What is a “Small Business” Work Retreat?

It’s difficult to find the balance between work and your personal life in the startup phase of your business. You fear that if you step away for even a minute, the entire enterprise will flounder and fail. The truth is that there is a lot of risk associated with starting a business. And it could not work out. But you will never know for sure unless you put your whole self into it. However, that could lead to burn out.

Entrepreneurs have drive, but this can be what forces them into a state in which they are unable to enjoy simple pleasures, they end up innocently ignoring friends and family, and can’t ever relax. Walking the line between work and play isn’t simple, especially when there is so much to sacrifice on both sides.

This is where the “work retreat” comes in. It’s a chance for the owner to switch gears for a bit, use a different part of their brain, while remaining productive and checking things of his or her list. It’s a small business owner’s version of a vacation without the feeling of guilt and fear that if you aren’t growing, you’re dying.

Here are some things to plan for your “work retreat”:

Accounting with Professionals

If you outsource accounting, most of the time you’ll be communicating with your “guy” online. Look for qualified accounting services in Montreal to grow your business, while also giving you a reason to visit once or twice a year. Set an appointment to discuss ideas, plans going forward, or talk about anything that would benefit from a face-to-face.

Boosting Your Marketing

Marketing ideas require inspiration. Being out and about during a work “retreat” gives you a chance to see your potential audience, observe them, brainstorm ideas and more. Carry around a note-taking device and review your comments at the end of the day, hopefully coming up with something tangible by the end of the week like a campaign or a solution to the marketing block you are currently in.

Getting a Photo Shoot

A photoshoot is always a great excuse to get out to an exotic destination. Plan with a local photographer or bring one along to create some visual content that you can use for the upcoming months. You’ll be “working”, but still experiencing a different scenario than the one you have been stuck in for the last few months.

Finding New Suppliers/Retailers/Partners

Meeting face-to-face and being somewhere in person can really give you a leg up on your business. Whether it’s attending a trade show and looking for suppliers, or visiting potential retail locations, being “on the ground” can give you benefits that an online interaction won’t be able to make up. From feeling materials and seeing them yourself, to shaking hands with an important contact, making a trip can be a great way to combine both business and pleasure.

The day-to-day reality of owning a business is not always sunshine and rainbows. There’s a lot of grinding and a lot of sweat. But by switching gears and going on a “retreat”, not only will your mind have a rest, your business will benefit from the inspiration and tasks that you complete while away.

4 Goals for A Great Retirement

When it comes to retirement planning, you need to do more than figure out how to increase your investments or scale down your expenses; you also need to set some meaningful goals.

Goal setting isn’t something you should do only when you’re trying to climb the corporate ladder or achieve your dream career. It’s something that will also serve you well if you want to enjoy a great retirement.

Without goals, retirement can be challenging. If you have to live frugally, then it’s rewarding to focus on something other than financial affairs. But goals are also important if you have a well-funded retirement, because they let you take full advantage of all the time you now have available.

Bearing in mind the value of goal setting when you retire, here are some worthy goals to consider when you’re planning your retirement:

Goal #1: Provide for your family after you have gone.

Besides creating a will, another way you can provide for you family after you pass away is to get burial insurance. This insurance not only covers the cost of your funeral, but it can also be used to pay other outstanding final expenses like credit card bills, legal costs, and medical expenses. Although the normal purchase range is between $5,000 to $25,000, you can buy coverage up to $50,000. If you review the guide by Policyzip entitled “How Burial Insurance Works,” which can be found under their section on Life Insurance, you’ll discover why this is an affordable way to take care of your last expenses.

Goal #2: Correct Financial Miscalculations

While you can correct financial miscalculations when you retire, it’s best, if you can, to correct them before you retire. Depending on the nature of the miscalculation, you may have more options because you’ll still have a salary. For instance, some financial miscalculations might be not investing enough, investing in a declining sector of the economy, or not diversifying your portfolio.

Goal #3: Find ways to avoid letting your money sit idle

If you’ve been successful in saving a substantial amount for your retirement, you may feel that you’ve taken care of your financial needs. This is a mistake because if you let your money sit in a low-yield account, the rate of inflation will erode its value over time, and this means that it may not be enough to cover future expenses. Explore ways to invest your money, including buying some blue-chip stocks.

Goal #4: Share your wealth of knowledge and experience.

