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Monthly Archives: October 2021
5 things you need to know to start your own business in Georgia
So, you’ve decided to start your own business—congratulations! While you’re undoubtedly excited, we know you also have a lot of questions. Whether you are ready to open your business in a month or are just now starting on this journey, take some time to prep with a few of the steps we will outline below. Every business is different, but all of them have to start somewhere—like with these five steps you are about to read.
1. Know your plan
Every business needs a plan before it can get off the ground. You need to start with the basics: what goods or service your business will provide, how it will provide those goods or services to customer, and whether you’ll operate from home or from another location are a few things you should have answers to before your business opens to the public. However, these beginning items are not the only things you have to consider. You will also need to look ahead. What will your business look like a year from now? When can you expect to make a profit? Having a basic plan in place will help you determine your steps to success.
2. Know the rules
Researching things like permits and licenses can be tedious, but it’s also a step you cannot skip if your business is to see the light of day. Look up your local ordinances on any permission or information you might need before getting started. And if you’re feeling overwhelmed with all the information you find, consider speaking to a lawyer or other expert who can walk you through the process. You can even talk to city officials about specific questions you have—many of them are available to speak with you if you make an appointment. Knowing the rules now will help you from dealing with unexpected complications later.
3. Know your resources
Did you know that many local Chambers of Commerce can help you find the information you need for almost any industry? You can meet others in your field of work, learn from new business owners like yourself, and gain some very important knowledge on making your business a success. Some of these resources are even free to access and use—the ones that aren’t may still be worth your time and money to explore further. You can also consider talking to friends or colleagues who have recently undergone the process of opening a new business to get even more useful information about everything you need to know to open your business.
4. Know your community
Whether you’re opening a franchise of a well-known national company or starting up a shop of your very own, it’s crucial to know the community you will be part of. There will likely be many opportunities for you to participate in local events or activities and you will also get to know the people who may become your customers. Talk to other local businesses about ways they interact with the community—if everyone else on the block is decorating their storefronts for the holidays, go find some seasonal decals to add to your windows. Showing that you are part of the neighborhood you sell to will help your customers see your full value.
5. Know your “why”
Starting a new business isn’t easy. You already know that. And some days may be discouraging, whether you have few customers to serve or are still dealing with electrical work that is taking forever to finish. On those days, remember why you wanted to start a business in the first place. What motivated you to take this step? Write your answer down and place it somewhere you can access it easily to remind you of why you’re doing this in the first place. You can even share your motivation with others so they can help you remember what you love about what you do.
Opening a business takes a lot of work—but you can also find a lot of reward. You have the opportunity to make a difference in some way in your community, so plan ahead, get familiar with the basics, take advantage of your resources, and remember your reason for taking this step. By this time next year, your business may just be a household name.
Ready to take the leap and start your next business endeavor? Georgia’s Own is here to help with all your business banking needs—from business checking and business savings accounts to treasury management solutions and more, we offer a full suite of products designed to help your business flourish.
How to buy a new car without wrecking your finances
Buying a new car is a big decision—not so much the make and model, but more about the financial responsibility that accompanies it. Unfortunately, what we want and what we need are often at odds with each other, and car buyers end up purchasing a vehicle with a price tag that exceeds their budget…and then some.
Here are a few tips that can help keep your next car purchase in line with what you need, want, and can afford:
All purchases are not created equal
You may have purchased a pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes that were more than a month’s rent or a new, state-of-the-art gaming system that set you back a few bills—but those splurges can be contained and could be considered short-term lapses in smart financial judgment. They busted your budget, but over the next few grueling months, you can probably get back on track by skipping your daily Starbucks run, clearing your calendar, and eating ramen noodles.
Purchasing a car that’s too expensive for your wallet could possibly tie up your finances for the next 60 months—that’s five years of monthly payments that you may or may not consistently afford. The golden rule of car buying is to NEVER ignore the total price of the car. Regardless of how they package the financing, it won’t change the actual cost. Consider purchasing a vehicle that’s below your means, unless of course, what you’re driving means more to you than your financial sanity.
Down payments are smart…and rare
Ask most car salespeople and they’re likely to say the percentage of buyers who put down a substantial down payment is pretty low. Whether you fund it with a trade-in or cash that you’ve been saving, a down payment will lower the amount of money you’ll have to pay over time. It’ll decrease your monthly loan payment and (hopefully) bring it in line with your budget.
What do you really need?
