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Ethical Viewpoints & Environmental Investments: Helping Your Business Profit Emotionally (Without Wasting Profit)

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article | Business Management | Ethical Viewpoints & Environmental Investments: Helping Your Business Profit Emotionally (Without Wasting Profit)For every business leader out there, it can feel like stepping into the unknown from time to time, whether we believe we are making wise investments or not. Sometimes we forge a path all of our own, but sometimes we go with the grain. As far as the modern industries are concerned, money is tight, yet we are still expected to comply with numerous rules and regulations. Our carbon footprint is one of those common examples that we have to adhere to by implementing the most environmentally-friendly processes, but these come at a cost. With this in mind, are there any ways for us to embody a more ethical outlook while also keeping our finances down?

Making The Right Investments

We are told to minimize our paper usage, maximize our recycling, and ensure that our digital carbon footprint doesn’t go over a certain amount. In many ways, this is asking you to do contradictory things, but this is where you have to find the lesser of evils. The best place to begin is by looking at your business and how compliant it is from an ethical standpoint. If recycling hasn’t been a priority, and you want to rectify this, it’s a very simple change. You can buy a product like this one, the BearSaver – Mini Depot Recycling Enclosure which has individual compartments for plastic, mixed recycling, glass, or landfill. It’s a fairly simple starting point, but it gets the message across. Because improving your carbon footprint is a long journey, it’s far better for you to start by assessing where you’re falling down and getting the basics right.

Encouraging Employees To Take Responsibility

If we encourage employees to take responsibility for their work, then it’s not a big leap to encourage them to be responsible for their carbon footprint. Of course, we can’t force them to do this, but by providing them with the facts, and giving them the opportunity to realize what their individual impact is, such as by a carbon footprint calculator, it will make them think twice about what they’re doing and how their approach hinders the planet.

Finding The Right Ways To Give Back

And for those employees that believe the message of saving the planet to be “preachy” or that we’re forcing these things upon them unfairly, we have to lead by example. Giving back doesn’t have to be complex. For example, if you are a business that uses a lot of paper, and you are trying desperately to change this, by starting to plant trees, it’s a small gesture that can go a long way. From there, you can start to build up initiatives like cycling to work or encouraging certain employees to use public transport, we can feel more content that we are doing the right thing.

Some are sick to the teeth of rules and regulations, especially when it comes to the environment and carbon footprint, but we still need to push forward with this. For those companies that don’t think about it, you’ll soon see that your customers won’t align with your ethical viewpoints or you may have financial penalties. Either way, maybe it’s time to do your bit?

Investment for Small Business Owners

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article | Investment
 
Running a small business in the current financial climate can be tough. There are a plethora of challenges to be faced on a daily basis. If you’re a small business owner that is tired of the financial uncertainty that can happen, and would like a little more security to help flatten out the lows, then starting to learn how to invest small amounts of your money to provide a different source of income could be the answer you’ve been looking for.

While investing can become a great safety net for your business, there are many considerations to ensure your success. It can be a great tool for building your wealth, but it’s a common misconception that it’s only for the wealthy.

What is investing?

Investing, in its most essential form, is the act of committing money in the hope you’ll make a financial gain or profit. A portfolio of investments built up over time can allow your money to work smarter, rather than you working harder.

Investing can also be a great way to take financial responsibility for your future. It often means committing an amount of money, we would have used for something else, such as purchasing new clothes or going to a fancy restaurant. Swapping the instant gratification of consumerism for an investment in your future requires discipline and an acknowledgment of your responsibility to your future self.

Investing can take many different forms. Most of us are aware of the stock market, but stocks are from the only way to invest. There are also mutual funds, commodities, Forex, bonds, ETFs, or real estate.

Any act that involves staking an amount of money for future returns is technically investing.

Technology and investing

Over recent decades, technology has made investing more accessible to everyone. This has helped to drive down fees. Many of the functions of a traditional trader can either be performed by investors themselves, or by using a subscription-based platform.

