Categories
Day Trading

The Three Biggest Lead Generation Mistakes Small Businesses Make And How To Overcome Them

If you’ve been looking for simple, proven and tested, step-by-step methods for generating more leads for your small business, then this article may just have the answer. Firstly, I want you to stop for a moment and think about all the advertising you’ve seen over the past week.

How many of those actual ads can you name? Researchers estimate that over the past seven days, you have been exposed to as many as 117,000 ads based on national averages. So out of 117,000 ads, how many can you name?

If you’re fairly attentive, you may be able to come up with 3 or 4 specific ads… but I’ll bet that’s because you probably see those ads over and over… week in and week out. Let’s face the facts… repetition works. When you see any advertisement multiple times every day you’re bound to eventually begin to recall the ad. But now answer this question.

What few ads you do remember, how many of their products or services have you bought? Because I have a passion for marketing I tend to go online and research for well accepted ads. Take for example a series of ads from online trading company E*Trade which uses babies to promote their products. These have a massive audience on both TV and YouTube. They even had one during the Superbowl. I think they’re a scream. But… I don’t have an E*Trade account. Never have, never will. Why should I?

What benefits do they offer me as a potential buyer of online trading services that any of the hundreds of other stock trading services offer? See my point? Does a smart-aleck, wise-cracking baby have any relevance to online stock trading whatsoever? Of course not. So why does E*Trade continue to make these commercials? Believe it or not, there is a reason… and by the end of this short presentation, you’ll fully understand what that reason is.

Businesses today are led to believe that all they have to do to build a successful business is create some type of attention-grabbing form of marketing and they will generate leads at will. Nothing could be further from the truth. And that’s just in the area of marketing. What about generating fast cash flow? EVERY small business needs to generate fast cash flow. So how do you do that as a small business owner? What about generating profits? Generating more cash flow is great… but not if you don’t get to put any of it in your pocket at the end of the day. How would you like the answers to all of these problems?

In this article I am going to reveal to you the three biggest lead generation mistakes small business owners make… and outline how you can overcome them.

Here are the three mistakes. Mistake #1… they fail to get professional help. Mistake #2… they don’t know the fundamentals required to successfully market their business and attract as many new clients as their business can handle. And mistake #3… they have no idea how to use their marketing to generate immediate cash flow. Let’s explore these three in depth, and show you how you can easily and systematically overcome each one of them.

Mistake #1… small business owners fail to get professional help. Can you name me just one professional athlete who does NOT have a coach? There aren’t any. Tiger Woods actually has a total of 9 coaches guiding him in everything from his golf game to his financial investments. But do small business owners really need professional help? Remember the TV ads we previously discussed? Those ads are created by “professionals.” Unfortunately, those professionals have no clue what they’re doing. Everything they’re doing in marketing and advertising today is wrong! But let me prove that to you right now.

If you currently use any form of marketing such as a print ad, brochure, postcard, flyer… or for that matter… your company website, take it out and look at it carefully. And if you don’t have any form of marketing right now, take out a sheet of paper and sketch out what you think would make for an effective ad for your business. It doesn’t have to be anything formal or fancy… just create a basic outline of the ad and where you would locate the various elements on the page.

Now that you have your ad… or a mock up of your ad sitting in front of you, let me provide you with the little known secrets that produce more leads than your business can handle. 99% of all marketing professionals DON’T know the lead generation secrets I’m about to reveal to you. This information is so powerful and compelling, it will position you in the top 1% of all lead generation professionals today. This example will show you why every small business owner should acquire our step-by-step roadmap as they start to generate leads for their business.

Here’s what a true marketing professional will know… and help you implement into your marketing. It’s known as the “marketing equation.” This marketing equation will let you quit competing on price… and let you start selling your product or service for what it’s really worth. You will drive in more leads and increase your advertising response by 10 to more than 100 times. You will convert a higher percentage of those leads and dramatically increase your number of sales. You will get a bigger bang for your marketing buck. The bottom line is this you will literally create a profit faucet that you will have TOTAL control over.

First, you MUST understand what marketing is supposed to do. Its purpose is actually three fold. Its first job is to capture the attention of your target market. Second, it must give them the hope that reading or listening to your marketing will give them enough information to help them make the best decision possible when buying whatever you sell. In other words, train and teach them how to recognize the true value of your product or service… and conclude that you… and you alone… offer the best value versus your competition. Marketing’s third job is to lower the risk of taking the next step in the buying process… and if necessary… continue to educate the prospect regarding the value you offer.

Marketing that accomplishes these three objectives will result in your prospects and customers coming to one single conclusion, that they would have to be an absolute fool to do business with anyone else but you, regardless of price. It’s estimated that as many as 96% of all small businesses fail within their first 5 years. The main reason for this tremendously high failure rate has to do with the lack of expertise when it comes to generating leads and making the phone ring.

Most small businesses don’t know anything about those three things that marketing is supposed to do. But there’s also an additional problem to consider. Most small business owners use a tactical marketing approach instead of a strategic approach. Let me explain.

