s almost impossible to have a business today without a website. It’s a great way to generate leads, and it’s also essential when working with clients face to face. A business without a website loses credibility for a lot of consumers and other businesses.

2. Logo Design

If a business wants a website, business cards, an office, or any other type of branding they will need a logo. Some of the best logos in the world are immediately recognizable, like the Nike swoosh and McDonald’s arches. All businesses need a logo, even if it’s just the business name in an interesting font.

3. Legal Help

A business doesn’t necessarily need a lawyer, but they might need some legal help when incorporating the business with their state. Of course if a business is sued then they will seek the counsel of an attorney. Hopefully new business owners can avoid expensive legal costs, but it’s something that must be considered.

4. Social Media

If a business is selling directly to consumers, many of those consumers expects to interact with the company on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and more social networks. An active social media presence provides an additional level of customer service that can give a business an edge.

5. Office Space

were open

photo credit: brianDhawkins

A one person business can work out of a home office, but if the business grows then it might require some office space. The space is expensive, and then it must be filled with furniture, computers, and more. This is a very expensive consideration to think about.

6. Office Cleaning

If a business does have office space, then that space will get dirty. Most business owners can find better use of their time than vacuuming the floors. A business owner may need to pay someone to come keep the office clean.

7. Warehouse Space

If the business is manufacturing or selling items, they will need a place to store the products or raw materials. It’s important for the business owner to find warehouse space as cheap as possible, and then hire people to work in the warehouse.

8. Accounting

Businesses make and spend money, and there are a lot of tax laws that impact business spending. In order to maximize tax benefits and avoid a costly audit in the future, most business owners opt to use an accountant.

9. Vacation Time

Finally, a business owner needs a way to take a vacation without the business failing. This is probably a combination of having good employees and being able to work remotely to address pressing concerns. Business owners work very hard, and hopefully they are able to reward themselves with a vacation every now and then.

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Sep 282013

Simplify Your Life and Exchange Currencies Online

By |September 28th, 2013|General Personal Finance|Comments Off on Simplify Your Life and Exchange Currencies Online

There are always new ways to do things, but one thing a lot of us don’t do all that often is change currencies, so we may have fallen behind in how to do this most effectively.

If you’re travelling abroad, one of the easiest ways to take your currency with you is to buy a currency card from a travel company or bank before you go. They look a lot like a normal bank card, and work like one too when it comes to paying for things. They just come pre-loaded with whatever currency you need, which is great as it makes budgeting while away really simple.

However, if you have regular bills to pay in another country – be it for the upkeep of a property that you own or to pay suppliers to your business – the best way to do this is to hold an online currency exchange account. It takes all the hassle of moving money from one currency to another and will also mean that you get access to preferential rates that the high street banks and currency exchanges simply can’t compete with.

You can arrange a HiFX money transfer within seconds once you’ve set up an account – which only takes a few minutes. HiFX is a currency exchange broker that offers the facility for its customers to move between £50 and £300,000 in daily transactions, so there’s plenty of scope there for most individual and business use. As the company only operates online it has low overheads, and passes the savings it makes over to its customers through the best exchange rates and low transfer fees.

This kind of account is ideal for those people or businesses who have regular bills to pay in another currency, but it’s also great for one-off transfers. As it costs nothing to set up an account and there’s no obligation to ever actually use it until you need to, there’s no reason why everyone shouldn’t have one of these set up and ready to go.

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Sep 262013

How to Get Cheap Musicians for your Wedding Ceremony – Know People

By |September 26th, 2013|Blog, Personal Finance Tips|6 Comments

This is the latest installment in my wedding series, and this entry is going to really appease all of the people who are angry about me spending $20k on my wedding. And I know most of you have already read it, but if you think $20k is too much I will just direct you to this response.

I’ve already decided to set a total budget of $20,000 for the wedding, and we’ve already covered the $3,195 for the photographer. Next up: ceremony musicians.

Tag and I are both Catholic, and we will be having a full Catholic mass for our wedding. That means we need a pianist, one or more vocalists, and potentially some additional instrumentalists if we so choose. Musicians are not cheap and we could end up spending big money on all this stuff. So what’s the damage?

We’re Spending $0 on Musicians (not including tip)

One of the activities that Tag and I are involved in is the music ministry at our church. Every Sunday we show up to church an hour early to rehearse the songs, and then we are part of the choir as we lead the congregation in worship.

pianoIt’s a fun, spiritual activity for us, but it also comes with a great benefit: we are friends with all the musicians. Our choir director is also the pianist, and he is truly the most amazing pianist I’ve ever heard play in real life. He’s so good he has played at Carnegie Hall. He will be playing piano for our ceremony.

We also have friends who sing in the choir with us every week. We have officially asked one of them to sing already, but I’m thinking about asking a few more to join. The more the merrier as far as I’m concerned! Especially since these are our friends and they are happy to sing at our wedding.

We haven’t decided on the music, but we’re hoping to do something contemporary. If that’s the case, we have a guitarist, a bassist, and a drummer who we can ask. I’m pretty sure a lot of them would do it as a favor for us.

What About the Tip?

So in theory we are getting free musicians. In reality, we’ll probably pay just a little less than anyone else would. Our friends are offering their services free of charge, but we are going to tip them, and we’ll tip them a heck of a lot more than a normal tip since they aren’t charging us anything.

