How to Conduct Research for Your Business

Though they look at different aspects of your business, both market research and marketing research should follow the same pattern of data collection and analysis.

  1. Define the problem. Start by identifying the focus of your research. Knowing what question you are trying to answer will help you structure your research effectively.
  2. Determine your budget and timeframe. How much can you afford to spend on the research process? How soon will you need to have data collection completed? Like all the strategies that you use to grow your business, research should be conducted within your available resources. However, depending on the urgency of the questions you are answering, it may be worth spending more money to get the most comprehensive results possible.
  3. Design your method and needs. Identify what data needs to be collected and how you will gather it. Some options are observation, surveys, telephone calls, or focus groups. If you are unsure how to structure your data collection, consider working with a professional research firm.
  4. Choose a sampling method. How will you select the participants for your research? You may need a random sampling from the general population of consumers, a group that all have a single lifestyle factor in common, or responses only from people who are already your customers. Create a plan for identifying and contacting your participants.
  5. ​​Plan for data analysis. Decide how you will analyze your data. Will you need quantitative data for statistical analysis or qualitative, observational data to give you a broad picture? Will you use software or do it by hand? Take time to learn about various methods of analysis to find the one that will best answer your research question.
  6. Data collection. Once you know what question you want to answer and have designed a research method to answer it within the constraints of your available budget and time, it’s time to collect data. Many businesses work with professional firms or consultants to conduct their actual research.
  7. Analysis of the data. No matter how straightforward your data seems at first glance, you’ll want to use specific methods of analysis to ensure that you understand what it is telling you. The methods of analysis that you use will depend on the type of data you collected. This should also be when you check for errors, which can occur in your sampling method, data collection, and analysis.
  8. Create your report. The final step of the research process is drafting a report on your findings. Your report should outline the entire research process, from developing your problem statement to the results of your data analysis.

No matter what type of research you are conducting, you will need to follow the full research method to arrive at a conclusion that will benefit your business. If your findings lead to a solution to your problem statement, you will be able to decide on the next steps for your business.

If you were unable to answer your research question, that doesn’t mean your research was done incorrectly. You may discover that you need to ask different questions or that the situation was more complicated than you anticipated. When that happens, it’s time to continue your research until you’ve arrived at a solution.

The Importance of Market and Marketing Research in Business

Market research involves identifying a specific “target,” and focusing exclusively on that group. It is research into a narrow group of consumers to understand their behavior and motivation.

Marketing research has a broader scope that market research. It is used to examine the entire marketing process of a company, rather than only looking at the consumers that the company is targeting.

The Importance of Market Research

Successfully running and growing your business depends on understanding your target customers. Once you have a clear picture of their goals, needs, and values, you are more able to drive them towards purchasing your products or services.

Market research is one of the best tools you have for understanding your customers. It gives you hard data that you can use to drive your marketing strategy, making both marketing and selling easier and more effective.

Market research helps you:

  • Improve communication. It drives your communication not only with your current customer base but with target prospects as well. Market research shows you where your customers can be reached, as well as what language will be most effective in attracting their attention and resonating with them on an emotional level.
  • Identify opportunity. Market research helps you identify both high-level and more accessible opportunities for reaching and converting new customers. It can be the best way to discover new platforms for advertising, consumer concerns you were unaware of, and gaps within your market that you can fill.
  • Lower your risk. Concrete data keeps you focused on the real opportunities and helps you avoid unproductive effort. When you understand your customers, you can use your resources to reach them more effectively, with less risk of wasting time, money, and effort on marketing initiatives that don’t work. Market research also helps you identify low-risk, high-reward areas where your company can expand or offer new services,

The Importance of Marketing Research

Marketing research is important for evaluating what is and is not working in your business model. It includes research into your target market, as well as the systems in your business that make up your marketing conditions.

Marketing research looks at every aspect of the Four Ps of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion. This includes:

  • Public Relations
  • Modes of distribution
  • Development of new products/services
  • Promotions and advertising
  • Pricing
  • Market conditions
  • Branding

Marketing research helps you learn not just what your customers want, but how successful your business is at reaching and connecting with them. It helps you identify problems and opportunities, refine your systems, and evaluate your marketing strategy.

Learn How Much to Spend on Marketing

If I categorized all of the questions that I receive, I would have to say that the majority are concerning how much to budget and spend on marketing. I understand the popularity because this can be a tricky question.

