The Importance of Taking Care of Yourself While Working

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article | Self-care| The Importance of Taking Care of Yourself While WorkingWaking up and getting ready for work in the morning is a routine that many people are familiar with. You get up, brush your teeth and wash your face, change, eat some breakfast and make sure you have everything you need before you head out the door. If you’ve done this long enough, your morning routine may start to feel robotic.

The question is, when was the last time that you really took some time in the morning to meditate? What about to make yourself a healthy lunch for work? Overall, when did you last set some time aside for yourself, in order to better your mental and physical health? This doesn’t only apply to your morning routine, but is incredibly important for your afternoon, evening, and during every hour in between.

Even something as simple as taking a break at work and stepping away from your computer can benefit you. Here are a number of reasons you need to prioritize self-care while you are working a full-time job.

You can never be too busy

You are never too busy to take care of yourself, no matter how many deadlines you have or how pressing a particular project is. It is incredibly important that you learn how to properly manage your time while you are at work, and it’s equally paramount that you never leave projects to the last minute, under any circumstance.

Mental health and productivity

You will notice a significant improvement in your mental health and productivity if you take time for yourself. Remember, you aren’t a robot, and you can’t work like one. Make a habit of stepping away from your work computer and you’ll notice a boost in your work creativity. You will even start to feel much happier, overall.

Hobbies and activities outside of work

How often do you participate in hobbies and other activities outside of your usual work routine? This hardly needs to require a lot of money on your part, as even something as simple as taking time to read at night, or practicing meditation, can positively impact your physical and mental health alike.

Providing support for your family members

If you don’t take care of yourself, how can you possibly hope to take care of your loved ones?

Of course, the older your family members get, the more they will require additional assistance. People’s health starts to decline with age, and you will likely require non-medical elderly in home care, which you can read more about on www.inhomecare.com. It’s important that you understand the difference of being able to take care of yourself and whether you need additional help.

You need to be attentive to your surroundings and know that in neglecting to take care of yourself, you also are not providing the best possible support for your family members. If you are consistently working late nights, you may not even realize that your loved ones are facing certain health issues, themselves. You may not even think to get at-home support, either, as your mind is constantly focused on other matters.

There isn’t a single person that can tell you how to live your life on a day-to-day basis. That being said, it would never hurt to be mindful over what the healthier alternatives are and how they can impact your life. Consider some of the points that have been mentioned here, for instance.

3 Most Common Leadership Mistakes and How to Avoid Them in 2019

StrategyDriven Management and Leadership Article | 3 Most Common Leadership Mistakes and How to Avoid Them in 2019 | business leadershipIt is no news that being a leader requires quite a lot of perseverance and personal strength. For some people becoming a leader has been a meticulous decision and a result of many years of hard work, whereas some others might have got a leadership position without ever striving for it. The luck of the draw!

In both cases, the expectations are high and the stress is unavoidable. Not only should a leader outperform themselves and make sure all the objectives are met but they should also ensure their entire team feels happy and satisfied with work. Not an easy task to do!

Regardless of how many years of professional experience and personal training leaders possess, all of them tend to commit certain mistakes because they are all human beings. But what distinguishes a good leader from the rest is their ability to be able to recognize their mistakes and find solutions to avoid them when they get a second bite at the cherry.

For those leaders looking to improve their leadership qualities, we have compiled a list of 3 most common leadership mistakes and ways to avoid them in 2019.

Let’s take a closer look at each mistake.

#1. Not communicating the vision and the goals

Having a vision and setting clear goals is one thing, being able to communicate those to your employees is a completely different thing. Many leaders think that if they have a clear vision, that is more than enough for employees to succeed. While there is some truth to that, constantly communicating the vision and the goals is more than essential to guarantee a successful team work.

Leaders should remember that their employees have different personality types and they do not necessarily function in the same way. In order to ensure that the whole team is on the same page, leaders should remind them about the significance of the vision and how it translates into everyday tasks for each employee.

Sharing the vision, sticking to it and showing how every employee can contribute to that vision every day is key to creating a successful working environment based on common goals.

Top Tip: constant communication of the vision can be executed through monthly email reminders, oral reminders during meetings or via audiovisual support materials like TV screens around the office. Make sure every employee knows the vision and knows how to contribute to it.

#2. Poor delegating of tasks

Poor delegating of tasks is equally harmful as not delegating at all. Recent research has shown that leaders who skillfully delegate tasks achieve three-year growth rates that are 112% higher than those who don’t delegate at all or who do so poorly.

