Why Social Media Can Do More than Drive Sales for Small Businesses?

Since the first social media platform came online, more and more businesses have been spending increasing amounts of money to …

Since the first social media platform came online, more and more businesses have been spending increasing amounts of money to establish and popularise their presence in the online environment. Social media is simply a way to drive sales and to convert potential clients, however, these platforms can serve a much more important purpose: they can help create a brand and take a company to a trending position.

Large companies use their online resources for more than conversion and advertising. They are using social media to popularise a brand that potential customers will consider the standard when it comes to purchasing products.

Apple and Samsung are great examples of companies who have elevated their brands from simple product designations to popular icons. The two electronics manufacturers have convinced the general audience that their products are always the best ones available and that owning one of them means more than having a great smartphone, or tablet; it means belonging to an extended family of individuals who are able to recognise quality products and have the resources to purchase them.

This having been said, in this article, we will look at how small businesses that lack proper funding can use social media to popularise their products, create a brand, drive sales, and find funding.

It is important to use the right channels to promote your business.

Find the Right Platforms

The most important part when it comes to getting the word out about a business and its products is finding the right channels to do so. This is where a bit of research will go a long way. Go online and look at what platforms your target audience is using. Depending on what products a company is selling, its audience might regularly use :

  • Apps like Instagram (makeup products, clothes, photography equipment);
  • Blogs and review sites (power tools, gardening tools, etc.);
  • Video content websites such as YouTube (smartphone and IT equipment manufacturers);

Choosing the right platform is essential as it will make it easier to reach your audience and to feed them information without taking them out of their virtual comfort zone.

Advertise Your Company, at the Same Time as Your Products

Large, well-known companies have grown by predicting what products would be successful and then attaching their name as visibly as possible to the product. Most do this by allowing their employees to present their products to establish an emotional connection with potential buyers. In time, a part of the audience is instantly converted, and the rest will remain interested, wanting to be part of the fan family.

Small businesses can present their production lines, emphasise the work that their employees are doing to make the products as great as they can be, and explaining to potential buyers how their lives could change with a single purchase. Newsletters and promotions are equally useful, as well as contacting reviewers to present your products.

However, keep in mind that popularity is not the end goal. While social media can and will drive sales, it can also help a business secure all the financing it will ever need.

Use the Popularity as Financial Leverage

Lenders and investors are more likely to finance or give loans to companies that have a strong online presence. This is because already have a community built around them and an established brand. In other words, even if the products are moderately popular, the company has sales potential. Finding investors that are willing to finance your company will be much easier when they can see where the money will go.

In many cases, online popularity and social media can even be used as leverage when negotiating with banks. However, this requires a proper business plan and a large fan community.

A Look at Secured VS Unsecured Loans

As easy as it may be to borrow money from banks, the large number of deals and offers that they …

As easy as it may be to borrow money from banks, the large number of deals and offers that they come up with from one year to the next can make it difficult to determine which one is the best choice for you. Although each one of the terms and conditions is important when it comes to signing a loan agreement, there is one main element that everyone should pay attention to whether the loan is secured or unsecured.

This having been said, the main difference between the two is the risk-to-reward ratio. In other words, secured loans have higher value limits but not being able to repay them brings about considerably worse consequences than those of unsecured ones.

If you are interested in borrowing money from a bank and are unsure whether to choose a secured or unsecured loan, you will need to go through certain steps to determine if the larger amount of money is worth the risk. Here is what you need to know:

What Is Collateral?

Unlike payday loans that do not have serious, direct consequences if you’re late repaying them, secured ones require collateral. Generally speaking, the collateral that the borrower must put up when signing a loan agreement is a guarantee offered to the lender. Suppose for whatever reason, the borrower cannot return the money or misses several monthly repayments (the terms and conditions may vary from one lender to another). In that case, the lender is entitled to take possession of that collateral.

Also, the guarantee, or collateral, can be any number of properties or highly-valuable items that the lenders considered appropriate. Most secured loans require that the borrower offers his home or his car as collateral. However, there are also deals where you may be able to put up your home equity as a guarantee.

Lenders Would Rather Not Take Your Home

Now, it is important to mention the fact that most banks and other private lenders will never actively try to take possession of the borrower’s property. This is mainly because turning the collateral into money that they can use to cover the debt would take time and cost quite a bit.

Lenders will usually try to work with borrowers to find a new, more accessible repayment plan. However, in the eventuality that the money simply cannot be repaid, the property will be transferred to the lender.

Lenders are actually quite reasonable when it comes to negotiating your debts.

When Are Secured Loans the Better Choice?