Now we can jump on the Internet to compare brokerage fees. We can look at online reviews and often play with a free sample of their software. This has empowered investors and investment advisors by providing a range of new tools that can perform real-time research and analysis, and even warn you when certain pre-set conditions are met.

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Start small

When you first start out investing the sheer volume of information can be confusing. Everyone knows what’s best or has a foolproof strategy to sell you. The best way to get started is to jump in at the deep end but in a very small way. You can start trading penny stocks, or only invest a very small amount, just while you get a feel for how the system works.

This will allow you to experiment with no real meaningful consequences. You can familiarize yourself with how the different systems work, what information and resources help you, and discover your own preferences. There are numerous approaches out there, and this is partly because there is no one system that fits all. As you progress you will gradually define your own parameters and discover what levels of risk you’re happy with.

Only using money you can afford to lose will prevent you from taking needed money away from your business. While you want your investments to enhance your income, it’s important not to be carried away if you enjoy some success.

Learn as much as you can

While there is an overwhelming amount of information out there, being selective can reap rewards. Join respectable forums and ask for advice on the best reading material, discover the best commentators to follow and learn from, search for helpful free resources, such as e-books, videos, free commodity charting, industry and investment news resources etc.. The more you know, the better you are likely to do.

Some investments require much more in-depth knowledge to take advantage of, while others require much less maintenance. If you’re managing your own investments, then the time commitment required should be a serious consideration.

Know yourself

As well as understanding the levels of risk you are comfortable with, it can be good to formulate a longer-term plan of what you intend to do with your investments. What are your personal objectives and goals? The goals for your business? Are you simply trying to accumulate wealth for the sake of it, or are you trying to ensure your retirement is comfortable?

Understanding these different factors can also help you to better understand your risk tolerance, and help you select investments that mature within a suitable timeframe for you to achieve your goals.

Variety is the spice of life

Diversify your investments. Having all your eggs in one basket increases your exposure to risk if something goes wrong. By spreading your money around, whether it’s different commodities, companies, or types of investment, you’ll help to mitigate this risk and ensure you never suffer any catastrophic losses.

This will mean learning about different types of investment, but you don’t always need to understand every minutia of a system in order to invest in it.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article | Investment
 
Always maintain a cool head

It’s not wise to go into investing expecting to get rich very quickly. Try to keep emotion out of your trading, instead relying on proven techniques and hard data to drive your decisions. Markets will always fluctuate, and a knee-jerk reaction can sometimes be worse than taking no action.

Shop around for a good deal

Whether you are speaking to a broker over the phone or using an app, there are always fees and charges. Sometimes it’s a set fee; other times it’s a percentage of your profit. Shop around and compare the different deals available, not just for the cheapest, but for the one that offers the most value to you.

Align your investing with your personal beliefs

If you’re new to investing it can be hard to know where to invest. However, where investors put their money can make a powerful statement. If you believe in sustainability or protecting the environment, then search for investments where the company acts ethically and with responsibility.

Investing in Mortgage Foreclosures

Foreclosure is a process that enables a lender to recover the amount owed on a loan defaulted by a borrower. This is achieved through selling or repossession of the property securing the loan. The foreclosure process begins when the lender files a public default notice, called a Notice of Default or Lis Pendens after a borrower defaults on loan payments. Foreclosure investment is a strategy that requires a level diligence. For investors to succeed in the foreclosure (FCL) market, they should study over time the strategies and tactics adopted by other successful investors. They allocate their time and resources into making appropriate market contacts in order to create a competitive advantage over the myriad of other market participants. FCL investment has big potential but requires real effort before cashing in. investors, therefore, require focus, diligence and careful research into the local property, economic and demographic trends. Majority of foreclosure buyers go to the auction with the hope of creating profit between the auction price and the property’s intrinsic value. However, the majority of them lack the real knowledge of the investment and lack risk mitigation strategies.

