How to Deal With Emergency Situations Abroad Like a Pro

Travel Safe Travel Well

Who doesn’t love going on holiday? It’s a chance to get away from the routine of everyday life, unwind and relax, have new adventures and work on that tan. Planning your trip is a happy, exciting time, so the last thing on your mind is something going wrong.

Unfortunately in today’s world, terror attacks are on the rise giving us a stark reminder that anything can happen at any time. In addition to these types of dangers, you also have to think about the possibility of crime, falling ill and natural disasters.

While you can’t know if these things will happen to you, a little planning helps you be prepared if the worst happens, so you can cope like a pro.

Being a Victim of Crime

Having your money or passport stolen can be a nightmare when abroad. Unfortunately, tourists stand out and are targeted. If this happens to you, report it to the local police with as much information as possible. Depending on where you are, you may get a crime number to use with your insurance providers when making a claim. The next step is to contact the local embassy who can get you an emergency passport and advise on other situations.

If you are traveling with others, you have the safety net of borrowing cash and clothes from them. Traveling alone is a bit more challenging if you have everything taken. Your best bet is to always have a backup credit card or an alternative to have cash wired to you from a relative or a friend.

Don’t make yourself stand out by wearing shiny, expensive jewelry. Take care of your belongings at all times and don’t wander off, leaving your bag unattended. Make sure you have a picture of your passport stored on your smartphone. A smartphone like the Samsung Galaxy S7 can be used to translate a foreign language by using one of the handy translator apps.

A Terror Attack Happens

The chances of this happening are slim, but with the rise of extremism around the world, these situations are happening more frequently. If this happens in an area you are traveling in, stay alert to updates on the news and focus on staying calm.

Prepare by having your local embassy’s numbers stored into your phone and written down. Know basic phrases in the local language or have a translator app stored on your phone. Sign up to receive travel alerts to your phone. Signing up to the smart traveler enrollment program will keep you in the know about any current situations where you are and could arrange evacuation assistance when needed.

You Become ill

Being ill when on holiday can be awful, but if you are prepared, you can minimize the stress. Make sure you have any repeat prescriptions you may need as finding the same in a foreign country can be hard or even impossible.

Purchase medical insurance before you travel and make sure you have copies of the policy and ID cards within easy reach. Research where local doctors are in the area you are staying in and check travel forums for any insight to their reputation. Make sure you have all the relevant travel vaccinations to protect you against any local diseases.

 

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How PPI Claims And Compensation Have Affected The UK Economy

 

Payment Protection Insurance

PPI, perhaps the most high profile scandal in British financial history, has naturally earned its notoriety over the past few years since the reveal in 2011 that millions of British consumers had been mis-sold the insurance. With billions of pounds worth of compensation being paid out since, it has had a catastrophic impact on the UK. In this article we’re going to evaluate that very influence as we take a look at how ppi claims and compensation have affected the UK economy.

PPI: The History

Before we assess the impact that PPI had on the UK, let us first give you a succinct insight into its history.

PPI otherwise known as Payment Protection Insurance was sold alongside credit cards, loans and other financial agreements as a failsafe should a borrower’s income ever fall, due to them either being dismissed from their job or becoming so seriously ill that they were no longer capable of repaying their loan.

The insurance became increasingly prominent throughout the 90s and into the new millennium as lenders discovered they could add lucrative commissions onto PPI policies. As more and more financial intuitions began to exploit the protective policy for financial gain, a series of civil cases began to be contested in court whereby consumers claimed that PPI’s were essentially ineffective.

This culminated in 2011, when the Financial Conduct Authority officially released a public order stating that millions of PPI policies had been mis-sold to consumers and that they were owed compensation as a result.

It is believed that between the years 1990 and 2010 that over 45 million consumers were mis-sold PPI.

What It Meant For Lenders

As you can imagine such a demand for compensation would have a disastrous impact on any industry and that’s without considering the fines and legal fees each of the UK’s banks and lenders would have incurred as a result of mis-selling PPI.