A vital component when it comes to marketing for new companies is testing marketing vehicles to see which performs and provides the best return on investment. The majority of mature companies or businesses that have been in business for a considerable amount of time can look at data and know which vehicles work for them; if they don’t they are in trouble.

Marketing Investment

My recommendations are that companies invest 20% of their resources into marketing. This is 20% of your marketing budget as well as your time. You should continually reinvest 20% into marketing on an ongoing basis. As time goes on you may be able to decrease your time spent in marketing, but in return monetary resources may need to increase. The key is to find the vehicles that work best for your target market. Is it digital, newspaper, audio commercials, television commercials, etc.?

You will find that some people suggest as your business grows to decrease your amount in marketing. I firmly disagree with this tactic. You should always be marketing to new potential customers as well as marketing to the repeat consumer.

Spending Budget Wisely

It’s important to spend your marketing budget wisely.  Follow these guidelines:

  • Know how much you have to spend.
  • Have a strategy on how to spend it and what you want to achieve.

Businesses that are successful when it comes to having a workable marketing budget is that they understand the importance of being fluid and flexible. There will be times that a campaign is working really well and you want to push more money to that specific tactic or channel.

You might also encounter an unplanned campaign or event that you need to spend marketing dollars on. Be flexible, but always know whether your marketing budget is working and achieving the marketing goals that you have set – if not shift!

Reviewing Marketing Mix

Review your marketing mix. There’s no such thing as one specific activity but rather a cross-section of marketing strategies will bring the success you need. It’s the small things that add up when putting things together. Determine what marketing works by asking your customers and disregard any marketing vehicles that are not working for you and reinvest in those that do.

When Determining Marketing Budget

There is no fast and hard rule, every business is different.  Marketing ultimately depends on how fast and how big you want to grow your business.  It does not matter how big or small your business is, without a marketing budget you will only get so far, after that you will start to stall when it comes to business growth.  Having a business growth plan is vital. Using metrics to determine your marketing effectiveness will help in serving as a guide when it comes to how much to spend and where to spend it.

16-Point Checklist to Writing an Effective Direct Mail Sales Letter

We’ve all received direct mail sales letters. We occasionally read them, but most end up in the recycle bin. They’re only a page or two long, yet many of them are just as dead as the felled log they were fashioned from.

Once you’ve targeted suitable companies, found the name and title of the decision makers for your product or service, and the Trojan-like envelope has made it past the always-suspecting secretaries/assistants, and the decision makers have opened up the letter, what will it read like?

Follow this checklist to ensure your letter stands out from the pack.

  • Ensure the message matches the needs of the target audience: Does your offer of products and/or services match the needs of the recipient? Don’t make your pitch to a company president if your message applies only to the marketing staff.

 

  • Get to the point: If you begin your letter with general, hazy information, you risk losing the reader. It’s critical you make your point in those first few lines.

 

  • Be clear and concise: This is part of getting to the point. Skip the fluff; you’re reader doesn’t have time for it.

 

  • Sell benefits, not features: Many business persons love to list and discuss product features. However, your potential customers want to know how he/she will benefit from using the product. It’s OK to list features, but also include the end-user benefits. For example, a feature of the word processor is that it allows you to write and edit content electronically, so you don’t have to retype the entire page. The benefits are that it saves a lot of time, and increases productivity.

 

  • Keep it personal and conversational: Given today’s access to current data, there is no excuse for sending out form letters. Personalize each letter you send out in your direct mail campaign. In terms of writing style, just write like you talk, and you’re sure to make a warm, genuine appeal to your reader

 

  • Use letters to generate leads, not sales: The goal of a direct-mail letter is to generate a response, not a sale—whether it be a return mail card, a fax, email, phone call, or fax. The purpose is to open doors. The sale is the next separate and distinct step in the process.

 

  • Write at a grade-school level: Studies have shown that most of us read at an eighth-grade level. Avoid big words to make the letter easily understood. You can be technical if you choose, but simplify your language as much as possible.

 

  • Postscript (P.S.) is your friend! Case studies indicate that the typical letter recipient’s eye moves down the page to the P.S. before they read everything in the letter. Try to restate your proposition in the P.S.

 

  • Use white space: Readers often are turned off by large blocks of text. Try to use short paragraphs, bullets, and/or numbered lists. Give the reader some breathing room.

 

  • Keep it to one page: Most presidents, purchasing agents, plant engineers, and other decision makers are very busy people. Make your point, sell the benefits, make it easy to read—and keep it to one page.

