5 Major Factors that Affect your Credit Score

5 Major Factors that Affect your Credit Score

By Sam Kapur, Co-Founder of Guyding Principals.

 

With all the recent news about the credit reporting agency, Experian, I felt it was appropriate to write a post about credit.  While working in-car sales for 8 years I was able to see first hand how credit worthiness effected people.  Also, I was made aware of how little people actually knew about the entire process of the credit system.  Here are the major factors that determine your credit score.

  •  Types of Credit

Some of the different categories include, revolving debt (credit cards), installment debt (car loans), and mortgages.  When building your credit it is useful to try to have accounts in all categories, but as this is the smallest component of your overall calculation don’t go buying a house you can’t afford just to increase your score.  As a rule of thumb, you should try to keep at least 3 credit cards open.

  • Length of Credit History

There are two things to look at here.  What is the average length of all the accounts that you have and what is the oldest account on your credit.  My advice to you is not to close those credit cards that you applied for in college even if you are no longer going to use them.  

  • Credit Inquiries

There are two major types of inquires, hard and soft (yes, we are still talking about credit).  Soft hits are when you are checking your own score or when one of your existing credit providers are checking your credit.  Soft hits don’t have an effect on your score.  

Hard hits on the other hand can significantly affect your score.  One thing that’s changed in the past few years though is when buying a car or getting a mortgage.  Before your score was effected every time a car dealer or mortgage company ran your credit.  Typically though people like to rate shop so the have multiple institutions run their credit before making a purchase.   Because of this any inquiries made within 14 to 45 days for the same type of credit will only effect your score once.  It will also take 30 days before you score is effected.

  • Debt Burden

This is one of the major factors effecting your score, but people usually assume that the more debt you have the lower your score will be.  This isn’t necessarily true, for example, if you have $50k in debt, but are making your payments in time every month and have been doing so for the past 3 years, this will actually have a positive effect on your score.

The more important factor to look at here is your ratio of debt to available credit.  So if you have $100k of available credit and have used $50k this would be better than having $20k in available credit and using $15k.  The biggest mistake people make is closing a credit card once they have paid it off.  Instead, I recommend tearing up the card so you don’t get tempted to use it, but keep the account open.

Another thing you can do to help this ratio is asking for a credit line increase on your current cards.  Usually you can do this about once every 1 to 3 years per card.  Also, this normally doesn’t count as an inquiry as it is usually a soft hit

  • Payment History

This is by far the most important factor effecting your score.  Creditors report 30, 60, and 90 day late payments to the credit agencies and also when you account goes into collection or is written off.  Even 1 late payment can have a devastating effect on your score.  I have seen people who have 90 day late payments for amounts under $5.  This is ridiculous and shows a lack of responsibility to the creditor.  The dollar amount that is late is less important than the amount of time you are late for.  So make your payments in time.  Although you have a 30 day grace period for being late before your score is effected.  

Check your credit agreement on what the default rate is and the grace period before the default rate is applied. Some cards have no grace period which means your introductory rate of 2.9% can jump to 29.99% if you are just 1 day late.

If you have made mistakes in the past on your credit, don’t worry.  There are credit repair agencies out there that can help remove some of the derogatory information, but there is no guarantee that they can make the change so if they tell you that they can 100% remove your bankruptcy in 6 months don’t believe them.

With all the credit fraud out there and just for your own piece of mind I recommend getting a credit monitoring service.  Most credit cards offer this for a monthly charge and it is well worth it.  

 

Let us know what questions you have about your credit.

 

Top 10 Books for Entrepreneurs and Leaders.

“All Great Leaders are Great Readers”

By Donnavan Finlay, Co-Founder of Guyding Principals.

 

When starting off in any new venture as a small business owner or a supervising manager, the one thing you can never get enough of is information. Information is all around us but there is quality information and then just information.

The internet is full of short bursts of inspiration but that will only carry you so far. There is a saying I hear often “All Great Leaders are Great Readers”.

We are not all in a position to have mentors that we can call when we need some direction. That is where books come into play. The world is full of books written by successful leaders, in business and leadership.  All the information you will ever need is written in a book somewhere.

My Kindle is full of these books and I like to revert back and forth for ideas and inspiration.

Lately I have started listening to audio books as I can listen anywhere.  Have to drive somewhere? Have to stand in line at the bank again? Why not listen to an audio book while waiting and learn something new. Using this feature you will never have the excuse you did not have time.

The following list is my Top 10.  

There are many books out there I have found inspiring and of great value but not on the list. This doesn’t mean they are not good, I just feel the following are good to start off with.

  1. Blue Ocean Strategy

    If you have ever wondered how to separate yourself from the other businesses in your industry, this will give you start you need. This opened my mind.