Running an ad in the local newspaper… sending out an email or direct mail letter… airing a radio or TV ad on a local media station are all examples of tactical marketing. Now don’t get me wrong… the newspaper, radio or direct mail can be successful marketing channels… If your marketing message is powerful and compelling. But that’s the problem… the message is the strategic side of marketing… and yet, it’s the most neglected.

This distinction between strategic and tactical marketing is huge and one you need to be acutely aware of anytime you start talking about generating more leads. Many companies mistakenly assume that when you talk about lead generation, you’re automatically talking about tactical lead generation… placing ads, sending out mailers, joining a networking group, attending tradeshows, implementing a prospect follow up system and so on.

They fail to realize that the strategic side of the coin, what you say in your marketing and how you say it is almost always more important than the marketing medium where you say it. If you fail to make this distinction, then you risk becoming jaded towards certain forms of marketing and advertising that should be a part of your tactical plan, but you eliminate them from consideration because they haven’t worked for you in the past.

When lead generation results are less than optimal, small business owners tend to almost always blame the marketing medium… like the newspaper the ad ran in or the postcards they sent out. They blame the tactical part of the plan… without any regard for how good or how bad the strategic messaging in that marketing piece was. People often say things like, “we tried radio and it doesn’t work for our kind of business,” or “we sent out 50,000 pieces of direct mail and only generated 3 orders. It just doesn’t work.”

Just because it didn’t work, don’t assume that it won’t work. Most people don’t have the evaluation skills or the know-how to judge whether poor marketing results from poor strategy or poor tactical execution. This is where our step-by-step roadmap can generate more leads than your business can handle.

For example, most small business owners rely heavily on platitudes in their marketing. They say things like – we have the lowest prices… the best service… we’re family owned and operated… we offer convenient hours… the best value… not to mention that we’ve been in business since 1431 B.C. Look at your own marketing that I asked you to acquire or create earlier. How many platitudes did you use in your own marketing?

By the way, this is NOT your fault. Small business owners have been conditioned to think this is the proper way to market their businesses… since most advertising follows this same pathetic marketing formula… including the Fortune 500 types.

As human beings, we’re all after just one thing when we buy something… the best deal! Unfortunately, when you use platitudes in your marketing, there’s absolutely no way to tell who is actually offering the best deal. Everyone says they have the lowest prices, the highest quality and the best rates. So who do you believe? There’s only one way to know… and that’s to research every single business that offers what you want to buy. How many of us have the time or patience to do that?

So most of us just automatically assume that everyone is pretty much the same, and therefore we default to calling on the business that offers us the lowest price. When you can’t communicate the true value your business offers, you’re doomed to forever compete on price. Our marketing equation will change all of that for you forever. It’s going to be the backbone of your strategic marketing plan. It’s the foundation on which everything else we build for you is based. Let me give you a quick overview and then spend some time going through it with you in detail.

A proper marketing equation has four main components. First, it must interrupt your prospects. It must get your qualified prospect to pay attention to your lead generation marketing. Simple enough to say, but a lot more difficult to pull off in real life unless you understand what you’re about to learn here. The interrupt is done through your headline if your marketing is in print… or it’s the first thing you say if your marketing through radio or TV. The second component is engage. Once your prospect is interrupted, it’s critical you give your reader the promise that information is forthcoming that will help the prospect make the best buying decision possible. In other words, it must help facilitate their decision to pick you over anyone else. This is the job of our subheadline.

The interrupt is our headline that highlights a specific problem that your prospects are looking for a solution to… and the engage is our subheadline that promises them that you offer a solution to the problem we mentioned in our headline.

The third component you need to include is ‘educate’. Once you have interrupted and engaged your prospect, you have to give information that allows them to logically understand how and why you solve the problem they’re facing. This is accomplished by giving detailed, quantifiable, specific and revealing information. This is typically done in the body copy of your ad. When you educate, you need to reveal to your prospects the important and relevant information they need to know when making a good decision, and that your business… and yours alone… provides it to them. The interrupt and engage hit the prospects emotional hot buttons. Educate is the logic they need to justify picking up the phone and calling you.

The fourth and final component of the marketing equation is your offer. Now that you have interrupted your prospect based on problems that are important to them… engaged by a promise of the solution… and they’ve examined the educational information that makes your solution real and believable… the last step you need to take is to give them a low risk way to take the next step in your sales process. You do this by offering a free marketing tool, such as a report, brochure, seminar, audio, video or something that will continue to educate them. Your offer will allow your prospect to feel in control of their final decision to call and buy from you.

So your marketing equation is interrupt, engage, educate and offer and together they equal market domination. Now here’s the problem. Most marketing today only contains two of these components. They interrupt by throwing something at you that’s either familiar like Tiger Woods… or unusual like a monkey or talking pets. Sometimes they like to use both, as in the case of the E*Trade baby. Then once they grab your attention, they make you some type of offer such as “call now for whatever.” They have left out the engage and the educate, and marketing seldom succeeds when that happens.

