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February 20, 2019

How to promote your consulting business with webinars

business establishmentLeveraging the power of the internet and technology is a great way to promote your business. After all, what could be an easier, cheaper way to gain access to an enormous chunk of the population? According to a report1 on internet usage and population statistics- June 30, 2018, internet penetration in North America was 95%. A growth of 219% was recorded in internet users over the period 2000- 2018. Clearly, using internet tools as a means to spread the word about you is sure to be an effective move. In fact, this might be the most effective tool you could use because the audience of today searches for vendors/ service providers/ businesses online before identifying one to go with.

That is not all, and most customers also research a service provider or business online to satisfy themselves about their credentials before they decide to go with them. This is where a webinar, in particular, plays a key role in helping you build your brand in the right way. As a consultant, you want to demonstrate to prospective clients that you are an expert in your chosen field and the best way to do this is by showcasing your knowledge on a platform that is easily accessible. A webinar is the perfect choice for achieving this objective if you use it in the right way.

How to make sure your webinar is an effective brand builder

• Address a challenge: Identify a common problem that prospective clients face in your niche and address it through your webinar. Remember that you are not here to give a comprehensive solution through this medium- just give enough information that could be helpful to the client, perhaps give them an idea of what could be a solution. However, your main agenda is to showcase that you know how to deal with the problem so that the prospective clients who watch the webinar think of you when they are looking for someone to help them with the problem. Think of your webinar as a teaser for your services.

• Maintain a professional stance: While it is necessary to appear approachable and friendly in your webinar, you also need to seem like a competent professional who is capable of delivering results. Maintaining complete professionalism during your webinar is very crucial, and that means you pay attention to your clothing, your body language, your gestures, the words you use, etc. When shooting your webinar imagine that you are talking face to face with a very valued client.

• Repeat the webinar: There is no guarantee that all the potential targets for your webinar are free when you air it and that means many might have missed it. Repeating the webinar on a regular basis is a great way to maximize audience coverage with this promotional tool. Remember to spread the word about the webinar airing time/ date well in advance every time you plan to repeat it so that those who are interested do accommodate it into their schedule.

• Collect the right data: Your webinar audience is clearly interested in your area of expertise. Invest efforts in collecting data like email ids or social media account details of each viewer so that you can later make them part of your email list or add them to your SNS groups so that you can continuously engage with them. Your webinar can bring you a primed group of prospective clients- don’t fail to leverage this asset.

Planning out your brand building strategies is one of the crucial steps you must take right when you set up your business, along with taking out the right kind of insurance to cover all risks, hiring the right employees, establishing a foolproof feedback system, etc. With the right panning in the initial stages, you have laid a solid foundation for success with your consultancy business.

Conclusion: Brand building becomes easy when you use internet tools like webinars to spread the word about yourself and your brand. You can achieve impressive results if you use these tools in the right way to communicate your message effectively.

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January 14, 2019

5 Finance Management Tips for New Entrepreneurs

manage your moneyThe reason most entrepreneurs set up in business is, at least partly, to make money so financial management is a crucial skill which all new business owners or would-be entrepreneurs need to learn if they want to be successful.

However, managing finances isn’t always a skill which comes naturally to many. Entrepreneurs tend to be focussed on their big idea and making it a reality, but the money side isn’t necessarily where there energies are naturally directed.

While you can always outsource your finances to a professional accountant to a certain extent, you still need to know and understand your numbers to enable you to spot any issues or trends which you might need to address within your business.

Here are five tips for new entrepreneurs to help with financial management:

1. Record and organise your finances

Whether you are managing your finances yourself or supplying all of your information to an accountant to deal with, it’s important to be organised and keep records of all of your income, outgoings and expenses.

This includes keeping copies of all your receipts, invoices, and any other paperwork related to financial issues, in an orderly fashion. Just putting them all into a shoe box won’t cut it when you are an entrepreneur.

Just using a simple spreadsheet to record income and outgoings can be enough to start with, when setting up a new business, or as the business grows you might need to invest in accounting software to help record all of the financial transactions.

2. Keep track of your credit score

As an entrepreneur you might well need to seek funding for your business either to start it up at the beginning or further down the line to help with an expansion of your services so make you’re your credit is up to scratch.

The last thing you want to do is start a business only to find your credit score or existing level of debt means you can’t get the funding you need to grow the company a few years down the line. Take action to improve your credit score ideally before you start out.

3. Have an emergency fund

While setting up a new business often involves expense rather than profit initially it’s still important to make sure you have money put aside for an emergency – you might need to suddenly buy new equipment or replace a computer for example, so try saving an emergency pot to help take the pressure off.

