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In the past, the mortgage lending industry was essentially controlled by a small number of banks and financial institutions with very, very deep pockets and friends in high places. However, these days — and ironically, thanks to the Great Recession — the mortgage lending marketplace is much broader, and barriers to entry and far smaller. You no longer need to have tens of millions of dollars in working capital to get in the game. As long as you have a valid mortgage license (and each state has its own requirements) and a business structure in which to legally operate (e.g. LLC, S Corp, etc.) then you’re ready to start helping individuals and businesses bridge the funding gap for the property the want. Well, actually — not quite!

Multiple InfoSec Obligations 

Yes, you’re headed in the right direction. But before you start serving clients and building your reputation for excellent, it’s important to ensure that you have all of your information security (InfoSec) boxes ticked; and there are more today than ever before. Here are some of the key obligations that need to be part of your firm now and into the future:

  • Complying with all prevailing regulations and laws that relate to InfoSec practices and policies, including (but not limited to) the Dodd-Frank Act, the Federal Truth in Lending Act, The Federal Housing Finance Regulatory Act, the Hope for Homeowners Act, and more.
  • Using enterprise-grade network and end point (e.g. desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone) security — including corporate-supplied devices (“COPE”) and employee-supplied devices (“BYOD”).
  • Securing all confidential data at-rest and in-motion, including corporate-owned and controlled digital properties (e.g. websites, apps, etc.).
  • Ensuring that all third parties (e.g. contractors, consultants, etc.) have appropriate security controls in place.
  • Having a plan in place to deal with potential or real cyber security breaches, such as malware attacks, viruses, Trojans, ransomware, and so on.
  • Training staff on properly storing and sharing data.
  • Implementing a robust social media compliance
  • Creating an asset inventory of all hardware and software.
  • Having an appropriate disaster recovery process in place.

The Bottom Line 

The residential and commercial mortgage marketplace is growing, which is good news for entrepreneurs like you who want to apply your knowledge to help individuals and businesses bridge the real estate funding gap. However, it’s essential that you comply with all InfoSec requirements and expectations, including those that are not necessarily part of regulations or laws, but are nevertheless industry best practices. Otherwise, you could end up with lasting reputation damage that might ground your fledgling mortgage lending firm before it has a chance to really take off — and achieve its potential to be a lucrative, long-term success!


 
 

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22Sep

Why Your New Business Needs a Website

Posted by Pamela Swift in Online Business

Technology has taken center stage in almost all spheres of life. Business is one of the disciplines affected by technology. Gone are the days when business was only done through pen and paper. The internet has provided unlimited opportunities for business owners to explore.

Web sites are one of those perks brought by the internet for the benefit of business owners. Over time, it has become almost mandatory for each business to own a website. The question is, why is it so important for a business to have a website, and what features should a good website have? Now, before you go out there looking at website building articles for insight and information on what you need, here are the fundamentals.

Extend Your Business Online

A website acts an extension of your business. It is what represents your company in the digital world. A company website is like an online brochure about the company that can be accessed at any time by potential clients. The website can be updated at any time to represent the current image of the company. Websites linked from search engines display company information to the online world from products, services, location and sometimes others offer the opportunity to transact business.

With most people and organizations on the internet, it is expected that each company has a digital platform. Information about almost everything is currently on the internet and customers expect reputable companies to be found on the internet. Without an online presence, some clients think less of your business or never get to know that you exist. Websites provide an online platform for the company to meet clients and transact online. It adds to the physical appearance of the company.

The Immense Potential of Search Engines

Websites provide business owners with the ability to reach more people than ever before. Google reports that it processes more than 63,000 searches every second. For a business, this means more traffic and reach. Having a website provides the company an opportunity to reach clients beyond it physical offices. Nowadays, it is common for people to transact without getting to meet clients. Websites offer convenience where distance is an issue.

 

Every business man will always want to cut down costs and improve income while maintaining quality. Websites provide a cheaper marketing platform to carrying out online promotions. Websites reach larger population while at the same time representing the company. The fact that websites are available 24 hours a day means that a company will be able to show off its products all the time. Who would not want a business that serves clients always? Using the internet has become popular due to its providence in reduced costs. It is way cheaper to post an ad on your website than printing it and distributing it. Websites are cheaper and reach more people faster.

Final Word

Choose wisely when deciding to open that website. In as much as websites provide these endless opportunities, remember it will represent your business. It is important to choose stable and quality hosting platforms. Look for platforms that provide speed, customer service and handle complaints well just to mention but a few. Have your website integrate social media links for better reach.


21Sep

Following the Branding Experts: Tai Lopez

Posted by Pamela Swift in Branding

New entrepreneurs can easily get bogged down in the specifics of creating their brand. overall, being an entrepreneur can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, the freedom that comes with creating a new business is empowering and thrilling.

On the other hand, being a self-made business man can be incredibly frustrating.  Seemingly endless streams of mistakes and missed opportunities can leave new entrepreneurs feeling doubtful, dissatisfied and disillusioned. It is therefore often beneficial to hear from a mentor who is already further along down the journey.

