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A Business That Understands its Customers

Thursday, March 28, 2019


Building a successful business is not an
easy task. To be an expert on your industry, your products, staff and most
importantly, you need to be an expert on your customers. If you don’t know who
you’re selling to, you can’t target them effectively. Advertising and marketing
that’s tailored to your customers is more efficient: it communicates your
message more clearly, and gets you more sales per pound spent. The advantages
of your business understanding who its customers speak for themselves, but how
can you achieve that understanding?

to the Experts

The sort of intense data gathering and
interpretation you need to do is beyond the reach of many companies – not just
small, new businesses. Even large, established companies tend to go to independent
market research firms when they need an injection of expertise rather than keep
a full-time research team in house. When you’re looking for companies that can
give you this insight into consumer intelligence,
is the place to start. London has a big mix of industries and tech
expertise that allows market researchers to stay at the cutting edge, so it’s a
great place to find a firm that can help you.

Help They Can Give

Understanding your customers requires more
than data.
While you can survey customers yourself, to generate spreadsheets full of
results, you won’t be able to turn them into a useful tool for your business
without the two key things specialist market researchers bring to the table:
reach and understanding.


To get useful results that help you
understand your market, you need the reach to get answers from people who
haven’t already chosen
to shop with your brand! The only consumers you have access to are the ones who
are finding your advertising effective – fine for optimising your tactics to
target them more effectively, but useless if you want to target a bigger

Market research firms can survey a broad
demographic, including, crucially, those people who don’t yet find your
marketing persuasive, and find out why.


The currency of research is not data but ‘insight’.
Understanding what that data is telling you, and turning it into practical
advice that can power a successful marketing campaign, product development
cycle or rebrand is where a market research firm really earns its money, and
where you can really learn to understand who your customers are and what they

Principles of Good Financial Responsibility

Thursday, March 28, 2019


The principles of
responsible personal finance start at home. It’s easy to create poor spending
and financial habits when you’re not properly taught how to manage a budget,
save, or buy a home. The problem is that many people learn the hard way to how
to be financially responsible, and it’s a much harder road to travel when
you’ve already made financial mistakes. It’s not impossible to repair your
credit and financial future, but it does take more time. Whether you are
already in financial trouble or you’re just starting out, follow these tips to
become a wise financial leader in your household.

Create a Monthly Budget

are not just for those who don’t make a lot of money. A monthly budget is
something everyone can use, and it’s something you should use no matter how
much you pay. Know what you make every month. Know what you spend every month.
Use the envelope method or track your spending with digital envelopes in an
app. It’s helpful to know where every penny goes each month.

Borrow Responsibly

Whether you’re buying a
car or considering the cost of a monthly consumer
installment loan
repayment, be sure you are a responsible borrower. Just because
the bank tells you that you can afford a certain amount of money for a car or
home doesn’t mean you can afford that. You know where you need money, and you
know what you’re comfortable spending. Take that into consideration the next
time you borrow money, and only borrow what you need. Make your payments on
time by scheduling them for automatic payments, too.

Learn to Save First

You are your most
important financial responsibility, which means you must pay yourself first. If
you’re not paying yourself first, you won’t find financial peace is easy. You
should save a certain amount of money every month from each paycheck before you
do anything else. Take what’s left and use that to pay your bills and have fun.
It is always a mistake to spend money first and then save what is left over.
There’s never enough left over. There’s always more fun to be had. Save first,
and make it a habit.

Check Your Credit

One of the most important
things you can do for your finances is to check your credit regularly. Never
assume your on-time payments and your financial responsibility is good enough.
Mistakes happen on credit reports. One person inputs the wrong amount, and
suddenly it looks like you have more debt than you do. If someone gains access
to your identity, they can open accounts in your name. It’s better to check
your credit report
every few months than it is to find out your credit score is
incorrect when you’re in the process of buying a home or securing a loan.

Fix Mistakes on Your
Credit Report

If you do check your
credit report and find mistakes, fix them right away. You will need to provide
proof that your mistakes are mistakes, but that’s easy enough when they are
actual mistakes. Do this each time you find a mistake no matter how big or
small it is. Your credit
score is easily affected
, and your financial future depends on this score.

