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Cut Business Costs Without Slowing Down The Company

As business owners, we all lie awake thinking about spreadsheets. Your bottom line, profit margin, and outgoings play over and over in your head. In most cases, it’s easy to see when things are moving in the wrong direction. If this is happening, there are two ways to fix it. First, you can sell more products, and increase your profits. Unfortunately, that means spending more money on marketing, and it takes time. The second option is the quicker and more efficient route: cutting costs.

That’s what we’re focusing on today. By slashing your business costs, you can free yourself of financial worry. At least for a little while. The trick is learning how to cut costs without negatively affecting the company itself. It’s a difficult balance to get right. Follow our advice, and we’ll guide you to better success in 2016. Let’s jump in, and take a look.


The first thing you need to do, is take a long, hard look at your financial situation. Sit down with your accountant, and figure out where all the unnecessary expenses are going. Which investments are working, which are losing money, and where are the leaky holes? By identifying the problems, you can start to find a better route forward. It all starts by facing up to those initial money troubles, and finding a better solution.

Reduce your overheads

One of your biggest expenses or outgoings will be your overheads. These are any essential payments that help keep the business running. We’re talking about office rent payments, energy bills, etc. See if you can negotiate a reduction in rent payments or switch to a cheaper energy supplier. These overheads are eating into your profit margin, so it’s crucial you work to keep them low.

Expenses and travel

There was a golden era for business, when enormous expense accounts were the norm. Nowadays, businesses should be a little more strict about those black cards! In particular, we suggest keeping your company travel costs low. There’s no need to rack up a fortune in flights and travel. In the modern era, you can conduct your meetings over Skype and conference calls. Keep travel expenses to an absolute minimum where possible.

Negotiate your supplies

When it comes to business, there is always a discount to be found! It might not seem like a big amount, but if you shave off a little from each of your supply contracts, it will all add up. The suppliers at CCTY Bearing, for example, are used to negotiating over prices and contracts. Think of other benefits you can offer your suppliers that will help you make that monetary discount.


Payroll cuts are a sensitive topic in business, and we’re not suggesting making cuts to salaries. Far from it. That will only make morale and productivity lower. But, there are some other payroll costs you can reduce. You can put a cap on overtime, reduce expense accounts, and reduce your end-of-year bonuses. Payroll usually makes up the lion’s share of outgoings, so approach it sensibly.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to make cuts and savings, without harming your company. Each of these little cuts add up to a big change.

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Important Preparations if You Want to Invest in Penny Stocks

A lot of people like to prepare for the future financially. And, one of the best ways to do this is to invest money and build up profits over time. A lot of investment opportunities can prove highly lucrative, and this is what encourages people to seek them out. But, whether it’s gold vs silver, or stocks and shares, you need to understand that some investment opportunities come to nothing.

Regardless of what you spend and what you invest in, any kind of investment is a risk. There’s always a chance you will lose your money. And that’s why it’s so important that you do whatever you can to make sure you’re as prepared as possible. If you’re planning a foray into penny stock investing then here are a few things to consider.

What Are They?

Simply put, penny stocks are the name given to any stocks that cost less than one dollar. These days it can increase to anything below five dollars. They are small-cap stocks that, due to their price, are often very speculative. They provide a huge unknown quantity for many investors, and yet prove popular at the same time. But you also need to be careful that you’re investing in the right sort of penny stocks. So, it might be useful to do a bit more research before you start parting with any cash.

Where Can You find Them?

The most common place to find penny stocks is through a stockbroker. Go online and you will find dozens of resources that will allow you to do this. Because of the popularity of penny stocks, people should have no problems finding them. You just need to make sure you’re getting yours from a reliable source.


As with any investment opportunity you want to know the benefits before you start. And one of the big advantages of penny stocks is their prices. Because they are so cheap it’s possible to buy a lot and not spend too much money. Another big benefit is the return on investment you can make with penny stocks. They can fluctuate very quickly, and so it’s possible to make a lot of money from spending precious little. This is perhaps the main thing that makes penny stocks such an attractive choice for investors. If you’re new to the investment game these could well be just the thing to get you started.

