Starting a new business is exciting. Your new business can allow you to pursue your passion, or fill a customer need in the marketplace. The costs required to start a business, however, can be huge. Use these tips to start your business and stay on a budget.

Keeping your costs down

Your business plan will include a budget for all of the important costs you’ll incur. Some costs are unavoidable. Here are some strategies are keep your costs to a minimum:

· Website: Nearly all companies need an attractive website for their business. Many of your prospects will want to visit your site before they decide to do business with you. WordPress allows you to create a professional-looking website without any programming knowledge. The publishing platform offers hundreds of themes. You can choose a theme that fits the image you want for your business.

· Tech security: Your company may do a great deal of business online. For example, a firm might take customer orders and payments using ecommerce. Many businesses need security software, spam blockers and data security for all of their online activity. Protecting your companies confidential information is a must, and can be extremely costly if the data becomes compromised.

· Payroll: Processing payroll and reporting wage information can also be expensive and time-consuming. Consider using a payroll processing company, such as ADP, to handle your payroll. These firms can calculate tax and benefit withholdings, pay your workers and handle all tax reporting. You may find that their costs are much lower than investing the time to process payroll yourself.

Reasons to start a business

Launching a business requires a huge commitment of time and money. Before you dive in, you need to be clear about why you are making this decision. Here are some popular reasons for starting a business:

·  Your passion: The new business allows you to pursue a passion. Some people take a hobby that they are passionate about and turn it into a business. Maybe you make wood furniture as a hobby, for example. People see your furniture and start buying pieces from you. Before you know it, you have enough interest to make wood furniture full-time.

·  Filling a need in the market: Ann Wilkinson is writer who interviewed dozens of successful entrepreneurs. One characteristic they shared was the ability to find a market that is not being served- or is underserved. This strategy helps you find customers quickly. An underserved market is a good reason to start a business.

·  You have expertise to offer: Entrepreneur.com explains that positioning yourself as an expert is a great way to draw people to your business. An expert can attract people, based on the problems they solve for customers. This approach can be much easier than trying to “chase” business using other marketing efforts. If you have expertise in an area, you might succeed in an expert-driven business.

Each of these reasons can be a justification for launching a new business.

Writing a business plan

All business owners should write a detailed business plan. This is a critical step. It forces the owner to think through all of the important issues that impact the new business.

Fortunately, you can find great software for business plans. This software provides a template with all of the components of a comprehensive business plan. If you use software, you should cover most of your bases.

Consider these strategies to start your new business and stay within a budget.

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One of the most important things we do as parents, in addition to teaching our kids right from wrong, is teaching our kids to be financially responsible. Jokes about taking care of us in our old age aside, beginning your child’s financial education as early as possible is one of the best ways to make sure that they will be able to take care of themselves even after we are gone.

Of course, before we can teach our kids about financial responsibility, we have to be able to understand at least the basics of financial responsibility ourselves. Here are some of the basic tenets of being “good with money” and how to apply them in lessons your kids will understand:

Saving

Perhaps one of the best rules in life is to save at least 10% of every paycheck. As an adult you can do this automatically through your employer’s direct deposit system. Simply have your employer deposit 10% of your paycheck into a savings account for you so that you don’t have to remember to do it yourself and won’t be tempted to skip it every once in awhile.

For your kids, the easiest way to teach this lesson is to start them out with an allowance and then make them put a small portion of that allowance into a piggy bank that they aren’t allowed to touch. This will get them into the habit of looking at their money as something to be saved instead of something to be spent. You can reinforce this idea–since saving for retirement and emergencies isn’t something that many kids will understand–by having them save up for a large purchase like a bicycle, gaming system, etc.

Investing

In addition to saving for the future, investing is also important for your future financial independence. If you are new to investing you can learn about this at the same time as your kids via CDs. CDs are certificates of deposit and are like a high interest savings account that can’t be touched for a predetermined period of time.

This is also a great opportunity to teach your kids about research and making sure that the investments they make are solid. Sit down with your kids and show them how to use independent sites to find the best CD interest rates and how to evaluate terms and conditions to make the best decisions.

Dealing with Debt

As much as we’d like to think otherwise, unless you plan on gifting homes and automobiles to your children, debt is a part of life. It is important that your kids learn how to handle and pay back debts responsibly. To do this, you need to be able to teach them how to evaluate loan terms, calculate interest and how that figures in to the repayment process.

The easiest way to do this is to loan your kids enough money to buy something and then have them pay it back to you, with interest, over time. Conveniently, this is a great way to reinforce the consequences of failing to pay back debts on time–no future loans, taking away the prized item if payments aren’t made, etc.

