How to Market – 5 Free Marketing Ideas For Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

Small businesses owners have a unique marketing opportunity right now! There are literally hundreds of ways to do free marketing, including free blogs and websites, article marketing, social networking and even ordering free hard copy materials. This article will go over my favorite online and offline ideas for how to increase your small business marketing budget by using free marketing sources.

Here are my 5 favorite How To Do Free Marketing ideas:

Use Survey Monkey to find out the hot topics that your customers are interested in! If you THINK you know what your customers are interested in purchasing, I bet you are wrong! The only way to find out what they really want to know about is to ask! I did a survey recently asking my clients what their most pressing marketing needs were and found out that a full seventy five percent of the small business owners and entrepreneurs who responded said that their greatest need was to know how to utilize free websites to grow their businesses. That allowed me to structure a campaign based on using that keyword in conjunction with free marketing (a runner-up) to produce content I know my clients will like!

Bringing us to to number two on my list of free marketing ideas – free websites! I use Weebly to make my free websites as they have a great little blog feature built right in. Now I use Weebly and other free sites like Squidoo to drive traffic TO my main site BUT if you have no website or blog at all this is a great place to start! Make sure you have great content and that you update your free sites or blogs regularly so that it doesn’t get stale.

Once you have an idea what to sell and a place to put it online, the next thing I do to enhance my free marketing efforts is to send out email newsletters. Now technically this is free since you could use your normal email client like AOL, gmail or outlook BUT I don’t recommend it! What I do recommend is using a service like Aweber or Constant Contact to manage your email newsletters. I KNOW – not free but at $20 per month, pretty darn close.

Now that you know what to sell, have a site or blog to sell it on and have a way to communicate to your clients, you can start social networking. Social Networking is free with Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter being the big three that I focus on when doing my social networking. They make it VERY easy to communicate with past and potential clients in order to increase your online marketing reach. Facebook is great for B2C and B2B marketing, LinkedIn is good for B2B and employment networking and Twitter is just good overall for generating a large following of people who are interested in what you have to say.

My last free marketing tip is to write articles like this one! Writing articles allows you to become an expert in your field and also allows you generate incoming links to your website through the use of your resource box. If you are just starting out in article marketing, I HIGHLY recommend EzineArticles as they have tons of tutorials and provide great support to their authors.

There you have it – my top five favorite free marketing ideas. Now all you small business owners get out there and implement today. Find out what your customers need and start using some of these free marketing tips to get it to them!

Stop, Collaborate and Engage – Small Business Communication and Social Media Tools For Entrepreneurs

From smoke signals and carrier pigeons to smartphones and their ubiquitous apps, the way people interact across distances has drastically evolved. With each passing year, innovation appoints a new form of communication as revolutionary while decrying another form as passé.

During the past six months, you’ve probably learned what a “tweet” is and what it means to “friend” someone. Though both are interesting new forms of interaction, their applications to small business communication are less clear.

Twitter and Facebook are, at their most basic levels, additional channels aiding in small business communication. Like print or broadcast advertising, these social media initiatives allow a company to directly communicate with consumers. Though unlike advertising, these services allow for two-way communication where your audience – which includes customers, prospects, advocates, government entities and the general public – can respond. It is this engagement where many companies fall flat.

Kicking Off Your Social Media Initiatives

Simply setting up a Twitter handle and Facebook page does not plug you into the social media ether. Managing these accounts and consistently updating them is vital, so much so that many large companies are hiring full-time employees to man their social media initiatives. For entrepreneurs with limited time, there are many applications that can help you manage content for both services in one place, like Digsby (which has instant messaging integration as well), Brizzly or TweetDeck.

For entrepreneurs new to Twitter or other social media initiatives, the best approach is to do a few searches on words that are relevant to your business and try to find a handful of experts in your field to follow. Then, spend your first few days just “listening” to the conversation from these experts, resisting the urge to start singing the praises of your product or broadcasting your message. Once you get a feel for the kinds of things people talk about and how they do it on Twitter, start with the 2, 2, 2 rule. Post 2 original things, re-tweet two posts you find interesting or useful, and reply to two people about something they tweeted. This is a good way to be a valuable participant and to increase your “followers” number as people find the things you have to say to be useful.

For most entrepreneurs, a significant investment of time and resources strictly for social media initiatives is not feasible. Depending on a company’s level of commitment to increasing its small business communication efforts, social media may not be the right channel, right now. But, for those companies that can invest resources to examine the social media landscape, determine if it is right for their business and actively engage in dialogue, Twitter and Facebook can be powerful tools to grow their small business communication strategy.

Though Twitter and Facebook are good starting points, if these social media darlings are where your social media knowledge ends, you need to know about the many other small business communication technologies that allow entrepreneurs to interact with customers and engage prospects.

Oldies but goodies…

The social media landscape has significantly changed the face of small business communication, but it does not mean previous technologies have been rendered useless. “Old” technologies, such as e-mail newsletters, instant messaging and message boards are still active and can still increase productivity (and sales!). Many entrepreneurs already have a strong understanding of these technologies and have probably used them in the past. Consider dusting off that old e-mail newsletter you belong to – you know, the one you haven’t read in 2 years – or do a quick search of what message boards are out there. You may be reminded of and surprised at how useful these seemingly out-of-date services can be.

Some you’ve probably heard of, but may not know the full power of…

LinkedIn

LinkedIn has become the platform for business-focused social networking. By setting up a LinkedIn profile, users are able to post their work history and professional profiles for others to see. This tool presents opportunities for generating new business, reconnecting with old colleagues, and finding a job.

While many business users may have a LinkedIn profile, they may overlook the other small business communication tools LinkedIn provides. For example, LinkedIn Groups are a simple way to create an online forum where customers, prospects and industry insiders can exchange ideas. Similar to an e-mail newsletter, the Group allows invited LinkedIn users to interact with one another and for a company to communicate key messages. With some simple work on the front-end to get the group moving, an entrepreneur can then take a back-seat to let the patients run the asylum – while still maintaining his or her position as the group leader.