Secured loans are typically better if you either need to access a very large amount of money or if your credit rating is not high enough for an unsecured loan. Furthermore, the best time to get a secured loan is when you have long-term financial stability. Getting laid off while repaying one of these can be extremely dangerous.

When it comes to collateral, securing a loan against your home should always be the final solution, or if you are certain that you will be able to repay the money on time. When possible, offer your car or another property as collateral.

Which Is Better for You?

Overall, if you do not need a large amount of money or are in a difficult financial position, it is better to get am unsecured loan. These may have a smaller value, but the debt is not as difficult to manage if you are unable to repay it on time.

Alternatively, those who need a very large loan for expensive medical procedures or home renovation projects, will be better off choosing a secured loan, provided that they are sure that they will be able to repay the money.

As a golden rule, whenever you intend to sign a secured loan agreement, make sure to get an appraisal for the property that you offer as collateral. Banks are usually fair when it comes to what value they assign to a property. However, other lenders may try to convince you to put up something that is, in reality, more valuable than the loan.

Top 5 Best Types of Loans to Get If You’ve Got Bad Credit

As the pandemic continues, most individuals are reluctant to go out of their homes, even when it comes to borrowing …

As the pandemic continues, most individuals are reluctant to go out of their homes, even when it comes to borrowing money. Luckily, online lending has been on the rise for the past decade, and there are now hundreds of companies and organisations are offering loans over the internet.

Besides how convenient it is to borrow money from them when compared to a bank, they also have the advantage of not performing credit score checks when processing loan applications. Furthermore, using these services is perfectly safe as most of them are authorised and regulated by the government.

This having been said, there are several types of loans that individuals can access using online platforms, each with their own restrictions and benefits.  Here are the main ones that can be accessed from the UK:

  1. Payday Loans

Payday loans are short-term loans that are usually designed for individuals that are having a difficult time balancing their monthly income and expenses. These have small value limits and high-interest rates; however, they are extremely useful for those who need money as fast as possible. The main downside with them is that the term for the loans is usually two weeks or less.

When it comes to the requirements that borrowers must fulfil, most online lenders only ask for proof of income and proof of address. They do not perform a credit score check, and smaller loans are usually not reported to the credit registers.

  • P2P Loans

These loans are offered through platforms that connect borrowers to lenders. The ones that are offering the financing are usually regular users, and the platform only perceives a small commission for supervising the lending process.

Different P2P platforms have different limits when it comes to how much you can borrow, which makes it useful to shop around until you find the right one for you. Furthermore, the amount of time needed to connect a borrower with a lender often depends on the amount loaned.

  • Online Installment Loans

Online instalment loans tend to be small in terms of value and must be repaid on a monthly basis. The term of the loan is somewhat flexible, ranging from 6 months to 2 years. As for the size of the instalments, these depend on how much money is borrowed. Online instalment loans can also have either fixed interest rates or variable ones.

  • Guarantor Loans

As the name implies, these are loans where another individual may agree to back up the borrower in the case that he cannot repay the money. These are great for those who have a low credit rating, as long as the guarantor has had a good track record.

  • Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is still a somewhat new concept. It allows individuals to make a funding proposal that others can see and decide if they should contribute to his financial goals. For example, if an individual has a product idea, he may create a presentation that others will see when considering if they should finance it.

The main advantage of crowdfunding platforms is the fact that they do not offer actual loans but free financing. In other words, the money does not have to be returned. However, most platforms allow users who seek financing to offer small rewards to those who contribute to their financial goals.

Which Is Better and for Whom?

This depends largely on what you need the money for. Each of the loans caters to the needs of very specific individuals. The common advantage of every one of them is that the borrower’s credit score is not important. Making the right choice is more a matter of establishing if you are prepared to pay the high costs of a fast loan or if you are willing to wait for a larger but longer-term loan to be approved.

Important Steps to Take Before Getting an Unsecured Loan

It is now easier than ever to get an unsecured loan, which makes this type of debt extremely attractive for …

It is now easier than ever to get an unsecured loan, which makes this type of debt extremely attractive for a wide variety of individuals. Of all the types of loans that are currently available from banks and other lenders, personal loans are the most popular. This is because they are easy to get, one does not require a perfect credit rating to apply for one, and there are no restrictions when it comes to how the money is spent.

This having been said, another great aspect of personal loans is that they are usually unsecured, which means the borrower must offer no collateral. However, the fact that the loan does not have to be secured against the borrower’s property does not mean that it be used without careful planning.

