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Importance Of Creativity And Innovation For Startups And SMEs

It has become widely accepted that creativity and innovation are crucial to business success, especially in the ever-changing and uncertain world we live in today. While creativity is the ability to produce new and unique ideas, innovation is the execution of that creative ideas.

When properly fostered, creativity and innovation create inventive problem solving for your business or your audience. Think of technological innovations! They solve day-to-day problems and make life more convenient for all.

The same rule applies with business innovations. Creative and innovative problem solving can make your company run more efficiently. They can also make a name for your business and create the competitive edge all businesses strive to achieve.

The importance of creativity and innovation in SMEs

Without creativity and innovation, companies would be stuck in a rut. They would utilize the same marketing/promotion campaigns, business strategies, or maybe even sell uniform products and services. But once your business brain is able to think creatively, the possibilities are endless.

By being creative, your business is more likely to become innovative. And by being innovative, your business is more likely to offer something new, making you a step ahead of others in the industry. Encouraging business creativity pays internal dividends as well. Your company gets a variety of ideas for problem solving and staff becomes more engaged.

A UK study shows that employees are most productive when they are challenged by interesting work and allowed to implement their initiatives. Too many rules and procedures, on the other hand, stunt productivity. In other words, giving employees opportunities to innovate pushes business productivity and agility.

Empowering SME creativity and innovations sounds like a tall order, but innovation comes in many forms, not just cutting-edge technology and design. For many service-fed industries, this simply means meeting customer demands, going the extra mile, or approaching your market in a different way to competitors.

How can you implement creativity and innovation in your business?

For SMEs looking to encourage innovation from within, the answer is to not limit yourself to your organization. Collaborating, sharing knowledge, and broadening your network fill your business with fresh ideas and help improve your business’ growth prospect. Of course, take care to keep internal data private, but exposing yourself and your staff to external connections adds to your repertoire of knowledge and ideas to explore. Outside connections can also provide objective feedback to your ideas.

Internally, you can push creativity and innovation by intellectually challenging yourself and your team. It’s important that your team is sufficiently challenged. Too little of a challenge will cause boredom, but too much will cause stress. Find a healthy balance to help them sharpen their creative minds.


It’s very clear that creativity and innovation are advantageous for your business. Innovation provides a culture of creative thinking that enables you and your team to think outside the box and come up with new and interesting ideas.

This article was written by Funding Societies, Singapore’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. We provide working capital loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along with attractive investment opportunities to the broader public. To learn more about us, click on our website here.

Building a Business: Online or Offline?

When thinking of how best to build your business, a major consideration these days is whether to make it offline or online – especially, of course, if the business idea you have in mind is in the retail industry. Each option has its ups and downs, so you need to contemplate it very carefully.

In the digital era, it seems easier to build an online business because of the advanced technology (and of course, the promise of cheaper overhead costs). But that doesn’t mean brick and mortar shops have lost their merits.

For those of you who are about to build your very own business, here are some points to consider before deciding which type suits you best.

If You Want to Build a Brick and Mortar Shop

An offline store looks and feels credible. Whether or not customer behavior is rational, the presence of a physical location has the advantage of more readily gaining trust. People know that the business is physically present should there be any issues with its goods and services. Besides, who hasn’t heard of fraudulent online sellers? There are also certain products that customers would want to check directly before purchasing, such as cars and electronics.

However, when it comes to brick and mortar shops, keep in mind that you do need to spend a lot more money on its infrastructure and upkeep. You also need to spend money on manpower, such as a manager or supervisor and a few people as staff. In addition, you will need to take care of paperwork ranging from operating license to legal documentation so you can legally run your business.

If You Prefer Online Business

Today’s age offers many possibilities for online enterprises. Not only do they offer advantages for the customer, they also benefit owners.

As most would already know, online stores and digital businesses are relatively cheaper than offline businesses. You don’t need a physical location as everything can be handled through the Internet. Many overhead costs (rent, maintenance, utilities, total salary) can be cut by having your business move online. People can simply shop from anywhere in the world and wait a few days until their order arrives (that is, if the online business offers international shipping!).

However, online business relies on Internet connection and a functional platform (your business website or mobile app or social media page). If your company’s online medium slows down, has issues, or is frustrating to use, your business will suffer.