We are trying to save money wherever possible, but we also value our friend’s time and talent. If they weren’t playing the music then they would be sitting in the pews with all our other friends and family, so we are definitely going to tip them well for being willing to “work” at our wedding.

To My Married Readers: Did you have friends help you with parts of your wedding like the music? Did you give them a nice tip?

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Sep 262013

6 Ways to Teach Your Kids About Money Management

By |September 26th, 2013|General Personal Finance|1 Comment

There’s never a bad time to start teaching your kids about money management. You will be preparing them for the adult world, so that they can stay out of debt in the future. With these guidelines, engaging your children in money management will be fun and meaningful.

Give Them Wages or an Allowance

babywithmoney

Image via Flickr: Brad_Chaffee

Be mindful that giving your children wages or an allowance is not simply handing money over to them every week. Your children need to complete designated tasks for them to earn the money, just as they would in a real job. Base the amount of money you give them by what is right for their age. Their weekly allowance can be earned through their normal chores, but if they want to make more money, give them atypical chores to complete like washing the cars or raking the leaves. Be sure to take money away from them, if they don’t complete the chores you assign them. They have to understand the inconsistencies of money when what is expected of them is not completed.

Develop a Budget

Once you give your kids an allowance, it’s time to develop a budget with them. Remembering that you shouldn’t set too many limits on their money will help them understand both the freedom that comes with money, and buyer’s remorse. Give them the categories of give, save, and spend and let them allot money to each of those categories. The give category can be for gifts for friends or charities, and the save category can be for saving up for something big or the distant future. Since kids today are so tech savvy, utilize kid friendly, money planning apps like Tykoon to help teach them how to turn “I want this” to “how can I earn this.” To ensure that your child learns lessons on spending, try not to influence their buying decisions, but rather offer advice. You should also discuss with your children the concept of needs versus wants by emphasizing the importance of spending on needs first, before wants are fulfilled.

Make Them a Bank

Whether you make them a wallet, a piggy bank, or a play cash register, giving them a place to house their money will help them feel independent and teach them the importance of responsibility. They’ll feel like they are in control of their money, while also having a place where they can’t lose it easily. Give them different places to put their money for the different categories of their budget. You could appoint jars that are labeled give, save, and spend respectively.

Lead by Example

It’s hard to teach your kids about saving money or the importance of needs over wants if you’re constantly shopping for new clothes, or buying a new car every year. Leading by example is one of the most important aspects of teaching your children money management skills. They will inevitably pick up bad habits they see you do, so be aware of your spending habits. Openly talk to your kids about why you spend money on certain things, and what you save for with every paycheck. I had a very positive discussion with my son about why I spent on a Kids Britannica online when Wikipedia is free. In the end he understood that I wanted the reliability and he learnt about value.

Teach Them about Recurring Bills

There are several ways you can teach your kids about the recurring bills that are a part of life, and they must always be planned for. If you have a sense of humor, you could implement a tax that gets taken out of their weekly allowance. If they consistently leave their lights on or electronics plugged-in you could take out a utility fee. You can also teach them about insurance, by giving them a continual small price they’ll pay for you to replace something important of theirs if it breaks, like a game system or jewelry. If they have a hard time understanding how insurance works, you can show them homeowners insurance rates in your state. There are many ways to get creative with this money management lesson, just be sure not to get too carried away with fees, taxes, and bills while still enforcing an important lesson.

Help Them Start a Small Business

Igniting the entrepreneurial spirit at a young age encourages creativity and problem solving skills. Whether it’s a lemonade stand, a bake-sale, a lawn mowing service, a dog walking service, or they want to sell their arts and crafts, a small business teaches great money management skills. Help them create a business plan, and a budget for buying supplies for their business. Also, help them come up with a competitive price for their products or services.

From teaching your kids about savings, to understanding bills, money management will become a habit, rather than just something you tell them about through a stale cliché like, “money doesn’t grow on trees.” Do you have any creative ways you teach your kids about money that isn’t mentioned in the list above?

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Sep 252013

Alternative Savings Options

By |September 25th, 2013|General Personal Finance|Comments Off on Alternative Savings Options

It has been a difficult time for savers over the last few years, despite the benefits of having money saved which is easily accessible low interest rates have meant that there is very little return on investment being made by anyone using a standard savings account. Thanks to many of us looking for alternative ways to invest our cash there have been an influx of options entering the market as of late, let’s take a look at some of them.

Property

Although a more long term alternative to saving with a bigger investment needed in the right area with experience investing in property can give you a great return. Residential property can provide a monthly rental income and a long term return on the initial investment when property prices rise. As with all major investments, property should be considered a risk and professional advice should always be sought from those with expertise in the field. Examples of such include mortgage brokers such as FirstMortgage.

For those interested in property investment but prefer not to go down the residential buy to let route there are alternative options available.

Peer to Peer Lending

Peer to peer lending platforms have seen a significant amount of growth recently with options across the world available. The concept is simple, instead of placing your money in a bank you instead offer small portions of your money to peers seeking personal loans or investments in their business. The return on investment depends on the platform and risk associated with the borrower taking into account their credit history. Examples of such include Zopa and Funding Circle.

National Savings and Investments

If you are located in the UK, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man you can invest in premium bonds. These are similar to savings accounts but instead of being paid in interest you are instead entered into a monthly prize draw with the chance of winning £1 million tax free.

In addition there are further investment options such as investing in vintage fashion, art, gold, wines and antiques although these come with a larger risk than some of the other options available to you and typically require expert knowledge.

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