5 questions that’ll help your buying decision process

Buying Decision ProcessHow can you be expected to save money when you don’t earn enough to make ends meet as it is? I’m guessing you may have asked yourself that question at least once dear reader? If you have, you’re not alone. It’s a common cry.

However, whilst some people may struggle financially, it’s also true that far too many people squander their money buying items they don’t need and probably will never use, often in an attempt to impress people they don’t even like.

For such people, their buying decision process is usually limited to whether they still have enough credit left on their credit cards.

Well, the mantra “Have Plastic; Will Purchase” is not a good one if saving money is one of your goals.

You can earn a decent income and yet a lack of money management skills and a poor buying decision process will result in you never achieving financial freedom. In fact poor money management skills will condemn you to a life of being poor.

So it’s essential that you learn to manage your money properly, if you want to avoid long-term poverty.

Avoid the ‘I’ve got to have it’ approach:

Now be honest with yourself, how often do you buy things you didn’t really need?

Stuff that you weren’t even looking for but it was there and it looked nice and you thought I’ve got to have it. Out comes your ‘flexible friend‘ and the item is yours. A brief period of gratification follows and then the item is largely forgotten.

How often do you buy things you never use?

Take a look in your wardrobe. I’ll bet there are a few items in there which still have the store tags on them? Never used and they’ve probably been there for quite some time I suspect? Would I be right?

I’ve got to have it‘ is a great way to waste all your money. With this approach you’ll enrich other people at your own expense. Now how could that possibly make sense?

Credit cards: Weapons of mass wealth destruction

How often do you buy things you can’t afford with money you haven’t got?

It’s true, credit cards can be a convenient means for making payments of course but they can also be weapons of mass wealth destruction. That’s a fact dear reader.

When it comes to the buying decision process most of us are driven more by a desire for gratification then any sensible approach to managing our money carefully.

Most of us are guilty of buying more than we need too. Many of us are guilty of buying items we seldom use, if at all.

If you’re like this dear reader then you’re not alone I can assure you. However that’s not a good thing.

The disciplined approach:

However with a bit more discipline you could hang on to more of your own money and then build capital which, eventually, will start generating an income all of its own through interest payments on deposits  and bonds and dividend payments and capital growth on stocks and shares.

Still we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

The underlying message I offer you today dear reader is that you should establish for yourself a buying decision process that will allow you to control your expenditure.

Essentially before you buy anything you need to ask yourself a series of tough questions to gauge whether the purchase really does make good sense.

And what are those questions?

The questions to ask before making any purchase:

There are in fact five questions you should ask yourself before making any purchase, as follows:-

    1. Do I really need it? Honestly?
    2. Will I really use it? Honestly?
    3. Can I really afford it? Honestly?
    4. If I didn’t have it would it really matter?
    5. Does is represent good value for money?

If you answer ‘No’ to the first four questions, the fifth question is irrelevant. A negative on all or even most of the first four questions means, don’t buy the item. Simple!

And even if you do think you need it, never buy anything if you do not have the money to pay for the item right now. Never, ever incur debt for a discretionary purchase.

It’s better to do without than to run up debt on a credit card to pay for discretionary purchases.

The compounding effect from high credit card interest rates can quickly turn a small debt into a large one.

The ‘value for money’ question is only relevant when you can answer every other question in the affirmative.

Nevertheless you should never buy something that’s not also good value for money. That is, you should never overpay for anything. Overpaying meaning the price is inconsistent with the value on offer.

Let the answers to the questions guide you:

To ensure your buying decision process is sound you must always ask these questions.

Let them be your purchasing guide and you’ll be in a better position to start saving money and watch it grow. Once it starts growing you’ll be on your way to building your own personal wealth.

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3 ways for getting rich

Getting richYou should never take money too seriously dear reader but, equally, you should never underestimate the importance of money either. Let’s face it, in the modern world, money is as essential to sustaining of life as oxygen. That’s a fact, whether we like it or not. So getting rich is a worthy topic for discussion.

By getting rich I mean achieving financial freedom. I think that should be everyone’s goal, if only so that they can enjoy their old age. In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with getting rich providing money does not become your obsession. That is, you should have money in your head but not in your heart.

Now getting rich is easier said than done of course. It requires effort on your part and a lot of determination too.

Nevertheless getting rich is also easier than it might first appear to be.

So today I offer you three ways for getting rich which are available to anyone and everyone and they will all help you to achieve financial freedom.

1. Solve problems for people:

Working for someone else may make you a living but having your own business can make you a fortune. The only way most people can become seriously rich is by setting up a business of their own. It can be done and people do, very successfully, and it’s possible for you to do it too.

Essentially business is all about solving problems for people in exchange for money.

Businesses create products which solve problems for customers. The customer buys the product and the business makes money. Obviously you need to ensure that your revenues exceed your overheads but in essence business is that simple.

