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Using Apps to Help Your Business

Category: Business | September 18, 2013 | 3 Comments

Before you consider having an app developed for your company think about what issues that app will solve. You need to be decide exactly what you want out of an app or you could wind up with an app that does nothing for the growth of your business.

Apps can be used to help solve business issues and can be useful when they are designed with both the end user and the business owner in mind. There are several issues that every business encounters and can be resolved with an app that is well designed. For businesses that use a mobile phone credit card reader there are also mobile apps that can help grow an existing customer base when used with social media.

For many retail businesses that are on the New York Stock Exchange or NYSE, slow moving stocks can be a problem. Mobile apps can help to overcome this issue by using direct marketing for products or services. Business mobile apps attract various types of users which are familiar with your brand and trust it. Mobile apps can help market slow moving products or services by using direct marketing to customers that most likely will use them. All that needs to be done is to update the app with a promo advertising a discounted price i.e. 25% off when another item with a coupon is used. This only takes seconds to make and your customers will consider purchasing the product which will helps you clear your inventory.

Slow selling days can be a huge hindrance to a business and greatly affects their bottom line. This is one reason why businesses need to continually attract customers to help their business flourish. One tool that has proven to be effective are push notifications. These can be sent out the day before or even on your slowest selling days to entice shoppers to your website or store to boost your sales. Be as creative as you want since push notifications as well as promos are free. They appear in front of the user as a text message and direct them to your company’s app to get more information.

Apps can also be used for customer loyalty programs that keep customers coming back for the rewards. They can be set up in your business app and ensures that customers will never lose their rewards card. The customer is also reminded to use it via push notifications.

If you need to grow your customer base then be sure to include social media sharing in the app. All you need to do is include your special or promo on a social media site such as Facebook. Putting your app on this type of social media site means that it will be viewed by at least 200 people. This is guaranteed to grow your customer base.

So in the end be sure you thoroughly understand all the problems your business has before you go to a developer to have an app created. Once the developer understands all of the problems there are within your business, they will be able to create an app with all the features you need.

Are shares a better bet than savings?

Category: General Investing, Personal Finance | September 13, 2013 | 4 Comments

With the recent further slump in savings interest rates, you can’t rely on a savings account to make you a decent profit. Increasingly, investors are choosing to invest in the stock market in an attempt to get a better return on their money. Shares are traditionally seen as a high risk investment but there is a huge variety of shares available and they all have different risk profiles. If you are considering investing in shares then the following tips will help you to get started.

What is your risk tolerance?

The first step for any budding investor is to work out the right amount of risk to take on. Risk tolerance is a very personal thing and you will need to take the following factors into account:

  • Income (in particular your expendable income). The more free income you have, the more you can afford to invest. You should never invest more than you can afford to lose – remember even low risk investments can lose you all of your capital and interest. Click here to see the software used by the professionals to manage risk.
  • Age – or proximity to retirement. Generally speaking it is considered wise to invest more aggressively (higher risk investments) when you are younger. As you approach retirement, your investment strategy should be increasingly conservative (predominantly lower risk investments).

What are shares?

Stocks and shares are financial instruments which, once purchased, mean that you own part of the company in proportion to your shareholding. Owning shares does not mean that you will have control over the running of the business but you will have a right to a share of the profits (if any) made by the company.

This share of the company’s profits is called a dividend and the amount to be paid is decided by the board of directors. Most well-established companies will pay a dividend which means that you will see some return on your investment even if the share prices aren’t great. The dividend will normally be quoted as the dollar amount to be received per share held.

There are 2 main types of shares:

  • Common shares – these are the ordinary shares that most people buy when they invest in a company. A common shareholder will have the right to receive      dividends and also vote on some corporate issues.
  • Preferred shares – If the company pays out dividends or liquidates then holders of preferred shares will receive payments as a priority over common shareholders.

How risky are shares?

When you buy shares, you are buying an actual slice of a company. For this reason, the risks attaching to particular shares are as varied as the companies themselves. It is unrealistic to expect an immediate return from your shares and your investment should be for the long-term. Professional asset managers use software such as that provided by www.Sungard.com/APT/ to manage their investment risk.

If you are looking for a lower risk investment then you should choose to buy shares in well-established companies with a proven track record. Generally speaking, good companies make better profits. Even professional investors sometimes suffer massive losses on the stock market as the recent cases of Northern Rock and Enron have shown. However, it is quite rare for big companies to go bust. Their share prices may fall in the short-term but they will normally rise again given time. The most difficult decision for you will be whether to cut your losses and sell or wait for the share price to increase again and hopefully turn a profit.

