How to Get the Most From a Business Counselor

The one trait all successful business owners have in common is that they ask for help when they need it. And the good news is help is readily available. You can find a business counselor or coach in just about any location not far from you and sessions are often at no charge, especially if you’re planning to start a business.Whether you see a business counselor through a free service or choose a fee-based business coach, here are some tips counselors and coaches want you to know to get the most from their sessions.1. Come with something, rather than nothing. I recently had an ideal business client, at least that’s how I viewed him following our counseling session. He wanted to start a lawn care and landscaping business and was employed fulltime doing just that for a local municipality. He had already asked his supervisors if it would be OK to start a business on the side, one that he could do in the evenings and weekends. They gave him the OK, had him sign the necessary secondary employment documents and were pleased that he was making plans for his professional future (after all, jobs with government entities are not as secure as they once were).He already had his own equipment, a business license, name and business cards. He came to me to find out how to reach business owners in his local community. We talked about his target market, his services, how to gather the information needed to set prices, his competition, how to ask for business-a myriad of topics that ended in steps he would take to launch his business.He felt energized afterward, and I felt refreshed, thinking, “Why was that session so productive and how can I have more clients like that?” Here’s the answer. He came with something. He had experience in the industry, a current job and savings to fund start-up expenses, equipment, and an idea of his target customer. I contrast him with another client who came in recently wanting to start a business “to help women with things like housing, childcare, life skills, because I know so many women who really need help.” You get the point.2. Trust the counselor. Confidentiality is important and business counselors will honor it. If it makes you feel better for them to sign a confidentiality statement before reading your business plan or swear they won’t steal or share your business idea, fine. But trust me. Business counselors have been exposed to all types of business ideas and very little is unique to them. Even so, they’ve chosen a career as a business counselor and are not looking for a unique idea to pirate.3. Be open and honest about your financial situation. A business counselor can be a great resource to find funding and they can help you put together a funding proposal, but you must be open and honest about your financial situation and the earlier the better. A business counselor, especially in the first session, may not want to come right out and ask “How much money do you have to start this business?” or “How much do you have to put toward a loan?” but it’s important for them to know early to help you find appropriate funding resources. Vague statements such as “I should be OK in getting a loan,” or “I should have enough collateral to apply for a commercial loan” really doesn’t help. Provide details to the counselor and the earlier you do this the further along you’ll be.If you’re an existing business owner and the counselor asks to see financial records, avoid responding with, “My accountant takes care of all that, so we’re good there.” Financial records can reveal quite a bit about management of the business. Use the counselor’s expertise and tools for financial analysis. The counselor can save you money by examining your records.In additional to your financial situation, Warren Williams, head of Turning Point Business Coaching in North Carolina adds, “Be open to what the coach can teach you. A good coach truly has your best interest at heart, for they genuinely want to help you (as well as your business) be successful. Remain open to the opportunity to make your business better by making yourself better”4. Do your assignments. Business clients tend to disappear or play “hide and seek” once the counselor gives them an assignment. An assignment might be to do some market research. If you’re not familiar with what or how to do it, simply say so. Don’t nod as if you understand. Avoiding follow-up calls from the counselor or not responding to emails because you didn’t complete your “homework” just delays the process of reaching your business goals. Let the counselor know you’re having difficulty with the assignment and could use more guidance. No need to feel embarrassed.5. Understand the counselor’s role. As with any type of counseling, the idea is to help you discover solutions as opposed to telling you what to do. “Counselors provide a sounding board for you. They’ll challenge you and help you see situations in new ways. They’ll help you find solutions, not impose them,” says long-time North Carolina business counselor Maggi Braun. Don’t feel frustrated because you didn’t get the “answers” you were looking for.6. Be willing to consider many ideas. Whether you’re a new or established business owner, keep an open mind. This is closely related to the previous point. Think of your time with a business counselor as an exploration session. Many ideas or solutions may come to the surface. Be willing to consider them and then winnow out the best. If you have to do a pros and cons sheet to find the right one for you, do it. Being wedded to a particular business name, idea, process, procedure, etc. can keep your business from moving forward. Be willing to approach the business from a different perspective and be prepared to spend time after each session digesting the ideas discussed.7. Plan for more than one session. One session with a business counselor really won’t do justice to the counseling experience. At least three sessions will give you a good foundation on how to proceed. As mentioned at the beginning, cost shouldn’t be an issue because you can find free business counseling services at your local colleges and universities. Your local library, chamber, business license office, or even a web can provide a referral.Barbara L. Hall is director of the Small Business Center at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College in Salisbury N.C. She is also currently enrolled in the Masters of Entrepreneurship Degree Program at Western Carolina University. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information and any links remain intact. Copyright 2014 by Barbara L. Hall.