  2. The Entrepreneur Mind

    By Kevin D. Johnson. Filled with personal stories and great advice. The book is a must have to any person wanting to be better as and entrepreneur. Filled with great information it will supply you with most of the answers you may have about starting your own business venture.

  3. How to Win Friends and Influence People

    By Dale Carnegie. Basically any book written by Dale Carnegie should be on your must read list. This book will provide the tools for any person looking to improve their overall social skills. Although the book may be old it is still very relevant in our world today. This could be the life changer you are looking for.

  4. Meetings Suck

    By Cameron Herald. We all have to sit through meetings at some point. Most would agree with the title of this book. Well, it doesn’t have to be. In this book you will read that there are some great ways to improve the experience and actually improve productivity and team performance. You will read how to ensure there is more engagement from the team. Last but not least you will read how to cut on time spent on meetings with increased overall results.

  5. The Personal MBA

    By Josh Kaufman. Not everyone has the finances or time to get a MBA at a top business school. Some may be a bit older when starting a new business venture. This book is exactly what you may be looking for. This book changed my thinking in many ways and I achieved increased results with my shift in thought and the changes I made in my own business ventures. I made changes to the way I looked at me staff and my clients. This book is worth your time.

  6. The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking

    By Dale Carnegie.  This book is practical and inspirational.  Very reader friendly with great examples. Great public speaking is a trait of good leaders and the money spent on this book will provide you with the tools to be exactly that.

  7. Secrets of Closing the Sale

    By Zig Ziglar. From the super salesman himself. This book covers all areas of the sale. Not every person is a born salesperson. After reading this book and implementing the principles you will see a positive change in the numbers. When leading a team you can break the book up in sections and do great training sessions that will provide your team with the guidance to increase the numbers.  A true must have book.

  8. Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits

    By Greg Crabtree. This is a must read for anyone starting a small business. Written by an accountant. The book simplifies what you are looking at so you have a better understanding of what is going on. At the end of the day we need the revenue to survive so we should learn how to read the numbers and how to leverage it.

  9. The Lean Startup

    By Eric Ries. This is truly a must for anyone starting a business. After reading the book the odds are in your favor to have a successful startup business.

  10. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

    By Stephen R. Covey. And last but not least. This book is very inspiring and I feel very well written. Great examples and easy to follow. This is a book you don’t just read once. It is a good idea to read it as often as you need to reinforce the habits. The habits are there to build character and not just attain better results.

 

What book is on your MUST read list?

 

Feel free to leave a comment or contact us at info@guydingprincipals.com.

The Pursuit of Happiness.

The Pursuit of Happiness.

By Sam Kapur, Co-Founder of Guyding Principals.

 

In order for me to do this post justice I’ll need to get a bit personal.  Before you listen to my thoughts on this subject there are some things you should know.  Things that I have told very few people in my life.  There was a time not too long ago where I didn’t see any benefit in being alive.  I wouldn’t say I was suicidal, but the majority of my day was consumed by negative thoughts like why did it make sense to be alive anymore when I wasn’t enjoying any aspect of my life.

After speaking with a few of my friends about this I realized that I wasn’t alone in this thought.  One day I finally decided that I no longer wanted to feel this way, I no longer wanted to be depressed, I wanted to be happy.  Thus began my pursuit of happiness.  Now I’m not going to tell you that it was easy to turn myself around.  I’m not going to tell you that the moment you decide to be happy you will.  It will take time, energy and persistence, but if you are ready to create a happy life than nothing can stop you buy yourself.  

Too often I hear people say that they can’t help think negative thoughts, it’s just how their mind works and they can’t control it.  That is pure BULLS**T and deep down inside you know it’s just not true.  Your mind does not control you, you control your mind.  Just like any muscle though, your mind and thoughts have elasticity, meaning that if you are used to thinking negative thoughts than you have a predisposition to negativity.  In order to change this you need to do 2 basic things.  

  1. Spend some time during the day to shut off your thoughts.  (This is what meditation is).  I know what you’re thinking, “but my mind is constantly racing and I can’t shut it off.”  This my friends is the excuse you make so you don’t have to try.
  2. Acknowledge when you are thinking negative thoughts and turn it into as positive one.

Now this is where your persistence comes in.  Just like anything else in life this takes practice.  You won’t be very good at first, but keep making progress every day and I guarantee within a month or two you will notice a significant difference.  Even if you only start by clearing your mind for one minute a day and turn one negative thought around, it’s a start.  

I have had a lot of success in my life and I have had a lot of failures.  I’ve driven around in expensive cars, owned a beautiful home, and had all the material possessions I wanted, but the time I was truly the happiest is when I lost EVERYTHING and could barely afford to feed myself.  Why? Because I made a concerted effort to be happy.  I felt that the world could take everything else away from my, but only I could take away my happiness.  