If you would like to make some higher risk investments (and hopefully a greater return) then you may want to consider purchasing shares in some of the following:

  • Invest in less well-known companies including start-ups or less well-established businesses. This is more risky but will provide a greater return on your investment if the company is successful. You should note that whilst the potential return is greater, the chances of actually receiving that return are lower.
  • Invest in businesses abroad. The location of a business always affects the risk attaching to that company’s shares. In the worst case scenario, as we have recently seen in Greece, the value of a whole country’s financial instruments can be devastated.
  • Invest in a higher risk industry. Technology companies are considered to be a much riskier investment than buying shares in other more well-established companies.

Do you have any shares in your investment portfolio? What shares will you buy?

Green Investing – Doing Good for Earth (and Portfolios)

Category: General Investing | September 5, 2013 | 7 Comments

Our World has gone through a massive change since the Industrial Revolution – we have witnessed technology that have forever shaped our lifestyles. Fast forward to the Information Age and we, too, can see how computing has become integral in our daily lives. Now we’re at the forefront of the latest, growing industry that will become a staple for business (and investing): green technology.

The Western world has experienced the impact of large-scale production – mainly, pollution, which has caused an interest and push toward providing greener alternatives such as electric cars, lower carbon emissions, and a reduction in plastic. The East is amidst an equally unique time because they are experiencing both industrial and information growth; large countries like China and India may have negative press about the pollution but they will soon find themselves flocking to green industries once they’ve accomplished their industrial goals.

Countries like Germany are leading the charge with their decree to end the use of fossil fuels by 2050. Tesla Motors have shaken the auto and oil industry with their well-received automobile. Solar and wind production has made leaps and bounds thanks to scientific discoveries.

In short: the age of green energy, industry, and lifestyle is upon us.

There are, as you could expect, many opportunities for investors to diversify their portfolio and build a nest egg that is bound to explode in profitability since we’re still so very early into the adoption of green technology on a global scale.

Some of these investments include:

·  Exploring the options set by Avacade Investments which offer the ability to invest in the planting of in-demand trees on protected plantations which are later harvested for high-end wood products; doing so encourages green business growth and keeps our air clean.

·  Providing microloans to individuals around the world (especially in third-world countries) that want to start a business, send children to school, pay bills, and other valuable activities which provides a nice return on the investment, helps individuals in need, and can find its focus on green initiatives if you choose that focus.

·  Consider becoming an eco-venture capitalist who provides the funding for companies entering the green industry; you can choose which businesses to fund, how much you’ll provide, and the amount on your return. Later on you may have access to early stock options since you were in with the business from the very beginning.

·  There are many, many companies that have pushed for green energy solutions which we’ve seen a wide adoption in areas such as lighting, energy control, and solar; their products are available to consumers and businesses which has spurred a multi-billion dollar growth in key areas of products we used on a daily basis. Investment in the companies (and manufacturers) behind these products are a sure-fire win.

Green investing will become one of the many new items to add to portfolios as we see the industry mature and expand through social/industry acceptance and advancements in technology. Now is the perfect time to explore the options available; not only will you do good for the Earth but you’ll do equally so for your growth and portfolio.

An Insight into Investment Strategies

Category: Personal Finance | September 3, 2013 | 5 Comments

There are many options for short term and long term financial investments that can offer you excellent returns. However some of them come with high risks that you need to be aware of.

Short-term investments can usually be recovered up to as quickly as a few months. Though the downside is the interest will be less than what you would typically receive with a long term investment.

Long term investments are beneficial because of their relationship between time and market volatility. Since the initial investment will last over a long period of time, it is not as vulnerable to the swings of the market, meaning there is a better chance profit.

The following are investment ideas that you should consider. If the right amounts of resources are used, they will secure you some type of financial stability.


Investment in Money Market funds

Money market funds are a stable short term investment. You can receive money back quickly as the shares can be sold at any time for their current price. The yield is also very competitive when compared with savings accounts that you can get from banks.

Such short-term investment also allows you tax savings, especially for those in the high tax bracket.  Companies like wonga.co.za provide payday loans in South Africa so that you can have the funds to make your small investment.


