The Big Financial Risks Waiting To Take A Big Bite Of Your Business

Minimising business risk


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Business is a risky game. It’s not just all about whether your investment is going to work out, either. You can have the best, most researched idea in the world with a whole new market just for you. There’s still a very rocky road ahead. However, there doesn’t have to be. You can just as easily smooth things out with all the right preparations. So we’re going to look at the big financial risks that you could find yourself easily avoiding.


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Protecting your idea


A lot of what makes up your business are the ‘ideas’ that keep it going. By ideas, we mean intellectual property of all kinds. It can the product or service that you’re delivering. It can be the visual and written aspects of your branding. The fact is that these are all important ways of establishing a place for yourself in the market. So you need to protect them. Patenting and copywriting ensures that your bigger competition doesn’t try to steal them from you in a costly legal battle. Non-compete clauses in contracts for your employees cut any potential competition from your own staff, too. We don’t like to think that people we have worked with may care to steal our ideas or our customers. It’s an unfortunate truth of business, however. So make sure you’re using restrictive measures properly. Otherwise, you’ll be spending a lot fighting for your own ideas.

Protect your data


Then, behind the scenes, you have the systems that keep the business running. For most businesses, this relies on data like contacts, finances and customer details. Having these stolen is bad for your reputation, your business and perhaps even your legal standing. Failing to protect your customer data could get you on the wrong side of a lawsuit. A full cyber security protocol is a necessity for any business that wants to make sure they don’t lose any of their data to unauthorised access. This involves training your staff as well as making tech adjustments. Password security and making sure logged on computers aren’t left alone is important. Of course, so are things like anti-viruses, firewalls, and ethical hacking. But the fact is that you can’t just rely on great tech. You also need a bit of common sense.

Know your value


A lot of businesses fail in their finances because they don’t fully understand the value they might already be sitting on. For one, you should look at your physical assets. Is there any equipment you might be able to sell off if the situation calls for it? Do you have any spare space in your business premises that you could potentially rent out? Then there’s the possibility for further revenue streams that a business owner should consider. What services can you sell with your product? Is there a market for you to sell your expertise in things like webinars and talking opportunities? You should always have a few ideas on how to squeeze a bit more cash from the business in case things ever get tight.


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Look after your employees


It should be no surprise that the staff of a business are one of the most common sources of lawsuits against that business. First, you should consider an arbitration clause so any complaints are dealt with without a lawsuit. Otherwise, it’s all about how you take care of your employees. They have rights you need to respect. The most commonly failed is the right to health & safety. If you’re not looking after their health, you’ll be spending a lot of money on worker’s compensation after. Then you need to make sure you have proper protocols to deal with harassment, discrimination, and termination. Otherwise, those topics can be a minefield for potential claims.

Expect the unexpected


Legal issues aren’t always the cause of a sudden loss of money in the business. Disasters, natural, man-made or otherwise, cost money. They do damage that needs to be repaired and destroy resources that need to be replaced. If all of that is coming out of your own pocket, then you could be in trouble. First, look at the cause of any damage. If it’s someone else’s responsibility, you may be able to get them to fork out the cash. Otherwise, it’s best to be prepared before the unexpected event. The right insurance policies can save you a lot of heartache down the line.

Do your damn accounting


You don’t need a huge disaster to lose a lot of money, however. Sometimes all you need is a bit of negligence. A lot of business owners get themselves in a bad situation by taking their eye off their finances. That can’t be you if you want to keep your money. From your funding sources to your invoices and payroll. Record everything going in and out of your business account. Ensure you keep that account separate from your personal account. Dipping too much into either can sink a business or business owner. Then make sure you’re paying the right amount of tax for the structure of your business. Otherwise, again, you might be facing some steep legal trouble.