The most recent total supplied by the Financial Conduct Authority, reported that since January 2011 that £32.9 billion worth of compensation had been paid out to consumers. To put that figure in perspective, that is over triple the £8.77 billion it cost the public to pay for the 2012 London Olympics.

However PPI is still prominent today, having an significant effect on the lending industry with Britain’s most high profile banks, Lloyds, Barclays, RBS, HSBC and Santander collectively setting aside a further £35 billion to cover the overall rising cost of compensation.

A Brief Boost

There is some evidence to suggest that PPI claims and compensation’s effect on the UK wasn’t wholly negative, in fact in the immediate aftermath it actually boosted the UK economy briefly.

In 2012, the country’s overall disposable income was at a low, amongst a rise in unemployment and the recession still looming over UK’s most prolific industries, many households were struggling to buy anything other than necessities.

However as bank’s began to compensate its consumers, household’s suddenly had an additional £2000 to spend on whatever they wanted. This impact was so significant that it actually led to the Independent Office for Budget Responsibility to up its estimate of real disposable household income by 0.5%.

A New Industry

Also the effect of PPI compensation has led to the creation of new jobs, specifically in the form of claim management companies.

Helping consumers to find out whether they are eligible for compensation or not, they hire customer service staff, complaint handlers, call centre executives and many more managerial positions.

Without the PPI scandal’s effect these businesses wouldn’t have been created and thousands of employees wouldn’t have been recruited. However as we approach the 29th August 2019, the PPI deadline, there is much uncertainty surrounding the security of these businesses and their worker’s positons.

There you have it, the exact effect PPI claims and compensation had on the UK economy. Damaging the lending industry, briefly boosting the economy and creating an entirely new industry, whether or not you consider its effect to be positive or negative you cannot debate that it has been vast.

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Using Social Insights for Business Strategies –Getting Started with Social Intelligence

 

Social intelligence is an integral part of business strategy, especially at present when social media is a major factor in any online marketing campaigns. It starts with listening to everyone who is mentioning your brand, products and/or services. These include customers, competitors, and industry experts, just to name a few.

Social intelligence allows you to better understand your customers, and allow you to make smart decisions when it comes to business strategies. You can achieve social intelligence by turning the social media big data into action and insights. It will be integrated into your business process and shared across all the company’s systems and departments.

Learn Social Listening

The first step of social intelligence is to learn social listening. You should be able to monitor social media for data regarding the company. This is done by tracking blog contents, Twitter, mainstream news sites, Facebook and other social networking sites, YouTube, forums, Flicker, message boards, and others.

By gathering data from social media, you will get better insights on how consumers and competitors view your company. It will also allow you to discover keywords and social trends.

Develop Social Programs and Policies

It is important that you develop social programs that are flexible. Just make sure that the right policies and standards are in place. These policies protect the employees and the brand. The social media policies should include what information can be shared and who can share them. Not only that, but also there should be a crisis escalation plan so that the company is prepared to handle any crisis in the future.

Turn Data into Useful Insights

Data is useless unless it has been analyzed. Social media measurement is more than just monitoring Twitter followers and Facebook likes. You should establish key performance indicators so that you can easily measure the business’ goals. When analyzed right, the social data can be used to come up with smart business decisions.

Find Ideas for New Content

When it comes to online marketing, content is still the reigning king. Social intelligence allows you to learn the latest trends that you can use for content ideas and marketing campaigns. By listening to your target market, you will be able to promote your products in the language they use.

Engage with the Community

Social intelligence allows businesses to engage with their target market in a more personal manner. Not only that, it fosters the development of a community around the brand. One way to establish a positive brand image is by engaging your potential and existing customers. It shows that you value their opinions. Communicating with them through social channels will inspire them to take action, improve brand awareness, and develop loyalty.

Social intelligence requires a lot of time and money. However, when done right, the investment will be helpful for the long-term success of the business.

