Archive | November 2016

Vital Questions to Ask Before Making Any Investment

investment-questionsMaking investments is something that everyone with a spare bit of cash should do. In fact, many people do it without thinking about it. If you own your home, it might not technically be an investment property. But it is a valuable asset that you can view as an investment. Beyond property, there are many other things to in which you can invest your money.

From gold to stocks and bonds, you have a huge range to choose from. Deciding how to invest your cash can be incredibly difficult. How can you know what is and isn’t a good idea? If you’re feeling lost, there are some essential questions to ask before you make any moves.

Is This the Right Type of Investment for Me?

The first thing you need to do is look at different assets you can invest in. You have a diverse range of things to choose from. Of course, you might consider the conventional investment opportunities like stocks, bonds, and shares. Then you might think about property and other popular physical assets, such as gold.

Beyond that, there are more niche areas you could consider exploring. Some people invest in art, while others buy jewelry. Every type of investment has its own risks and its pros and cons. You have to consider whether something is right for you on a number of levels. Is it something you will physically possess? Is it something you are able to fully comprehend?

Do I Understand How This Investment Works?

Making sure you understand at least the basics of an investment is essential. You should be able to explain to someone what your investment is and how it works. Perhaps there’s something you already have some knowledge about. For example, maybe you’re a realtor with some knowledge of  the property. However, many people look into investing with little knowledge of the investment they consider.

There’s time to learn, but you must make sure that you do learn. Don’t jump into investing in anything if you’re not sure what you’re doing. Of course, you may need some practice to help you get to grips with it.

As well as understanding general ideas, you have to have a firm grasp of individual investments too. For example, you should research a company if you’re thinking about buying their shares. You should make sure you know everything there is to know about a property before you buy it. You can never do too much research, and it will ensure that you get a good deal every time. Don’t get caught out by rushing into anything when you have time to think. However, you also need to know how to make quick decisions sometimes.

Do I Have Time to Manage This Investment?

Some types of investment require a lot more of your time than others. Take property, for example. If you decide to be a hands-on landlord, it could take up a lot of your time. The more property you have, the more you are going to need to tend to your tenants.

You will have to take care of maintenance issues, interview new tenants, and perform background checks. Of course, you could decide to use a property management company. But even then, there is some work involved. Other investment types might not require as much work. But some will need you to watch them carefully.

Is Now the Right Time to Invest?

Getting the timing right is important for any investment. Whether you’re considering a broad investment type or a particular investment, you need to know if it’s the right time. This requires you to be able to research or have someone who can do it for you.

Learn what indicates a good time to invest and what suggests it might be a bad time. For example, check out http://www.rpmqueensland.com.au/gold-coast-investment-property-now-looks-like-a-good-time-to-buy/. You can see some useful markers for when it’s a good time to invest in property. It doesn’t take much to find out whether it’s the right time to make an investment. Read some expert opinions and perhaps speak to an advisor to decide whether you should make any moves.

What Kind of Returns Will I Get on My Investment?

Of course, everyone wants to know how much money they’re going to make from an investment. You don’t want to go into anything without knowing how it’s going to benefit you. Firstly, you need to consider when and how you will profit from your investment. Will you get regular dividends?

Will you be holding onto an asset until its value increases and then selling it on? Are there any expenses you will have to balance with the income you receive? For example, if you buy an investment property, you need to make sure you’re going to make a profit.

Who Can Help Me Make the Right Decisions?

A lot of people can feel a bit lost when they first start investing their money. Fortunately, there are plenty of people who have been doing it longer than you. In fact, many people make investing their full-time career. You can find both free and paid advice that will help you make the right decisions.

If you want free advice, you can find plenty of blogs and other resources that are helpful. However, these will only give you general ideas of what you should do. If you want someone to help you make more specific decisions, you will need to hire a professional. For example, an investment broker can offer you advice on making the right choices.

What Are the Risks Involved?