Wiki

A wiki (rhymes with tricky) is a website that allows users to edit the content that is posted on the page; the trick to wikis is ensuring the edits are accurate. Wikipedia, for example, is an editable online encyclopedia in which users can edit the content. The reason the information remains accurate is Wikipedia has designated individuals to monitor updates.

From a business perspective, a wiki is a great small business communication tool for companies with geographically distributed offices or teams. Users can post a document or other materials on an internal wiki and allow a group to review and edit the material in one place. Beyond the team collaboration, the wiki also helps with “version control,” a problem that occurs when some users do not have the most up-to-date version of a document. Microsoft’s SharePoint offers companies the ability to make internal wikis, as well as discussion boards.

Some small business communication tools you may not have heard of…

Yammer

Yammer is an enterprise microblogging service – think of it as Twitter for internal business communication. The service allows businesses to create their own internal communication channel and limit use to those who have a valid company e-mail address.

Yammer allows users to post questions, share news, ideas and documents, and post status updates to the entire group. This service allows short messages to be sent and for users to filter the messages they receive so they aren’t bombarded with information that is not relevant to them. Much like a wiki, Yammer allows distributed companies to communicate in a private community, only in shorter bursts.

Ning

Ning lets users create social networks around topics about which they are passionate. Do you love cheese? If so, you can create a cheese lovers community. Do you fear bunnies? Then you can connect with others who share your phobia. With Ning, you create the network that matches your life.

Why should an entrepreneur care about all these different social media initiatives? If your company produces gourmet cheese, that cheese lovers group is a new business goldmine. Are you a psychiatrist just out of med school looking to build a client base? The bunny-phobic network is a breeding ground for potential patients. Whether setting up a targeted social network or joining one already in existence, Ning can connect your business with others that share your unique passions.

What’s more, Ning has one of the more quantifiable ROI models of all social media. Ning’s premium service allows the administrator to run ads on its network (this service does require a fee, though). Not only could you run your own ads, you could potentially run ads from other members of your community, creating a quantifiable revenue stream from your network.

When it comes to social media initiatives, there is no magic bullet to grow your business. But there is a unique combination that is right for every entrepreneur. By balancing time and resources, and examining the social media habits of its customers and prospects, a business can develop a small business communication strategy that will accelerate growth.

Sucessful Small Business Ideas – Get Help To Make It Happen

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, and assist small business. The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses. Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States.

A wonderful volunteer organization that works as a resource partner with the SBA is SCORE. SCORE considers itself as the “counselors to America’s small business”, offering confidential advice to help owners make a potential successful small business idea into a reality.

WHAT IS SCORE?

It was founded in 1964 and since then as helped more than 7.5 million small businesses. They offer face to face small business counseling at 389 chapter offices nationwide. They ensure that their volunteers (who are usually successful business owners who have retired) have a broad range of skills to help solve all types of business problems they offer small business online solutions

HOW CAN SCORE HELP YOU?

The following are a couple of examples of businesses that SCORE considers as “small business success” stories.

Little Scoops – Recently listed in Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the “Hot New Franchises for 2005” Little Scoops started only 5 years ago. One of the founders Michelle claims that “without the help of the volunteer counselors at SCORE, her success never would have happened.

Prior to opening her first store, the counselors insisted she and her partner think long term, and helped them develop a plan to set up finances and how to evaluate potential locations. Just recently, the SCORE counselors have helped them begin the process of franchising their 9 locations into a national concept.

Ahi Sushi – Jimmy Hu had dreamed of opening his own Japanese restaurant and sushi bar for a long time. Prior to signing an agreement to purchase an existing restaurant business he contacted SCORE. His volunteer advisers recommended he not purchase the restaurant business, especially since he intended on changing the whole concept anyway.

Not buying another business, limited his startup costs and allowed him to patiently and thoroughly evaluate the best location. They taught him to visit potential sites during the different times of the day and night to observe customer traffic in the area. They also explained to Jimmy the value in visiting potential nearby competitors to evaluate their menus, ambiance, pricing and marketing strategy. Finally, they recommended techniques and technology for effectively managing cash flow and inventory, tracking labor costs, and planning for expenses like advertising. Now, three years later, Jimmy is doing double the business he expected when he first thought of buying an existing restaurant.

HOW CAN I INSURE MY SMALL BUSINESS IDEA WILL BE BRING ME SUCCESS

The following are some suggestions by SCORE methods.

1. ATTITUDE – Having a positive, optimistic outlook is the foundation for success. Be willing to learn, ask questions, do research and brainstorm, all with a positive frame of mind. And always reflect on mistakes, and learn to do better.

2. CUSTOMER FOCUS – Put you in the place of a customer and considers what aspects of the product or service you like and dislike and what elements might add value.

3. FEEDBACK – Try to get expert or objective advice from a person who will ask the right questions, and not feel guilty about offering criticism. (This is one of the big benefits of score, or for more convenience you can use online business plan software that gives you evaluative feedback)

4. RESEARCH – Learn everything you can about the areas or types of businesses that you are interested in. Being immersed in the field is a huge advantage. This is why most lending institutions you go to when applying for a small business loan, would feel much more comfortable if you had a couple of years of experience in the field of business you are entering.

5. STRUCTURED BUSINESS PLAN – Incorporate your idea and the sales and marketing plan  you have in your head, into a formal business plan. A good quality plan will help you asses the opportunities and limitations of your business ideas.

Remember that translating your idea into a successful business entails a process that takes time, labor and attention to detail. But with by following a system s and checking for advice from others, you have the right tools in hand for success.

Turning an Idea Into a Success – Small Business Ideas

For example, did you know that small businesses account for more than 99.7% of all employers? That’s a lot of people working for small business owners, and you could be one of those employers.

Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s fast food franchise, died a billionaire because of his idea for making fresh food fast. He dropped out of high school when he was 15. This proves that you don’t have to have a college degree or a high level of education in business to be successful. You’ve just got to have the right idea, at the right time, and the right resources. George Eastman (Kodak), Frank Lloyd Wright, Kemmons Wilson (Holiday Inn hotel founder), and Ray Kroc (McDonald’s founder) never finished a high school education, either. That’s a lot of well-known billionaires who never got a formal education or a high school diploma.

What does that mean for your business? That means that if you have a high school diploma, you’re even closer to success. If you have college education, you can probably bet that you’ll be successful much faster than these people were. You can go further and do more because you ARE educated. Steve Wozniak, a co-founder of Apple, Inc., didn’t complete college. Neither did Walt Disney, Bill Gates and Paul Allen (Microsoft founders), Steve Jobs (the other Apple co-founder), or half of the entrepreneurs that are running online businesses today.

These people all started their small businesses with two things: an idea and the motivation to see that idea through to the end.They used their resources and what they learned along the way to become successful, achieving millionaire or billionaire status and turning their ‘small business’ into a globally known company. Becoming a business owner allows you to control your destiny. If you want to be a successful business, you can surely accomplish that with the drive and motivation.

Small Business Ideas – Find the Best Business to Start Without BIG Bank Loans

Profitable small business ideas are the cornerstone for start up business success!  Are you searching for the best business to start without BIG bank loans? Perhaps you have less than perfect credit, and a bank loan is just not a financing option for you.  To find the right business opportunity to start without incurring major debt requires that you consider small business ideas that are profitable — and can be started on a shoestring. So, which business ideas should you consider?

Let’s take a look at the What, Where and How for finding the best small business to start.

The What…

If you have very limited resources, you should consider a service orientated business. Service businesses can be started up quickly and easily – and usually don’t require bank loan financing. Here are a few sources to help get you started in your research.

  1. “The Internet Idea Book: 101 Internet Business Ideas for the Everyday Ordinary Person”, by Michelle McGarry
  2. “101 Small Business Ideas for Under $5,000”, by Corey Sandler and Janice Keefe

Check out these books for free at your local public library, or do an online search for free information on the best business to start.

The Where…

Consider a home based business start up. Operating a home based business immediately cuts down about 32% of your small business start up costs.

The How…

Find free sources of start up money! Save on your initial start up costs and ongoing operating expenses by searching out free sources of business start up funding. Many budding entrepreneurs don’t realize that these valuable, free resources exist. Don’t borrow, bootstrap!

Let’s Recap…

So, the first step to finding the best business to start without BIG bank loans is to research small business ideas that you can start up on a shoestring. The second step is to consider a home based business start up. The third step is to find free sources of business start up funding.

That’s a Wrap!

Now you have all the information and advice you need to find profitable, shoestring small business ideas for your home based business start up. Share your shoestring start up success story with me. Post your best start up success story right here.

Permission is granted to reprint this article on the condition that it may only be reprinted in its entirety with all live links and author bio in tact.

Small Business Ideas for Building Entrepreneurs

Recognizing profitable small business ideas is the first step towards your success as an entrepreneur. Starting your own business is really just a matter of capturing fleeting ideas and turning them into reality. Once you have capitalized on a profitable business niche, you can easily increase your client base and reap the rewards of all your success.

What makes a great business idea? Here are some answers to this perplexing question.

Passion for success

The key ingredient to a profitable business idea lies in your personal interests and hobbies. A niche that interests you best will drive you towards creative, resourceful, and promising business goals.

If you are interested in making children smile, a small toy store might do the trick. If you love capturing pictures of life’s special moments, a digital studio might be best for you. Capitalize on your hobbies and interests and use them to create your very own business plans.

Innovate to captivate minds

The best way to capture the attention of your target audience is to offer them something new. Browse through the old products and services and try to make them your own. For example, instead of selling regular storage devices like USBs and CDs, why not offer unique and personalized gadgets that your clients will love? Adding some spice to an old product or service is exactly what you need to stand out amongst thousands of your competitors.

You may not have the capital or the energy needed to turn your modest business idea into major products or multi-million organizations. However, you can always start by spinning new products and making them known in craft or trade shows first.

Marketing is key

Great small business ideas involve products or services that you can easily introduce to your target audience. Whether you want to sell unique handcrafted accessories or cheap furniture from high-quality materials, you can succeed in your business by using effective marketing skills and strategies.

Sure, handing out leaflets might seem like a great marketing strategy. However, this is not as cost-efficient as other advertising strategies that you can try. Instead of wasting your money on printing costs, utilize the Internet’s power to make your products or services known across the worldwide web.

Before starting your own business, create your own website and post pictures of your products or services. Write articles about them and what makes them special and unique. Use these articles to popularize your business by increasing your visibility on the Internet.

Write for different article directories and blogs and include a link to your own website at the bottom of your write-ups. You can easily encourage interested buyers and investors to click on your website’s link by simply making sure that your articles are readable, well-written, and reliable.

These are only some of the best ways to start your first years as a budding entrepreneur. By striving to turn your small business ideas into reality, you can effortlessly guarantee your success in no time.

Top Small Business Ideas For Any Smart Entrepreneur

When one thinks of investing in a small business, it is all about the resources and how these resources will suffice to provide sufficient support to offset all the requirements and allow functionality in the startup. This means we all have to have some management skills to get things done in entrepreneurship.

However small an incentive maybe, how we manage it and our commitment to the success of this business determines its overall health, a reason why, we all seek to engage in the top small business ideas experts advice on.

These business ideas offer a comprehensive startup guidelines helping us easily make it through the initial processes of start up. The best ideas for small business have been ‘work at home incentives. The reason why these work-at-home incentives have been given credence as the top practices is due to their low cost startup requirement. Top small business ideas should not be confused as top notch creative business processes. These are small incentives for generating income.