Investment Strategies

Great investors in real property investment always have a specific strategy that entails the goals and the process of acquiring the property, holding the investment and disposing of the investment. The investment strategy is critical in the foreclosure market. An investor should determine whether the foreclosure is as a result of some unique circumstance or a trend affecting the market in which the property is located. In addition, to be put into consideration is the probability for infrastructure development, such as roads, schools and community projects, which will make an area more desirable and increase the value of properties within it.

Acquisition Strategies

Most investors scour publications that list assets going to auction. This is done with the aim of corresponding with owners to make known their intent to purchase the property before it goes on the auction block. Finding alternative ways to secure distressed properties will greatly improve one’s chances of closing as well as provide an opportunity to fully understand and analyse the property before taking the title. An investor may also purchase the distressed loans at a discount from the lenders such as mortgage rates bb&t. Banks and other lending institutions often sell non-performing loans at a significant discount to par because they avoid taking on real estate owned properties. Investors are more flexible than the lenders in working out a non-performing loan, and most commonly convert it back into a performing loan that will command a much higher return.

Holding Period and Exit Strategies

Investors should consider creating value through redevelopment. This helps provide a rationale for the higher resale price reducing the risk of long marketing periods. However, improvements should be within the pricing of neighbouring properties. Investors should have an exit strategy, setting time limits within which to sell the property and then discounting the price until the property sells in order to avoid excess carrying costs.

Invest To Improve: Where To Spend Your Money In Business

If you run a business, continual improvement is probably top of the list of your goals. If you can continue to grow, make more money and improve the service you offer your customers, you’re on to a good thing. When you’re a company director, you have a lot of decisions to make, and it’s important to spend money wisely. Often, it’s essential to make the right decisions when it comes to investing your capital. If you want to invest to improve, here are some suggestions you may find useful.

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Investing in your staff

Most successful entrepreneurs have a team of people around them. Not even a superhero disguised as a business mogul could run every single aspect of a growing company, and as the boss, you may be reliant on tens, hundreds or even thousands of people. Your staff should mean a lot to you. Investing in them is a means of showing how grateful you are for their hard work and demonstrating that you have trust in them. Training is incredibly valuable for both the business and your employees. Training programs, courses and workshops enable your team to gain new skills and develop existing skills, and the outcome could be incredibly beneficial for your company. Consider how important confidence and the ability to speak with clarity and passion are for a sales team or how beneficial skills related to brand new technology or software could be to a cutting-edge e-commerce store. Training existing members of staff often enables you to offer more as a business without outsourcing or hiring additional employees, and it can also give your team more confidence and encourage them to want to develop their skill set further.

If you operate in a competitive industry, it’s worth investing money in trying to keep your star players. If your best workers start looking at roles and positions offered by rival companies, and you can’t compete, there’s every chance that you’ll lose them, even if they love their job. Consider salaries and employee benefits packages carefully and be prepared to outdo competitors if you’re desperate to keep your team together.

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Investing in business premises

Whether you work from home and you’re self-employed, or you have an office or a chain of stores or warehouses, you may reach a stage when you think about investing in new premises. Buying property can be incredibly lucrative, especially in the long-term, but it’s essential to make the right decisions.

If you’re home-based and you’re looking to improve your business, you may consider looking at a new location or a larger house or making your current home more suitable for work purposes. Location is incredibly important in business, and if you intend to work from home, your current location may not be ideally suited to what you do. If you’re a therapist or you specialize in consulting, for example, this probably means that you’re going to come into contact with clients on a daily basis. If you’re out in the country, this could put clients off if they have to travel to you or increase your running costs if you’re constantly driving into the city. If this scenario sounds familiar, it may be worth considering a move and having a look at new condos for sale. If the location is right, and the property works on both a personal and professional level, this could be an ideal investment.