Moreover, online business has no set operational hours. Some people find this an advantage, as they can respond to customers anytime and anywhere. But bear in mind that in the digital age, everyone is impatient. Your social media page might be scrawled with complaints if your response is an hour late.


As you can see, whether you build an online business or an offline one, each has its pros and cons. What usually happens these days is to start with an online business. When your company has become more recognized and has started earning profit, you can plan its expansion to a physical location. In fact, many, if not most, successful businesses are a mix of online and offline. Good luck in your business endeavors!

This article was written by Funding Societies, Singapore’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. We provide working capital loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along with attractive investment opportunities to the broader public. To learn more about us, click on our website here.

How To Plan A New Business Or Side Hustle

All successful businesses start with great planning. Business plans can be a daunting challenge for some, because of the effort you have to put to craft one. As daunting as it seems, business plans are necessary as they provide the roadmap for where you want to take your company. In other words, a well thought-out business plan is a vital requirement for any entrepreneur or business seeking to increase chances of survival.

But how do you write a good business plan?

Figure out what needs to be there and what doesn’t

Start off with a basic outline that will make sense to investors or whoever it is you are offering your business plan to. Write about your understanding of the market, the unique selling propositions of your product or service, the business model, and data that proves there is demand for whatever you want to create. If possible, show that you have the team and resources to help you in this business journey. If you don’t, write down what resources and how much money you need to be able to reach your destination.

You can build off the above with more sophisticated aspects, such as:

  • Company Analysis
  • Industry Analysis
  • Competition Analysis
  • Customer Analysis
  • Marketing Plan
  • Management Team
  • Operations Plan
  • Financial Plan

Research, research, research

Now that you know what needs to be included in a business plan, you need to start doing your homework. Find and curate as many resources as possible, monitor your target market on a regular basis, and keep track of competitors’ new launch or strategy.

Investors reading your business plan will want to see that you’ve thought long and hard about the potential of starting or expanding your company, along with the challenges ahead and how to rise above them.

For entrepreneurs who intend to use their business plan to get an investment, you also need to research your potential investors. Understand the way they work, take a look at their portfolio, and see whether there are any similarities with your business.

Have proof to back up every claim you make

Want to know why research is so important for business planning? By conducting thorough due diligence, you will have proof to back up every claim you make.

Let’s say you claim in the business plan that your product will be the leader in your field by six months to a year. You will need to detail why you think so. If you say your management team is fully qualified to make the business a success, you should make sure their resumes demonstrate the needed experience.

Be realistic with available time and resources

What’s most important about a business plan? Whether or not the steps and content can be implemented. So more than being a document to win over investors, a good business plan needs to be doable.

Don’t be overly optimistic about time and resources, it’s a common error of entrepreneurs. Be realistic, as it will give credibility to your plan. Always assume things will take 15% longer than you anticipated. If you anticipate that a certain process takes 20 weeks, write 23 weeks instead.


The success of business planning is all in the details. Make the plan concise, but include enough details that a reader will have sufficient information to make educated decisions. A business plan should reflect a sense of professionalism, with accurate content, realistic assumptions, credible projections, and no spelling mistakes.

This article was written by Funding Societies, Singapore’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. We provide working capital loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along with attractive investment opportunities to the broader public. To learn more about us, click on our website here.

Saving In The Digital Era

We’ve all been there before: at first, we were just absentmindedly scrolling through our Instagram feed when we come across a beautifully made travel bag or trendy sneakers posted by a brand account. Next thing we know, we’ve placed our order and we’re ready to make a purchase.

Everything happened too fast! When the order arrives at our door, our satisfaction levels are high. But in mere days we realize we didn’t really need the product in the first place.

Temptation is everywhere in the digital era, and it’s becoming harder and harder to save money. With the rise of technology and social media, online shopping is just one easy click away. If you fall prey to too many ill-considered purchases, you will soon have bad financial habits.

So how do you save money in the social media era?

Set up automatic deposits into your saving accounts

Establish a budget, period. When you have an accurate view of your income and expenses, you can start improving your personal finances. Once you have set a budget and clear goals, get in the habit of saving money by automating the process. Set up regular and automatic deposits into your savings and investments accounts, either directly from your paycheck or from your checking account.