Types of these incentives include;

Baby sitting programs; These are simple incentives which require you to invest just some dollars in good equipment like decent playing kits, clean mattresses, seats and play equipment as well as maintaining one of you large rooms in pinks. Plus a diet for these kids also.

Green grocer incentives work quite well if you make use of your garden. All you need is to till this piece of land and make it fertile enough to produce a consistent season of fresh spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a variety of veggies which your neighborhood cannot do without. This makes you a household name and you earn revenue from your garden.

Other top small business ideas include flower shops, mail delivery services and a bills errand bureau.

If you need money now, like I mean in the next hour, try what I did. I am making more money now than in my old business and you can too, read the amazing, true story, in the link below. When I joined I was skeptical for just ten seconds before I realized what this was. I was smiling from ear to ear and you will too.

Imagine doubling your money every week with no or little risk! To discover a verified list of Million Dollar Corporations offering you their products at 75% commission to you. Click the link below to learn HOW you will begin compounding your capital towards your first Million Dollars at the easy corporate money program.

Small Home Biz – Top 10 Home Based Business Ideas and Opportunities For a Beginner

Kudos to the small home biz segment that brings into a significant number of the educated, senior and entrepreneur work force from the masses. This section comprises of the people who cannot resist the temptation of working in niche areas and utilizing their creative skills without the corporate intervention and hypes. The small home business sector provides them the essential opportunity they are searching for. No fancy skills like web designing, computer programming and scripting are required for these top 10 home based businesses. It is a small leap from a full-time office job to a full-time “working from home” which eventually gives way to flexible hours when there is a steady source of income.

My choice of “Top 10 home based businesses” that will give you an edge and expedite earnings to break even quickly with your investments are the ones that produce results and have ways to measure your incremental success in steps, however small. A birds eye view of the systems that will make you a self employed home biz owner –

 

  • Plug-In Profit Site (PIPS)
  • Niche Profit Classroom (NPC)
  • Ewen Chia’s Super Affiliate Inner Circle Club
  • Internet Marketing Centre (IMC)
  • Strong Future International (SFI)
  • Empowerism
  • Global Domain International (GDI)
  • The International Association of Home Business Entrepreneurs (IAHBE)
  • Warrior Pro
  • The Reverse Funnel System

 

Plug-In Profit Site commonly known as the PIPS program comes with a complete money making system that runs on auto-pilot. The package has everything – a professional website, reputed 5 affiliate programs, pre-written sales letter and automated emails by an autoresponder. It is all about earning a residual income from the internet. The advantage of the program is that it gives a kick-start to a newbie who is readily equipped with a useful internet product. A small disadvantage of the system is the initial cost of the membership programs and a 30 days training series that may end up in a total spending spree for an inexperienced marketer.

Niche Profit Classroom is a membership program that I have found very helpful from my personal experience. NPC provides one-to-one support, premier web hosting for 15 domains and ready made high quality niche websites that are very easy to customize and deploy. The video tutorials are very educational and are made keeping the view of a novice who is new to the internet with no expertise in computer skills. Every month, you get instant access to two ready made businesses and a step by step approach to implement the blueprint. The membership fee is slightly on the higher side for newbies who have just come in but worth investing.

Ewen Chia’s Super Affiliates Inner Circle Club is a monthly membership program in which the super affiliate shares the secrets, strategies and resources on how to make a fortune from affiliate marketing and various other online techniques. The membership provides 5 modules out of which three of them provide new content every month. One of the modules contains products that you have PLR (Private Label and Resale Rights) that alone is worth your investment in the program.

Internet Marketing Centre has 12 modules and each module contains a number of lessons, resources along with bonus materials that are broken down into small steps so that you can follow the time-tested, proven business building techniques in order to make profits. There is an action plan for you to follow once you read the lesson. You should join only if you are serious and ready for investing a significant amount of the one time yearly fee. With the latest upgrade, it comes in different options of quarterly payment as well.

SFI for more than ten years is successfully showing masses how to build a highly profitable internet business from the comfort of the homes. By promoting TripleClicks, an online store, the affiliates can earn commissions by simply referring the people to store. To grow in SFI, you need strong referral and sponsoring skills that can be easily built up with the online SFI training.

Empowerism is a great web based home business that provides state-of the art website, powerful SEO tools to help drive free traffic to your site, comprehensive training with full access to resources and free “Excellence” magazine that is filled with latest online success tips and strategies. The only thing which may deter one’s online business is that one needs to be good in referring and building network.

IAHBE is an organization that champions the home-business opportunities and provides access to an unparalleled, one-of-a-kind business building arsenal of your own. You will have at your disposal, dozens of exclusive reports, interviews with the internet’s most successful entrepreneurs, and much more!

GDI Fight the recession with the most powerful home business, an easy program to build an income from home. GDI offers a great product – domain, web hosting and it is 100% free to sign up for. This eliminates a lot of objections that prospects have when they are looking at online business opportunities. There is absolutely no risk involved.

WarriorPro comes with a subscription to Host4profit, membership to the world famous Warrior Forum and a complete Ad tracking system. It pays you for each person that signs up for a Host4Profit hosting account either through your PIPS site or individually and is a great way of earning residual income.

The Reverse Funnel System is an extremely profitable business built in the PIPS website where you get 100% commissions. It is not a scam but requires a significant money amounting to $2K to $5K for the membership schemes that are quite expensive. Hence it isn’t for all and does not provide a launching pad for people who are not prepared to invest.

Today there are thousands making it big with their home based business. Success is certain for tenacious people who are there for the long haul. Just take up some or all of the above and give your best shot.

How Crowdfunding Can Help Pay Medical Bills

Crowdfunding can help pay for medical bills… it really is that simple. You can crowdfund for just about anything, including medical bills. Many times people are placed in a medical crisis and aren’t sure where to turn. Medical bills can accumulate in no time and medical bankruptcy is a real thing. You’d be amazed by how many people in “your own crowd” are willing to help.