Entrepreneurs sometimes fall into the trap of “creating their own life”, and their own stubbornness can be blinding.  However, receiving advice from someone in the know is always beneficial, and can even be life-changing.  The advice of a mentor can provide a fresh view of perspective and clarity that can help you shape your branding, regardless of how specific or unique your endeavors may be.

Getting Advice in The Modern Era 

The advantages of a personal mentor seem obvious.  Someone following your journey and sharing their past mistakes or victories when relevant is incredibly useful.  For many young new entrepreneurs, however, getting that personal insight is easier said than done. If one is lacking professional connections and a larger network, it can often be difficult to find the right person willing to take the time to guide you.

Luckily, the current era brings communication and media from around the world, instantly. We are fortunate enough to have connections to a seemingly endless variety of seasoned entrepreneurs and gurus offering guidance and first-hand experience through online platforms like YouTube and other social media platforms. Successful professionals like Tai Lopez share entrepreneurial information, inspiration and ideas to those willing to listen.

Learning From Tai 

There is a seemingly endless number of gurus who offer their input and advice for those in need.  The mistake of falling down the rabbit hole of YouTube’s list of thought leaders and experts can be easy.  For those seeking advice from an online mentor, it can be more helpful to follow just a handful vets with a proven record and a philosophy than to mindlessly scroll through videos ripe with clickbait, produced by people who do not even know what they are talking about.

Tai Lopez is one of those vets. Growing up poor and raised by a single mother, Tai took his life into his own hands after dropping out of college. He worked ardently to create his own brand, and became a successful millionaire all by the age of 30. Through his efforts on YouTube and other social media outlets, Tai amassed a huge following and online presence, offering advice, inspiration, and useful ideas to up-and-coming entrepreneurs.  Tai is now considered a heavy hitter and thought leader in the world of online marketing and brand building.

Tai shares his life philosophy and principles with his viewership online for the pursuit of “The Good Life”, which he argues is a balancing act of health, wealth, love, and happiness.  He strives to become valuable, rare, inimitable, and non-substitutable, otherwise expressed as “VIRN”, an acronym he often promotes. Tai offers his advice and philosophy mainly on his popular YouTube channel, and through his online program called “The 67 Steps”.

One of the main concepts Tai promotes is the never-ending search for knowledge. He claims to read a new book at least every day, either by speed reading or through an audiobook, and swears by the effectiveness of this tactic for self-advancement. He has effectively created one of the largest book clubs in the world, and constantly analyzes and discusses the main ideas in the books he reads with his viewership.

Lopez believes and promotes the idea that the key to success is the endless pursuit of knowledge, and that a never ending influx of fresh ideas help synthesize new solutions to new problems in a constantly changing world.

Your Own Success 

The proof of Tai’s philosophy and lifestyle is evident in his own success.  For those needing guidance in their own quest in branding and entrepreneurship, it is extremely advantageous to listen to the experts from time to time.  Building off the lessons of some else’s past mistakes or virtues can help you on your way to create your own brand and business.


Thanks to the growing threat of hackers, businesses around the globe are investing more money into crime prevention than ever before.

To make sure that your business is best equipped to deal with both offline and online threats, we’ve put together a guide with five of the best approaches for protecting your company.

A Security System

Visible security systems are a proven crime deterrent. A recent study by the University of Carolina revealed that 60% of convicted burglars would think twice about targeting a home or business with a visible security system.

In another study of 422 convicted thieves, 83% of respondents revealed that they would carry out a reconnaissance mission to see if an alarm system was in place before trying to steal from a property.

Installing cameras that have a view of every entry point to your business is a great place to start. If your business isn’t in a well-lit location, consider installing motion-detector lights so that potential criminals are aware that they will be filmed.

Equipment such as the above can be expensive to repair or replace, so it’s also worth considering installing mesh camera and light guards. This will stop potential criminals from being able to damage any equipment by throwing rocks.

Invest in Cyber Security

While crime statistics can give you a good indication as to the physical risks of theft, cybercrime is an omnipresent threat that defies logic.

A recent report into cybercrime in the UK revealed that two-thirds of small businesses had suffered at the hands of online criminals.

Despite the growing online threat many business owners face, a CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey in the US revealed that only 2% viewed cybercrime as a major threat to their business.

Hackers target businesses in a variety of different ways. Their most common goal is to retrieve the personal or credit card information of a company’s customers. More recently, hackers have turned their attention to blocking software in an attempt to retrieve ransom money.

If you want to protect your business online, here are some good starting points:

  • Install antivirus software on all of your company computers
  • Install firewalls
  • Upgrade your computer’s operating system
  • Install intrusion detection software
  • Backup all of your data regularly
  • Change passwords regularly
  • Restrict access to sensitive data
  • Hire a security expert

An Access Control System

You may not have realised, but access control systems are in place wherever you go in the US. Whether it’s a ticket barrier at a tube station or a metal detector at an airport, all systems are designed to ensure maximum safety.

