Debt Resolution Companies and Your Credit

Cash advances are promoted by credit card companies to get quick access to cash in emergency situations. The high interest rates that apply are another danger of cash advances using a credit card. Cash advances do not offer a grace period unlike most credit card transactions and the interest starts accruing immediately.
Poor credit can impact you in many ways, from a lower credit score to an inability to get loans or even a higher cost of borrowing if you get a loan or mortgage with bad credit loan.

While the ill effects of a bad credit score might not be evident to you now, it will occur to you that most financial organizations consider your credit score before interacting with you. In relation to loans, a bad credit record comes with consequences. Rejection Of loans with bad credit- Most of your loan or credit applications will be denied because most creditors will view your application as a risk. While some creditors will lend you money at higher rates of interest, some creditors might not lend you the money at all.

A Poor Credit Loan is a type of unsecured loan you can apply for even if you don’t have a great credit history or you’ve been turned down for a loan before, and flexibility is one of its best features. When somebody applies for a Bad Credit Loans, their credit score will be checked in order to see whether they are eligible or not, and also to calculate the interest rate that can be offered for the loans for bad credit.

Because of the collateral asset, lenders offer secured personal loans at lower interest rates. In a recent development, a range of registered money lending agencies is readily providing loan to loans for people with bad credit. The range of loans is steadily gaining prominence and is facilitating life for scores of people by resolving their small economic needs. The unique monetary facility is more popularly called bad credit car loans. In short, innumerable folks are suffering from low credit score. Conventional lenders refuse to give loans to these people for obvious reasons. Do you have great, okay, or bad credit? The interest rate will also determine the overall monthly payments. The Credit Card has money, transcending physical boundaries and opening up multiple new avenues. Who are the people with no credit history?

Credit History is associated with everyone who has used a credit card for any purchase. In the case of card applications, an individual with bad credit history has a better chance of getting a credit card than a person without any credit history. There are however avenues to get a credit card with no credit history. There are many vehicles available. A question you should ask yourself is, “What is going to happen to my credit score if I don’t file bankruptcy?” The higher your score is before the filing of the case, the higher it is going to be after you file the case and get your discharge. If you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, that will stay on your report for 7 years after the case is discharged. When you can get credit is going to be dependent on your income, and on your credit score.

Financial Security Begins With These 5 Steps

To help you on this tumultuous journey, here are 5 tips to guide you on the road to financial security:

Getting Opportunity to Knock on Your Door:

The first step toward financial security begins with learning. Study up on anything related to finance, such as interest rates, taxes, dividends, investing, compound interest and saving. Besides reading books and articles on finance, you could also take a class on entrepreneurship that’ll help you identify market and consumer needs and create businesses around those needs. I’m not asking that you read any junk that will do more harm than good. Instead, learn from the best and from those who have already achieved success.

Behave and Save:

We’ve all heard of the old adage that “it takes money to make money.” There’s some truth behind this statement. Rather than taking out a loan where you’re also paying interest on top of the money borrowed, it’s best that you start saving immediately for investing purposes. Decide how much money out of your paycheck that you could save and put that money in a savings account to earn interest until you finalize on your investments. Even saving as little as $50 per paycheck will amount to quite a bit over the years and if you decide to put that money into a high-risk investment, then you’re only risking what you could afford to lose.

Don’t Be Kept in Debt:

Paying off your debts, especially your credit cards, is an essential part of financial freedom. As of 2014, it is said that the average credit card debt per U.S. household is $15,191 which equates to $854.2 billion. Remember, it’s difficult to get ahead in life if you already have debts hanging over your head. So do your best to pay off all your debts as soon as possible.

The Future is in Your Plans:

Everyone must plan for the future and it’s best to start early since time is our most valuable asset. Start by creating a 1 year plan, a 5 year plan, and a 10 year plan. Begin by calculating a conservative estimate of how much money your household needs to save over the years in an effort to reach your financial goals. Depending on the amount, decide what’s the best use of those funds, whether it’s starting a business, investing, or simply allowing the money to continue collecting interest.

