Category Archives: Life

Helpful money management tips for first-time business owners

Living paycheck to paycheck is a common cycle for many South Africans. People want to save but they also love to splurge. If you speak to any financial advisor, you will see that saving a portion of your salary every month is critical for a comfortable future. However, if you have started your own business or want to launch a unique concept, you need to break away from this cycle. To invest in the future of your career and your personal wellbeing, you will need to live according to a strict budget.

Here are a few tips that will help you to set good behaviours in motion and meet your goals:

  • Understand the importance of being organised

When it comes to being an entrepreneur, you are in charge of your finances. You will need to prioritise planning and organisation skills in order to stick to a goal. Start categorising your savings according to your needs. For example, future and immediate goals. Once you have a plan set in stone, you will need to effectively manage and follow your progress to ensure that you achieve what you set out to achieve.

  • Check your credit record

No matter where you are in the world, having a poor credit score will affect your next move. While saving and budgeting might be the long-term solution, you might want to consider taking out a personal loan to help you achieve your dream faster. Or at least lift it off of the ground. The reason why you will need to settle for personal loans, if anything, for your startup is that banks and financial brokers are wary of granting loans to small businesses. So, the minute you start working steadily towards your financial goals to kickstart your business, you will need to think about requesting a credit report. The outcome will determine your ability to apply for a personal loan, as well as how to improve your credit score.

  • Save where you can

If your business concept or idea is something that you’re passionate about, you will need to make a lifestyle change and do your best to cut back where possible. There are several ways to reduce your spending when it comes to daily habits and spending trends, so you will need to make a conscious decision to help yourself. If you are already running your own business, you need to postpone personal rewards and think realistically about your cash flow. It certainly is exciting when you start to notice an interest in your product or service, but you cannot reap the benefits just yet. Do not burden yourself with salaries, employee benefits or any other traps when your success has not yet been achieved. You will also need to cut your salary and live as cost-effectively as possible to set an example for anyone who is working with or for you. Reduced cash flow is key in the first couple of years.

  • Set long and short-term goals

Setting goals is effective when working towards something. Having a goal in mind will motivate you every day to wake up and do your best to be better and succeed in life. But the problem with goal setting is that people are puzzled by them. Short-term and long-term goals both take time, effort and dedication. You cannot think you’ll achieve your goals in the shortest period of time. Look at the SMART goal setting technique as this will help you achieve the feedback you need to keep moving forward.

Another tip for first-time entrepreneurs is to try to diversify your business by investing in alternative sources. Many business owners try to put all their eggs in one basket, without having a plan B. If you are going to look at personal loans, be sure to have a plan on where you’re going to distribute that money. You can look at a loan calculator or instalment calculator to see how much you’ll qualify for, and based on that, you will be able to put together a failure plan as well as alternative investment plans.

  • Think about finding a mentor

Whether you’re struggling to manage your personal finances or you need some inspiration to go ahead with your business, try to consider finding a mentor during this process. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when it comes to your finances, and something like this can dent your ego and cause you to feel inadequate. If you want to be an entrepreneur, you will need to consult with someone who can help and guide you. Much like everything in life, managing your finances take practice and time.

Final thoughts

Managing your money for the first couple of years will be a draining process, but once you start seeing the benefits, you will also start seeing the benefits. Starting a business is not easy. There will be times when you want to hit a wall from frustration as well as give up, but you are not alone. Keep pushing through and take advantage of your support system and mentor to help keep you motivated. If you stay focused and determined, you will easily be able to reach for the stars and achieve your dream.

Skills you need to start and run a business from home

Starting your own business and choosing to do it from home is both a brave and popular business venture at the moment. The flexible hours, controllable workload and doing what you love are all attractive perks to starting your own business from home.

But it takes the right kind of person with the right kind of attributes and skills to pull off a successful home business. And if you’re considering taking this type of business journey for yourself, you need to know what it’s going to take to make it work and make sure you get those skills down before you try it out.

The best thing to do for any job is to make sure you’re qualified and capable. And that’s what you’re about to find out.

Discipline and determination

 

If you were a student who studied via correspondence from your desk at home, then working from home, sticking to deadlines and making sure you actually work, shouldn’t be a problem. But, if you had to go to a university or college and attend lectures to force yourself to focus, then you might struggle to work from home.

There’s a certain type of self-discipline that is required when working from home. You have all the distractions in the world at your disposal and no one else to keep a watchful eye or be on your case to make sure your work gets done.

