Beginners Budgeting Basics

An awful lot of us are bad with money. When we’ve got it, we spend it. We accept credit cards when they are offered, and increase our limits when we can. We put things on credit because it’s easy, and even when we can afford to buy something outright, we take the finance option so that we don’t feel the loss.

If you’ve got a significant income, this can be fine. If you’ve got enough money that you can spend without worrying, you won’t get into trouble financially. But, it’s still a mistake. You won’t ever have savings, you might eventually need credit cards for bad credit because you are out of options, and you’ll struggle to make large purchases like buying a house. Then, one day you’ll realise that you’ve got nothing out aside for your retirement, and your options decrease further.

If you live paycheck to paycheck it’s even worse. Failure to take responsibility for your money can mean that you spend much more than you can afford to. Getting into debt is all too easy, and soon your debts can start to mount, making it impossible to get out. You can quickly find that by simply being bad with money, your options are vastly reduced, your debts have skyrocketed and your financial situation is dire. This won’t just affect you now. Severe damage to your credit score can mean that your future prospects are limited, and it can seem impossible to see a way out of your mess.

Fortunately, whatever your situation currently looks like, it’s never too late to make changes. The first should be learning to budget. Here are some tips to help you get started.

budget
Image Source

Take Responsibility and Change Your Mindset

Yes, it’s easy to get into debt. Banks, loan companies and credit card companies are always offering you credit. When you make a large purchase, the offer of credit is there. If you’ve already got loans, credit cards and overdrafts, the companies will always want to find ways to give you more. This is how they make money. As someone with debt, you’re an ideal customer, they can make more from you.

But, this isn’t an excuse. Just because it’s easy to get into debt, doesn’t mean that you have to. Stop thinking “it’s ok, I’ll put it on credit” and start asking yourself “can I afford it right now?” And sometimes more importantly “do I need it?”. If you want to be better at budgeting, you first need to take responsibility and change your attitudes towards money, sometimes going against everything that society is telling you.

Assess Your Situation

budget-business
Image Source

Are you guilty of avoiding bills and statements when you know it’s not good? You’re not alone. Most of us have at some point put an unopened statement straight into the bin. It’s even easier now that so many of us have gone paperless. Deleting emails or avoiding online accounts is easy.

But, it’s not going to help. Sure, short term, looking at your bills and statements might be upsetting and cause you worry and anxiety. But, long-term, it’s the only way to help yourself to make things better. You’ll also struggle to budget without really knowing what is going on in those accounts.

Free up a morning, or an afternoon. Sit down with a cup of coffee and no distractions. Print out your most recent bank statements and bills. Look at what you’ve got and what you owe. Take your time to really look into your financial situation. This is often the most crucial step in creating a budget and getting on top of any financial problems that you might have.

Organise Your Debts

bank-loan
Image Source

Few of us that are in debt only have one. You might have store cards, credit cards, loans and overdrafts. These debts aren’t all equal, and sometimes, the smaller debts are actually costing you the most money, so don’t assume that these are the best.

Now that you are aware of what you owe write a list. Write down every debt, its amount, its minimum repayment and its interest rates or fees. Look at how much each debt is costing you each month, how long it will take to repay at your current levels of repayment and how much it will cost you in total over its lifetime. By now, you should be able to see which debts are costing you the most money.

If any are interest and fee free, put them at the bottom on your list, but take note of how long that interest-free period will last, so you know when you will start to pay for them.

Find Ways to Decrease Debt

Then, it’s time to find ways to decrease these debts. Balance transfers are a great idea if you are eligible for an interest-free period and you can get the card. Debt consolidation loans are another great option, as the interest rates are much lower than credit cards and all your debts can move to one place. Just remember that even if you can only transfer a small amount of your money to an interest-free account, it’s worth doing as it will save you money.

If you are moving money like this, make a note of when that interest-free period ends. Try to pay off the debt before then, and if you can’t look at moving it again.