How Much Should You Spend?

In order to fully prepare you need to figure out how much you’re going to spend. Because penny stocks are so cheap, you’ll probably want to buy quite a few to make it worth your while. But you also need to think about the budget you have, and how much money you’re prepared to spend. So, take a look at your financial situation and make a responsible and sensible choice.

When it comes to any sort of investment opportunities it’s crucial to make the right choices. So many people invest these days, but many of them don’t really understand what they’re doing. That’s why it’s important for people considering investments to really do their homework. If you are interested in investment in penny stocks you need to prepare before you spend.


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Which Mortgage Type is Best For You?

For most people, the only way to make buying a house feasible is through a mortgage. There aren’t many that can afford just to pay for a house up front. It’s far more likely that they will need to gather a deposit together and find a lender to provide them with a mortgage.

They’re not always the easiest thing to get your head around, though. There are many different variables that can leave your head spinning. We’re here to put you straight and make understanding mortgages a little bit easier. Many people make the mistakes of focusing on the interest rates offered, but as we’ll discuss later, that’s a mistake.

There are two main types of mortgages, and both of them have their own set of pros and cons. Let’s explore them both, so you can ultimately make a decision on which one suits you best.

Fixed Rate Mortgage

This is perhaps the most common mortgage option, and the reason is obvious. People fear uncertainty. A fixed rate, for the most part, eliminates the risk of your interest fluctuating. No matter what happens in the financial market, your interest rate will remain the same for the length of the deal. There are some exceptions, though, where the fixed rate will only apply for a specified period of time.

The clear benefit of this is that you won’t be stung by a sudden surge in interest rates. You’ll know how much you’re going to be paying in addition to your loan for the length of the deal. There are, however, a couple of disadvantages. Banks knows that people are seeking fixed rate mortgages as a means of reassurance, so they jack up the prices.  So, it’s worth shopping around. Take a look at the mortgage rates at You’ll also miss out should interest rates suddenly plummet. Such is the gamble of a fixed rate.

Variable Rate Mortgage

If you like to live life on the edge, a variable rate mortgage could be for you. The interest rate could fluctuate (or, likewise, rapidly decrease) at a moment’s notice. This can make things hard to plan for. You’ll never know when you might need to dip into your savings. There, is, however, a considerable chance that your interest rates will drop, and you’ll pay less. It’s down to you to work out if that’s a risk worth taking.

One particular benefit is that there is no penalty for overpaying. With fixed rate mortgages, your bank may charge you for paying above the minimum repayment threshold. Seems silly, doesn’t it? But there’s a method behind the madness. The bank wants to prolong the length of the mortgage so that you rack up more interest. That is no longer a problem with most variable rate mortgages.

Whichever you decide works best for you and your family, there will be other variables to consider. Some banks offer discounts, offset loans and capped rate mortgages. Most of them fall under the variable rate mortgage, but could provide you with additional bonuses. Take a look at what different banks can offer you before making a decision.

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A Guide To Greater Business Success In 2016

The current calendar year isn’t quite over yet, but most entrepreneurs will already be looking ahead to 2016. Quite frankly, improving the company should be the number one priority for all business owners next year. And those preparations have to start now.

It’s no good leaving those plans to January. Setting the wheels in motion now will ensure that you can start 2016 on the front foot and start tackling your way to the top. Follow these five top tips, and it should be your best year ever.

Invest In Staff

Whichever way you look at things, the team of employees is your most valuable asset. Therefore, in 2016, showing them the attention they need should be your number one goal.

This starts with better recruitment. However, hiring the best candidates will only provide a platform. You must also follow this up with better training to ensure that they are equipped to complete the job as intended. These people are the heartbeat of your business. Don’t let them go undervalued.

