Letting You Know The Things About Letting You Need To Know

If you want to be smart with your money, you have to do more than work for it. Most of the richest people in the world get smart not through their jobs but through their investments. Investing in trades, businesses and property. When it comes to a long-term investment, buying-to-let can be a very reliable method. It helps people set up a retirement or climb higher in the financial game. But you have to do it right. Here, we’re going to let you know what you need to know about letting.


Getting a mortgage
Most people aren’t going to be able to flat-out pay for a buy-to-let house. For those who need to mortgage it, they need to look at the deal they’re getting in a variety of ways. First, they should be shopping around comparing different deals. It’s not just about the rates of interest or how much you have to pay each month. A lot of the better buy-to-let mortgages also have significant arrangement fees. You should also be sure that you have the means to pay for the mortgage in the worst case scenario. Obviously, in the best case, your rental properties should be helping you pay any mortgages. But you need to be prepared for the possibility that the house will go empty for a month or two.

Researching the locations
Once you’ve got your mortgage set, you need to look at the properties themselves. It’s a good idea to look at the area of the property and surrounding it. For real profit potential, you want to keep your ear to the ground for any areas that are seeing ongoing or future developments. These development hubs appear in cities and towns now and then and are the single biggest factor in property profitability. Looking at Buy-To-Let indices is a good way to see more general, stable returns on homes. You can also get a better idea by looking at the kinds of people and facilities in the location. Investing in student properties is a good way to get a steady income but requires a lot of work finding tenants regularly, for instance.



A helping hand
Throughout the process of buying and more, you want to make sure you have the right experts on your side. For example, groups like commercial conveyancing solicitors, Bannister Preston, when buying a home. The right conveyancing partners can help you oversee the transaction of buying the home. Making sure it’s in your favour and proceeding as smoothly as it should be. Legal teams can also help you make sure that your rental contracts and obligations are seen to. This helps you understand all your responsibilities. In terms of managing the home, you might also consider whether or not estate agents could take some of the work off your plate.

Setting your price
Money is the aim of the game, so it’s only right that you seriously consider what the price of your home will be. It’s a good idea to get a look at sources in your area. There are some objective qualities that will help you set your price, too. Qualities like the amount of rooms, physical measurements, updates and layouts can have a huge impact. You might want to push to the upper limit on what you could ask for rent. Particularly to get returns back on your investment quickly. However, if you’re not setting prices competitively enough, you will get a lot less interest. Consider investing for income as opposed to making huge returns immediately. That will end up being a more reliable option in the long-term.



Improving your investment
Of course, if you’re actively working to improve the quality of your investment, you should be pushing for a bit more rent. Home ownership continues to fall, meaning that more people are not only looking for places to rent, but high-quality options. You can fill the niche of top quality homes-to-let if you’re willing to put the work in. The bathroom and kitchen are two of the rooms with most potential for improving that value. If you have the space and permission, you should consider adding more square footage to the home. At the same time, consider the amount of garden space you keep. A view over a garden can do wonders for the appeal of a home.

Finding your tenants
Naturally, the most important part of getting a buy-to-let house is that you’re actually able to let it. One of the most common options is to entrust that duty to estate agents. Those agents can act as a bridge for landlords and tenants when the landlord isn’t able to put the effort in. However, you could be cutting off a sizeable portion of potential profit relying on them. If you’re starting with one property, it could be a better idea to learn how to find the right tenants yourself. Rental websites and social media could help you cover the digital side of advertising. It’s important to recognise that there are still plenty of good opportunities to be found in print media and local word-of-mouth.



Being a good landlord
When you’ve decided that a tenant seems like they would be a good, reliable fit, then it’s about managing your relationship with them. Your responsibilities often go further than just giving them a roof over their heads. For instance, it could be in your best interest to be the one who oversees all home maintenance. Establish a proper procedure that ensures prompt response times on your end. Make sure that you give the proper notice before visiting the property, which you do to check any issues tenants may not have noticed. Make sure any communication between you and the tenant is documented. You should also act like they’re doing the same, so keep check on how you speak with them.

From how you finance it to how you deal with your tenants. Every step in buying-to-let can make or break the deal. We hope the points above help you navigate those sometimes choppy waters to great success.

