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Archive for November, 2008

Your Business Can Survive a Recession

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Your Business Can Survive a Recession

When there is a drought, most farmers pray for rain. Will that make rain pour from the heavens? No and the same thing will happen when you are stuck in a rut during a recession. You just have to wither out the storm because this is the only way you business will stay afloat.

No matter if your business is small or large, marketing is the best way to get your message across to the people. During a recession, you have to make cuts in the budget and instead of spending more on advertising, it is best to use this money in retraining your staff because customer service is key when you want to set yourself apart from the competition.

Cuts should also be done in terms of how much you get from the business and if you are the owner, the best way to do that will be to lower the profit margins until such time that you can put them to normal levels.

By doing that you are able to satisfy the most important person you will ever meet in your business and that is the customer. Another solution will be to offer sales and discounts as this ensures their loyalty.

If you have to answer to shareholders, tell the situation even if they already have an idea how things are. You just have to reassure them that things will improve. After all, a recession is cyclical so they will soon get a return on their investment.

During a recession, a lot of businesses will retrench their workers and close down several offices. If you are a gambler, this is the best time to buy new equipment and try to take a larger share of the market. If you decide to do this, make sure you get a fixed rate so won’t have a problem paying for these goods.

You might think that most banks are not willing to lend people money but thanks to the bailout, you are able to do so. You just have to tell the bank what steps you are taking during the recession so they know what you are doing and understand that the steps you are taking are for the long term.

Should business be really tough and cutting expenses be not enough to help your business stay afloat, you should be prepared to let some people go. When you do this, make sure you are only dismissing employees who can easily be replaced when the crisis is almost over.

If you want to reach out other customers, create a website so you can offer your products or services to other towns, states or even countries.

When you get to have your own business, you are at helm. No one is going to tell you what to do and you are expected to be the one to set the direction. If you have doubts as to what you can do to survive a recession, don’t be afraid to ask other owners what steps they have taken. Sharing this information is beneficial to both because no one wants to throw in the towel.

A recession affects everyone and it does not matter if you are employed or you are running your own business. How badly things get depends entirely on your financial situation so you just have asses it first before taking any appropriate action.

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What to Do During a Recession

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

What to Do During a Recession

Setting up an emergency fund will be very useful especially when there is a recession. This will enable you to survive several months without worrying if you still have money to buy stuff especially when there is a slowdown.

But when it hits you, cleaning up your balance sheet is just one way to survive the financial crisis. To help you along, here are a few other ideas which you may find useful.

In 2008, the unemployment rate grew by 6.1%, its highest level in 5 years. The last time it hit this mark was in 2003 as the economy was still recovering from the 2000-2001 recession. These job cuts happened in the airline, travel, retail and service industry just to name a few. If you happen to work in one of these industries, you should probably consider a career shift to an occupation that is more stable even if it means going back to school.

Going to school is not an option if you are raising a family. The next best thing to do will be take an extra job. Just make sure that the time you spend here does not affect your primary job otherwise, you could lose it.

Most Americans have invested in the stock market and if you are one of them, don’t panic and think about selling it just because things are down. You have to remember that a recession is cyclical so your portfolio will recover in the future. You just have to be patient because it is going to take several months before everything is back to normal.

But if you do have the money, now is the best time to buy stocks and bonds. Why? Because these are relatively cheap and you can cash it in when the economy is back on track.

Apart from going back to school and getting a second job, perhaps you can use your skills and then offer this as a service to others. If you like to cook, make some pastries and then sell these to potential stores. If you are good with your hands, maybe you can help repair leaks should your neighbor have a problem with their plumbing.

If you own an SUV, trade it in for a small vehicle because you get better mileage with a smaller car. If you have the money, see if you can get one that is a hybrid because apart from consuming less gas, you get tax breaks for investing in alternative forms of energy.

When you go to the grocery, only buy the essentials. Resist the urge to buy things that the kids want. If you can’t say no, try to get a similar brand that is just as good as what they want.

Lastly, we all have bills to pay monthly. If possible, switch to better and more affordable services because each penny counts during these dire times.

There are other ways to survive a recession apart from those mentioned. By following these tips and getting advice from a financial planner, you are sure to wither out this storm. Until that day comes, you shouldn’t live in fear but rather make the most of it because this isn’t the first time that you will face a recession and it surely won’t be the last.