As with any goal, the key is to ensure that your ideas stay in the forefront of your mind by not only writing them down but also referring back to them frequently. To do so effectively, you should place your financial plans somewhere you visit regularly, such as the dashboard of your car, refrigerator, or even your bathroom mirror.

Invest, Invest, Invest!!!

As you can tell, I’m very adamant about investing. If you’re not already doing it, I highly recommend using a variety of investment vehicles as part of your diversified retirement plan.

Here are some to consider:

401K:

Sign up for your employer’s 401k plan, and at minimum, contribute enough to get the company’s match since it’s free money.

Individual Retirement Account (IRA):

Available from most financial institutions, everyone should have either a Roth, or traditional, IRA account in conjunction with their 401K plan. By doing so, you’ll also accrue interest on your savings and you could decide on the amount of risk in your investments. Make sure you do research on the minimum amount, if any, to get started, along with fees, commissions, taxes, etc.

Money Market Accounts (MMA’s):

MMAs typically have a higher minimum compared to a regular savings account but accrues interest at twice as fast. The downside is that your ability to draw on those funds and affect its investments are limited.

Stocks:

If you want to grow your fortune, you should definitely consider the stock market. Begin by doing market research since you should always understand which stocks you invest in, and start small with money you could afford to lose.

Real Estate:

Another common way to amass wealth is by investing in real estate since property values generally appreciate over time. You could choose to rent the property, flip it, or develop it for commercial use.

Bonds:

For those unaware, bonds are basically debt securities, similar to an I.O.U., where you lend money to the government, federal agencies, or any other issuer. And in return for your money, the issuer gives you a bond as a promise to not only pay back the loan but also a specified interest rate during the life of the bond when it matures.

At the end of the day, you should never keep all your eggs in one basket. Through diversification, and by investing in stocks, real estate, MMAs, bonds and mutual funds, you’ll ensure that your money can withstand the fluctuations in global economies.

To end, I’ll leave you with another quote from Suze Orman… “time is key to building your financial security.” So start early, pay off your debts, save, invest wisely, and let your time and money work for you!

4 Ways Product Managers Can Use Social Media

I’m always being asked by product managers what the most important product management tools are when you are creating a product development definition. We all know the obvious ones: PowerPoint, Word, and Excel. However, things are changing. Social media and its related tools are talking on increasing importance and as product managers we need to get good at using these tools if we want to keep our jobs…

Why Social Media Is So Important

We are all living in a brave new world. The arrival of media has the entire company working to find ways to make use of this new tool. The different departments at your company that may be vying to be “the” social medias department include corporate communications, the public relations team, and even the marketing communications department.

No matter what the other departments do or say, medias are a tool that every product manager needs to be using. Let’s face it: this is something that you’re going to have to be able to add to your product manager resume. One of the reasons for this is because of the immediacy of social medias – in almost real time you can have direct access to your customer. This is the one set of tools that will provide you with your best chance to have a one-to-one conversation with your potential customers.

What this all means is that product managers are going to have to do some homework in order to determine who in their company is involved in medias. Don’t try to take control of it, but rather look for ways that you can work with them. Creating a strong social medias alliance of people who use these tools within your company will be your best way to build a bridge between your product and your potential customers.