There are probably many things that you could share with others that would enrich their lives. Think about some of the things you have acquired a considerable amount of knowledge about and that others would love to learn. Once you’ve identified what it is that you would like to share, then find some avenues to express your ideas. For instance, you could create instructional lessons on Udemy, give talks at your local library, or start a blog. Depending on what you’re sharing and the avenues you use to share your knowledge, you could monetize your knowledge. For instance, if you’ve worked in the financial sector all your life, you could start a personal finance blog that offers your readers ideas on how to manage their money better. You could then monetize this information by using affiliate links in your blog posts.

To conclude, don’t make the mistake of thinking of retirement as retreating from the world to live a quiet life. If you adopt this attitude, you’ll end up bored and frustrated with all the time you have on your hands. Instead, make some meaningful goals to enjoy your retirement.

5 Ways to Enjoy Your Spring Break

Spring Break is just around the corner, and for some restless college students, it can’t come fast enough.  Having lived through tough exams, late night cramming sessions and last-minute revisions on papers and thesis, students are eager for a break from studying and from the cold of winter.  For many, heading to the tropical climes or straight to the closest beach is all they can think about.  And while they may have fantasies about fruity cocktails with little umbrellas, string bikinis and partying into the wee hours, the reality is that you have to pay to play.   For too many students, this means using their student loans to fund their trips.  As eager as they may be to frolic on the beach, the sobering fact of more student debt should give them pause.  With a little planning, Spring Break can be a time to refresh your mind and relax your body, catch up with friends and visit family.  Here are five ways to make your Spring Break a social and financial success.

  1. Make your travel plans early – You can save a lot of money and headache when you confirm your hotel reservations weeks before leaving. The earlier you book your rooms, the greater your discount is likely to be.

 

  1. Pool your resources -If you know you’re going to travel with friends, don’t forget to allow for extra luggage, sleeping accommodations and the like. Pool your resources and buy bulk shampoo, and other toiletry items you can divvy up among yourselves.

 

  1. Use a Groupon coupon – Rent a car and drive to your destination.  Driving will cost less than flying, and you can share the expenses with friends.  Not only will you have more control over your experiences along the way, but you can often find places where parking is free.  With a dollar car rental coupon you can save as much as $40 off a weekly rental, and even more when you apply a money saving Groupon to your rental fees.

 

  1. Set a spending limit and don’t exceed it. – Spring Break is a time to get away – but not go crazy.  Remember, what goes up must come down.  When you’re talking about your credit card balance, it can take a long time to pay off a few days’ worth of frivolous spending.

 

  1. Bring your student ID – Not only will you need it to verify your identity, you can get local discounts at many places along the way.

3 Tips To Improve Your Money Management Skills

If you’re not adequately handling your finances, you may be stressed out and struggling to keep up with your bills. Although your problem may be due to the fact that you’re not earning as much as you need, some of it may be due to poor personal money management skills.

There are some basic personal finance management techniques that you can quickly learn to begin to feel confident about your ability to manage your finances. Let’s take a look at how to get money for a financial emergency, how to create a budget, and how to build awareness around money.

1. How to get out of a financial emergency.

There’s nothing more distressing than doing your best to make your salary last through the month only to be blindsided by an unexpected high expense.

If, for instance, you notice one morning before you get into your car on your way to work that all four tires of your car need to be changed, then, on average, it could cost you as much as $600 because the cost of tires ranges from $500 to $700. While you might be able to postpone this for a few weeks, the longer you wait, the more you risk having a blowout on the freeway. Since you may only be earning about $300 to $500 a week, with that money going to pay your regular bills, you may be wondering how you’re going to be able to afford to buy new tires.

Fortunately, there are lending companies that will give quick cash loans you can pay back in installments. The approval process is fairly easy and you will receive your money fast. You just need to be employed, have a valid Social Security number, and have an active checking account.

  1. How to create a budget.

In order to create a budget, you need to take the following 7 steps:

  • First, find a system that works well for you. You may want to get a software program that makes it easy to set up your budget. Alternatively, you may prefer complete autonomy in how you organize the budget. In this case, use a spreadsheet. After you’ve opened up a spreadsheet program, put in column headings and then create cells for recording income and expenses and cells for calculating totals.
  • Second, establish what your net income is after taxes. You need to know exactly how much money is coming in every month from all your income sources.
  • Third, make a list of all the ways you spend your money each month.
  • Fourth, create a financial goal to spend less than you earn.
  • Fifth, make a plan to help you reach this goal.
  • Sixth, take a month to track your cash flow.  This first month should be focused on researching your budget numbers.
  • Seventh, keep on improving your budget. Every month, you will get a more realistic idea about your spending habits, and you will get numerous insights on how to manage your money better.
  1. How to raise your money awareness.