Of course, to do this, you need to know how interest works and how to apply it to their payments. This is also a lesson that might be best held off on until your kids are old enough to do the math to figure out payments/interest themselves.

Budgeting

Each of these lessons is important, especially in terms of putting money away and managing debts and investments. As one-at-a-time lessons they can be a great way to reinforce responsible spending and saving and are good for teaching kids to plan for their futures and emergencies.

Perhaps the biggest lesson, though, is teaching your kids how to build and stick to a budget. Living within the confines of a budget is the real key to financial responsibility. It’s what keeps people from spending all of their take home pay or spending all of their grocery money on an expensive treat.

Obviously the best way to teach your kids how to create and live within a budget is to lead by example. Have them sit with you as you put together your list of monthly expenses. Take them grocery shopping (and make them leave their games and screens in the car) so they can learn how to evaluate the cost of real items and weigh that cost against an existing budget.

Teaching your kids what life actually costs and how ideas like loans, investing and saving actually work is important. It isn’t enough to simply talk. When it comes to kids, you have to show.

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When you’re trying to manage your money wisely, there are some things that you should never forget to do. Well-known practices include making a budget and setting aside savings—but one of the single most important things you can do to protect yourself is purchase a quality insurance plan.

Protecting Yourself

If you’re trying to cut back on unnecessary expenses, insurance might at first seem like something you could do without. After all, you’re paying each month for something with no immediate benefits. Expert financial advisors agree, though, that having insurance is absolutely crucial.

Disasters can happen to anyone, whether they are car crashes, lawsuits, or even crimes. When problems come, replacing or repairing your belongs on your own or paying other expenses can leave you financially ruined. Insurance is necessary to get through the tough times, and when trouble strikes you’ll be glad you have it. A solid insurance policy isn’t a useless expense—it’s an investment to protect your in emergencies.

Legal Requirements

Insurance isn’t just a good idea, either. While it makes a lot of financial sense to get some basic coverage, in some cases getting insured is required by law. This is especially the case when it comes to car ownership. Although requirements differ from state to state, you must have a vehicle insurance plan if you want to drive. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, health insurance is also required nationwide; most businesses are also subject to commercial insurance requirements.

Your Needs

While you need to make room in your budget for insurance, though, you don’t want to pay too much. The trick is finding the right balance between sufficient coverage and low cost. According to Duke University, here are some of the top tips for figuring out how much insurance you need:

  • First, identify your exposures. Figure out what the most valuable items you own are, and what risks they face. Also, determine what changes would occur in your finances if you became incapacitated and could not work.
  • Next, evaluate the likelihood of these events occurring. If you live in an extremely dry area, then you might not need a generous flood insurance plan. But if you have a motorcycle that you ride often, you’ll probably want to get insurance for your bike in case of a crash.
  • Identify the costs that will result from these disasters. Could you handle them on your own, using your savings or available cash? Or would you need insurance to help pay for everything?
  • You may also wish to consult a broker or other insurance Nationwide has a number of agents who can help you determine what types of plans are best for you.

Carrier Options

Finding a good provider is one of the most important things you can do when seeking insurance. The right carrier should be able to create a specialized plan that ensures you’re protected without making you pay for policies you don’t need. Plus, finding the right provider can also help protect your budget and keep costs low. Good insurance is an essential part of any personal finance plan.

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The following post is brought to you by Ben Alderson

 

As 2015 winds down you may start to think about 2016 and a better way to focus on finances.  You do not have to wait for January 1st to act.  If you start now, you could save when it comes to April taxes, a greater contribution to retirement accounts, or even pay down that debt that has been staring you in the face this year.  You could start your plan now and start 2016 ahead of the game.

Take a Look at Your Portfolio

I find myself guilty of this and just read the bottom line percentage increase on the quarterly statement but experts suggest that this is the time of year to take a look at your investments and see where each are performing and rebalance your portfolio, especially with the stock market being as volatile as it has recently.  Rebalancing is the process of buying and selling portions of your portfolio in order to set the weight of each asset class back to its original state as you can find by the end of year that each asset class in your portfolio has changed due to earning a different return.  Rebalancing allows the chance to minimalize and keep risk in check.

Max Out Retirement Accounts

With the option of contributing to 401k up to $18,000 if under 50 years old, $24,000 if you are over, there is still a couple more months of paychecks coming before the end of the year to contribute more to increase savings rate.  Another option is contributing to a Roth IRA which you can contribute up to $5,500 a year, or $6,500 if over 50 years old.  The great pro about a Roth IRA is that the money grows tax-free, and as long as it has been there for at least five years, will not have to pay taxes when you start to take out in retirement.

