If you’ve lost some of the enthusiasm you had when you began your job or find yourself daydreaming about the possibilities of expanding your career, you aren’t alone. Most people will spend 40 years or more working and that is a long time to stay on one path! The good news is, the finance industry is growing and offers a wide variety of opportunities that match many skills and interests.
Financial services are critical to each community and help countless individuals find economic prosperity and a good standard of living. Take time to remember what attracted you to the business when you began and that will guide you to successful financial services business ideas.
You already have the financial knowledge and trusted relationships with your clients to keep your business running, so use these steps to generate new business ideas to expand your current offerings and make a bigger difference in your community.
No matter what type of business you are looking to get started, brainstorming is a quintessential first step. Even if you think your first idea is a stroke of genius, pause and keep going! Dive in deeper by asking yourself why people need help with their finances. Are there people worrying about saving enough for retirement? Are small businesses struggling to keep up with their finances?
Successful entrepreneurs think ahead of the trends and outside the box. Begin by identifying the micro trends you’ve noticed in your client base and consider how your business can move into those areas. For instance, many small businesses struggle to qualify for a loan because of poor credit or low FICO scores. Creating a new credit repair business could be a win-win for you and clients who own small businesses.
Follow these strategies to begin brainstorming:
- Write a list of common financial challenges for your community
- Use your insider knowledge to think of everyday tasks that can be improved; for instance, many businesses manually underwrite and are never satisfied with the time it takes
- Research different businesses across the industry to think of ways you can offer more
- Reach out to other financial professionals for feedback on your initial ideas
- Discuss new ideas with family and friends to make your lists longer
Give yourself permission to come up with raw ideas, get feedback, and revise again to best generate a valuable new direction for a financial services business.
2. Conduct Market Research
Every successful business has a strong base of knowledge about its market and the customers it is targeting. For continued success, you want to be positioned as a leader in the local market for your specific financial services business. Market research helps you identify what the locals are seeking out for services and can guide the direction of your business growth.
A gap in the financial services market is the void your business can fill.
Researching your market by reading local news, attending community events, and collecting Census Bureau data can help you:
- Avoid entering into an already saturated market
- Uncover market gaps to allow you to define your unique value proposition
- Better understand the economic forces that impact your community
- Identify the niche customer you are looking to work with
- Find new problems facing your community that your services can help with
- Generate new financial services business ideas
With solid market knowledge in mind, you will know what clients are truly facing and then can create a new business that offers them something they uniquely need.
3. Pinpoint What Bothers You
Be like the founder of Gillette Razors, King Gillette, who used a common frustration as the motivator to start a new business. He shaved every morning before work and couldn’t stand how quickly his razor blade grew dull. Gillette Razor Company grew from that everyday problem and his desire for a better solution.
Write a list of your most common financial woes. Is it managing credit card payments on time? Is it paying off student loans? Use your list as a jumping off point for a new business idea.
Consider these steps to finding the financial frustrations that you can solve:
- Compare your personal list of financial frustrations with a list of market needs to understand clients’ financial motivations
- Connect the frustrations you identified with unique services that you can offer to help clients get out of debt or save more money
- Survey your clients to gain more insight into their financial problems and areas where you can help them
By staying a few steps ahead of the problems clients are already looking to solve, your financial services business will generate new leads and increase word of mouth advertising.
4. Invest in Education
A great way to get moving on a financial service business idea is to further your education and become a pro. Enrolling in continuing education classes will bolster your credibility as a financial professional and make you an asset to the community
Some great ways to further your education are:
A resume containing continued education builds trust and attracts new clients who believe you have the knowledge and experience to back up your work.
5. Generate New Leads
After pursuing education and certification in your trade, it’s time to dial in your business plan. Some of the best financial services business opportunities are already in your back pocket and you can attract new leads by:
But first, focus on identifying services that will keep you top of mind year round. New services like tax preparation or credit repair services can be combined with your offerings in a package that will bring in new clients and generate more income each month.
Offering services at little or no charge can significantly boost your business and be a great financial services marketing tool. Some good ideas for free services include:
- Running a free credit audit
- Offering financial counseling services
- Providing tax consultation services
A multifaceted business will bring in clients seeking one service and be able to increase client satisfaction and year-round revenue by offering more products to suit their needs.
6. Follow Through
Growing a business takes time and requires a solid foundation. Invest in the right resources that will result in long-term gain and expand your connections across the marketplace.
To continue growing and expanding, find a leader in your local community to act as your business mentor. You will gain insight and exposure in the field as well as have a new professional to bounce new business ideas off of.
Another great option is to work with software or online services that provide training and business mentors to clients. The software can streamline your day-to-day operations as well provide your business with a network of resources available inside and outside the office.
Move your financial services business ahead by adding services that will increase customer satisfaction, generate more revenue, and contribute to your community. Learn more about taking the leap forward toward your next financial service business opportunity.