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Look to the future


One risk that not every business owner will recognise as a risk is the future. In particular, having a successful one. Yet failing to scale properly is a huge concern for startups. It’s the most common reason that they don’t make it past their second year. For example, you have to look at how you deal with the need for extra manpower. Instead of just pumping your business full of more people, you should consider restructuring how your staff operates. Some tasks might actually work worse with more people than better. Similarly, you should look into growing your marketing, customer support, and delivery systems. Having any one of them fall behind will cause a huge loss overall.
We hope that the above tips help you miss some of the bigger mistakes in running a business. There will be challenges, undoubtedly, but with the bigger ones out of the way, you have less to fear.

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Show Me The Money: Core Habits Of A Financially Stable Business

Business financial stability


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When it comes to the finances of a small business, one of the key things to bear in mind is that you need to be strict. Of course, it goes without saying that money is a core part of running a business. As such, this should not come as much of a surprise. However, it can be difficult for new entrepreneurs to know exactly what needs to be done. If you have recently started a business, then you are probably keen to discover what you need to do to stay on top of your finances. In fact, there are some basic healthy habits which you need to try and adopt. As long as you follow these guidelines closely, it is likely that you will do pretty well in the long run. Let’s take a look at some of the core habits you should try to develop from today.

Leave No Stone Unturned



There are many kinds of problems and issues which can arise from poor financial management. For a relatively young business, these issues can quickly become more serious. It is therefore wise to be able to stop them while they are relatively small. The best way to ensure that you catch these small problems is to adopt a keen sense of investigation. As long as you are watching your business’ finances carefully, it is much more likely that you will do well in the long run. It is important to leave no stone unturned. If you are keen for your business to be financially stable, you need a keen eye for detail. This is arguably your best friend against financial danger in the long run.

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Consider Outside Help



It is not unusual for the owner of a small business to feel a little overwhelmed from time to time. After all, there is so much that needs taking on board. The truth is, it is unlikely that you will be able to do it all yourself. Nowhere is this felt more keenly than in the financial side of running a business. Even if you have a good head for figures, you might find this difficult. With that in mind, don’t be afraid to hire some outside help to help you get a better grasp on it. With the right accountant on board, you will find that the whole business is a lot less of a headache. The difference it can make having some outside help is phenomenal.

Be Brave & Take Risks



Business is all about taking risks. If you never did anything unexpected, your business would be unlikely to get very far at all. Of course, it is one thing being able to take risks. It is quite another knowing when, and how, to do so. For maintaining financial stability, this means that you should take calculated risks. There is a significant difference between blindly taking a risk, and thinking carefully about it first. As long as you plan it out well, you should find that your risk is more likely to turn out for the best. Of course, you never know for certain - that is the risky element.

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Death of the Santander 123 account

Where do I put my savings now?


I've got some bad news for you. In case you didn't hear the Santander 123 current account is cutting its interest from 3% to 1.5%. This is a huge 50% cut in the interest. The Santander 123 current account was effectively the last place of refuge for hard hit savers over the last few years.

Without taking on additional risk there is virtually no where to earn a return on your cash in the current market. Bank of England interest rates are now at an all time low of 0.25%. As a consequence the borrowers are having a feel day and continue to borrow money cheaply whereas savers are struggling to find a return.

When to hold cash


I have had my cash in the Santander 123 current account for the last year and have held a substantial portion of my cash in that account, about £15,000. This earned me about £40 in interest each month and will be sorely missed. I've been thinking about an alternative and to be perfectly honest I can't find any. There are the odd accounts that offer 5% on cash holdings but that's only for the first £2,000. Unfortunately, there isn't really a replacement for the Santander 123 current account.

The question is, do I just keep my money in the account earning 1.5% or do I take on some more risk? I have no immediate large outgoings. I recently bought my first flat with my fiancĂ©. We aren't planning on moving for at least five years. In theory, five years appears a decent span of time in which to invest over. However, given the amount of cheap money lying around and recent leaps in the stock markets around the world assets appear overvalued. I keep telling myself that I'm holding cash on the side ready to pounce when share prices take a dive. The problem is, when is this going to happen? 

Fund managers appear to be in a risk-on state. Deals and IPOs are still common place. Even the threat of Britain leaving the European Union has now been all but ignored by the stock market. The FTSE100 in the UK is now nearing its all time high. My gut is telling me that now is not the greatest time to be investing in the stock market.