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Tips to Keep Your E-Commerce Sales Hot This Holiday Season

7 Must Try Tips to Keep Your E-Commerce Sales Hot This Holiday Season

The holiday countdown has just begun and as the festive mood gathers momentum, people start going on the shopping binge. The soaring number of people opting for online shopping in holidays is simply incredible. This is the great opportunity for e-commerce companies to boost their sales.

If you are eying for making most of this shopping season rage, you might as well get prepared to attract your prospects toward your online storefront. Make this season celebrations a win-win manifesto for you and your customers. However, the reality is you are not alone in this shopping carnival; your competitors must also be strategizing to take full advantage of this. So how are you planning to increase your online sales?

Here are some great tips for you:

1: Make sure your site is ready with holiday theme

Your website and its landing page are very crucial points of contact with your customers. Give them the reason that you are equally excited about welcoming as well as serving them. Spruce up the look and feel of your store so that people take you seriously and that you mean business when it comes to advertising your products. Being in the same holiday spirit as your customers are will encourage them to shop with you. During holidays, customers expect that you have something unique and enchanting holiday collection products for them that can provide a good value for their money. You need to focus on visual design and aesthetics according to the coming festival, for example, Black Friday, Christmas, New Year. You can use small, simple festive elements with a campaign that can attract families.

2.Provide a great mobile experience

With a precipitous growth in mobile devices in recent years, online shopping has reached to unprecedented levels. Smartphones and tablets are the biggest drivers of e-commerce today. In light of this, holiday season will witness an added effect for e-commerce traffic from mobile devices. So your website should be highly mobile responsive, for you need to engage more with mobile users. An Econsultancy report throws light on the importance of growing mobile experience. The report says, 62% companies with a mobile responsive website see an increase in their sales as compared to companies with desktop-only websites. A seamless mobile experience will provide a frictionless and easy way for your customers to make purchases.

3. Reduce cart abandonment by giving discounts and offers

Cart abandonment is one of the most annoying things you might come across on your site. Even if your products are resonating with your buyers, but you have no idea what stopped them from making the purchase. This is the high time to figure it out and respond to it immediately. You need to consider whether the checkout process is confusing, or the cost of shipping is discouraging for them.

To prevent the abandonment from happening, ensure that your shipping costs are transparent throughout the buying journey of the customers. Forcing your customers to create an account could be counterproductive because it makes the purchase process longer. Just make your checkout process short and seamless. It is also true that most of the customers visiting your store for the first time don’t make purchase. But you can lure them back by giving discounts and sending festive sales offers to their selected items.

4. Create holiday themed content

Holiday season is the time for sharing and caring, so spread some euphoria with holiday-themed content. The content specially curated for holiday would be a perfect way to add a festive touch to your messaging. On the other side, customers appreciate when they see brands are putting efforts to add holiday fun and joy to their marketing communications. A study by Infogroup found that emails featuring Black Friday themed content generated a 33% higher conversion rate than business as usual (BAU) messages. There are many ways to leverage themed content. One of the effective ways is to host an online photo submission contest, where customers can show off their creativity and have some fun together. Another way to engage your customers is by posting holiday decorating tips, or how-to videos to celebrate different festivals.

5. Provide fast and free shipping

Nothing can give your customers an instant gratification than offering them same-day deliveries at their doorsteps. This is the one area in which brick-and-mortar stores have a distinct advantage over online stores. In fact, instant delivery is one of the topmost reasons why people still live to shop at physical stores. Therefore if you convince your prospects to provide a lightning fast delivery, they’ll shop more at your site especially during the holiday season. Another way of keeping up your sales momentum is to offer free shipping to your prospects. Shipping costs are among the top reasons why customers abandon the cart because they essentially want to save money that is spent while physically going somewhere for shopping. So keeping in mind the holiday season competition, free shipping will keep your floating. If you don’t offer free delivery while your competitors do, your sales are at risk!

