12 End-of-Year Personal Finance Must Do’s

With the end of the year looming, there are many tasks that must be completed before this impending deadline.There are even a few perks that might help to ease the transition into the new year.While I am by no means an accountant, financial planner or lawyer, I have come up with a list of items that our family is sure to address before midnight on December 31st.I would recommend getting in touch with a professional for a complete listing of to-dos and their financial implications.1. Make Donations to Non-Profit Organizations -The winter season is a great time to do a little “spring cleaning” and get rid of items that you no longer need.Not only will you get a tax deduction from most of the items that you donate, but more importantly, people in need will be the recipients.Warm coats, winter clothes, and blankets are perfect items to donate this winter season.Spring and summer clothes, are too, as secondhand retail stores stock items one season ahead.Appliances and electronics end up as gifts during the holidays.Bathroom towels and accessories and comforter sets find their way into homes where couples are just starting out.Just make sure to talk to an accountant about the requirements to receive a deduction.2. Pay Regular Household Bills -With the hustle and bustle of the season, make sure that you stay on top of your bills.Put a reminder in your smart phone or on your calendar.You can even tie a big bow around a stack of bills and leave them out on a kitchen counter or on the desk in the office.3. Pay Taxes and Fees -There are many types of taxes and fees that have a deadline of December 31st, so be sure you know what your liabilities are and make them a priority.While federal taxes are not due until April 15th, quarterly taxes are due at year-end.You may also have association fees that are tied to your neighborhood or professional memberships.Review your bills because the due date may actually be January 1st, which poses the risk that you will mentally categorize them as a responsibility that has to be taken care of in January.4. Mail Rebates -Oh how rebates are a procrastinator’s nightmare, but luckily, many of them have a mail-in-date of the end of the year.Companies are betting that you won’t send them in, which means you will have paid full price for that item that seemed like a steal when you bought it.If you do not take care of a rebate as soon as you get it, make sure to staple the form, a cut out UPC code, serial number, item number and the original receipt to a white piece of computer paper and write the deadline date across the paper in bold marker.Fortunately, many rebates are online these days, so they are a bit less of a hassle.5. Annual Benefits Elections -Most companies have an annual enrollment and benefit election period between November and December.This period has a firm close date, after which adjustments can not be made unless there is a major life change.You will want to review your 401K contributions, medical, dental, and vision plans, health care spending account contributions and short-term and long-term disability options.For the time being, some companies might even offer other perks such as additional life insurance, legal services and stock options.Take advantage of these while you can.6. Retirement Account Contributions -There are several options for saving money for retirement, but many have contribution deadlines of year-end.Talk with a financial planner about a 401K, Roth IRAs, and Traditional IRAs as well as other investing options such as stocks, mutual funds, bonds and T-bills.7. Funding College Accounts -There are quite a few opportunities for funding a child’s college education, as well.Some states have plans that freeze the cost of a college education at today’s price, even if your child will not be attending for years to come.There are also investment accounts, such as Education IRAs, that should be discussed with a professional to obtain maximum benefit and protection of your contributions.8. Transferring Money -With the Death Tax alive and well, many people take advantage of transferring assets to their loved ones long before they pass.The federal government allows between $13,000 and $14,000 to be gifted to any individual per year without incurring a gift tax.This is also a topic to discuss with a financial planner to get a complete understanding of the rules and tax implications.9. Financial Contributions to your Religious Institution -Any contributions that you make will not only serve you well from a tax deduction standpoint, but it allows your religious institution to reach out to hurting or needy people during the holidays.Your institution also has an annual budget that relies on end-of-year contributions to help meet it.10. Use Gift Certificates and Gift Cards -Since companies generally run their business by calendar year and perform end-of-year duties in December, your unused gift certificates and gift cards are in danger of expiring.Make sure to contact the places for which you are holding credits to find out their holiday hours of operation.This little perk can at least provide some relief from the stress of spending money.11. Buy a Car -Car dealerships often have end-of-year buying incentives that help reduce inventory before they incur year-end carrying costs.These rebates are often quite substantial since they have met their sales quota for the year and have received their marketing and advertising dollars from the manufacturer.Plus, with the new year’s models already on the lot, last year’s models become much less attractive to buyers.Throw in the fact that salesmen’s bonuses help pay off their holiday purchases and you’ve got a dealership that is motivated to move cars.12. Buy a House -The winter break is the second busiest time of year to buy a home.Kids are out of school and adults have vacation time that they have to take.Couple that with the fact that builders also pay inventory taxes and you’ve got yourself a wonderful opportunity to take advantage of.One very important detail – make sure that you purchase the home early enough to get your homestead paperwork filed for the following year.I hope this list of the 12 End-of-Year Personal Finance Must Do’s provides you with some financial benefit, too.Here’s to another Inspired Minute!