Take a Look at Credit Reports

With a free copy of your credit report available to you every 12 months from Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.  It is not a secret what is on your report, so make sure it is accurate.  The free credit report does not come with a credit score, however, with credit card monthly statements now showing your credit score, you will be able to now know your detailed report and score prior to any large expenses, or even just for peace of mind.

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About Ben Alderson
Ben Alderson heads up the business operations of the deVere Group for North America and it is his goal to offer only the most talented individuals a unique and rewarding career opportunity in financial services, to give best advice to both US / Canadian nationals and expatriates working in the US / Canada today.

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The “open secret” of the wealthy is that they earn through investments. They may own corporations, mansions, yachts and luxury items, but their real power is in their more invisible assets: investments.

However, new forms of alternative investments are now accessible to working people, or even to stay-at-home parents. These include forex trading and copy-trading. Currently, a great way to invest for potentially quick profits is through binary options trading.

What is Binary Options Trading?

Investors choose an asset they want to trade on. The asset may be a commodity (such as gold), the stocks of certain corporation, or a foreign currency pair. Binary options trading is so-called because the investor only chooses between two options: “Call” and “Put.”

The investor predicts whether the price of his asset will rise or fall during a specific stretch of time. If he chooses the “Call” option, he is predicting a price increase. If he chooses the “Put” option, he is predicting a price decrease. The investor gets a return on his investment if he is correct, but risks losing it if he is wrong.

Why Choose Binary Options Trading?

First and foremost, with this investment, the investor can calculate his potential gains and losses. He also knows the exact timeframe before the return on investment. In other words, an investor can make specific calculations for every time he trades, and pre-decide how much he is willing to lose, how much he wishes to gain, and what losses are acceptable vis-à-vis desired gains.

Second, binary options diversify assets trading. It is advisable for investors to diversify their investments in different assets. With binary options trading, investors can do this through a single platform. They can diversify their assets by trading on foreign currency pairs and stocks, or stocks and commodities, or a mixture of all three and other assets besides.

How Can Investors Profit from Binary Options Trading?

The attraction of binary options trading is the possibility of high returns. In a single transaction, an investor can earn up to 80% of his investment back. So for example, if he invests $100 and is correct in his prediction, he can get $180 back. However, if he is wrong, he may lose most or all of his investment.

Investors profit from binary options trading by following binary options trading signals. The signals depend on the asset being traded on. If the asset is the commodity gold, the investor can look at two countries dependent on gold: China and India.

If China is selling gold heavily, the price is likely to drop. If India is buying gold extensively, the price is likely to rise. Browsing the news and other resources can help the investor predict the movement of prices.

Because investors can calculate their potential gains and losses in a specific time frame, they can actually time their trading with the signals they receive. For example, the signals point to a major drop in a corporation’s stock price the next day. The trader can then choose a time frame that will let him earn over a correct prediction of falling stock price the next day.

Binary Options Trading: Investment Platform of the Present

There are many alternative investment platforms that seem promising, but do not allow the investor to make accurate calculations about the risks in capital and investment, gains and losses. The advantage of predictability in binary options trading makes it an effective investment for faster profits.

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wonga

After a tumultuous 2014, Wonga is back with a new ‘responsible and transparent’ approach to lending. The UK’s leading short-term lender went back to the drawing board towards the latter part of last year to overhaul its offering. It has since undergone an extensive rebranding exercise and has revamped its loans in line with new rules imposed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The result is a new Wonga that’s ready to make waves in a new look lending sector.

Wonga’s mission to repair its damaged reputation began with the appointment of a new creative agency. Albion was the incumbent advertising agency on the account, but after four years working with Wonga and creating the now infamous ‘Wongies’ – the geriatric puppets that featured in many of Wonga’s advertising campaigns – it declined the chance to re-pitch for the advertising account.

Instead, the powers that be at Wonga turned to the agency Fold7, which was appointed after a creative pitch that also involved leading names such as Saatchi & Saatchi, The Corner, and VCCP.

‘Credit for the real world’

Wonga’s new advertising campaign, ‘credit for the real world’, will run on television, print, radio and online, and has been developed to appeal to ‘typical’ Wonga customers who are in need of a responsible source of short-term credit.

The ‘Wongies’ have been firmly banished to the annals of television advertising past, as a more down to earth campaign heralds a new approach for the lender. Wonga had previously come under fire from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after suggestions were made that the use of puppets could appeal to children.

Commenting on the changes at the lender, Tara Kneafsey, Wonga’s UK chief executive, said: “Our new product features and today’s marketing re-launch are further proof of the action we’ve taken, and continue to take, to ensure Wonga is lending responsibly and putting customer outcomes first.