Get a money buddy

According to an MIT study, friends with similar traits can pick up good habits from each other. Financial planners also recommend having someone to hold you accountable for the task at hand to increase effectiveness and deliver stronger results.

Consider using the concept to save more money. You don’t need a finance whiz, you can find a partner in a friend, a parent, a sibling, or your own spouse. Set an achievable savings goal and ask your money buddy to monitor your progress and keep you on track.

Solo shopping

When it comes to shopping, it’s fun to shop with company. For the sake of personal finance, however, it’s better to shop alone. In a fun and relaxed mood, your friends might encourage you to buy more things than you intended. Obviously, it’s not healthy for your financial condition.

If you still want some company, ask your money buddy to accompany you. They are monitoring your personal finance progress, after all – chances are they won’t suggest shopping as a way to have fun in the first place.

When you get a raise, raise your savings too

Everyone says they would save more when they have more. But do people actually do it? When we get a raise, usually the first thing we do is buy something expensive to celebrate the occasion. Maybe a handbag, or plane tickets to a dream destination.

Celebratory spending is fine. Some self-reward is healthy. But remember to increase your automatic monthly transfer to savings as well. It might be painful now, but you will reach your personal finance goals faster if you allot more money to your savings and investments from a younger age.


Ultimately, saving enough money comes down to willpower and contentment. Do you have enough willpower to save? Are you okay with not having more right now? If you can develop both these qualities, you will grow wealthy over time.

8 Principles of Investing for Beginners and Beyond

To start, there are no investment hacks and shortcuts. Investing requires time, research, and maintenance. Effort? Depends on the instrument. Stocks, for instance, would need more vigilance than bonds, which is mostly a ‘buy and wait for maturity’ affair. Overall, however, there are no instafix to get you high investment returns.

For beginners and those who want to refresh the main principles of investing, we’ve collected 8 crucial tenets.

1. Know that investing is a commitment

Investing can be compared to quality relationships. Both require patience and its close kin, time. There are more investment options available than ever on the market, with new ones like cryptocurrencies and P2P lending entering the mainstream. But before you choose “the one”, you must first determine your investment profile. Then, you need to mull over the pros and cons of various instruments before selecting those that best fit your purposes.

Time also applies to the investments themselves. Some investments allow you to cash out by a relatively quick maturity date. Others take longer. It also pays to take time and review your investments regularly. Depending on how the markets have moved, you may have to rebalance your investment portfolio to fit your personal risk tolerance.

2. Invest when you have enough savings

Everyone has a benchmark for how much savings is “enough”. But it’s essential to have several months’ worth of monthly expenses before you invest your money. Three months’ worth is a good minimum amount, six months’ worth is safer.

If your savings account is stable, you have something to turn back to if you have an emergency and need funds immediately. When all your money is tied up in investments during unexpected times, you may have to withdraw funds when the markets aren’t optimum or when your investments haven’t reached maturity – exposing you to hefty penalty fees.

3. Watch the inflation rate

The interest we get on our savings is insignificant and when you factor in banks’ admin fees, our savings usually stay flat over time. What doesn’t stay flat, unfortunately, is the price of goods thanks to inflation.

Inflation is why we invest; we want to stabilize our purchasing power in the long term. To do so, our investments must beat the national inflation rate. To solve this, balance an investment portfolio that delivers overall returns above the inflation rate.

4. Know your personal risk tolerance

Thereby, know the risk and return principle, which declares that the higher the potential returns, the higher the risk – and vice versa. Because of the risk and return principle, everyone’s investment portfolio will look different as every investor balances risk and reward according to his personal risk tolerance and future goals.

Aggressive investors will aim for instruments with the highest returns, no matter how risky. Their portfolio can consist of 80-90% high-risk instruments. Meanwhile, investors with a low stomach for risk will veer towards safer products.

Age is often, but not always, a factor in determining risk tolerance. Rationally speaking, someone young and healthy, with enough savings and a long period of productivity ahead of him can afford to take more risks.

The idea of establishing your personal risk profile is to support you in building your perfect portfolio – one that reflects your personal preferences.

5. Remember the risk and return principle: anyone promising extremely high returns either requires you to take an equally extreme risk or is selling an investment fraud

Certain instruments can be stable while offering higher returns relative to other instruments, but there is no magic instrument with high profit and no risk. It simply does not exist. Be instantly wary of suspicious offers. Investment scams tend to have several things in common: high and unsustainable returns (think monthly returns above 10%), lack of transparency, general product claims (gold, foreign exchange, etc), and no operational license.