In a study published in January 2014 from the Center For Disease Control (CDC), one in four families experienced financial burdens of medical care.

This “financial burden” of medical care equates to medical bills that they can’t currently pay and are forced to pay monthly over time.

This study goes on to share that families with lower incomes were more likely to experience the financial burdens of medical care. Those families with incomes at or below 250% of the federal poverty level had the highest levels of any financial burden of medical care.

250% of the federal poverty level (based on guidelines for 2013) means that a family of four with an annual income of $58,875 or lower were at the highest level of the population feeling the financial burden of medical care for a loved one. That’s our middle class America. Those are the families living paycheck to paycheck and not prepared for a medical crisis.

The is a baby with his eyes closed and an oxygen canula in his nose. He was born with a bad heart, a weak immune system, and problems eating which caused a condition labeled by doctors as “failure to thrive”. Isaac spent the first year of his life in and out of hospitals in Las Vegas and at Stanford where he underwent multiple heart catheterizations and procedures, open heart surgeries, and had a feeding tube placed surgically to ensure he received the proper amount of nutrients. Isaac’s family had great insurance, covering 80% of all medical costs. But, they still spent over $100,000 out-of-pocket the first year of his life in deductibles and medical related expenses.

Shocking… right?

I know… My name is Kathy, and I’m Isaac’s mom.

I remember people asking us if they could have fundraisers for us, give us money… they would offer to do anything just to help. At that time, I could not have imagined the costs that we would incur, nor could I imagine all the things that insurance doesn’t cover. You assume that you pay for insurance, you’ll have a deductible… The End.

If that were only so.

Words of Advice:

Start a Crowdfunding Campaign Immediately

Don’t be too humble to let other people offer to help you. You really can’t imagine the costs of things in the medical world and how they add up. It is TOO hard to think about money when you’re talking about the healthcare of someone you love. You want anything and everything done… you’ll worry about the bills later.

From a Mom that’s Been There

Don’t expect the people in the middle of a medical crisis to be thinking clearly (well, I sure wasn’t). If you’re related to the family or just a loving friend… talk to them about the medical bills and the reality of the situation. Talk with them about what they need now and what their needs may be in the future and help them come up with a budget and plan to get everything their loved one needs. From bills, equipment, therapy sessions… even therapy dogs, all these things can be a necessity now or in the future.

How exactly will crowdfunding help pay my medical bills?

Well, they can’t send a check to the hospital for you, but they can offer you a platform that will help you tell your story as well as share it with your friends and family. The right crowdfunding platform will provide support for you all along the way, from guidance writing your story, picking pictures to post, sharing on the social media channels, and even help writing press releases to get national exposure.

Crowdfunding can help you pay for your medical bills by allowing YOU to take care of your family and letting your “crowd” help YOU. Donations will be made by people you have inspired and want to help you. These people will have a platform to donate to you on their schedule and an amount that is within their means. They will be assured that the funds are going directly to YOU and not an anonymous organization.

You are not alone in your medical crisis. Crowdfunding is a viable source for helping to pay for medical bills and other medical related necessities.

The Process of Car Repossession – Understand It So It Doesn’t Happen to You

In a perfect world, things would always go as they should.

Sometimes that’s just not the case.

If you’ve found yourself in a bind or on the verge of falling behind on your payments. The best thing to do is contact your credit card, mortgage or auto loan companies and explain your situation.

Take action

If you have a car loan, you understand the importance of paying your loan on time. If you cannot make your payments on the exact due date.

You are granted a 30-day grace period to make a payment without having this late reported to the credit bureaus.

If you don’t think you’ll be able to make a payment before the 30-day grace period ends or foresee yourself being in a bind that will last longer than 30 days, there is something you should know.

Ignoring calls from your creditor is the wrong route to go.

*While you may feel embarrassed or reluctant to contact your creditor, you are not alone. Thousands of people fall behind on their payments due to financial hardships. The person on the other end of the phone is trained to handle these types of calls and will be more than willing to help you the best way they can.

What should you do?

Most car loans have a stipulation that allows you to defer your payments for a short amount of time while you get your finances situated. Other options besides deferment might be offered such as lower payments until you can make the full payment.

Your options will depend on your specific car loan and terms agreed upon at the time of sale.

If you are currently in good standing:

Call your creditor and explain that you’ve had some setbacks and ask about your options to defer your loan payment until you can make payments. This will usually give you about 2 months to catch up.

If you are currently not in good standing(late beyond 30 days):

Call your creditor back and explain that you’ve had some setbacks and would like to make a plan to catch up on your payments or defer a future payment. Ask about your options to defer your loan payment until you can make a payment. You will usually be asked to make your account at least current up to 30 days before a deferral can be granted.

How will this help you?

Car repossession doesn’t end well for anyone. Not you and certainly not your creditor. Once a car is repossessed, it is usually sold at an auction for a fraction of the cost. This is a lose-lose situation for everyone.

While your loan is in deferment you will not be reported late to the credit bureau as you have made an agreement with the company to pay at a later date.

The downside to this, of course, is that your loan agreement will be extended and you will end up paying more interest in the long run. This is, however, a better alternative to having your vehicle taken.

When can your car be repossessed?

It all depends on the specific car loan you have in place. You are usually considered in default of your loan agreement as soon as you miss a payment.

With that being said, you are granted a 30-day grace period. Some states allow cars to be repossessed after one missed payment. The longer you take to make your payment is one step closer to having your car taken and a serious ding on your credit report.

A repossession will remain on your credit for up to 7 years and hurt your chances of obtaining other car loans in the near future. Even after a repossession, you may still owe the difference between what you owed your lender and what your car was sold for. This is called a deficiency balance. A deficiency balance is usually the norm especially if you purchased a newer vehicle.