If these aren’t options for you, look at your accounts with the lowest interest and see if you could move debt from a higher interest account. When it comes to repayments, remember, even a little bit more than the minimum will help.

Prepare a Spreadsheet

Now you are in control of your debts. You understand your money. You need to actually build your budget. Prepare a simple spreadsheet and add everything. Add your income from wages and benefits as well as any other money that regularly comes into your account. Then, add all of your outgoings. Start with things that you have to pay each month, like rent and utilities. Then, add things that you often purchase, money towards holidays and luxuries, debt repayment, savings and luxuries. The more you include and the more accurate you can be, the more helpful your budget starts to become. Once a month sit down and look at your budget and your finances, make any changes that are necessary, don’t just assume that your budget will stay the same.

Find Ways to Save

You’ve taken control of your debts, you are making repayments, and you’ve got a budget. So now you can spot ways to save more easily. Look at those outgoings on your budget for any easy ways to save. Any contracts that you could cancel or reduce. Then, spend some time checking to see if you could make savings by switching providers.

Things like meal planning, writing shopping lists, shopping sales, preparing for holidays and events in advance and using less gas and electricity at home can also be a big help.

Set Financial Goals

Setting goals is a great way to motivate yourself. If you’ve got debts, your first goals should be about paying them off. If not, start to focus on saving money. Try to have a long-term goal, like saving for a mortgage or paying off a credit card, and then break it down into monthly or weekly targets to help you to stay on track.

Be Realistic

Setting goals that you can’t manage can be demotivating. Push yourself but make sure you’re goals and realistic and you’ll have much greater success.

Continue Reading

3 Tips for Setting up a Digital Business

technology-business
Image via Pixabay

Pretty much wherever you turn these days, you can expect to find new articles, guides, books, and Instagram profiles dedicated to the art of stepping outside the realm of conventional work and becoming a digital entrepreneur. Often, this will often be paired with advice on how to hit the road on permanent semi-vacation, as a “digital nomad“.

It’s not hard to see why this lifestyle has become a dream for so many people. Firstly, working as a digital entrepreneur gives you a historically unprecedented degree of freedom. All you need are your particular skills, a computer, and an internet connection, and you can ply your trade anywhere in the world, from anywhere else in the world.

You do not need to be in a particular place, wearing a particular outfit, between the hours of 9-5, five days a week. You also do not need to worry about managing and storing a bunch of stock, or manning a physical storefront.

Setting up a digital business can absolutely be as fulfilling as is often claimed. But, of course, getting it up and running isn’t necessarily going to be an effortless process.

For the sake of helping you to get started, though, here are a few handy tips for setting up your digital business.

Identify what you can effectively do solo and what should ideally be done by a third party

People who have made the decision to live the life of the entrepreneur, are often completely obsessed with the idea of doing absolutely everything in their professional lives solo. As in, completely solo.

It is, therefore, not rare to see people whose core skillsets lie in completely different areas, cobbling together their own somewhat sub-par business sites and marketing materials, as a way of saving money, and taking on full responsibility for their business.

While the drive behind this is admirable, it’s important to know what you can effectively do solo, and what should ideally be done by a third party. Your website is important, so if you’re not currently able to make it look as sleek as possible, probably best to hire a web designer.

As for your marketing materials, the same principle applies. Can you make them outstanding on your own? If not, seek outside assistance, or at least, look into obtaining tools like font managing software.

Come up with a very clear definition of “success” for your business, along particular metrics

For a business to ultimately be successful, it has to be “aimed” at something. You can’t just work blindly, with a vague definition in your own mind of what “success” looks like, or you’ll find you simply lack the required focus to make a real impact.

Come up with a very clear definition of “success” for your business, instead, as well as particular metrics for how progress can be assessed.

What is your “mission statement”? What are your quarterly targets and KPIs? Drill down and get specific.

Commit to regular working hours

Many entrepreneurs cause themselves a lot of trouble, because they are unwilling to impose necessary structure on themselves.