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What is a Recession

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

What is a Recession

What is a recession? This happens when there is a significant decline in the economy which usually lasts for a short period of time. You can tell there is one when consumers don’t spend that much, a lot of people are unemployed, companies have to make job cuts, industrial production is down and lately, there is a housing crisis as people have to foreclose their homes.

The technical indicator which tells you that the country is in a recession is when there has been 2 consecutive quarters of negative growth which is measured by the country’s GDP or gross domestic product.

Experts say that this is bound to happen because it is part of the business cycle and things usually improve within 16 to 18 months.

What is a business cycle? It is considered to be a periodic but irregular up and down movement in a country’s economic activity which can be measured by fluctuations in the GDP as well as other macroeconomic variables.

Things are going up when the economy recovers and expands. The situation goes the opposite direction when the market experiences a slowdown until it eventually reaches a recession.

The last time the United States had a recession was in 2000 and this lasted for three negative quarters until 2001. Experts hope that the same thing will happen right now but this could change as the stock market has had a roller coaster ride these past few weeks and a bailout which was just approved recently will try to make things better.

But there has never been such a drastic move when the country was in recession. In the past, lowering interest rates was the solution. In 2007, the Federal government slashed the interest rate three times towards the end of the third and fourth quarter so that banks could get overnight loans for as low as 4.25%.

The recession in the United States has affected other countries and drastic steps have been taken to prevent it from getting worse. Britain unveiled plans to inject up to 50 billion pounds which is equivalent to $90 billion into its biggest retail banks. Members of the European Union agree that there must be reforms in the world’s financial system.

Is there light at the end of the tunnel? The answer is yes but it is going to be some time before anyone will see any improvements. In fact, this crisis will continue on to whoever wins the Presidential election next month making it one of the key issues.

During the last three debates, both candidates were asked what they are going to do to fight the current recession. One of them insisted on tax cuts while the other believes that another approach has to be used.

Whoever wins, be it McCain or Obama that person better have a plan so people who are unemployed will be able to work and the current state of the economy will improve. It is something that the American public will be looking at during their term as president and when the dust settles, only then will people be able to say whether or not this person was the right one for the job or they should have voted for the other candidate so we can get out of this recession.

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We Are In a Recession

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

We Are In a Recession

There is no doubt that we are in a recession. What you have to answer for yourself now is what are you going to do about it? On your own, you can change it but you can adapt to the situation until things blow over.

Now how do we do that? Well the best thing to do is tighten your belt because the credit market is frozen so you won’t be able to get a loan for personal or for business purposes.

With the money you have, it is best to use it wisely by buying only the important items when you go to the grocery. If there are other items you want to go get, you have to sacrifice in order to get it by buying different brand that is more affordable. Since most supermarkets have special offers, give out free vouchers or samples, you should also avail of it.

Do you drive yourself to work? If you do, has it ever occurred to you how much you spend on gas everyday? If you drive an SUV, chances are you spend a lot on gas just to go to and from work. Part of tightening that belt means trading in your SUV or a smaller car. If it is possible, go for a hybrid because you save on gas and get a tax break from the government.

Most people eat out during their lunch break. Instead of buying food, why don’t prepare it at home and then bring it to the office. That way, you don’t have to spend your hard earned dollars for lunch so you can use this elsewhere.

Your employer is aware of the current financial crisis. You can help him or her by suggesting if it will be possible to do some of the work at home. Some companies allow their employees to do this so just have to check if this scenario can work for you. Just be sure that you are as productive at home like you are in the office.

But because you spend more time at home instead of the office, your electricity bill will surely go up. To try and resolve that, the best thing to do will be to replace your lighting fixtures with those that consume less wattage. Since you have a landline and mobile phone, you should change this with a provider that offers better rates than what you are currently paying for. The same goes for other bills that pay monthly.

With all the money you are able to save, you should use it to pay any outstanding debts that you may have with the bank to ensure you have a good credit rating. You can also use this to take up a training course so you or go back to school so you will be able to shift to another career if the current one you are in right now is not working out.

The current recession isn’t going to end by Christmas since it is forecasted to last until next year. For you to survive, you have to tighten your belt. If you don’t know how to do this or want to learn more, it is best to hire a financial adviser who can come up with a plan so you can just follow it.