Get Your Credit Rating Up before Applying for the Loan

Your credit rating will have a direct impact on the terms and conditions of the loan. Lenders will use it to establish the upper-value limit of the loan, the interest rate that will be attached to it, and the actual type of the debt. In other words, if your credit rating is low enough, you may have no option other than a secured personal loan. However, this usually only happens if you have a history of not repaying your debt.

Although your credit rating reflects your long-term financial habits, it can be quickly influenced by certain aspects, such as your credit usage ratio and your number of outstanding loans. You can increase your credit rating by paying off your credit cards, getting a debt consolidation loan that you can use to repay other loans, and avoiding requesting payday advances or any other type of short-term loan.

These practices will show lenders that you know how to properly manage both your debt as well as your income and that you can be trusted with more money at a lower interest rate.

Make Sure That You Read the Terms and Conditions

Personal loans, even though they are unsecured, can still be dangerous, especially if they come with a variable interest rate. Read the bank agreement twice before signing it and make sure that the loan has a fixed interest rate attached to it. This will ensure that each monthly repayment will have the same value and that the interest rate will not be influenced by how the overall economy shifts.

Furthermore, look for early repayment charges or other fees that you may have to pay over time. A large number of lenders either do not allow borrowers to repay the loan early, at once, or they charge each additional payment separately. However, most banks will offer complete transparency with regards to what you will have to pay and when it is better to be safe than sorry.

Create a Budget Account That You Can Use as a Backup

Start a savings account and deposit money that is equivalent to one or two monthly repayments. You can do this right from the start, or with time. This account will serve as a financial buffer in case your income is ever reduced, making it more difficult to repay the loan.

What to Keep in Mind?

Your credit rating is extremely important when taking out any type of loan. Try to organise your financial life before submitting the application and always read the terms and conditions several times. Pay attention to the fine print and ask the lender about the possibility of early repayment.

Generally speaking, try to always negotiate with the bank to get a fixed interest rate. However, you must keep in mind that if you either have a low credit rating or request a larger amount of money, you may have to choose between paying a variable interest rate and securing the loan.

3 Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Income

Finding a better job that pays more is not always an option. Sometimes one must make do with what one …

Finding a better job that pays more is not always an option. Sometimes one must make do with what one earns. However, this does not mean that individuals cannot manage their finances in such a way that will allow them to have a healthy financial life and be able to afford products and services that may be over their income level. Properly budgeting your income to keep bad debt away and be able to buy whatever you may want is possible, though it will require careful planning and discipline.

This having been said, three main steps must be taken to ensure that you use your income as efficiently as possible. These do work separately. However, they produce astounding results if you use them together, especially for an extended period of time, such as several months. Here is what you need to do to properly balance your monthly income and expenses:

Create a Budget That You Will Follow Religiously

Start by collecting all the receipts that you get when you make monthly purchases. These should include groceries, medical supplies, gas, public transportation (in case you commute to work), and any other fixed payments that you have to make such as utility bills and rent.

Once you collect these, separate them into envelopes—one envelope for each month. After around 60 days, open the envelopes and start going through the receipts. The goal here is to determine what purchases are essential and which ones were for products and services that could be classified as luxuries. For example, paying a basic phone bill is often a requirement to work and stay in contact with others. However, a Netflix subscription can be considered a luxury.

Take the data that you’ve collected and created a budget that will only include the essential expenses. To it, add 25% of what remains for your income as “Miscellaneous”. You will be able to spend this money on anything you want. Everything that is left after this should go do a savings account.

  1. Open a Savings Account with a Great Compound Interest Rate

Once you’re on your way to saving money, you will have to store it somehow. The best course of action is usually to open a savings account at a bank that offers a great compound interest rate. This will essentially generate money for as long as you’re contributing to that account without withdrawing anything. For example, if the interest rate is 0.5% and you deposit £1,000, then you will receive £5 every month. However, if you don’t withdraw anything from the account, after the next 30 days, you will receive 0.5% out of £1,005. This process will repeat indefinitely.

  • Get a Line of Credit Instead of Loans or Using Credit Cards

The last step is to reduce the cost of your future debt as much as possible. Almost all lenders offer lines of credit, which have the advantage of having lower interest rates than those of credit cards. Furthermore, unlike loans, you only pay interest for what you use out of the money that is available to you.

  • Discipline Is Key for Long-term Results

Discipline is the key to a healthy financial life. Although all three of the methods presented above will help increase your spending power, from one month to another, the real advantages can only be seen after a longer period of time, as the money that you put aside starts to accumulate.

It is important to keep in mind that an important rule of proper budgeting your income is to never give in to temptation and spend the majority of your saved money, on a whim. Whatever you put aside should be used as a financial buffer in case you ever need to pay for an emergency medical procedure or if you spend your income ever drops.