When Mom Does A Retail Conference

Whenever I see or hear anything that closely resembles a dollar sign- or any currency, for that matter- my eyes twinkle and glow as they would if I saw Ryan Gosling in the flesh.  Nothing gets my heart pumping like a good business opportunity.  I can probably blame that on the entrepreneurship blood which flows through my veins, as I come from a family of businessmen- and women.

I got somewhat of an adrenaline rush when I heard about this upcoming event: the 21st NRCE or 21st National Retail Conference (NRCE) and Stores Asia Expo.  This happens to be the largest retail industry event in the Philippines, and is set for on August 9 to 10, 2012 at the world-class SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.

This event merges with the government’s “It’s more fun in the Philippines” campaign, as it invites Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez to talk about how the campaign is in synch with the retail industry growth, and how it provides for a more fun shopping experience.

The keynote speaker on the opening day will be none other than Coca-Cola’s top honcho, aka. President and CEO, William Schultz. Coke is undeniably one of the better-loved brands in the Philippines, so its participation hopes to further enhance the “fun” part of the conference.

You’ll find the full program here.

What I’m most looking forward to is the topic “Harnessing the Power of Digital Marketing and Online Commerce for Retail Growth”.   Buying and selling products online is the emerging trend today, as almost everyone is on the internet nowadays.  You reach a wider market if you go for digital marketing.

I’m also keenly interested in Living the Brand: Employees as Brand Ambassadors.  Who can better sell a product than its employees, right?

As for improvements in the retail sector, I’d like to see more consumer protection.  More than attracting new customers, retailers should know how to keep them.  Happy retailers make for happy consumers, and vice versa.

If you want to take part in this, register here.

The 21st NRCE is proudly presented by PLDT Alpha Enterprise, SM Department Store, Hewlett Packard, Robinsons Malls, Araneta Center, Ayala Malls, Meralco, IBM Philippines, DHL Supply Chain Phils., Inc., Festival Supermall, Wilcon Depot, Celine, The Philippine Star, BusinessWorld, ABS CBN, Schutzen, Mobext, Inc., Crossover 105.1., Entrepreneur, Focalcast, Q Creatives, Cylix Technologies, Mediamagnet, Catalyst Media, Infinite Grafix, Travel Club, APL Logistics, Avolution, Live Media, Starmall and Bayantel.

For more information about the 21st NRCE visit http://www.nrceph.com/

3 Awesome Tools for Starting a Business

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Beginning a business is not easy. A new business requires a lot of micro-managing and needs a lot of involvement. Businessmen tend to be disheartened when they find the task too exhausting. This is why online tools are quite useful in helping budding entrepreneurs sustain their initiatives. As up-and-coming businessmen, it’s hard to spend too much money. There is the need to shell out some capital, but the goal is to earn more and spend less to promote and keep the business in good working order. The good thing is that there are awesome tools that are free or low-cost and readily available online to help you with this undertaking. Here are three of them:

1.  Bitrix24.com

Bitrix24.com is an online tool that serves as an operational foundation for a business. It helps the people involved get used to handling things such as file sharing, operations monitoring, workforce management, live streaming, CRM and more, all in a unified work panel. This is perfect for starting businesses because it’s entirely free for enterprises with 12 employees or less. Yes, you read that right. It’s 100% free for those types of businesses. The support is immensely solid, and it won’t require too much computer space since everything is cloud-based – no installation required – and is accessible anywhere, anytime, making your virtual workstation right where you need it to be. There is room for expansion later in time for only $99 per month. This subscription plan already can accommodate an unlimited number of users.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

2. PickyDomains.com

Part of starting a good business is getting the right business name, slogan or campaign title for your marketing efforts, whether that’s for the service or the goods you offer. If you can do this without outside help, good for you. If not, this is where PickyDomains.com comes in. Started in 2007 and with 50,000+ total contributors registered with the site to date, imagine receiving hundreds, if not thousands, of suggestions on any given day for just a fraction of the cost branding agencies charge. For $50 for a name or website domain (or $75 for a slogan), you become a client. And all you need to do next is furnish a short description of the name, domain or slogan you require. Your requirements will be taken by contributors into consideration when giving out suggestions. PickyDomains employs a satisfaction guarantee and will return your money in case you don’t achieve your desired results, that is, none of the suggestions are to your liking.

