Issues That You Could Face If You Get Yourself In Debt

A key focus of my blog is Financial Literacy/Money. A key piece to managing your financial health is controlling debt and making sure that it doesn’t take hold of your life. Allowing debt to run out of control could cripple your future and the futures of those around you. The following contributed post is therefore entitled, Issues That You Could Face If You Get Yourself In Debt.

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If for some reason you have got yourself into debt, you could end up facing a lot of issues. Whether this is a debt that you have accumulated as an individual or one that you have got as a business, you could be facing the same kind of problems. People tend to believe that debt is okay, as long as you know that you can get out. Well, this is not going to be the case because a lot of the time, they never do. Let’s look at some of the issues that you could face if you or your business is in debt.

Never Getting Out

One of the main issues that you will find with getting into debt is that it is extremely hard to get out. You might have the money to do so, but many people then don’t do this as they think this payment can wait. After a while, the interest has accumulated, and they can no longer pay their way out of the debt. As such, they are not going to be able to get out of debt, even when they get around to paying it.

This is the most common issue that people find when they are in debt, next to never being able to pay it in the first place. This is why it is never a good reason to get yourself into any form of debt, as you never know how it is going to pan out in the future.

Having To Borrow More

The next issue is that if you get into trouble for any reason and get arrested, you might not be able to pay your bail. This is where you are going to need a bail bonds person to put the money up for you. If you have a history of not doing what you said you would, for example, paying off your debts, you are going to find that nobody is going to help you in this situation. Even if you do get this help, you are then going to have to borrow more to cover the costs. It’s a vicious cycle that never ends.

Or, if you are desperate to pay off your debt, you might borrow off someone else to do this. You will then owe the full amount to someone else, and this might be worse for you than who you owed to before. This is why it is always going to be better to avoid debt if you can.

Accumulating More

Finally, interest on debts is terrible. The lender gets to determine the amount of interest that you are going to have to pay, and you don’t usually have a say in this. So, your lender could decide to charge you 20% interest, and they can adjust this if and when they want without any reason. Interest is a killer when it comes to paying back debt because you usually end up paying a lot more than you borrowed. This is not going to be something that you want, and that is why again, you need to try and stay out of debt.

We hope that you have found this article helpful, and now understand some of the issues that you could be facing if you get yourself into debt.

Your Business Is Folding: The Steps To Take Next

Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. Most businesses fail which means that the odds are that you’ll confront this scenario should you seek to step into the arena of entrepreneurship. If in fact you are faced with this circumstance, it’s important to know how to proceed. The following contributed post is therefore entitled, Your Business Is Folding: The Steps To Take Next.

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“Failure” is one word that no business owner wants to hear. However, it’s one of the biggest parts of being an entrepreneur. You are going to fail over and over again when you wade into the complicated world of business, and do you know what? Failure is okay. It’s not the end of the world if the business you are in is folding. Businesses fold because the needs of the consumer changes. Sometimes, a business can keep up with these changes and adapt. Other times, the business folds like a sheet of paper. The thing is, if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, the success isn’t hanging onto a failing business by a thread: it’s learning that you can brush yourself off and start over again.

It doesn’t mean that while you’re going through the folding of your company that you’re going to find it easy. In fact, much of the time it’s going to suck. It’s stressful and whether you are trying to let your employees know what’s going to happen to their jobs or you’re visiting www.daveburnslaw.com for information on company bankruptcy, you need to know the next steps that you’re going to take. No one wants to be at the helm of a business that is going under, but you learn a lot when your business folds. Think of it positively: you’ve witnessed the start and end of a business and you can pinpoint exactly where you have gone wrong. You’ve put a lot of effort into this company, and once you realise that it’s not the end of the world, you’re going to be able to look forward. It doesn’t mean that you personally are a failure: it simply means that you have a speed bump in the road that you are taking toward success. You learn your little lessons and you grow along the way.

The key is to know your next steps, stand tall and carry on. Let’s take a look at what you should be doing once your business has closed for good.

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Take A Breath & Relax
Failure isn’t something that you can avoid at least once in your time as a business owner. It’s refreshing, to be honest, that there is an outcome for your business when you’ve been struggling to keep it alive. Stress comes in many forms, and it’s one of the many stressors out there when you are living in a perpetual state of uncertainty while you wait for your business to run its course. You don’t need to dwell on it, and when it’s final – your business is closing – you can let out the breath you’ve been holding. Calm down with some slow breaths and relax. Once you manage that, you can digest the situation far better and look at your experience in a new light. Perspective is an amazing thing, and it can propel your next business idea – after a break of course.

