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How Do I Price My Products/Services?

pricing products

Many people have incredible business ideas – perhaps even world-changing. And a lot of work goes into turning those ideas into a reality, driving buzz around the product, and storming towards a successful launch. But as soon as that launch date arrives, no one buys. You might be perplexed, confused, and unsure as to why this has happened. But then it will hit you – your pricing is all wrong.

Many first-time entrepreneurs fail to realise the critical importance of pricing. Get it right, and you could be on your way to great success. But achieving the right balance is a lot more complicated than you might think. It’s a tough job, and it is easy to get wrong – which, ultimately, can result in abject failure. With this in mind, here’s a rundown of everything you need to know about pricing your products or services.

The basics

First of all, it’s important to understand that products and services pricing has a few ground rules. First of all, you need to cover yourself regarding costs – the amount you spend to create a product or service – and you also need to make a profit. Furthermore, there’s a need to fit your business pricing into the wider market. Who else is selling similar products, and for how much? Is there a significant demand for your product, but little in the way of supply? Ultimately, however, getting the right price point is all about one thing – driving sales.

The knowledge

So, if you want to price your product or service correctly, you need an in-depth awareness and understanding of your audience. Market research will tell you lots about how much people will be interested in your product, and demographics could reveal the amount they are capable of paying. Ultimately, you will be pitching your product to one of three basic groups: people who don’t have much money; people who want convenience, and individuals who demand luxury or the very best service. You must understand which of these groups is your target before you even start sourcing raw materials.

The costs

The next step is to work out your costs per sale. And there are many expenses to consider. Raw materials, utility bills, rents for offices and factory space are obvious starting points. There’s the cost of manufacturing to think about, too, not to mention your employee’s wages. Shipping, inventory management, equipment and software programs – everything you use to get your idea from your head to the market needs to be accounted for and added to your cost of sale. Then it’s a case of working out how much you need to sell to break even, and how much you need to sell to turn a profit. However, we aren’t quite done yet on costs…

The bottom line

Another vital concept to grasp is that the best way to make more profit isn’t to make more sales – it’s to cut your costs. So, before you go ahead with production or introducing your service, think about if you can cut back on your expenses. Is your electricity bill too high, and could you reduce it by enforcing a more eco-friendly – and cost-efficient – policy? Is the expensive office you want as a base for operations really necessary, or could you find a cheaper place elsewhere? There are a thousand and one things you can do to stop wasting money, all of which will boost your bottom line and either a) increase your profits, too, or b) allow you to price more aggressively. Once you have a good grasp of your costs, we can move onto estimating a revenue target.

Estimating sales targets

When you have cut all the costs back to protect your bottom line, you will have a better idea of how much you could make. But, ultimately, it’s all about accurate estimation. You will need to look ahead over the next year or so and have a realistic – and informed – guess of how many products or service offerings you will sell. Once you have established this figure, you can start deciding on a price – but there is still a significant chunk of work to do.

Establishing your prices

You can decide on one of the several methods of establishing the perfect price point. Cost-plus pricing is typical in the manufacturing industry and is one of the easiest to work out. You figure out your costs as above, factor in your profit margin, and price your products accordingly. Bear in mind that this method requires pinpoint accuracy, as any missing costs could end up seeing your product losing money.

Demand price is also popular – especially among retailers and wholesalers. Demand pricing uses a primary method of buying and selling in bulk and lowering prices in accordance with sales volume. It is a tricky strategy to master, however, as it relies on a lot of liquidity in calculation and pricing.

The final two common strategies are markup and competitive pricing. Markup pricing is when you add a specific amount – usually a percentage of cost, not gross margin – to each sale. And competitive pricing involves looking at what everyone else in your market is charging and pricing your products and services accordingly.

Conclusion

Ultimately, pricing your products and services needs to be a fluid and flexible process. Your ideas of pricing on day one are likely to be a lot different by the time you come to launch. And the simple truth is that in the vast majority of markets, prices go up and down all the time, and you have to take those changes into consideration. The key to success is to keep on top of your pricing analytics, to ensure that you are making the correct decisions and avoiding losing money. The end goal is to do more of what works, and stop what isn’t – and always keep reevaluating those costs. Sometimes you will need to lower your price, but you may also benefit from raising it. If you are in the service industry, for example, it makes sense that as your knowledge and skills grow, so should your prices. Good luck!