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The Road To Recovery: Helping Yourself Heal After An Accident


Getting back on track after a serious accident can take a lot of time. As well as time-consuming, it can also be a huge strain on your emotions. During this frustrating time, it can often be difficult to see a light at the end of the tunnel. But, no matter how difficult you find this situation, it is always important to stay positive on your journey to recovery. Having a positive mental attitude can be one of the best ways to get back to your former self after a major trauma. But that isn’t the only way, though. In this blog, I’ll outline some of the best ways you can take care of yourself and help get back to being who you were before the accident.

Take Things Slow

It is very important not to rush your recovery. Remember, slow and steady wins the race! And that is especially the case when it comes to the healing process. Don’t try and push yourself too much. Otherwise, this could result in you injuring yourself, which can only increase the time your body needs to recover. Take things day by day, and make sure that you spend plenty of time resting, especially in the first few weeks after the accident.



Listen To Doctors

Your doctors will know exactly what you need to do to get better. So if they say you need to stay in hospital for at least a month, then you need to take this advice on board. It isn’t worth discharging yourself early, no matter how well you may think you feel. It is also imperative to keep on taking any drugs and other medication prescribed to you until you have completed the full course. Don’t just stop taking your medication because you feel better; this could result in a relapse. Your doctors and nurses want to get you back to full health as soon as possible. So listen to their every word and follow all the advice that they give you. You will then find that there are hardly any delays in your recovery.

Adapt To A New Way Of Life

If you have been in a particularly bad accident, some of your injuries may require you to adapt to a new way of life. For example, you might now have reduced mobility and could need a wheelchair. So there are certain adaptations that you will need to make to your life. Your home may need to be adapted for independent wheelchair access. It could also be worth having some special appliances and equipment installed in your home. If this is the case, it is important that you don’t try and resist the adaptations. By accepting your new life, you will be able to adapt better. Resisting could result in you injuring yourself and setting back your recovery time.



Seek Financial Help

Going back to work might not be an option for a prolonged period of time after your accident. Because of this, you might have to reassess your finances to help you stay afloat during your recovery. If you have managed to save plenty before the accident, you could have enough to live off without resorting to other funding. And don’t forget that you will be eligible to statutory sick pay for a limited amount of time while you are off work. This is only paid for twenty-eight weeks. After this period, it is up to your employer whether they still pay you or not. If they choose not to, then there are other ways you can receive money. There are a number of charities that specialise in getting money for those who are too ill to work. If you have limited mobility once you return home from hospital, you may not be able to return to your previous job. In this case, think about alternative work you can do from home, such as blogging or becoming a virtual assistant.



Get Help From Family And Friends

Your friends and family will be very keen to help you during this difficult time. However, some people may let pride get in the way, and they may not take up these offers of help. Don’t let this be you! If someone wants to help, let them! They will want to do everything they can to help you after your accident, so embrace the offers of help to make things easier for yourself.

Life after a major accident can be a big change. Just remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and you’ll get there eventually.

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Easy Solutions To Minimise Downtime In Your Business

Downtime can be a real issue, and that’s especially the case when you’re running an entrepreneurial business. There are no masses of technical people around you to get things up and running again. All you can do is wait until the problem is sorted, and that could mean losing thousands of pounds in the process. You don’t want to put your business under that kind of strain. That’s why these following suggestions might just come in very useful.

Have you suffered from too much downtime?

Equipment Monitoring

When it comes to being a clever business owner, you want to be proactive rather than reactive. It’s great that you’ve fixed that broken appliance, but did it need to break in the first place? This is where consistent maintenance can prevent downtime from occurring. It doesn’t matter what it relates to, from catering maintenance to IT maintenance. Ultimately, keeping a closer track of things will reduce downtime and expensive repair costs.

Backup Power

You can’t always do a whole lot about downtime when your power suddenly switches off. When the weather strikes or the whole area loses electricity, it’s a just case of sitting on your hands, right? Not necessarily. Uninterruptible power supplies might just be the answer to keep your operations running that little bit longer. If nothing else, it’ll allow you to save those all-important documents that might otherwise be lost and need re-doing.