 

6.Hassle-free return policy

You need to incorporate a hassle-free return policy for your customers if in case they don’t find a product fit for their needs. This is how customer experience works. An excellent customer experience is very important for generating e-commerce sales. If customers get a sense that you care for their benefits as well then they will keep coming to your store. A 2016 consumer survey from Shippo, a shipping application-programming-interface firm, found that 87% of respondents believed that free returns were an important part of their ecommerce buying decision. Thus, the more hassle free your return policy is, the more secure shoppers will feel when making a purchase from your online store. If the return rates are higher for your store, you can give more info about the product as possible, including lots of product shots, and detailed product descriptions. This will help customers better arrive at a conclusion whether to buy the product or not.

7. Use social media ads to engage prospects

Social media advertising is an effective way to target audiences on specific networks through demographic information so targeted consumers can see your brand in their feeds. The way social media is becoming popular among masses, no business owner can undermine its significance for generating sales, especially during holiday season. For example, Facebook can be used to engage with prospects who have been liking your products for a long time but haven’t yet purchased any of them. Optimizing your Facebook ad campaigns will truly engage your most important leads. Another platform to leverage at this instant is Instagram. Visual content is not only treated more favourably on Instagram algorithm, but it’s also more likely to be shared and remembered than written content. Also you need to factor in the relevancy of your ads. If they aren’t relevant to your audience, you are wasting your time.

 

Final Words

With the arrival of festive holiday season, people start flocking to offline as well online stores. Since majority of people are shopping from the comfort of their cosy homes, e-commerce stores have a lot to offer to them. You have to strategize your plans and make smart moves so that you can clinch last minutes sales.

 

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What Millennials Can Learn from Boomers about Retirement Planning

Boomers retiring by the tens of millions each year.

How many times have you heard it said, “If I only knew then what I know now…” about everything from financial planning to raising kids? It’s likely that you’ve heard it at least several times a week and now even millennials are becoming tuned in to the problems besetting boomers as they age and retire.

The world is a much different place than it was, even a generation ago, and so it would be wise for the younger generation to look at some of the trials and tribulations of boomers as they begin retiring by the tens of millions each year.

Insufficient Planning Delays Retirement

One of the major problems that many boomers face is that they didn’t plan sufficiently for their future. They assumed their Social Security check along with that 401k or other retirement investment would be sufficient to provide for them in their senior years.

Back a few generations, there simply weren’t the resources to plan well for retirement and today’s retirees are learning that they should have planned better. Today there are financial products that are aimed at growing wealth for your senior years and these are the products millennials should be investigating when seeking to invest in their own futures.

Unexpected Rises in the Cost of Living

What it all boils down to is that no one really expected the cost of living to skyrocket as it has. Some attribute it to the cost of production, keeping prices rising while others attribute it to higher taxes and the increasing cost of fuel and food. For whatever reason, the cost of living has far surpassed the rise in wages and this is something no one could have foreseen but perhaps should have planned for anyway.

Avoid Borrowing against Retirement Savings

Another one of the big mistakes boomers made, almost across the board, is to have borrowed heavily along the way against their retirement savings. This is a big problem that millennials should learn from. If at all possible, don’t delete those savings! Find a way to finance what you need to pay but leave that money where it is so that it can continue growing.

You know what they say about good intentions, so don’t be caught in the ‘intend to replace it’ trap. Chances are you will never replace that money once it has been spent. Just as you think you’ve got your head above water, another crisis surfaces and so it goes. Put that money away and forget it’s there. That, perhaps, is the biggest lesson you can learn from boomers.

The Logic of Downsizing Early

When it comes to downsizing once the nest is empty, altogether too many people fail to liquidate assets early enough. That big six bedroom home you live in and raised your children in may be sentimental but now that it’s paid off, sell it, buy a smaller property and invest the profit made from the sale.

Too many middle age people hang on to the family homestead thinking to save it for the kids, or to have a place for them if they need to come home. It’s time for grown kids to be grown kids. Think about your future by downsizing as soon as the nest is empty. Can you imagine how that amount of money can grow over the course of a couple decades until you are ready to retire?