Make a list of your “must have” and “nice to have” options before you visit the dealership. Everyone wants the newest and coolest features, and for just a few hundred or a couple thousand more dollars, you can have it all…heated seats, parking assist, Wi-Fi, keyless entry, and a navigation system. They’re nice to have, but you have to determine what you need and what you want because it all leads back to the golden rule: don’t purchase above your means.
Rolling over debt is not a solution
Don’t trade one financial problem for another. For those who get tired of their cars after a few years or want to upgrade their ride every other model year, the idea of holding onto their vehicle until the loan is repaid seems preposterous. To keep themselves in a new car and avoid any down payment, they simply roll one purchase into the next. The deficiency on their current car, because it was worth less than they owed, is added to the new car loan. It’s an ugly cycle that is truly detrimental to your financial health.
Watch for hidden costs
Another thing to consider beyond the price of the car is insurance, repair, and maintenance costs. Generally, the pricier the car, the more expensive it is to insure and take care of. Talk with your insurance agent to determine how much your monthly insurance premium will increase. Research costs so you can plan for routine maintenance and repairs. Some of the results might lead you away from certain makes and models and toward more reasonably priced alternatives.
Hopefully, these tips will keep your next car purchase from wreaking havoc on your finances. Do your research, consider your budget, and keep your emotions in check. Remember, the decision to buy a car isn’t a “one day and it’s done” choice. It’ll impact the way you manage your financial life for year…and that’s a long time to eat ramen noodles.
If you’re ready to take the leap, consider Georgia’s Own for all your financing needs—from new and used vehicles to refinancing, we offer low rates and up to 100% financing, so you can buy your dream car.
Are credit card rewards points worth it?
Are credit card rewards programs worth the hassle—or the cost? It all depends on you and the rewards you want. For example, airline miles can be difficult to redeem, with blackout dates, limited seats, and inconvenient flight times being just a few of the challenges. Comparably, hotel and merchandise points are relatively easy to earn and redeem, as are cash-back rebates. But is accruing a credit card balance worth it in return? We think so—if you use your card responsibly. Below are a few tips to consider about your credit card’s rewards points:
Get the right credit card
There’s no one-size-fits-all credit card, so it’s best to make sure you’re using a card that pays back in rewards that match your spending. If you’re primarily using your credit card to earn points for travel, consider a card that pays in miles or free hotel stays. Or, if you find you’re always grocery shopping for your family, consider a card that earns high cash-back rewards at supermarkets. Finding a card that works best for your spending is crucial to maximizing your rewards.
Understand your credit card
You need a clear and detailed understanding of your credit card’s rewards program. Many programs set minimum spending requirements each month before points can be earned, while others have minimum redemption requirements. Miles sometimes can only be redeemed on one named airline. Big cash-back advertisements may be for a limited time or restricted to specific shopping categories. Each program is different and unique, so heed the small print. There are also credit card terms to consider. Rewards credit cards typically have a higher APR than a non-rewards card, so make sure you can pay your statement balance each month. If you can’t, the cash-back bonus won’t make a dent in the interest you’re accruing. And, some credit card companies charge a hefty annual fee.
Don’t be tempted to overspend
If you’re spending money—which you probably are—why not get something in return? Credit card rewards points are a great option for consumers who love to travel, can be flexible, and are organized enough to keep track of offers and deadlines. The points that can be redeemed for cash are even better. But, it’s crucial to keep your spending in line. While it may be tempting to rack up your spending to earn more points, remember to spend within your means.
Maximize the benefits
To make the most of a rewards program, you should plan to use your credit card frequently—you should also try to maximize the benefits. You don’t need to change entirely how you spend, but it doesn’t hurt to be aware of your credit card’s rewards categories—especially if you use multiple credit cards. If one of your cards earns 5% cash back at a department store and the others earn 1%, don’t miss out on the higher return rate. Other cards have quarterly rotating rewards categories, so keep an eye out for those, too.
Ask any group of people why they chose a given credit card, and a vast majority will say it’s the rewards that reeled them in. For some consumers, they work. For others, they sound too good to be true. But, understanding the details and knowing your spending habits are what will help you choose the card that best suits your needs and make the most of your rewards points.
If you’re looking for a credit card that offers tremendous rewards, competitive rates, and more, then a Georgia’s Own Visa contactless credit card is for you. You’ll enjoy fantastic features, including no annual fee, enhanced fraud controls, and Flex Rewards to redeem for cash back, gift cards, and more.* Plus, through December 31st, you can earn up to $150 when you open a new Visa Signature, Platinum, or Student Visa credit card.** Ready to make your purchases count? Click here to start earning now.