As well as examining returns, it’s vital to consider the risks of any investment. Some investments are much more high-risk than others. However, these can be the ones with the best returns. When you start investing, you should decide how much risk you’re willing to take.

Most people don’t want to pay a high-stakes game unless they have a lot of money or no family to support. While every investment involves a risk of some level, you can choose not to make any perilous moves. You need to know the worst that can happen and how likely it is to decide if you want to take a risk.

Are There Extra Costs of Investing?

The money you want to put into your investment is just one side of it. There are often other costs involved that you need to consider. Sometimes, these costs may be obvious. For example, if you’re buying an investment property, you have to consider a range of fees.

However, sometimes you may not immediately think of what you might have to pay. There might be fees for setting up a brokerage account, for example. You may have to pay to have an asset held somewhere (for example, gold). These costs are essential to consider because they will affect your profits.

What’s My Exit Strategy?

Before you begin an investment, you need to know how to end it. You wouldn’t enter a room if you weren’t sure how you were going to leave it. It’s essential to think about when and how you’re going to leave an investment behind. When you decide to commit to an investment, you’re not doing it forever. You should think about setting some conditions for when it’s time to move on. Once you’ve set these conditions, you need to follow them. Don’t convince yourself that maybe you should hang on to your investment after all.

How Does This Investment Affect My Portfolio?

If you have already built up a portfolio, you need to keep it in mind when making new investments. It’s essential to put a new investment in the context of your existing ones. When you choose a new investment, it should lower the risk of your portfolio or raise its returns. Ideally, it can do both of these things at the same time.

There can be a little math involved in working these things out. If you sometimes struggle with that side of things, make sure you have an advisor on hand to help. Start building a portfolio using a guide such as http://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/05/060805.asp.

How Does the Investment Fit into My Goals?

Don’t forget that you want to work toward a goal or a number of goals with your investments. You’re not just investing aimlessly and seeing what will happen. You should have long-term and short-term aims to give you direction. Perhaps you are saving for retirement or building your child’s college fund.

Everyone has different things they want to achieve from their investment efforts. They also have different strategies they want to use to reach their goals. It’s important that you know what you want and how to get it. Before making any investments, you need to assess whether it makes sense for you and your portfolio. It’s important to be realistic and ensure that you keep a vision in mind.

No choice to invest should be made lightly. Always make sure that you take your time deciding whether an investment is right for you. Weighing the risks and rewards is essential to make an informed decision.

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Things To Consider When Choosing A Business Location

business-locationSetting up a new business is an incredibly exciting time, but it pays to be weary when choosing your location.It could potentially make or break your business so it’s important you get it right first time.

Survey the Area

Do a good survey of your proposed business location. For example, if you were opening a bakery you wouldn’t want to open it on a street with another two bakeries. The same applies to through traffic. If you find a nice cheap corner on the edge of a little-traversed street you’re not going to get enough customers to keep your business running because no one will be walking past. Make sure you set out with a clear business plan to help you along. Otherwise, you could end up losing the property you’re operating out of.

Use A Lawyer

If things do go pear-shaped regarding your property you need good lawyers to help you through it. They have fees of course but having their advice and expertise guide you through the process can save you so much more money in the long term, make sure you get yourself a great real estate attorney

Demographics

It’s not just the amount of people passing your business it’s the type of people. You need to make sure your business type fits in with the people around it. Setting up a designer boutique and placing it in a poorer area is a good example of what is likely not to work.

Parking

If you’re expecting to see a lot of customer footfall then it may be wise to ensure you have a good parking area. This allows customers to come to your business and park, opening up more sales possibilities.

Check On Government Ordinances

This stops you opening certain businesses in certain areas. Checking this out before you set up shop is vital. Business Zoning even applies when you’re running a business out of your home so you need to be careful, just check it out thoroughly before making any decisions.