Additional resources

9 Strategies for Profitably Pricing Your Retail Products
How to price your startup’s product right — the first time
Revenue is Not Your Friend – Pricing For Profit

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Finance

What You Ought to Know About Quant Traders

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Quantitative trading is an area of quantitative finance that is highly sophisticated. This article introduces some of the basics of a quantitative trading system and the necessary background to become a qualified quantitative trader.

What is Quantitative Trading?

Quantitative trading or quant trading is a type of trading that uses quantitative analysis as the basic strategy to identify trading profit possibility, including mathematical calculations. The most common data inputs in the quantitative analysis are price and volume.

Transactions involved in quant trading are usually large, which includes the sale and purchase of hundred or even thousands of shares and securities. This is because quantitative trading is typically practiced in the financial institutions.

The four primary components of a quantitative trading system include:

  • Strategy identification
  • Backtesting strategy
  • Execution system
  • Risk management

What Does a Quant Trader do?

Quantitative traders, also known as quants, utilize modern technology, comprehensive databases, numbers and mathematics to derive a logical trading decision. Using mathematical models, quantitative traders then identify trading opportunities.

Quant traders research the available price and data from the enormous amount of data in algorithm trading and high-frequency trading, find profitable trading opportunities, create relevant strategies, and grab the opportunity faster with the help of computer programs.

Generally, quant traders need an in-depth understanding and knowledge of mathematics, possess computer skills, and have some exposure to trading.

Technical Background of a Quant Trader

To become a full-fledged quant trader, one needs to have the following professional background:

  • Great with numbers: Quant traders must be excellent with numbers and quantitative analysis. An in-depth understanding of mathematics is required to carry out trading activities such as data researching, results testing, development, and implementation of trade strategies.
  • Educated in a relevant course and training: Studies involving theoretical concepts and the introduction to quantitative trading provide a better background for quant traders. This may include a master’s degree or a diploma involving financial engineering, quantitative financial modeling, or any course with electives in quantitative.
  • Armed with unique trading strategies: Quant traders should have in-depth knowledge about common trading strategies and have the ability to develop their unique trading strategy.
  • Possess programming skills: Quant traders should know at least one programming language such as Python, Java, C++, or Perl. They also need to have knowledge about automated trading, data mining, analysis, and research, which are usually involved in algorithmic trading and high-frequency trading.
  • Familiar with the computers: Quant traders need to be familiar with analysis software, spreadsheets, and broker trading. Also, they should be able to develop their algorithms on real-time data.

Soft Skills of a Quant Trader

Besides the above-mentioned technical skills, quant traders need to possess the following soft skills:

  • The spirit of a trader: Successful traders will brainstorm innovative trading ideas, can take on a massive volume of data, quickly adapt to the ever-changing trading market and can work on extended hours.
  • Able to take risks: Quant traders are risk-takers that understand the impact of risk, its management, and mitigation techniques.
  • Accept failure: Although the developed strategy may seem foolproof, failure is sometimes inevitable. Quant traders must always be ready to accept defeat, willing to let go of their concepts and develop a new one.

Becoming a quant trader may seem complicated, and it requires a lot of hard work. However, the lucrative income and innovative system of quantitative trading make quant trader an excellent career choice.

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Finance

How can a personal loan help you save money?

piggy bank

People in debt have traditionally been unable to easily consolidate it all. In the past, the best tactic has been to focus on one type of debt at a time (usually starting with the debt accruing the most interest) to clear it.

About 20 years ago, a new product became available called a personal loan. These unsecured loans were designed to help people manage multiple debt sources and repair their credit score. As with most types of unsecured debt, applicants are typically expected to provide a guarantor. Such a loan can be anything from £1,000 to £50,000 with a fixed interest rate payable over a fixed term, typically 4-5 years or more. Applicants use these instant guarantor loans as they realise just how much money they can save when used in certain circumstances.

No matter the interest rate on existing debt, personal loans are lower

One reason most people take out a personal loan is to consolidate different debts of varying and disparate interest rates. If you have £5,000 on a credit card (typical APR 29.9%), £1,000 overdraft (typical APR 15-20%), £1,000 of debt on a store card (typical APR an eye-watering 39.9%) among others, that’s a lot of interest you’re paying every month needlessly.

When taking out a personal loan, you’ll notice that the APRs are much lower. The average rate is 8% when borrowing under £10,000 and 5% when borrowing over this amount. Pay off the outstanding balances with the new instant guarantor loan and you will stop accruing all that interest, clearing the balance instead.

Personal loans put a deadline on repayment

People, couples and families with a lot of debt spread over multiple areas often feel there is no end in sight for the debt. This is especially the case for those types of debt with no deadline such as an overdraft, and credit and store cards.