You can create the fund easily by putting a small amount aside every week so it needn’t be too taxing to save enough to help keep as a buffer. You never know when a client might not be able to pay you or a supplier might go bust so an emergency fund can be the difference between success and failure.

4. Seek professional advice

If you are brand new to business then don’t get daunted or overwhelmed by all of the financial obligations or requirements. If the finance side is beyond your knowledge then don’t bury your head in the sand but seek professional help.

Whether you hire a full-time professional accountant or use the services of a part-time book keeper they can both help and provide expert advice to guide you as you take your business forward as well as looking after the books. You can even make it easier for you by signing up for accounting services offered by companies like Crunch. You can find out how they help small businesses here.

5. Set short-term and long-term financial goals

As well as knowing and understanding your business numbers you should set financial goals for the business to achieve as well. Have short term goals for what you want the business to achieve in the next month, the next quarter and the next year.

You should also have a longer term forecasting tool to predict the income you expect to bring in over the next year to five years, to help make sure you keep your business on track and meet all of your income goals.

As well as your business goals you should also set savings goals which allow you to have enough put aside to pay your tax contributions every year so you don’t get caught out with a big bill at the end of the tax year and nothing to pay it with.

Conclusion

Financial management is a key element to running a business and is a skill which every new entrepreneur needs to learn if they are to be successful in the corporate world. No business can survive if it’s not financially viable.

There are few tips here to help make financial management easier to cope with but if financial management really is beyond your skill set then you should always seek professional guidance and advice to make sure your business can still thrive, leaving you free to focus on the aspects of entrepreneurship where you are strongest.

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December 17, 2018

Liverpool Becoming Buy to Let Hub for Investors

buying propertyOver the past few years, Liverpool has been hailed as a buy-to-let property gold mine. It has low initial costs compared to other UK cities and a growing demand for rental accommodation. Considerable investments from both the private and public sector have been boosting the city’s economy.

Liverpool’s affordable property prices are a huge draw for potential investors. With house prices in Liverpool considerably less than the UK average, developers and investors have been making the most of opportunities in the city. The average UK house price is £215,000 with the cost in Liverpool only £117,000. These low house prices allow investors to get far more for their money compared to other areas like London and Cambridge. Investors have been discovering that for the price of an apartment in London, they could by a couple of comparable quality properties in Liverpool. Prices of property in Liverpool are also on the rise. These increasing house prices are an excellent indicator for investors whose property is worth far more than they paid.

Liverpool has been attracting investors from around the world. With its strong trading history, famous football clubs, and of course, the Beatles, it’s definitely on people’s radar. Investors from the USA, to China to Saudi Arabia are all looking to this northern city as a possible location to expand their portfolio. Developers from overseas are also purchasing land in Liverpool, and working with the city to create new properties. A citywide targeted development strategy has improved areas of Liverpool that were once derelict or underdeveloped. This increased investment has been creating lucrative new opportunities for investors.

Buying off plan is another popular option with investors. Guaranteed rental yields mean that investors see income as soon as the development completes, without having to deal with tenants themselves. Access to new off plan developments is highly sought after, with plans for modern skyscrapers, apartment buildings and purpose-built student accommodation pending. The city’s borders are expanding. Unused land is being snapped up by developers for new projects around the city.

Liverpool has a high average rental yield, with some properties offering returns of up to 8%. This assured income from property is highly beneficial for investors who are generating income while their investment increases in value. It also allows investors to hold on to property, with rental income paying for the investment in years. Properties by RW Invest have rental yields of 7-8% on stunning luxury apartments in the city. High quality, modern apartments with options for furniture and high-end fittings are perfect for buy-to-let investors. Developments like Azure residence, with apartments from £94,950 and Tobacco Wharf with flats from £84,995 both, offer a generous 7% yield.

A recent study showed that 13.8 tenants were trying to get each new rental that becomes available. With such a competitive environment and so much demand, tenants are sometimes willing to spend a little bit more for a city location or a beautiful apartment. With buying their first home still unattainable for many young people. It was recently reported that 44% of private tenants were not expecting to buy in the long term. Improving job prospects are attracting more and more people to live in Liverpool city centre. These are often looking for rental accommodation that is close to the city centre or excellent transport links.

The increasing demand for rental properties and the option of long-term tenants are all factors in Liverpool’s reputation as a buy to let hotspot. With low prices, a growing economy and new developments continually popping up, Liverpool is continuing to attract savvy buy-to-let investors.