In fact, the only time this type of marketing does succeed is when you can afford to run the ad over and over nonstop for an extended period of time. Plop, plop, fizz, fizz… melts in your mouth, not in your hand… and the burgers are better at… have literally been rammed down our throats by Fortune 500 types. After hearing these slogans thousands of times, of course we’re going to remember them. But how can a small business owner like you that doesn’t have a billion dollar marketing budget successfully market your business. The answer… you can’t… UNLESS you follow the entire marketing equation.

And finally the third biggest mistake small business owners make is that they have no idea how to use their marketing to generate immediate cash flow. When you follow this marketing equation in every form of marketing you do… from your business cards to your company website, the financial results are instantaneous and immediate.

So in conclusion, the three biggest lead generation mistakes small businesses make are #1… they fail to get professional help. #2… they don’t know the fundamentals required to successfully market their business and attract as many new clients as their business can handle. And #3… they have no idea how to use their marketing to generate immediate cash flow.

The above marketing equation contains the fundamental components for instantly making your phone ring and positioning your business as the dominant force in your market. It provides the marketing foundation that will enable you to generate immediate cash flow. And small businesses can use this information as a minimum standard when seeking out professional help for their business.

When you can overcome these three biggest lead generation mistakes, you will generate all the leads your business can handle.

Categories
Day Trading

Day Trading Mistakes To Avoid

Many beginner traders may find day trading extremely challenging. If you don’t fully prepare for day trading, you’ll lose a lot of money. It’s a very expensive endeavor if you don’t know how to day trade. So to avoid committing mistakes, you need to read these tips first.

1. Trade with a coach

If you want to learn how to play tennis, you hire a tennis coach. If you want to learn how to play golf, you hire a golf coach. It’s as simple as that. This is how you become a better trader. But of course, you need to work with an active and profitable trading coach. If not, how will you know how to trade properly? In order to be a winner, you have to work with winners. It’s all about duplicating success. Successful and profitable trading coaches can teach you tips and tricks on how to become a profitable trader.

2. Day trading starts at 9AM to 4PM EST

Day traders get in the market at 9AM and gets out of the market at 4PM. Traders who hold their stock overnight are not day traders. You have the option to be a swing, intermediate or long-term trader. Day traders get out of the market and are flat by 4PM.

3. Solid understanding of the stock markets

One thing you need to learn about is how to use stock market indexes to determine the performance of the different markets. This is just one of the many things you need to know because it influences stock price. When you’re unaware of these things, you could be trading on days or months that you shouldn’t be trading. You don’t want to trade during times and situations when you shouldn’t be trading.

4. Adequate Trading Capital

To become a day trader, you at least have to have $25,000 in your trading account. This is the minimum requirement for margin trading. However, if you want to trade expensive stocks at 1,000 shares, you also need to increase your trading fun.

5. Trading plan

Think of your trading plan as your trading bible but you were the one who created it for yourself. Every successful trader creates their own trading plan that contains their trading rules and so on. It is only through education that you could create an efficient trading plan. You may also develop a plan with the help of your coach. Not only do you need a trading plan but you also have to stick to your trading plan. Many traders who stray from their plan lose thousands of dollars in a day.

As you can see, you really need stock market education if you want to have a thorough understanding of all this. Creating an effective trading plan would be difficult if you don’t have stock market education. When you have no education, you won’t know how to protect your capital. If you don’t have education, you’d never know how the market communicates. And last but definitely not the least, you could get into all sorts of bad trades and lose your money without education. The stock market is an unforgiving animal. Getting education is the best way to prepare for it.

Categories
Budgeting

7 Common Mistakes Indie Labels Make

There are attractive reasons for the independent approach, such as keeping artistic control and retaining copyright of your recordings and songs. Then there are new incentives, like the possibility of distributing and selling on the Internet. However what they often forget about is some of the main issues surrounding setting up an independent recording label which are worth careful thought at the very outset, often leading them to make serious mistakes which cannot be recovered. Unfortunately these mistakes seem rather common in cases of independent labels, a brief overview of which is given below.

1. Insufficient Capitalization

Probably the single biggest mistake made when planning to start an independent label; it is often the most destructive one. With little cash in reserve and long-term needs for them, labels often go burst!

2. Poor Planning

Every aspect of how a label operates needs to be planned out in detail with a grand plan that looks ahead at least two to three years. Lacking this, most independent labels find that they’re reacting to events rather than making things happen when and how they want them to, eventually getting tangled in a whole mess too complicated to get out of.

3. Poor Budgeting

Budgeting is the financial roadmap for the success of any independent label; because, for all its artistic qualities, music is eventually a business, and with lack of proper budgeting, the business falls apart.

4. Weak Marketing

The music business is much more about marketing than music and unless the marketing goes up as the labels go along, the labels never succeed. Unfortunately by the time most of the independent record labels realize this, it is often too late.

5. Improper Distribution of Music

The marketing and selling of music begins and ends with the label. However most labels expect their distributor to do it for them, not realizing that their expertise is in selling the music to retailers – not marketing or promotion, resulting in poor promotion and distribution of the finished product.

6. Insufficient Exploitation of Music

Most independent record labels lack the vision to exploit their catalog and copyrights to the fullest often leaving their money on the table, which ultimately results in capital problems.