Understanding Bitcoin as an Investment
Analyzing Bitcoin as an investment
Bitcoin has been at the forefront of financial news for a while now. More people want to also understand bitcoin as an investment. Every day, more and more talk about Bitcoins is occurring, not only as a digital currency but also as a financial investment. Many people are intrigued by this digital currency, but they also have reservations about it as well. For now, we will discuss how to evaluate bitcoins as an investment.
There are Bitcoin exchanges, just as there are stock market exchanges. As of November 2017, the largest full-trading Bitcoin exchanges that are available to everyone include, Bitstamp (a Slovenia based exchange), Bitfinex allows you to swap or buy Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Darkcoins. Coinbase is based out of San Francisco in the United States and touts itself as a one-stop solution for Bitcoins. Cryptsy, based in Florida deals with most of the altcoin currencies. BTC-e (based in Bulgaria), and Kraken (based in the United States). The world’s largest Bitcoin exchange, BTC China, is based in China, but that exchange only allows exchanges of bitcoins for Chinese Yuan/Renminbi.
In order to open an account with these exchanges, you usually have to link a bank account to your Bitcoin exchange account, as you need to wire transfer the money for bitcoins to use in your account. Credit cards and PayPal are not options [at least not at the time of writing] because the transactions can be reversed very easily, whereas a wire transfer cannot be reversed (Need financial advice on this?)
Usually, only bank accounts from that specific exchange’s home-based country can be linked to the exchange account (for example, CoinBase, based in the U.S., only allows U.S. bank accounts).
Like the financial stock markets, bitcoins fluctuate in value against real currencies such as the U.S. Dollar, the Euro, the Japanese Yen, and others. One important distinction between Bitcoins and real currencies to this point in Bitcoin’s history is the fact that Bitcoin’s valuation has been much more volatile than real currencies.
In December 2013, Bitcoin’s valuation went from about $675 down to about $425 within twelve hours, about a 37% drop in valuation. That is virtually unheard of with any real currency (barring something major like The Great Depression or some other major economic event).
The reason that this sharp drop in valuation took place is that the People’s Bank of China told third-party payment processors that they should have nothing more to do with Bitcoin exchanges. As a result, Bitcoin kept getting cut off from being supplied by the payment processors; in fact, Bitcoin was cut off by three payment processors inside of a week. Banks have also been told to not deal with Bitcoin any longer.
This event reflects the major concern that most financial experts have about the currency. Many feel it is too volatile as an investment, leading to sharp price spikes and declines that are virtually not seen in other currencies, the equity market, or mutual funds. Most financial experts feel that the digital currency must stabilize in value and not be so prone to such rapid peaks and valleys for it to be taken more seriously as a solid investment.
In the past, the problem that many financial experts and institutions have had with Bitcoin is that not enough is known about how the currency is mined and how it is “regulated”, so that the currency stays on track of having 21 million bitcoins in the year 2140.
While safeguards are in place to keep the currency on that path, there have been attempts to try to disrupt the network and give a few select bitcoin miners the ability to mine as many coins as they wish. There has also been concern that a group of miners could combine together, and work toward their mutual benefit, and to the detriment of everyone else on the network. This would occur by harnessing their mining power to get more coins for themselves and leave little to the rest of the network.
Some will always question and doubt how legitimate of a currency Bitcoin is, including its true valuation. This is likely due to the fact that Bitcoin was the first digital currency, and financial experts are unsure of how to truly evaluate its worth.
More and more companies are starting to accept it as payment, but not enough is known about the mining process and how it can maintain itself to fulfill the promise of 21 million bitcoins in the year 2140. Plus, Bitcoin can be susceptible to wild value peaks and valleys whenever an event associated with the network takes place, such as when Chinese third-party payment processors and banks are told to not deal with Bitcoin exchanges.
Large companies such as Stripe and Shopify are now accepting Bitcoins as payments. This trend is only going to increase.
However, in 2017, one Bitcoin is valued at over $7000 US dollars. So, it has gained ground as an accepted currency in the digital world and does have a high-value these days.
What Baby Boomer Retirement Means for New Financial Service Professionals
Baby boomers are aging, and their retirement is making way for newer financial service entrepreneurs. With more jobs opening up and the digital world changing at an accelerating pace – professionals starting their career are in an ideal position.
A retiring generation not only means a new workforce, it also means new ideas and methods that can further modernize the financial service industry. Read on to learn how baby boomers phasing out of the industry, along with new technology in the financial services market, is setting up financial service professionals for success.
5 Ways That Credit Repair Benefits Financial Services Businesses
Are you looking to add a new offering to your business skill set? Credit repair is an in-demand service that goes hand-in-hand with other financial services. Not only can repairing credit for your clients increase your revenue, it can also help you retain clients for other financial services. Read on to learn five ways credit repair can benefit your financial service business.
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