Bradley Associates Madrid Local and International News: Essential Sales and Marketing Ideas for New Entrepreneurs

Bradley Associates Madrid Local and International News: Essential Sales and Marketing Ideas for New Entrepreneurs

Sales and marketing are two distinct yet closely related functions business companies utilize to promote their services and products. Yet, there are many individuals or firms which separate the two as if they were totally independent of each other; thus, failing to maximize the potential of either and the benefits that they produce when integrated as one seamless and continuous process.

Essentially, marketing involves the macroscopic strategies for pushing one’s product to the prospective consumers while sales involves the microscopic steps done in making the consumer buy the product, that is, closing the sale or signing the contract, for that matter.

We can then rightly say that sales is a subset of marketing. However, the process of selling a product one-on-one is in itself a marketing scheme that accomplishes the overall goal of the company to produce income. It appears that both processes augment and aid each other like horse and cart, with marketing leading the way and the cart delivering the final results that it set out to achieve.

What pointers should we remember to have an efficiently working marketing and sales tandem? Let us consider the following:

1.    Marketing and sale personnel need to communicate

Companies sometimes keep their marketing department and sales department apart and even competing against each other to the detriment of their own well-being. Connecting the two groups and their functions is a challenging task for managers; but succeeding in the process will bring about great success.

Of course, there is the financial motivation that keeps the sales people stand taller than the marketing people as the former have the unlimited potential to make as much money as they can through commissions and incentives from their sales. Not to be outdone, the marketing people tend to catch up through getting incentives and commissions from promos and ad campaigns sponsored by the company or other associated firms. The money chase is vital and necessary; but it can become a hindrance toward a harmonious relationship between the two groups.

2.    Marketing strategies must involve and incorporate sales personnel’s ideas

As a corollary to the first, this point emphasizes the need for any conceived marketing scheme to consider the crucial knowledge, experience and insights of sales people. It is no different from generals who must come up with a battle plan by inputting the vital intelligence reports of people in the field.

3.    Sales is the final step in the process of marketing

In general, the task of establishing an interpersonal relation with the buyer allows the sales personnel to close on the marketing process by selling the product. Yet, the buyer may have been driven to buy due to previous exposure to marketing campaigns through media. Marketing then makes the process of selling either easy or difficult. Without understanding this concept, you cannot use both effectively.

4.    Balancing marketing and sales for a successful business

Merging the two functions into a balanced and efficient process is the challenge every business person has to face. How do you go about telling people about your product which is totally unknown? Or how do you convince potential buyers who know your product but are not yet convinced to buy?

Somewhere along the line, you will find a perfect balance where each person’s strengths is utilized in either function to the maximum. If you feel you or an employee is better in sales than in marketing, then focus on that area. Still, as a general manager or owner of a firm, one may have to be reasonably good at both to attain a certain level of success.

5.    Create a short-term marketing plan

For many beginners, having a short-term marketing plan, say a 60 or 90-day plan, will provide a not-so-intimidating plan you can readily manage without burdening your company’s budget or affecting your other functions. This initial campaign will then arm you with information and networks you can use for setting up a master plan for your firm’s future marketing plan.

Knowing what these two functions are and how they relate to one another will provide the key to a successful marketing and sales synergy in your business. Take time to diligently study the intricacies of the two and apply them in your own peculiar situation and reap the rich benefits of doing so.

Bradley Associates Madrid Local and International News: 5 Online Shopping Safety Tips

Bradley Associates Madrid Local and International News: 5 Online Shopping Safety Tips

A survey conducted involving people’s reasons for finishing shopping online showed that 73% of respondents mentioned saving time as the main rationale. Online shopping can be very conveniently done with a smartphone or tablet which has made the method increasingly fast as an alternative way. One study projects e-commerce incomes grow more than twice from 2012 to 2018.

Identity theft being the most common consumer for 13 consecutive years according to Federal Trade Commission, people have good reason to be wary about giving their credit card numbers, addresses, and other personal data online. With online shopping, buyers encounter risks varying from a slow-running PC to getting a computer virus to greater dangers, such as identity theft. Nevertheless, there are several measures you can take to reduce the risk.

1. Read, read, read

It is very vital to carefully read all the fine print connected with any purchase you make online. Take note of such things as shipping guidelines, terms and conditions as well as return policies. Several transactions are intended to renew every month, thus, charging your account every month and delivering the product on a repeated cycle. Some others, especially software and game downloads, require extra items connected to your purchase that you must actively choose not to avail of.