Your personal finances are
important, and they have the power to cause havoc in your life if you’re not
careful with them. Your job is to spend your time focusing on your savings,
your debts, and your repayments. Make it a habit to check your finances every
day. The more you check, the more cautious you are with your spending, which
leads to better financial habits.

What Do You Need to Qualify For a Payday Loan?

Wednesday, November 21, 2018


When an unexpected financial emergency arises and you’re still a week away from payday, acquiring the cash you need to cover the expenses can sometimes seem like an insurmountable challenge. Banks and other lenders often have strict policies that limit who can acquire a loan. Because of this, many try to get payday loans in Montreal to cover these unexpected needs.

Though you don’t need a high credit score to qualify for these loans, you still need to provide some important documentation. Here’s what you will need to qualify:

Valid Checking Account

One of the first things a payday loan lender will ask for is valid checking account information. Generally speaking, lenders want to see that you’ve had this account for three months or longer. Not only does this prove that you normally experience some level of financial stability, but it’s often necessary for you to receive the money for your loan!

With online applications becoming more common, most lenders provide loans in the form of a check or direct deposit, rather than cash. Without a valid checking account, you can’t receive the money.

Proof of Address & Employment

Payday loan lenders may not want to see your credit report, but they do want proof of employment and residence. You will be far more likely to qualify for a loan if you can prove that you’ve held a full-time job for the last six months. This can usually be accomplished by showing your pay stubs — which also proves your ability to repay the loan.

Proof of residence also gives lenders confidence that you will be able to repay your loan. To ease the qualification process, it’s best if you have kept a stable home address for six months or more.

3 Tips to Improve Your Credit Score

Tuesday, September 18, 2018


When the time comes to get a loan, many individuals are surprised to learn that the bank won’t lend to them due to a low credit score. While no credit check loans are possible regarding some criterias, these short-term loans tend to be for lower-dollar amounts — hardly what you need when buying a home or making another major purchase. To qualify for larger loans, you need to take steps to improve your credit score, and you need to start now. Here’s how you can achieve positive change.

1.    Make On-Time Payments

It sounds surprisingly simple, yet many people fail to pay their bills on time. This can have a disastrous effect on your credit score, especially if you start making late payments on your credit card or other loans.

Failure to pay utility bills or rent could ultimately get a collection agency involved, resulting in a serious black mark on your credit score. To avoid these issues, make sure you pay bills on time, every time. If you have trouble remembering due dates, consider setting up automatic payments.

2.    Lower Your Credit Card Balance

Your credit card’s maximum balance may allow you to carry several thousand dollars on the card, but this doesn’t mean you should. In reality, you should try to keep your balance below 30% of the available amount.

For some, this requires a change in spending habits. By reducing your monthly expenditures, you can keep your balance low. If you’ve accrued a high utilization rate, pay off as much as you can to gradually lower your balance and minimize interest fees.

3.    Check Your Credit Report

When obtaining a loan, lenders will get your credit score from a major credit bureau. These bureaus track all information related to your credit history to calculate a score that will directly influence whether you qualify for a loan.

However, this tracking and reporting process isn’t perfect. It isn’t unusual for an error to be present in the report. You should periodically check your report yourself, investigating for any mistakes, such as applications or accounts you don’t recognize, accounts not getting reported, or even inaccurate personal information. Fixing these mistakes can provide a much-needed boost to your score.

Parting Thoughts

As your credit score improves, you’ll be better positioned to reach your other financial goals. Whether you’re saving up to buy a home or simply wish to be prepared for a rainy day, making these wise changes to your financial habits now will pay big dividends in the future.

The Causes and Consequences of Low Credit Scores

Saturday, June 9, 2018


Everyone’s taught the importance of maintaining good credit, but not everyone knows just what causes a credit score to drop. There are, in fact, many reasons that your credit could go south.

Causes of Low Credit

The most common reason someone has bad credit is they have made late payments. More specifically, it’s late payments on credit cards. These account for 35% of your credit score, so missing even a few installments can lead to serious damage.

After a few months, your creditors may see these as being charged off, which means that they don’t think you intend to pay your debts. This, alongside being handed over to a collection agency, can cause further damage to your credit score. As your situation worsens, so does your credit. The biggest blows come from bankruptcies, foreclosures, and unpaid judgments. These can stay on your report for 10 years.