Don’t Take It To Heart
Rarely when a business folds is it about the owner. Your business may have failed, but that doesn’t mean that you did. Believing that you are the failure is a great way to kick yourself while you’re down, and you don’t need to do that. Bill Gates wasn’t an immediate success, neither was Steve Jobs. It’s your turn, though, to work out exactly what went wrong and rectify it for the next time, whether that’s issues with the product or service that you made or issues with the employees you hired. One you know what changed and ruined things, you can take the step to not let it happen again. Hindsight is a beautiful thing, right?

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Adapt.
Reflecting on the loss of your business has to be an analytical thing. Here are some of the things that you can think about:
● Why did it fail?
● Could you have done more to save the company?
● Where did the fault lie?

Answering these questions can bring you the closure that you need, and you have learned from the experience. Reflect on the things that went right with it as well as the things that went wrong, and you’ll be able to adapt the next time you decide to open a business. This analysis can also prevent you from falling into a depression about your business – don’t let that happen!

Plan Again
You can take as much time out as you need to have a break when your business fails, but you also need to consider getting right back on the horse and planning another venture. You are now wiser and able to learn from your mistakes. Put everything you’ve learned into your new business and you’ll be able to be successful with it again.

Take A Break
After running a business, your confidence takes a knock. You’ve spent a long time at the wheel of a company and steered it well. Sure, things folded, but that doesn’t mean that it was all you. Before you jump in with both feet into the next venture, take a break and have some free time. You no longer have to devote every second of the day to your company. Not yet, anyway. Take a moment to go on that vacation you put off and spend time thinking and planning again. Recharge your batteries and catch up with yourself.

Do Some Volunteer Work
While you set up your next venture, take the time to do some volunteering. The passion that you feel about what you do is obvious, as you want to set up another business again. However, take some time to learn a little something new, to give back. You should hopefully have enough cash in savings to cover you a month or two, so take the time and learn something new.

A folded business isn’t going to ruin your entire life if you can appreciate that things will always be changing in the business world. Be excited: there is a bright future ahead of you that you can take with both hands.

Keeping Your Employees Happy

The first principle of my blog is Creating Ecosystems of Success and two of its key focuses are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. No matter what kind of business or organization you’re running, it will be very important for your operations to keep your employees happy and continually dedicated to your mission. The following contributed post is likewise entitled, Keeping Your Employees Happy.

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When it comes to running a business, the most important thing besides making money should be keeping your employees happy. At the end of the day, they help your business tick over, improve and become more successful. So what ways can you keep your own staff happy?

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Make Work-Life Balance Important

We all want to have an equal amount of work-life in our lives. And not all businesses focus on this when it comes to their employees. By overworking employees and giving them little time for their own lives can end up having a huge effect on their mental wellbeing. They also might be more likely to leave the organization if they don’t feel like their lives outside of work are considered.

Find ways of bringing work-life balance into the business whether that’s through flexible working or offering overtime or lieu for hours worked outside of their contract.

Reward And Give Employees Incentives

Respect between the employer and employee can only lead to good things. So be sure to reward your staff when they’ve worked hard and offer employees incentives for projects and work that needs to be done. These don’t necessarily have to be cash related, but any sort of reward can have a great effect on your staff’s productivity and keeps them happy within the organization.

One example would be to offer bonuses in return for completing a project before the initial deadline or by completing a certain amount of tasks. You might also be in the position to offer a promotion, so always consider this as a reward or incentive to staff members.

Listen To Their Worries

Good communication between staff members and those in higher positions is hugely beneficial to employment mediation. Listen to staff concerns and do your best to recommend solutions or fix them if you can. It’s important to make staff feel valued, and if they don’t, then they’re more likely to leave. Being honest with them is also appreciated so if something is going on that affects them, let them know. Be transparent and open with your staff, and they’ll do the same if they have anything they’re concerned about.

Encourage Socialising With Staff

A strong team of staff is more beneficial than one who doesn’t spend any time with each other outside of working hours. That being said, it’s useful to organize staff parties and days out that can help staff members socialize with one another, especially if it’s a big organization.

Make sure your office space provides an opportunity for socializing too whether that’s in the form of a canteen or breakout space. If you can’t offer that, then maybe have a budget to organize a group lunch every so often.

A happy organization is a productive one so it’s always ideal to keep tabs on your staff and what can make them happier. If you don’t care about your employees enough, they’ll feel the same, and that can have a negative effect on the company.

How to Assure A Brighter Future for Yourself

The first principle of my blog is Creating Ecosystems of Success. Whatever it is your ambitions are, you must know how to get to your objective. No matter what it is, there will always be obstacles around you whether it’s people or life circumstances. As such, it’s important to know how to continue to move forward. The following contributed post is thus entitled, How to Assure A Brighter Future for Yourself.

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When people talk about their futures they often see it as an intangible asset that won’t be attained for many years to come. Discussing pipe dreams with friends or writing down life long goals on a napkin in a coffee shop isn’t going to help secure a bright future for yourself. There are many ways that you can prepare yourself for a future bursting with success and fulfillment, without just talking the talk. It’s all about putting your thoughts into action and making positive changes for yourself. Sometimes you might doubt your abilities or become confused about what you really want; that’s just part of everyday life. Here are a few ways to assure a brighter future for yourself so that you can finally have dreams to work towards.