Delegating tasks will not only let a leader concentrate on more important tasks of strategic value to the company but will also empower employees because by doing even the smallest task employees feel like a valued member of a team, especially when those tasks correspond to their strengths.

Here is how to delegate tasks successfully:

  • Identify the tasks to delegate
  • Choose who to delegate the tasks to, based on their strengths
  • Be clear about the tasks to implement
  • Monitor progress and give continuous feedback for improvement
  • Be able to redelegate when something goes wrong
  • Show constant appreciation

It has been proven that employees who have a chance to use their strengths and character traits are on average 74% more engaged at work. Moreover, the mere fact of knowing each other’s strengths makes the team 12% more effective.

Top Tip: delegating tasks based on strength finder results will help leaders achieve maximum efficiency. Sharing each other’s strengths can be of huge help to team members who work together as well as for leaders who manage those teams.

#3. Failing to adjust to changes

In today’s ever-changing world the ability to adjust to changes is crucial to successful leadership: continuous tech developments, new customer relationship management practices, employee motivation roller-coasters, and much more.

One of the main differences between a leader and a manager is the aptitude to embrace change. Real leaders know that change leads to new ways of growth and accomplishment. While there is no perfect formula for managing change, the secret of succeeding is realizing that change is inevitable and that growth happens when things change.

Top Tip: learn to be flexible as a leader: listen to your employees, constantly follow the trends and keep an open eye on market developments. Remember to surround yourself with people who can complement you in areas where your strengths are not enough to help you with your weaknesses.

There is no special school for leadership that teaches how to be a true leader. It takes a lot of everyday practice and a great deal of flexibility to be able to adjust to people, places and different developments.

“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.”
John Maxwell


About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Anatoli ChernyaevAnatoli Chernyaev is a content marketing manager born in Armenia and currently residing in France. He writes about various topics such as self-awareness, positive thinking, personal development, and career advice.

IO Improvement: Making Your Computer Perform Better Than New

Over the last few decades, computers have just about taken over the world. These machines are used in business, for people’s personal lives, and to handle loads of background jobs which most people are blissfully unaware of. While they are invaluable, though, they can also cause their fair share of mischief. Degradation, where a machine becomes slower over time, is a big part of this. So, to help you out, this post will be exploring some of the options which can be used to make your computer faster than when it came out of the factory, all with as little expense as possible.

Overclocking

If you’ve ever heard computing enthusiasts talking about performance before, you might have an idea of what overclocking is. In simple terms, this is the process of making your system components run at higher speeds than they would out of the box. This is usually achieved through the BIOS before you get to Windows, OSX, or Linux, and will involve raising voltages and clock speeds until you have a stable, but much faster, system in place. There are loads of guides around the web which can be used to make this easier, and you should always aim to find ones which cover your exact hardware. You will probably lose your warranty when you do something like this, and it doesn’t come without other risks, either.

Underclocking

A lot of pre-built computers and laptops don’t give you the power to overclock, instead keeping their chips locked down to avoid heating issues. While they won’t let you go up, though, some will still let you go down, and the benefits of underclocking are often under appreciated. For example, if you’re able to lower your CPU’s voltage without changing its clock speed, you will get the same performance out of the chip, but the machine itself will use far less power. In the case of a laptop, this can improve battery life very dramatically, sometimes being enough to freshen up the device for another year or so.

Remove The Bloat

Companies which sell computers will almost always an ulterior motive for doing their job. Bloatware is one of the biggest symptoms of this, and this term covers any applications which are pre-installed on a machine when it is taken from the shelf. Some companies are worse than others for this, with companies like Acer being well-known for making their computers perform far worse than they should as a result. To overcome this, you need only spend a little bit of time uninstalling these programs. Application portfolio optimization is becoming an increasingly large part of business, making it well worth putting some time into doing it for yourself. Once you’ve removed this software, it should ever come back.

System Clean Up

Over the years, a lot of internet users have become somewhat jaded when it comes to storage clean up solutions. With adverts for scam software claiming to perform this service found all over the web, it’s easy to see why people wouldn’t take the idea of cleaning their storage seriously. In reality, though, this is very important the speed of your machine, and can usually be handled using tools which come with your operating system. For hard drives, disk defragmentation is crucial, and should be done once every week or so. SSDs, though, need different treatment, with the less you use a drive like this, the faster it will be.