 

  • Make a “no-risk” offer: Offer the recipient something. Offer free information, an article, some industry tips, free tutorial, or product sample.

 

  • Create a deadline: Whether there is a real deadline or one you create, make one. Usually, a deadline increases the rate of responses because of the limited amount of time to act.

 

  • Call to action! Why not ask for the order? “Call us at +1 248 940 1100, for a free consultation”.

 

  • Use postage reply mail: Include a business reply card for better response. Make sure it has pre-paid postage. Don’t lose an inquiry for the cost of a single stamp.

 

  • Include a guarantee: By offering a guarantee, you offer integrity and credibility to your products/services.

 

  • Include testimonials: Nothing speaks louder for your product or services than a satisfied end user. However, if you use names and companies, make sure you get a signed authorization from them

How to Measure Your Marketing Efforts

It’s true we spend marketing dollars to display at trade shows, attend events, hold conferences, host webinars, advertise and to produce marketing materials for campaigns.

How do we know what we are getting in return? How can we quantify the results of our marketing efforts to make sure they are worth the money spent?

Identifying Goals

This may seem like an easy question, however, it’s one that I am asked often. I have seen companies that don’t measure their marketing efforts. Let me just say that’s a big mistake. While marketing can be for the most part trial and error you can diminish errors by actually using calculations to see which campaigns are bringing in the most results for the money.

It’s vital to develop a consistent plan and marketing strategy that will help you project, measure and evaluate your marketing campaigns, without it, you are simply going about marketing blindly. This is one of the most costly mistakes in business.

In each marketing campaign you must develop a plan and strategy that identify the following:

Quantitative and Qualitative Goals

Qualitative goals are different from quantitative because they address the promotional advantages vs. numbers to measure. Your qualitative goals should be about customers’ perception of your product and/or service. For example, increasing the perceived value by offering a discount or lowering the price of your offering. Positioning is also qualitative, where does your product and/or service rank when it is compared to your competitors. You increase the position of your product by educating on the quality of the product and/or service that you offer.& you can also increase the positioning by going after a specific niche or targeted market and presenting that specialty as an expertise. Awareness is also important when it comes to qualitative data. You must create an awareness of what you offer. This is important in order to get the consumer to purchase from you. You can often increase awareness through advertising efforts. Quantitative marketing is about the numbers. How many attendees, how many units sold, or how many leads captured.

Campaign Budget

What will you spend in order to achieve the qualitative and quantitative goals you have set? What is your desired outcome when it comes to that budget? What will deem the spend as a success?

Fulfillment and Response Strategy

How will you fulfill orders and or services and how will you respond to those that reach out based on your marketing strategy?

Follow-Up Strategy

What is your follow-up strategy? Will you use drip marketing or lead nurturing in order to stay in touch with those consumers that do not purchase immediately? If they don’t buy how will you follow up with them in order to close the sale?

Tracking and Testing Criteria for Your Campaign

Depending on your objective most goals can be measured effectively using one of three methods. These methods include cost per sale, cost per qualified lead, and cost per visitor

Calculating the Costs

Once you decide which result you want to measure and you have the costs incurred for the event; calculating is actually fairly easy.

  • Cost per Sale = Amount Spent for Event/Campaign (A) / Number of sales (S) = Cost per sale (CPS)
    •  Formula: A / S = CPS
  • Cost per Qualified Lead = Amount Spent for Event/Campaign ( A) / Number of Qualified Leads (L) = Cost per qualified Lead (CPQL)
    • Formula: A / L = (CPQL)
  • Cost per Visitor or Response = Amount Spent for Event/Campaign (A) / Number of visitors or response (R) = Cost per Visitor or Response (CPR)
    • Formula: A / R = CPR

Using these formulas along with a developed plan for each campaign will give you the information you need to decide if a campaign or event was effective for your business. If it was…congratulations! If not, it’s time to visit the efforts of the campaign and find out exactly why it didn’t work and how you can improve it the next time. Was it the event location, wrong targeted marketing? Perhaps the materials that you sent out didn’t carry a strong call to action?

There are several reasons why a marketing campaign may fail and not bring you the desired results, but future successes will come from determining what those reasons are.