7. Lacking Websites

All record labels must have a web presence. The web has been in existence for more than a decade, and not having a good site is nothing short of negligence. But what most record labels do is instead of filling the site with useful information, they pay more importance to the dazzle and the looks, failing to be creative and marketing themselves to the generation of people who know how to use computers so well.

Unfortunately it is not really about the music any more – it never was. The music business is much more about marketing than music – music is art not business. They call it the music business because it is a business. It is important to have a realistic appreciation of how hard it is to succeed in this industry, but it is not impossible. What needs to be done is to be innovative, find the opportunities, and making the most of them.

Remember luck only occurs when opportunity meets preparation.

Categories
Budgeting

Major Mobile App Budgeting Mistakes

When you start to strategize for an App development, you have to take many things into consideration and App budgeting comes to the top. Many organisations fail to understand the importance of it and they allocate too little for the entire App development process that takes to build a User friendly and fully functional App.

Here are some of the top mistakes that are made in App budgeting:

Overlooking The Backend Development

When you design an App, many things matter to make it look awesome on the screen when a user uses it. Budget for backend infrastructure APIs, third-party integrations, and data capture needs to be aligned just in the right for a highly responsive and efficient App.

They Are Not Websites; They Are Different

Many people think that the way they budget the website development strategy, they should follow the same route when it comes to an App development. In reality, there are lot of technical complexities when it comes to Apps and their user experience is entirely different from websites. The budget allocation thus needs to be different than that of websites.

Involvement Of Variety Of Departments

App development is not limited to just one department and the success of it depends on factors like IT, Engineering, Marketing, and Sales. After the development of an App, you have to strategize a right marketing plan for it, so it reaches the target audience in a way you have planned it. For this and sales to follow, you need a proper allocation of funds on these departments, so that they work exclusively on the promotion of App.

Shelve More On Marketing

With the start of mobile development, you need to allocate a budget for marketing of an App so that your efforts for developing it don’t go in vain. No matter how amazing the design and functionality of the App is, you have to market it right to make it reach across segments. If you are looking forward to get 10,000-15,000 users within the first month of its launch, then you have to go for paid promotions as well.

App budgeting plays a very important role towards the success of an App and it is essential that you allocate it right. It will give you a lot of flexibility in the overall App development and will guarantee you the success of it.

Not enough marketing budget to promote and educate customers about the mobile app. No plan for updates to meet customer demands after initial launch Lastly, your mobile app development company must have a higher budget in comparison with website development. As mobile application development is more complicated process which adds to the cost.

Categories
Taxes

The 7 Biggest Mistakes Most New Daycare Owners Make – And How to Avoid Them!

What does it take to be successful in child care?

Obviously, you should have a deep & passionate desire to take care of children, a huge amount of patience, and the ability to juggle several tasks at once (such as warming a bottle while helping toddlers with an art project).

It also helps if you have a separate space in your home, such as a finished basement, where you can run your child care business.

But as if that isn’t enough, there are many things that a successful home daycare owner needs to be good at besides caring for children. Honestly, it can be quite daunting.

Things like getting paid on time from parents, writing solid policies & contracts, marketing your business to new potential clients, obtaining the right insurance policy, understanding record-keeping and how it affects your taxes, and overall, just getting started in a manner that will optimize success.

To help you get started more successfully, here are seven of the biggest, costliest mistakes women make when starting their own home-based child care business, and how to avoid them.

BIG MISTAKE #1: Not doing the proper research on the child care market in your town or city.

This is a crucial step that many new child care business owners miss, usually because they’re not sure how to go about it. Or they may think that it’s not really necessary to do the research, because they don’t understand how it could impact them.

After all, it’s just a small home-based business, right? Why do you need to do all that extra work up-front?

The goal here is not to spend weeks or months completing some huge market research project that you’re not ever going to use.

I’m talking about spending a few hours over the next few days, calling around (or maybe visiting some other child care businesses) and asking key questions.

Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about. My neighbor Mary, who runs a child care business in her home, discovered a couple things about our local market that helped her create a more profitable business. The first thing was, our town has ½-day Kindergarten, not full-day. By talking to other Moms in our town, Mary found there was a need in our town for “before-and-after care”, that is someone who could watch Kindergarteners & older kids before and after school. She structured her daycare to fill this need. All she had to do was make sure the buses were able to pick up & drop off these kids at her home, and she was able to start taking kids.

So what you want to uncover, when you do your upfront research, is a “pocket of unfulfilled need” in terms of child care. You don’t need it to be a huge pocket, but something unique about your business that will bring you customers who have that need.

Other examples of this are:

– offering second or third shift care if you have large companies in your town who employ people on evening or overnight shifts

– offering bilingual care or special languages, such as sign language for babies

– offering special meals (such as organic or vegetarian) if you live in a town where that would be considered desirable (like Boulder, Colorado or a similar college town)

Again, you are asking key questions and trying to uncover an unfulfilled need in your town or city. You can begin by calling your local Child Care Resource & Referral Agency (CCR&R), your local elementary schools, talking to neighbors and friends, and visiting other child care businesses in your town. You can even call other home child care businesses and talk to these women about what they are seeing in the market. Usually, women in child care help each other out by forming friendships and partnerships, so don’t be intimidated.