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December 11, 2018

What exactly is leasing? – A detailed information

lending carA recent article in a UK newspaper claimed 1.6 million Brits currently lease their car – but how many actually understand what they’re doing?

When I first leased a car, I had no idea how it worked. I assumed a lease was something you got on a retail building and not a car!

Don’t let the complexity scare you though. Leasing can be a practical and affordable form of car finance if you take the time to get to know how it works. In this blog, I’ll run you through what leasing is, how it works and a couple different forms of leasing finance.

What is a lease?

To understand the difference between leasing and buying, you need to have a look at what you’re actually paying for in a lease.

When you buy a car outright, your payment covers the full value that the vehicle is worth. Once you’ve paid the full price (either immediately or over time), you become the legal owner of the car.

With leasing, you essentially ‘rent’ a car for a given period of time and return it at the end of your contract. Unlike buying a car, you’re never the legal owner of the car, although you are usually its registered keeper.

Why lease? Because depreciation hurts

Leasing is an attractive option for a lot of people because it eliminates one of the major problems that comes with owning a car – the cost of depreciation (depreciation is how quickly a car loses value).

According to the AA, new cars can lose up to 10% of their value the moment you drive them off the forecourt. Worse, the worst of the bunch can lose up to 60% of their value in the first year of ownership!

With these motors, if you’re planning on selling your car after a few years, you’re in for a shock when you check what it’s worth.

Contract Hire

Contract hire (more commonly known as leasing) is an arrangement where someone ‘rents’ a new car for a set period of time from a dealer. During the contract, the individual pays just enough to pay off the car’s depreciation. (Plus a little profit for the dealer, of course.) At the end of the contract, the individual returns the car to the dealer and they both go their separate ways.

With leasing deals, you aren’t the legal owner of the car but you are the registered keeper. That means you have get the car regularly serviced and keep it in a good condition.

The best thing about leasing compared to other finance options is the monthly payments, which tend to be significantly lower. That’s because, as I already mentioned, you’re only paying off the depreciation. You can also trade your car in every few years for a brand new model!

Tom Butcher worked behind the scenes in print journalism for years until he discovered the wonders of the web. He writes for several publications, covering the finance, automotive and tech sectors. At the moment, he is helping LeaseFetcher teach the world about car leasing.

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November 18, 2018

A (blue)chip on your shoulder: Things to know about blue chip funds

fund investmentsUnderstanding the viability of bluechip funds can help you plan your investment and get a well-rounded portfolio.

It is a well-known fact that market-linked investments are subject to a certain degree of risk. However, certain equity funds offer higher growth prospects with the risk element evened out over the long term. One such fund is the Emerging blue chip fund, or blue chip funds in general.

What is a bluechip fund?

The term ‘bluechip’ comes from the game of poker, where the blue coloured chip is the most expensive or valuable of all. The same logic is applied to the bluechip fund – these are equity funds of large multinationals or companies with a long and well-established track record of high performance and market credibility. Companies offering blue chip funds are normally in the top 3 performance bracket in their sector or industry.

Given their reputation and economic standing, bluechip equity funds are those with a large market capitalisation, usually in crores of Rupees. They are normally listed on the stock exchange.

Investors earn via dividend payments from these funds. They are considered relatively ‘safe’ funds to invest in, with a higher propensity for stable and regular growth.

However…

  • These equity funds offer dividend payouts since their prices normally do not move much. The dividends can become a valuable second income for investors.
  • Having mentioned the risk factor, we would be remiss in not mentioning that the bluechip funds are amongst the highest performers among most equity funds, year on year. These funds have been seen to perform over the benchmark indexes set for them over the last decade.
  • The size and composition of the company alone does not automatically guarantee that the bluechip fund is safe. Even the best in class bluechip equity funds like the Emerging Bluechip Fund carry a moderate amount of risk. But this is easily attributable to all equity funds. The key is to remain invested for a longer time frame to reap the rewards of the fund.
  • They offer stability to your portfolio, with expert handling by the fund manager (but do partner with a reputed fund house when you buy the fund). The fund can normally recover itself in a bearish market, or when there is a downturn for some reason. This is because the fund can ride market volatility much better.
  • Investors have the option of investing in blue chip funds, blue chip ULIPs, etc. This is because the fund moves in the broader market only.
  • They are more expensive. This factor might deter new investors from seeking investment in blue chip equity funds, however, they are a viable option for their growth potential. Yet, it is not ideal to have too many bluechip funds in your portfolio, and you can diversify with a range of mid-cap and small-cap funds.
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