Reduce Expenses

Essentially, improving your business in 2016 means one thing. Make more profit. However, generating more sales isn’t the only way. Cutting expenses can make a huge difference to the overall financial state of your venture. Better still, it’s something that you can start improving right away.

Cutting your energy bills, delivery costs and insurances will all add up. You wouldn’t spend your personal finances in a wasteful manner. Be sure to sue your business capital in an equally effective way.

Improve Online Selling Platform

The methods of conducting business have changed greatly in recent year. The shift towards online selling is a phenomenon that no company can afford to overlook. Improving your web presence in 2016 has to be considered a key task for increasing revenue.

Using an ecommerce agency to perfect your selling platform will help build more confidence from the customer. In turn, this should result in better conversion rates and increased profits. What more incentive could you ever need?

Increase Customer Care

Whatever you do in business, putting the customer first should always be top of your agenda. After all, severing ties with those clients is going to cost you dearly. You should be taking every step possible to ensure that they keep coming back for more. Whether it’s improving your interactions or offering special promotions is irrelevant. Maintaining customer loyalty is a must.

Besides, treating the customer well will see them tell others about your ventures. You’ll be gaining new clients while promoting future sales to your existing ones too. In truth, this is one area of business where you can be even better than global giants. Take that opportunity with open arms, and you’ll be amazed at the results you see.

Branch Out

Becoming an international brand was once reserved for the big corporations. Nowadays, though, technology is so advanced that it is possible for small companies to target new territories too.

You’ve already got a winning business model. Setting up a secondary location should be far easier, and could be the key to doubling your success. Alternatively, you could outsource the business to suitable candidates. Essentially, you’ll be turning your brand into a franchise. If done properly, it will help you unlock levels of success that you never thought possible.

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Irrefutable Reasons Companies Need To Invest More In Employee Training

In 2014, businesses in the United Kingdom spent more money on training than ever before – let’s hope it is a trend that continues.

In the not so recent past, there has been a lack of respect towards training from a lot of business owners. They saw it as an expenditure that they didn’t get back because the results were hard to quantify. As a result, they neglected it as much as possible. Or, they didn’t invest the time, money and energy they should have done to make it work. If you are a boss reading this post, this train of thought is something you need to avoid at all costs. What you need to do is to jump on the new trend that is taking over the business sector with regards to training.

Here’s why businesses are spending more money on training than ever before.

Improves Skill And Knowledge

There is only so much that you can teach your employees in-house. To broaden their horizons and widen their scope, they need to accumulate information from multiple sources. Regardless of your age, you never stop learning because the world is constantly evolving and changing. Your business may do things one way, but that may not be the way that everyone else completes their tasks. By attending training sessions, you and your team can learn something new. On most occasions, it is something that you would not learn otherwise.

They Become Better At Their Job As A Result

Education is essential as it improves you as a person. When you know more, and your skill is higher, you can complete tasks to a higher standard. It is that simple, and that is why training is important. Once your team begin to take in more information and process that information, they can apply it to the workplace. The next time they go into work, they will perform a task differently that makes them more efficient and effective at their job. Increased efficiency and effectiveness are two traits of a high qualified individual or group of people.

Perform Better Standard Of Work

The direct result of them being better at their job is that the quality rises. For any company, that is a target that you always want to hit. As every business sells trades and services of some kind, they work off their reputation, and you are no different. The reason that you succeed, or fail, is down to your brand in many respects. If your clients and potential clients know you are a firm that provides the best standard of work, they will be more inclined to invest. Because you employees are the fabric of the company, their work represents your brand.

Productivity Increases

What is very good about training is that it brings new ideas and new ways of working to the table. Instead of doing the same thing every day, an employee can go about their working day in a different manner thanks to an informative training session. The benefit of this is that they relieve their boredom and start challenging themselves again. Work can be monotonous and repetitive at times, so you need to keep everyone awake and fulfilled. When they are fulfilled and challenged, they will work harder and get through more tasks than normal.