Wipe the Slate Clean

When you imagine your future you want to believe that people respect you for who you are, rather than belittling you or judging your previous mistakes. Everybody has made errors in judgement in their past so you might want to explore a few ways to wipe the slate clean. Seek out a better future for yourself; if you are looking for more then be sure to look for a reputable attorney who can represent you. Your individual case will be evaluated and you will soon be able to look ahead to a more prosperous future.

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Have a Plan of Action

It is very easy to simply talk about your individual passions and goals, but how are you going to put these ideas into action? You need to write down clear and simple ways to attain your life dreams. If you want to create a business from scratch then start saving up and write a business plan. If you want to invest in your first property then start researching houses that fit within your budget. Your goal might be to travel the world one day; if so make sure you work hard now so that you can facilitate that dream in the future.

Remain Focused

Many people can quickly lose focus when they are trying to achieve many goals at all once. Split each of your achievements into smaller ideas so that you aren’t overwhelmed or stressed about your current situation. If you do lose focus along the way, maybe it wasn’t meant to be after all.

Discover Your Passions     

Finding that true passion inside you won’t always come easily to you, but once you have stumbled upon it you will know for sure. Whether you’ve got a creative flair inside you or you have a skill for finance, there will always be a fulfilling passion inside you that’s ready to come out.

So instead of just thinking about your lifelong goals or discussing your dreams with a close friend or family member, you can actually put your thoughts into action. Sooner or later it will become clear what your future is going to hold and you will feel more certain than ever about everything going on in your life. Stick to your passions, stay focused and attain your dreams one step at a time.

Dealing With Money Troubles Within Your Small Business

Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. Even if you plan your small business out well, you can still run into money troubles if you’re not careful. In such instances it’s important to know what to do to get yourself out of trouble. The following contributed post is thus entitled, Dealing With Money Troubles Within Your Small Business.

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When you first start up a small business, your main motivation is likely to be money. Running your own company allows you to generate your own income without having to answer to anyone but your customers. You gain freedom and the same time as earning sufficient amounts of cash to lead a comfortable lifestyle! However, if you find that your business isn’t raking in all too much cash and starts to become more expensive to operate than you can really afford, you’re going to run into trouble! Money matters can make or break a business and it’s consequently extremely important that you monitor your business’ finances effectively. If you find that you are facing money worries, you need to tackle the situation head on, as attempting to sweep issues under the carpet isn’t going to get your anywhere. Here are just a few steps that you can take if you find that your small business is facing financial difficulty!

Determine the Extent of Your Financial Issues

The first step that you need to take when you are concerned about professional finances is to determine the extent of your financial issues. If you merely owe out a little money and have experienced a slump in sales, you may just need to wait for sales to pick back up. Consumer trends can often be confusing, but with a little research, you can determine why people aren’t spending as much at a given time and can take measures to encourage them to part with their cash. If you, however, are in a deeper and more difficult situation, where you are experiencing heavy debt within your business and cannot fathom being able to generate enough profit to pull yourself out of the situation, you might want to take on legal help from John Steinberger & Associates. They will be able to help you to determine whether options such as bankruptcy might be suitable for you.

Update Your Budget

Many businesses get into financial difficulty in the first place by making the same old mistake – coming up with a budget at the beginning of their venture and sticking to it. Of course, it’s always good to stick to a budget. But you need to bear in mind that the amount of disposable income your business has will fluctuate with time and interest. So make sure your budget fluctuates according with this. You can afford to spend and invest more when sales are high, but may need to cut back down if you experience a dip in profits.

These two steps can help you to determine your business’ financial footing as you progress and develop. Make sure to incorporate them into your plan as soon as possible to benefit from them as much as possible. They really could help you to stay in the black and out of the red!

Agribusiness Tactics That Will Keep Running Costs Down

Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. Agriculture is a complex business which is continuously evolving. If you’re contemplating getting into the business or if you’re already in, there are a couple of key points to consider. The following contributed post is thus entitled, Agribusiness Tactics That Will Keep Running Costs Down.

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Agribusiness. Little House On The Prairie it ain’t, and if you have rose-tinted dreams of a lazy day on the farm, running through crops, and milking cattle, then you may be in for a surprise. Of course, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a good profit to be made in agricultural business. Although, to achieve this you will need to keep the running costs as low as possible. A topic you can find out more on in the post below.

Agribusiness is not like this!

Stay away from lifestyle farming locations

The first tactic you can use to keep the running costs of your agriculture business low is to think carefully about where to site your farm. You will need to be near a main road, so it’s easy to ship your products out and get any equipment in that you require, but it’s also essential that you stay away from locations that are popular for lifestyle farming.

