Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Promoting Your Business Yourself Or by Using a Marketing Firm

Marketing a business is something you have to do in order to compete in the business world these days. It doesn't matter how big your business is, you will need to market yourself and your business in some way. Talking about your business and attending business networking events will help you to get your name out there. A well promoted website will also benefit you but there comes a time and place where you will need to do that little bit more and either employ your own marketing people or hire a marketing agency.

A marketing agency will assess how your business works, the employees perception of the business and the businesses strengths and weaknesses. The marketing agency will then use this information combined with the goals you want to achieve to work out which marketing techniques would be best applied to your business. For a fledgling business, promotion and the creation of brand awareness maybe key but an already established medium sized business with a client base, a different approach might be needed. A marketing firm may recommend market research and direct selling in order to find out what the clients want and deliver it to them. This is the strength of good marketing companies and this is the reason you can use them for a range of services.

There are a range of various marketing skills that can be utilised by a business. Many of them can be simple to use and do yourself by utilising social networking and book marking websites but this sort of marketing is great as it is easy to do and allows you to communicate with your customer base for little or no expense. However to make a real impact you need to look at a combination of online and offline marketing methods exploiting any medium you can to your advantage.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

How To Start Investing With Just $100

By Meredith Picray, University of North Florida

For a young adult, getting started investing on a tight budget might seem like an intimidating task. Is it possible to get started as an investor with just $100? Of course it is. You just have to know where to look.

As a 20-year old student, I am just beginning my own investing journey. Did I want to look into stocks and invest in whatever was the current fad? Perhaps I should consider something long-term such as a 401(k) or an individual retirement account. Where to start? What to look for?

What to Look For

The first thing I learned on my journey was the importance of diversification; lowering your risk by spreading your money across various investments. If you choose the stock market as a way to invest, it is not the greatest idea to put all of your money into one stock that could drop in value at any moment.

Where to Start

A good place to start is to find a mutual fund that has a low minimum investment required. Mutual funds pool investors' money and invest it according to that group's level of risk tolerance, favorite industry sector or various other types of criteria.

There are many such funds that would fit into a young adult's budget.

Search the Internet
A quick search on Yahoo! yielded over 200 funds with a minimum starting investment requirement of under $250. That shows how just a little research can get even the smallest investor started in the stock market. Unfortunately, many of these funds are not as established or as well known as others, so you should check their past performance carefully and ask more experienced investors for opinions to judge their worth.
Invest in your employer
Always research the investment options at your current place of business because there could be some great opportunities right under your nose! As a part-time employee at Starbucks Coffee, I am offered stock options and a 401(k) plan. Many companies offer these benefits after a mere 90 days of employment with the company.
Not working? Try a part-time job
For a college student or a young adult starting out, a part-time job could be a great way to get extra money and to start investing. Employee benefit plans allow you to start investing without dealing a huge blow to your bank account. For example, Starbucks allows its employees to invest up to five percent of their paychecks into stock options and the company matches the invested amount.
Set up direct deposits to an IRA
Not being able to “see” a portion of your paycheck that is automatically placed into your account makes it easy to start investing in an IRA. Check with your local bank to see what investments they offer. Bank officials can explain the long-term benefits of opening an Individual Retirement Account or IRA.

Something For Everyone

So, as you can see, it is entirely possible to start investing on a budget of just $100. You just have to decide whether you want to see immediate results or if you are interested in something with more long-term benefits. There is something out there for every type of investor. All you have to do is decide what's right for you!


How To Avoid a Recession

Policies to avoid a Recession
1. Cutting Interest Rates. Recently, the Fed cut interest rates by 0.75% a big stimulus for consumer spending. Amongst other things, lower interest rates reduce mortgage interest payments, giving consumers more disposable income.

2. Freeze on Subprime Mortgage Rates. There is a 5 year scheme to freeze subprime rates, preventing house repossession.

3. Tax Cuts. Cutting taxes increases consumer disposable income. But, will people spend if they are nervous about the future?