In order to improve your habits around money, you need to increase your awareness around money. Specifically, you need to become aware of where your money is going. In order to develop self-awareness, you need to keep track of  the following four things:

  1. How often you sabotage your money plan.
  2. When you confuse your needs with your wants.
  3. The times you succumb to peer pressure, spending money on things that you don’t really want but buy anyway because you are trying to fit in.
  4.  When you abuse your credit card, creating a debt that you won’t be able to pay off during the next billing cycle.

The best way to develop money awareness is to carry a small notebook with you. Simply writing each money mistake you make will build your awareness; and, over time, you will stop making mistakes.

In closing, if you find yourself struggling with money, you’re not alone. Millions of people struggle with money management because they were taught how to manage their money despite years of formal education. Fortunately, learning these three basic money management techniques just requires time and patience to master.

Making a Study

If you’ve got a spare room in your house, you’re enjoying a luxury few have! Rather than waste it by simply filling it with dusty boxes you never got around to unpacking, you can clear the room out and make it serve a more productive purpose that will make it an asset to the house.

Today we’re looking at the steps you need to follow create a study you can really work in, whether you run a business from home, or simply want somewhere you can work on your life admin in comfort.

The Blank Canvas

The first thing you need to do is make space. If you can, unpack any of the boxes you have stored there and give the items a home, or arrange to donate or dispose of them. If you’re making a study you need a place you can shut out the world and focus, and a cluttered environment actually creates stress, rather than promoting calm.

If you need to keep some of your clutter, or don’t wish to permanently get rid of furniture you’ve cleared out of your nascent study, you might consider considering local storage facilities. byStored storage in London offer additional services like the free collection and delivery of your stored items that mean you don’t have to worry about actually driving your boxes and furniture to the storage facility can get on with the important business of decorating your new study.

Decoration

If your room is large and well lit, decorating it with pale, restrained colours may make it appear bland. If you’re not trying to make a strong statement with this room, and simply want somewhere you can focus, this may suit your purposes. If you’re trying to stamp a little more personality onto this latest addition to your home, it’s worth picking out one wall (likely the one facing the largest window) to feature a more vibrant colour, or a strongly patterned wallpaper.

In a smaller room, bright colours can be overpowering so it’s worth going for lighter colours to create more of a sense of space, and placing mirrors to reflect light.

Equipment

When the paint has dried, you need to gather the necessary equipment, so you can do all the work you need to. A desk and chair are essentials, and it’s worth taking the time and spending the money to some you can use in comfort for extended periods without causing back or neck pain.

It’s also worth getting a printer so you can print important documents without using offsite facilities, and stocking a stationary cupboard as you would at work. If you need to make an unscheduled trip to buy more printer ink, that’s a chance to get distracted and not do the work you urgently need to in your new study.

How to Score the Best Deals on Gadget Insurance

So you have just splashed out on a brand new iPhone and want to insure it in case something happens, but don’t know where to start looking or what you should even be looking for? We can help. These days, many people look into insurance for their recently bought gadgets, what with ever increasing prices and so on. When spending so much money on a device that is really so delicate and easily breakable or lost, protecting it with insurance is really a no-brainer. We are here to help guide you through insurance plans and help you find the best deal on the market.

Where to find the best deals for your smartphone

iPhone insurance

The iPhone is a phenomenon in the tech world, and insurance for these expensive gadgets is so solicited that there are a number of plans out there made especially for them. One of these insurance deals is with Switched On, who offer deals from £4.50 per month. This is the most basic plan that includes accidental damage, liquid damage and cracked screens, the most common problems these days with smartphones. For theft or loss cover, though, you will have to pay a bit more for the ultimate cover plan, which includes everything you could possibly think of or need for £6.50 a month. This is one of the cheapest plans available, with yearly prices from just £54, and is well worth a look.

Samsung insurance

After the iPhone, Samsung Galaxy smartphones are one of the most popular on the market, and there are tons of deals out there specifically made and tailored for these phones. On websites like Money you can find a top 10 list of insurance plans detailing the prices and what exactly is included in the plan. Prices vary depending to what extent you want to insure the phone and what model you have. Here you can really get a good overview and compare the different deals available, and read the conditions of each individual insurance company.