The Consequences of a Low Credit Score

What does all of this mean in real-world terms? The most immediate result is that the interest rates on your credit card bills start climbing. It also means that your applications for new credit cards could be rejected and borrowing options are limited to loans for a low credit score account. You may be forced to pay a security deposit on utilities such as electricity or telephone service. Low credit scores can also mean higher insurance premiums since insurance companies claim that people with bad credit tend to file more claims.

Other ramifications include difficulty finding a job in certain sectors. The finance industry takes a close look at people’s credit reports to see if there’s something there that could hinder productivity and performance. If they find something, you might not get the job you want. It’ll be harder to find an apartment or a car because landlords and auto dealers may see you as too risky. You may also have trouble getting a good cell phone contract for the same reason. Finally, it can be extremely difficult to receive a loan of any kind with a low score.

With all the problems that can come from bad credit, you’ll want to have your score rise again as soon as possible. Thankfully, there are plenty of credit repair options available.

Rebuilding Your Credit

The first step to rebuilding your credit is to obtain copies of your credit reports from all three major agencies. These will tell you exactly what’s wrong, so you’ll know just what to fix. If you find any errors, you should contact the agencies to get them removed. If there are no errors, your next step will be to start paying off your bills. Start by paying your past due bills that haven’t been charged off. Once that’s done, tackle your charged-off bills. You should always pay more than the minimum payment on each bill. If you can pay double the minimum, you should do so.

Once you’ve paid most of your debt off, you should consider getting a credit card and paying the monthly payments on time every time. If you have trouble getting a card, then you should look at applying for a secured credit card from your bank. They require a deposit to use, but they can actually be used in more places than retail cards.

Easy Ways to Save Money this Summer

Friday, May 11, 2018


Although it has seemed like a never-ending winter, spring is here and is kind of mashing together with summer, as the weather doesn’t seem to know what it wants to do.  Regardless, at least that means no more snow and we can look forward to finally opening up the windows and getting some fresh air inside, doing a little spring cleaning while we’re at it, not to mention the garage is probably long overdue for some cleaning.  Just because your weekends will start to fill up now that it’s getting nicer out, doesn’t mean you have to open up the wallet more than you have to.

Entertain at Home

Probably the first task on your list is to get the yard ready by staining the deck, lay down fresh mulch, and start to plant flowers, so why not take advantage of your hard work and start to entertain at home.  Even if it’s just having drinks at your house before you go out to the bars/restaurants, you can at least save money on a few rounds and go out a little later.  After all, nothing beats summer like outdoor parties and late-night’s around the bonfire.

Don’t Put the A/C on Overload

Like you (hopefully) did in the winter, your furnace air filters do need to be changed at least every three months, so now is a good time to put a fresh one in for maximum efficiency.  Also, as you’re starting to work outside, make sure there are no cracks or drafts where you can let any unwanted warm air inside (and cold air from inside, out, for that matter) by adding caulk.  Taking advantage of your programmable thermostat so you don’t forget to change temperatures will help to keep the house warmer while you’re away and cooler at night so it’s more comfortable while you sleep.

Ditch Cable

With all the activities filling up your calendar and spending more time outside, it could be worth saving that hundred dollars or two each month during the summer and then get it again in the fall, although you could be used to not having it by then.  For around $10 a month you can get a streaming service so you can at least still catch up on all the best shows for those nights when you feel like staying up a little later and relaxing on the couch.

Hit the Garage Sales

It seems like everyone has the same idea about getting those extra unwanted items out of the house and have a garage sale.  You could even get lucky where entire blocks are having one the same day so you can go house to house and find items that you don’t want to pay full price for.  You may even decide to have one yourself and use the extra money to fund a summer vacation, as long as you aren’t afraid to part with items that are collecting dust that you still haven’t used in the last few years to free up space.

Credit Card Mistakes You Could be Making

Tuesday, April 24, 2018


While insurance can help you with medical, auto, and even life matters, it cannot help you with credit cards, something you can fall into a spending trap pretty quickly, or just could be missing out on the right moves to make when it comes to your credit.  Credit cards may have gotten a bad reputation in the past, but if used correctly, can actually help be a good tool to use instead of a debit card to protect your bank account, accepted anywhere without a worry of a hold putting put on your bank account, not to mention the rewards.