Invest In The Company

All you need to know in many respects is that you are investing in the company when you invest in your employees. To improve your workforce is to improve your business as a whole. The bosses that don’t want to improve their employees are allowing them to stagnant, which in turn is allowing their company to stagnate too. Everything your team does is for the good of the firm, so it only makes sense that they are at their maximum.

Health And Safety

Not all training is to make your business sell more units. Of course, that is one of the main reasons you invest in training in the first place, but you should not limit it to this reason alone. Another reason to invest in training is to keep everyone in the workplace safe and secure. Health and safety regulations are varied and complex, so it is hard for everyone to know what they cannot and cannot do at work. To make sure everyone is on the same page, they need showing what is right and what is wrong. Not only does it provide them with a nice working environment for them to work, but it also lowers the chance of an accident and a potential lawsuit.

It’s The Law

Staying with that point, health and safety training is the law. If you don’t provide your employees with adequate training, you and the company are liable. If someone does get hurt in the office, it will be your fault and that leaves you could open to sanctions. Depending on the accident, you could face anything from a large fine to jail time. Plus, you would be the subject of another lawsuit for damages that could wipe out your bank balance.


Training is an opportunity for your team to work on new things, something that has already been established. But, in this case, it is not about topping up on a job role that they already know– it is about learning new skills altogether. Running a business is costly, and your employees are your biggest expense, so you want to lower that cost wherever possible. Obviously, you cannot hire a person that you cannot afford, which leaves you with two options. You can invest in technology to take over the role, or you can train an existing member of the company. Businesses tend to prefer training an existing member of the company as most programs need a person to man and keep it running. It is a fact that raising an employee’s wage by a couple of pounds is cheaper than paying another wage.

As a boss, it is your prerogative to make sure that your employees receive the training they deserve. It is not only in their best interests, but it is in yours, too.

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Important Factors In The Rise Of Pawn Shops

Most people will have noticed the number of pawn shops is increasing across the nation. With that in mind, we wanted to find out why that’s happening. Are there certain factors that facilitate the rise of businesses of that nature? What are they? Hopefully, you will learn everything you need to know in the next couple of minutes. We can’t tell you why every pawn shop in the US has opened its doors, but we can highlight the landscape that’s allowed that to happen. At the end of the day, most people find value in the service offered, so it’s probably a good thing.

A poor global economy

The state of the global economy during the last few years has caused many businesses to close. That means there’s room one the high street for more stores and lots of people are out of work. It’s the perfect situation for pawn shops to flourish. Many residents have valuable possessions they know can raise some extra cash. People either sell their items to the pawn shop for good, or they buy them back when their finances are sorted. When you think about it, pawn shops help people to pay their bills and keep food on the table.

Increase in bargain hunters

The increase in people who are on the lookout for a bargain is a knock-on effect caused by the global economy. When there isn’t as much cash around, residents try to make their money stretch further. That means they’ll happily spend hours browsing in a pawn shop because the products are usually cheaper. The manager of a pawn shop near MGM National Harbor told us people come from all over the country to check his stock. While some sellers decide to buy their possessions back from the pawn store, many don’t. That’s why you’ll find artwork and items of historical interest in among the other products they sell.

Mounting debts

People who find themselves in debt only have a couple of options one the table. They can either downsize their home, use their savings, or sell their valuables. The latter solution is by far the best choice in most instances. So, many folks choose to get rid of their valuables first. It’s less drastic compared to remortgaging or selling their properties, and nobody wants to lose their savings. Of course, many families get themselves into more debt by taking out loans to cover debt repayments. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that pawn shops offer a better alternative.

Now you understand the situation that has lead to the rise of pawn shops, there should be no confusion. Many of those establishments are going from strength to strength at the current time. You’ve probably seen reality TV shows dedicated to their business. The next time you pass a pawn store in town make sure you drop in and take a look. There are always bargains to be had, and you might just save some money. Will this trend continue into 2016? That depends on the state of our economy.