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5-Step Digital Marketing Sales Process

To meet customer needs and have a successful sales presence in the virtual world requires an internet marketing strategy involving a five-step process:

  1. Marketing/prospecting to your target market and audience
  2. Building credibility and trust
  3. Escorting and courting the buyer through the process
  4. Presenting the product or service that meets their needs
  5. Closing the sale

These five levels of the sales process are the core components that will move your website viewer from visitor to customer. By representing each level and courting your potential customer through those levels, you will have the power to move your website transactions from failure to success.

The five levels build on one another in many ways. A digital marketing strategy that is done correctly will clearly define all five levels of the process and how they are represented through your site. The strategy will then assist you in setting realistic and attainable digital marketing objectives. It will also assist you in using each step to build and influence the others so that the process continually moves toward the successful close of the sale.

Marketing/Prospecting

Prospecting is the first step in the process and is the result of marketing. It’s the delivery of qualified targeted traffic to your virtual storefront. It can be achieved by search engine optimization, pay per clicks, or advertisements that draw people to your site. Once they are there, it is your job and responsibility to deliver your unique selling proposition (USP). To determine your USP, you will need to understand the following:

  • How your product or service fills a void in the marketplace
  • How your business stands out as distinct and appealing and what sets it apart from the competition

Building Credibility and Trust

In a brick-and-mortar business, trust is built by human interaction. Greeting a person when they walk in the door or physically helping them find something is easily accomplished. This next step can also be done virtually, which will build trust and credibility with visitors to your site.

You also build that same trust and credibility by the elements that surround the design and the development of your website. Your viewer is unconsciously judging your credibility by looking at the following:

  • Site appearance as professional and legitimate
  • Attractive images and working links
  • Proper spelling and grammar
  • Easy navigation
  • Easily located assurance and privacy policies
  • Easily accessible support and product information

Your site should work as a personal shopper, a live virtual assistant that knows your visitors’ needs and offers easily accessible solutions.

Escorting and Courting the Buyer

A person who visits your site has been targeted if you followed the first steps in prospecting. The next step is to qualify your visitor. A person visits your site because they are looking for a solution to a problem, which can be a product or service. Internet marketing studies show that seven out of 10 visitors to a site are prepared to buy. Take the time to escort them to what they need.

Your navigation should be structured to assist those that know exactly what they want, those who know what they want in general but aren’t sure about the specifics, and those that are browsing and need some direction.

Presenting the Product or Service

The presentation process is how you present your products or services to visitors as you guide them through the selection process after you have escorted them and determined their needs in the previous stage.

Note that each level of the process overlaps. As you present your products or services to a visitor, be sure that you are keeping their attention and interest by motivating them to continue with the sale.

Closing the Sale

Make sure that your site effectively closes the sale. This involves providing sufficient information about your products and services, such as assurance policies or guarantees, to ensure customer satisfaction. Also, consider adding testimonials for each product or service to build added credibility. Lastly, be sure to provide specific payment information, involving credit cards or personal checks, to eliminate any guesswork, which can ruin a sale. If you effectively court your potential customer through the five levels, you will have the power to move your website from failure to success.

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Tips to Apply Successfully for Funding

Lets face it, if you dont have a proven track record or some notable credit worthiness, it is tough to get financing. Risk factors and high costs of servicing small accounts are the major reasons for banks and financial institutions to stay away from people who dont have a good credit history.

However, the silver lining in the cloud is – business finance, small or big, is the bread and butter for banks and other financial institutions. If you can convince them that you are a good investment opportunity, you are on!

Following tips might make your application irresistible for banks or other institutions.

1. Be Thoroughly Prepared: You need to satisfy the lenders regarding your track record and your future viability. The documentation required for this has been discussed in my other article All About Small Business Funding.

If you are just starting out, you need financial projections for at least next three years.

A financial projection typically comprises of:

Estimates of your income and expenditure
Working capital estimates
Cash flow statement
Projected Balance Sheets
Precise loan utilization detailing
Profiles of decision making people i.e. top management who would be handling the project(s) for which you need financing
Comprehensive business plan
Some of these documents require professional expertise and you would need a professional accountant to prepare them.
You would also need the following documents apart from above mentioned documents, if you are already an established business and want a small business loan to fund your working capital requirements or your expansion plans.
Copies of the Balance Sheet, Profit and Loss statement, and tax returns of the company
Personal financial statements and tax returns for last three years

2. Anticipate Questions: You need to be well prepared, and need to have a fair understanding of the lending process to anticipate questions you are most likely to face.