If you want to make money in business just look for problems to be solved and there you’ll find commercial opportunities.

One person’s problem is another person’s business opportunity.

However do make sure that every product you offer does actually solve a problem for your customers.

That means understanding the needs and wants of your target customers and always asking the question, “What problem will this product solve for my customers?”

2. Risk leads to reward:

If you want to make serious money you cannot avoid an element of risk. That’s a fact of business life.

Entrepreneurs have to be risk-takers by definition.

However that doesn’t mean you taking crazy risks. It means taking calculated risks by doing your homework; proper planning and market research; and using your business skills to weigh up the pros and cons of every opportunity.

Risk is simply the possibility of you getting an outcome you don’t want.

However it’s a fact that risk and reward go hand in hand. The greater the reward on offer the greater the risk you must take potentially to achieve it.

Obviously your attitude to risk is important here.

If a given risk makes you very uncomfortable then it’s probably not worth taking. It will just lead to too much stress for you. Some people have the ability to live with huge risks, whilst others cannot cope with that much pressure.

Either way it doesn’t matter. If you can’t cope with large risks don’t let it bother you. Just look for something with a lower risk and with which you can cope. Even small risks can lead to great riches.

Remember we all need a mix of certainty and uncertainty in our lives. Business requires you to live with the latter, at least to some degree.

3. The magic of compounding:

Once you’ve made some money it’s important you put it to work for you if getting rich is your aim.

And putting money to work is all about taking advantage of the magic of compounding.

Compound interest can have a powerful effect on your money.

For instance if you invest £1,000 at 2% for 10 years with annual interest reinvested and it will be worth £1,219 at maturity.

However if you invest that same £1,000 over the same period at 10% then you will get £2,594, assuming annual interested is re-invested. That’s over 100% difference over the 10 year period.

Over 20 years at 10% your £1,000 would have turned into £6,727, assuming annual interest had been reinvested.

So remember, the interest rate and the longevity of your investment both matter if you’re trying to build a capital sum.

So if getting rich is your aim then start by investing as early as you can, be disciplined and make regular contributions to build that nest egg.

Further Reading:

Obviously a single blog post can only scratch the surface of all you need to know about money.

So if you’re wise you’ll buy some books on the subject to get your financial education moving in the right direction.

Here are some books I can personally recommend, all of which I own my own personal copies:-

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Think and Grow Rich is a classic of the genre. Originally written in the 1930s but still around and still very popular. And it’s still around for a reason. It’s exceptional and definitely worth adding to your personal reference library.

The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason

The Richest Man in Babylon is another classic of the genre. Simple but inspiring. You can read this book in a few hours but it will provide you with a series of powerful lessons for acquiring money, keeping money and making money. Again well worth adding to your personal reference library.

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki

Rich Dad Poor Dad is an excellent starting point for anyone seeking to improve their financial knowledge and improve their financial future. This is modern compared to the previous two but it has also become a classic and is well worth the cover price.

One Hour Investor: The Beginner’s Guide to Investing in the Stock Market by Russell Ellroy

One Hour Investor: The Beginner’s Guide to Investing in the Stock Market is recently published and so it’s right up-to-date. If you want to learn about stocks, bonds, mutual funds and much more, then this could be the book for you. Written in a very accessible style and aimed at the absolute beginner.

I have all of these books in my own personal library and I dip in and out of them frequently. You will be inspired by them all I am sure and I recommend you purchase your own copies now. You can check them out by clicking on the links above.

DISCLOSURE: This website is an Amazon affiliate. Should you click on any of the links included in the text above and you then make a purchase, you should be aware that this website will receive a small commission. These commissions serve only to cover the cost of maintaining this site. Your understanding is truly appreciated dear reader. Thank you.

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How debt prevents you from achieving your dreams

Achieving your dreams

For far too many people ‘achieving your dreams’ is a luxury they feel they can’t afford.

Now dear reader, have you ever wondered what you would do with your money if you didn’t have any bills to pay?

Imagine that just for a second. How does it feel?

It can be fun to imagine occasionally and dream once in a while but most people think achieving your dreams is something for other people and not them.

Most people quickly return to their daily routine thinking it could never happen to them so why bother?

It’s a fact that as long as you bear significant levels of debt you’re a prisoner within the walls that such debt effectively builds around you.

The only way to see outside those walls is to change your mindset and realize that getting rid of your debt is the only way to real freedom.

Have you ever found yourself wishing you could take a nice vacation, put more money into a savings account, or maybe just have the ability to use your money to help others?

To have the freedom to use your money in any way you choose?

Wouldn’t that be a nice feeling? It’s called financial freedom.

Dreaming is one thing but when reality kicks in and you realize you that can’t do any of these things because you’re actually broke then it probably feels like a big letdown, doesn’t it?