What are the alternatives to investing in the stock market?


Property is unlikely given that I probably don't have enough for a deposit (certainly not in London). Furthermore, I don't want to be invested in an illiquid asset and then potentially struggle to sell it once we seek to move house.

Bonds yields are incredibly low at the moment and aren't attracting me. The last refuge appears to be peer to peer lending. The only problem is that you can't wrap up your investments in a tax free ISA wrapper, meaning that your returns are taxable....Ho hum....where to put my money?

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5 Reasons Why Bullion is Attractive During Political Instability


Why do people invest in gold?


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It is a common statement in many money dealing establishments. Gold is always better than money, especially during political turmoil. It sounds so much like a line in a movie, but it does make sense in real life. Forget that it is a pain to carry and will attract all sorts of unsavoury characters, but there is wisdom behind what they say. Here are a few reasons why bullion is better during political instability.
  1. The Value of Gold

Gold is always at a generally fixed value.  When a country is politically unstable, there is a huge change that the currency of that country will often decline or lose value. The value of gold remains the same. So during these times it is no surprise that businesses demand gold payments instead.
  1. Political Unrest equals Higher Gold Prices

When people lose their confidence in their government, they lose their trust in the value of their monetary system. When this happens, gold becomes a fall back payment option and most of the time, in situations like this, the price of gold goes higher as demand increases.
  1. A Better Investment

During a political crisis, most investments generally suffer a decline. The stocks of that country often fall as companies make less profit due to the unrest. Investors see political unrest as the short term risks so during these times, there is a decrease in investments and stocks. Gold prices, however will remain the same or in some cases even increase in value.
Gold is valuable because it is limited in supply. A gold investment has a very good chance of getting higher gains, especially when there is a high demand. So most gold investments are sure ones and are often mixed with other investments to reduce risks.
  1. Gold is Universal

In times of political unrest, many things are uncertain. Government instability brings out the doubts in any honest business. Money loses value and investments crash. It becomes a race trying to minimize the company losses. This is the reason why investors have a small supply of this precious metal in hand. When the country's currency fails and loses value, gold will always remain as an accepted currency worldwide.
This is why in a politically volatile environment, money loses value and gold becomes the default currency. Businesses can go on, trade is still possible, but the medium or currency shifts to gold.
  1. Protecting Wealth

Any investor will make sure that their investment is protected and the returns are within the limits that they want. In times where there is political instability in a country, a shrewd businessman has the option of converting his assets to gold, this way the investment is protected and with minimal to no losses.
This is why in these uncertain times, gold is a better choice than currency. The value of gold remains relatively the same not unlike money which can lose its value in situations like this. It is a safe investment and can be used as a currency on its own.
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What is value?

How do you value value?


What is value?

Value refers to an object or items worth to somebody else. Value is what somebody else is willing to pay for it. In theory in a perfect market everybody would know about the item that you're selling and as such the person that wants it most would be able to give you their best price. Unfortunately markets aren't perfect. Not only does everyone not know about the item that you're selling but they also don't willingly reveal their best price. In practice the true value of an object is a little difficult to decipher. 

A valuation problem


Let's take an example of a house. What is it worth? It can be valued in multiple different ways. The value could be the sum of the  discounted net rental income cash flows. It could be the replacement cost of the house. It could be whatever price a similar house within the area sells for. It could be valued at the discounted cost of the next best alternative eg the cost to you of not owning and house and thereby paying a rent. Or else it could be the best offer within a particular time span - ie how most sellers value their property when they sell.

However, there is even more complexity in the form of speculation. People may be interested in your asset in the hope that they can find someone else willing to pay even more for the asset. This is called the 'greater fool problem' - it suggests that assets keep being bought and resold until the final buyer is unable to find anyone else willing to pay a higher amount. He is the greatest fool!

Is all value just speculation?


Arguably, all valuation is just an excuse for speculation. A property company will value its assets on a value per square foot. It will measure the square foot of the prospective investment property and then multiply that by the pound per square foot value for the area. However, who determines the value per square foot? It's purely whatever someone else is willing to pay per square foot.