Remember, lenders need to be convinced about your loan repayment ability. Ideally your business plan should also include answers to your banker’s questions. The most frequently asked questions are:

How much money do you need? Be exact! You can add a little extra for contingencies.
Long term or short term? Be prepared to go into detail supported by your documents, the time you require to repay the loan.
What are your loan utilization plans? Explain whether it is for capital expenses, working capital, and expansion or to set off old debts.
How you will repay it? You got your cash flow projections here to explain repayment time frame. Use your financial projections and business plan to convince the banker of your repayment capability.

3. Dont Be Apologetic: Remember; banks look for good opportunities to invest. Be confident that you are one of the better opportunities the bank has come across and project that confidence to the banker. It is a deal on equal terms. Banks are not doing you any favor by giving you a loan. You are giving banks good business too. You are an entrepreneur who can and will repay the loan.

4. State the truth and back it. Bankers are very smart people. If you make any unsupported grand statements, take my word, they will see through it, and you will come out looking as someone who is desperate for a loan. And bankers dont touch such people with a barge pole! Better idea is to keep your projections, documents, figures and your statements on the conservative side. You will cast an impression of a cautious and methodical person.

5. First impression is the lasting one. Dress in a professional manner for the interview. All the loan documents must be typed; handwritten documents look unprofessional. This is a business transaction, so treat it as such.

Last but not the least, a word of caution: getting approval for a business loan is good and you are almost through to your path to realizing your dreams. But don’t forget to read the fine print. Loans have hidden costs such as: annual fees, bank charges, closing costs, commissions, and balloon payments. So stay focused and clear-minded about these riders during the loan process. Be sure about your goals, keep focused and work according to the plan. Your small business finance requirement may turn out to be just the dose you needed to turn your dream big!

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Financial Mistakes To Learn From

In this day and age, there really shouldn’t be any reason to make certain financial mistakes. Do a search of the internet and you will find that there are thousands of articles out there that warn you of the pitfalls of certain choices. Advice for living a financially stable life is everywhere. What are you waiting for?

Here are the most common mistakes that I’ve seen people make. I’ve even made a few of them myself. These are the financial mistakes that you can learn from. You’ve probably made a few of them yourself, they are very common.

Mistake #1: Using that little plastic card to get what you want.

We’ll just start off with the number one mistake out there. This is probably the most common mistake in the country. Almost every person in the US today has a credit card. It is almost like a right of passage when you turn eighteen. There are even people out there that aren’t eighteen yet that have them.

Credit card debt is the fastest way to ruin your finances. It is easy to acquire and difficult to pay off. The minimum balance doesn’t pay off enough of your outstanding balance to help you very much. You will be paying on your balances for decades. Even a $500 balance can take you over a decade to pay off if you simply make the minimum payment.

Add in the interest rate, which rarely goes down. If you miss a payment, you will really be paying the bank. Thirty percent interest is common on a credit card once a payment has been missed. And you only have to miss that payment by a day — which can happen in the mail or processing if you don’t plan ahead well enough.

Mistake #2: Buying more home than you can afford.

With the real estate market in the state it is today, many people are regretting their housing decisions. Adjustable rate mortgages are acceptable loan products for some people. But only if they can afford the maximum rate that the loan can hit if interest rates go up. Too many people only consider that introductory rate. They stretch and purchase as much as they can afford. Then, when rates go up and their rate adjusts, they can’t afford the payment. Add that to a slowing housing market, and you may have a foreclosure on your hands.

If you are going to buy a home, make sure that you purchase what you can afford. Take out a fixed-rate mortgage so that you know what your payments will be. If rates go drastically down in the next couple of years, you can always refinance. If rates go up, you are protected. Try to aim for a 15-year mortgage over a 30-year. It will save you hundreds of thousands in interest. But if you can’t do it, a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is an acceptable loan choice for the purchase of a home.

Mistake #3: Not controlling your money.

Too many people live paycheck to paycheck. They have no savings. They have no retirement plan. They have nothing to back them up in the case of an emergency. They have no control over their money.

You have to take control of your finances if you want to retire someday. You have to learn how to budget, save, invest and spend. All it takes is a little time. And once you get in the habit, you will notice that your life has more control. You should say where your money goes, not lenders or creditors or anyone else.

Mistake #4: Not saving for retirement.