Debt is nothing less than a dream stealer:

The problem with debt is that it can take control of your life.

And once it has taken control of your life it can cause you to lose hope. And of course, once hope is gone, your dreams will start to die and you can experience a vicious circle of misery.

The question is how can you regain hope?

How can you break out of the circle of misery?

It is possible, of course, but only when you realize that you do have a choice.

Change can happen but only if you’re prepared to change. If you make a positive decision that you’re going to change and do something about your situation then that can be the beginning of where you regain hope.

The problem with personal debt:

Debt can limit your life options in all sorts of ways. For instance it may prevent you from pursuing a career path that you would otherwise be passionate about.

I’m sure you must recognize that work is just doing stuff for other people in exchange for money.

That money then allows you to live and pay your bills.

However if you’re bearing high levels of debt, that money must also go towards servicing the interest and repayments you’re obliged to pay on that debt.

As your debt level grows, to keep financially afloat you must earn more. To put it another way, you must run faster just to stand still.

This is where debt limits your options.

It’s an irony but true, more options tend to open up for you when you aren’t constantly pressured to ensure you have a certain level of income each month. Debt has the ability to keep you stranded in a job you hate just because you cannot risk having insufficient income.

Why is that so?

Well suppose you make a decision on your ideal career but you realize it will mean you re-training or taking another professional qualification. Perhaps it would mean you returning to full-time education for a period of time, say a few months or even a year or two years.

In the long term that may increase your earning potential but when you’re carrying debt your focus is on the short term and making sure you can meet the interest and debt repayment schedule. So you can’t go off in the direction you’d like to go because you can’t put your current income at risk.

Essentially debt is a form of slavery. That’s a fact dear reader.

It’s financial slavery.

Yes there are times when debt cannot be avoided of course. Taking out a mortgage for instance to ensure your family has a home in which to live.

However all too often people experience a significant debt burden for no other reason other than they’ve spent far too much money they didn’t have on things they didn’t need or could have lived without.

And in doing so they’ve used unsecured debt like credit cards with extortionately high interest rates.

Remember; the compounding effect of very high interest rates can quickly turn a small debt into an enormous mountain of debt.

Debt can be a source of stress:

Another way to think about debt is that the burden loads you down with stress and frustration.

This can make it impossible for you to focus on those things that really matter in life such as spending time with family and friends.

It can also mean you miss out on some of life’s more exciting experiences such as travel to interesting places.

Whilst carrying a debt burden, you’re not able to save, invest or give.

And of course, it can be highly rewarding to give and help those people less fortunate than yourself. However with the burden of debt you’ll simply be further enriching those people who are already very wealthy.

Debt will steal your dreams and it can steal your life.

It’s a form a bondage you can do without, so quit digging yourself into a hole and start a new chapter in your life.

Get out of debt as quickly as you can:

Whatever your mindset regarding the debt that surrounds you, remember it doesn’t have to be this way. You have the ability to change everything starting right NOW.

Don’t put it off until tomorrow. Get your act together, make a list of your debts (no matter how scary this is), and start working on a plan of action.

Discipline yourself. You’ll make mistakes of course but don’t give up. Financial freedom and the ability to dream big can be within reach.

Further Reading:

At this point some further reading might appeal to you. If so, one book I recommend you read is The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason.

This book is a very easy read and it’s a timeless classic.

It’s one of the most useful books I’ve ever read and essentially it contains the financial success secrets of the ancients.

This classic holds the secret to personal wealth and financial freedom.

This book holds the secrets to acquiring money; keeping money; and making sure your money is earning you more money. It will also provide you with a cure for empty pockets or a lean purse.

It’s well worth the cover price and you can check it out on Amazon if you CLICK HERE.

DISCLOSURE: This website is an Amazon affiliate. Should you click on any of the links included in the text above and you then make a purchase, you should be aware that this website will receive a small commission. These commissions serve only to cover the cost of maintaining this site. Your understanding is truly appreciated dear reader. Thank you.

Please share this post with your friends:

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© Roy Joseph Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2019. All Rights Reserved.

25 inspirational stories of people going from rags to riches

Inspirational StoriesInspirational stories can be so uplifting. They tell us that if other people can be successful then so can we.

Did you have a tough start in life?

Perhaps you feel that your difficult past will prevent you from enjoying a successful future?

Well a tough past doesn’t mean you’re doomed to a tough future.

The same goes for a mediocre past.

The past is the past of course and it can’t be changed. However it serves only as a series of lessons to be learned. Remember, it’s not a life sentence.

You can create any future you want, as long as you’re determined, focused and prepared to put in plenty of hard work. You won’t get anywhere without those ingredients. Nevertheless it can be done, though it will be all down to you.