6. Diversify, diversify, diversify

How do you mitigate risk? You diversify your investments. Diversification means allocating your funds among a variety of investments. The more diversified your portfolio, the more protected you are. Even if an investment fails, your overall returns stay positive.

Diversification is how you build your unique investment portfolio. Remember personal risk profile? Maybe you are risk-averse. You may want to compile a portfolio of 70% bonds and fixed deposits, 10% in cash and equivalents, and 20% in stocks. If I’m risk-averse, why not spend 100% of my funds on fixed deposits, you ask? Even “safe” instruments have risks. What happens when fixed deposit interests fall? Your portfolio value will be diminished. Spreading your investment across various assets will prevent this problem.

7. Reinvestment is essential

When your investments generate earnings, you have several options. You can withdraw and cash out. But if you want long-term benefits, you should reinvest those earnings so they generate more earnings.

Say you invest SGD 10,000 into bonds with 7% annual interest. After a year, you have earned SGD 700 in interest. You decide to reinvest the total SGD 10,700 into the same bonds in year 2. SGD 10,700 now reaps SGD 749 in interest earnings rather than SGD 700 and you didn’t do anything.  Over time, you would double your starting principal or more. The key is in diligence and frequency.

8. Invest early because time matters

The reinvestment principle especially shines when you start investing early. Let’s say person A invests in an instrument with 5-6% annual interest at age 25 and reinvests every year. Then there’s person B who does exactly the same with the same initial amount starting age 35. Various graphs show that when they are both 60, person A would have nearly double the money of person B.


Remember: start early, commit over the long term, have enough savings, know your risk profile, be wary of suspicious offers, diversify to build an optimum portfolio, and reinvest your earnings.

Funding Societies Surpasses $100 Million in SME Crowdfunding

Funding Societies welcomed the start of the year by crossing the SGD 100 million mark in total crowdfunded SME loans across Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. This is the highest total crowdfunded amount achieved by any peer-to-peer lending platform in Southeast Asia.

In line with the platform’s goal of responsible growth, Funding Societies expanded its crowdfunding book by 400% in 2017 while maintaining a default rate of 1.5%.

You can watch their milestone video below:

Founded in 2015, Funding Societies provides business financing to underserved SMEs for their working capital and expansion needs. This is done through its digital marketplace platform where retail and institutional investors come together to lend to the SMEs. Businesses can avail loans ranging from just SGD 5,000 going up to SGD 1 million and at reasonable rates of interest. Funding Societies platform has facilitated funding across industries including Manufacturing, Engineering, Construction. Professional Services, Wholesale and Retail Trade amongst others. Most of the SMEs which Funding Societies has funded do not receive adequate financing through traditional options. Others have existing bank loans but approach Funding Societies for fast and short-term bridging loans.

Reynold Wijaya (left) and Kelvin Teo (right) at the tunnels of Harvard Business School where they conceptualised Funding Societies in 2015.

According to a Visa and Deloitte study, four in 10 SMEs in Singapore are unserved by existing financial institutions when addressing their financing needs. This problem is compounded, with 72% of Singapore SMEs requiring funds to better manage their working capital and cash flow. The lack of access to financing faced by SMEs is an issue that needs to be addressed. Alternative financing providers like Funding Societies are addressing this gap by providing funding solutions for the growth of local businesses.

Kelvin Teo, Co-Founder and CEO of Funding Societies, commented, “We started Funding Societies while at Harvard to positively impact SMEs in Southeast Asia. 2017 has been a strong year, as we gained global recognition for our efforts including our loan mobile app FS Bolt and our chatbot Miyu. We’d work even closer with the SME community in 2018, in line with our motto ‘Stronger SMEs, Stronger Societies’.”

Funding Societies received many local and global awards in 2017. At the end of 2017, its Indonesian entity, Modalku, won the Global SME Excellence Award from United Nations’ ITU Telecom. It is the first and only Asian startup to win the award. The company was also included in CB Insights’ Fintech 250, a select list of the top FinTech companies around the world working on groundbreaking financial technology. It also won the Best in Customer Experience Asia award from Retail Banker International and was conferred as the Hottest Startup in Singapore by Singapore Business Review. The local and international awards highlight the impact of financial technology on society.