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Rise In Car Accidents And Insurance: The Facts

It has all over the media, and there is truth in it too - car accidents are on the rise. While this piece of news is terrifying for the average driver, it also has a financial implication. Many people now worry that the change in the stats will hit the economy fast. There is no doubt that these accidents cost the taxpayer a great deal. They also make premiums rocket. So, what should you know about this trend and what can you do?

The economy will not suffer

The truth of the matter is that the US car industry is booming. In recent news, the sales figures were on the rise for cars in America. That is to say that we should not worry about the great economy here. Many people have theorized that the increase in accidents will prevent drivers from buying vehicles. Nothing could be further from the truth. The industry is as stable as it ever was. In reality, there are more people buying cars every year than ever. In this country, many manufacturers and sales teams benefit. It is important to remember that.

Accidents will drive up premiums

There is no doubt about it - these accidents will drive up premiums. The average cost of car insurance is sure to be on the rise. That fact is something that every driver ought to know. While people need to get insurance, it is crucial that they shop around as much as they can. That way, they are certain to get something that suits them. If you are a safe driver, it is likely that you can earn no claims bonuses and discounts. You should keep that in mind when it comes to finding the right one for you. The car crash stats are worrying, but you need not worry about them.

Choose the right package 

When it comes down to it, it is vital that people find the right package for them. Educate yourself on different types of insurance before you do anything else. There is a wealth of information on the A Plus Insurance site that you might find useful in the long run. If you spend a little time doing your research, you should have no problem finding the right package. Remember, different drivers need various levels of coverage. When people search for the right one, they are likely to save money.

Avoid road accidents

Finally, drivers should protect themselves by avoiding all road accidents. Since the winter is upon us, safe driving is the most important thing. That means that people should do all they can to keep safe when they are on the road. If it helps, some drivers may want to learn some extra rules. If it has been a while since you took your test, you might wish to review some of the rules that you learned back then. That way, you can protect yourself and those around you. While the roads may be getting less and less safe, you have to be careful.

**image courtesy of Flickr 

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Downsizing Your Home to Manage Debt

We’re told that the economy is on the rise again, which should, in theory, mean an increase in finance for all of us. Unfortunately, though, some of us are still feeling the effects of this generation’s economic crisis. If you find yourself short of money and in need of paying off a large debt, you may have an escape clause thanks to your home.

The thought of selling your house may seem drastic, but that may be what is needed in desperate times. Downsizing can ultimately pay off a huge portion of your debt, but only if you approach the sale in the right way. Here are a few things you need to be aware of.

Getting Maximum Value

Selling your home, especially when you don’t really want to, can be a traumatic experience. Especially if you have to compromise on the price. In all likelihood, your asking price will take a dent, especially if you want to sell up quickly. House prices aren’t yet on the mend, so you will have to compromise on market value.

If you want to sell your house fast, it doesn’t necessarily mean a huge loss in value, providing you take the right steps. Do not settle for buyers that will try and tempt you by making an offer of 70% of the valuation. Trust me, they will come along, but you must stick to your guns at all costs. Even when pursuing a quick sale, you can still recoup around 94% of market value, which isn’t a great loss.

Should You Sell Independently?

There are pros and cons to chasing a sale by yourself. Recruiting the help of a real estate agent will benefit you in a few ways, but at a premium price. You have to weigh up in your mind whether it’s financially viable for you to seek assistance. But, ultimately, that is the best method for a number of reasons.

First of all, real estate brokers have significantly more reach than you do. They’ll be able to attract more potential buyers, and thus increase the likelihood of a sale getting off the ground. They’ll also have the means and resources to make sure everything is above board. It’s important that all paperwork checks out, as this minimizes the risk to yourself.

The Next Step: Buy or Rent?

Before your house is sold, you’re going to need somewhere else to live. You’ll certainly have to get this figured out before the sale goes through. But should you look at buying another property or renting for a while? My advice would be to rent elsewhere, at least until you’re back on your feet.