This is because lifestyle farmers or those that choose to live on smallholding to embrace a more rural style of existence are driving the purchase and lease price of good arable and stock land up. Something that can result in you paying well over the odds, if you aren’t careful.

Spread resource costs

Next, when it comes to keeping the running costs of your agribusiness low, it’s important to be selective about the suppliers you choose.

This is because units cost for things like fuel can vary a great deal between different providers. Also, bear in mind that some suppliers will offer bulk fuel delivery along with an even payment plan. This will allow you to pay your total bill for the year split across 12 months, and so can make it both easier to budget for and more affordable as well, keeping running costs to a minimum.

Embrace tech in the office and the field

Tech is obviously revolutionizing many industries, and agribusiness is no exception to this. In fact, there are multiple applications for tech and IT in both the office and the field.

One is using up to date productivity software within the office, as this can help your business team keep on top of the most crucial issues and make key deadlines such as bids, tax returns, and even catalogue completion dates. Something that will ensure you don’t lose any money because you can meet customer demand, and can help you minimize your staffing costs as well.

Secondly, there are many applications of tech in the field as well, from investing in better nozzles and spray system to ensure a more abundant and more viable crop, to buying heavy equipment that is multi-use.

In fact, opting for farm machinery that is modular where attachments can be swapped out, allowing it to perform more than one task is a very effective method of keeping running costs down.

After all, it means you always have the equipment you need without having to purchase whole new pieces, or lease it. Something that can be expensive, and problematic when you are working in an agribusiness context, where money can easily be lost if crops go over, or deadlines aren’t met.

Is there power in budgeting your money?

“You want to account for everything you spend and always keep your receipts son!”

Note. Like my Compounding Interest and Net Worth pieces, the subject matter of this blog post is not new. It has been known for years by those who’ve learned about it in their families, learned about its concepts in business school, or who have discovered it on their own. It’s a discussion from my personal perspective which I think is worth visiting. In the spirit of the first principle of my blog, Creating Ecosystems of Success, I’m simply introducing a concept and discussing why it’s important for the lay person, so they can make their own life choices.

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As described in my piece entitled, I still don’t have a car in 2018, a good friend recommended that I craft something regarding budgeting. That piece described a key budgetary decision I made several years ago to fortify my financial future. In that piece I highlighted several financial vocabulary words which are pertinent to budgeting including: Assets, Cash Flow, Liabilities and Minimalism. In this piece, I’ll get down into the actual ‘nuts and bolts’ of budgeting.

“You know I always stay within my budget, honey,” my Auntie Adeline said to me on numerous occasions throughout our lives. Of my Aunts and Uncles, Auntie Adeline was always the most vigilant about staying within her budget and messing with her budget was literally playing with your life! Mom was also wise with her money and budgeted.

“You want to account for everything you spend and always keep your receipts son!” Dad was also very particular about his money and was very meticulous about where every dollar went. Though not formally trained in budgeting, I got the sense from many relatives that keeping track of where my dollars went was important. I started budgeting in my mid- to late-twenties though not effectively as I’ll describe later.

Simply put, a budget is a means of numerically accounting for tracking the money you earn and how much you spend every month. As described in earlier pieces, I have considerable experience with Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (FPU). In it, Dave refers to a budget simply as a ‘Cash Flow Plan’ where you’re telling your money what to do and where to go. I’m going to come back to Dave, but first I’m going to tell you about one of my experiences.

“I don’t keep a budget and I don’t have the patience to do so every month!” These words were typed by someone who’ll remain anonymous in one of my text groups. A regular budgeter now myself, I came very close to challenging his position, but I decided that it wasn’t worth it. From experience it’s not wise to argue with people who have taken staunch positions on things to try to get them to see your point of view. Sometimes it’s best to just let them be and let them figure it out on their own, if at all.

What this person’s comments showed was that while budgeting is important, there’s a negative view of it for some. In fact, in Trish Reske’s article entitled, How Many Americans Use a Budget?, she cites data from a 2017 study by U.S. Bank which found that 41% of Americans said they used a budget while whopping and 59% said they did not. That number was up from data reported by Gallup in 2013 which stated that only 32% of Americans used a budget.


Again, a budget is simply a written plan where you’re telling your money where you want it to go and what to do. For example, if you believe purchasing recyclable food packaging will help you save money in the long-term – they can be cleaned out and used multiple times – then you should include this within your strategy. You’re looking at what’s coming in and what’s going out and trying to figure out what’s leftover, if anything. What are the two skills you need for this important exercise? You need something we all learned in the first or second grade; the ability to add and subtract. You also need discipline and the abilities to think, and to sit and plan.