Instead, newly liberated from the conventional world of office work, they cut loose completely, and start working haphazardly, whenever, and shifting between day-and-night work depending on their mood.

This is not conducive to productivity, wellbeing, or health.

Set yourself clearly defined working hours instead, and commit to them. Structure your day as if you were your own benevolent boss.

Continue Reading

Become the master of your own trading strategy

When you are running a business, it is necessary to listen to just yourself. Other people are controlling your own business and this fact will mess with your head. The basic freedom of a business is based on the chance of listening to and following your own thoughts. This is true for all people around the world. Even if your business is nothing compared to the big companies, the rules and regulations will have to be made from your own mind. Yes, we have mentioned rules and regulations in the last sentence. That is because to maintain a business properly a person will also have to be consistent. In the case of the trading business. People can be consistent with their trading strategy. In the following article, we are going to talk about that and tell you about mastering your own trading strategy.

Learn about markets properly

To create a strategy about trading, traders will have to know about it first. The market analysis comes first for making it legit. Before opening any trader, traders will have to know about proper position sizing. That is possible with the proper market analysis first. For the traders to know about that. They will have to learn about finding key swings and price trends. You can easily be done that by finding out the support and resistance points properly. That is also possible with looking at the price charts and using some horizontal lines. Then traders will have to use the Fibonacci tool as it is the most legit one to learn about the possible future condition of the market. You will not be able to be right all the time. But there is no better way than that to go for a trade.

Consider it as your business

New traders don’t want to consider this profession as their business. But all the pro traders always consider it as their day job. They have done extensive research to know who the best Forex broker in Australia is. You can’t be the best if you don’t trade with the best. Though the charges and fees might be a little bit high in the elite class broker still you will have the safety for your investment. Take this profession as your business and you will succeed in the long run.

Know about position sizing

Now that you have learned about market analysis, it is time to work for the position sizing. There is two major factor for that. One is your desired risk to profit margin. And the other is your market analysis. As you have done the market analysis, it’s time to know about setting the right kind of targets with risk to profit margins. For those who don’t know, it is a ratio which represents the risks and reward ratio from the trades. It is something like 1:2 which means you are risking 1R and desiring the profit to be 2R. R is only the unit of calculating the risks and reward for the trading business. Now that you have learned about proper target setting. It is time to work with your position sizing properly.

Include the money management

Like the proper strategies for the trading business, people will also have to work with money. No, we are not talking about the targets like in the last segment of this article. There are more things which are related to the trading business which is based on money management. We are talking about actual money management of the trading account. Even the individual risks per trades are in this management system. When traders will be able to manage their money properly with proper understanding about their trading performance, they will be able to save a lot from their business. Your investment will be safe from using it too much like bait to draw in more profit.

Continue Reading

5 Business Solutions That Are Ideal for SMEs

The search is on—rather, it has been on for quite some time—for cost-efficient business solutions fit for small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs). These fledgling but ambitious companies now account for a good chunk of labor in the world’s emerging markets. A study conducted by the World Bank in 2017 gauged the number of micro-, small, and medium enterprises around the globe to be from 365 to 445 million.

But, in the face of quickening technological advancement and stiff competition, some of these SMEs don’t make it past their 6- to 12-month period of growing pains. There are the small business that invest too much of their limited resources on costly business solutions; on the flipside, there are those that fail because they don’t invest in any infrastructure at all.

So, where does one draw the line if they want their SME to succeed? How much upgrading must a small business owner do to preserve the efficiency of their operations, all without breaking the bank? We feel the answer lies in using certain technologies to one’s advantage and taking on a practical mindset about purchasing decisions—that means, knowing exactly how much will be spent, what range of features will be included, and how much any one solution could up one’s chances of profits.

If you’re currently part of this demographic, and you have a lot of decisions on your plate—learning new content management software, automating business processes, or relying on a trusted SAP partner — here’s a list of business solutions we feel will benefit just about any small-to-medium business. These range from affordably-priced to completely free.