“We’re re-presenting our short-term loans to the public in a way that accesses the right type of customer and reduces the risk of inadvertently attracting the very young or vulnerable.”

Serving hard working people

Wonga’s focus in the new era of tough regulations imposed by the FCA, has been placed firmly on serving hard working people who need access to short-term credit products to help them meet essential and unexpected costs.

Wonga is now committed to only lending amounts that borrowers can afford to repay. It also follows the Good Practice Customer Charter, and offers three days grace before applying a £15 fee for late payments payments.

Welcoming the overhaul, Tara Kneafsey said: “We’re determined to put customers at the heart of everything we do, which is demonstrated by the new features we’re implementing, a number of which go beyond regulatory requirements.”

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If you’re an entrepreneur, then it’s very likely that cash flow problems are the bane of your existence. Although your sales performance might be outstanding, freeing up the money that you’re owed can be almost impossible. Without the necessary capital to oil the cogs of your enterprise, the whole machine can come grinding to a halt, forcing you to wait until your next unpredictable cash injection before it can start turning once more.

This is why many businesses turn to invoice financing; more specifically, invoice discounting. Invoice discounting works by advancing payments from your outstanding sales ledger, with the money released by entities found through Touch Financial. This means that rather than having to wait for your customers to settle their bills before you can invest your earnings, you have immediate access to the money you’re owed, significantly improving the flow of cash through your company.

Interested? Here are just three of the reasons why it might be the perfect borrowing solution for your business…

#1: You Won’t Require Security

Although it works in a very different way to more traditional borrowing options, at it’s heart, this is exactly what invoice financing is: a means of borrowing money to fund your company. Thankfully, however, it carries far less risk than other cash flow improving alternatives, mainly because it doesn’t require security. This gives it a huge advantage over loans, as it means that you won’t ever have to risk assets that are too important for you to lose.

#2: Invoice Discounting Grows with Your Business

Another important reason to consider invoice financing is its potential for growth. Unlike other borrowing options, which will only provide you with a finite amount of capital, the cash that you can access is reactive to your sales ledger. To put it simply, this means that as your business grows, so too does the money available to you, so that you’re never limited by the amount you can borrow.

#3: Invoice Discounting is Confidential

Invoice discounting is not the only type of invoice financing that’s available to businesses. Invoice factoring is another option, and it’s one that’s very popular. One of the key differences between the two is their confidentiality, and for those seeking to keep their borrowing habits from their customers, invoice discounting is by far the better option. The responsibility to collect payments remains entirely in your hands, meaning that your lender will never supersede your right to conduct your business as you see fit. Invoice factoring on the other hand, free up your time as the lender proceeds to collect all payments from your customers when they fall due.

If your business needs to borrow, why not consider invoice discountin

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Automated Teller Machine fees really get my goat, but not necessarily

of what banks charge though, for the record, they charge way too much. Of all the fees we can avoid, it’s this one. We can do so by picking banks more judiciously. We can read the fine print of our ATM card agreements. (According to one recent survey, many of us aren’t even reading ATM signs correctly. Twenty percent of us think that we aren’t subject to ATM fees as long as the automated teller machine we use bears the same financial network logos such as “Star,” “Cirrus,” or “Plus” shown on our bank cards.) Or we can just drive a few extra blocks to get to our own banks, where chances are we won’t be hit with as many ATM fees.

The funny thing is, many of us routinely drive several miles out of our way to buy cheaper gas, but won’t do the same for cheaper money. While some critics of bank fees harp on the very existence of ATM charges, I don’t. Listen, if you withdraw money from an ATM that doesn’t belong to your bank, you’re getting a service. And you’re getting that service from a bank that you don’t do business with. Why shouldn’t you have to pay for it? My only complaint is how much they charge and whether they make it clear that they’re charging that much.

Think about the number of times you withdraw money from an ATM. It could be as often as once a week, which translates into four times a month or 52 times a year. Now think about what banks routinely charge today. Nine out of 10 banks charge noncustomers who use their ATMs, and the typical “surcharge” is about $1.50 per transaction. A growing number 13 percent in 2002 are charging $2.00 or more. That’s $2.00 for the right to access your money through another bank’s ATM. But there’s more. In addition to the surcharge that the other bank will hit you with, you’ll likely be slapped with a second fee, this time by your bank for two-timing it. This is sometimes referred to as a “foreign ATM fee,” which is simply a penalty for going outside your bank’s network of automated tellers.

