You've done it! Your company is taking off after mounds hard work, sweat, and probably some tears (both of joy and major stress). But don't let your efforts fall to pieces due to lack of awareness and interest from potential clients and customers. Advertisement and promotion of your company is a must, no matter its size, strength, or status.
If you're not in the market for shelling out thousands (or more) for advertising, that's no problem. There are many ways to put your company's name on the map and into the hearts and minds of those you want in the know. A lean budget always has some wiggle room to plug your business with pride and personality! Try any or all of these ideas and you'll see consumers knocking down your door in no time.
Get with Google
Be sure to show the world that your business has arrived with a Google My Business account. Display your address, hours, phone number, and what you're all about. And talk about lean… this is a free service! Clients and potential customers will be able to see positive reviews of your company and you can post photos to give an inside account of your unique qualities. Locals will see your company pop up with their search, but you will be searchable far and wide as well. Let the world get their goggles on your Google page! Log in and follow the clear-cut instructions. You'll be visible in no time.
Bring on the Blog
A great way to stir up interest is with an informative content section on your company's website. This is a useful way for readers to learn more about the industry you're in and know they can educate themselves thanks to the content your company provides without being sale-sy or pushy. The more the reader comes to trust your information, the more they'll be inclined to purchase from or use your services when the time is right. You can set up a blog relatively easily and cheaply, (with WordPress, for example) and as long as you hire dedicated and in-the-know writers, you're set. Plus, the 'comments' section will help you gain more readers and followers who will learn about your offerings. Your company can get started with WordPress for as low as $3.95/month. As you grow, you can expand to get more features and services, but a basic setup will get you moving in the right direction. Start with short posts to garner attention and see what resonates with readers to help you plan your future content. Then tie in with what you can offer.
Business Cards Mean Business
Be a live advertisement every time you walk into a room. When you meet someone and tell them about your business, leave them with a standout card so they can reach you if and when they need your company's goods or services. Make yours special with a unique design that coordinates with what your company does or stands for. Be sure all your employees have a nice stack of cards and to never leave home without some to shell out in pocket. Vistaprint can whip you up 500 cards for less than $10 bucks. Pretty good business!
Shine on Social Media
If your company doesn't have a page on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., then you are putting yourself at a serious disadvantage. Nowadays, if you're not on social media, you may as well not exist. Folks of all ages tend to turn to social media to see if a company's up-to-date and relevant. You can hire a fresh-out-of-school social media-savvy employee or even an intelligent intern to manage your social media messaging. The more you post with relevancy and regularity, the more followers and fans you'll amass. Watch your presence peak and more and more people will become aware of and purchase your goods and services. Offer special social media-only deals and promos too for extra attention on your pages daily. Starting up a social media page is free and you can get more intricate as your company flourishes. Start small and let your fans help you grow.
The Need to Network
Get out there and talk the talk. Attend seminars, speeches, conventions, and the like related to your industry. Keep it local or travel – whatever your business is best suited for. You'll get your name out there and learn from those already in the field. Come prepared with information, handouts, and samples (when applicable) from your company and put a friendly face to your company's name. Eventually, you can request or be invited to speak on panels and lead discussions about your field. Be sure to post your experiences on your website and on your social media pages for added interest and input. Networking events have a range of fees, setup costs, and registration packages, so find the ones you can afford, then expand your reach as you get more customers and reach new heights.
There are a variety of platforms, such as Outmarket, where your company can send out your own press releases when there're something new or noteworthy to announce. Alternatively, you can invest in a PR pro to guide you through the experience of spreading positive messages about your company to the masses or those of importance to your business. With proper presence of press and publicity, your company will become recognized and well-regarded. Your PR rep will have your back and make sure your company is handled with class and character. PR pros and programs are available at all price points, so there's an option for any budget. Outmarket packages start at around $300 a month, which is a pretty good deal for what you'll get in return. When it comes to a personal PR pro, shop around, ask for references, and work with the person. The right fit will respect your budget and help you grow.
Engage with Email
Develop a strong database of customers via past purchasers, social media opt-ins, site sign-ups, and other inquiring minds in order to email company updates, new products or services, sales, promos, and even benevolent content to keep them interested, engaged, and eager for more. There are a variety of email management services that you can use on a trial or low-cost basis, such as MailChimp or Bronto, that guide you with every step of the email process – from design to messaging to frequency of send. Emailing will keep your customers informed and in-the-know and your name will be top-of-mind when they are ready to make a move – unless your excellent email inspired them to do it there and then! Start an account with a mail service provider and find the package that works within your budget. A customer service rep can tailor a program to suit your individual needs and keep things clean and lean.
It's time to advertise with knowledge and energy. Money may be tight, but your advertising is going to be all right! Get started now and see the customers and clients roll in and ready to purchase.
When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.
A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.
One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.
The Federal Reserve
The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.
This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.
The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.
Whether you're leaving a job involuntarily, departing for something new, or just want to prepare for the unknown, it is smart to understand all your options regarding your 401k.
Frugal gifting often gets a bad reputation. However, this shopping method does not make you cheap — it makes you practical. Frugal gifts often avoid waste and overspending and can be just as meaningful (if not more so) as any other present.
With the National Retail Federation predicting each consumer this holiday season to spend upwards of $1,000 on holiday gifts amidst an economic recession —this year might be the perfect time to reconsider your spending budget. We've formulated the ultimate list of frugal gift-giving ideas to get you started.