    1. LibreOffice. As its name implies, LibreOffice is a free open-source office software suite. To its advantage, it has a substantial range of office suite features, such as Writer for word processing and Calc for spreadsheets, as well as a number of useful software extensions. Using LibreOffice will cut down on the hefty installation fees that come with branded software, without sacrificing the basics for your employees.

    2. SimplyBook.Me. SimplyBook.Me constitutes free software that you can use to make your business’s own booking website, or integrate with an existing site for a part to manage all your business’s incoming business appointments. This solution can keep you on top of bookings, cancellations, and reschedules of business activities, all without consuming the valuable time and energy of your in-house office staff.

    3. Trello. Initial signup for Trello, one of the most beloved and user-friendly project management tools on the web, is also free. The most notable feature on Trello is its productivity boards, which offer a creative and visual touch to project planning. Thus, with Trello, it’ll be easy for you and your employees to manage each aspect of your individual projects, and it’ll also be fun to do so.

    4. Canva. Design platform Canva is what you can use to create eye-catching and unique promo materials for your business. Good design makes a huge difference in properly advertising a business’s products and services. If your business doesn’t have as substantial a budget for graphic design services, but team members who are willing to tinker with Canva’s creative features, then you can opt to engage with this popular platform.

    5. SAP Business One. Coming from the world’s most trusted brand of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is SAP Business One. Using SAP Business One for SMEs guarantees them access to a lean, but unified centralized database system that integrates data for sales, finances, customer relationship management, inventory, warehousing, and operations all at once. SAP Business One has proved popular amongst smaller-scale retailers, distributors, and manufacturers—all with good reason.

In the end, it will be about learning to adapt the technology to the unique circumstances of your business. Though these business solutions will no doubt make things faster and easier, it will be up to you and your employees to test everything out, manage purchasing and renewal arrangements, and measure each solution’s impact on your productivity.

But rest assured that these solutions, as well as a slew of others, are available in the pipeline—and they’ll afford a big boost to the growth and the survival of your business.

Continue Reading

What Does My Business Plan Need to Include?

When people create a strategic business plan there needs to be substance behind this in order for it to be credible and a chance to be successful. Anyone can create a pie in the sky plan that is full of ideas and unrealistic targets and outcomes. If you are looking for funding to support your business plan then the credibility of it will be challenged therefore the more detail you have in order to satisfy any potential funding requests – the better.

Financial Support

One of the first things that are challenged on a business plan is how much money is initially required in order to implement the project – this could be zero but highly unlikely. If you are then looking for funds this plan needs to detail exactly how much you are looking for and what every penny is going to be used for. You then clearly need to articulate what is the desired outcome of this and what the business benefits of this would be (at least recovering the initial offset in spending). Where you then get this money from raises another question. If you have a business bank account then you could approach the bank that you have already established a working relationship with. This is probably one of the most common and successful methods to get funding as the bank will have the history on your cash flow status and some credibility around your payments. Generally they will go beyond this and look for not only the detailed project plan but may look at your credit history and footprint. Other options may be to get an extended overdraft for a period of time which your business bank could support you with.

Stakeholders

Generally a business plan involves more than just you and will include others that are key to its success. It is important that when developing the project business plan that you have the correct engagement of these people or departments before execution to ensure they are aligned and in agreement. If you don’t engage others correctly, effectively your business plan is just words that may not get to a successful outcome. Ensuring that other stakeholders also commit to the time scales that you are looking for needs also to be aligned beforehand as this actually may required additional resource or help that the departments or people do not have.

Success

Your business plan needs to demonstrate success. If people are going to invest in the plan they expect to see a good return at the end of it. It does not need to be financial but it could be cost avoidance, quality improvements etc. Whatever your individual reason for having the plan in the first place just needs to properly articulate the desired outcome in a data mindset. If you then get funding for this project plan and it does not achieve the desired results, this clearly then affects your credibility if you were to go back to investors or people for additional funds.

Continue Reading
1 2 3 6