Diversify Your Investments

And one final thing which millennials should learn from boomers is that they failed to diversify their investment products early enough. Altogether too many people lost their savings with the economic crisis of a decade ago and now those boomers simply don’t have enough time to recover their losses.

By diversifying your retirement investments, you can have that added bit of protection if one market should fail. The last time it was real estate that led to a global crisis. What will it be next time around? No one knows so diversify, unless of course you are a fortune teller and can predict the future.

The intelligent millennial will take a good look around them and fully understand the predicament most boomers are in now as they face retirement. It is always good counsel to be told to learn from your elders, in both their triumphs and failures, but never more so when planning for retirement. Don’t fall into the same trap your parents and grandparents fell in. You can learn a lot from boomers if you care to open your eyes. Plan now and live comfortably later – a great investment strategy altogether.

 

 

For Further information

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The Death of Buy To Let? Not for Savvy Investors

 

Changes in Property Investments

There has recently been a slew of negative headlines, bad forecasts and gloomy warnings about the death of buy to let. Stamp duty changes, tax rises, and new policies have muddied the waters around property investment. However, these dire warnings should be taken with a large pinch of salt. For savvy investors, buy to let property investment can be incredibly lucrative, you just need to be smart.

In the past buy to let property was a popular choice for get rich quick investors, looking to sell quickly and move on. After the economic crash and the slowdown of the property market, huge price rises are rarer, but not impossible. In certain areas of the UK, property prices have grown considerably over the past 12 months. According to the UK cities house price index, in Liverpool, house prices have risen by 7.5%, in Glasgow they have risen by 7.2%, in Nottingham by 6.9% and Manchester by 6.8%. These high growth areas often also benefit from affordable low entry prices, allowing investors to diversify their portfolios or purchase in more than one locations.

Doing Your Research

By doing research on which areas of the country are best for house prices and investing in regions which are benefitting from regeneration and investment, you can still make a considerable profit when buying and selling property. Property investment specialists like RW Invest are encouraging investors to look to cities like Liverpool and Manchester where property prices are on the rise and rental yields are good. Studio apartments, student accommodation and HMOs are all alternatives to the typical residential property investment. Opportunities to purchase buy to let properties are worth pursuing, and if you can find a below market value property in a high growth area you can make impressive profits.

Long Term Benefits of Buy To Let

The real benefit of buy to let is when you look long term. One key way of measuring an investment is through the rental yields. This tells you how much of your property you will earn back in rents over a year. For example, a property worth £100,000 that earns £6,000 a year in rental income would have a rental yield of 6%. The higher the rental yield the quicker a property will pay for itself. Rental rates have been on the rise in the UK, and the conditions are perfect for buy to let investors to find new properties. The UK housing crisis has seen a huge increase in the number of people looking for rental properties. With less houses available to rent and a harder time buying a first property, tenants are staying in rentals for longer than ever before and paying more for them too.

Rob Bence, presenter of The Property Hub’s Property Podcast said in a recent GQ article “Investing in property may have become a little more complex, with changes to tax relief rules and increases in Stamp Duty Land Tax now in play but property remains the safest form of investment and it is absolutely still possible to prosper from it”. Buy to let is definitely not dead and its unique benefit of earning rent as well as increasing in value makes it a doubly profitable venture. For smart investors who do their research, invest in up and coming areas and plan a long-term strategy, buy to let property investment can still pay off.

 

 

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Tips On Making Big At Spread Betting

Spread Betting And Making It Big

Spread betting is a great way to earn profits, but only when your bets are placed correctly. This is why only a few investors are making successful trades whereas the rest aren’t as lucky. So what separates the few from the many in spread betting and how can you implant those strategies to ensure your own success and profitability? Firstly, it is important to understand how trading at tighter spreads can improve your chances of turning a profit. The liquidity of a particular stock may affect how tight the spread is. For example where a stock is trading at 320p, but because of illiquidity the ask spread is between 310p and 330p. Purchasing at 330p means that even if the stock makes a 3.33% jump from 320p to 330p, you would have still received no profit for your investment. A tighter speed is therefore more favourable.