Check The Building’s Infrastructure

You also need to check the building itself. It may not have the components you need to support your business, this includes electrical and air conditioning installations needed to support modern high-tech operations. Before committing to purchasing or renting a property perhaps hire a business analyst.  They can scour the building and check it has the necessary fixtures and fittings to support your proposed business.

Investigate Utility Costings

Only use a building that fits your business needs. If you purchase somewhere bigger you could end up having to pay for more electricity than you need, you may be responsible for janitorial services too which means having to clean a larger area. The same applies to rent, you could be renting unnecessary rooms, so only do this if you’re sure of growth. You could ask to see the previous year’s billing for the site and compare it with your costings to see if it’s tenable.

7 Top Tips For Buying Property

top tips.jpgBuying property can be a daunting task. There are many legal loopholes to avoid and you need to be sure the house is right for you before committing. Here are some simple tips to follow to make sure you don’t leave anything to chance and get exactly what you want.

 

Take your time. Do not rush, finding the perfect property can take time, make sure you allow a good few months to look around and feel comfortable with the market. Making that leap is a big commitment and if you jump at the first house you like then the perfect one which was three viewings down the line could go to someone else. Be patient and view widely.

If you can’t find a perfect property then why not consider building your own. This way you can get exactly the right amount of land and the house of your dreams built entirely to your specifications. The best thing is there are some great companies out there who offer some brilliant home and land packages.

Agree your mortgage first. There’s no point going out and about looking for the perfect home, finding it, and then learning you can’t get an appropriate mortgage to match it. It might even be worth speaking to an independent mortgage advisor first, this way you can get your questions out of the way and put to bed any niggling worries.

Ensure you negotiate the cost of all legal work upfront. This means you know exactly what you’re paying and the estate agent cannot surprise you with fees further down the line. It pays to shop around for a firm which offers an upfront payment. It’s also logical to do your research and each firm respectively, this means reading reviews and asking others to get first-hand experience, there are some horror stories out there.

Make sure you give enough time to thinking about your offer price. Remember, research is the key. Check on how much money similar properties have sold for in your area and plan accordingly. Sites like zoopla.co.uk can help with this.

Check the area is suitable. You might have found the perfect house but is it in the right area. Is it close to vital transport links? how far is your daily commute? Are there nearby amenities? What are the local schools like? These are all questions you need to decide on before putting an offer in. Your agent can help you with this but it pays to do your own research. Remember, the agent wants you to buy a home. You need to check certain things yourself.

Remember, from the date you exchange contracts you’re legally responsible for the building. Cover yourself and get home and contents insurance, you never know what could happen and it’s best to be covered just in case.

Buying a home can be a joyful and exciting task, but it pays to follow these simple steps just to be sure you aren’t missing anything vital along the way.

Find The Perfect Property Using This Practical Advice

perfect-propertyWhen you’re looking into buying a property, you should never rush the process. It’s a huge purchase that will last you for a long time, so make sure you get the perfect one. Certain aspects make some properties more appealing than others.

You also need to do your research when investing in real estate. Various factors can affect the value of property. You’ll want to try and buy low and sell high, so make sure a lot of thought goes into your decision. All in all, no matter what you’re getting a house for, you’ll want to ensure you get the perfect property. Here’s some practical advice to help with your search.

Search Everywhere

When it comes to finding the perfect property, you’ll need to carry out an extensive search. Use all resources available to you and consider all options. Start with your local area. You may notice attractive properties with sale signs outside. You could also talk to local real estate agents to see what’s available.

You should also turn to the website. Many sites list a range of properties with details on value and what’s in the neighborhood. Don’t just look into your own area- you may find a fantastic piece of property in other locations. Many sites offer real estate in valuable areas, so consider these options.

Looking further afield is particularly useful for investors. Buying in stylish locations can help you make a good return on your investment. Even when you’re looking for a home, it’s worth searching far and wide. You might just find your dream location.