By taking the time to do the research, you will gain a huge advantage by understanding your market and how you can be successful within that market.

BIG MISTAKE #2: Not getting the right liability protection for you and your business.

If you want to be able to sleep easy at night and not worry about getting sued, you’ll need to be properly covered. You need the real scoop on what type of insurance to buy, and how much it should cost, so you don’t overpay.

Many new child care business owners make the mistake of thinking that their homeowner’s policy is enough to cover them if there’s a problem. But the truth is, that policy usually doesn’t provide enough protection, nor the right kind of protection you need for special situations that a daycare owner can face.

An example of this situation would be if your house had a power outage, and you had to close temporarily due to the loss of electricity. If you had a business liability policy with coverage for “business income interruption”, you would be covered by your policy and you would still get that income.

Likewise, if you were sued by a parent for some situation, your policy would cover you in most cases.

Surprisingly, a business liability policy for a home daycare is not that expensive, and is well worth the investment (in my opinion). These type of policies usually cost $30 to $40 per month. Is that worth a good night’s sleep?

BIG MISTAKE #3: Not charging the right fees.

Do you know how to find out what other child care homes and centers are charging? Most new daycare owners literally leave money on the table by not setting their rates properly. You’ll get short-changed by charging too little, and if you charge too much, you won’t get any clients!

So how do you go about figuring out what to charge? This is a similar process as doing the upfront research in your town…it’s simply a matter of making some phone calls or visits to other child care businesses and setting you prices appropriately.

Many new family daycare owners charge the same weekly rate for each child, regardless of the child’s age. However, if you talk to centers in your town, most of them charge the highest rate for infants, and the lowest rate for older kids (pre-K and older). Many parents are used to this type of pricing structure.

So depending on the ages of kids that you can accept, if you charge a bit more for infants and young toddlers, you may find that your income will be a bit higher than a flat-rate for all ages. You’ll have to look at your individual scenario and choose what’s best for you.

For example, let’s say that according to your state, and the ages of your own children, you can accept 1 infant, 3 young toddlers (15-24 months), and 2 older toddlers (3-4 year olds). If you charge $120 per week as a flat rate, you would have a weekly income of $720.

If, however, you charged a bit more for infants ($135/week), and young toddlers ($125/week) and less for older toddlers ($115/week), your weekly income with this scenario would be $740. That amounts to an extra $80 per month, or an extra $1,040 per year.

Small adjustments like these in your price, if it makes sense based on your local area, can make a difference in your take-home profits at the end of the day.

BIG MISTAKE #4: Not covering yourself with a proper daycare policy handbook and contract.

Okay, this is a really big one. You need to have a well-written contract for your parents, and you need a comprehensive policy handbook. If you use your contract and policy handbook properly, you can literally save yourself thousands of dollars of lost income (and countless hours of headaches!).

So what’s the difference between a contract and a policy?

A contract is a binding legal agreement between two people. If you agree to care for a child and the child’s parent agrees to pay you for that care, you’ve made a verbal contract. If you put the contract in writing, it becomes a written contract.

There are 5 key elements of a child care contract: the names of the parties, the hours of operation, the termination procedure (that is, how either party may terminate the agreement), terms of payment (including rates, due dates, and extra fees), and the signatures of the parties. Be specific and clear with your wording.

A policy handbook is longer and more detailed than a contract. It should contain all the rules that state how you will care for the children, how you’ll handle specific kinds of situations, and how you run your business. For example, you should include your vacation & sick day policies, how you handle behavior issues & discipline, and how the children will be fed.

It’s a good idea to require a signature page at the end of your policy handbook, where the parent agrees that he or she has read the entire handbook and agrees to abide by the policies you’ve laid out.

You need to have both documents in writing. (If you need actual examples that you can copy & edit to fit your business, they are provided in my Daycare Success System…more about that later).

BIG MISTAKE #5: Not using the best ways to market your business to future customers.

Let’s face it, you may not be a marketing and advertising whiz, but you need easy and low-cost ways to get the word out and bring in new customers.

We’ve all heard that the best advertising is word-of-mouth. That’s after you’ve gotten started and your clients recommend you to their friends and neighbors.

But what about when you first open your doors, and you have no proven track record?

Fortunately, there are lots of ways you can get the word out about your new child care business, and most of them won’t cost you much money. Here are 4 marketing ideas to get you started.

Marketing Tip #1: Register with the Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) Office in Your Area.

This is the very first thing you should do to get your name out there, and it should be done prior to opening your doors. The website is located at: www.childcareaware.org

Then enter your ZIP Code in the search field and you will receive the contact information for your nearest CCR&R office. You can also call them toll-free at (800) 424-2246.

As of December 2007, in order to be registered with most CCR&R’s, you do not need to be state-licensed or certified. However, they may have special requirements to be listed, based on your state.

For example, in Ohio, they request that solo family daycare providers have a maximum of 6 children at any time, and no more than 3 children under the age of 2. If there is more than one caregiver in the home/facility, the numbers can be higher. These rules vary by state, so be sure to call your local CCR&R branch to confirm your rules.