Train Your Employees Effectively

It makes a lot of sense, but it’s amazing how many companies ignore this advice, particularly in the case of small businesses. You should be training your employees effectively on every piece of machinery or equipment they might be using. A poorly trained staff member could end up breaking it – or worse – getting injured as a result of misuse. This not only leads to downtime but a potentially damaging lawsuit on your hands. Train those employees!

Conduct Regular Evaluations

Remember how we talked about being proactive instead of reactive? That applies once more with this topic. Yes, you should go over an incident after it has occurred and start to figure out why. But, you don’t want it to happen in the first place, and this is why regular evaluations are important. You might just spot a potential downtime risk you hadn’t anticipated on discovering.

Create A Recovery Plan

You can’t always prevent downtime from occurring. It can happen for reasons out of your control, and it’s in those situations where you need to make the best of it. This is where a recovery plan comes in useful. Sure, you’re in a bad position for the time being, but what can be done in the meantime? What work can you carry out before that downtime is resolved? What can you do if your business has suffered a potential disaster as a result of it? Having a backup plan and an emergency plan is crucial to ensure that you can get back on your feet after a period of downtime.

Have you found any great ways to eliminate downtime in your business? Drop us a comment in the box below and let us know what you think.

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Tips For Saving Money On Fragrances


Perfumes and fragrances are an almost essential part of your wardrobe, yet they are so expensive.  The good news is that your favourite fragrance doesn’t need to cost a fortune, if you are clever and shop with a keen eye.  To help you out, here are some great tips on how to save money on smelling great.

Shop For Fragrances Online

Trying to save money on fragrances at the local department store can be something of a hit and miss affair.  Shopping online however, makes it a lot easier to find big savings on all your favourite designers and brands.  There are even some sites that specialise in selling designer branded fragrances and perfumes at discount prices.

Shop For Fragrances At Wholesalers

Following on from the first tip, another great way to save money on smelling great is by shopping for wholesale freagrances.  It is not just wholesale clothing you can get at these specialist stores, and as you are getting the items at the same price many retailers would buy them before adding their own price on top, you know you will save something.  Check out ApparelCandy.com for more information/

Look Out For Sales And Coupons

Although, much like any other piece of clothing or accessories, perfumes do go on sale, you have to keep a close eye on stores and retailers to spot when these sales happen.  Valentine’s Day and Christmas are usually the periods of the year you are likely to see the biggest reductions on items such as perfumes.

Look Through Clearance Aisles

One of the best ways to save money on the fragrances you want is by looking through the Christmas items clearance aisles.  Depending on the shop you go to, you are likely to find some fragrances that didn’t sell well over Christmas at greatly reduced prices.

Invest In Bigger Bottles

If you are particularly fond of a fragrance and know it goes well with what you wear and how you look and your natural body odour and want to save money, it may be worth your while buying a bigger bottle of your usual fragrance.  Although it will cost a lot more money upfront, you will save in the long run as you will have a bigger bottle that will last longer and generally the per ounce or litre price is lower, the larger the bottle you buy.

Watch Out For Samplers

If however, you are still looking for that one scent to call your own, fragrance samplers are definitely the right option for you.  These are usually free, as they are meant to serve as introductions to particular scents, with the hope that once you like your sampler and it runs out you will pay the full price for a bottle

Consider Generic Perfumes

Have you ever seen those generic versions of designer fragrances that claim to smell just as good.  While it is true that a great number of these do not live up to their bold claims, if you look a round a little you will definitely find some that are as good as their more expensive counterparts.

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Smart Moves For Super Swish Small Businesses

Even if you are a small business, you will need some tools under your belt to help your company run smoothly and give a seamless service to your customers. Add to that, running a small business can be even more stressful when you have limited staff and may be doing a lot of the work yourself. So why not take some of the stress out of it by using the smart moves below to create a super swish small business?

Photo credit: Unsplash.com

Travel Management

If you are a small business, you may not have the luxury of a PA to organize all your travel arrangements and conference meetings. This is where a smart tool comes into place. There are many companies out there that offer travel agents for business travellers. Using a management company will help you lower your expenses as they will be privy to all the best deals for business travelers. It also takes the stress out of sorting out venues for conferences and business meetings. Such services will offer competitive rates and can organize all your plane, rail, and ferry travel. This will save you hours of scouring the internet for flights and rail journeys that match up with your schedule. And travel agents may also be able to offer you discounts on tickets. Keeping all your travel arrangements under one umbrella is a much more organized approach for small businesses.