Okay, get ready for the magic. Specifically, you want to look at your monthly income and subtract your monthly expenses from it. If you’re working a 40-hour work week, this should be relatively simple. If you get paid weekly, you should get four paychecks every month and if you get paid bi-weekly, you’ll get roughly two pay checks a month. The Federal Government has 26 pay periods a year, so there are two months when employees get paid three times. How long is a check good for? Well that depends on how you budget your money.

Your income is your ‘Net Pay’ – your pay after all your deductions and retirement savings have come out – that’s if you’re saving into your retirement which is a different story. Underneath that number you want to list out your monthly expenses. The difference between your income and your expenses is called your ‘Cash Flow’, and that’s the money you have left to spend in any way you see fit. This sounds straightforward right? Well actually it depends.

This is a good place to introduce two new vocabulary words; “Surplus” and “Deficit” – concepts I recall first hearing about from Presidents Bill Clinton, and then later argued about by Al Gore and George W. Bush as they battled for the 2000 Presidency. Financially when you run a Budgetary Surplus, you have money left over once all your expenses and obligations are paid for. This is where you want to be – your expenses being less than your income, and you want them to be as low as possible.

If you’re running a Budgetary Deficit, your expenses are exceeding your income. This is where you don’t want to be. Here you either must: make more money, cut your expenses, or borrow and go into debt to cover your expenses – the worst option of the three.

If you haven’t been budgeting, you must start from scratch. Where do you start? First you need a way to create and track the budget. You could do it on paper with a pen or pencil which will be cumbersome and time consuming initially, but it’s okay to start here just as long as you start. There’s also software like Quicken or Quickbooks. I simply use Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, but it’s up to you. You want to be able to adjust the numbers easily.

Second you need to know how much money you have coming in weekly and monthly and I think we all know that. The fun part is figuring out what your expenses are. If you don’t know where to start for your expenses, first think about what Dave Ramsey calls your ‘Four Walls’: clothing, food, shelter and transportation. These are your basics. Think about everything else after these four.

If you’ve been swiping either your credit or debit cards, go to your online banking accounts and see what your averages are. My high school basketball coach always used to tell us that, “We are creatures of habit!” In this case you’ll probably find that there are trends and patterns in your spending – the amount of times you go to Starbucks and what you get there, the restaurants you frequent, the amount of gas you put in your car every week, etc. Some months such as November and December may take you out of your normal spending patterns so be aware of those unusual months or times of the year. The end of the summer is another noticeable time, as people like to take vacations.

Once you see what your averages are, ask yourself if there are ways you can cut back. Can you catch more sales? Can you bring your lunch to work? Do you absolutely need to upgrade your phone or your car along with everyone else? Are there discounts you can take advantage of (being a senior, being military, being a government employee, etc.)? Do you need to make more money at least temporarily to pay off excess debt, for example? These are all questions you should start asking yourself when doing your budget. This brings me to my next point.

If you haven’t been living on a budget, and want to start one, it helps to have goals in mind. Do you want to retire one day? Do you want to become financially free? Do you want to not have to hit your friends and relatives up for cash whenever you get into a jam? These are all questions you should ask yourself. Not having to ask friends and relatives for money ever again is a huge motivator for me.

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I described this in my last financial blog post entitled, I still don’t have a car in 2018. There I described how I got rid of my car and held off on getting another one so that I could grow an Emergency Fund and get to the point where I could acquire some investments. I also wanted to make sure I’d have a chance to retire one day.

For at least a year, I thought about what I needed to do to be able to save 15% into my retirement account going forward. When I looked at my budget, I did the math and figured out how much money I’d have to save into my retirement account from my first and second paychecks of the month to consistently do it. I then looked at what I could cut from my expenses and my eyes focused on my Cable bill which, at the time, was a whopping $176 per month.

Think about that. That’s $2,112 per year – money that could’ve been ‘compounding’ somewhere. I finally got to the point where I was willing simply use an antenna signal and just kept my landline and internet access which came to $90 a month – that’s a 50% savings which gave me the extra money to save into my retirement account. It felt strange at first, but it was very necessary, and I was okay watching Star Trek reruns every night.

I’m going to close with three points from Dave Ramsey because I’ve helped teach Financial Peace University and know it well. The first is the ‘Zero-Based Budget’. The key tenet of this term is, “giving every dollar a name.” That is, if you’ve done your budget and you have money left over, you should assign it a name like “Extra Discretionary Spending” or “Money For The Next Check” – don’t just leave it there because it will get spent on something random.

Consider using cash for at least some of your purchases – “Discretionary Spending” and “Eating Out” for example are two categories I use. Using cash may be scary at first as our world has become digital to the point where we pull out plastic and swipe everything using credit and debit cards. The problem with that is that you don’t ‘feel’ the money leaving your possession and are more likely to spend – businesses know this and bet on it. Using cash helps you feel the transaction, but it’s also the fact that its finite, and it exerts more control over your budget and overall spending.