By the time you’ve sold off your home, and given a fraction of that to the real estate company, there may not be much left over to pay off your debts. Let alone buy a new house outright. For that reason, it’s advisable to rent for a while, but choose somewhere that allows you to live within your means.

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American Airlines Boasts Record Profits for Third Quarter 2015

Airlines have been helped recently by decreasing prices on fuel. American Airlines has announced a record $1.7 billion dollars in third quarter profits reportedly due to the lower costs for fuel.  The pricing per diluted share was reported to be $2.49.  This profit is in stark contrast to 2014 when the airline made just $928 million. This last quarter is the highest profit for the airline in history.

The news is great for American Airlines after recently completing an integration and merger with the former US Airways airline which proceeded without any interruptions to flights or ticketing system.  The merger between the two large airlines was approved in late 2013.

American Airlines Group stock increased 3.8% to $45.99 in pre-market trading last reported early Friday.

During a conference call with reporters discussing the third quarter, CEO Douglas Parker mentioned the merger saying, “Our team did it flawlessly. We couldn’t be happier…We are well on our way to building the best airline in the world.”

The call noted that despite a drop in the airline revenue, the profit came to such a high number due to the increased drop in expenses for the company especially the fuel costs which were much lower than in previous years.  Reports indicate the fuel dropped almost 44% over 2014.

More positive news for the airlines was the recent tentative agreement between American Airlines and the customer service agents employed by the company which numbered close to 15,000.  This agreement should help eliminate one contentious issue the airline faced and put it on track for future growth and stability.

CEO Parker refuted claims that the profit was solely due to dropping prices for oil citing the same pricing in 2005 where the industry as a whole lost billions of dollars.  Parker updated those listening on the conference call that the profits for airlines this year would be in the multiple billions citing the mergers as a key point in these positive times.

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4 Common Health Insurance Problems - And How To Solve Them

The medical insurance world is fraught with complexities. Most of which involve consumers paying a lot more for their coverage and treatment. There are several common issues that most people will run into - and here’s how to solve them.

Out of network

Out of network, doctors are a real issue, and there is a lot of confusion about the process of choosing the right plan with the right physician. There are many consumers who choose a doctor with an insurance company, only to find they accept patients from one of the other networks. The trouble comes when you go for your medical treatment and end up with the complete bill to pay. So, to avoid this problem, make sure that you search for the insurance carrier, rather than the network. And, if you have chosen an out-of-network doctor, don’t be afraid to ask them if they would join your network, or, if not if they would lower their fees.


No cover

Some things may not give you the cover you need. For example, if you need drug or alcohol rehabilitation care it can be tricky to get a payment from your insurer. There are many tools that can help you check for rehab insurance cover. So, make sure you use them before booking yourself into an expensive program. Similarly, medication may not be covered. All insurance companies will have a list - or formulary - that will tell you which drugs are covered. Your doctor may be able to request an exception for you if the drugs you need aren’t covered by your insurance.

High care expenses

A lot of people choose a plan with low premiums because they need to keep payments in line with their budgets. However, these plans usually mean you will end up paying a lot more for your treatment. Often, they have to meet a deductible of anything up to $5,000 before their insurers cough up - which can lead to serious debt problems. To prevent this common problem, make sure that you weigh up your needs with the plans on offer to you. You may also benefit from seeing a health insurance broker, who can help you with your decision.

Claim denials

Claim denials are depressingly common. Insurance companies use a lot of different methods to weigh up a claim, including complicated software. However, they don’t always get it right, and many patients will find themselves with a claim denied and a lot of money to pay out. There is a lot you can do, though. First of all, make an appeal. Appeals are usually looked at a lot more carefully than your initial claim, and in many cases they will be passed through with no problem. Even if you are rejected again, it could be worth appealing again until you do. Statistically, it’s probable that the more claims you put in, the more likely they will pay out in the end.

Do you have any medical insurance problems you have experienced? We would love to hear about them if you have, so let us know in the comments and join in on the conversation.

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