Alternatively, a stock analyst will calculate the value of a company based on a multiple of profits. The multiple differs for each sector. However, how do you decide what value the multiple should be? It is simply whatever multiple some greater fool is willing to pay for it.

The value of a crypto currency such as Bitcoin is just....whatever someone else is willing to pay for it!

It's difficult not to simply reach the conclusion that all value and valuation techniques are simply synonyms of speculation. Because you've given your valuation a logical structure and process does not necessarily mean that you haven't simply guessed at what the value may be. As for me, I am undecided. I believe that things do have an intrinsic value. How to calculate that value is another matter!

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What All Business Owners Should Know To Avoid Being Sued

Advice on being sued


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If there’s one thing that even the most seasoned business owners are terrified of, it’s being slapped with a lawsuit. The thing about being sued as a business owner is that it’s expensive and time-consuming. Not to mention a highly stressful process. Plus, once word gets out about the lawsuit you are faced with, it can have a negative impact on your business. So it’s crucial that you know how to effectively protect yourself and your business from a lawsuit.


Don’t sue anyone else



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Unless absolutely necessary, don’t sue anyone else. Of course, if a client has refused to pay you or broken an agreed contract, it may be necessary to sue them. However, if possible try to avoid it. You see, when you open a lawsuit against another company, they may then choose to sue you back. This can have a big impact on your businesses finances. And so, unless suing is the only option, it’s not something that should be considered. The last thing any business wants to be dealing with is a lawsuit, as it’s a major waste of time and money.


Ensure that you have adequate insurance in place



One of the most important things you can do to prevent your business from being sued is ensure that you have adequate insurance in place. By having the right insurance in place, you can ensure that whatever happens, you’re covered. As well as investing in commercial property insurance, it also pays to have errors and omissions insurance. This is a form of public liability insurance. As that way, whatever happens, you are protected from being sued. Say, for instance; a client was to slip and break a leg at your business premises. If you have public liability insurance, all the court costs and the payout would be covered.


Make health and safety a priority



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Talking about health and safety, a simple way to prevent lawsuits is to make health and safety a priority. If you want to ensure that both your employees and clients stay safe while on your premises, it pays to invest in health and safety training. By doing this, you can not only prevent your employees from getting hurt while at work, but you can teach your employees how to keep customers safe. By making health and safety a priority, you can help to prevent accidents. And in doing so, can make lawsuits less likely.


Don’t breach agreements



Last but not least, if you make an agreement, do your best not to breach it. If you are working alongside another company and breach an agreement that the two of you have, it can lead to all sorts of repercussions. The worst of which being a lawsuit. That’s why it’s so important to do all that you can to keep to any agreements that you make.


So there you have it, everything that you need to know to avoid being slapped with a lawsuit. As a business owner, the last thing you want is to end up in court. Hence why it’s so important that you make every effort to avoid putting yourself in a situation where you may be sued.


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Mutual insurance

A new insurance product


Unfortunately we need insurance, sometimes due to legislation and other times as a necessity. There are numerous types of insurance from buildings insurance, contents cover, car insurance, mobile phone insurance, health insurance and life insurance to name some of the more common types.

Even more unfortunately insurance can be expensive especially if you've had a previous claim or if you have a special conditions or situations. Aggregated together insurance can add up to the hundreds or even thousands of pounds per year.

As an example my insurance premium costs for this year are as follows:
Buildings and contents insurance -£360
Health insurance - £440
Total insurance for the year works out at £1280. I'm sure there will be many readers who pay far in excess of this.

Whilst there's plenty already on the internet about how to reduce your insurance premiums - mainly advising price comparison websites there isn't an awful lot of information at this current time on mutual insurance. The reason being that there aren't many companies offering mutual insurance at the moment. However this is likely to change over the near future.

Mutual insurance explained


The idea behind mutual insurance is really neat. It works a little bit like a credit union where people band together to offer loans to others within a community. Similarly in the case of mutual insurance individuals group together as a collective and seek insurance together.