If you need quick cash there are other easy ways, and you can avoid ATM fees to boot. Do you own a car? An easy way to turn your car title into fast cash EZ Title Loans can provide you with the money you need in a matter of hours. Apply online now!” this sentences they should place in paragraph

These days, 9 out of 10 banks levy such foreign ATM fees on customers who use other banks’ machines, and that fee typically amounts to another $1.50 to $2.00 per transaction. So, assuming you’re one of those folks who doesn’t comparison shop, you’re looking at $4.00 per transaction in a worst case scenario, which works out roughly to about $208 a year. If you were to invest that amount every year for 25 years, you could amass $16,500, assuming an 8 percent average annual rate of return.

Remember too that a minority of banks also charge their own customers a fee even if they use an in-network ATM. And still others about 9 percent charge customers an annual fee for the right to have an ATM card in the first place. It’s no wonder, then, that banks collect more than $2 billion a year in ATM fees each year. That’s up more than 40 percent from 1998.

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I am an animal lover, and probably would do anything for my dog, but there are items that my wife and I clearly waste money on.  Upgrading to the oatmeal bath at the groomer or always buying a toy or stuffed animal could probably easily be avoided.  Pet industry spending is at an all-time high.  According to the American Pet Products Association, it is estimated that $60.59 billion will be spent on our pets, compared to $36.3 billion in 2005.  Of this total 25% is vet care, which obviously I’m not trying to skimp on, but there are things that we could cut back on.

Dog Bakeries

If it did not say “dog bakery” on the sign, you could not tell this was only for dogs, as it features oven baked all natural dog treats that resemble cakes, donuts, hamburgers, or the always popular ice cream.  We enjoy supporting local business in our small downtown, but every time we come in and purchase a bag full of treats for $3 each, I’m thinking is this really necessary when we have boxes full of milk bones at home.

Clothes

My wife would probably dress our cockapoo for all of the four seasons if she could, so it’s a constant battle in our house that I refuse to stand down on.  Customized collars, sweaters in the winter, Halloween costumes, I’m sure you’ve seen all kinds, but the fact is, it looks ridiculous and it’s a complete waste of money.

Pet Hotels

No one wants to put their pet in a kennel, and neither would I.  We are fortunate to have many family and friends available that would watch our dog if we were out of town, but the new advertised luxury pet boarding that feature a spa, suites, and premium meals is a little extreme.  If you’re caring for our animal while we’re away by giving bathroom breaks, playing, feeding, there’s no “luxury” other than the premium pricing you are paying.

 

We do spoil our dog, that’s a given.  Our dog is a member of our family and we want the very best for her.  Friends have said that she doesn’t get along with other dogs because we treat her like a person, so obviously there are some areas we could cut back on.  We do it because it’s fun, the simple pleasures in life, but who am I kidding, we will always spoil her, adding to the growing pet spending statistics.

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Lease Your Next Car

by Krantcents · 1 comment

After owning my current Ford Explorer for much longer than I expected, and it just being a tick under the eleven year national average age of cars currently on the road, I am definitely going to lease my next car.  By no means would I consider myself vain when it comes to cars, probably just self-conscious I know (my friend who has a similar year F-150 says my car is like a Rolls-Royce compared to his), but let’s put it this way, I would get embarrassed to pull up to the valet line now.  So basically when my wife and I drive we use her new Ford Edge.  I have been technically without a car payment for years now, but with the amount of repairs that needed to be made over the course of its many years on the road, I’m pretty sure it’s been a ten year lease…

Lower Monthly Payment

With a lease there are no depreciation concerns, so you only pay the residual value on the vehicle, which is the difference between the full price and what it is expected to be worth at the end of the lease.  Since you’re paying for a small percentage of the car’s price with a lease, compared to financing the entire price, your monthly payment would be substantially lower with similar terms.

No Down Payment

Since the reason to lease is to free up your cash flow, there is no reason to put down a down payment on a lease.  With most dealers now doing the “sign and drive” promotions now, you can roll in your security deposit/dealer fees into your monthly lease payment and pay nothing up front.

Avoid Repair Bills

Going above the normal maintenance of oil changes, shocks, a few brake changes, new tires, and entire exhaust system newly replaced, anything can go wrong, Belle Tire knows me by name now, the worst being having the entire engine rebuilt!  With most warranties and leases lasting three years, a car would be covered the duration of the lease.

I understand that leasing may not be for everyone.  Whether the need to own is for the wear and tear freedom as a business owner, or cannot stay within mileage limits, or just have the patience and goal to wait out a five year loan to not have a car payment, then financing may the way to go.  Typically the longer you own your car the more you save in buying, but there is no desire to keep a car for the better part of a decade and want a new car every two to three years with a low monthly payment, then I say lease, lease, lease.

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