4 Ways Product Managers Can Use Social Media

Knowing that you want to make use of medias tools is a great place to start. However, this leads to the next question: how can you get the most out of these tools? It turns out that there are four specific steps that you can take to make social medias support your product:

  1. Listen To Your Customers: Anyone can dip their toe in the social medias waters and listen to what their customers are saying for a day. What you need to do is to go all in – set up systems that will allow you to continuously listen to what your customers are saying about your product, your company, and your competition.
  2. Learn From Your Customers: Just listening to your potential customers is not enough. You need to understand what they are saying and why they are saying it. Who is talking? Is everyone in agreement or are there different groups of people who like or dislike the same thing? Does your product have supporters? Does it have detractors? Talk to your customers using social medias and make sure that you understand what their true feelings are.
  3. Share Information With Your Customers: You know more about your product, what it can do, and what changes are coming up in the future than anyone else. Use social media to share this information with your customers and form a bond of two-way information sharing with them. They’ll tell you what they want if you’ll tell them what they’ll be getting.
  4. Cultivate Loyalty With Your Customers: Contact with customers can lead to loyalty between your company and them. Take the time to use the information that you are sharing to create an ecosystem where both of you are able to build a deeper relationship based on trust.

What All Of This Means For You

We are now officially living in the era of social media. This means that product managers need to adapt and become proficient at using the social media tools that are available to us because this has become a part of every product manager job description.

Social media is so very important to product managers because it provides us with a direct connection to our potential and existing customers. In order to make the most of this we need to find ways to listen to them, learn from them, share with them, and cultivate new customers.

The good news is that all of these things can be done. The bad news is that just like everything else that a product manager has to do it’s going to take some time. Now is the time for you to start getting better at social media so that you can keep your product manager job!

How Have the Local Business Directories Changed the Way Businesses Work?

Previously people referred to the yellow pages or local printed business directories when they wanted information regarding the businesses in their area, and they could get only limited information on the businesses that they were searching for from those sources. Today the situation is different.

With the invention of online business directories and search engines like Google, yahoo and Bing that provide customized results based on geography, the customers have become informed and powerful. They have more information and thus greater control.

Customers can rate the places they visit, and leave reviews for others so that people can benefit from their experience. This puts greater responsibility on the business managers to satisfy their customers because even if they disappoint a single customer, it can cause a ripple effect and cause them to lose many more customers. Similarly a single satisfied customer can bring many more people to their firm.

Along with the added responsibility on businesses, local business directories give them more power and flexibility as well. By using these online directories instead of yellow pages, the business has more room for creativity and flexibility in their marketing campaigns.

Once a business has been registered on an online directory then it appears on all search engines, and also mobile apps. It increases the reach and accessibility of the business and allows it and opportunity to build a strong brand image based their creative and unique styles. Through these directories, they can direct a higher traffic to their websites, and if their website is managed efficiently they can expand their customer base.

In the era of yellow pages, businesses could not easily update their contact details as the yellow pages were printed periodically, but in the modern era that is not a problem. Any amendment required by the businesses in their profile is only a click away. It is due to this feature that businesses can easily advertise their seasonal periodic sales online without being stuck to a single add as it used to happen in the past.

All in All, The online Business Directories have positive impacts for both the marketers and the customers. While customers have more control over their purchases by being properly informed, the marketers also have greater room for advertisement, sales promotion and brand building.

The traditional business practices have changed, and the online business directories put greater responsibility and pressure on the businessmen to satisfy their customers. As catching the attention of customers have become easier, retaining it has become very hard!

How to Develop a Powerful B2B Value Proposition

If you are having trouble differentiating your business from your competitors, then please read this story. It will show you how I differentiated a basic commodity business from my competitors to become a sole provider to a major Canadian Bank.

From 1980 until 1994 (Yes I am that old!J) I started, owned and grew an IT (Information Technology) staffing business. I started the business from scratch. Although I had about 2½ years of experience with another agency, before I started my own business.

It is interesting to note that I call staffing a commodity business, because it obviously dealt with placing the right “people” into an account to do a special job. And especially IT, where IT is a very specialized skill, such as programming, project management, etc.

And of course, we should never think of people as simply a commodity, but unfortunately, that is how most clients saw this business.

There are many reasons for this. One big reason is that different staffing agencies would submit the same person for a contract, and of course all at different rates. So, the person, in essence, became a commodity.

I won’t get into why this happened, but that was the case back then.

