Improve your small business!

How Can You Keep Your Small Business Competitive?

If you are a small business owner you must prepare for everything. For the not so profitable months of the year and for the months your product has more demand. You must also make smart investments, keep your small business trendy, and always have long-term and short-term goals. Keeping your small business competitive can be a little challenging. The following tips may help you improve your small business strategies.

  1. Know the meaning of the word “but”
    This seems like an odd tip but this small word can be very powerful. For example, if you charge more than your competitors’ chances are you get a few complaints. The short-term solution can be to change your product prices for a period of time, but that doesn’t solve the actual problem. Plus, if customers are going to you for products (even while complaining) it means it is worth buying. With this in mind, this is how the word “but” can help you. First, acknowledge your high prices, then follow with the word “but” and add a valuable statement.“Yes, it is true our prices are high but we use high quality products that can help save money for our customers in the long run.”By doing this, you are sending the message that you care enough about the quality of your product and to help your customers save money. It gives you a valid reason to keep your prices high.
  2. Invest in advertising
    Paying top price for a product or service can be justified by its benefits. People won’t choose your business unless you invest in getting the word out there.
    Invest on a website with good content and SEO strategies. This will serve as social proof for new customers and it will create a digital convenience for your old customers.
  3. Research the market constantly
    Competitive research should be a part of your business planning, and it should continue until your business is stable. The easiest way to do this now is online. Research competitive businesses near you until you can find the differentiating factors and you can promote your business more efficiently.
  4. Offer products and services as needed
    It is okay to offer a variety of products that can do the same thing and value at different prices. You can offer your premium product and have a backup to become more competitive in case it might be too pricey. It is better to retain a customer who has the potential of returning and purchasing more.Owning your business can be rewarding and challenging at the same time. Continue to improve your business and see how successful it can be.


Credit Check

How to Remove Credit Report Errors

Credit Check
Improve your credit score!

What do you do when you spot an innacuracy on your credit report? Take steps to dispute it. Because of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, cleaning up your own credit report is usually quick and easy. Credit reporting agencies (often called credit bureaus) should only report accurate and current information.

Step one – Obtain your credit reports
To know exactly what is happening with your credit, check the reports from all the major credit bureaus – TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. The information on each report may vary because not all creditors report to every bureau. You may receive a free report from each company once per year from Annual Credit Report Request Service, or you may obtain them from the bureaus directly for a fee.

 

Step two – Know what can be removed
You can’t rid every negative notation from your file – credit bureaus are obligated to report all credit and debt information as long as it is correct and timely. So what can be removed?

  • Wrong information. If the report lists incorrect information, such as an account you never opened, someone else’s name, or a judgment for a lawsuit you were never a part of, you can have it permanently purged from your record.
  • Duplicate information. While an account can sometimes show up multiple times, you may want to have your report list it just once. This can prevent lenders from believing you have more debt or credit problems than you actually do.
  • Old, negative information. In most cases, negative information, even when accurate, won’t haunt you forever. Your credit report may reflect lawsuits, judgments, liens, foreclosures, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy (from the filing date), late payments, and charged-off accounts for seven years. Chapter 7 bankruptcy will be evident for ten years from the date of filing. Child support arrearage and default notations for student loans, though, can be reported until satisfied.

Step three – Dispute inaccuracies
If you do spot errors or items that should have aged off your report, it is time to take action:

  • File the dispute with the bureau. You may make your dispute on the company’s website, over the phone, or by mail. In all cases you’ll have to provide your personal identification and a description of what is wrong, and what the correct information is. If you have any documents that support your case (such as copies of cashed checks that confirm you paid an account), include those as well.
  • Wait 30 days. After you file your dispute, the bureau has 30 days to investigate the matter, and a dispute notation will show up on your report. The creditor will have this time to verify the information, and if they can’t prove it’s accurate, the bureau will stop reporting it. When the bureau completes the investigation they will send you a written report covering what they found, and an updated copy of your credit report if it resulted in any change.

In the majority of cases, removing inaccuracies is that simple. However, if the investigation results in no change, contact the creditor by phone and/or mail and explain why the information is incorrect and that you want them to report the accurate information. Include copies of supporting documents (a statement showing a zero balance, for example), if you have them. The creditor may not continue to report unproven information.

Finally, if the situation still doesn’t get resolved to your satisfaction (or if the negative information is correct but you have a good reason for why it happened), consider writing a letter of explanation to add to your report. In one hundred words or less, you can explain your side of a credit problem. Write the note clearly, include supportive facts, and send it to the bureaus to be attached to your report. This “100-word statement” could make a positive difference to whoever is reading the report.


Make the best out of your tax return

How to Make the Best Out of Your Tax Return

Make the best out of your tax return
Make the best out of your tax return!

No one likes paying taxes, and there’s no reason to pay more than you should in any given year. One of the best ways to make sure your tax returns ripped the most profit is by investing it. To make your money grow.

  1. Invest in CD’s
    CD’s are forms of investment that take time to mature and grow. If you’re looking to save money for your kid’s college fund this is a good way to do it. This will be put aside to grow and mature until you have made some profit.
  2. Increase your 401k referral
    Of course you can’t put your refund into your 401(k) but you can supplement your income with it while you increase your referral. This is especially important if your employer matches your refund amount.
  3. Put it as a down payment for a property
    Owning your own place is always better than paying someone else’s mortgage. Save as much as you can and purchase your own home. If you ever move chances are you will have some equity.
  4. Lower your debt
    You don’t have to spend your entire tax return paying your overdue debt. However, paying some debt should give you some financial stability. Lower your debt as much as you can and start from zero.

Remember, be wise and make money out of your tax return. If you are currently a BrightStar Credit Union Member, enjoy a discount when you file with Turbo Tax.


3 Simple Ways to Earn a Little Extra

 

Sometimes your full-time jobs are not enough to pay the bills, save, and have fun. Sometimes a paycheck is only enough to make ends meet.  Sure, you can always get another part-time job or look for higher paying job. However, when you have conflicting schedules and a family having an extra job isn’t so easy.

What are some ways to earn a little extra cash and keep enjoying your free time?

  1. Pet Sitting There are many websites where you can sign up to be a pet sitter. Yes, a pet sitter. Not only do you get to enjoy the company of cute fluffy creatures, you also get to spend some time in the sun. If you do this, plan accordingly. For example, if sign up to pet sit on a Sunday you’ll have company to watch the game and exercise early in the morning. TIP: Pet sitting is in high demand in South Florida. Take some time to look into it.
  1. Clean your home, and sell your unwanted items online: If you have unused –or gently used items– try selling them. Liberating yourself from all that clutter, will feel very rewarding. Remember, one man’s trash is another’s treasure.
  1. Participate in surveys or focus groups: Some marketers and research firms offer cash for participating in focus groups. This is not a lot of money, but $10 to answer 10 questions online buys you lunch.

If you ever find yourself in need of a little bit of cash, consider these methods.

Enjoy!