The future is an endless stream of opportunities which you can choose to take or not.

Don’t just accept my word, look around for people who’ve actually done it. There are plenty of inspirational stories if you’ll just look for them. Today I offer you a video with 25 inspirational stories.

Inspirational Stories25 Inspirational Stories:

In the video included here there are 25 excellent examples of people who had a tough start in life but went on to enjoy considerable financial success.

These are all inspirational stories of people going from rags to riches. And if they can do it, why not you?

And remember this; you’re never too old.

Colonel Sanders started KFC at the grand old age of 65.

And Ray Kroc began building the business empire we now know as McDonald’s at 52.

Believe you can and you will.

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11 Secrets only millionaires know about wealth

If financial freedom is your aim then it would make sense to learn as much as you can about money, wealth and the way it all works.

If you’re serious about accumulating wealth then learning is an on-going process because the more you know the better you’ll become as an investor.

So how much do you know about the modern laws of wealth?

Well you may not know much but you can bet that the majority of millionaires will have a solid grasp of these laws.

The one thing they all know is how to make money and how to make sure they preserve the value of their capital and make it grow.

As the old saying goes, if you want to be successful find someone who is successful and copy what they do.

If you want to be a millionaire it makes sense to me to copy the things that millionaires do.

To get you started the video embedded here reveals 11 secrets that only millionaires know. It’s well worth your time and I can recommend it.

If I’ve whetted your appetite for mastering the game of wealth-building then you might want to start reading a few books on the subject.

In fact it would be a good idea to purchase your own small library of reference books on money matters which you can then dip in and out of as necessary.

One book I found truly inspiring was Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Think Rich to Get Rich by T Harv Eker.

If you’ve ever wondered why some people achieve wealth effortlessly while others work just as hard but struggle financially then this book is for you. It explains how to master the game of money so that not only will your financial success be achieved but it will show you how to ensure your wealth is retained once you have it.

This book will provide you with insights that will help you take action to transform your financial self, quickly and permanently.

It offers dozens of high-income and wealth creation strategies that you can use.

Read it and you’ll learn what wealthy people know that others don’t.

It sheds light on the cause of almost all financial problems.

This book even explains how to earn passive income, so that you could be making money even while you’re sleeping.

Now how good would that be?

If you’d like to develop your own personal money and financial success blueprint then I recommend you purchase this book. It is available from Amazon and you can BUY IT HERE NOW.

DISCLOSURE: This website is an Amazon affiliate. Should you click on any of the links above and then make a purchase, you should know that this website will receive a small commission. These commissions serve only to cover the cost of maintaining this site. Your understanding is truly appreciated dear reader. Thank you.

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Money-Making Tips from the 50 Smartest People

Money is important despite any observations to the contrary you’ll hear from other people occasionally.

In the modern age we can’t get by without money, so money-making is something that’s always on our minds.

Ideally we’d all like to have enough money, so that we can do as we please.

Well it can be done if we invest in things that will in themselves generate an income.

If we can generate multiple income streams that’s even better.

Which brings us back to the idea of money-making and how we go about it in a way that works for us and leads us down the path to wealth.

As with all things if you want to succeed at something, look around for people who’ve been successful and copy what they do. The obvious question is though, where do you start?

Fortunately Tony Robbins has been very helpful here.

In the video included with this post Tony talks about his book which provides money-making tips from the 50 smartest people.

Tony is full of inspiring words and great ideas and I can recommend this video to you dear reader. You can watch it here:-

If you find this video interesting then you may like to add Tony’s book Money Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom to your personal reference library.

The book is available from Amazon and you can buy it now if you CLICK HERE.

Alternatively time pressures may limit your ability to give the book enough of your attention so you might consider purchasing the unabridged audio CD version so you can listen to it whilst driving. I do this all the time and it’s an excellent way to use time profitably.

The unabridged audio CD version of Money Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom is also available on Amazon and you can buy it now if you just CLICK HERE.

Never underestimate the power of having your own personal reference library and your own motivational resources to inspire you. So go on, choose your format and buy now.

DISCLAIMER: This website is an Amazon affiliate. Should you click on any of the links above and then make a purchase, you should know that this website will receive a small commission. These commissions serve only to cover the cost of maintaining this site. Your understanding is truly appreciated dear reader. Thank you.

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15 Things Poor People Do That The Rich Don’t

Can we learn from the habits of poor people when it comes to money?

Yes, when considered against what the rich would not do.

It’s a fact that the choices people make will affect the life they experience.

Quite simply our lives are dictated by the choices we make whether we like it or not.

The video in this post  makes some interesting observations about the choices made by people destined to remain poor relative to those who enjoy greater prosperity and the finer things in life.

Now you might feel that some of the observations made here are a little harsh on the less fortunate but actually in my experience the points being made are ‘bang on the money‘, if you’ll excuse the fashionable terminology dear reader.