Boost Your Storage

Cleaning your storage will provide a temporary benefit which will only last for so long, and will be something you will have to keep on top of if you want to see the benefits for a long time. Boosting your storage with a hardware upgrade, though, can be a great way to see something more permanent. If you have an old school hard drive, buying an SSD for your operating system is one of the best improvements you can make, improving loading and data transfer times by a huge margin. If you already have an SSD, you could look at getting a faster hard drive for storing larger files. Making this part of your machine faster is an affordable upgrade which won’t be bottlenecked by older hardware.

Free Up Some RAM

Software applications like Google Chrome are well-known for their resource hungry attitude towards running on your machine. While you could simply go without the tools they offer, it is far easier to find a way to give them what they need, and RAM is one of the best ways to achieve this goal. Storing data for use by the CPU, this component can slow down a whole machine, making good hardware feel very old. Websites like Crucial can scan your machine for you, giving you an idea of what you’ll need to buy if you want to upgrade this part of your machine. While it will cost some money, it’s far cheaper than going out and buying a new computer.

Update Your System

It’s easy to let things like software updates sit in the back of your mind, failing to handle them until the system forces you to. When you take this approach, though, you could easily be missing important performance boosts which would make your machine feel far younger. To make this easier, simply restarting your computer after each session is a great idea, relying on the automatic processes in place to download and install the updates for you. Once you have this running like clockwork, it will often feel as though you spend far less time waiting for updates.

With all of this in mind, you should have the tools you need to be able to start using your PC for far longer than ever before. Making a tool like this last is not only important to your wallet, though, as electronics waste is becoming a very big issue around the world. Most people won’t look at using an old computer as being the eco-friendly option, though it certainly is.

Design Thinking: A Guide to Creative Problem Solving for Everyone

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article | Design Thinking | Design Thinking: A Guide to Creative Problem Solving for EveryoneApplication of design thinking to help solve myriad problems that are not typically associated with design is illuminated in a new book through vignettes drawn from such diverse realms as politics and society, business, health and science, law, and writing. Design Thinking: A Guide to Creative Problem Solving for Everyone seeks to assist in addressing a full spectrum of challenges from the most vexing to the everyday—whether you work in a design field or not. It renders accessible the creative problem-solving abilities that we all possess by providing a dynamic framework and practical tools for thinking imaginatively and critically. Every aspect of design thinking is explained and analyzed together with insights on navigating through the process in Part 1 of the book. The following three vignettes are excerpted from the second part, which focuses on how design thinking is applied to real-life challenges.

1. Business

Design thinking has been recognized as an important means to innovate in the context of developing new products and technologies. But design thinking can also be applied to other business-related challenges such as devising entrepreneurial practice models, expanding professional services, operations, and even setting fees or pricing plans.

There are many cases revealing the value and power of design thinking in the corporate world that have been widely published but are primarily focused on teams—especially managers collaborating with designers. Indeed, many business school curricula incorporate elective and required courses (in addition to specialized tracks) on design thinking. The sample vignettes below, however, show how individuals apply design thinking to a very broad range of problems at varying scales.

Implementing a strategic technology plan

One of the things I so enjoy about my work is that whatever the particular challenge or business problem is, I always take a design approach to developing a solution. One of the most important aspects of that approach is that it enables me to maintain a focus on the “big picture,” or overall vision, even as I’m grappling with the weedy details. When talking to other business owners and entrepreneurs, a common refrain is feeling overwhelmed by all the logistical/management details that have to be attended to, and that can suck the life out of your dream. I certainly have my bad days like everyone else, but having a vision and a high tolerance for ambiguity (which is the same as having a high tolerance for risk) are enormously helpful to me. It puts the tedious details of running a business into a larger context and gives those activities meaning. –Michael Tardif

Michael Tardif has over twenty years of experience applying information technologies to the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of buildings. He currently leads Building Informatics Group based in North Bethesda, MD.

Strategic plan as jigsaw puzzle

Michael had been asked to develop a strategic technology plan to implement Building Information Modeling software in a construction company—complete with itemized tasks and schedule milestones—and then “drive” implementation of the plan. After studying business operations for three months, he realized that rolling out a strategic plan—executing a linear sequence of steps—would fail because it would be so highly invasive and disruptive to existing business operations. Instead, Michael proposed a vision (or design concept)—a set of measurable goals for the company to achieve—and then set out to achieve those goals opportunistically, in a non-linear fashion, without working out the specifics of execution in advance.