Lastly, as Dave points out in the budgeting lesson, it takes about three months or so to get into a rhythm to the point where you’re budgeting effectively. The first couple of months aren’t going to be very good, but if you stick in there, eventually you’ll start to roll. Keep in mind your motivation for doing this. And lastly, once you get good at it and you’re able to use the budget to plan over a series of months, you’ll see some really great things happen in your life.

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Perhaps the most important point to make in all of this is that while you’re budgeting and working towards your goal, you must still allow yourself to have some fun. That’s going to vary depending upon you and your lifestyle. Whether it’s concerts, the movies, or if you have a restaurant you like, you can’t completely choke yourself off from pleasurable things because that’s not sustainable long-term – like dieting.

Earlier I briefly mentioned the concept of an Emergency Fund. I must mention this because these things all go together: budgeting, emergency savings, retirement savings, and investments. While this piece is about budgeting, having emergency savings is arguably the most critical component. It protects your budget when life’s inevitable and unforeseen emergencies come crashing into you – some by your doing and some not. Ideally you eventually want three to six months or more saved. How do you build your emergency savings? You budget for it!

Who should budget? Everyone should. There’s a saying out there that you should run your personal finances like a business and when you think about it, each of our households are mini-businesses where some are getting steadily wealthier and others are going further into the hole.
If you’re an entrepreneur and have a business idea, or you’ve already started your business, you should have a budget because the control of your capital and expenses are critical. Everyone should do it if even just to avoid paying the banks overdraft fees. According Julia Chang from Forbes, Americans paid $34 Billion to the banks in overdraft fees in 2017, and this is something the banks count on.

One last important piece from FPU – maybe the most important. In the budgeting lesson Dave describes both budgetary ‘Nerds’ and ‘Free Spirits’. The former enjoys sitting down with the numbers and doing the budget while the other doesn’t and naturally lives with reckless abandon. I’m absolutely and proudly a Nerd and enjoy going over the numbers, making everything balance and doing the planning. If you’re a Free Spirit this might all seem unnatural for you, at least initially, and you may need someone’s guidance and encouragement. Ultimately, it goes back to your drivers and goals. What are you pushing for and how badly do you want it?

So that’s my take on budgeting. I hope you were able to get something beneficial from this. Again, there many, many financial writers and teachers and FPU is but one. It has worked well for me and I recommend it. However, for you someone else or something else might work better. I also enjoy reading Michelle Singletary’s work for example.  No matter who you learn it from though, the principles remain – you want to make smart and wise decisions with your money.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you enjoyed it, you might also enjoy:

•  Your net worth, your gross salary, and what they mean
A look at the Law of Compounding Interest and why you should care
The difference between being cheap and frugal
We should’ve bought Facebook and Bitcoin stock: An investing story
Challenging misconceptions and stereotypes in class, household income, wealth and privilege
My personal experience with Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball revisited
Mother’s Day 2017: One of my mother’s greatest gifts, getting engaged, and avoiding my own personal fiscal cliff

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How To Create The Perfect Home Office Space

Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. As an entrepreneur working from home having quality office space is critical as it can help maximize your output. The following contributed post discusses creating the perfect home office space and in entitled, How To Create The Perfect Home Office Space.

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Photo by Georgie Cobbs on Unsplash

If you’re an entrepreneur working from home then it is absolutely essential you have an office space that both inspires and motivates you to do your best work. Often people will work from whatever space they have available, but this can be damaging to your overall productivity and the level of work you produce.

With this in mind, here are 6 different ways to create the perfect home office space:                             

     1.  Use A Colour Scheme That You Like

If you’re able to decorate the room that you’re designating to be your office, decorating it in a colour scheme that you like will encourage you to spend more time there. There is nothing worse than sitting in a room that is poorly decorated, or that is designed in a way you absolutely hate. Not only does it have you worrying about if you’ll ever get around to renovating, but it puts a dampener on your whole mood.

    2. Have Wall Art And Decorations That Inspire You

Accessorising your office is not a necessity, but it can definitely help inspire you on a day to day basis. The little touches you make will truly make the office yours, making it space you’re happy to be in for up to 8 hours a day. A popular way to decorate an office among entrepreneurs is to create a wall of different sized, motivational prints, something which looks incredible when done properly.

   3. Ensure You Have A Large, Sturdy Desk

Having a desk is important in a home office, but ensuring its one that can take at least 8 hours of work each day is absolutely essential. There are lots of good desks available on the high street, but if you want to something that suits your working style, you could try creating your own our of various different materials including wood and steel.

For more information on using steel, you can visit Wasatch Steel online steel sales here.

   4. Make Lots Of Space For Storage

Chances are that working from home will mean you’ll have lots of bits and pieces you’ll need to store. Whether they’re notes for conference calls, old invoices or stock and merchandise – storage space is incredibly important to the look and feel of your office as it means you’ll be able to keep everything neat and tidy. You know what they say, a tidy office makes for a tidy mind!