The Myths And Misconceptions About FinTech

Ah, financial technology – better known as FinTech. A very booming sector, and there are many thoughts and perceptions about it. Unsurprisingly, there are misconceptions about the industry ever since it shook up the financial world.

We can’t deny that FinTech is indeed disruptive and revolutionary, but is it truly going to destroy traditional financial institutions? We don’t think so, thus we invite you to take a look at these four common myths and misconceptions about FinTech.

It’s stuck in a bubble and will burst

The concept of “bubbles” in markets was introduced during the “dotcom” era, when growth and funding in startup websites were climbing steeply. The rise of FinTech has been compared to the dotcom bubble. Yet there are now more than 45 FinTech unicorns (each valued at more than $1 billion) worldwide. Five of them have gone public, proving that the industry is not going anywhere. Not only do the numbers speak for themselves, the FinTech industry has given the world new business models. For example, companies like StudentFunder enables access to education for students who can’t find proper funding elsewhere.

FinTech is not secure

FinTech may be relatively new to the financial world; that doesn’t mean it’s not secure. Yes, new technology is never completely safe from the possibility of cyberattacks, but FinTech is no more exposed to these threats than any other sector. Besides, any reliable FinTech company will have security and identity checks in place.

Trying to learn more about how to protect your business from hackers? Read “How to Protect Your SME from Cybercrime”

It’s only about lending and payments

In the US, lending and payments dominate the FinTech industry by 80%. However, other areas like insurance, market provisioning, investment management, and capital raising are also making significant progress in FinTech. In fact, The World Economic reported that insurance is one of the biggest disruptors in FinTech, as advanced algorithms and computing power are changing the industry. There are also new financial management systems that are able to help people save money and time, boost credit scores, and detect fraud all in the same place. FinTech can also provide superior data analytics. Thereby the assumption that FinTech is a limited sector is simply false.

It’s waging a neverending battle with banks 

Some conventional banks feel threatened by the rise of FinTech, since FinTech is always seen as the “disruptive” one. In reality, banks and FinTechs are getting along quite well – fintech and banks have recently been making collaborative partnerships for the financial industry. Why? FinTech builds products and services with cutting-edge technology that people need but platforms often lack distribution capabilities. Which party has large distribution capabilities? That’s right: banks.

Because fintech is online-based, eventually they can reach prospective clients more widely and more quickly. According to CB Insights data, six major banks in the US have made strategic investments in more than 30 FinTech companies since 2009. So much for enemies!

The world, especially advances in financial technology, is moving fast. Watching the journey and further innovations of FinTech will be an exciting ride.


This article was written by Funding Societies, Singapore’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. They provide working capital loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along with attractive investment opportunities to the broader public.  To learn more about them, visit their website here.

Funding Societies is a DollarsAndSense Brand Connect partner. You can find out more about what they do on the DollarsAndSense Brand Connect Page.

Reviewing 2017 Business Performance, Achieving 2018 Goals

Is there a better time than the first work days of the year to reflect on business goals? If you spent the final days of 2017 scrambling to collect data and make reports, it’s time to review the past year’s business performance. For many businesses, this is the only time of the year when they have a complete set of accounts. Through them, you can see how much money you are making and spending; specifically, where the majority of your profits and revenue come from, and where your money is being spent – and if some of the expenses are unnecessary and can be cut.

You can also use 2017 reports to check on business health. Here are 3 tips to help you start your business on the right track in 2018.

Check the Health of Your Business

Other than revenue, profits, loss, available working capital, total assets, and debts to pay off, other factors within your financial statements can help you determine business health. For one, check the balance between revenue and expenses overtime. With business development and expansion, it’s perfectly normal to spend more on expenses. However, a healthy business will balance its revenue and expenses, with spending under control.

But more than financial ratios, comprehensive market research and understanding of clients bolster business success. It is paramount for a business to have a strong and well-thought-out business plan to cope with supply and demand uncertainties. A clear business plan helps align goals and unites your team by having their responsibilities defined and working towards a common vision. Haven’t got a business plan? Take the time to make one – it is of utmost importance.