Once you register with your CCR&R, they will provide your contact information, along with any special information pertaining to your daycare, to parents seeking child care….for free!

Marketing Tip #2: Contact All Elementary Schools on Your Bus Line and/or in Your Community.

Most schools maintain a list of Childcare Providers, which they provide to parents upon request. Ask to have your name and phone number added to their Provider list.

Marketing Tip #3: Verbally Communicate to Everyone You Know.

Tell everyone you know that you are providing child care and ask them if they know anyone who is seeking childcare in your area. Make an announcement at your church, and at all other groups to which you belong. If you don’t belong to any community groups, join some! You’re an entrepreneur now, it’s time to start networking!

This may be your strongest source for enrolling daycare children. Most parents prefer to leave their children with a provider that was recommended by a friend, neighbor, coworker or family member.

Marketing Tip #4: Place Announcements or Small Ads in Community Newsletters.

Ask every organization you know and/or belong to such as a Church, Play Group, or Community Group, if you can place an announcement in their Newsletter.

If you know a community group, church, and/or business professional that mails out a newsletter, ask them to advertise your business for the local residents on their database. In your advertisement, focus on the unique features of your business and the benefits that children and parents will receive from being enrolled with you.

Remember, this is just the tip of the iceberg. When you learn these easy and inexpensive (or free) methods to bring in new leads, you’ll have a full and profitable daycare center and you’ll establish an ongoing relationship with your parent-clients that will have them raving about you to their friends and family!

Now let’s get back to the 7 Biggest Mistakes and how you can avoid them.

BIG MISTAKE #6: Not utilizing the tons of free resources in your local area, including sources of grant money.

Many new daycare or preschool owners don’t know about the local resources available to them, and how to navigate the waters of state, regional, and local government agencies.

With so many organizations and websites out there, it can be really tough to figure out where to go and who to ask, if you don’t know where to begin.

The best place to start is with your state. Every state in the U.S. has an agency within their state government that sets the rules for family child care providers. This agency is usually called something like the Department of Child & Family Services (DCFS), or the Department of Job & Family Services (DJFS) and they all have websites.

(If you are in Canada or another country, you probably have a similar office in your government).

Simply go to your state’s website (such as http://www.Illinois.gov) and look for the appropriate department, or type “child care” in the search box.

The website should contain phone numbers for the Child Care contact person in your state. Call them on the phone and inquire about your state’s rules and what they recommend for people who are just getting started in family child care.

Most counties also have a child care office that helps people at the county level. Ask your state contact person how to find help for your specific county. Then, contact your county rep and ask the following questions (these are also good questions to ask your state rep):

– What do you need to know that’s specific rules or regulations for your county?

– What training are you required to take before you open your doors?

– What kind of ongoing training / learning is required?

– Do they have any recommendations on insurance providers for child care owners in your county?

– What resources do they have to help you get started?

– Do they know about any sources for grants or low-interest start-up loans?

– Are there local or county support groups that meet to discuss child care issues?

There may be other questions you’ll think of, too. Don’t be intimidated. You have the right to get the best information to get started, and you owe it to yourself to start out as successfully and as knowledgably as possible.

BIG MISTAKE #7: Not getting licensed or certified by your state.

Getting licensed or certified with your state can be a bit of work, but it’s probably easier than you think. Usually, to get licensed you are required to take a certain amount of training (often very low-cost or even free) and your home will be inspected once or twice a year by a state inspector to ensure that guidelines are being met.

There are lots of reasons why you should consider it…the top reason being that you can charge higher rates!

Here are some of the other benefits you will gain by being licensed or certified with your state:

– You will be proud to know you are providing the highest quality of care (and you can communicate this to others).

– Potential parents will be more likely to choose you, so you won’t have to spend as much on marketing and advertising

– Schools and other businesses will be more likely to recommend you.

– You may be eligible for grants or low-interest loans to expand your daycare or improve it with a new outdoor play area, etc.

– You will stand out from the crowd as a superior business.

You will have the highest chance for success if you strive to be the best at what you do.

Good luck!

Categories
Taxes

7 Common Tax Filing Errors and Mistakes to Avoid

The risks of committing avoidable tax flaws, especially towards the tax filing deadline, are usually high, some with negative consequences that may even beckon a tax audit or unnecessary delays in returns-processing. Explained below are seven such errors that can be avoided by simply double-checking completed returns before submitting them to the IRS:

1. Wrong Social Security Numbers: Ensure that all the Social Security numbers, be it for self, children, spouse, or dependants are accurate. The IRS has rated this as the most commonly committed return error and you therefore, must double check. This should be done whether you are filing on paper or online.

2. Name Errors: Ensure that you use your own name, especially if you are married and file separately as opposed to your spouse’s. See to it that the name on the return matches the one on your Social Security card. Contact the Social Security administration for a new card if there are any changes to the name(s).