Each individual within the group within the group is responsible for the others. If one of the members of the group defaults then the others will all contribute to cover part of the loss. In addition the group will all receive increased premiums. 

The idea is to encourage more cautious and sensible behaviour. If you knew that your mum or your friend (or whoever was in your insurance group) would be on the hook for your bad driving or your careless behaviour then you might act more carefully for the mutual benefit of all.

I think the concept is a great idea and I'm likely going to look into it in a little more detail next time my insurance is up for renewal.

Do you like what you've read? Tell your friends by sharing it with one of the buttons below. Please post this to Facebook or Tweet it to help your friends and family. Feel free to send me an email (mrmoneybanks@multimillionaireroad.com), find me on twitter @millionairer0ad or comment. Whether good or bad, I want to hear from you all.

Is the minimum wage a good idea?

Analysis of the minimum wage in a western economy


A slight detour from the regular personal finance topics today. Instead, this is a general query as to whether or not the minimum wage is a good idea. To put it another way: is the minimum wage good for the economy?

Why do we have the minimum wage?


It is thought that businesses would deliberately exploit staff by paying them as low wages as possible. It is also considered that there are workers out there who would allow themselves to be exploited. Possible because they aren't skilled enough to work elsewhere or because they don't realise that they are being underpaid.

The minimum wage was introduced in many western countries in an effort to sort this problem. The thought is that by paying a minimum wage general living standards will rise which will result in happier populations. This sounds all well and good, with noble intentions but in practice economics isn't so static and there are interlinked and unintended consequences.

Unintended consequences of the minimum wage


What's the impact of enforcing a minimum wage on employers?

Wage bills can be large especially in the service and hospitality industries. When the government enforces such an act employers will see an increase in their every day running costs. This will result in a fall in profits and unhappy shareholders. 

To solve this problem companies have two options open to them. They can either increase prices on products to make up for the lost profits or they can reduce the amount of employees that they have and squeeze more work out of a smaller work force. As you can imagine neither of these outcomes are particularly desirable.

A reduction in the workforce will see rises in national unemployment figures and wholesale price rises reveals itself in the inflation numbers. So whilst the government might have succeeded in increasing wages it probably won't have increased happiness in the population. 

In particular, the potential increase in inflation will mean that the purchasing power of those increased wages diminish over time. So whilst a receiver of a newly installed minimum wage may believe that they have received a wage increase over time the rise in prices are likely to negate the benefits.

Final thoughts on the minimum wage


There is a final alternative. Even with its economic faults we accept the minimum wage for what it is. It boosts morale. It makes people think that they are receiving a wage increase. Surely this alone is a good thing?

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Use These Hacks to Make Every Hour Happy Hour in Your Pub

Boosting sales in your pub


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Pub owners all across the land are constantly looking for ways of improving their performance. It’s not easy running a pub, and it can cost a lot of money. However, it can also be a goldmine if it’s used properly. These are some great hacks to keep your customers happy at all times.
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Special Offers


You always need to look at ways to stay competitive and keep people coming through the doors. And, what customers value the most these days is good value. Eating out is often expensive for customers these days. So, if you can provide good value, you will have no worries about success. Make sure you understand what is involved in providing value. Think about the special offers you can put on for customers on a weekly basis. You may have drinks offers, food offers, or combinations like ‘Beer & Burger’. Special offers are the cornerstone of the modern pub so you’ve got to make full use of them.
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Hire a Great Chef


These days when you run a pub you have to understand that food matters above anything else. Food can be the difference between your pub being a roaring success, or it closing after a year. Too many pubs these days don't place enough emphasis on the importance of food. Understand how much this matters to you as a business and make sure you hire a great chef. If you can provide good quality pub grub people will flock to your establishment.
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Make Sure It’s Comfortable