In a business sense, most control systems come in the form of a pin entry design that enables access through a doorway. Keys are easy to duplicate and even easier to lose, so controls systems can enhance the security of a building.

Updates in technology have meant that fingerprint entry systems have rapidly gained popularity. Along with this technology, the systems also enable you to setup further authorization steps such as the scanning of a key card or the entry of a pin.

With such a system in place, it will be easy to determine who is entering your building 24-hours a day.

A Thorough Vetting Process

Verifying a potential employee’s employment history and carrying out reference checks will help to reduce the risk of internal theft.

Try to tag and audit expensive stock on a regular basis. This way, you’ll quickly be able to identify any discrepancies and act accordingly.

If you want to take things a step further, you could even consider securing expensive equipment, such as laptops and tablets, to a wall or office desk.

Anti-Ram Bollards

Businesses that keep cash or expensive items on their premises are at risk of suffering from a ram-raid robbery. This is where a thief crashes a vehicle into a store in an attempt to gain access to the premises.

One of the simplest solutions to stop this from happening is to install anti-ram raid bollards. It’s advisable to speak with your local council before installing them as you may need planning approval.

By following these tips, you’ll help ensure the safety of your business from potential hackers or thieves. When it comes to something as important as your company, it’s worth protecting yourself from possible threats.

 


That tradies can greatly benefit from technology is a fact that’s easy to prove. Technology creates several advantages for tradies. Most notably, these advantages are demonstrated when it comes to marketing, communication, scheduling/organization, payments, and mobility.

1. Exploiting the Use of Mobile Technology

Mobile technology has greatly advanced over the years that business can already be conducted through mobile phones. With mobile devices capable of doing more than just calls and the sending/receiving of text messages, there are many ways to use mobile technology to improve business. There are many apps that can be installed on mobile devices to make doing business easier. With a web-connected smartphone or tablet computer, it’s easy setting appointments, interacting with customers, processing documents, communicating with customers and employees, and doing many other related tasks from anywhere. On the other hand, the popular use of web-connected mobile devices also creates opportunities for tradies to more easily find and reach out to prospective customers who regularly connect online through their smartphones or tablets.

2. Social Networking and Marketing

When it comes to looking for prospective clients and marketing, it only makes sense for tradies to take advantage of the popularity of social media. Social media networking and marketing should be an integral part of tradies’ promotional efforts.  Regardless of the extent of the marketing campaign, it’s always advisable to incorporate social media.  Self-employed or individual tradies can market their services even by just using their mobile phones. Larger companies or tradies groups/unions/cooperatives can come up with more systematic and sophisticated social media marketing efforts. Social media marketing is a confluence of internet.

3. Software/Apps for Tradies

Tradies should also consider the use of software or apps. There are many of these available for desktop and mobile devices. There are software applications designed to suit specific tradies industries, for example: electrician service software.These applications come with varying specialized functions and features to suit specific tradesman needs. They are designed to make it easy organizing tasks and monitoring availability or progress. They can also be used to take notes, send invoices, and get a heads up on important details such as the availability supplies needed for rendering services. Many of these software/apps support integration with other business software. You can find apps that can be quickly integrated with accounting software such as MYOB, Xero, and QuickBooks Online. This simplifies the process generating financial reports or taking a real time peek at financial performance at any time.

4. Improving Communication

Communication is essential for tradies. They need to master the art of communication as they look for and interact with their prospective and current customers. Fortunately, modern technology provides advantageous new ways for communication. Technology makes it easier, faster, and clearer to communicate through different means. Now, it’s easier answering customer inquiries sent through a website on your phone or desktop computer. Answering to requests for price quotes for the services being offered can now be automated. It has also become way easier setting up appointments as it can be done by phone, email, chat, special apps, or even through social media. It would be advisable for tradies to make use of all possible communication channels in interfacing with customers.

5. Facilitating Various Payment Options

Certainly, doing business nowadays is no longer limited to cash and checks. Technological advances have led to the creation of various new ways to make payments. Aside from making payments through credit cards, there are numerous e-payment options available worldwide. PayPal and other similar services have been working with banks in different parts of the world to facilitate more convenient ways to pay. Additionally, cryptocurrency such as bitcoin may be used to pay for services. It’s not necessary to do bitcoin-to-bitcoin transactions as bitcoins can now be converted to fiat currency through bitcoin exchanges or through bitcoin debit card services.

Payments can now be done through the internet and via mobile technologies. It’s possible to accept credit card payments using mobile devices even in the same manner as how it is done at stores (swiping a card). Tradies can invest in good web-enabled POS systems that can be used as standalone systems or used alongside smartphones. Some of the most commendable options include Square Register, PayPal Here, Innerfence, and GoPayment.

***

A combination of the five points briefly discussed above will surely improve the way tradies do business. Imagine how more efficient things can get if tradies use social media to target customers, employ desktop and mobile apps to organize operations/tasks, and make use of mobile technology to communicate with customers and employees/contractors from anywhere as well as to receive payments. Using these tech-based ways will definltely improve the business and efficiency of tradies.



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