Successful Spread Betting

The most successful spread betters follow a systematic trading plan. Knowing how much money you will spend on each spread bet as well as how frequently these bets will be placed will eventually lead you to develop your own watertight trading plan. Should you start trading without a trading plan you run the risk of blowing most of your capital in the early stages, leaving you on the back foot trying to claw your way back to the position you were in before the loss.

Know About Risk Capital and Spread Betting

Having an effective trade plan isn’t just about winning every time, but rather about having enough risk capital to carry on trading when you incur losses. This is achieved through smart money management. One way to do this is to divide your capital into smaller pieces and only risking a small portion per single trade. Diversifying your portfolio will mean that even if one of your bets are failing there may be three others that are pulling a profit. This brings us to risk management, which involves using stops and limits to manage your trades and adds structure to your trading plan. This is why spread betting at City Index is so attractive, as this is one of the established brokers who are happy to assist and advise here.

What Leverage Means

Spread betting is available on leverage. This leverage means that your investment can yield huge profits, or alternatively can incur huge losses should the asset go south. Inexperienced traders run the risk of taking large positions and end up losing more than they actually have. Smart traders use leverage efficiently while inexperienced traders overexpose themselves to risk. The key is therefore to strike a balance between taking calculated risks and protecting your overall capital.

In Conclusion:

Finally the best investors do not only rely on analytical data alone but also take into account other factors such as political stability and inflation rates. Making your own predictions by combining all available resources is the only way you will truly make it big in spread betting. Research, research and more research will set you miles ahead of the playing field. Avoid trading on a hot tip from a friend, because if the trade goes bad they are often nowhere to be seen!

 

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How Blockchain Is Transforming The Online Gaming World

Blockchain and the Impact on Transforming The Online Gaming World

Blockchain technology has certainly taken over every domain of digital transactions. It has revolutionised the world of cryptocurrencies and has given everyone around the world a new platform to do online transactions. The Blockchain technology has definitely exceeded expectations and has reached new heights year in and year out; the tech has even lengthened its reach and can even be found in the online gaming world. In fact, it has made quite an impact in gaming and it should be very interesting to see how Blockchain will revolutionise the gaming space.

Private, Legal, Low Cost and fairly accessible Option

Cryptocurrencies have managed to find their way into the casino industry and in doing so its expanded its status. An increasing number of online casinos have introduced cryptocurrencies as a main payment or as a substitute payment method. The great thing is that these forms of payment are safe, accessible and well documented which further strengthens the reputation of cryptocurrencies. With the use of cryptocurrencies these gaming companies allow their members to remain anonymous and give them a piece of mind knowing that it is extremely safe. Cryptocurrencies also make it easier because gamers and gamblers don’t run into any difficulties with regards to financial documents or setting up an account.

Reduces Fraud and Loss of Revenue

Fraud and a loss of revenue is relatively widespread on the internet and this is really unfortunate. Studies have confirmed there were approximately two million online fraud incidents reported in 2017, with the general belief being this number is only the tip of the iceberg. Blockchain technology has ensured the extermination of fraud and revenue loss which will save the online casino industry billions every year.

Developers are creating Blockchain driven games

Blockchain has created many games but it has taken their technology to a new extreme. Developers have created Decentraland which is a virtual reality platform which is powered by Ethereum Blockchain. Decentraland allows people to own different pieces of land which you are free to do whatever you want to with. With this so called ‘digital real estate” players are able to access an entire new platform that has businesses, services and social activities.

Ensures more equality in the online gaming industry

Most players have the idea that the house always wins but that is no longer the case thanks to Blockchain. The majority of gamblers have accepted the fact that they would most likely lose more often than not, but Blockchain has created equality in games. Smart contracts, cryptography and Blockchain technology have all worked together to develop a system which has ensure that there is equality in any games that contain their technology.

Therefore, it is clear that the Blockchain technology has had a significant effect on the online gaming industry. Blockchain technology has given this industry room to flourish and has also made the online gaming industry a much safer environment to get involved in. This technology has also improved payments, betting and encouraged the creation of new types of games.