Not Checking Your Credit

Not only is your credit a primary factor when it comes to the interest rate on your credit cards, but also your mortgage, personal loans, and even auto insurance.  The higher the interest rate is the higher your monthly payment is, with a majority of the payment going towards interest.  By reviewing your credit report often, not to mention your credit score on monthly credit card statements, you can ensure your accounts are up to date and accurate so you can take advantage of the best interest rates on the market.

Carrying Over a Balance to Next Month

Credit cards give you a nice grace period to be able to make all the charges throughout the month and not having to pay back until next month, but if you’re unable to pay off by the statement due date, you will begin to be hit with interest, which could be upwards of 16% APR, so as the balance rises, the more can be tacked on for interest.  As your balance increases and the closer your reach your overall credit utilization your score will decrease, it’s a good idea to keep your balance as low as possible, or at least what you can afford to pay off each month.

Closing Your Account

If you have had a history of racking up credit card debt, once you finally have rid yourself of that financial burden, the first instinct may be to close your account so you don’t have to risk temptation any longer.  This can actually hurt your score as it will take away from your overall credit available, especially if you have a balance on other cards.  If you are looking to not use the card any longer you can simply cut up the card but still keep the account open.

Missing Out on Free Money

Probably the best reason to use a credit card, and one can argue for every purchase, is based on the rewards that are offered.  Even just thinking about the purchases you were going to make anyways, you can earn points for cash back, which could add up to hundreds of dollars per year that would otherwise be left on the table when using a debit or other credit card.  With the virtually endless amount of offers coming in the mail daily, you should seek out the best offer available, especially the higher your credit score continues to rise.

How You Could Be Burning Through Money Quickly

Friday, April 6, 2018


While sure it’s great to have a garage full of nice cars, but if it means living beyond your means and spending more than you can afford, is it really worth putting yourself in that sort of financial hole?  You know when you’re actually ahead with your finances is when you have built up an emergency fund, you’re out of debt, and are maximizing contributions to retirement.  If you’re struggling to free up any extra money, you can look to some of money wastes first to try and avoid.

Not Keeping Up with Your Credit Score

While you may not think about credit score having to do with wasting money but think about what lenders look to when approving for a mortgage, loan, credit card, even a job these days, and that’s credit score.  In order to take advantage of the best interest rates on the market you need to have excellent credit, so any short of that then you need to pull your report to make sure accounts are accurate and up to date, while monitoring your score on a monthly basis on credit card statements to make sure it’s climbing.

Paying Credit Card Interest

Speaking of interest rates, probably the highest you have in your name now comes with your credit card, which depending on the card, could be upwards of 16% APR, which once a balance starts to accumulate, paying the minimum is no longer an option if you’re looking to rid yourself the balance.  The best way to handle a credit card responsibly is to charge what you’re able to pay off when the statement balance comes due, as otherwise overspending will send you straight into debt and can take years to get out of, so it’s best to avoid going down that road now.

Missing Out on Free Money

If you are able to handle credit card spending, then using the right credit card is important to make sure you take advantage of the best deals out there, which can be in the form of rewards.  By making the purchases that you were going to be making anyways with a debit or another credit card, you can earn points and cashback that you would otherwise not be receiving.  On a larger scale when it comes to free money has to do with retirement and making sure you check at work to see if you’re taking full advantage of any company-matching contributions as otherwise that could add up to huge amounts you are missing out on.

Paying Extra Fees

Life experiences are important when it comes to keeping a sane mind, but you can pay plenty of extra fees if you’re not careful.  Taking buying tickets for instance.  By the time you buy the face value ticket, say $40, you can expect at least $15 in service charges, plus processing fee, could turn a $40 into over $60, when if you just go to the box office you can have your pick of tickets without service charges, you’ll just have to plan in advance on getting there when they go on sale if it’s a popular event.

