Spread Betting and the Stock Market

This past week offered the worst performance of the stock market so far in 2012, and the outlook doesn’t look much better for many factors: the global economy, rising debt, poor employment, political instability in Greece and a Spanish banking crisis. With such uncertainty in the market, there will inevitably be a lot of volatility in stocks and other financial products. It is important to look for an investment that allows you to play off this volatility.

Stock Market

Spread Betting

That is where spread betting comes into play. Spread betting is very similar to options trading, where you can profit from moving prices, whether they are going up or falling down. Just like investing in a call or put, you take a position and indicate whether you believe the market will rise or fall. You profit if you are correct in your spread bet.

For example, if you think a major index will increase in value over the next month, you buy that spread, and you can profit if the price moves higher. However, if the index doesn’t go higher and falls against your buy price, you will encounter a loss.

The Benefits of Spread Betting

Spread betting has some benefits that are different from a traditional options trade or indeed regular share dealing. Depending on the provider you use, you get choices on which investments you can bet on. If you choose a provider like City Index, there are literally thousands of different options to bet on. You can bet on stocks, indexes, currencies, commodities, sectors, and more.

Another benefit of spread betting is that you trade with leverage meaning that you can take a large position for a relatively smaller initial deposit (similar to a mortgage on a house). The amount of leverage once again lies in which company you invest with, but since your trades are leveraged, you can increase your gains dramatically. However, at the same time, you need to be cautious because leverage can also exaggerate a loss as well.

Finally, spread betting UK profits can be tax free, unlike profits from trading stocks or options. This is because many jurisdictions treat the profits from spread betting different than regular investing income. This can make a profitable trade even better since you don’t have to tax tax on the gains! However, UK tax laws are subject to change and may differ depending on your personally circumstances.

Are You Spending Too Much on Business Expenses?

With cash flows being down for many small businesses due to the economy, business owners are looking for ways to save on expenses.  However, it can be difficult to know if you’re spending too much on some expenses versus others, or if you can really get a better deal.

As such, here are some tips to see if you’re spending too much on your business expenses.

Business Office Supplies

Photo by 19melissa68

Get a Budget

Take a page out of personal finance and start a budget for your business.  First, you need to make sure that you have specific details on cash outflows, and what the categories of each line of spending are for.  Once you have the categories, you can look at your data from month to month.

Then look at the categories which make up the largest percentages of your spending.  Do categories such as printing and reproduction, office supplies, or utilities seem rather high? Are you paying an accountant when you can earn your online associates degree in accounting and do your own bookkeeping?  If so, chances are you are spending too much on your expenses.

Ways to Cut Costs

Once you’ve identified your highest expense categories, it’s time to look where you can trim.  The first step is to shop around to see if you can get a better deal on the products and services you normally buy.  The internet is a great place to start.

For printing and office supplies, there are a lot of online retailers that offer these services at very low costs.  See what you’re paying, and try out a few orders through the online company.  You may be surprised at the quality you get for the price.  For regular office supplies, check on Amazon or even office supply stores like Office Depot online. Many times the online prices are more competitive than in store prices.

You can even shop for utilities such as phone service online.  If you have 0800 telephone numbers, there are several sites that let you compare your options for pricing and services for these types of phone lines.  You can also look at VoIP services to see if you can save even more money compared to your local phone company.

Demand for Rental Property and Residential Contracting is Expanding

Guest post by Sara Mackey

As positive as recent economic data has been in the United States, all economists agree that a full recovery is not possible without significant improvement in the residential real estate market.  Banking foreclosures and qualifying for a mortgage with an adequate down payment are the obstacles at hand.  As a result, the rental and leasing business has grown materially, well above inherent cost structures, and where there is high demand for rentals, the need for residential contracting firms is also increasing.

Apartment Building

Photo by RenoTahoe

Is now the time to start your own residential contracting company?  The answer is undoubtedly “Yes”.  Timing can be everything for a new venture.  The key for any new firm is to gather new customers as quickly as possible at low cost and to build on those early successes going forward.  You also need to be passionate about being your own boss and be prepared for the time commitment involved.  Your relationship skills will be tested every day, as you deal with your customers and with family members that feel that you may have become obsessed with your new undertaking.

Starting a new business can be a very time-consuming effort, but the rewards are worthwhile if you are persistent and determined to accomplish things on your own.  Here are a few other pointers when starting a residential contracting firm:

  • Self-Assessment:  Now is the time to ask yourself and your family if you are ready to start your own company.  Time will be in small supply, as well as money for the short-term.  You will need discipline and an assortment of skills, although others can perform some of these tasks.  You, however, will handle the hiring and firing, new client acquisition, accounting, and advertising.  Timeliness and reliability are necessities in this industry, together with honesty.  Check your passion and desire, and act accordingly;
  • Industry Research:  Research building codes, local permit requirements, and learn from other firms how they conduct their businesses.  There are no shortcuts for experience, but counsel from industry “mentors” is highly advised;
  • Prepare a Business Plan:  You can get help for this effort, but you want to estimate in detail your equipment and staffing needs, state licensing requirements, insurance, website, and accounting/billing software needs.  Offset these projections with expected customer revenues to arrive at your base-line financial needs.  Investment capital will be needed to get started, and once you are up and running, you will also need working capital to cover operating deficits until you reach break-even and the delays in collecting from your clients.  Arranging sources of investment and working capital will demand a healthy portion of your overall effort;
  • Initial Marketing:  Create an attractive name for your business, and decide how you will gather potential customers, prepare estimates, and allocate resources for the work at hand.  A commercial vehicle with your information prominently displayed is a “must have”.

There is never a perfect time to start a new business, but the timing now seems appropriate.  Good Luck!

The $10M Questions to Earn More Online

If I could get a guy who makes $10,000,000.00 per year to share all his philosophies and strategies, and answer the most frequently asked questions in our industry, would you listen?

Well, I hope so. I wish someone had just looked me in the eye like this at the beginning of my career and answered these 10 questions.

Make money online

Photo by Ian Britton

Watch this video to see what I’m talking about:

https://burchardgroup.infusionsoft.com/go/ea3/Eleazar

This is Brendon Burchard answering all the questions his $10k clients often ask. I think it’s applicable to anyone who wants to earn more online and build a real expert brand.

And I just love the format too – no gimmicks or whiz-bang video theatrics. It’s really just Brendon sitting there talking openly and directly to you. He made $10m in 12 months by following these strategies and philosophies. What’s more amazing is that all he’s doing is sharing his advice with the world and making a difference (and fortune) while doing it.

You can become a highly-paid expert sharing your advice, experience, and life wisdom. Brendon and his videos just keep proving it over and over.

Great stuff, and a must-watch. Take notes!