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Six Amazing Financing Options for Start-up Businesses

Options for a Start up Business

Business depends upon the idea and vision of an individual or a group of people, and one cannot start it until and unless is confident about the idea. The biggest advantage of having your own business is that you have your own choices and you get to make your own independent decisions. But certain requirements of the business must be fulfilled. You should make sure that you have the abilities to start up a new business and along with that you are ready to give your time and strength to it as the establishment of a new business requires them all.

After this, the primary thing that comes in the way to start your own business is the lack of capital. One of the most basic things that every businessperson needs at some point either to continue, to establish or to start a new business is the loan. When any business entity has less capital, then it not only affect the progress rate of the entity but also decreases the employment rate which ultimately affects the lives of many people. There are many ways by which you can get loan and the biggest mean is the bank. It is also very important that you prepare a solid business plan. You should gather all the information regarding your business niches such as the information of the ownership and the management, the objective of the business, marketing plans and financial projections. You should also present your idea to the lenders. It will help them to develop confidence in your vision.

Along with that, a written business plan is always preferable as it contains all the information that the lender would need to check whether the firm is in a position to return the loan taken or not. It contains all the profit and loss statements, bank statements, business credit reports, personal credit reports, tax return documentation and copies of all the relevant legal documents. Do you want to start a business of your own? Are you passionate about business and related stuff?! Well, the two basic things that you need in order to start a new business are capital and your devotion, of course. So here I have six amazing financing options for startup businesses. Have a look at them:

If you want maximum profit out of your business, then you will have to finance it personally. How do you expect any banks or lenders to take a risk in you when you are not willing to take a risk in yourself? There are numerous ways to finance your business personally. You can save up from your personal income, or you can also liquidate some assets to get the startup money. You can gain the finances for your business is through your property.

It can create a big role for the investment towards your business. You can pledge your property to gain enough amount of money for starting your business as personal assets play an important role in helping the lender decide to lend you the amount. They act as a guarantee to the lender that in case you fail to pay back the amount on given time then the amount can be recovered from the assets. But do all the necessary calculations and make a solid and effective business plan so that you don’t end up wasting your hard earned money. And your business can be more profitable if self-financed due to the ever-increasing interest rates of banks and private lenders.

If you don’t have enough resources to finance your business personally then acquiring a loan is another option you can avail. Keep in mind that loans don’t get approved so easily. You will have to ensure the lenders that you are worth taking the risk. Here are some tips that you should keep in mind while applying for a loan.

  • Start the application process before you need the money
  • Create a detailed business plan
  • Show how the business will be profitable
  • Try to improve your personal and business credit score
  • Consult professionals to look over the loan agreement before you sign it
  • Partnerships

Partnerships are a great way to finance a startup personally without any involvement of banks. Gather some friends and family members that you can trust and form a partnership to finance the business. But involving business with relationships can sometimes cause problems and can lead to damaging the relationships with your loved ones. So to avoid this problem, you should form a legally binding contract that specifies the roles of all the people involved in the business.

  • Incubators and accelerators

Incubators and accelerators are companies that finance your business in return for some equity. They also provide you access to experienced professionals and business contacts to improve your odds of success. But like a loan you need to show these companies that you are worth the investment and your business plan will be profitable.

Crowdfunding is the process of raising money to fund what is typically a project or business venture through many donors using an online platform, such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Crowdfunder. Crowdfunding is typically done through an online platform that allows the fundraiser to set up a public campaign for accepting donations. The campaign will advertise details such as the nature of the project or venture, the amount of money the company is hoping to raise and the campaign’s fundraising deadline.

People can donate a specified amount through the fundraising campaign’s website and often receive some sort of acknowledgement or reward in return for their donation. These websites are a centralized way for startups to reach out to a large community. Many YouTube channels got their startup funding from crowdfunding websites.