What Is Market Research Why Is It Important to Business Success?

Launching your product? Want to know what the market is all about now? What does the data say about the current market status? Is it a good time for your product to be launched? Will the audiences perceive your product? How different it is from other products? These questions might arise in your mind always. For that there is a solution which is called Market Research.
What is MarketResearch?
It is the process of assessing the market for the launch of new products with conducting a thorough research directly with the consumer. This lets the company to identify its target market and gather statistics and data from the opinions gathered from consumers regarding the product. Market Research are mostly done by the companies itself or through third parties who are experienced in the market research field. A lot of marketing strategies can be used for market research such as surveys, product testing and directly approaching the consumer groups for their opinions regarding the product.
Now the question is What is the need for MarketResearch?
The purpose of doing market research is to assess the market related to the product or service to gather results how the consumers will react to the product. The companies may try to find out what the consumer likes and what not and where does their product stand between these and how to make it better so that the consumer perceives it. They can remodel the product according to that and bring about changes to the actual product so that it fares successfully in the market after its launch.
How is market research done?
MarketResearch requires a lot of strategies and plans to be implemented to bring out fair amount of results for the company. The companies develops variety of steps with proper planning. It gathers information regarding the market and the company must analyze the data that has been collected to look after the relevant data that can be used later on to bring modifications to the product.
What is the use of Market Research results?
The company which is planning to launch its new product must conduct the market research to find out consumers views and also data regarding the product. These data helps the companies bring changes to the new products. If the company thinks that any alterations is required to bring to the product which may result in bringing success to the product right before or after the launch. To catch the consumers eyes the companies use this data and statistics to make sure the product is worth showing interest for and the consumers will be in benefit.What is the Role of GigIndia in MarketResearch?
GigIndia is the ultimate place for finding people for conducting market research because GigIndia specializes in marketing strategies which is helpful for businesses to become successful and get best results in returns as GigIndia has a huge student workforce who can perform the tasks given to them. Apart from that GigIndia plans everything from how to conduct the surveys, provide test samples to the consumers and also gather their thoughts over certain products and they compile all the information regarding the market research programme and sends them to the company to make sure they find it useful in bringing out any changes by the help of these results.
Nowadays market research is one of the most important tools for every business because it ensures you about the market scenario going around nowadays in the market and having consumers thoughts over a product gives you the proper results as what is the good factor and what is the bad factor about the product. So it is always recommended to conduct a market research always before launching a product in the market and for that GigIndia is the best place to work with.

Is Your Brand Shut Down for Business?