I think you’d be wise to listen carefully and think about the underlying messages in the video and be honest with yourself.

Just think about it for a minute and I’m sure you’ll agree.

We enhance our value by increasing our knowledge and skills, rather than making sure we know who the latest fashionable celebrity is dating. Why would that matter to anyone?

Listen, learn and make changes as necessary.

You don’t have to be poor but, if you are right now, then you need to start making some changes.

Nothing will change unless you do first.

Things Poor People Do That The Rich Don’t:

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How to build wealth from nothing – 5 Top Tips

How to build wealth from nothingThere’s nothing anyone can do if you were born poor. That was just unfortunate. However you don’t have to go through life poor.

It is possible to build wealth over time and people do.

Many people born poor become very wealthy through their own efforts and you can too dear reader.

Here are five tips to help you build wealth from nothing.

How to build wealth from nothing:

1. Pay yourself first:

You’ll know I’m sure that making money can be relatively easy, whilst holding on to it is very, very hard.

We’re all constantly bombarded with reasons why we should spend our money in return for some fleeting sense of gratification. Would that be an experience you recognise dear reader?

It doesn’t have to be that way of course and rich people know that only too well.

So what do rich people do that’s different to everyone else? Simple! They always pay themselves first.

And what do I mean by paying yourself first?

I mean when you’re paid, you take a slice off the top of your income immediately and you put it away somewhere safe. And by a slice I mean say 10%.

And what do I mean by somewhere safe?

Well initially that would be depositing your money in an interest-bearing account.

However once your money starts building into a larger sum then you can start thinking about other forms of investment that’ll give you greater returns potentially. Stocks and bonds for instance.

Building a capital sum is important because as your money grows it starts to generate a second income stream for you. That may not seem important to you now but it will be as you get older.

So paying yourself first is a discipline to which you must adhere until it becomes a habit you do without thinking.

You must always put some money away and you must make that money work hard for you. You must grow and protect your investment portfolio with careful diversification and over time you’ll find yourself building a sizeable fortune.

So here’s today’s mantra for you: Pay Yourself First. Never forget that please dear reader.

2. Be an investor not a speculator:

You must understand that there’s a big difference between investing and speculation. They’re not the same thing at all.

I don’t wish to imply that there’s something wrong with speculation though. There isn’t.

In the world of finance speculation brings liquidity to the market and therefore it does have its place.

However speculation tends to operate on the ‘greater fool’ principle.

By that I mean someone is prepared to buy an asset for a given price in the hope that it can then be sold quickly to someone else, the greater fool, for a greater price.

This is what professional speculators do and they can make money this way because they know what they’re doing and they have sophisticated systems to support them.

However for ordinary people speculation is like gambling in a casino. And you should never invest your money as though you’re gambling in a casino.

You might get lucky occasionally of course but over time your losses will outstrip any gains you might make, and almost certainly by a significant margin.

So my recommendation to you dear reader is you should never speculate. Instead you should focus on becoming an investor.

By investing I mean buying stocks and shares in solid, well managed, cash-generative businesses which have the ability to pay good dividends on a sustained basis.

Buy stocks worth holding for the long term. This will provide you with a steady income stream from the dividends regardless of any short to medium term volatility in the market. And spread your risk by building a diversified portfolio.

If you reinvest your dividends then over time you will find that this approach should give you a good return on your money.

If you want to make money and build capital, then my advice to you dear reader is to be an investor not a speculator.

3. Focus on value not price:

The legendary investor Warren Buffett once said, “Price is what you pay; value is what you get.

With this observation he’s making a very important point. There’s a distinction between price and value.

A low price for an asset doesn’t necessarily mean you’d be getting value. And a high price doesn’t automatically mean you would not be getting value. Price in itself is not a measure of value. You must consider other factors to judge value.

When you’re buying any financial asset, says stocks and shares, you should always focus on value and you must establish metrics by which you can adequately judge the intrinsic value within that asset.

Judged in isolation price is just a number, nothing more.

A lower price means absolutely nothing if you’re getting little or no value in return for your money.

Never, ever forget that it’s the intrinsic value that will determine whether something is really worth buying or not.

Get real value at the right price and then you can get a decent return over time from an investment.

4. Create a personal private income:

Much as we all aspire to do work we love, you must never forget dear reader that ultimately work is simply a means to an end.

Essentially work is just doing stuff for other people in exchange for money. In turn that money is then the fuel on which we run our lives.

Money provides us with the means to put bread on the table, a roof over our heads and clothes on our backs and those of our loved ones of course.

If you work hard enough you can earn a lot of money.

Manage that money wisely and you can build capital. Invest that capital intelligently and you can create your own personal private income streams.

When you have a decent private income in your own right then you can truly pick and choose the work you do.