If any of the previous options are not available, you always have family and friends to look back to. You can ask your friends and family members to loan you the startup, or you can ask them to invest in your business. It is the most common way through which you can take the loan for a start-up business. You can always convince them to lend you the loan. Where you will need to return the loan you take, you won’t have to pay any interest on them and you won’t be under any extreme pressure by your friends and family. Just make sure that you don’t let the money ruin your relationships.

 

Author Bio:

Emily Stark is a financial analyst and accounting expert. She has in-depth knowledge about setting up small businesses as well as creating profitable investments. She regularly contributes articles related to business and loans at https://www.ebroker.com.au/.

 

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MoneyGram is on the Decline

MoneyGram International, Inc goes by the ticker MGI on the NASDAQ GS. At the time of writing (November 2018), MoneyGram stock was priced at approximately $4.40 per share. For the year-to-date, MoneyGram stock has declined from $12.28 per share, shedding almost $8 in 2018. The company’s market capitalisation is currently $245.46 million with no price/earnings ratio and a -0.56 earnings per share. The 1-year target estimate price for MoneyGram is $6.25. It is noteworthy that MoneyGram traded as high as $15.54 over the past 52 weeks, indicating that there has been a significant downgrading of investor confidence and performance in this stock.

 

MoneyGram International Inc is a money transfer service with HQ in Dallas, Texas. It offers international money transfer services with locations all over the world. According to Zacks Investment Research, MoneyGram stock is no longer the darling of investors in the money transfer services industry. There were several reasons why the stock capitulated, notably fundamental weaknesses in its money transfer business which comprises a substantial source of the company’s overall revenues. More importantly, MoneyGram faces a slew of challenges from up-and-coming start-ups, online money transfer services and other FinTech operations. At a time where the industry was growing at a rate of 6%, MoneyGram was plunging in double digits.

 

2018 has seen many online money transfer companies come into their own. The volatility of the FX market is but one of several reasons why MoneyGram transfers are losing market share. Governments around the world are placing increasingly stringent regulations on money transfer services, and pricing pressures have come home to bite. Besides for increasing costs of compliance vis-a-vis governance structures and regulations, MoneyGram is having to shelve out millions of dollars which is eating into its bottom line with sharply decreasing growth prospects. Overall, lower remittance rates have resulted in weakness in many Middle Eastern markets for MoneyGram, notably Saudi Arabia. In Africa, MoneyGram has suffered from decreased market share when Nigeria reduced the permitted allotment to just 50% of what it previously was. As a result, stock prices are generally weak and market share is slacking.

 

How Are Competitors Eating into MoneyGram’s Market Share?

International money transfer companies like World First and HiFX are starting to dominate the online money transfer industry in a big way. They are but two of many FinTech operations now coming into their own. When it comes to money transfer companies, a growing number of people are choosing these money transfer companies over established banks and financial institutions.

 

Analysts are of the opinion that MoneyGram is losing market share to these up-and-coming online money transfer service companies. According to International Money Transfers – a leading reviewer of money transfer services – HiFX/WorldFirst comparison charts present many interesting facts and figures, notably:

 

  • World First is a privately-owned enterprise (operating since 2004) with offices across 5 continents. It features 75,000 active clients, and growing. This online money transfer service currently offers 121 currencies, with no fees on transfers, except for small transfers which cost $10.
  • HiFX is owned by Euronet, and is headquartered in London, UK. While this money transfer services company does not offer as many currencies – 5 dozen pairs offered, it accepts clients from across Australia and Europe. The fee is £9 per transfer, and it’s fully regulated by the FOC, FMA, and FCA.

 

There are pros and cons to each of these services, notably that WorldFirst does not offer FX options and is markedly smaller than HiFX. From the other side, HiFX lacks transparency on rates, and is a little clunky in terms of registration. There are mixed reviews on the services offered by HiFX and WorldFirst, but the majority of customer feedback has been positive.

These companies are proving to be a thorn in the side of market giant MoneyGram. As more clients shift to WorldFirst and HiFX, the drip, drip from MoneyGram becomes a slow and steady trickle to alternative online money transfer services.

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