Read more: “How Healthy Is Your Small Business? 5 Signs to Look For” and “Business Planning 101”

Better Manage Working Capital

Efficient working capital management ensures business liquidity. Liquidity may often be overlooked, but it is arguably as important as profitability. A business needs cash to cover short term expenses.

To figure out where you stand, calculate your current working capital ratio. Divide current assets such as cash, inventory, and accounts receivable by current liabilities. If the ratio is less than one, your business does not have enough working capital to settle short term debts. While the standard varies across industries, a ratio greater than 1 implies the business is in good financial position.

If you are struggling with managing working capital and need more cash, try looking into your stock inventory and invoice management practices. Perhaps you are carrying more inventory than needed and should adjust orders to optimize storage. Or perhaps much of your income is tied up in accounts receivable.

Read more: “How to make working capital work for you”

Consider a Business Loan in the New Financial Year

If your business goals for 2018 include big projects and development plans, maintaining sufficient capital is key. Depending on the amount of capital you need, you may need to apply for a business loan. Here are some instances where the timing may be right to start researching for suitable business financing:

  • You are looking to fund capital expenditure to optimize business productivity, (i.e, you need more equipment to accommodate growing sales volume but current profits are not sufficient to cover the costs).
  • You want to start business expansion or expand your product offerings. To do so, you need enough capital for various expenses, such as research and development, building new outlets and channels, hiring more human resources, launching marketing campaigns, etc.
  • You need to fix some cash flow issues, perhaps if invoice payments are late or consistently get stuck. Business solutions that allow you to convert accounts receivable to cash, such as invoice financing can help you enhance cash flow while you put a more efficient invoice process in place for your company.

The start of a new year is a hopeful time. You haven’t missed any deadlines and the days feel full of opportunities. This is the time to (a) discover problem points to fix, (b) understand how healthy your business is right now, and (c) know what to do in order to achieve all the targets you have planned for 2018. Good luck!


This article was written by Funding Societies, Singapore’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. They provide working capital loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along with attractive investment opportunities to the broader public.  To learn more about them, visit their website here.

Funding Societies is a DollarsAndSense Brand Connect partner. You can find out more about what they do on the DollarsAndSense Brand Connect Page.

Managing Personal Finances for Millennials

When it comes to personal finances, millennials often struggle. Older generations sneer, saying that the youth’s money problems stem from their own spending habits, from frequent eating out to coffee shops. That criticism has some merit. A recent survey conducted by Bankrate show that the average millennial eats out or buys take-out food 5 times a week.

Yet at the same, millennials earn 20% less than the boomers generation did at the same life stage, despite being better educated. No wonder young adults are so stressed out. They even spend four hours a week on average poring over personal financial matters at the office. With all the financial pressure, one’s daily lattes become less an indulgence and more of a self-care method.

What if you are a millennial looking to cut back on unnecessary spending? Good for you! It’s never too late to start managing your personal finances. Here are some tips to help you on your way.

Set a Bulletproof Budget

This one is an oldie but goodie. Setting a budget doesn’t mean obsessively tracking every penny or balancing your checkbook before bedtime. It means knowing how much of each paycheck should go towards savings, bills, shopping, and other needs. You’ll also need to prioritize which segment needs the most money. Basic needs such as food and shelter should become your priority, and then you can move on to internet and phone bills.

Budgeting will give you a good idea of where you might be overspending, so you can trim those expenses and possibly put that money towards a saving account or an investment.

Always, Always Pay Yourself First

When you’re young, there are many temptations. But while going out and spending money is fun, 5 years from now you will wonder why you didn’t start saving sooner. Start putting aside some of your income in a savings account. Your savings double as an emergency fund in case of any unforeseen circumstances.

How much money should you put aside in a saving account?

The safe answer would be as much as possible. However, a more practical amount would be 3-6 months of living expenses in savings. The savings account should also be easily accessible in case of an emergency, such as job loss, a car wreck, or medical needs.

Invest as Early as Possible

Saving money is important, yes, but it’s not enough to help you achieve long-term financial stability. As the years go by, inflation will make consumer goods more and more expensive. Grow your money by investing. The topic of investing sounds daunting for beginners, but it isn’t as complicates as it seems. Just spend some time researching and gaining at least the basic principles.