Accounting Tools

Having software available to you for personal budgets and business finances is essential for a small business. For peace of mind and safe financial health is crucial to have software in place. And if you cannot yet afford to employ an accountant it is the easiest way to keep track of all your monies, invoices, expenditure and tax deductions. Companies such as ClearBooks, FreshBooks and Kashoo are all good places to start when researching the best online accounting tools.

Content Creation

It is fundamental to have a luxury website for your small business in this day and age. If you are creating your own content and images, you will also need to have some content creation tools in place. Websites such as Canva and PicMonkey are fantastic resources for designing graphics. They make it easier to create images and texts that you can use in blog posts, on social media, and on your website. You will also want to create marketing mailing lists and design emails to send out to customers. MailChimp remains one of the easiest and most reliable tools in which to do this. Add in Hootsuite and Moz to manage your social media accounts and to check analytics such as where you are ranking in search results.


Photo credit: Unsplash.com

Happy Staff

Our last idea is not a tool but a smart move to make your business thrive. Keep your staff happy! Statistics clearly show that happier staff are more productive, which only works better for your business. Always set out clear expectations for your staff but at the same time don’t forget to show your appreciation. Make sure you create an environment that is secure, happy and consistent, and occasionally includes a staff night out. Reward achievements and always be available if any member of staff needs to talk through an issue. And if there are opportunities where staff can utilize other skills they have, always give them the chance to do so. Invest in workplace happiness and see your small business thrive.

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Going Online: How To Turn Your Offline Business Into An Internet Hit

The world of business has undergone an immense change in recent years. There is no doubt that the growth of online activities has been central to those evolutions. Jumping into this arena can be a daunting prospect, especially when the venture is performing well offline. However, the immense rewards on offer should be more than enough incentive to take the leap of faith.

You already have a winning business formula. As such, achieving online success should be a lot easier than the original challenge of building the company. With these tips, you’ll achieve it in next to no time.


Start With Your Website

Whatever type of business you operate, your website will be central to all online activities. It is your foundation for success, and failure to maximise your potential here will have a damning impact on the company.

Building an attractive website that navigates well may sound difficult. A winning team of professionals can build a bespoke site that’s aimed at inspiring excitement and trust. Visit lightboxdigital.co.uk for more information on those services. It could be the key to making those visions come true.

All customers will interact with the website. If it sets a winning tone, you will not go far wrong.

Get Social

A great website should be the focus of your endeavours. However, it will count for very little if you aren’t receiving traffic. Thankfully, this challenge has never been easier thanks to the growth of social media.

Gaining a strong presence on Twitter and Instagram won’t only increase your presence. It’ll also allow you to build greater connections with the audience. Incorporate videos with Periscope to provide your audience with fresh insight. They’ll become regular visitors before you know it.

Try to make the content carry shareability, and it could start going viral. If that doesn’t lead to increased interest, nothing will.

Drive Sales

Visibility is one thing, but you also need to gain the trust of your audience. Gaining a strong Google presence will instantly verify your reputation in the eyes of the customers. This in itself could be huge news.

Once people are visiting the site, you need to convert sales. Using email marketing to promote sales within a time frame can work wonders. Read this guide on the subject at shopify.co.uk to become an instant expert in the field.

Embracing testimonials and referrals can be another fantastic way to boost your overall sales. If you’re gaining more revenue, you must be doing something right. But you can still do more.

Provide A Winning Service

Gaining new customers is one thing, but loyalty is the key to continued online success. Therefore, the quality of your customer service should remain a priority throughout. Whether it’s using Live Chat facilities, social media, or telephone services doesn’t matter. Gaining their continued trust is key.

Moreover, you should ensure that all products are of the best standard. That also means investing in the right packaging and distribution sources. Losing out on profit and returned custom due to such simple outside elements would be nothing short of a nightmare.

Essentially, if you continue to treat the online customers as well as you would the offline ones, you’ll be just fine.

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Can You Trust Your Partner?