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How Your Business Can Survive a Recession

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

How Your Business Can Survive a Recession

Almost every business will be affected by a recession. If you don’t take the appropriate steps, you will have to file for bankruptcy and close. Fortunately, there are things you can do to prevent it from happening.

Focus on customer service. In any business, you have to entertain the customer so he or she will be able to buy from you. If you do this well, that person will come back and buy from you even if times are tough.

How do you focus on customer service? By retraining your staff and making sure they understand that this is the only way for your business to survive. Believe it or not, these people who you hire are the front line and if they don’t do well, the customer will just go in and walk out without buying anything.

You can train them by hiring someone from the outside to handle a seminar or workshop. If this is not within your budget, do it yourself and also give them a refresher course on the products or services that you are offering.

What is at stake for them? Their jobs because you can either keep them or put them out in the street making them one of the 9 million who are now unemployed in the US.

But this is not enough. Since you are the boss, lead by example. Work longer hours because your staff will see the amount of effort you put in and with that, nobody will have the right to complain.

If you had to borrow money to start your business, see if you can pay these loans in full. If there are other things you need to buy, see if you can get longer credit periods or better rates so large expenses can become smaller ones making it easy to manage.

Cash is hard to have during a recession. If your business does not use credit cards, now is the best time to get one because most people carry less than $500 in their wallet and have two or three pieces of plastic.

One of the hardest things to do during a recession is to cut down your profit margins. By doing this, people will be able to buy more. When things are improving, you can return these back to their normal settings.

During a recession, you must still be able to promote your business. You can do this by finding other ways to advertise like creating your own website or distributing flyers instead of paying for ads in the newspaper or billboard.

There are other ways to stay afloat during a recession and you may not have the answers so talk to other business owners and see what they are doing. Some of the steps they have taken may be applicable to your situation and you won’t know that until you try.

The current recession is not only a problem in our shores but also around the world. As you are reading this, companies are continuing to cut jobs and those who are having a hard time paying for mortgage are losing their homes. You could lose your business if you don’t take drastic measures because this is the only way for you adapt with the situation and survive.

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How to Survive a Recession

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

How to Survive a Recession

Recessions happen and you can see it and take the appropriate steps before it is too late. Here are a few tips you should know about to help you survive.

1. If you happen to be in debt, get out as quickly as possible by finding ways to pay for it. If ever you need help, hire a financial consultant who can help you with your budget.

2. We have to pay the bills. Instead of just paying for them, perhaps you should see if you can switch to another company that offers cheaper rates. Take a look at your electricity, gas, mobile phone, television broadband package, insurance and even your bank account then make the necessary changes.

3. You should also make cuts on daily spending. When you go to the grocery, buy only what is necessary or switch to a cheaper brand. If there are items in promo, get it because they could be just as good or even better to what you are used to buying.

4. One thing that every grocery always is people offering free samples. Since you are there, get some as this will surely save you a few dollars for other more important items. If the grocery you frequent gives out vouchers, make use of it as well.

5. Do you always have to go out for lunch when you are at the office? Of course not. You can prepare the food at home and then take it to work. Your kids should also have a lunch bag instead of getting their weekly allowance so even at a young age, they understand the current situation.

6. If possible, ask your employer if you can do some of the work at home. This will help you save gas since you don’t have to drive to work. Just be sure you are as productive at home like you are in the office. If this is not possible, see if you can carpool with someone from the office.

7. Owning a large vehicle may sound cool but since it is a gas guzzler, perhaps it is time to trade this in with a smaller one. The advantage of a smaller car is that you don’t burn that much gas so you don’t have to spend that much when it is time to refuel the tank.

8. You can cut down your electricity expenses by replacing the bulbs to those that use lower wattage. You may also want to put the heater down by one degree, reinsulated the ceiling and stop drafts coming from the windows and doors.

9. Cutting down expenses is just one way to survive a recession. You can make money from it by selling some old stuff or renting a spare room.

10. If your work is not stable, perhaps you should consider switching to a career that will ensure better job security for the long term. One way is to go back to school.

11. For those who have money to spare, invest in long term investments such as stocks or bonds. Their value will go up once the recession is over.

A recession lasts for months so you have to know what to do when it happens. Your ability to stay financially stable is the only way for you to deal with a possible loss of income and inflated prices.

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Benefits of a Recession

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Benefits of a Recession

Would you believe that there are benefits to a recession? Yes there are and by knowing what they are, you can take advantage of them.