Please note that these options are for those experiencing temporary hardships. It is not recommended for long-term foreseeable situations.

All You Need to Know About 2 Wheeler Loan Finance

With growing demand in semi urban and rural areas, 2 wheeler industry is a high growth sector. The industry is estimated to be Rs.6, 000-Rs.7, 000 crore in size. This means there is abundant opportunity for 2 wheeler finance companies. There was limited awareness about financing for a 2 wheeler in the olden days but with the increasing penetration of financial institutions across the country, it has become possible to obtain 2 wheeler finance quickly and conveniently.

Getting 2 wheeler loan finance has become easy. The eligibility criteria, documentation requirement and the process has been mentioned below:

Eligibility:

Individuals above the age of 18.
Salaried individuals who have been employed for more than a year.
Business owners who are running a business for over a year.

Documentation:

Identity Proof
Address Proof
Income Proof
Valid KYC documents
Passport size photographs

Procedure:

In order to apply for 2 wheeler loan finance, the applicant needs to scout the market for various Banks and financial institutions offering the loan. Based on the terms and conditions of the respective financial institutions, the applicant should choose the one that suits his requirements. The application process is quick and transparent. The applicant needs to meet the eligibility criteria in order to apply for the loan. Further, the applicant needs to submit the application form and provide the required documents to the financial institution. The customer executives are friendly and will guide through the entire process of application. The application will be processed within 48 to 72 hours and the loan will be approved in no time.

It is advisable to seek a loan from a trustworthy financial institution. They offer flexible tenure and easy repayment options. With a low rate of interest and a flexible repayment tenure, purchasing a 2 wheeler has become quick and easy. Individuals with a positive credit history can get the loan approved quicker and are also eligible for the special schemes. Once the loan amount has been disbursed, it is not possible to change the tenure and amount, hence it is important to give the loan application a good thought and settle for a repayment tenure which is possible based on the monthly income of the applicant. Financial institutions offer customized solutions to the applicants based on their requirements. Depending on the type of 2 wheeler to be purchased, the loan amount will be sanctioned.

The applicant will only be required to pay a small amount as down payment and the balance can be converted into a 2 wheeler loan which is to be repaid in easy monthly installments. Upto 95% of the on road price of the vehicle is available as a loan to the applicant and the repayment tenure ranges between 12 months to 48 months. With the increasing demand of 2 wheelers across the country, Banks and financial institutions are offering loans which meet the requirements of the consumers and they also settle the terms accordingly.

Some of the Biggest Mistakes When Looking For a Motorcycle Loan

The Essentials in deciding On Motorcycle Loan.

Sometimes the necessity or excitement of owning a motorcycle cast a bad spell on our buying decisions, especially when the purchase form is a loan. So, before making that impulsive mistake only to regret later consider these essential factors when deciding to apply for a motorcycle loan.

  1. Interest Rates:

The moment you think of a loan, the interest rate coupled with it should ring a bell. Most often attract interest rates over shadow the risk factors involved. Always begin with good amount of research and comparison of interest rates. You do not want the burden of high interest rates steal the joy of riding your new bike!

  1. Smart negotiation:

When you are about to make a purchase decision, do not merely focus on the form of payment and negotiate on how you intend to go about it. A smart negotiation effort would include, negotiating on the payment. Payment always precedes the payment method!

  1. Loan Inclusions:

Discuss with the lender all the accessories that the loan is inclusive off. You do not want to pay additional bills besides paying off your loan. The wiser discussion and decision would be to know about the inclusions and the exclusions of the loan you have applied for.

  1. Loan security:

Always consider what is at stake should you face difficulty in paying off your loan. Some lenders hold the purchased motorcycle as the security, failing to pay will mean ceasing your bike. Some other lenders may consider other collaterals as security. Unsecured loan plans are other alternatives but comes with a high cost of increased interest rates. So, your loan security should be well thought through deliberate decisions considering all the risks involved. You do not want to risk something in vain!

  1. Loan penalties:

Pause before you sign your loan agreement. Although knowing the details of the penalties tailed to your loan amount can be cumbersome and you want to skip through it, it may not be the best of your decision. At best, avoid signing loan agreements that come with stringent penalties. A decision in time, saves you from a future disaster!

  1. Easy loan termination:

Most lenders allow early clearance of your loan and some do not. It is best for you to verify the termination policies before you sign that loan agreement. You do not want to pay with interest rates, while you own the money to clear a credit.

Owning a motorcycle is useful as well as exciting, but what is more important is sustaining both while using it. Using the right loan tailored to your needs is worth every effort.

Hidden Advantages of Outsourcing Services for the Car Loan Industry

Let us face the reality that today, we live in a ‘do-it-yourself’ way of life. As they should, people want to show off their auto repairs, home improvement projects, and many other tasks that majority of us would more often not seek professionals to perform the task, as they just prefer to do it by themselves.

It is absolutely a great value in a number of ways. You can gain expertise from your experience. Sometimes, it does not necessarily mean that it is a better way to go from doing something by yourself because oftentimes, it pays more to hand over and look someone for help.

Many of the car loan businesses are beginning to worry about not only getting in the game but also in maximizing their returns with all sizes racing to compete in the lending market. To outsource car loan business services, many industry experts understand that it is often considered more cost-effective.The most obvious reason for doing this is because industries don’t have to hire new staffs or underwriters solely for car loan operations and services. You have to keep in mind that those industries are also avoiding the other expenses related to assisting the infrastructure associated with an internal underwriting team.

But the advantages don’t stop there because there are a number of hidden advantages that many businesses fail to consider when entertaining ideas of outsourcing their car loan business processing that includes staffing and funding. Here are some of the hidden advantages of outsourcing for car loan business:

Increase the Number of Loans that Leads to More Net Profit

Just consider it as any consumer business committing to sales. As this dealer management is all about being able to see, looking for your niche and catering your offers to the biggest needs of your dealers. Better and stronger relationship with dealers and having more dealerships in the network in order to drive portfolio growth is one of the end goals of outsourcing some services when you are in the car loan business.