Take the time to know your personal risk tolerance, the risk and return principle, and how to diversify and reinvest your instruments. Investment products like time deposits and bonds are considered safer, so you can look into them if you are a beginner. But bear in mind that the return rates of these instruments are lower than riskier products.

Take Advantage of Finance Apps

If there is one thing millennials are most famous for, it would probably be their tech-savviness. They are eager for tech solutions that make life simpler and easier, including personal finance. In general, most millennials consider themselves more than qualified to handle their own finances. They just want a clear view of their financial situation. Fortunately, many startups have built finance apps to satisfy that demand. The Mint app helps you categorize your spending and keeps tabs on which category you are spending money on. You Need a Budget is an app that will help you stay aware of where every penny of your money is going.

Handling personal finances can be intimidating. But if you find it too stressful, don’t hesitate to ask for help from people you trust. Let’s start saving (and investing) as early as possible for a better financial future!


This article was written by Funding Societies, Singapore’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. They provide working capital loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along with attractive investment opportunities to the broader public.  To learn more about them, visit their website here.

Funding Societies is a DollarsAndSense Brand Connect partner. You can find out more about what they do on the DollarsAndSense Brand Connect Page.

Building The Best Team, No Matter How Small Your Business

A rookie mistake often made by those just starting a new business is thinking they can handle everything on their own. It’s still a small business, after all, so why would I need more people to help me, they think. As a small business owner, I should be able to wear many hats, they say.

However small a business started, it will eventually grow. So will yours. And every entrepreneur wants his business to consistently and steadily grow. Without the right team on your side, quality business growth is unlikely to happen. You need a great team and you can’t waste time when building one.

The thing is, building the best business team isn’t as easy as it sounds. How do you find the right people? How do you get them to work well together? How do you build the best business team even if your business is small?

Employing staff isn’t just about filling a role

Don’t rush into employing people just to fill a role. Ask yourself: what skills do I lack?

Answers to that question will help you identify what roles you must fill, along with the type of work you need the new person to do. In a small business, it’s important that the employees fit with the company and with each other, so make sure the people working with you believe in your business idea and vision. If they don’t, they won’t feel engaged and won’t bring additional value to your business.

Read also: Is Having No Job Better Than A Bad First Job?

Understand the strengths of each individual

It’s a given, each of your employee will enter the workplace with different personalities, quirks, and sets of values. Therefore, they will have different ideas about how to do their jobs. As a business owner, it’s important to recognize this, even if the way you work clash. People have different strengths and so long as your employees are contributing to your business in a healthy way, you’re on the right track. Just create an environment where people can channel their strengths and discuss their ideas or disagreements in an open, healthy fashion.

Explain your business goals

Before you officially start working with the new team, make sure everyone is on the same page. Let them know what they are aiming for and help them understand the goals of your business. It’s better if you have already created a vision of where your team should be —six months, a year, or two years from now. This will give your team a feeling for the situation in which they are working and the goals they are working towards.

Read also: Life At A Fintech Startup: 5 Interns Share Their Lessons Learned

Define roles as clearly as possible

Once everyone understand what the goals are, you can start bringing out the best in them. Make sure everyone is clear about their responsibilities, what is expected of them, and what is not. If you don’t make this clear, your team will work in confusion. They are not sure of their respective roles and boundaries. On a larger scale, business progress and efficiency will be affected.

Don’t forget that team roles are not static. As a business expands and various players show their strengths and results, you will need to periodically update roles and task list.

Are team building exercises necessary?

Here’s the honest answer: it depends. Small businesses are often fast-paced environments, so you need to get your team working together quickly. Team building exercises can help, but consider your budget to calculate whether you can afford them. Sometimes providing snacks when staff has to work late, or going to karaoke on a Friday night, is enough to get the band together and show that management cares.

In order to improve team performance, ask them to provide feedback. Listen carefully to what everyone says. Use the feedback to evaluate not only team performance, but also your own effectiveness as a leader. Last but not least: have fun building and growing a business with your new team!

This article was written by Funding Societies, Singapore’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. They provide working capital loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along with attractive investment opportunities to the broader public.  To learn more about them, visit their website here.

Funding Societies is a DollarsAndSense Brand Connect partner. You can find out more about what they do on the DollarsAndSense Brand Connect Page.