T. O’Malley, who works in Savannah, Georgia as a computer repair professional with almost a decade of experience in that field, says he often sees buyers with PC issues due to neglecting close scrutiny of the fine print. “Very often, people fail to read before buying,” he says. “They do not realize they end up allowing sellers to install toolbars and extra search engines that slow down your PC.”

2. Know your seller

A McAfee publication explains how important it is to ascertain that a seller online has an encryption. A way to know a website is safe is to look for a closed lock symbol, a key symbol, or a Web address that starts with https:// rather than http://. “Never purchase from spammers,” McAfee advises in its publication.

“The large companies are relatively safe,” O’Malley said. “Amazon, for example, is not a place you can get a virus from; it is safe.” He also mentioned “coupon printers” that provides consumers print-out coupons using their home PC. “They are generally only adware, and when people get infected, they do not know how to remove it,” he says. “Flash update viruses are likewise prevalent.”

He also says that “Majority of people cannot spot a bogus seller.” To make sure you are downloading from a source that is safe, “go directly to Adobe for download updates,” he said.

3. Use a credit card for payment

McAfee also advises buyers to use a credit card, not a debit card or wire transfer. When you purchase using a credit card, you are legally protected against fraud, minimizing your losses. If you report a lost or stolen credit card, the law states you are not accountable for purchases you never make, and your penalty for every card stolen is just $50, which is waived by card providers. On the other hand, a debit card deal takes the money directly from your account, and recovering it in case of a fraudulent deal can be harder to do. Your accountability in terms of a debit card relies on how quickly you report the event. Likewise, wire transfers provide less protection, since the cash goes directly from your account into that of the merchant.

4. Check and keep all documentations

Scrutinize carefully every receipt issued by a seller. It is good practice to keep all receipts for online deals together in a particular place so that you have a running archive of your purchases. You can use them to validate these receipts by checking your monthly credit card statement to make sure everything is as it should be.

5. Inspect your purchased goods

Upon arrival of the goods, inspect the contents of your packages as soon as possible. This will allow you to inform the seller quickly in case of any problem with the item or items.

Internet shopping practically allows almost anyone anywhere to purchase anything from the comforts of your home. However, if you are not careful enough, you could end up being hurt in your pocket. PC viral infection can cost about $150 or so to remove while a stolen identity or money in your bank can end up costing you much more than that.

 

Bradley Associates Madrid Media Financial Tips, FOR RICHER OR POORER: SOME TIPS FOR NEWLYWEDS

Bradley Associates Madrid Media Financial Tips, FOR RICHER OR POORER: SOME TIPS FOR NEWLYWEDS

Summertime is upon us, and with that comes a very popular time of the year for folks to marry. Before tying the knot, you both need to take financial inventory–seriously. With student debt at historic highs and people waiting longer to marry, the likelihood of people saying “I do” changes some part of that vow to “Yes, I will accept your debt, too.” Have the talk now; don’t wait.

So let’s start with simply comparing spending habits. DO NOT assume that your spouse shares the same beliefs about spending and saving. Talk about how you feel about cars; retirement accounts; a good cushion for savings; and, of course, the largest purchase you both will ever make–your home.

Next is coming out of the “financial closet.” Please discuss your incomes, student debt, credit card debt, and what you may or may have not saved for retirement. Compare statements and credit history. Know your financial scores (you can obtain free credit reports). This is important. When you marry, you take on your partner’s debt–like it nor not. If your partner would ever have to file for bankruptcy, that will affect you. If you want to buy a house, his or her credit score will affect what you can buy and the rate you will pay for it.

Combined salaries, we’ve hit the jackpot! That means we can live a super crazy lifestyle!  Yes, two can live as cheaply as one and will most likely save you money on rent, utilities, food, and so on. However, when combining two salaries, some couples feel that it’s a windfall and go bananas. Don’t do that. Create a budget. If possible, try to live on one salary and save some of the other. One of you could get laid off, change careers, or go back to school. Then there’s the family you could start, and I don’t need to tell you children are expensive. Avoid credit cards–if you can’t pay cash for it, you can’t afford it (sorry).

Try to put away at least 10 percent of your combined gross income each year toward retirement. Take advantage of employer matched plans to the fullest extent. You may think you have time to save for retirement and this is not necessary now, but it is. Considering the staggering amount of people with no retirement savings; they may have thought the same as you and thought they had plenty of time to save. If you can’t do 10 percent, start with something. It can make a difference.

You may want to consider getting some insurance. There are many different types of insurance such as term life, catastrophic medical insurance, and long-term disability. Although some of these policies are offered through employment, check to see if it’s enough and compare. This is a very important but often ignored part of financial planning.

If this is a second marriage, the time is now to find out about financial obligations to the ex or the children from the marriage.