*Georgia’s Own Credit Card points will expire five (5) years from the date earned. Points, including any rollover points or points transferred from an existing Georgia’s Own Credit Card, will not expire before May 31, 2023.
**Promotional period begins January 1, 2022 and ends December 31, 2022. Open a new Georgia’s Own Visa Signature® card and spend $1,500 in the first three months of account opening and earn 19,500 points, which can be redeemed for $150 in cash back. Open a new Georgia’s Own Visa® Platinum card and spend $1,000 in the first three months to receive 13,000 points, which can be redeemed for $100 in cash back. Points will be applied within three billing cycles if the account is in good standing. Offer may be withdrawn without notice.
How to sell items on Facebook Marketplace like a pro
Ah, Facebook Marketplace. It is a vast, exciting world that can either leave you celebrating a huge success or nursing a feeling of total frustration. But if you play your cards right, you can find yourself navigating the ups and downs of Facebook Marketplace like a pro. Keep reading to learn how you can be a selling success.
Follow the rules
This may seem obvious, but Facebook does have certain guidelines in place that sellers must adhere to. These guidelines aren’t very strict, but breaking a rule can land you in Facebook Marketplace jail, possibly for good, so it’s critical to understand the expectations of the Marketplace. Following the rules will also show potential buyers that are a legitimate seller who will follow through with a sale agreement.
Read the room
You may find that your local Marketplace page has a different demographic than the page meant for your entire county. Or maybe you will see that people on one Marketplace page expect you to respond immediately to any questions, while members of another page are content to wait a day or two. While you don’t have to change your selling practices to conform to your expectations, you should be aware of what may make or break a sale.
Beware of trolls
Facebook does its best to keep spammers, scammers, and those people whose only goal seems to be total anarchy out of the Marketplace. But you will still probably run into a spammer or scammer who tries to pay you in gift cards or asks you to send the item you’re selling before you receive payment for it. Be smart and check out potential buyers for their validity before committing to a sale or giving out any information. If the situation doesn’t feel right, walk away—it’s much better to be safe than sorry in these circumstances.
Know your worth
If there is one thing that buyers on the Marketplace are skilled in, it’s the ability to haggle about a price. Before you post anything for sale, decide how much you want for your item, and make a decision about how much (if any) you are willing to lower the price. As long as you’re offering a fair deal, you don’t need to feel pressured to agree to a lower price, especially if it’s unreasonable.
Update the status of your items
There is nothing worse than finding the perfect item on Facebook Marketplace and offering to buy it, only to find out the item was sold months ago. If you sell an item, change the price, or the condition changes, update your original post to avoid any confusion. This will help cement your status as a reliable seller, and also increase the odds that a buyer will continue to purchase from you. Be honest about each item—if the condition is fair, say so. Your buyer will find out the truth either way.
Respond, reply, react…
It’s frustrating for a potential buyer to reach out to you on your post or through a private message and not receive an acknowledgement of any kind. You don’t have to spend all at staring at your phone to make sure you respond immediately to every message, but do your buyers the courtesy of acknowledging their communication and reply to them in some capacity. Even if it is just “liking” their comment on your post until you can write a longer reply later, taking that small step will help your buyers know you’re serious.
Follow through and communicate
If you agree to sell an item to a buyer, it’s really important that you follow through with the sale. Aside from developing a reputation for being an unreliable seller, if you don’t follow through with sales, you will never, you know, sell anything. Make a plan to exchange the item for the money requested, and then stick to that plan with as few changes as possible. Sometimes you can’t avoid certain circumstances, like a traffic jam due to an accident on the interstate, so in those cases it’s also important to update your buyer about when you can meet and why it didn’t work out the first time.
Meet in public
Selling locally on Facebook Marketplace has its perks, because you know the area well and can cater your sales to the demographic nearby. But when you meet up with someone to complete a sale, always choose to meet in a public place with a lot of people around. Police station parking lots are a great choice, and you can also consider meeting outside of a busy store or at a public park that you know will be crowded. This is safety 101, and we urge to place your safety first for all of your transactions. Be sure to mention to a friend or family member where you plan to go and when you should return so they can check in with you as needed.
Facebook Marketplace is easy to use, as long as you put in the effort required. Make your posts clear and concise, communicate often and honestly, and remember that safety is just as important as making the sale. Your unused items are someone’s treasure, so start posting today and enjoy the extra cash.