4. Increase in Government Spending. Higher government spending is another way to stimulate the economy. The US has not announced much in this area. They are hampered by budget deficit and preference for tax cuts.

5. Devaluation. The devaluation of the dollar is not particularly a policy, it is something that is just happening. However, the weaker dollar is boosting the US export sector and could help avoid recession.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Seven steps to overcoming procrastination

* Procrastination is a big business killer
* Avoiding the job often takes up more time
* Grow your own: more Business owner

IF YOU'RE constantly leaving work to pile up on your desk, there's a very good chance you might just be on the avoidance treadmill.
Procrastination shouldn't be a long term strategy, but sometimes we all treat it as though it is.
It happens to the best of us. And we rationalise our action, or lack of action in this case, in so many ways.
The harsh reality is that procrastination is just a nice way of saying avoidance. Why do we avoid things? Simple - because we don’t enjoy them, or because they take us out of our comfort zone.
So instead of succumbing to the dreaded beast – try these tips for overcoming procrastination:
1. Be honest about why you are avoiding the activity.
Is it fear, is it that you don’t get on with someone, is it because you have to deliver bad news and you’re not sure how to go about it?
2. Commit to doing it at a certain time.
I usually do the things I'd prefer to avoid in the morning, so they are out of the way.
3. Prepare!
If you need to write yourself a script, do it. If you need to have absolute quiet, switch off the phones for a couple of hours. Whatever it takes – set yourself up for success.
4. Just do it!
5. Reward yourself when you are finished.
But only when you are finished. Go out for coffee afterwards, or just take a break.
6. Appreciate the feeling.
See how good it feels to get something done that would normally sit in your in-tray for ages.
7. Consider whether you should actually be doing this job.
There are some things that we just aren’t suited to, or that we don’t have the expertise for. If the things you avoid fall into this category, consider outsourcing them to an expert.

House prices keep falling

HOUSE prices on average fell again in the final three months of 2008, a third straight quarterly decline, new data shows.
Despite cheaper mortgages and greater incentives for first home buyers, prices of established homes on average fell 3.3 per cent in 2008.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics house price index released today shows average house prices in Australia's capital cities fell by a further 0.8 per cent in the December quarter. Economists had expected a 1.0 per cent decline.
The worst hit cities during the quarter were Melbourne (down 1.7 per cent), Brisbane (down 1.2 per cent) and Perth (down 0.9 per cent.)
Over the year, Perth prices fell 6.7 per cent, while Sydney and Canberra prices were both off 4.1 per cent.
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is widely expected to cut its cash rate again by at least 75 basis points when its board meets for the first time this year tomorrow.
The central bank slashed the rate by 300 basis points between September and December last year in attempts to stave off a recession.
The Federal Government also doubled the first home owners grant to $14,000 for the purchase of existing houses as part of last year's $10.4 billion economic stimulus package, and to $21,000 for newly built homes.

'Recession not inevitable', says Turnbull

RECESSION is not inevitable despite the Federal Budget heading for deficit, Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull said today.His comments came after Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Treasurer Wayne Swan earlier admitted the Budget would go into deficit, collapsing by $115 billion amid a growing global recession.
"I wouldn't say it (recession) is inevitable at all," Mr Turnbull said.
He called on the Government to make each part of its reaction to collapsing financial markets "effective" before repeating earlier criticism about the stimulus package delivered late last year.
Mr Turnbull also upped his direct attack on Mr Rudd, labelling him a "born-again socialist" who did not understand the financial crash.
"Over the holidays a lot of people read fiction," the Liberal leader said.
"It sounds like Mr Rudd spent his holidays writing fiction," Mr Turnbull said, referring to a lengthy essay written by the Prime Minister.
In the essay, Mr Rudd promises greater Government intervention and regulation in the market.
"His remarks about regulation are truly bizarre. From what I've read of his essay it sounds like a feat of imagination," Mr Turnbull said.
"There should always be more good regulation and less bad regulation.
"The critical thing is getting regulation right."
Mr Turnbull reiterated a long list of Coalition plans to attack the economy including wide-ranging tax cuts.