Comfort is one of the most important factors for a pub. When people got there, they need to be in a relaxing and comfortable environment. And that's why it’s important to make sure you provide as much comfort as you can for your customers. This starts with the furniture you provide for your establishment. Look into getting pub sofas and chairs that will be comfortable for punters. You also need to consider the kind of tables you’re going to go for, and the layout of the bar. If you can make your pub as comfy as possible people are going to want to keep coming back.
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Offer Plenty of Entertainment


The pub is somewhere people go to unwind and relax. It’s a place to entertain and enjoy yourself away from the rigours of work. That's why there needs to be plenty of entertainment in order to keep people busy and coming back for more. Indeed, the more entertainment you provide, the more people will keep coming back. There are a lot of different forms of entertainment you can choose from. For example, you should have pool tables, a jukebox, and TV screens. Showing sport is going to increase your clientele. Also, it might be an idea to host live music or do a pub quiz each week. Of course, you will need a licence for certain forms of entertainment, so look into that to ensure you aren't breaking the law.

As a pub owner, you need to give serious thought to how you can attract the punters. It’s important for people to have a reason to visit your bar and stay there for a long time. So, you have to think about what appeals to the customers, and what they want from a pub. Get that right, and you'll enjoy a booming trade.

Do you like what you've read? Tell your friends by sharing it with one of the buttons below. Please post this to Facebook or Tweet it to help your friends and family. Feel free to send me an email (mrmoneybanks@multimillionaireroad.com), find me on twitter @millionairer0ad or comment. Whether good or bad, I want to hear from you all.

Going Nowhere: Make Sure Your Business Sticks Around for Years

Creating a business that lasts


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How can you make sure your business sticks around for years? Well, it’s all about the approach you take. Whether you’re saving a failing company or improving a successful one, you have to think about what matters, and then focus on boosting it. So, assess what the vital parts of your business actually are these days, and make changes to ensure your business sticks around for years.


You Have to Try New Things



One thing you have to remember is that time waits for no one. If you keep putting things off, you’re going to wake up tomorrow and find out that ten years have passed. You need to take action right now and come up with fresh and innovative approaches to running a business. Remember the quote ‘Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things’. Try to make sure you have innovation in the forefront of your mind. A business that can remain fresh and relevant is always going to have a place in the world. You can be sure that any company that has enjoyed success and been around a long time has never been afraid to try new things. You need to get into this mind-set to secure a great future for your business.



Look After Assets




It’s so crucial that you take steps to look after your business assets these days. Your assets will fit into the categories of personnel, infrastructure, goods, and equipment. Three of these are needed to help the day to day running of the company. The other (goods) are what makes you the money you need. So, you have to look into protecting the things that matter in business. Insuring the premises and making the workplace safer are important. Making sure you adhere to regulations and keep everything safe is also important. If you operate machinery in the business, you’ll want to look at PUWER assessments. Working in the food industry will mean making full use of HACCP training. You need to make sure every area of the business is well looked after and has the necessary longevity. Never forget that your staff are also assets so you need to look after them as well.

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Revenue Streams




While making money may not be the be all and end all of business, it certainly matters. Think about your revenue streams and how you can make them swell. Now, there are generally two categories of revenue stream; one-off payments and recurring business. Ideally, as a company, you will want to lean towards the repeat custom because this is much more advantageous to you as a company. Also, consider how you’re going to make these transactions; where is this money going to come from? Products and services are likely to be your main source of revenue. Especially nowadays where people can get what they want online with just the click of a button. There are other options to explore as well though. You might think about organising live events, offering coaching services, and using affiliate marketing. All these are extra ways of helping keep your revenue stream ticking over. That way your company will never be in a position where you're struggling to stay afloat.


If you want your company to stick around for years, you need to take action. It’s important to put procedures in place whereby you will still have a future in 10 years time. Thinking that far ahead can be scary, but it’s the best way of making sure you stick around a whole lot longer.

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Disclaimer

Information on this site is not appropriate for the purposes of making a decision for carrying out a transaction or trade nor does it provide any form of advice (investment, tax or legal) amounting to investment advice, or make any recommendations regarding particular financial instruments, investments, or products.
Always seek advice of a competent financial advisor with any questions you may have regarding a financial matter