Ways You Can Get Ahead with Your Finances

Thursday, March 22, 2018


While sure, you could make extra money by giving a csl plasma card a shot, but it might be a better idea to take a look at all of your finances and look to make improvements from there.  We know how quickly life goes by, so you want to make sure you’re minimizing spending and maximizing saving for your future.  With a few changes in your current money behavior can go a long way in setting you up for success in getting ahead with your finances.

Check Your Credit Report

I’m not sure about you, but twice in the last year I’ve received texts from my Citi credit card giving me a heads up of fraudulent charges, which turned out to be accurate, so it’s a good idea to review your credit report to make sure all of the accounts are up to date and accurate.  With the credit bureaus offering a free copy of your report once a year, and monthly card statements now showing your credit score, you should have all the tools available to you to make sure your credit continues in the right direction.

Build an Emergency Fund

Much like what happens to your credit information being out of your control, sometimes life gives you unexpected charges that you need to be prepared for, whether it’s medical bills, auto repair, or an out of nowhere job loss.  If you can put a few months’ worth of expenses into an account, you can give yourself a much-needed cushion to prepare yourself, instead of putting on a credit card and risk going into debt as you continue to pay back, with interest, throwing your monthly budget out of whack and tying your up your limited leftover money after bills and expenses.

Use a Credit Card Wisely

Credit cards may have gotten a bad reputation in the past, but if used right, it can actually make sense to use a card for every purchase, provided you can use correctly.  As you charge throughout the month you have to be sure that by the time you receive the statement, you are able to pay the full statement balance by the due date, or you will begin to pay interest, which depending on the rate and balance on the card, the lower the monthly payment you make will do little to chip away at the balance.

Don’t Miss Out on Free Money

Probably the best reason to use a credit card for all purchases are the rewards that come along with making the purchases you were going to be making anyways, but instead earning points or cashback on those purchases.  When it comes to more free money, take a look at work to make sure you’re taking advantage of the maximum company-matching retirement contributions, as if ignored, would be a significant amount of money to leave on the table if you figure how much the balance can grow over the next few decades until you reach retirement age and being to draw as you finally walk away from work.

There Are Certain Things You Shouldn’t Skimp On

Tuesday, March 6, 2018


While sure it’s important to check is lyft for uber cheaper in order to save money on your responsible rides when needed, so you can skimp on price for whatever is cheaper, but when it comes to other areas, you probably should choose quality over price.  If you can reduce unnecessary expenses and build up an emergency fund you can have the available cash on hand when needed for the necessary items and they won’t break the bank, or even worse have to put on a credit card and pay back, with interest, over time.

Home & Auto Repairs

I’ve had friends over the years that would leave the check engine light on, but to me I would always freak out and take the car in right away to ensure there is nothing wrong.  Now maybe that is one extreme to the other, but when it comes to auto repairs, fixing things when they come up, not to mention normal maintenance such as regular oil changes, rotating the tires, and changing the breaks when needed can extend the life of your car.  Same goes for your home, by replacing the air filter every few months can keep your furnace working efficiently for years.


Much like needing to check your credit report at least once a year to make sure your information is up to date and accurate, needing a cushion of a few months’ worth of reserves, same goes for insurance, as you never know what life will throw at you that is out of your control, so the best you can do is be as prepared as you can.  When it comes to insurance, having the adequate home, auto, health, and even life insurance can keep you covered if the unexpected should happen, with hopefully not having mounds of bills come afterwards with just paying your deductible and co-pays.


Sure, you can buy a mattress anywhere in between being firm or soft, from different brands and versions of quality, but it can be hard to justify spending a thousand or two on a new mattress if you are in need of replacing your aging one.  Think of it this way, let’s say you get the needed 8 hours of sleep per day and there are 24 hours a day, you’re essentially spending a third of your life on your mattress, so why not make it a premium mattress so you can get a good night’s sleep, not to mention saving your back for potential issues down the road.  With a good night’s sleep, you can guarantee peak performance in your work and personal life, without dragging from being tired all of the time.

Toilet Paper & Paper Towel

You’ve often heard that you get what you pay for, and that is particularly true when it comes to toilet paper and paper towel.  When you buy cheap, you will often use more of it, so it really serves no benefit to go cheap, especially when you want to avoid the sandpaper feel of cheap toilet paper.

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