Then you only have to do what you enjoy doing; that thing that gives you a genuine sense of purpose.

Creating a personal private income is a worthy goal and it’s well worth the effort.

That way you’re in control of your own life and no one else can dictate what you should and shouldn’t do.

You’ll be in control of the good ship ‘Me’ and only you then decide where it goes.

The message here is, work hard so you don’t have to work hard.

5. Never forget what matters most:

It would be very easy to believe that a life filled with lots of money and materiality will make you blissfully happy. Well let me tell you dear reader, in isolation, it won’t.

I’m not suggesting that these things are not important but you must get your priorities right.

Yes of course, go out there and make money. Manage it carefully. Buy nice things and enjoy some of that money too.

However to be truly happy you must never lose sight of the most important thing in your life and that is family and friends. People are social animals; we’re not solitary like cats. We need other people and most of all we need our loved ones.

So make time for your loved ones, especially your children. Enjoy their company and make the most of every minute with them.

Never focus on work to the exclusion of your family and friends. Without them you have nothing. Money is important of course but people are much more important.

Never lose sight of the people in your life.

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8 Top Business Tips for Success

Tips for Business SuccessIntroduction:

I read an article recently about a guy with a college degree who was feeling disillusioned because he couldn’t find a job. At least not one that met his expectations relative to the type of job he felt his degree merited.

Well it’s a tough world out there, as I’m sure you know only too well dear reader, and despite what some people may think, the world doesn’t owe us a living. The world owes us nothing and it’s down to us to make a life for ourselves.

Work is just doing stuff for other people in return for money and there will always be people with stuff that needs doing. So rather than seeking a job, perhaps we’d all be better off if we focused on seeking customers for the services we could provide.

That’s at the heart of what business is all about, providing people with solutions to their problems for profit, and there is much to be said for becoming an entrepreneur.

The advantages of self-employment:

There are many advantages to being self-employed.

For instance, not having to deal with office politics is a big advantage for a start.

And of course being the beneficiary of all of the proceeds of your efforts is another good reason.

Instead of making a lot of money for other people, you make it all for yourself. The harder you work the more you make for yourself too.

Unless you’re a lawyer or an investment banker, the chances are the only way you’ll ever make serious money is through building your own business. Building a business that one day you’ll be able to sell for a lot of money.

However remember this; you might think that if you’re self-employed then you’re your own boss. Well that’s not true. The customer is the boss.

Serve customers badly and you won’t be serving them for very long, that’s for sure.

The first rule of business is that you must ‘know thy customer’.

You must gain a deep understanding of the products, services and marketing that will appeal to your target customer.

One size will not fit all and each market will require a different approach.

Now going into business is not for the faint-hearted. You must be prepared to work very hard, at least in the early days.

However, if you can provide your target customers with real solutions to real problems then you can make serious money.

If someone else is already offering a solution to the target problem then your solution must be better than theirs in some way if it is to sell.

Creating great products and offering great customer service is the route to business success. However never forget your reputation and image. These things matter too.

Make sure you create an image that will appeal to as wide an audience as possible. Running your own business will be a challenge but it can also be extremely rewarding, both financially and in terms of a sense of achievement.

Remember also that running a small business is not a whole lot different to running a large business. The only real difference is one of scale. The key issues are always the same.

So here are some tips for would-be entrepreneurs:-

Business Tips for Success:

1. Control your costs:

Money comes into your business and money goes out. It’s that simple.

However fail to ensure that the former is always greater than the latter and trouble will follow at some point, whatever the size of your business.

A bigger business might be able to weather the storm a bit longer but the consequences of expenditure consistently exceeding income will be the exactly same. Keep losing money and eventually your business will go bust.

Take every opportunity to maximize your revenue and always keep your costs as low as you can. And never, ever lose sight of cash flow.

Don’t spend money unless it is absolutely necessary.

Ask yourself, do I really need to spend this money? What will I get in return? Can I achieve the same result at less or even no cost?

It might surprise you to learn how frequently it is possible to avoid cost, whilst still doing all the things big businesses do.

The key message here is that you must keep an iron-grip on costs and you must manage the flow of money carefully.

2. Do your own market research:

Every product should solve a problem for your customer and you should have some idea of what that problem is and how your product will solve it relative to the products offered by your competition.

Just because you think you’ve got a great product, doesn’t mean you have in the eyes of customers. Your opinion means nothing if there are not enough people willing to buy your product at the price you’re trying to charge for it.

If your product won’t sell then potentially your business could be in trouble.

Perhaps you think you’ve spotted a gap in the market?

If it’s a genuine gap then you might be on to a winner. However a gap in the market doesn’t always guarantee that there is a market within that gap. Maybe there’s a reason for the gap which you’ve yet to understand.

In business, the trick is to find out what people really want and then offer it to them.