3. Incorrect/Multiple Filling Statuses: You can only file under one filing status at a time. Even though online tax preparation software don’t accept multiple selections of the filing statuses, it is common for those filing on paper to check off more than one status at a time. Ensure that this doesn’t happen.

4. Signing of All Signature Areas: Your tax return is only valid if it is signed accordingly by all relevant parties. If you are filing a joint return, make certain that your spouse signs as well, because failure to do this may lead to delays or even rejection of the return altogether.

5. Math Errors: Mathematical flaws are common, especially when working out the amount of tax due manually. Avoid this by only using the most current version of the tax tables, countercheck the math, and make necessary corrections.

6. Claiming Credits and Deductions: The regulations to IRS credits and deductions are constantly changed every year, and you must check to ensure that you qualify for some, like the Earned Income Credit, which is calculated based on the gross income before claiming. The same applies to deductions, some of which are age specific. To avoid any delays in the processing of your return, only claim credits and deductions those that you are eligible to.

7. Routing and Account Numbers: Most taxpayers claiming refunds prefer direct deposits from the IRS, which can only be made possible if you provide accurate routing and bank account numbers. It is very easy to correct this error; just review the details before filing.

Finally, feel free to apply for a tax filing extension if you cannot file the return in time. This will ensure that you not only evade common tax errors, but also the IRS interests and penalties.

Categories
Taxes

Avoiding Tax Return Mistakes That Could Cost You

Did you know the average person spends approximately 12 hours preparing their income tax return? Have you started gathering all your information to prepare your 2018 return? Remember, if you spend all that time preparing your return, the last thing you want to do is make a mistake because you are in a rush. Mistakes, no matter how simple, can delay your refund. Below are some common mistakes that are made on tax returns and what you can do to avoid them.

Get Organized: If you don’t already have your tax information together you better start now. Missing information can have the potential of costing you unnecessary funds.

Improper Social Security # or incorrect ID: The SS# must match with what’s on your Social Security card because the IRS compares all returns with the Social Security Administration’s database. Also, it is easy to get to focused on the numbers that you forget to sign your return or even enter other necessary information. Even having the incorrect name can be a problem. These problems often happen after marriage or divorce, especially if you haven’t informed Social Security.

Filing Status Mistakes: There are five filing status options (Single, Married Filing Jointly, Married Filing Separately, Head of Household, and Qualifying Widow w/ dependent) that are used to determine your filing requirements (standard deduction, eligibility for credits, deductions and your correct tax. Choosing the best filing status for you is one of the initial steps in filing your return.

Math Errors and Miscalculations: With all those numbers you can enter on your tax forms, it is easy to make simple math mistakes. If the IRS finds those errors they may recalculate them for you but not to your advantage. So, it would be to your benefit to check your math before you send in your forms. In addition to possible math errors, there can be miscalculations linked to taxable income, withholdings, estimated tax payments, and misc. tax credits.

Incorrect Bank Account Numbers for Direct Deposit: It’s important to double check your bank’s routing number and your account number to ensure you receive your refund in a timely manner. Just as important is paying your tax on time to avoid possible penalties and interest.

Underreported Income: Don’t forget to add income from anything other than your place of employment. This includes interest income, savings dividends, rental income or funds from a second job. Make sure you total all your income statements (W-2s, 1099s, K-1s and 1098s). Remember, the IRS gets copies of all those forms as well.

Filing Late or even not at all: Many of us can get overcome with details and put off filing our returns on time or not at all. Sooner or later the IRS will discover your tardiness and you will get a bill for the interest and penalties for not following the rules. If you are unable to make the April 15th deadline, you can request a six-month extension and avoid these penalties if you pay any taxes due by the filing deadline.

Start Saving: Whether you owe the IRS or are expecting a refund it’s always good to be saving. Sometimes refunds get delayed so you can’t delay your bills waiting for your refund. Make sure you set aside a portion of your income now so you will be prepared to pay any unexpected payments.

Use your return sensibly: If you are expecting a return this year, make sure you use it wisely. Before you spend it, make sure you prioritize your financial needs and put the refund toward that.

My Tip To You: Make sure you prepare your tax return when you have fewer diversions. If you are interrupted or have annoying distractions, stop what you are doing and finish your return at a later time. A little extra time spent on your tax return will go along way to sending in an accurate return. By following these simple tips, you can safeguard you won’t get a letter from Uncle Sam letting you know you owe extra money.

Categories
Taxes

Common Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid

You work hard all of your life and you want to make sure that you have good quality of life at the end of your days. You also want to make sure that the money and assets you have worked so hard to accumulate pass to your children or your designated heirs without argument or stress and without the government taking a huge piece of what you have worked for all of these years.

To protect yourself at the end of your life and to make sure that your money and assets are distributed the way you want them to be distributed, it is important to do some basic estate planning (EPg). It is also advisable to consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in EPg and who can help you to ensure you have a comprehensive and effective plan in place.