It just shows how lazy some people can be about the basics of any business, such as qualification. And the way people qualify hasn’t changed much since then. Many sales people don’t even qualify at all.

Anyway, I had been trying for about three years to have this Bank (of which there are only 5 big ones) use my company as their agency. In fact, they were not using any agency, but using a lot of individual independents, all on separate contracts.

The value proposition I presented to them was this.

I showed them what kind of money they could save by using an agency to do this type of work for them.

Now every company wants to save money, you would think. But Canada’s big banks are huge monoliths that make billions of dollars a year in profits – not just billions of dollars in revenue, but billions of dollars in after tax profits.

So saving them a few thousand dollars, or even a few million dollars, here or there, didn’t seem at first like a real Value Proposition.

But it was!

Besides, it wasn’t just saving them money, I was also going to save them valuable time, and give them more productivity from their contractors.

I found out that it took three months to get any new employee or contractor to get up to speed on how the IT department of that Bank worked. So, in essence, any new employee’s, or contractor’s first three months, were wasted productivity time for the Bank.

As you can imagine, any large company, especially a large Bank, has a huge IT department. In the 80’s most Canadian Bank’s IT departments had anywhere from 500 to 1,500 people working in IT. And about 10% of these people were contractors.

And, as with any large company, and especially Canadian banks, many times the left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing. This meant that after a project was finished, it usually meant that any contractors, on that just finished project, were let go.

So, all of the knowledge gained from that project, but more importantly, all knowledge of how the Bank worked, was lost, only to have needless training again, for another new contractor for another project.

Another three months of non-productive time.

So, instead of losing these people, I suggested this option. If they turned those independents over to my company, I would do a number of things for them.

  1. They would only have to pay one invoice on all of their contractors. It eventually went to 75 people for my company. This of course saved each IT manager a lot of headaches, and time.
  2. Plus it took all responsibility off them, in case our Federal Government wanted to find out if these people were really contractors or employees. This was an audit the Banks did not want.
  3. I would put in a senior Account Manager to manage all of those contractors that worked through my company. His job was to work with all of the VP’s of each division within IT. He would find out what projects they had ongoing, and what projects were coming up, and what skill sets they needed for each of those projects.
  4. The Account Manager needed to know the skill sets of each contractor, so he could move the contractors, with the right skill sets, into the next project.
  5. His only account was that Bank.
  6. We also gave them a write-up on all of the work done by each contractor, and the rating they were given by their respective project managers on each job.
  7. We also charged pretty close to same rate they were already paying each contractor.

So what else was my company’s Value Proposition to this Bank?

It turns out that the turnover of their contractors was about 50% a year. So they lost all existing contractors every two years.

They were paying, at that time, about $50 per hour per contractor. And with 75 contractors they were losing over $7.5 million on contracting costs alone.

That cost didn’t include the costs of training new contractors, or replacing the knowledge of the people that had left. They estimated that cost doubled the replacement cost.

So, they were losing over $15 million every two years by not managing their contractors properly. And since the senior executives of IT were paid on managing costs, this took a little chunk out of their paycheques.

We showed them a better way to manage their contractors, without it costing much more money. And we helped them earn more money personally, by managing these people for them.

And of course that $15 million dollars was now revenue for my firm.

How’s that for a Value Proposition!

Of course that is just one way to show value. Each market, and each business, is different. But if you put your mind to it, you too can come up with a Value Proposition that will interest your clients. Even in a commodity market.

How are you doing with your Value Proposition?

Your Value Proposition involves a number of factors.

  1. You must know your own products and services and what benefits and value – these are different – they bring your clients.
  2. You must know your marketplace and how your products and services fit.
  3. You must understand the issues your clients and prospects face, and how your products and services help alleviate or eliminate them.
  4. You must know your ideal clients and why they would want your products and services.
  5. You must know what differentiates you from your competition. And in today’s times, it is often very difficult to know who your competitors are.

Do you have a Powerful Value Proposition that shows your clients the real value you are bringing to them?

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