   5. Have A White Board To Note Down Creative Ideas

You never know when inspiration may strike and although jotting down ideas in a notebook is perfect, having a whiteboard handy to plan out your ideas beforehand is a great way to encourage creativity. It can be used to put together lose plans that can in the future be turned into official notes in your notebooks, avoiding wasting paper and making your office an eco-friendly space!

Do you work from home? What key features do you have in your home office? Let me know in the comment section below?

How To Bootstrap Your Online Business

Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. Starting any business is an ambitious, both a potentially rewarding but also a perilous feat. Online business are more prevalent now than ever before, and there are a separate set of considerations for starting and online business versus a traditional bricks and mortar business. The following contributed post is thus entitled, How To Bootstrap Your Online Business.

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Image Credit

When it comes to starting an online business, there’s no doubt that it can be an expensive thing to get up and running. With so many things to have in place, it can be quite off-putting and you may wonder if it’s even financially possible for you to start an online business without taking out loads of cash loans.

The good news is, it’s completely possible to do it and when you’re just starting out it’s actually advisable to bootstrap until you know it’s something that’s actually working because you don’t want to invest a ton of money into something that simply doesn’t work and then you end up losing everything you put into it.

In this post, we’re going to give you some tips on how exactly you can bootstrap your online business.

Realize that not everything needs to be brand new:

Especially when starting an online business, then one of the main things you’re likely going to need is a computer, and although it can be tempting to buy the latest model with all the bells and whistles, this is something that will eat into the costs of starting your business, so you need to shop around and you’ll soon see that you can actually pick up great things like computers and other things you need by buying second hand. The fact that it’s second hand doesn’t mean it’s going to be any less of a good quality machine – you can either buy direct from someone who’s selling something because they never really used it or you can buy a refurbished item that’s basically the same as a brand new one, but for a fraction of the cost.

Avoid bright shiny object syndrome:

Bright shiny object syndrome is something that affects many people, and business owners are pretty badly affected by it – especially since you’re going to be excited about starting your business, it can be difficult to avoid buying all the things you think you need, but that are actually nothing more than a distraction. To avoid this, you need to discipline yourself and keep things simple within your business. Allow yourself to get clear about what things you actually need for running your business and just stick to those – you can always add new things on later if you need to.

Learn things yourself:

One of the best things a business owner can do is outsource all the things they don’t enjoy and that they aren’t particularly good at, but in the beginning if you’re trying to bootstrap, then you need to be able to learn these things for yourself. Sure it may take a bit of time and mean you’re working a lot, but even when you come to outsource these things later, they can be useful if you already know how to do them and have to step in for a day or teach someone else how to do them.

Have a plan and stay focused:

As a business owner, failing to plan is planning to fail so it’s super important that you make yourself a clear plan and stick to it so that you don’t get distracted by thinking you have to do all the things and get every shiny new thing out there.

Expanding The Empire – What You Need To Know About Business Acquisitions

Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. In addition to growing organically, businesses can also grow by acquiring other smaller businesses. There are positives and negatives when acquisitions occur. The following contributed post is thus entitled, Expanding The Empire – What You Need To Know About Business Acquisitions.

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Every entrepreneur dreams of making their empire bigger and better than ever. While there are many different ways to achieve this goal, acquiring a smaller business is perhaps the most efficient of all. First and foremost, it provides a shortcut by allowing you to inherit the existing brand, equipment, and innovations. Secondly, it enables you to grow your empire without impacting the already successful business that you’ve built from scratch.

Global giants such as Nike, Apple, and Microsoft acquire small businesses on a regular basis. Sometimes those brands are incorporated under the umbrella, and something the products are repackaged as a part of the main brand. Either way, if it’s good enough for the big players, it’s certainly good enough for you. Nonetheless, if you’re going to expand the empire in this manner, it’s vital that you do it in the best possible fashion. The following tips will allow you to make it happen by avoiding the pitfalls and focusing on the positives.

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Know Exactly What You’re Buying

Buying out another business isn’t something you do on a whim. There will be solid reasons for wanting to take on this company. This could revolve around a love of the products, especially if there is a potential for them to bolster your own services. Or perhaps you love the brand image and have ideas to take it to the next level. Either way, it’s imperative that your acquisition includes the physical and intellectual assets that you crave. Experts at De Bruin Law Firm offer a specialized service in acquisitions and mergers to ensure that things go to plan. Purchasing a venture that isn’t as it seems would be a nightmare.

It’s equally important to understand the finances behind the business, as you may be forced into taking on the debt from the previous owners. The legalities and practicalities behind purchasing a smaller company are fairly complex. This is why you must never rush into the process. This is especially true if the company has been listed on a business exchange platform. After all, there could be a reason for selling that would discourage you from completing the transaction. Due to the financial implications involved, extensive research is a must.