Go To Viewings

Create a list of properties you’re interested in and make sure you view every one of them. You may be able to find a lot of information online and in brochures. But only a viewing can give you a real feel for the property and how it suits you.

Real estate agents will always offer viewings of their properties, so take advantage. Look around the house and check that everything is in order. You might also want to take a stroll around the neighborhood to see what it’s like. Look out for house investment risks such as dangerous areas and property damage.

A viewing also gives you a chance to ask questions. You might want to ask how long a property has been on the market and how many people are interested. Some agents may be willing to make some improvements to the property before selling it to you. Get as much information as you can and take notes on every property.

Consider The Value

Every property purchase is an investment, so make sure you consider the value. Even if you’re using it as a home, you may wish to sell it on at a later date.

Even if a house looks shoddy at first, you may want to consider how much improvement would cost. Many people buy run down homes for cheap and spend the money they saved on fixing it up. You can make a property much more valuable with some fixes around the house and garden!

The location also matters. Go online and find statistics about local amenities. You can also use sites like MyLocalCrime to find out about crimes in the area. Do your research to paint a better picture about the value of your property before investing.

3 Fantastic Methods To Keep Office Computers Organized

office-computersA little organization can go a long way in business. Knowing exactly where your files are when you need them can make your business more efficient. Decluttering the office can keep your employees more focused on their tasks. Of course, keeping your business neat and tidy also helps with your image to customers and clients.

But it isn’t just physical organization that matters. You should also keep everything in your business digitally organized. Since computers and business go hand in hand today, you’ll want to keep everything on your system in order. Here’s some advice to help.

Make Your Documents Digital

Rummaging through filing cabinets every time you need an important document can get tiring. Paper documents can also be easy to lose or get damaged. Of course, you also don’t want anyone stealing your files. That’s why many businesses today make their documents digital.

It’s easy to sort all your files using document conversion services. You can transfer all your paper documents to your computer in digital form. It’ll give you secure copies of all your files. They’re also easy to search through for whatever you need.

Keeping documents digitally has a range of benefits. You can keep as many copies of important documents as you want. It’s also easy to email all kinds of files to customers and business partners. Most of all, it keeps you organized. It’ll reduce the need for overloaded paper trays and filing cabinets.

Back Up Regularly

Keeping all your files on your network is helpful for keeping them safe and sound. But there are some risks. You’ll want to ensure your files don’t get deleted. You should also bear in mind that many cyber attacks target businesses. Ransomware, for instance, encrypts all your files and makes you pay to access them again. That’s why it’s worth keeping regular backups.

Documents aren’t the only thing that can be backed up. You can backup user accounts, computer settings, work files, and anything else on your system. It’ll give you a point of recovery just in case anything does go wrong. You’ll also have extra copies of files for safe keeping.

There are a few different ways you can backup your data. Physical backup using an external hard drive or USB stick can be helpful for taking your work elsewhere. But many businesses these days are using cloud storage services for security and accessibility.

Organize Files

Computers are capable of keeping hold of all kinds of data. With the large storage capacities available today, it’s hard to have too much data on your network. The downfall is it can be easy to become disorganized.

It’s useful to go through all files and sort them out now and then. Sort everything into folders to make them easy to find. You can also make certain folders hidden from general users. That way, you can keep sensitive data safe from employees.

Another useful idea is to give every worker their own folder to store their work. It stops people from losing their data or getting mixed up. Make sure you also encourage naming files appropriately. It makes them much easier to find using Windows and Mac search features.

What Does it Take to Make Your Business Sustainably Profitable?

sustainable-profitsSucceeding in business is always about making money. But for that success to last, those profits have to be sustainable. If they’re not, then you’ll find your success seeping away before long, and that’s really not going to help your business. This is a problem that many businesses have suffered in the past.

So, how can you make your business profitable in a sustainable way? There are a few key things that you should keep in mind when you are trying to achieve sustainable profitability. Read on to learn more about what it will take.