Student Loan and Financing Options

University or college students today are not all recent graduates from high school. They come in all shapes and sizes – and ages. Many are working on their second or third degree, and some of them are professionals who are returning to school to enhance their careers. It is not wise to put your tuition on a credit cards as the interest rates are excessive. Good news: All students qualify for certain student loans regardless of past credit record. Student Loans There are basically two types of student loans to choose from. They are either federal or private. To apply for a loan with no co-signer, you will need to apply for a federal student loan. You will need a co-signer or have a good credit record to apply for private student loans. Not every student is in a positive position to ask someone to co-sign a loan, and some individuals would rather not involve other people in their financial burdens. Federal student loans are the best choice since every student is eligible to apply for this. There is no credit check involved. Most private lenders need to protect their own interests, so they have to do a credit check to make sure the student will be able to repay the loan. It is much more difficult for students to get a private loan because of the risks involved. Most Popular Since some students are fresh from high school, they have not had a chance to establish a credit. Two student loans that require no credit check:
Federal Stafford Loan
Perkins Loans Try to apply for these first because they are low-interest and long-term loans.
The Stafford Loan is the most popular. You must fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). It is designed for the most financially needy students. The government picks up the tab for the repayment of interest until the student has graduated and can assume a normal repayment plan. You can reapply for the Stafford Loan every school year. The only drawback to the Stafford Loan is that the amount awarded is usually meager, and the student may have to apply for additional loans to meet all expenses. The Perkins Loan offers from $1,000 to $4,000 with a nine-month grace period after graduation. It is awarded on a first come, first served basis. It is necessary that you apply as soon as possible. Grants and Scholarships Millions of needy students apply for grants and scholarships which do not need to be paid back. There is no credit check required, but usually there is proof needed of low-income. Often scholarships are based on merit as well as their intended field of study or pursuit of a particular profession. No credit check is required for the following:
Pell Grant
State-Based Grants
Private Scholarships
Disadvantaged Low-interest, non-credit-check loans are available to financially or socially disadvantaged students. The school or university must be a participant in the loan. Check with your financial aid office. These are usually sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services for Nurses or others pursuing medical degrees. Multiple Student Loans You can apply for a combination loan which will consolidate your existing loans. You may need to have a co-signer in order to be approved for the consolidation loan. Federal Loan Consolidations programs allow you to roll all of your loans into one low monthly payment. It may help you cut your student loan monthly debt by up to 50 percent. There is no credit check needed for the federal loan, but usually your repayment period is extended to give you a lower monthly pay back amount.