Estate planning is something that many people do not fully understand and it is something that many people make mistakes in doing. It is important to avoid EPg mistakes as they can cost you and your loved ones dearly. Here are a few key estate planning mistakes that you should be sure to avoid:

• Assuming EPg is only for the wealthy. This is one of the most common mistakes. The fact is that everyone should make sure to have an estate plan in place. The estate plan can handle end-of-life care issues such as assigning medical and financial power of attorney and creating a directive on whether you want extraordinary measures to prolong your life. The estate plan can also dictate who will get what assets. Even if you do not have a lot of assets, you still have some and you don’t want to leave your surviving family members to argue about what happens to them.

• Assuming that a will is the only thing you need. A will can be an important EPg document but there are many others that can also be important. Power of attorney documents and directives on life saving care, as already mentioned, should be a part of your estate plan. You may also want to use techniques such as creating a trust in order to facilitate the transfer of your assets in such a way that taxes can be avoided. A trust bifurcates ownership and possession and it can be a very effective EPg tool in certain situations.

• Not getting help with your will or in the creation of your estate plan. Even basic wills have formal legal requirements that must be followed. You should have an attorney advising you to help you with the creation of a will that will be enforced by the courts.

These are three of the most common and serious mistakes made by people. Don’t be confused or intimidated by EPg and do not just simply put your planning off until another day. Contact an attorney who can help you today to get your affairs in order so you can secure your future and the future of your heirs.

Categories
Insurance

4 Common Mistakes in Choosing RV Insurance

An RV insurance policy is not quite different from other types of policies. The main difference is the array of uses, models, and liabilities that are specific to RVs. The different types of recreational vehicles from pop-up campers, toy haulers, and truck campers, can make choosing the right policy a bit confusing. In addition, the different activities, risks, and liabilities for owning this kind of vehicle could also make choosing a policy even more stressful. This article discusses the most common mistakes that owners make when buying RV insurance.

Mistake 1: Assuming that a car insurance is enough

As an RV owner, you need to understand that this automobile is more than just a big car. It is a specialized vehicle that needs a different kind of policy and coverage. For one, it needs a coverage that also accommodates the personal belongings stored inside it. The policy should also include discounts that reflect when and where you will drive the vehicle, as well as the services it needs. With that said, you need to make sure that the policy will have the right coverage suited for a specialized automobile.

Mistake 2: Choosing Insufficient RV Liability Insurance Coverage

Liability coverage protects you in case an unfortunate incident occurs, such as theft, vandalism, fire, which may damage your vehicle. Choosing insufficient liability coverage may result in huge financial losses, especially since medical expenses and loss wages can quickly exceed the limit of the coverage. For this reason, you need to choose one that reflect your financial situation. Avoid blindly following the state-required minimums.

Mistake 3: Buying The Policy With The Lowest Price

Although you are trying to save money, avoid buying the lowest price available. You need to understand that a reliable and specialized RV insurance is very important. You should compare the features and services on top of the prices.

Mistake 4: Ignoring Potential Discounts

There are a lot of things that can reduce your premium. The built-in premium savings and the discounts can help you in that area. Here are some of the discounts you may be eligible for:

  • Combine coverage for insuring your RV and other automobiles on the same policy or carrier.
  • Renting a storage unit which allows you to suspend the coverages you don't need when you're not using your RV.
  • Installing safety and security features on your vehicle
  • Having a safe and clean driving record.

To avail these discounts, you need to consult with an agent. Take advantage of these discounts to enjoy more savings.

Categories
Currency Trading

Five Major Forex Trading Mistakes That Traders Make

Forex trading is undoubtedly a great money-making platform. However, fact is even the most experienced traders tend to make mistakes that cost them in the long run. This samples a list of some of the greatest mistakes that forex traders commit and sheds lights on some of the best strategies that you can adopt to avoid such pitfalls.

Not having a proper plan

This is virtually one of the greatest mistakes that traders make in the market. In the absence of an effective strategic plan, traders work in the market based on speculations and as a result they meet losses and they end up putting the blame on their brokers instead. Without a clear definitive plan traders usually do not have a clear judgment on when to stop in the market and the right amount of money to invest initially. At the end of it all they end up spending minimal time in the market before they are kicked out of business.

Unrealistic goals and expectations

Most traders tend to set rather unrealistic goals and objectives in the market and usually expect monetary returns too soon. However, they eventually end up committing too many mistakes in the cause of their trading not realizing that it requires a lot of patience and tolerance for one to be able to start enjoying lucrative profits.

Not having protective stops

Also most traders end up being pushed out of the forex market since they do not use protective stops. With protective stops you are able to gain a broad knowledge base of exactly how much money you ought to invest and whether you stand a chance of earning profits or not. Protective stops are undoubtedly effective money management tools everyone should use.

Excessive leverage

Another common mistake that traders make in the market is taking out excessive leverage. Traders should have clear definitive picture of how leverage works and how exactly they can use it to make profits. Exercise a lot of caution when it comes to using leverage and see to it that you do not lose capital in the event that an abnormal move is made against you.

Overtrading

There are traders who tend to overtrade and they eventually suffer from lethal losses. If you notice that you are incurring losses as you trade then you should put your investments on hold. Instead of persisting to trade to overcome the losses you should put your trades on hold first and focus your energies on diagnosing the reasons as to why you’re trading is failing and find strategies of correcting the same.