3. JetRadar.com

Limited budget is a common complaint among starting businesses. JetRadar.com, a meta search engine that functions like a fine-tooth comb, can access data from more than 700 airlines and hundreds of flight websites in its search for the best and cheapest airfare deals available, and makes this data publicly ready and accessible in a single site. Aside from saving you time and effort that you would otherwise have to utilize in the searching-and-comparing process, JetRadar also ensures that your limited budget can be stretched to the fullest.

Mommy Money Matters: Investing for the Future

When I opened my email this morning, I nearly fell off the edge of my seat when I got an email from Human Resources.  No, it’s not because they caught me smooching with a deliciously handsome Middle School teacher inside the elevator.  It’s because they’re honoring me at the school’s year-end program for my five years of service.  I can hardly believe it!  Have I been working in this institution for that long now?

And then it hit me.  Two realizations, actually.  First, although I believe that I’m still hot and foxy at this age, the fact is, I’m not getting any younger.  Second, I do have some amount of money saved up in the bank, but it’s just sitting there idly.  I got to thinking that I should start putting my funds management skills to good use and invest my hard-earned money in something worthwhile.

But, where and how do I begin?  Initially, I guess it helps to identify my specific goals.  Are they short term, or for the long haul?  Mine would have to be medium term, as my priority right now is to save up for my daughter’s education.

Alongside that, I’d also want to bring to the forefront my goals at philanthropy.  I have to admit that I may be a bit of a tightwad, but I do have a soft spot for those in need.  I want to give back and pay it forward.

With the plethora of investment options out there, I am nothing short of overwhelmed.  There are mutual funds, treasury bills, etc.  It’s good to note that there are resources online which can help those of us who know nothing about these things.  I stumbled upon www.perpetual.com.au and found their site to be informative and helpful.  They offer sound advice when it comes to making investments.

There’s always an element of risk involved with any financial venture,  but with careful planning and studying, I should be fine.  I’m willing to take that risk, anyway, so here I go…

How about you?  What investment options are you considering?

Easy Money for Your Emergency Needs

Medical emergencies often strike suddenly and without warning. In a perfect world, we would have an overflowing savings account to combat life’s emergencies. Of course, in a perfect world, emergencies would never happen in the first place.

Emergencies aren’t just insanely stressful: they’re also incredibly costly. Worse still, you often don’t have time to wait around for another paycheck or a bank loan. You need money, and you need it now. Luckily for those suffering through medical emergencies, there are emergency sources of cash that can arrive in as little as 24 hours.

Image from Flickr


Online Personal Loans

Online personal loans have two benefits in an emergency: they’re simple to process, and they’re incredibly fast. For example, here’s how the process works for online personal loans from greatplainslending.com:

  1. Apply online for a loan from $200 to $1000. 
     Fill out the online application. You must prove that you’re over 18, have access to a working email account, got a secure form of income (employment, etc.), and have a working checking account with limited penalties (no bounced checks, no overdraft charges, a positive balance, etc.).
  2. Find out if you’ve been approved. An employee should be able to let you know whether you’ve been approved for online personal loans in a matter of minutes.
  3. See the money in your account on the next business day. If you fill out your application by6:00 p.m. EST, you should see money in your account on the following business day.

What You Should and Shouldn’t Use an Online Personal Loan For

Online personal loans should not be used for non-necessities. Don’t get a personal loan to finance that latest gadget you’ve been eyeing or to buy a cute pair of shoes. Personal loans are for emergency situations: when you need money immediately to take care of a current crisis.