What to look out for when choosing your insurance plan

Always remember to compare prices and policies before contracting an insurance policy, and read the small print. Many insurance companies have special conditions that may not be very clear initially, and if you skip the small print, you may enter into a contract that does not really suit your needs or cover you when you need it to. Other policies may have hidden fees, making the total price way more expensive than it seems, so be smarter than they are and do your research.

Remember that most insurers offer a few different plans. Love It Cover It even offer couple’s insurance! If you just want to insure your phone against water damage, screen breakages and accidental damage, this company offer incredibly good deals coming in at less than £60 a year for iPhones.

Why HR is Good for Your Business

HR is unfortunately one of the most overlooked and maligned departments in the business world. It’s not hard to see why, when looked at from the top down: the head of HR can never report to a CEO about the revenue they’ve brought into the business this year. They’re focussed on regulations and compliance, so they might find themselves in the position of having tell managers ‘no’ to ambitious plans and instead recommending longer and apparently less efficient courses of action.

Writing them off, however, is a path towards failure and low morale. A business that makes full use of its HR team, and goes to the best HR Executive recruiters for its hires will be at a huge advantage. Let’s look at why.

Employee Development

Run badly, an annual appraisal is simply an awkward conversation that employees have with their managers once a year. Getting it right, however is a vital way to identify problems with your business, find employees who could be tomorrows leaders and retain the talent that makes your business unique.

One of the things that drives employees to leave a business is a feeling of stagnation: if they’re not learning anything, and have nothing to aim for they’re likely to look around for greener pastures where they can develop more skills, more responsibilities and of course a bigger pay cheque.

A well run employee development programme uses regular appraisals to find areas where employees want to grow and allows them to develop those skills in the course of the year so they can achieve those aims. This keeps everyone engaged with your business and prevents attrition from dissatisfied employees.

It can also identify problem managers who may need some development and mentoring themselves. If a whole team is rating themselves poorly, and showing signs of unhappiness, that may in fact be a cue that something is wrong with management rather than the individual employees.

Communication

If you think of your C-Suite Executives as the brain of your business as your brain, and your different teams as limbs, HR is the nervous system that connects them all.

Good communication in your business is what allows everyone to work efficiently towards the same goal. Poor communication means wasted effort and resources, and resentment from employees who feel they aren’t being heard, and for whom the decisions coming down from above are opaque and incomprehensible.

Using your HR team to its full effect means your decisions are communicated clearly and people understood what they are doing and why, so they can work with you happily and productively!

How To Find More Time In The Day As A Business Owner

When you are looking to get a hold of your financial life as a business owner and fics your finances, it starts with find more time throughout the day. That is when you figure out ways to earn extra money, stop money-wasting habits and begin to tend to your financial garden. And it starts with being able to take back time from wasteful activities and give it back to your growing business.

Anyone who runs a business knows how much it can take over your life. So to be a successful business owner and to not burn out, you need to take control of your time. Running a restaurant or a mortgage company requires a lot of time, but it should not be all of your time.

Improve Your Business Tech

Whatever kind of business you operate, you are going to need to accept payments. That is where, if you upgrade to SumUp, you can cut your transaction time down and increase your customer satisfaction. SumUp mobile card readers can process an EMV credit card chip quickly and efficiently, leaving you with more time to provide quality customer service.

Get to Know Your Customers

You need a customer data repository that allows you to gather info about your regular customers and be able to serve them better. Knowing your customers better will allow you to tailor your service more easily and encourage repeat business. Since everything is digital these days, whatever software you choose to gather customer data, make sure it can link up with your credit card payment system, so can improve your transaction time.

Get Off Social Media (Too Much)

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter can be great tools to stay in touch with family and friends or to keep up on important news, but they can also be enormous time wasters that suck away your productivity. While they can be effective marketing tools for your business, you need to have the right scheduling software and content creation services to make sure that you are using them effectively and efficiently.

Scrolling through Facebook, staring at videos and your friend’s kid can be a time suck and it even can affect your mental health. Studies have shown that hours spent on social media can lead to depression and anxiety in vulnerable people. Suffering from those effects can be even more devastating after all the lost time and productivity.

Limit The Netflix During Leisure Time

Binge watching your favorite shows can be fun, but over enough time, it can really eat into your time with family and your brain function. Your sleeping time is valuable for restoring your body after a hard day of work and as a way to stay healthy. When spending too much time in front of the flat screen takes away time that you could be building skills and hurting your sleep, you know it is not worth it. This will give you more time to devote to your business.

When you are more engaged in your business, your profits will grow and you will find more productive things to do with your leisure time.