To accomplish this daunting undertaking, Michael invented a brilliant metaphor: “strategic plan as a jigsaw puzzle.” Michael sought opportunities on different projects to implement portions of the strategic plan; in other words (invoking the metaphor) putting puzzle pieces into place wherever he could. The process was messy and non-linear. Michael and the staff had to synthesize information as it became available, and make adjustments to the “design solution” while maintaining the vision. But the vision always remained clear, and the “complete picture” of the strategic plan emerged over time. This was fundamentally a design thinking process.

When the process began, Michael knew conceptually what the end result should look like, but didn’t quite know how they would get there. If they had waited to have all the detailed elements in place before starting, they would have never started. And they would have failed, because the details would have been wrong, and would have diverted attention from the overall vision they were trying to achieve.

The puzzle metaphor proved more useful than Michael could have dared to hope for. Conversations about the strategic plan revolved around the question, “What piece of the puzzle is that?” Most importantly, at any point in time, no one cared that the picture was incomplete; staff understood that they were moving toward a complete picture, and understood how they were getting there. Michael could have called the strategic planning a design process instead of a jigsaw puzzle, but that metaphor would have been lost on anyone other than architects.

2. Politics and Society

Design thinking can be a critical tool for addressing leadership challenges. Design thinking promotes visualization of the big picture, reframing of perspectives, creation of innovative solutions to problems, attention to detail, and management and reconciliation of diverse and complex interests and relationships. Cultivating an attitude to authentically listen to insights from others as well successfully sharing one’s own vision may not always be easy but can be very effective as illustrated below.

Expanding the politics of civic engagement

A good leader uses the design process as a model that allows everyone to participate and thus improves and expands the politics of civic engagement.
The most creative and productive way [to apply design thinking] is to engage people—the [stakeholders]—in the process. –Richard Swett (from Leadership by Design by Richard N. Swett with Colleen M. Thornton).

Richard N. Swett was elected to the US Congress and served as the US Ambassador to Denmark.

Dick underscores a fundamental aspect of design thinking that leads to successful resolution of problems or great projects that are rich in meaning: be inclusive. The magic occurs when the input is creatively interpreted, and stakeholders see or are explicitly shown how their ideas influenced the outcome. The stakeholders are then more likely to be fully invested in that outcome, which is so important for success. This creative interpretation may reveal windows of opportunity not previously contemplated, and may thereby provide extraordinary solutions that are also responsive to stakeholder requirements and preferences.

A leader who applies design thinking is someone who has a vision, understands where he or she is going to direct the process, but is not confined by the boundaries or preconceptions of what a solution could be. The design thinking method will allow—even encourage—everyone who is participating in formulating the solution to make their contributions, and the solution will then emerge. It could be a political, business, or some other organizational context where there is a need for leadership, but also there is the likely benefit of participation. The end result is not clearly defined; rather, engagement with the whole process takes the team to a solution.

A caveat worth noting is that this type of leadership requires some assertiveness and presence; a design-by-committee environment can be frightening if the leader does not have the confidence to control the dialogue in that environment.

Dick recommends working toward the best solution for all the stakeholders, perhaps promoting a shared vision of project objectives from the outset. If design thinking is utilized in its truest, purist sense, the end result can sometimes be a surprise. But as long as it is a better surprise than what everybody had in mind, then that’s okay!

Writing and passing the Congressional Accountability Act

Dick co-authored the Congressional Accountability Act, landmark legislation that requires Congress to abide by the same laws it passes for the rest of the country. I asked Dick how he was able to harness inclusive participation in order to get this landmark legislation passed.

The typical process in Congress involved first writing a bill, then seeking cosponsors, and finally the bill goes to the floor of the House of Representatives where people try to pin amendments to it in order to change what they don’t like. Dick suggested, “Why don’t we do this like we’re designing a building: let’s go around with a blank piece of paper to all the different groups that are interested in the accountability, and let’s ask them to tell us how to design this, and we will interpret, integrate, and synthesize their different designs. We will come up with an amalgam of the best of what they have told us.”

Members are not all going to do this in the same room at the same time. The idea was so totally foreign to them that no one really understood what was going on—so much so that Norm Ornstein at one point said, “Wait a minute, you guys are letting everybody say what they think your legislation should be, and then you’re going to come back to them with three different schemes to review, then they’ll pick the one that they like the best?!”

Dick responded, “That’s exactly what we’re going to do.” Ornstein said that this is fascinating because no one has ever taken this approach in this body before.