You need to create your own determination and find the discipline to get work done on a daily basis. You need to work in a productive environment within the house and not from the cosiness of your bed or comfort of your pyjamas. Your success is based on the amount of effort you put in and if you can’t find enough focus to work at home, then your business will never get the attention it needs to grow.

Organisational and project management skills

We spoke about needing to work in a productive environment. Hand in hand with that is the

need to have organisational skills to help you stay on top of things. You can’t mix work and home life together because then you’ll have kids toys in the office, lost documents and all the “home” things calling you away from your desk.

While starting your business from home is a way to balance your work and home life, it still doesn’t mean that your home life distracts for work life. Which is also why you’ll need project management skills. Being organised and tracking the progress of all your projects will help you stay focused on work during work hours and realise the urgency of your tasks. It’s easier to focus and work hard when there’s a plan, a deadline and nothing extra lying around to steal your attention.

Finance and accounting skills

An important part of any business is finances. If you don’t consider yourself the ideal candidate to run a finance manager training programme, you may want to look into finance for non-finance managers courses. As they say, “it takes money to make money” and you’re going to need to manage finances as soon as you proceed with the idea of starting your own business.

And if you look at the two-day finance for non-finance managers course outline, you’ll see that you cover all the basic necessities of business finance that you’ll need to know to manage your business’ money and keep it afloat. They even have a module that covers making financial decisions, which will definitely come in handy during your time as a self-employed, business owner and manager.

Of course, there is always the option of bringing an outside finance expert in, but even then  it would be beneficial for you to have a good idea of what they’re talking about and suggesting. So, just take the course. It will be better for business.

Clear communication skills

And, lastly, you’ll need clear communication skills to be able to start and run your business from home. You will need to contact the necessary institutions to register, finance and market your business and you need to be able to clearly communicate what you want, need and are looking for.

More than that, you will need to build a network of contacts who can help you, endorse your products and collaborate with you. And you’ll need to be able to communicate with clients on a firm and professional level.

Communication is how you’ll market your business and build your brand. You need to know what it is you want to communicate to your clients and target market, and execute it properly the first time. All of these skills will serve you well in your at-home business. Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into and stick to the game plan for as long as it’s relevant.

The right way to market and sell life insurance

The topic of life insurance is quite an entertaining one. Well, purely for the process that leads people to eventually buying life insurance.

Most people start out with an irritation towards life insurance sales agents and the prospect of their pending death being held against them as some sort of commodity. But, eventually, when marriage, children and life-changing investments come into the picture, we’re rather quick to go knocking on insurers doors.

One could argue that the “stigma” around life insurance marketing and sales pitches is the way in which they are presented to audiences who aren’t ready to hear: “have you sorted out your life in the event that you might die tomorrow?”. And who can blame them?

We’re going to be talking about a few ways to change your approach as an insurance company and change the minds of potential clients.

Find something in common

Salespeople, in every industry, need to have a knack for communication and connecting with people. And even more so in the insurance industry where the end of a person’s life is under discussion. You can’t start with a hard life insurance sell.

Start by learning more about your potential client and find something the two of you have in common. Not only will it help you personalise your sales pitch (and we’re getting to that), but it will also make your clients feel more comfortable to open up to you and trust you as an advisor for a huge life decision.

Personalise your sales pitch

Every customer is looking for a customer experience with a brand that promises to change their lives and then delivers. And it’s for that reason that an established relationship and personalised sales pitch is necessary. It’s also why generic cold calls and “threats” don’t work when it comes to selling life insurance.

It’s not about knowing each individual in your prospecting list of clients. But you need to narrow down your audience and know who you’re talking to. Through marketing campaign analytics and even your social media’s statistics, you can keep track of your audiences demographics, interests and needs.

And with this information and placing your audience into segments, you can cater for specific audiences and, in that way, personalise your sales pitch. That way, when you do your cold calls and know who you’re talking to, you can be more sensitive towards the prospecting client.

Calling up a twenty-something-year-old and telling them they need to invest in life insurance today and think about how their families would be able to cope without them. Not only do they experience that as insensitive, but their first reaction is that it’s irrelevant. Take a moment to change your perspective as a salesperson and rather communicate by speaking of the benefits it will have should they start life insurance now and what monthly payment options are available.

Relate through human emotion

Now, when we think about life insurance advertisements they’re either in-your-face life insurance or seemingly completely irrelevant. No one wants to watch an advertisement that consists only of experts sitting in an office and giving you the statistics on life insurance and how death affects a family (skipping over the entire grief period while they’re at it).

You need to find the balance between introducing the people of your company, the work your company has done and the lives your company has changed. Because that is what people are more interested in – someone or some story they can relate to.