How to Confidently Invest in Forex

Forex, short for foreign exchange market, had gained momentum in the past few years. Previously Forex was traded mainly by large companies or those with experience and understanding of the foreign exchange market.

What has stimulated this change? One answer is that average investors now have more information available to them than ever before. In addition, the internet has not only provided a wealth of knowledge but it has also made access nearly instantaneous.

Returns with Forex, although riskier than some other investments, can be high. But of course, not all Forex investors are as successful as others.

This may lead you to wonder, then, how to confidently invest in Forex so you can have success as well.

1. Educate Yourself

Whenever I lack knowledge about anything I usually follow the example of Hermione Granger in the well-known Harry Potter series. Granted, I don’t head to the library of a magical castle. But I do use other available tools to learn more about the subject.

Generally my method of educating myself is to look it up on my computer or smart phone. There’s no risk in learning about Forex, so read all you can.

Something else you must do is to have patience with yourself. You are most likely not going to learn how to trade Forex confidently overnight.

2. Get Help

If educating yourself about Forex doesn’t feel like enough, talk to a friend or somebody else you trust who has attained their investing goals trading Forex.

Another choice would be to hire an investment expert. This person should be educated in the field and usually works with investing daily. They will know all of the fine details of investing and can guide you as you delve into this new area of investing.

Obviously there will probably be a fee for their services. It can be worth it, though, in order to learn what you need to confidently invest in Forex trading.

3. Trade Virtually

A really great way you can gain confidence in Forex trading is to trade virtually first before trading in real-time. Choosing one that utilizes a robo-advisor can help you build your self-assurance and remove the guesswork.

There are some questions you should ask about virtual accounts that can help you. One is how long you can trade on the virtual account. For instance, if you have to start over with a new account every month it is harder to see progress.

Something else you could ask is if you can make the size of the demo account comparable to what you may actually be starting with. If the demo account is $100,000, as an example, but you only have $1,000 of real money to invest it isn’t very comparable.

4. Start Small

You could start with a small amount of money when you begin trading Forex rather than starting out risking thousands. Trading in this way is just one more method to help you confidently invest in Forex.

Furthermore, some people don’t have a lot of money to start out with. If you are one of them you may not want to risk your entire life savings on a high risk, high return investment. Instead, start small.

Despite the risks you can see that it is possible to confidently invest in Forex. Educate yourself, get help if you need it, trade virtually, and start your real account small and you will have a greater chance at building wealth for your future.

Day Trading Basics: Limit Order and Other Terms

Day trading is an excellent way to figure out how to come back from a terrible cublice job and embrace the real work of capitalism. The essence of capitalism is to acquire capital that will do your work for you. The return on capital is greater than the return on labor, so you should choose capital. Day trading, if you learn the proper strategies and techniuqes is a great way to get capital and put it to work for you.

Limit order is a term which day traders must be familair with. It is essentially and order to buy or sell a stock at a specific price. So, if you want to buy a stock, you can set your limit order to a set price and the order will only happen if the stock hits that price in the exchange. For selling, it is much the same thing. You set your price and the sell limit order will only be filled if the stock reaches that price. These do not guarantee execution of a transaction, but they ensure that a trader does not pay more than a pre-set price for a stock.

When you start out as a day trader, you need to understand terms and concepts like limit order if you want to be successful. Many traders out there start out without much experience in the market and they can get overwhelmed by how complex everything is. There is a stat out there that says 90% of traders lose money. That means that only 10% actually turn a profit.

That 10% has one advantage. They put in the time and effort to get good at day trading. They took classes before they risked their money and they learned strategies like looking for gappers in the early morning. Gappers are stocks whose share price is gapping up above its closing price the day before. These can represent a great opportunity for profit.

Also, when you take the time to learn strategies and attend day trading classes online, you can begin paper trading. That is where you trade virtual currency in a simulated market environment. It is a great way to pracitice day trading without risking any real money. Practicing in a paper trading environment can allow you to get a feel for day trading and the intracacies of risk management, without worrying about risking any real hard money. It is like a video game for day trading.

Once you spend time in a paper trading simulator, you need to work your way up to $200 a day in virtual profits. That is how you get to a level that is acceptable as a day job. Two hundres bucks a day is $52,000 per year. If you can do that in the real stock market, you have a solid place to start from.

But the key is screentime. You need to park yourself in front of monitors in order to learn about the trends and advanced charting that day traders need to understand. Once you get all that downloaded into your system, you can become profitable.