The ability to consolidate all this debt into one personal loan automatically creates a deadline. Sometimes you may choose this; sometimes the provider will specify when it will be. Not only will you know the rate of interest that will accrue on top of the debt, you will also know how long you have left to pay off that debt. The stress and anxiety of accruing more and more is alleviated and you can prepare for having more liquid cash once your personal loan comes to its natural end.

Early payment option will save more

With lower rates of interest than most common types of borrowing, personal loans help you save money as a matter of course. When you are able and willing to pay back the debt faster than anticipated, this will save you even more money.

Not all personal loans allow you to settle early, for example pay off the last six months of payments in a lump sum while the term remains, but most will. You may be required to pay an early settlement penalty or premium such as one-or-two-months interest. If there is an early repayment option, carefully check the agreement’s wording. Even with a penalty on top, it could still be less than the interest you would have paid if you had let the loan run its course.

Personal loans improve your credit score

Customers who use unsecured guarantor personal loans use them to consolidate and manage debt as well as reducing their interest burden. So long as you stick to the terms of the agreement and have enough money each month to make the payment, your credit score will begin its improvement process.

What does this have to do with saving money? It’s a long-term strategy. Most credit cards and loans are not open to people with a bad credit score, however, there are ways you could potentially be able to get a loan with a bad credit score. Unfortunately, those loans that are not open are usually those products and services with the best interest rates and the most attractive rewards. With an improved credit score, you can apply for credit products with lower interest rates, better payment terms, and even earn a little something in the process such as cashback or air miles.

Cheaper than finance agreements

Most of the items in our list concern people looking to improve their credit rating and those with borrowing spread across multiple accounts. If you’re in the market for a new or nearly new vehicle, the seller will offer financing terms. They tend to offer a single product with a single finance provider; in short, it’s a take it or leave it choice. This is not always the cheapest way to buy a new car, but it is convenient which is why most people accept the terms that the motor trader offers.

Before singing that finance agreement, consider a personal loan. Interest rates are lower on average than motor finance. When the vehicle’s price tag is over £10,000, that interest rate drops considerably, sometimes as much as half of the annual interest rate.

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Finance

Financing A Business With A Home Equity Loan

contractor

Finding funds for a business is no easy task. Qualifying for a business loan is not guaranteed; therefore many companies leverage their owners’ assets like the family home to raise the funds they require in their enterprise.

There are many ways to use personally guaranteed funds too and one option is what’s called a home equity loan or home equity line of credit, These loans can also be ideal for debt consolidation of say high-interest borrowing like credit cards, personal and short term loans but in this blog post we’re focusing on how these loans work for businesses.

There are many more obstacles or hoops to jump through when seeking an actual business loan and often it’s the financial statements of the business that fail to pass the lending criteria due to the startup phase requiring more investment and not showing a profit.

Entrepreneurs starting out, are therefore renown for sourcing investment from wherever they can get it. The credit card has been the go-to source for funds, but the interest rates are very high, so it’s not a long term borrowing solution for a business.

Before long, the owner is seeking other sources to keep the business afloat or to grow it. They may take out personal loans but before long their requirements exceed what they borrow without additional security so this is where many use their home.

As a business owner, it may make perfect sense to use a home equity line of credit to draw down funds for the business and then repay them when in lump sums and repeat as and when required. So what is a HELOC?

HELOC

This type of loan allows you to have an open line of credit on the equity you have in your property.

HELOC’s has longer repayment periods that can be 10 – 20 years much like a usual mortgage and as the property owner you can borrow up to 85% of the home’s value minus what you may owe it. For example, if your home is valued at $750,000 and you have a mortgage of $250,000 on it already. Your line of credit may be as much as $425,000.

HELOC rates are higher than your standard mortgage rate, so it’s very much ‘caveat emptor’ or buyer beware, get professional expert advice from your accountant, financial advisor and maybe also your lawyer. Remember all loan agreements are legal documents, and they have terms and conditions that the borrower must comply.

There are many other ways to fund your business, including angel investors, offering shareholdings, so while using the equity in your home is an option it may not be the best way forward as the risk is your business cannot pay back what it’s borrowed, and you are personally liable to repay it or lose it.

Remember it is your equity and if your business borrows too much of it and can not repay it, and the lender calls in the loan it could be that you are forced to sell your home. It’s a dreary thought, but it’s better to know the pros and cons when borrowing money for any venture.

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