First, when the economy is in recession, you will soon get a fat check from the Internal Revenue Service or IRS amounting to $300 or $1,200. Why does the government issue it? This is the government’s way to help the economy. If you have not received yours yet, you will probably get it next year.

As a result of the recession, majority of the bonds and stocks are undervalued. This means you can buy these at reasonable prices. Just make sure you do some research first because you only want to buy those that have a good return when the economy recovers. You should also look into buying some property given that their value is also low.

Since you are a consumer, you will also get tax breaks. What happens here is that you don’t have to pay that much income tax this year as a direct result of a deduction for private mortgage insurance which happens to be an extension of the sales tax write-off and also a boost in the alternative minimum tax exemption amount.

Aside from the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Reserve also does its share to help the economy by slashing interest rates. This means you can borrow money at a lower rate as long as you have good credit ratings.

For those who are employed, a recession increases your retirement account limits. This can be done by using your rebate check to turbocharge your retirement savings and investing this in a Roth or Traditional IRA. There are some people who have decided to invest it in both.

If ever your gross income is $100,000 and below, you can now roll over your 401(k) directly into a Roth IRA without having your funds go through a Rollover Traditional IRA first. But if your income is above $100,000, you will have to wait until 2010 when that income limit disappears so that you too can invest this into your retirement account.

The environment also gets benefits from a recession. How? By making people make reductions in their expenses. For instance, car owners will trade their SUV’s for smaller vehicles and people are less likely to travel for vacation. As a result, it will reduce the number of carbon gases that are released into the atmosphere.

This will also help boost online businesses since people will order items instead of driving over to the mall and make the roads less congested so there will be fewer traffic jams.

For those who want a career boost, this is the best time to go back to school since no one is hiring. Take a course that will enable you to switch to a better career or get an MBA. The current recession is not expected to go away this year or even the first half of 2009 so weigh your educational options.

Indeed, there are benefits to a recession but most of us don’t see it because of how the media depicts it as a very bad thing. Now that you know that it is not entirely true, you just have to make the most of it until things do improve.

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Are You Afraid of a Recession

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Are You Afraid of a Recession

Are you afraid of a recession? You should be because a slowdown in the economy affects a lot of things such as employment rate, the price of goods and services and your ability to borrow money from the bank.

Since you don’t know when this can happen, experts advise consumers to always have an emergency fund. While some decide to invest it in stocks and bonds, others have decided to put this in the bank. When Lehman brothers filed for bankruptcy, this made others believe that their banks could also go under so some people have decided to keep their cash under their mattress.

The definition of a recession simply states that there is a negative growth for two consecutive quarters. Since this one is different from what the country has ever faced, people are advised to take drastic steps to survive the financial crisis.

One thing you have to do is to cut down on your personal expenses and only buy the essentials because no one knows when the recession will end or even if the bailout that was signed into law will work. The same goes if you have a business because monitoring your finances is the only way to make sure you are financially stable.

As a result of the slow down, more people will be put out of work and if you happen to be one of the unlucky ones, you should take this time to assess who you are and then shift to another career. Some may take the opportunity to go to graduate school because it is not enough these days to just have a graduate degree.

If you still have a job but need more money to put on the table, consider getting a second job.

You can also try scrounging around for cash by selling some old stuff or by trading in your car if what you have at home is an SUV because this vehicle consumes more gas than compact cars.

But a recession is not always bad. There is a silver lining that some of us fail to notice and you can take advantage of it.

For instance, whenever the country is in recession, the federal government announces a cut in interest rates allowing you to borrow money at a lower interest rate. You also get tax rebate from the IRS.

This is the best time to buy stocks, bonds and property if you have excess cash lying around. If you choose to go on a shopping spree, make sure that these investments will pay off in the long term so you may double or even triple what you initially shelled out.

Another benefit is that you may also get an increase in your retirement account limits.

So should you be afraid of a recession? It depends but one thing for certain is that it will affect you one way or the other regardless if the circumstances back then are different to what they are right now. Just like other things in life, there is always an upside and downside to it so don’t panic. Take a step back and assess the situation because by being prepared and looking at it objectively, you will be able to survive it just like how you have done in the past.

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Are We in Recession

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Are We in Recession

Are we in recession? That may be a stupid question to ask now but yes we have been for more than 2 consecutive quarters.