Do Your Homework

Before investing in stocks or in mutual funds, it is necessary to thoroughly research the market and select sustainable companies. Trading in penny stocks is also a safe strategy where you can reap significant profits. It is better to avoid funds that have high sales charges, as they can cut into your profits.


Investing in Commodities

You can invest in commodities, such as gold and silver and get good returns. This is especially true in times of recession, when the price of stocks and shares are likely to fall, but commodities continue to remain stable.


Investing in bonds

This is a viable opportunity for short-term investors, as it is both safe and steady. You can make investments in individual bonds by selecting them yourself or you can invest in a bond fund involving professional investors.

They have a research team for evaluating the best portfolio for you. Short-term bonds have smaller durations and are, in turn less sensitive to changes in the interest rates. You could also invest in bonds that have a short maturity period lasting only months or even days.


Forex Investment

This is a foreign exchange trading platform, where you can obtain returns from short-term investment. It involves buying and selling of currencies at the right time to make a profit. However, as there are some risks involved here, it would be a good idea to either educate yourself on the matter or consult with a professional before deciding to pursue this option.


Loan Participation Fund

This is a safe short-term investment option that is similar to a bank loan fund. The funds are invested in bank loans made to companies. In this case, the companies could be a risk for the bank in repaying the loan and hence, you can get a higher return for this kind of investment.


Category: Retirement | August 28, 2013 | 5 Comments

Previous to 2010, the age that was considered ideal for retirement was 65-years-old, but since 2010 Americans have decided that they need more time and that time has only lengthened in 2013.

When one considers that in 1995, 49% of Americans were adamant that they would retire on, or preferably before, the age of 65, you can see that times sure have changed – a recent Gallup survey (2,000 U.S. adults, 636 retirees) states that only 26% of the American work-force plans to retire by that time. You can learn more at Suncorp by clicking this link.

Statistics also suggest, though, that this change-of-heart within the American people only comes about in mid-life adults, as opposed to younger workers. This is, no doubt, due to an unfortunate reality-check that sets in as we get closer to the ideal retirement age. Jeffrey Jones, the Managing Editor of Gallup Poll, explains, “People who are very near retirement age in their 50s and 60s are looking at their Social Security benefits, 401(k) balance, their cost of living, medical costs and food costs, and have a better sense of what things might be like when they actually retire. They are more aware that early retirement might not be as much of a realistic option for people today as it was 30 or 40 years ago.”

Outside of the reasons that Jones indicated, there are a few others that contribute to the push-back on retirement age, which include:

1.       Americans Are Working Longer – Whether they either need to work longer in order to save, or want to work longer simply because they enjoy their jobs, Americans are staying in the work-force longer. A whopping 76% of the American work-force claim that they will continue working straight on past the typical retirement age – 36% stating that they will have to do so and 40% stating that they want to. Out of the adults surveyed by Galllop who stated that they remain in the work-force, 61% intend to work part-time and 15% will stay in full-time.

 One of the major factors contributing to the 76% is the level of annual salary – it seems that those that make more are more reluctant to bow out early with 49% representing those who are earning $75,000 or more. This 49% comprises almost the entire 40% who stated that they will stay in the work-force by choice.


2.       Medicare Eligibility Plays a Role – For right now, Medicare kicks in no earlier than the month an American turns 65-years-old, so that’s a major part of what set the retirement age initially. Anyone retiring before this age runs the risk of having to opt into private health insurance which results in substantially higher premiums paid. “One of the greatest retirement costs people face, even if they are healthy, is medical care and health insurance,” states Brent Neiser, Senior Director at the National Endowment for Financial Education in Denver, “You probably do not want to get out of a reasonable health insurance situation before age 65, because if you have a gap that needs to be filled, it could be very expensive.” 


3.       Social Security Retirement Age Increase – With the Social Security retirement age climbing and climbing, it may also play a role in the retirement push-back. It’s true that you can sign up for Social Security at age 62, but you will have your payments reduced unless you wait for your retirement to fully come-of-age. For those born in 1937 or earlier, that age lines up with the preferred retirement age of 65; however, if you’re one of the baby boomers this age has increased to 66 and it’s expected to climb even further for those born in 1960 or later to age 67.

Neiser further elaborates saying, “You are not tapping into the full potential of Social Security if you elect to claim Social Security before the age 66, because it is significantly discounted. Some people might call it a haircut, but that smaller amount adds up to thousands and thousands of dollars less throughout your lifetime.”

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