There are more seniors in the work place now than there were twenty years ago. And even more than there were fifty years ago. If you want to retire with enough money to live comfortably, you have to start putting something back today. Start an IRA. Contribute to your employer’s 401(k) plan. Figure out how much you need to invest and find a way to do it. This is your future. You don’t want to reach sixty and realize that you can’t afford to stop working. There is no guarantee that you will be able to draw social security or other forms of assistance then. What if you become ill and have to retire? What if you get hurt? Prepare for the future. Start saving for retirement today.

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Immediate Approval for instant cash eases your financial tension!

Seeking extra cash in times of emergency has been daunting? Needs cropped up causing financial crunch. The immediate Approval Personal Loan carry low rate of interest and due to fierce competition they fluctuate from one lender to another. If you are interested in cheap interest rates then the best way is to compare the loan quotes. Loan calculator is another strong tool that helps you to find reasonable rates.

Applicants can apply for the cash regardless of their credit tags like defaults, arrears, late-payments and bankruptcy. The cash is transferred the same day if required details are enclosed accurately. Guaranteed approval quick loan borrower should ensure that an instant approval cash loan should be sort of measure of the last resort. The need for such kind of loans often arises if you have been given a pink slip and you are left with no money for rations and paying your rent. There could be other situations when one has to bear unavoidable extra expenses exceeding earnings.

The bad credit instant approval loan will improve your financial situation either directly or in a roundabout way, you need no doubt it. Otherwise, make sure that the loan is necessary or that you can afford it without sacrifices. A key to considering a loan application is to analyze whether you would be able to afford the monthly payments on your loan if you would see your income reduced by at least 20%. If you could still afford it, though you should take all the precautions possible, you probably have nothing to worry about either.

There is an undisputed evidence of justification when the loan is used to produce rather than to consume. If your loan is meant to reduce debt and thus free money that you spend on interests, if the loan is used to purchase machinery or appliances that will help you earn or save money, then the loan is being put to good use and there is no doubt that it is advisable to apply for one.

Cash advance loans with bad credit are a short-term answer to your unexpected financial problem. Whatever you call it, bad credit cash advance or cash advance loans with bad credit, and they need to be repaid by your next payday. Failing this, the penalties and the interest you pay are quite high, leading you into a further financial mess than you were in, to begin with. Seek help for all your financial queries online.

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Top Financial Mistakes Made by College Students

1. Blowing your school loan money!

Instead of using your financial aid for books, tuition, room & board, many students will choose to finance their extravagant lifestyle of partying, clothes, gadgets, and eating out. These school loans you’ve worked so hard to get should be paying for your education, not you social life…so use the money wisely. You’ll be paying them off for many years to come.

2. Credit Card Debt!

Even responsible adults can rack up some hefty credit card debt, but students, who have no viable income besides their school loan money, and what cash mom & dad give them, have no business getting multiple credit cards. This is a recipe for credit disaster, because now students will not only have their school loans to repay when they graduate, but large credit card balances. Nellie May, the largest student loan maker, says that most graduate students have an average of $5800 in credit card debt.

3. Not Paying Your Bills on Time!

Racking up huge credit debt and not paying your bills on time is a good way to ensure that you can’t purchase a car, rent an apartment or even get a cell phone after you graduate. Keep the credit cards to a minimum, and pay your bills on time to keep your good credit rating. You’ll thank yourself in a few years.

4. Bad Budgeting!

Being a college student generally means living on a fixed income. Weather it be your financial aid money or money from a part-time job, or even money from Mom & Dad, the cash is usually limited and setting up a budget is important. A monthly budget doesn’t mean you can’t do the things you want to do, but simply a plan so you know the “must-pays” actually get paid. Figure out exactly what bills and expenses you have every month and plan for those first. Any money after that you can budget for social / recreational items like CD’s and kegs.

5. Going to a College that’s too Pricey!

Instead of going to your local community college for your pre-req classes and spending $25 a unit, many students feel they have to go to the 4 year university straight out of high school. Many end up returning home and going to a C.C. anyway, but attending a local school first is a good way to save money, and get those required classes out of the way cheap. After you’ve completed these courses, transfer to a 4 year school to complete your undergraduate degree. This will save thousands upon thousands of dollars that you would have racked up on student loans, and been paying off well into your 30’s.

So many of the bad financial decisions students make is a result of poor financial education. Students haven’t been taught by their parents or high school teachers the importance of maintaining a good credit score, paying bills on time, and budgeting income. Wise spending during the college years will ensure that the money you make after graduating will be spent on things you want, not credit card payments, collection companies and school loans.