Money Infant

Baby Steps to Financial Freedom

How to Market Your Business on a Shoestring Budget

There is little point having a fantastic product or exemplary service to offer to the marketplace if nobody knows either you or it exists.

This is really the crux of marketing and why it is important.

It is not unusual to hear early development stage businesses saying that they can’t really engage in professional marketing because they just don’t have the money.

Let’s examine a few ideas as to how that problem might be at least partly overcome.

Don’t try and re-invent the wheel

The fact that marketing is a common problem for many start-up businesses should oddly give you at least some consolation.

That’s because you don’t have to think of lots of radical low-cost ideas for marketing based solely on your own imagination – others have already done some of it for you!

For example, it’s perfectly possible to find articles that contain lots of useful low-budget marketing tips.
True, some of these may not be applicable directly to your unique business circumstances but others might be.

Get to grips with funding

However frugal you are in your marketing efforts, few would dispute that there is a relationship between how much you have available to spend and the prognosis for a successful outcome.

Now it’s perfectly true that over recent years the banks have been markedly reluctant to advance business loans, however, that isn’t necessarily any reason to simply give up on the idea of building a marketing budget.

There are other sources of funding out there, from Angel Investors to specialist companies that provide business loans.

There is lots of information both offline and online that will show you your different options. For example, there is a short guide to business loans on the Everline website. This also explains the sorts of information and documentation you will typically need to provide in the event of applying for any business loan.

It is worth looking at resources such as these so you can make an educated decision as to what solution if the most appropriate one for you – as well as checking that you have the information required.

If you do feel that some sort of funding would be suitable for your business, then it might be sensible to approach a prospective provider to see whether or not they can help. The fact of the matter is, having a small or even shoestring budget for marketing is one thing but having none at all is quite another!

Learn the internet and social media – assuming you don’t already

This is too big a subject to discuss in great detail here but suffice it to say that the marketing opportunities are enormous and by and large, the costs are relatively low.

It’s amazing how many businesses are still simply unaware of the importance of the net to present day commercial activities including marketing. If you objectively believe yourself to be in that category, you need to do something about it and quickly.

There are plenty of online courses and tutorials available to help and you will find plenty of additional tips relating to what is sometimes referred to as e-marketing.

Get out of your office chair

In spite of what was said above relating to the importance of the internet, some businesses make the mistake of believing that somehow staring extensively and even hopefully into a computer screen will, somehow, yield everything they need by way of marketing and associated business success.

That might well be mistaken.

In addition to taking advice, you really should make the effort to get out and engage with the real world. As is touched on in some of the above reference tips, things such as:

● seminars;
● conferences;
● training sessions;
● exhibitions;
● networking sessions;
● social events;
● and even parties, are all vastly important in enabling you to engage in entirely free and potentially very profitable marketing of yourself and your business.

So, get your head out of the virtual world and spend at least some time out there talking to real people!

What the Heck are Greenslips?

One of the cool things about living in Bangkok is that you get to meet such a diverse range of people. Not only Thais and other Asians, but a vast selection of humanity from around the world. It can be fun and enlightening to compare notes with those who share a common background (European ancestry), but have different experiences having been raised outside the U.S. Or at least I think so.

Not surprisingly, the conversation can often turn to money matters and how things such as taxes, prices of goods and services and insurance differ from country to country. Recently I had such a conversation about auto insurance with an acquaintance from Australia. I learned that car insurance in Australia and New South Wales in particular (this gentleman was from Sydney) is only subtly different from car insurance in much of the U.S.

As you might know, car insurance in the U.S. is determined on a state by state basis, with each state having minimum coverage requirements and policy premiums. This can be as little as New Hampshire’s requirement for Personal Responsibility coverage to as high as $50,000 bodily injury requirement in Maine and Alaska. That’s not to say that these are the most expensive states for car insurance, that distinction goes to Detroit, Michigan. In fact, Maine is actually one of the least expensive states for car insurance.

Australia has some similarities with the U.S. in that they require compulsory third party insurance (called Green Slips), which covers the cost of personal injury to other people if you are at fault in an accident (medical bills, for example). Just like in the U.S., the cost of this compulsory auto insurance can vary widely based on a number of factors, and the companies which offer green slip insurance can have varying premiums. So, just like in the U.S. it makes sense to shop around for auto insurance coverage in NSW and Australia.

Also like the U.S., it is possible to pay extra for a third party property coverage that will cover damage to other vehicles, as well as comprehensive insurance that covers damages to other vehicles as well as damages, losses and theft of your own vehicle. And just like the U.S. there are online services that provide a Green Slips Calculator to make your life easier when trying to choose the most cost effective car insurance.

One of the upsides I learned about is the average cost of a green slip in NSW is just $520, which is far below the premiums in most U.S. states for mandatory coverage. In the U.S. you could easily pay 3-5 times that amount. Of course, the U.S. mandatory insurance also provides some property coverage, but it is not even close to the amounts covered for bodily injury, making me a bit skeptical about the prices paid for auto insurance in the U.S.

At the end of the day though it was all just a hypothetical experiment as my new Aussie friend and I both live in Bangkok now. He doesn’t own a car so has no insurance premiums, and my yearly insurance costs are in the neighborhood of $400 – far less than I paid in the U.S.

Practical and Non-Traditional Investment Opportunities for Retirees

Mario Vitanelli is a freelance writer and blogger who specializes in international politics and finance, retirement and investment. His areas of expertise include European, Asian and Latin/South American economic policy and QROPS. When away from his keyboard, he enjoys photography.

If you every word written on the internet about retirement investment hints, systems, schemes, rules, warnings and instructions were dollars in your bank account, you wouldn’t need to read another word on the subject because you’d be rich indeed. Despite the wealth of those articles, there are some problems with many of them. A good percentage of them are prohibitively complex- I study and write about finances regularly and much of the advice I encounter thoroughly boggles me.

Some of them offer obvious common sense suggestion or assume the retiree has hundreds of thousands of dollars (or even millions) to play around with. Continue Reading →

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