How much do you know about your partner? The person that you plan to spend the rest of your life with. Think carefully about that question. I would bet that they are nothing like the person you met on your first date. That’s because most people tend to pretend to be who they think other people want. For instance, you might tell a guy that you never miss the Sunday football match. Then, once you’re married, you can go back to ignoring football completely. That’s a small example so let’s think about something a little bigger. Do you have the same idea of what cheating is as your partner? You might think that cheating is talking to someone in a flirtatious manner. They might secretly think that it’s only cheating if there’s physical interaction. You see what I mean, and you can ask them. But can you trust the answer they give you? Here are my rules for knowing if you can trust your partner.

Phone Always On Them?

Picture Location

I don’t want to make people paranoid here. But, I would be wary of someone who won’t let you see or have access to their mobile phone. It’s incredibly easy to cheat on someone or cover something up if they never see your phone. I saw a Facebook post not too long ago. It said that ninety percent of relationships would end if the couple switched phones for a day. If your partner isn’t willing to switch phones, I guarantee there’s something on it they don’t want you to see. They may not be cheating, but there is certainly something that you don’t know about. You just need to decide whether can handle that level of secrecy.

Fool Me Once, Shame On You, Fool Me Twice…

You should think very carefully about forgiving someone who has broken your trust once. Particularly, if you forgave them straight away. If you forgave them, you’re sending the message they can do it again. They may well do it again too because there is a psychological cause behind infidelity. Most men and women don’t do it due to fun and games. They might be looking for approval, and this doesn’t change without help. I wouldn’t go as far to say once a cheater, always a cheater. I would, however, consider hiring a private investigations specialist. They can make sure your partner is not cheating on you again. Now, I know the argument here. If you do this, are you trusting them? I would say, they’ve already broken your trust, so they have lost that privilege.

A Stranger Like You

I know people who have used this tactic. I wouldn’t recommend it because most people don’t like what they find. However, if you’re curious, you can pose as a stranger, adding them on Facebook or any social media. Interact with them and see how they respond. They might flirt with you or completely dismiss any advances that you make. Or, they may confirm your worst fears.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to test if you can trust your partner. Although, if you’re asking these questions that might say more about you rather than them. Unless, they have broken your trust before.


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Everything you Need to Know about Estate Agents

Have you ever wondered what estate agents do, or considered a career as an Estate Agent? Well, estate agents take up the role of marketing and selling property on behalf of property owners. That is, they monitor the chain of buyers and sellers, liaise with the solicitor, negotiate with sellers and buyers as well as deal with all the paperwork.

Estate agents may also recommend to solicitors, surveyors as well as mortgage brokers to quick house buyers and sellers. Thus, you may talk to them even if you will not use their services. Unlike a popular misconception that estate agents double up as property valuers, this is not true. While some estate agents may give you a valuation of your property, the only valuation that is admissible by financial institutions is that done by professional surveyors.

Estate agents have a way of adding a positive spin on the description of properties, the same way a marketing expert may spin a title tag, or description of a website for seo purposes. This is a great way of selling property without offending clients. However, you need to be cautious because there is a degree of opinion involved in the description of the property.

Estate Agent Regulation

The definition of estate agents is solely the mandate of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). Further, the Estate Agents and Redress Act 2007 and the Estate Agents Act 1979 regulate the operations and conduct of estate agents.
Additionally, estate agents may also subscribe to certain bodies like the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). This is the principal body for UK property professionals dealing with commercial, residential as well as agricultural property. In fact, estate agents are legally required to belong to a redress scheme to trade as an agent. Consequently, agents who do not belong to any redress scheme as this governs agents.

Estate Agent Fees

When buying property, you are not required to pay estate agent fee. However, property sellers will pay between 0.75% and 3.5% of their property’s selling price in estate agent fees unless you are selling with a fast house sale agency. This can significantly have an impact on the amount that is due to you at the end of the transaction hence the need to consider negotiating for better rates. It is advisable that you check if the fee is inclusive of VAT, otherwise you may end up adding another 20% of the fee.

Overall, estate agents are an important link between property buyers and sellers. However, you need to understand that they may not always have your interests as heart as they are in business. Therefore, you will do well to research widely and understand the process so that you do not become a victim of estate agent traps.