How do you find that out?

One very good way is simply to ask them yourself.

I’m not referring to your family and friends here. They’ll be far too polite to give you any meaningful feedback.

You must talk to real customers, if and when you have them, and potential customers.

You can conduct some of your own market research in your local shopping mall or wherever you think your target customers might congregate. And don’t be shy. Only by actually talking to people can you confirm whether your ideas have real potential.

So identify some basic questions, stand there with a clipboard and just start asking people, as politely as possible.

Often they’ll be far more helpful than you might expect.

And don’t forget you can always use the Internet too.

Search engines like Google have keyword search tools which are free to use. These tools allow you to get a ‘rough and ready’ measure of what people are searching for and how frequently.

Market research doesn’t have to be expensive. As a small business entrepreneur it is possible to do it yourself. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on this activity but it’s essential that you do it.

Your results might not be quite as scientific as those produced by the professional market research people but they will provide you with a rough guide and that’ll be good enough in the first instance.

3. Advertising costs money: is there a better way?

It’s true that visibility matters. For your business and your products it’s essential.

Your products might be the best in the world but they won’t sell at all if potential customers have no idea they exist. Surely that much is obvious.

The question is, how does any business ensure that customers have visibility of its products? The obvious answer is advertising of course.

However media advertising can be very expensive and it’s a cost which new businesses often cannot afford.

One small advert in the back of a glossy magazine can cost you a lot of money and yet you have to ask yourself whether that would be money well spent?

How often do you notice the small advertisements in the back of a magazine? In my case, the answer is not very often.

With so many advertisements competing for my attention I tend to filter them all out. I’m willing to bet that you do too dear reader.

So, if you’re not careful, money spent on advertising can be money wasted in my experience.

A better approach might be to use some creative thinking with a focus on public relations.

Smart entrepreneurs know that business is show business. It’s all about getting noticed.

For example the entrepreneur Richard Branson is a brilliant exponent at getting media attention at little or no financial cost to his business.

It helps that he’s a likeable guy of course but he’s also clever and creative in his approach.

If you have an interesting back story perhaps the local press, local radio or even television might be willing to run a story on you and your business and the products you have to offer?

Social media can be a very powerful medium for gaining attention for your business too.

Social media is also a useful way of driving traffic to your company’s website, particularly Pinterest which is an incredible tool.

Then there’s using search engine optimization (SEO) techniques on your website content to ensure you drive traffic to your site from the search engines.

Let’s face it you do need to appear on the first page of a Google search if there’s to be any chance of anyone noticing you and your business. However if you can make that happen you can get enormous amounts for traffic from Google and other search engines, like Bing and Yahoo.

Make sure you offer visitors to your company website the opportunity for signing up to a regular email newsletter. And give them an incentive to sign up.

This could be a free report or perhaps a discount code for one of your products.

How about running a competition using your company’s fan page on Facebook or your company website?

The price of say a smartphone or a Kindle or other electronic device as a prize would be cheaper than the cost of a small advert in a glossy magazine but it’s more likely to get noticed and it’ll probably generate a lot more excitement.

If you have a car or van; don’t forget that it can be emblazoned with your company logo, your website details and product information on the back, sides and front. Even on the roof.

It would be free advertising as you’re driving around.

Park your vehicle at a big event attended by thousands of people and you’re beginning to master the art of guerrilla marketing.

The bottom line is that creative thinking and public relations can produce powerful results in your quest for visibility at a fraction of the cost of advertising. The key message is; be creative.

4. Don’t make yourself indispensable:

The biggest mistake any entrepreneur or business manager can make is to think that every decision should be made by them.

If you’ve started a business from scratch you tend to form an emotional bond with it. It becomes your baby and you become very protective of it.

That’s natural of course but as the business grows you’ll have so many things to do that you couldn’t possibly do them all. You could try, of course. However if you try to do everything you’ll find yourself falling behind in key areas like product sourcing, sales and keeping your accounts up to date.

Fall behind and it becomes very hard to catch up. Potentially it is also very damaging for the business.

So you have to learn the art of delegation.

A good start would be to document every task and process within the business and then create an Operations Manual. This can include everything from the preferred method for answering the phone to completing invoices and dealing with complaints.

It can also include the degree of flexibility which you are delegating to staff, so they can get on with basic tasks allowing you to get on with those activities which are much more important for achieving business success.

No business should be dependent solely on one person.

If it is and that person gets seriously ill or has an accident then obviously the business would be in trouble very quickly and it would struggle.

Delegate basic activities to your staff and you can be sure that the business will continue to function even when you’re not around.

It will also give you a bit more thinking time for steering to the company towards bigger and better things.

The key message here is that you must delegate. Never delude yourself into thinking that only you can do a particular task.