Testimonials are a great way to get an audience to relate through human emotion. They want to listen to the people with similar stories and situations as them. They want to hear that it’s possible to save money, have living benefits and have life insurance pay out when the time came and the family was in need. Your target audience would rather find out that way that having life insurance is, actually, important and that the weight of responsibility that falls on those you leave behind can be tremendous and hard to deal with.

Young adults with no evident responsibilities won’t need to hear about how a middle-aged person with a partner and children is benefiting from life insurance because they aren’t in that stage of their lives yet and their answer to an insurance sales agent would be “I’ll wait until I need it”. What they need to hear is words coming from a fellow young adult who can rest assured because they know they’re covered should anything happen now and, even more so, later in life because they started now.

How you can do it

The right way to sell and market life insurance is to get to know your audience and give them whatever it is they need to relate to your company and your product. Take a look at your website and see what it says to people who have no idea what life insurance is about.

The AUL website, for example, gives comprehensive breakdowns on what they offer, who they work with, the people they help and what their mission is. It’s not about doom and gloom threats to get people to buy insurance from you, it’s about fulfilling a need and being a part of a process that will change their lives.

Anyone can be rich and here’s how

Far too many of us believe that wealth and a full bank account is unattainable. A privilege only the minority can enjoy. But that’s simply not true. Everyone has the ability to accumulate wealth but not everyone has the understanding to do so. You need some smarts to be to able to make the amount of money your heart desires. What’s more, the goalposts are always moving because the economy is constantly fluctuating.

At the beginning of this year, South Africa was sinking deep into another recession. Recently, it was announced that this is no longer the case. However, that doesn’t mean it’s easier to live in this country. The cost of living is actually far too high for most of our various incomes and this means that very few people consider themselves wealthy. So, while it is difficult to become wealthy it’s still not impossible and definitely something you should strive for.

There’s a saying that you should always pay yourself first before paying anyone else. And while this is ideal, not everyone can afford a savings account. But if you can’t save, it’s likely because you’ve mismanaged your money in the past and your debts are bad and your lifestyle doesn’t match your paycheck. The list of reasons for a lack of savings are endless but you can fix it. And with some patience, discipline and tenacity you’ll be sitting flush with cash and a growing savings account in no time.

The most simple tip is to spend less than you earn

Life doesn’t always play ball on this one but if you can manage to spend less than you earn you will be able to get richer each month. You should save some money each month. You must ensure that, even in the difficult months, a small fraction of your expendable income must be put towards your rainy day account. You’ll thank yourself in the long run because future “difficult months” can now be handled easily.

Debt is debt, good or bad

Most people think that debt is just a part of normal life and that everyone is struggling with the same problem. In reality, debt is bad. Yes you need to accrue some debt to create a credit history and yes you’ll probably need to finance your car and get a bond on your property, that’s part of life. But any debt outside of this is actually unacceptable if you’re trying to garner wealth. And you need to be clever about how you create this debt. For instance, if you move to or live in a major city like Johannesburg you will need a car. It is dangerous to not have one. But you mustn’t finance a new car and hope to create wealth. This is silly debt. You want to find dealerships who specialise in used cars in the Gauteng area and find the best buy for the least amount of money. If you can finance a car like this and pay it off in three years or less you’ll have gained.

And similar principles apply with purchasing a property. You want to purchase the worst property in the best area so you’re assured of a return on investment when and if you decide to sell. You can throw some money into the property over a couple of years so that you create more opportunity for profits when you sell. Ultimately, unless getting into debt is going to make you money eventually, don’t do it.

If you’re wearing your wealth you’re doing it wrong

You’ll often find that the wealthiest people don’t wear their wealth in the form of designer clothing, watches and luxury cars. And don’t consider celebrities here, they’re required to dress in the best and drive the fanciest because they are in the public eye all the time. The reality is that spending your money on these things will not help you in the long run.

All of your investable money you should pump into a portfolio of investments that’ll offer you rewards. Of course, spoiling yourself every now and then is fine. Treating yourself when you need a new watch or setting your home up for comfort or even travelling all over the world, these are all things that you can enjoy when you’re wealthy. But investments first, assets first and future wealth should be a priority.

Be risky

Of course, don’t put yourself or your loved ones in danger. But if you have some money to play with – and with knowledge and guidance – take a couple of risks with investments. Because essentially unless you have a special talent to exploit or create a business out of, or unless you marry rich, win the lottery or inherit a bunch of cash, there’s no other way to make cash other than taking a measured gamble.