A Long-Term Strategy

First of all, your business is going to need a strategy that is appropriate for the long-term. If you don’t take into account where your business should be in five or ten years, you’ll struggle later on. Yes, the here and now is important. But focusing solely on the present is no way to make your business sustainably profitable.

Set some targets for the business, and be clear about where you want it to head and what you want it to achieve. Having something concrete and clear to aim for can help everyone in the business to focus and pull together. That could turn out to be hugely positive.

Clean Energy Policies

Thinking about how your business can become a bit more modern and forward thinking is important. One of the most important things of all is how your business uses energy. If you can use all your own energy, generated on-site, you will make your business sustainable.

You will no longer have to waste money on paying the big energy companies to supply you with the energy your business needs. So, think now about what you can do to use energy in a more efficient way. The first step should be to install solar panels or wind turbines.

Efficiency

Making your company efficient is another thing that matters a lot. When your business carries out tasks in an efficient and organised way, less gets wasted. And you can be sure that every moment and every resource is being spent correctly.

So, make it your mission to battle waste and get things done efficiently. Putting specific processes in place can help you to make your business more efficient. And this article on how processes increase agency profits could teach you something too.

The Ability to Adapt

Your business is going to have to be able to adapt if you want it to be profitable. That’s a simple fact. Businesses that fail to adapt to what’s going on around them always fail before too long. Don’t let that happen to your business. Remember, your business does not exist in a vacuum.

There are many different market forces and consumer demands swirling around you. And all of these things have to be taken into account when you are plotting the next step for your business. It doesn’t have to mean changing things constantly. But you do need to be able to recognise when it is time to shift and adapt.

Digital Transformation – The Critical Ingredient For Business Success

Digital transformation.jpegThe term digital transformation has been bandied about a lot in business circles for some time. Many companies think that it means using social media or software to organise a business. But the truth is that it involves a lot more than just that. Real digital transformation in your business includes culture too.

You have to be able to coordinate management and employees and change how your social structure thinks. Digital technology makes many working practices utterly obsolete. It also makes many positions obsolete. And for these reasons, you’re likely to face a good degree of resistance to implementing any changes you feel are necessary.

As we approach the end of this decade, it’s becoming more and more obvious that digital tech can’t be siloed. It’s spreading out into all aspects of business and transforming all lines of work. It’s key that you get your people on board, no matter whether you’re using apparel software for your clothing shop, or CRM for a bank.

Get Your Board On Board

The first step in making a digital transformation of your business is to get your board to sign up to the idea. But this can be difficult. Recently the AA, a car breakdown service, took its business digital.

One of the biggest obstacles the reformers faced come from the board itself. Many board members had been around for a long time. Few of them understood the magnitude of the changes in the digital economy. Some were operating on business models that were hopelessly out of date.

Reformers got board members to change their mind through their vision of what AA services could be like in the future. But it was tough. Engaging people on the board is difficult and explains why so many businesses have fallen behind in recent years.

The fact that board members don’t want to change is backed up by a report by research agency Organic. The agency found that 62 percent of employees feel that the biggest barrier to going digital is the company leadership itself.

The advice from movers and shakers in the AA is to break the problem down into chunks board members understand. Don’t try to sell sweeping changes all in one go. Instead, suggest changing smaller pieces of the business, one by one. Then try to build these changes into a transformative end product.

Culture Change

Technology and customer behaviour go hand in hand. When one changes, so does the other. It’s important, therefore, that customer’s needs are met during the transition. Just a few years ago, 72 percent of big clothing brand sales came from catalogues. Now, however, 63 percent come from mobile devices. Gareth Jones is the deputy CEO of Shop Direct. He says that apparel software has helped his company provide a better online experience for his customers. There’s more data and personalisation than was possible using paper.

His business knows that it is on to a good thing and it’s investing a lot of its money in new partnerships. There’s still a lot of work to be done, he says. But going digital has been critical for the shop’s success.