Lastly, when all the dust settles after the big day, you may want to create a will. Even if you have one, you may need to update it after you marry. If something were to happen to either of you, or both of you, and there is nothing legal in place, it can become a huge mess for your surviving family members. Contact an attorney today and get to it. It’s not everyone’s favorite thing to do, to discuss mortality after such a wonderful event, but it’s really important.

Money discussions are not an easy task for anyone, especially newlyweds. But you are a team now, and it’s important to have an open mind and get these things on the table. This is a time to enjoy life–but do it within your means so you can both sleep at night.

Bradley Associates Madrid Media Financial Tips on The Best Financial Advice for Small Business Owners Now

Bradley Associates Madrid Media Financial Tips on The Best Financial Advice for Small Business Owners Now

More than a few of our clients at Glassman Wealth Services are small businessowners and entrepreneurs, so I’m often asked to give advice on ways to improve their businesses or share ideas that will give them a competitive edge.

As a small business owner myself, I know first-hand the challenges that many of my fellow small business owners face. But there are some smart things that small business owners should consider doing now. Here’s my top 3 tips:

1.  Access Capital Now

We’re five years out from the Great Recession and the start of the financial crisis that all but dried up access to capital especially for small businesses. That’s changing now as banks have money to lend and more of an appetite to lend it. The requirements are still the same like having good credit and a solid business plan, and you may need to be prepared to personally guarantee the loan. Most small business owners should consider accessing capital for three reasons:

Expanding your business by buying another company, launching new products or services or hiring new employees

Refinancing any old debt at today’s lower interest rates

Establishing a line of credit (LOC) for a rainy day. You may need the liquidity a LOC provides to occasionally meet day-to-day business obligations like payroll or temporary cash crunch needs.

2.  Engage Rather Than Employ

Working in Washington, D.C., we’ve been known as the lawyer capital, but today, this area is also known as being rich in consultants. Fortunately great consultants exist in many parts of the U.S. So rather than hiring for a position that may be just part-time, like a marketing strategist or legal counsel, instead, consider retaining a consultant that is an expert in their field.

Keep in mind that many of these consultants left big companies to start businesses of their own. We use consultants in our own business to fulfill many of our business functions. In fact, we outsource most functions outside of our core business. To learn more about outsourcing, read:  Make Outsourcing a Competitive Advantage.

The best benefit to hiring a consultant is that they cross-pollinate. What I mean by this is that they work with dozens, maybe hundreds of other businesses and bring a perspective and advice formed by best practices from working with many clients. This insider’s view can help you avoid costly mistakes and enhance any number of areas of your business.

3.  Have a Lean Start-Up

I recently read a fantastic book, The Lean Start-Up by Eric Ries which is a must-read for all businesses regardless of size. The main point of this book is that if you’re starting a business or launching a new product, you don’t need to start with the grandiose office or spend years developing a finalized product or service before you launch.  Instead, this book champions the idea of testing your vision by launching a more rudimentary form of your concept to gain interest and feedback.

Companies like Starbucks or Proctor and Gamble test new concepts on smaller markets before launching their products worldwide. Small companies can learn from this approach. Develop a prototype to get the product out, launch it in smaller markets, test it, get feedback, pivot, and then refine it.  By using this cost-effective process, you’ll have a refined product or service designed to the taste and needs of potential clients because they told you what they liked and wanted along the way.

As the economy continues to improve, small businesses will have more opportunities to expand and grow. By taking advantage of opportunities that exist now, you’ll improve your chances of success.Read More

Bradley Associates Madrid Media Financial Tips on Commonsense Financial Tips: Don’t Put Money Under the Mattress

Bradley Associates Madrid Media Financial Tips on Commonsense Financial Tips: Don’t Put Money Under the Mattress

 

“I don’t know what to do,” said my good friend Rob after inviting my wife Jo and me to dinner for the third time in two

weeks. “I know I should do something. Every time I think about it, it scares the hell out of me! Maybe I should just hide everything under the mattress.”

Rob is a sharp guy—he’s done well for himself and his family. He also recently settled the last details of his parents’ estate. Upon banking part of his inheritance, the branch manager magically appeared, introduced himself, and invited Rob into his office to discuss “some really good rates” the bank had to offer.

Not even the drive-through window has helped Rob fly under the radar. It still takes but a few seconds before the manager appears and starts his pitch. Rob has started to wonder if the drive-through tellers have a bright yellow “sic ‘em” button.

Rob is a veteran subscriber to Miller’s Money Forever. He reads our material faithfully and isn’t shy about asking questions. He knew for two years this large influx of cash was coming, and he’s made it a point to learn how to handle it.