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Working From Home: How To Improve Your Office and Working Space

A lot of people start out with a business right from their front room. The ideas and the brand are all thought up in the comfort of their own home. Then the business begins, and they will quite often, be working from themselves at home. This is great for a while, but is it the best thing? It can make costs of the business relatively low when there isn’t another mortgage or rent on an office to pay for each month. As the business develops, though, there might be need to expand. Again; it does all come down to money. So for a while, continuing work from home might be the most viable option. You could definitely put in some plans to improve your home, to make the workspace more fit for purpose.

First of all, you could just revamp the office space that you have. The colour that the office is can greatly impact productivity. For example, a room that is painted in yellow hues is meant to promote productivity and alertness. A room that is in blue tones could help creativity. Colours like red and pink should be avoided, though. These can give off feelings of irritation and anger. Not always the things that you want when you are trying to get a business off the ground! You could revamp a room that you already have with some of the decor and accessories. Having a room with high ceilings and mirrors on the wall can help to create a large and airy space. This can make for a perfect office environment.

If you are thinking about extending, then you need to check the plans with your local council first. As it is for a business, there are some permissions and planning permissions that you will need to get. So once that it all sorted, you can get planning and get started. An extension will quite often need aluminum scaffolding tower hire as well as things like skips. So it all needs to be factored into the cost and budget. There are plenty of ways that you can change things up, though. You want to be most productive when working, but also most cost effective. So I hope these tips will be helpful if you aren’t quite at the stage of moving to an office building just yet.

If the space feels too small, it can hinder how effectively you work. So extending might be an option. If you are able to, then knocking down a wall, through to a bedroom in the home would be a good idea. If the bedroom is not being used, then creating a larger working space would be great. However, this isn’t always a possible thing. If that is the case, then it might be better to extend outwards. Building an extension, even if it was just one floor, could make the world of difference when it comes to working and living in the same space. One or two extra rooms or just larger rooms will create better storage space. It will also create room for more staff if needed, as well as allow you to set up stations for different things. If your work is spread out more, you can be more organised and productive.

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The Essentials Of Business Success

It’s hard to be successful in business. There are customers to engage, suppliers to track, and staff to care for. It’s a lot of work to take on. And the pace never relents. But there are a few essentials that can ensure you’ve got all you need to succeed. You might call them the ingredients of a successful business. Without them, you may struggle. With them, you might just have the recipe for success.

It all starts with you. As a business owner, you must have the energy, tenacity and drive to keep going. Sometimes it’s quiet and at other times it’s hectic. Making the most of your time is essential if your business is to survive. Always keep your eye on the cash flow, and look out for opportunities that will drive your business forward. Most importantly, keep yourself up to date and in a great mood!

Your business needs a functional premises. But it’s worth keeping in mind how that office could attract business partners, suppliers or customers. It needs to look professional, but it should also reflect your personality. Companies like Fusion Office Design could give you some ideas for a contemporary style that works for you. As you expand, you need to have the room to grow. Even if you’re operating out of your home office now, it’s worth planning ahead for that corporate headquarters your business deserves.

Pic from Flickr

Communication is so important. In fact, it’s more important now than it has ever been. It could set your company apart, and even be the reasons customers keep coming back. Think about how you communicate with your customers. What is your tone of voice? How often do you engage them? It’s not just about confirming an order or delivery date. You need to help them remember you next time they need to order something.

Social media and websites are essential for every business. You should use your website to inform customers about your business, your products, and your services. Social media should engage customers and provide information that is useful to them. It should be used to help reward customers who have ordered goods and services from you. And it should offer a customer the opportunity to engage you directly too.

Understanding cash flow is a skill that every entrepreneur should have. Knowing where your cash is going and how quickly you can bring it in is important. Working out your break-even point, profit margins and operating costs should come easily to you. Without this vital data, you could quickly face financial problems and risk losing your business. Most importantly, you should know how much you can invest and what your expected return should be.

It’s not easy setting up, running, and building a business. More businesses fail than succeed. But if you’ve got the essentials covered, you could have a good chance of making your business thrive. Look to the future with positivity, but take care with the present. Where will you take your business in the next twelve months?

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