5. Charge sensible prices:

It’s easy when you’re a small business to undervalue your products and your time. The result is that you undercharge for what you have to offer.

This is particularly true when professionals are selling their expertise and time on the basis of a consultancy arrangement.

It’s common for first-timers to lack the confidence to charge what they might perceive to be a high rate for their services.

The problem is that selling things cheaply can be counter-productive because customers then think they’re getting an inferior product or service and can be put off.

It is a fact that price can often be used as a proxy measure for quality when your business is being judged.

You have to be very business-like when considering the pricing of your products and services.

So look at what your competitors are charging and then analyse where you think your products and services fit into the market.

If you struggle with that idea then you can always seek guidance from someone else, like a fellow business owner or your accountant.

However you must always remember that you must believe in your products and services. If you don’t then why should anyone else?

You must project confidence.

If you don’t have the courage of your convictions then the chances are that your business will never succeed.

Believe in yourself and charge what you’re really worth. Sell yourself on the basis of the value you bring.

6. Make the best use of technology:

Sometimes small business owners think that because they are small they can act in a small way. However that can be a mistake.

Don’t be afraid to invest in your business. For instance investing in up-to-date technology like the right phone system and websites do not have to be expensive but they can be the difference between a customer contacting you or not.

These days no business, large or small, can operate without a website.

And that website needs to be as user-friendly as it possibly can be.

Make sure your website provides customers and potential customers with the opportunity to sign up for a regular email newsletter. And as suggested earlier, offer them encouragement so they do sign up.

Ensure also that your telephone system allows customers to reach you at their first attempt. Certainly customers won’t make too many attempts to call you before they will simply go elsewhere.

If you don’t know how to do all this yourself then go on a course or seek guidance from someone with the right expertise.

Good communications will pay handsome dividends over time.

7. Set goals:

You have to know what it is you’re trying to achieve, if you are to have any chance of successfully achieving it.

Never set your sights too low either. Set yourself a challenge and then put all your energy into achieving it.

Once you’ve set a goal then you need to establish a plan as to how it is going to be achieved.

For instance if your goal is to achieve a certain level of turnover over the next year, you have to break that down into the small steps you will need to take for it to be achieved.

How many sales will you need to achieve each day, each week and each month?

What implications will those sales targets have for production?

Do you have enough sales staff to generate that amount of business?

And so on.

Always create a plan and review it regularly making adjustments as and when necessary.

8. If you got a great idea then do something with it:

How many great ideas never see the light of day because the person with the idea fails to do anything about it?

And how many times does someone with an idea see someone else come along with the same idea and beat them to market?

Procrastination stops many entrepreneurs from cashing in on a great idea. Don’t let this be you.

If you’re waiting for the perfect time to do anything you will be waiting for the rest of your life.

Now is always the perfect time.

Don’t wait until you think the economy will be better or your children have left home or some other arbitrary barrier.

The right time to start your business is right now.

So go for it. Yes you’ll make mistakes. You won’t get everything right first time. You won’t become an instant millionaire either.

However by getting started you will be heading in the right direction and you will learn along the way.

Hard work combined with implementing good ideas will get you there eventually.

Concluding Remarks:

I hope these tips prove useful to you dear reader.

It was not intended to be a comprehensive guide for entrepreneurs and I recognise that you may many of your own ideas.

I love to hear them, so please feel free to share them with our readers.

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If you found this article useful then please share it on social media with your friends. When you share, everyone wins.

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© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2019. All Rights Reserved.

Money and Work: Which is more important?

Money and WorkIt was never, ever about the money. ~Guy Ritchie

How often are we tempted to do something just for the money?

Certainly I’ve done things for money alone and perhaps you have too dear reader? In my experience it’s always a mistake because no amount of money compensates you for the drudgery of doing something you hate.

And more importantly, if you hate what you’re doing then you’re unlikely to do it very well, are you? It’s hard to feel motivated to do something you hate, surely?

The message today then is very simple really. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you won’t do it well. And if you don’t do it well then eventually you’ll come unstuck. And so it’s all going to end in tears, very probably.

Conversely, if you actually enjoy doing what you’re doing then it will hardly seem like work and you’ll be motivated to do it very well.

Do it well and people will notice and, once people notice, you’re career will start moving onward and upward. Every hiring manager wants someone with a track record for delivering results.

So never do anything for money alone. Money is nice to have, of course, and we all need plenty of it. However life’s too short to spend it doing something you hate.

Find a job that’s right for you first and then work hard to master your trade. Get better at it, become more valuable and then get as much as you can in terms of income. When you’re producing results make sure you’re paid what your worth.

It should never be about the money but that doesn’t mean you should ignore your value and sell yourself short. It’s about work and the value you can add first and then it’s about making sure you’re suitably rewarded.

Be a dedicated professional but don’t be a mug.

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