Part 1 – Developing a Competitive Brand Than Can Always WinThe recent federal government shutdown fiasco got me thinking about how personal brands are also often at risk for shutdowns due to a variety of internal and external factors. Without delving into political details or assigning specific blame to any one person or party, I think most people agree that even with the recent temporary reopening, our current government is broken. Neither side is really “winning” these days.Politicians may manage to survive this kind of negative event, but your brand cannot. The turmoil plaguing Washington, D.C, is also plaguing our business and social sectors, so you must ensure that your brand is competitive enough to win no matter how treacherous the playing field becomes. Let’s quickly review a few key lessons about competitive, winning brand-building that can be gleaned from the most recent federal government shutdown.Strength through Compromise
In an effort to appear “strong,” many politicians in both major parties have adopted an attitude that compromise is a sign of weakness and the only way to win is to bullheadedly advance your own agenda and beliefs, never even considering making a tradeoff in a deal to achieve a greater goal.One look at the approval ratings of the current Congress should tell you how much respect such “strong” posturing generates. If you refuse to compromise, your brand will be seen as inflexible and stagnant, not fresh and powerful. Obviously when negotiating for a position, promotion or assignment you want to put your best foot forward and obtain your maximum advantage, but not at the expense of alienating the people you are dealing with. The key to brand success is developing repeat customers who buy your brand on a regular basis because it becomes a hallmark of quality, not strong-arming people into one-time purchases that result in a bad case of “buyer’s remorse.”You Don’t Have All the Answers
Politicians these days like to tell voters they (and their parties) have every answer to every problem that could possibly arise, and there is no chance an opponent could have even one good solution. This system of belief is just as false in business as it is in politics, and will shut your brand down as quickly as it shut down the federal government.A winning brand is based on projecting an image of confidence, competence and authority in your area of branded expertise. However, left unchecked this image can extend into arrogance if you take the attitude that you are the only one with any “real” authority in your branded area of expertise. A true professional is dedicated to always learning more, which requires having open ears and an open mind. People want answers, but don’t want them shoved down their throat.Make Yourself Look Good, Not the Other Guy Look Bad”Mudslinging,” or focusing on your opponents’ flaws rather than your own strengths, is nothing new in politics. But it has gotten particularly nasty as of late and was in full evidence during the shutdown. Politicians going out of their way to make their opponents look bad hardly greases the wheels of government, and going out of your way to make your brand’s opponents look bad will not grease the wheels of your career.It is surely tempting when trying to win a job, promotion or client to bring up the perceived or real flaws of whomever else may be competing for the same end goal. Don’t do it. Focus on how good you are and how much value your brand delivers. Anything else makes you (and your brand) look petty and also creates clouds of confusion and mistrust that will obscure the advancement of your brand as much or more as it impedes the brands of your competitors.Heart Check – How Competitive is Your Brand?Now that you know all about what keeping your brand competitive really means and what it takes to achieve and maintain a competitive brand, let’s do a heart check on the health of your efforts to make your brand competitive. Answer each question using the following scale of one to five hearts. Then add up the total and see how “heart-healthy” your level of brand competitiveness really is!Scale5♥Wait, that’s really, really true about me- Strongly agree
4♥That would be me- Agree
3♥50/50 sometimes, sometimes not- somewhat agree
2♥That absolutely has nothing to do with me-Disagree
1♥Let me take the fifth on this- Strongly disagree6.5 Heart Check Questions1. I don’t back down easily in a negotiation, but I’m willing to compromise to reach a mutually beneficial outcome.
2. I always make sure people I do business with will want to do business with me in the future.
3. I’m confident in my branded knowledge and skills, but not to the point where I’m cocky or arrogant.
4. I understand that others have as much or even more expertise than I do in key areas.
5. I always make myself look good, but not at the expense of competitors or colleagues.
6. I know that building a superior reputation through hard work and excellent results is the best way to achieve brand success.
6.5 I avoid petty drama and bickering that could bog down my branding efforts.Now that you’ve taken the test, let’s analyze your score:If you scored from 7-13, your brand’s competitiveness is expired. You know what that means: nobody wants to purchase your brand and you’ll soon be taken off the shelf.If you scored from 14-20, your brand’s competitiveness is day-old. There is minimal demand for your personal brand, but only at a steep discount and when the more popular and competitive brands are all sold out.If you scored from 21-26, your brand’s competitiveness is canned. Your brand will sell if it stays on the shelf long enough, but anyone seeking real fresh results will look elsewhere.If you scored from 27-33, your brand’s competitiveness is fresh frozen. Your brand is a respectable choice for the discerning connoisseur, but not the top choice.If you scored a 34 or 35, your brand’s competitiveness is market fresh. Congratulations! You have the brand that is most in demand and fetches the highest prices. You sell out early in the morning, when only the most competitive shoppers are out evaluating the available brands.