If you run a company and you’re looking to expand or buy premises rather than renting, there are lots of factors to consider. If you’re buying, you need to make sure that the move makes financial sense. Consider the importance of location as a priority. If you’re opening a new clothing store or a café, for example, location is everything, and you should look for areas where footfall is greatest. If you want to buy a warehouse, you don’t need to be in the city center, but being close to transport links will be hugely beneficial. If you’re on the lookout for an office, but you don’t need to be close to the action, searching in the suburbs is a good idea. Once you’ve identified potential locations, consider the size of the premises and the cost. Set a budget at the outset, and don’t go for the first option. It’s worth shopping around, getting an idea of what’s out there and comparing different properties. Weigh up the pros and cons, be prepared to negotiate and consider the long-term benefits of each option. Buying property can drive down costs, as mortgage repayments are often lower than rental fees. You’ll also be putting money into an asset that you own, rather than lining somebody else’s pocket.

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Investing in growth

Every business owner dreams of getting to a point where their business is expanding, and the demand for products or services is increasing. If you’re doing well, you’re in profit and consumers want more, it’s worth investing money into trying to make your growth plans a reality. Spend money on marketing methods that work, develop products based on trends and consumer demands, and look at ways you can expand without increasing your running costs. Negotiate with suppliers, manufacturers and distributors and promote efficiency and productivity. If your business is booming, don’t forget to share the rewards with your employees. If they feel valued, they will be more likely to show loyalty and put maximum effort into their job.

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In business, you often have to speculate to accumulate. If you’re keen to hit the big time, you may have some pretty tough decisions to make along the way. One of the most important things to do is spend your money wisely. Sometimes, there are opportunities to invest, which could improve your business and ultimately lead to increased profits and better customer service. If you run a team, don’t underestimate the value of investing in your employees and giving them a platform to fulfil their potential. If you’re expanding, or you’re keen to attract more clients or reduce running costs, it may also be worth looking into buying new business premises. If you are heading in the right direction, consider which areas to invest more money in and plan a strategy carefully.

Spend Vs Splurge: Can You Afford Not To Invest In These Areas Of Your Business?

In business, a company owner will often take steps to try and reduce spending, but there are certain areas where cutbacks should be discouraged. Often, it is possible to reduce overheads, but lowering spending could put you at risk. Before you make any budgeting decisions, consider whether you can afford not to invest in these key areas.

Legal advice

Even if you run a very small business, it’s beneficial to have legal experts in your corner. You never know when you may need to make that call and take advantage of expert advice. Running a business isn’t always as simple as sealing deals and selling wares. There are many legal aspects that you have to take into account as a company owner. If you employ people, the last thing you want is a personal injury case brought against you because your office doesn’t comply with health and safety regulations. If you’re launching a new product, you don’t want a rival firm to rip off your idea or customers contacting you complaining about the quality of the item. If issues arise, and you need to investigate insurance fraud, take action against a competitor or find out more about compensating a customer, it’s helpful to have people in the know at the end of the phone. It is sometimes possible to handle your own legal affairs, but cases can be very complex, and if you hire a professional, you’re much more likely to achieve a positive outcome.

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Accounting

There are few things that are more important than getting to grips with the numbers when it comes to managing a company. If you own a business, you may not have the time or the expertise to manage the books, and if this is the case, it pays to join forces with an accounting firm. If you have no idea what’s going on in your accounts, you may encounter cash flow issues, and your balances may be much lower than anticipated, which could result in missed payments or failure to hit growth targets.

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Training

If you manage a team of people, investing in training can help you upskill your employees, promote health and safety and increase productivity. In the short-term, you’ll be parting with cash, but in the long-term, you’ll be adding value. Training enables your employees to develop new skills, which could prevent you from needing to hire additional workers and enable you to diversify the services you offer. Think carefully about the programs you choose for your team, and have a look around at the opportunities that are on offer. Ask your employees what kinds of courses they’d be interested in undertaking, and read some reviews to find the best training providers.

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Photo courtesy of All In One Training via flickr

When you run a business, balancing the books is key. While there are some areas where you can save money, it’s wise to invest in legal advice, accounting services, and training. This will enable you to act swiftly if legal issues arise, keep an eye on your books, and upskill your workforce.