Up to that point, Rob’s wealth consisted of home equity, retirement plans managed by others, and some collectibles. Now he has a sizable chunk of cash to invest, and he’s understandably scared.

So far, Rob has lots of book learning under his belt, but little real-life investing experience. Every option we discussed at that third dinner evoked a “Yes… but!” After much back and forth, I finally realized Rob’s Achilles heel wasn’t a lack of investment knowledge. Instead, it was his fear.

And Rob is not alone. The following morning, I received a timely message from subscriber and regular correspondent, Bee H. She shared a laundry list of places to put your money—banks, real estate, precious metals, annuities, a mattress—and all the horrible ends that money could meet in those places. Government seizure, market crashes, eminent domain, theft, inflation… the list went on.

Bee’s concerns are not unfounded. I even shared them with Rob under the heading: “See, you aren’t alone.”

Rob’s response: “Wow. She’s reading my mail! I’m stewing over this very same issue…”

Then it hit me hard: What are they afraid of? Not the market and investing, but rather the adverse consequences of government behavior. After nearly every “Yes, but,” Rob expressed fear about what the government might do: a haircut, bailout, bail-in, outright confiscation. Call it what you will.

These fears cross partisan lines. We all have some sense—even if we can’t quite put our finger on it—that our personal and economic liberties are threatened. Heck, every time I look in the sky now, I scan for NSA drones. If I see a tiny speck, I look at the television camera, wave my hand, and say, “Hi, Mom!”

Many of my friends—Independents, Libertarians, Republicans, Democrats, even a Green Party member or two—have told me, “For the first time in my life, I’m afraid of our government.”

Commonsense Alternatives to Your Mattress

If you’ve been reading my articles for any length of time, you know I worship at the altar of practical wisdom. So, my response to Rob and Bee came from that same place.

  • Maintain perspective. You can’t get rid of these political risks entirely (although a little international diversification will help). Vote for the candidates you think are least likely to make things worse and move on.Learn the rules, pay your taxes, and fill out the proper forms. You don’t have to like it, but the punishments for noncompliance can be harsh. Behaving yourself is the best route.Plan and execute a retirement approach that will be successful despite foolhardy government action. This is more challenging than it was for our parents’ generation, but it is within your reach.
  • Pay off debt. Rob told his accountant he was going to pay off his house with part of his inheritance. His accountant replied, “No! That’s a terrible plan. Invest the money! You can earn better returns than the interest rate on your mortgage.”Are you kidding me? Rob’s a rookie investor who’s scared to death, and his accountant is telling him to go into the market with borrowed money? Hell, that guy might as well have shown him how to buy on margin while he was at it! Rob held his ground, saying, “I plan to get out of debt and stay that way.”
  • Keep saving. Once you’re out of debt, start making those debt service payments to yourself each month, first. Then live on the rest. Concerns about government confiscation or higher taxes should motivate you to save even more. If the worst comes, you want to have enough left over so you and your family survive.
  • Get a financial checkup. Find a good financial planner, preferably one with a fiduciary responsibility to you (not all have that). Mark your goals, set a realistic plan, and check in annually.
  • Never turn over all of your money to a money manager. Some money? Sure. But ultimately, the only way to protect your money is to learn how to invest it yourself.The first time you click your mouse to make a real trade, your heart will be racing. It’s an emotional experience, but each trade—good or bad—teaches you something and brings more confidence.
  • Understand the motivations of brokerage firms, insurance agents, and banks. Rob experienced this in action. The branch manager offered him a “special rate” on a CD that wouldn’t even keep up with inflation.Brokers and captive houses will gladly do a free financial checkup and encourage you to put your money in their company-sponsored funds. The same is true of insurance companies. While there may be better options, they push for what compensates them the best. Caveat emptor
  • Learn the lessons pundits cannot always teach. When you make an asset purchase, write down why. What is your stop loss, and what are your earnings targets? When you sell, investigate what made you successful or what happened that caused you to lose money.You’ll take some losses. Just don’t panic! They don’t have to be expensive learning experiences. As a wise old baseball coach once said, “Make your outs count!”
  • Doing nothing is a choice. It’s an expensive one at that, as your cash loses its buying power to inflation. Invest to protect, invest for income, invest for growth.
  • Take a giant leap of faith… in yourself. Trust your ability to learn, assess a situation, control your emotions, and exercise sound judgment. You’ve already honed those skills in other areas of life; now it’s time to apply them to investing.

Throughout history governments have taxed, spent other people’s money, and made stupid rules. People have succeeded anyway, and you can be among them. Our free weekly newsletter, Miller’s Money Weekly, can help guide you through the traps and pitfalls of personal finance and help you navigate toward a retirement on your own terms.