It took three and a half years to complete the legislation; Dick and his coauthors had to threaten everybody because they weren’t moving the bill to the floor for a vote. Congressional members didn’t want to be made accountable because they had this great House rules system where they could do whatever they pleased—their behavior never had to be connected to the laws that were passed for the rest of the country. Dick and others finally forced the vote; they won 97-3 in the Senate and something like 433-3 in the House. It passed by an overwhelming margin because everyone was participating and yet Dick and his coauthors were still able to give this direction and to maintain a sense of control over what they were ultimately trying to achieve. It was a captivating exercise.

Part of the creativity lies in how Dick was able to interpret the input in a way that was meaningful and effective while everyone felt as though they were invested in its content.

3. Law

Alternatives and the big idea

The notion of alternatives is an extremely valuable part of design thinking.
Stepping back and always asking yourself what’s the big idea—what is the organizing principle to what you’re doing—is a key part of design thinking. –Jay Wickersham

Jay Wickersham is principal of the Cambridge, Massachusetts law firm Noble, Wickersham & Heart LLP. Jay holds both law and architecture degrees from Harvard.

There are several ways that design training has been helpful to Jay. One is the synthesizing of different kinds of information from a whole host of different sources. Design thinking is very powerful in training you to keep looking more broadly; to keep looking beyond the borders of what one might think is the problem. Draw in information and knowledge from all kinds of different sources. In that sense, design training is quite the opposite of legal training. In legal training, you are trained to screen things out, to keep narrowing down, and to make a decision that turns on one or two key legal points, so you can dismiss everything else as irrelevant.

In contrast, design thinking stipulates that you look as broadly as possible, and then find ways to integrate the information you’ve gathered. Related to that point, in architecture you come to respect the perspective and expertise of others. Architects have a unique responsibility to coordinate vast amounts of multidisciplinary input: on any project of modest scale architects might have from ten to thirty or more consultants in other disciplines, any one of whom knows more about their part of the project than the architect does.

And the same thing is true when it comes to the contractor. Any one of those subcontractors and suppliers know more about their particular piece of the building than the architect. So the architect’s challenge is to extract that expertise, weigh it, and figure out how to coordinate that particular piece of information with all the other pieces of information.

An extremely valuable part of design thinking that Jay has learned is the notion of alternatives. Do not fall in love with your idea. You need to generate five more. Jay is always trying to give his clients alternatives, whether it’s figuring out how to resolve a dispute, structuring contracts on a complicated international project, or thinking about an ownership transition. List the pros and cons of each of the alternatives or approaches. Jay, of course, has a sense of which he thinks is favorable, but this should also be a discussion with the client.

If there are several options, the final solution, scheme, or alternative usually borrows elements from each one. Jay states that, in his law firm, they don’t pretend to have the “right” answer. Whenever possible, they present alternative approaches as a way of eliciting the discussion, which usually results in coming up with an answer that will be probably better than any of the alternatives. And it will get people on board to support it.

Jay believes that if you give people the sense of different options, they don’t feel like they’re being railroaded into doing just one thing. They are much more receptive to having an open conversation about the pros and cons. If you feel strongly about one option, it is often easier to convince somebody if you’ve been able to show why one approach is not as strong as another.

Here is another way that design thinking is so important to Jay: the way in which the process is iterative. This is central to design thinking. The process starts at the conceptual level—and this applies to the alternatives as well—but keeps narrowing in. When Jay is putting together contracts or some legal agreement, he’ll make the analogy that they don’t want to jump into construction documents before they’ve done the concept design—and the client is asking him to move right into construction documents. The concept design must be completed first, then fleshed-out in the next phase, and then they can move into the actual agreement.

There’s a real risk, particularly when someone has an expertise (i.e., a lawyer), that a client assumes you’re going to move directly into the final product. In design thinking you start conceptually and then flesh it out, develop more detail, and then, as you move into a larger scale, you are forced to tackle a whole new set of issues. Note that always, through all iterations and scales, you must try to maintain a kind of integrity to the design or big idea. That’s a wonderful model for a process and end result.


About the Author

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article | Design Thinking | Design Thinking: A Guide to Creative Problem Solving for EveryoneAndrew Pressman, FAIA, an architect and adjunct professor at the University of Maryland, leads his own award-winning architectural firm in Washington, DC. He has written numerous critically acclaimed books and articles, and he holds a Master’s degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

How to Invest In Stocks: Fundamentals for Beginners

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article | Investing in the Stock Market | How to Invest In Stocks: Fundamentals for BeginnersFinancial uncertainty plagues the lives of individuals and small business owners alike. Having some cash on the side and wanting them to produce more in the long term is usually a great idea. Nevertheless, choosing between a bank deposit and stock investments may be a hard option for those knowing close to nothing about stocks. Today, we will offer a detailed guide on how to invest in stocks and the fundamentals you have to cover before expecting to get rich while following trends in commodities.