What makes this recession difference from the one we experienced in 2000 is the fact that there were a lot of factors which were never there before. Eight years ago, this was attributed to the collapse of the dot-com bubble, the September 11 attacks and the accounting scandal.

This time around, we can blame it on high oil prices, global inflation, a credit crisis which lead to the bankruptcy of some of the most established banks, increased unemployment, and the housing crisis.

So what do you we see? There are a lot of employees who are jobless, people are forced to sell or foreclose their homes, credit markets are frozen making it impossible for businesses and consumers to get a loan and government intervention is needed to try and prevent things from getting worse.

Just this month, the president together with the help of congress and the senate signed into law the $700 billion bailout plan that will ensure tax breaks for businesses as well as those who invest in alternative energy, increase the limit of insured bank deposits and allow the government to take over huge amounts of devalued assets from beleaguered financial companies.

When this was first voted on by congress, this was shut down but when it was approved by the senate, congress changed its mind making it the largest government intervention in the financial market since the great Depression.

Do we see the fruits of the bailout? Not yet because it will take time. Because of everything that is happening in the US, it has affected countries in Asia and Europe as well. Just to give you an idea, stock markets in the world have gone down.

On the 10th of October, the DOW plunged 697 points falling below 7,900 points. It’s lowest since March of 2003. The NASDAQ and S&P hit more than 5 year lows before recovering. What happens this week is anybody’s guess but hopefully, it won’t fall that hard again.

Because of the US market’s volatility, it has forced finance ministers from the group of 7 nations to find different ways to deal with the crisis and get money flowing again. In most cases, the central banks in these countries have decided to flood the market with liquidity. Though this may sound like a good idea, some experts say this will backfire because banks are hoarding the cash and the market will be driven by fear.

The only consolation perhaps that anyone can see in the recession is the price of oil. During the first half of this year, crude oil was more than $100 per barrel and now it is less than $75 per barrel. This could even go lower as the slowing global economy will hurt demand.

A recession no matter how you look at it is inevitable because it is part of the business cycle. In any country, there is a time that the economy expands, slows down, experiences a recession and then recovers.

It may take years for it to happen again and as history has shown, different factors caused the recession to occur. The challenge is how countries address the problem so we will never have to encounter another Great Depression.

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A Recession Is a Fact of Life

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

A Recession Is a Fact of Life

Believe it or not, a recession is a fact of life. Why? Because it is part of the business cycle and this is bound to happen when the economy expands, slows down until it hits rocks bottom and then recover once again.

The only difference between a recession and the four seasons we experience in a year is that this problem does not happen often. It may take years before this happens again and in our county’s history, the last time we had a recession in 2000.

When it does happen, experts won’t admit that it is there even if everyone around knows that it is. How? By looking at various factors which include consumer spending, the unemployment rate, industrial production, real income and wholesale trade.

One solution to help stimulate the economy is to lower the interest rate. But since this is not enough to make the problem go away, we have to our share until this is over. Companies have to make job cuts but the bad news is that you put more people out of work because this is the only way to stay in business.

But is putting people out of work the only solution for a business to survive? Some experts disagree because if the company is able to focus on customer service, lower price points and make cuts elsewhere, you help prevent the unemployment rate from getting higher.

On your end, if you still have a job, you have to spend less because the prices of goods will go up which is why you only have to buy the essentials. One thing you have to cut down is your fuel expenses so you might want to trade in your SUV for a smaller car that has better gas mileage.

To make sure you are not on the list of the next people to be axed, find ways to make yourself valuable in the office by taking on other responsibilities. If this is not enough to put money on the table, see if you can get a second job until the situation improves.

There is an upside to a recession. If you need money, you can borrow at a lower interest rate and you will be able to buy stocks, bonds and property at very affordable prices.

A recession is a fact of life and if you think that this happens only in the US, it has happened in other countries as well. What makes this current one so different from others in the past is the fact that what started here is now spreading around the world which is why nations are talking to one another to help prevent it from getting worse.

How long will this recession last? It is anybody’s guess but this will last until the end of the year with hopes that things will improve by the first or second quarter of next year. How it affects people will be different depending on their current financial situation so before it is too late, save up. If you can, invest in a few things which you know will make you money in the future. For those who are unsure, you better hire a financial planner so you are safe if ever life throws you a fastball.

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