Improved Relationships with Customers

Your staff will be able to intensify its focus on strengthening relationships with your customers- making visits, gathering feedback and better addressing their needs that will drive growth for your car loan business portfolio.

A Guideline that Allows the Outsourcing Provider to Serve as an Extension of Your Car Finance Team

Your outsourced car loan provider should be able to efficiently, quickly, and easily customize its financing scorecard to fit your representation. By doing this, it guarantees that making a decision for car loan financing is consistent and fits your appetite and business plan.

Access to Consultation and Expertise

It allows your business to avoid common pitfalls that businesses fall victim to when trying to get in-house functions off the ground when outsourcing your car loan business processing. Through outsourcing, those businesses must hire the expertise that is readily available.

After-Hours Process

By waiting until the next business day to respond to proposals, don’t miss out on those deals especially over the weekend when many consumers have time to hunt for motorcycles, cars, and trucks.

It will absolutely offer a significant benefit over businesses with in-house operations that are confined to traditional business hours when you have an access to after-hours processing service.

Are you ready to revolutionize the way you do business? Grow your business by outsourcing.

Systematic and Unsystematic Risks: How to Mitigate Them

There are always risks in the business world. Understanding these risks enables us to seek the most effective approaches to mitigate them. What are these risks and how can they be categorized?

There are two major components of risk: systematic and unsystematic. Let’s explore each risk and learn the best way to mitigate it.

Systematic Risk
Systematic risk, also known as “market risk” or “un-diversifiable risk”, is a result of external and uncontrollable variables, which are not industry or security specific. Generally unavoidable, it affects the entire market leading to the fluctuation in prices of all the securities. The risk can be attributed to a number of broad economic factors such as inflation, changes in interest rates, fluctuations in currencies, recessions, etc.

Since systematic risks cannot be controlled, investors can avoid them by staying away from all risky investments.

Financial Planning- Mitigating Systematic Risk
Systematic risks can be mitigated with certain courses of action. How can they be mitigated?

Asset allocation can partially mitigate systematic risks. Owning different asset categories (i.e. bonds, cash, commodities, etc.) with low or zero correlation helps because they reach differently to macroeconomic factors; some asset categories may increase and others may fall.

Asset allocation should also be adjusted according to valuations. Investments that are overpriced should be avoided or owned less. When mitigating systematic risks within a diversified portfolio, cash may be the most important and under-appreciated asset category.

Another way to reduce systematic risk is through hedging. Investors can use options such as purchasing protective puts on their securities. A protective put is risk-management strategy that investors use to guard against the loss of unrealized gains. Put value will rise if securities value drops. However, options are for a certain time and once they expire, investors need to buy new ones to stay hedged.

Unsystematic Risk
In contrast, unsystematic risk refers to risk factors that are specific to a company, industry and sector, and can be controlled to a certain degree. These factors include a company’s management, financial practices, financial health, and its competitive position in the market.

Financial Planning- Mitigating Unsystematic Risk
Unsystematic risk can be reduced by diversifying. To achieve this, the investor can diversify its product portfolio so the revenues are not solely dependent from a few products only. Much risk is reduced when an investor’s risk is spread among different industries (such as banking or healthcare) and asset classes. For example, if an investor owns a diversified portfolio of more than 10 individual investments as opposed to only one, the damage done to their portfolio is minimized when something negative happens to some of the companies.

Again, unsystematic risk can be nearly eliminated by diversification as it is not correlated to market risk.

Both systematic and unsystematic risks are part and parcel of businesses. Through risk management solutions as mentioned above, these risks can be partially mitigated, and investors will be able to see an increase in portfolio returns and optimization in investment portfolio.

Seven Cures for a Lean Purse

1. Make your purse – or wallet – get fatter.

That doesn’t mean filling it with receipts for all the items you’ve bought with your credit card. It means, fill your purse with money. And the best way to do that is to spend less than you earn. This cure follows from the first law of gold that we looked at last week: aim to save 10% of your income. Minimum. Save more than that if you can. Save for the long term, for your mortgage deposit or pension, depending on where you are in life. If you need to save for short to medium term things, such as a holiday or car, that should be in addition to and separate from the 10%+ that you save for your long-term needs.

Your 10% can include your pension contributions, ISAs, premium bonds or any kind of high interest/restricted access savings account. With compound interest, your purse will get very plump over the coming months and years, even if interest rates remain low.

2. Control your expenditure.

If you’re going to save at least 10% of your income for the long-term, you must make sure that your current spending is no more than 90% of your income. This means wherever you are on the income scale, you’ll need to apply some self-discipline when it comes to treating yourself and your loved ones.

For a start, keep your credit card(s) for emergency use only, and if you do use them, pay them off before you start racking up interest. Similarly, avoid taking out loans, unless you can justify the interest you’ll end up paying for that privilege. A car acquired on one of the popular leasing schemes can be justified if it’s essential for your work or business. But a loan for a holiday? Staycation would be a better choice. Learn to distinguish between wants and needs. A roof over your head and food on the table are needs; a month in the Maldives is a desire. Treat yourself to that when you have saved 10% of your income for a year or two and you can afford to fly off to paradise without dipping into those savings.

The secret to controlling your expenditure is to build a budget and then stick to it. If you have Microsoft Excel you can download a template to help you track your spending over a week or month. You can also find ready-made templates on the internet or apps for your phone. Work out how much you spend on mortgage, rent, travel to work etc. and set yourself limits on items such as eating out, entertainment, travel etc. This will help you keep below 90% of your income.