1. Decide on Your Investment Style

If you already know about stocks and you survey some promising companies (usually, big names in the technology sector attract new investors the most), you can take a DIY approach. Typically, you need a brokering company to offer its assistance.

The best stockbrokers should offer you a reasonable minimum for your account, reliable and proficient trading tools, and, most importantly, no hidden fees and taxes, and excellent customer service.

In case you are the type of investor knowing about stocks but having no idea how to proceed further, you may want to pick a managed account – hire a broker to do the work for you. Such services require minimum efforts from your part, but they do not come cheap. Reflect on your goals and make the best decision depending on the time, energy, money, and skills you are willing to give to this investment venture.

2. Understand the Differences between Stocks

A sensitive area where investors need help is differentiating between multiple types of stock-based investments.

Buying Individual Stocks

One of the first rules when you learn how to invest in stocks is to decide what you want: short-term trades that may boost your finances in 2-3 months, or long-term stock investments in companies active in what we call “forever businesses” that you hold on to for decades. A more conservative investor will choose to buy stocks on the long term from companies that are more likely to hold their ground for years to come despite market turmoil (think Amazon, since we already mentioned tech companies).

When you buy individual stocks, it means that you purchase a single share or a few shares of a specific company, one that you trust and believe will grow over the years or the next few months. Of course, seasoned investors buy shares of multiple companies, diversifying their portfolio, but you need quite the capital (shares range from a few bucks to thousands of dollars).

Investing in Mutual Funds or Index Funds

Mutual funds allow you to buy small pieces of many different stocks in a single trade. Index funds and ETFs track specific companies or entire industries. For instance, NASDAQ, while covering plenty of sectors, is one of the best trackers of tech companies. The DAX 30 in Germany tracks the 30 most valuable companies in the country (and worldwide, since they are all global brands).

Trading indices require knowledge and experience, but your chosen brokering company can teach you how to employ the best strategies. Nevertheless, making a direct investment in a mutual fund comes with inherent diversification – meaning fewer risks for you. Mutual funds are the haven for those thinking about retiring – while they do not make people fabulously wealthy overnight, they offer slow and steady gains in the long run.

3. Research the Company Thoroughly

Sure, you heard Amazon, Alphabet, and Netflix are good investments, but why are they so? Before you begin buying individual stocks in a particular company, you should engage in thorough research months before you make the actual investment. Here are some things you need to consider:

  • The company’s income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement; if you do not have direct access to such documents, your broker will fill in the gaps with information.
  • The latest company annual report and the letter from the Chairman. This document gives you a solid knowledge of the company and offers you insights on the trends and strategies the company will follow next. Some of the best written such letters are those of Warren Buffet. His shareholders know what to expect and what to do.
  • Check out the company’s press in the last six months. When it comes to shares, bad publicity is awful news for investors. On the contrary, extended media coverage of the upcoming revolutionary company’s product can lead to unprecedented spikes in share price.
  • Statistics on share prices, market ups and downs, stock dips and meteoric rises, resilience on both bull and bear markets, and so on for the past 5 to 10 years. Such information is almost impossible to digest, but most companies offer such data in palatable formats. Your broker will be of massive help at this stage.

4. Understand your Budget

Opening an investment account is usually a straightforward deal. Budgeting that account, nonetheless, is something you need to consider thoroughly. As we said before, shares can cost a few dollars up to a few thousand dollars (or EUR if you focus on European companies or indices).

  • ETFs are the best choice if you want to invest in mutual funds, but you do not have a robust budget.
  • Talk to your broker about trading on CDFs and learn more about indexes – while you need to master some special scalping or day-trading skills, such approaches may prove more profitable than buying stocks and forgetting you have them for 40 years.

Conclusion

Some investors are comfortable with significant degrees of risk, while others prefer a “quieter” way to make money in the long run, taking the safer, more conservative path. If the kids’ college fund or your retirement plan are your main goals, mutual funds are usually a good way to go about stocks. If you aim for profits by taking advantage of the market itself or the price differences between stocks, you should have a long discussion with a broker about trading.