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Know Whether It’s The Right Fit

There are literally thousands of great companies that have either been listed or would be open to being bought out. However, that doesn’t mean every option is right for your empire. In fact, the harsh reality is that only a small percentage of prospective acquisition will be worth your time and money. Patience is a virtue when scouting potential businesses to purchase. Even a company that seems like the perfect fit at a glance could have contrasting goals and values. Essentially, it’ll only work out when the two companies can successfully merge and work together.

With this in mind, you must consider the target demographics and the various aspects of daily operations. If the companies are at odds with each other despite being closely related in some areas, it’ll be a smarter move to look elsewhere. This proactive planning will also make the transition far smoother when you announce the plans to your current team. It is particularly noteworthy if the merger will affect them. Of course, you might want to acquire an operation that has no real link to the current business. This is absolutely fine too, but it should at least be a venture you can feel passionately about. Otherwise, the lost enthusiasm can lead to negative outcomes.

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Know Whether To Keep The Brand

Once you’ve acquired a company, there is a huge decision to make regarding the brand. You can either persist with the brand as it is, or merge the assets and transfer them to the existing company that you’ve built. Either way, you’ll need to put some personal touches on things. Nevertheless, the impacts created depending on the chosen pathway are huge. When opting for the former, you may want to relaunch with new logos and artwork to underline that this is a new era. This can drum up excitement from loyal customers as well as new demographics.

If you are going to simply incorporate the products and services as a part of your company, there are many ways to do it. Some companies like to present the acquired company as a sub-brand under the umbrella of the company. Others prefer to simply rebrand the products and services as though they are a new addition. There is no one right or wrong way to do things. Ultimately, you just have to do what feels right for your company and brand. As long as your decision is calculated and built to gain the best long-term results, you should be just fine.

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Know What You’re Doing With The Staff

As you already know from your existing business endeavors, the importance of a strong team cannot be emphasized enough. This is especially true when acquiring another business for your empire. Attracting the best new candidates is vital. Still, you should also existing employees the opportunity to continue their work for the company. Even if the company is to be relocated, some staff members may be willing to follow. Alternatively, remote-based positions can open doors that were previously closed. Aside from satisfying your human responsibilities, it’s the perfect way to retain info and insight into the workings of the operation.

Whether taking on new employees or persisting with the existing ones, you need them to be on the same page. The strong recruitment process should be followed by smart onboarding procedures. The idea is to make new members feel included. Simple ideas like having their desk and name badges ready can make a big impact. Going forward, staff training and team building enable you to sculpt the team into the shape that you desire. This is the best way to build upon the success of the old regime while still stamping your authority on procedures too.

Know The Numbers

Every major business decision should be made with financial elements in mind. Completing an acquisition is only worthwhile if the numbers add up. Experts at KPMG offer the full auditing services that you need to complete before making the transaction. This includes weighing up every financial aspect on the books to ensure that the buy is worthwhile, and in your best financial interests. The recent performance needs to be weighed up against the ongoing expenses and various other features. Given the significance of the decision, getting the company accountants involved is also advised.

It’s impossible to predict the future, especially if you are planning to make wholesale changes to the acquisition. Still, making forecasts is the only way to gain any real confidence before making the purchase. Without those predictions, every action is made on pure speculation. While it could work in your favor, it’s likely that it will backfire spectacularly. On a similar note, you need to consider the implications that the initial outlay and ongoing expenses can have on your business and brand. If the new acquisition is going to pile the pressure on your empire, it’s not a risk worth taking.

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Know The Competition

As was the case when launching your initial business empire, it’s not all about your company. The marketplace will inevitably be bursting with competing businesses, and it’s vital that you pay respect to them. Apart from anything else, a deeper understanding of the market could potentially open your eyes to a far better solution. More importantly, when you do make your decision, this market research will help you plot your next moves. After all, the marketing exploits following the merger are almost as crucial as every other element combined. Without an appreciation of the competition, it’s impossible to show clients why your new business is the right choice.

It’s not uncommon for bigger empires to take on several smaller companies and merge them together in one larger acquisition. If this is to be the path that you choose, be sure that all of those associated firms fit together. It’s likely that you will join them together and rebrand them as one, either as a new entity or by incorporating one into the other. Once again, the research you’ve done into the competition (branding and products) will give you the best shot at doing something bigger and better. Whether this includes wholesale changes or leaving things largely unchanged is entirely up to you.

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The Final Word

Acquiring a business to form the latest part of your empire can unlock a bigger and brighter future, but only when it’s done well. While there are a lot of issues to consider, it’s imperative that you complete those tasks now rather than later. Essentially, failure to prepare is preparation to fail. With the right research into the finances, performance, and long-term prospects will work wonders. If those findings show that the company will fit in with the existing operations, you can be sure that this will be a long and successful partnership. If that doesn’t signify a successful acquisition, then what does?