First Comes Success – Then Comes the Dreaded Fear-Based E-Mini Trading Blues

One of the first things I tell my new members is that trading is primarily an intellectual exercise and all the oscillators and indicators you can accumulate will not necessarily make you a better trader. In short, how well you trade is directly related to how well you can think like a trader and not a layman fresh off the street. That being said, some of your best trade setups will occasionally end up producing negative results and this can be very discouraging to new e- mini traders.Okay, I think we all know that you, as an e-mini trader, are going to lose some trades regardless of the merits of your setup. There is no trade that has 100% probability of success and losing trades is simply part of the process of learning to trade. I lose plenty of trades and so do all professional traders. The real mark of a truly accomplished trader is how he or she handles and unexpected losing trade. My advice is to look at each trade individually and pay no mind to the previous trade, whether it was a winner or loser.What if you lose 2 or 3 great set up trades in succession?Well, it is certainly not out of the realm of possibility that you could lose several correctly placed, high probability trades at some point in your trading career. To be sure, probability dictates that you will lose several very high probability trades in succession; taking a trade that you consistently win with and watching it fail can be confusing and disheartening to most individuals and they develop a “bunker” mentality. Quite simply, they lose their confidence in their “go to” trades and become very conservative and hesitant to trade with authority.As a new trader, you typically trade with your mentor for several days and hit a good number of winning trades. I like to follow members of my program for several days and make sure they are taking the trades that are likely to be profitable for them. But eventually every trader wants to pick his or her own trades and develop a sense of individuality in trading. It seems to me that the tendency to “go it alone” happens at about two months of live trading. Then, they hit execute 2 or 3 high probability setups that go south on them in a big way. They lose confidence. They lose their edge. You have to have some sort of edge to successful. My edge has always been not restricting myself to lagging indicators and trading in real-time. I guess I would mention that any trader has to have a certain level of resiliency, but that’s for another article.Fear based trading can be one of the most debilitating conditions a new trader can encounter. They seem to lose the ability to “pull the trigger” and off and end up entering trades late and taking profits far earlier than normal. In short, one of the surest signs of fear based trading is taking profits very early in a trade and not letting it run.In my experience, traders tend to buckle down and outgrow this fear as they develop confidence in probability and acceptance of a few losing trades along the way. But there is another group of traders who simply cannot stand losing and each losing trade drives another nail in their coffin of trading failure. My experience with this type of trader is they began a quest for the “trading holy Grail” and spend years and thousands of dollars trying to find that 100% guaranteed trading method. It doesn’t exist.Overcoming fear based trading takes patience and the steady hand of an experienced mentor and is usually not an insurmountable obstacle in a new trader’s quest for success. On the other hand, those traders that simply cannot accept a losing trade find them self in a never-ending search for the next magic e-mini system or a miraculous indicator that shows all winning trades with 100% accuracy; good luck with that.

Are You Choosing the Right Stock Market Advisory Company

What do you do if you want to learn driving a car? You will try to find an expert teacher, isn’t it? You do not want to avail the services of a novice individual to help you out, but a professional person can provide you the vital tips and most importantly guide you efficiently. Similarly, when it comes to investing in the stock market for the first time, you require a knowledgeable advice to attain your financial goals and get profitable returns.

If you are a beginner, then it is quite obvious that you may be having no information about the process of buying the right shares in the market. In such a situation, getting the right tips from an experienced financial advisor or a registered advisory company will truly prove to be a great blessing in disguise. However, there are some of the important things that have to be kept in mind while choosing the top stock market advisory company, which are as follows:

How much assistance do you actually require?

Before you make up your mind to hire an advisor, it is imperative that you must first decide about the kind of service you require from them. You may need their help at the beginning or during the time of any issues. This is because an advisor has to formulate a map according to your requirements. Hence, it is suggested to ascertain your needs first and then take further action.

Choose a top ranked advisory company

It is a very important point that has to be taken into the consideration. Availing services of the well known advisory company or a financial advisor is an absolute necessity. Make it a point to carry out a proper background or research work about the company. Check out their credentials, reputation, experience, etc before hiring them.

Asking for a sample financial plan initially makes sense

When hiring a financial advisor, then do not forget to ask for sample plan first. It is imperative to note that there is no such thing called the perfect plan. A sample plan will help you to determine whether an advisory company is actually making sense according your requirements or not.


The financial planners or advisory companies can really turn out to be the greatest asset for you if you choose the best one. They are just like the professional sailors who can help you out to sail through stock investment related problems quite efficiently.

Deepak is a financial advisor who likes to provide quality tips to the people facing any issues with regard to investing in the stock market. He likes to keep himself updated about the stock market by reading articles, news and blogs, etc.

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