Examples include: medical emergencies, car repairs or breakdowns, severe housing problems (flooding, etc.), and family emergencies. Personal loans are also a good option for applicants with low or zero credit. In fact, if you’ve got a less-than-stellar credit rating, online personal loans may be the only loan you qualify for. 

Have You Ever Suffered from a Medical Emergency?

How did you cope with your medical emergency? Ever received an online personal loan? Got any advice for fellow readers who might be in your shoes? Share your experiences in the comments.


Free Yourself From Mortgage Woes

Home is where the heart is, they say. But what do you do when your heart keeps pumping wildly out of fear that you may one day lose your beloved home? That fear may not be unfounded at all if you sooner or later end up falling short when it comes to paying off the mortgage on your house. You stand to lose that house you’ve worked so hard for, and your dreams start to come tumbling down.

With the many expenses we moms have to face each day, we sometimes find it somewhat of a herculean task to battle wits with rising interest rates on our home loans. As much as we moms- single moms, most especially- want to do things on our own, we have to realize that there are times when we do need to call on the powers that be for much-needed help. This may be the time when we have to seek help with Mortgage refinancing from the experts.

I happen to have a friend who’s in a bit of a mortgage slump these days. She was just about to shave her head out of sheer frustration when I jumped in and tried to help her out with her dilemma. I told her to ask around and scour the net for mortgage advice. I stumbled upon Trulia.com and found sound advice there.

I likewise learned about the benefits you can get from an FHA Streamline Refinance. Lenders or companies which offer this streamlined refinance service help you save on monthly payments and help lower the interest rates on your mortgage. They’ll save you all the extra paperwork and home-loan-related heartache.

When it comes to mortgage problems, we simply have to know where to look. Once we find an efficient mortgage refinancing company to help us, we’ll have one less thing to worry about as we go back to our more important mommy duties.

Helpful Financial Tips for Single Moms

Single moms don’t have it easy when it comes to finances.  It’s a cold hard fact that we provide for our kids out of our own pockets.  Well, if you’re lucky enough to have been blessed with deep pockets, or if you regularly get a fat sum of money deposited from your ex-husband’s to your bank account, then putting food-and more- on the table should not be so much of a problem.

For the most part, it’s us and us alone when it comes to dealing with financial matters- from the heart-pounding task of filing a tax extension to clearing up credit card debt.  Dealing with finances is merely a chunk in the whole single-parenting pie, but we do have to straight-facedly take a bite of it.  Here are some things we can do to sort out our finances and save money:

Cut down on luxuries.  Whether you’re a mom who can’t last a day without a tall Starbucks latte or you find it extremely difficult to say no to your friend who keeps selling you fine jewelry, you have to try to cut down on unnecessary expenses.  Sure, we all need to reward ourselves, but that can be done once in a while.  Let’s face it, they’re called luxuries because they are things which we can do without.

Make it a habit to save.  That old piggy bank which has been gathering dust in the deepest recesses of your kid’s toy chest may have to once and for all see the light of day.  Try to put aside some money each day, and before you know it, it’ll amount to something big enough to pay for something really important.

Sort out those taxes.  Even if you happen to be a work at home mom, you still can’t escape paying taxes.  Try to avail of a good type of tax preparation software to help you take the guesswork out of tax-paying.  With all the intricacies of paying taxes, you may need some help.

Clear out debt.  If you can help it, don’t loan money from any entity, living or otherwise, unless it’s for something worthwhile such as a house.  If you still have a huge credit card bill staring you in the face, try to pay it off all at once with whatever money you’ve already saved.  Nothing can make you breathe more freely than being debt-free.

If we didn’t have our kid’s future to think about, splurging on shoes would be ok to add to our daily to-do list.   But the thing is, we single moms must save up for their future while having to cut corners today.  In the end, giving up dreams of having that gorgeous Louis Vuitton bag will pay off.