3. Make your money multiply.

You are looking for steady returns over the long-term, not a lottery win. What you need is a steady increase in your capital, your core wealth, such as compound interest from an ISA or savings account, or – more risky – dividends from shares you hold in well-managed companies, including your employer, if they have an employee share ownership scheme. If you are not an expert in financial products and investment vehicles, find someone who is. Don’t make any commitments until you talk to a professional financial adviser. Explain what your investment goals are and ask them to help you develop a plan for realising achieving them.

4. Guard yourself from loss.

The sickening nightmare of seeing your dreams of wealth turn to dust as Bitcoin plummets or the bloke you met in the pub the other night disappears with your life savings. One way to guard against loss is to make it an unbreakable rule that you do not touch that core wealth that you are saving and investing for the long-term. Keep a ring of steel around that! If you are tempted to try your luck with Bitcoin or currency trading, only use money that you can afford to lose. That means any money that you have left over after you have saved your 10%, paid the bills and filled your belly. Money that you might otherwise spend on nights out can be handed over to the online bookies, if you can budget for it – see the second cure above. Never use a credit card or a loan for spread betting, gambling or any high risk investments. Before you engage in any high risk investing or betting, though, make sure you have thoroughly researched the field and that you understand what you’re getting into. If online poker is your dream, practice with your mates for match sticks first.

5. Make your home a profitable investment.

Owning your own home (and ideally a few buy to let properties) has become an obsession over the last thirty or forty years. Given the way property prices have ballooned over that time, it makes perfect sense to get on the property ladder as soon as you can, particularly when house prices are increasing at a much faster rate than incomes.

However, be aware that at some point the bubble may burst. Yes, people have been saying that for years and it hasn’t happened yet. But it is becoming increasingly likely that the authorities will take steps to let some of the air out of the property market. Potential measures include revaluing property tax bands and punitive taxes on buy to let properties and properties left empty. A major increase in house building is unlikely to have much impact on house prices by itself, but when combined with the potential tax changes, we could see prices reach a plateau and stay there for some time.

Given all that, the best approach is to find an affordable house or flat in an area where you would like to live for the foreseeable future, bearing in mind such things as local amenities, schools and the journey to work. Think also of the benefits of paying a mortgage and gradually acquiring total ownership (leasehold and freehold issues aside) of your home over 25 or 30 years, compared with being beholden to a landlord who can raise the rent or evict you at a month’s notice, and who will still own the roof over your head despite all the £000s you put in his or her pocket.

If you can’t afford to buy outright in the area where you want to live or work, consider such options as shared ownership and self-build. Check out what schemes are available in the area where you want to live.

If you already own your own home you can use it to generate extra income by taking in a lodger. If you live in a major city, a good source of lodgers is contractors – professional people working on a project local to you who need a place to stay for a few months and don’t want to use hotels. Often they will go home for the weekend so you have the place to yourself. Another option is to take in exchange students. They will usually come in for a week or two. You provide them with a bed, breakfast, a packed lunch and an evening meal, and get paid for doing so. Another option is to use your home for holiday lets while you’re on holiday yourself. This works particularly well if you live in a major city or a historic town.

Even if you rent, take a lodger (if your landlord will allow this) or run a home business (see below). You can still make your home a source of extra income, even if you don’t own it.

Two other things to consider. First, home and contents insurance. Make sure you have adequate cover for the worst that can happen: fire, flood, burglary. Second, if you have a mortgage, look at insuring it against unemployment and illness. Take advice and make sure that any policies you take out are fit for purpose and will pay out if the worst happens.

6. Develop a future income.

Who wouldn’t want to wake up in the morning knowing that whatever happens, they are assured of a steady income for eternity? Well, you can achieve this through your long-term savings, that 10%+ that you put by month after month, year after year.

When you talk to your financial adviser (as you must!) about your saving and investment goals, the first two issues you should focus on are a pension for you (and your partner, if you have one) and providing for your family when you’re no longer around, i.e. life insurance. Your financial adviser should also point you to other investments that can deliver additional income for you and your family, such as ISAs, unit trusts and government bonds.

Your aim is to ensure an adequate income for a long old age. Remember, people are living longer, but not always healthier. It’s not pleasant, I know, but think about the worst that can happen to you (short of an early death). You or your partner become chronically ill or disabled and need long-term care. How will you fund that? If you sell your home what will you leave to your children. This is the kind of issue you need to discuss with a financial adviser. You need a pension, plus other income streams, that will pay for all your needs for perhaps thirty or forty years after you stop working. Develop a plan, implement it, then get on with enjoying life.

7. Increase your ability to earn.

There is no such thing as a job for life anymore. These days, even professional occupations such as lawyer, accountant and insurance underwriter are threatened with automation and off-shoring. So, it makes sense to develop additional skills that you can make use of if you find yourself out of work.

If you think you’re at risk of being replaced by a robot, you should look very carefully at “future-proofing” your career. Think about jobs that are unlikely to be automated or off-shored in the future. They tend to be ones that involve face to face contact e.g. complementary therapies, nail technician hair stylist, personal trainer, life coach, counsellor. Also, jobs where a local presence is essential: electrician, plumber, lock-smith, builder.

Of course, many of these jobs are relatively low-paid and are in highly competitive sectors. That means you need to find a unique selling point: something you do that no one else does, or no one else does as well as you. Focus on something you are genuinely interested in – or better still, passionate about – and that you know you can be brilliant at. Be realistic about the potential income, the competition and the time and energy needed to make it work. Unless you already have experience in your chosen field, you will need to devote a lot of time, and perhaps money, to acquiring the necessary skills and certifications. You will also need to decide how you will operate: sole trader, limited company, franchise? Take advice before committing yourself to anything.

A popular option for generating extra income is online selling. Even if you’re in full time work and happy with your income, you can try it in your spare time and get a feel for what’s involved. A regular declutter will reveal all sorts of things you can sell: clothes, DVDs, mobile phones, unwanted presents. If you enjoy online selling, you could develop a successful business without risking your core capital.