My life at that point was consumed by my pursuit.  I read every book, article, and blog I could on how to be happy.  One book that completely changed my like was “Positive Intelligence”  It is a quick read and gives easy exercises that anyone can incorporate into their daily routine.  If you are tired of being unhappy I highly recommend you read this book immediately.

 

I would like to get your insight on this topic.  What is a negative thought that you have had recently that you might be able to turn into a positive one?

Closing Time

Closing Time

By Sam Kapur, Co-Founder of Guyding Principals.

 

The biggest thing that separates salespeople from order takers is their ability to close.   What exactly is closing?  Simply put it’s asking for the sale, that’s it.  Often I’ve heard individuals who are in a sales profession say that they are really good at the entire sales process but don’t know how to close.  To quote the “Yoda” of sales (yes, I threw in a Star Wars reference), Zig Ziglar, “If you ain’t closing, you ain’t selling.”  

 

This final step is what separates professional salespeople from transactional salespeople (ie: the 7/11 cashier).  There is no need to fear the close, if you’ve done your job right and the client see’s the benefit in your product then they are waiting for you to ask them for the sale.   

Let’s talk about what needs to happen before the close, skipping this step is usually why salespeople fear the close itself.  First of all, the close should be done when you already know that the outcome is going to be in your favor, it should not be done to draw out and overcome objections.  How is this possible you ask, it’s simple, before you close you should always Trial Close.  This is where you draw out any lingering objections and then handle them.  Once you handle the objection you Trial Close again.  Keep doing this until you are certain all objections have been handled.  

The main reason we trial close before we close is because during the trial close you are asking the prospective client to commit before you do.  My go to trial close is “If I could… would you…”  Take for example the following scenarios.   

Prospect:  “Do you have the product in orange”

Salesperson: “Yes, let me show it to you.”  “Should we go ahead and get the paperwork ready?” 

Prospect:  “Thanks let me think about it and I’ll let you know.” 

Has something similar every happened to you? 

Now let’s try putting in the trial close.

Prospect: “Do you have the product in orange.” 

Salesperson:  “I’m not sure; orange is a very popular color and typically sells out quickly.  If we did have one left in orange, not saying that we currently do, but if we did, would you want to go ahead and take it today?”

Prospect:  “If you did have it in orange then I would seriously consider taking the product today.” 

Salesperson:  “Ok, let me check on that for you.”  “We’re in luck, there is still one available in orange.  Let’s go ahead and get the paperwork ready to make sure we don’t lose out on this.” 

See how the second example gets more commitment than the first?  Although this is a very simplified scenario I think you get the point.

Every professional salesperson should have at least 5 to 10 go to trail closes in their arsenal.  This way you can overcome at least 5 objections before having to go in for the close. 

For me this is the fun part of the sale because you can get very creative with your trial closes.   

What are some of the most creative trial closes you’ve used in the past or can think of using in your next sale?

4 Steps to Landing the Perfect Job

4 Steps to Landing the Perfect Job

By Sam Kapur, Co-Founder of Guyding Principals.

It is a common misconception that finding a job starts with your resume.  While in most instances you will need a resume in order to apply for a job, this is more just a formality for HR to have something on record.

Among the many different careers I’ve had, Executive Recruitment is one of them, and in my 8 years as a recruiter I have helped hundreds of candidates land their dream jobs.  Here is the best way to get that job you’ve always wanted.

 

  1. Before you can land your dream job you need to know what that is.

Too often people look for a job out of necessity and caught up in the “Grass is Greener” syndrome.  When this happens we look at all the reasons we should take a certain position and neglect to look to see what the downfalls of that careers are.  

Instead of getting caught in this trap, make a list of activities and aspects of a job that you enjoy and those that you don’t.  Break that list down to must haves and like to haves.  Now do some research on what jobs are out there that match your criteria.

Don’t rely on job postings to tell you what the position entails as these are seldom accurate depictions (take it from someone who created 2 to 3 new job postings every day).  Instead find someone who is in that position and ask if you can pick their brain about their job, people love talking about their lives and this is an excellent way to make your first connection in the industry you might want to get into.

 

  • What companies would be the best fit for you

Now that you know what job you want you need to figure out what companies offer the position that will be the best fit for you .  Only you can determine whether you would strive in a large corporate setting where you do more specialized tasks and have room to grow, or a small business setting where you will get to see a larger chunk of the overall business and have more involvement in different aspects of the operation.

It is also good to speak  to people who work in different size companies.  Make sure to not just ask them what they like about their company, but also what they don’t like.  

There are also websites out there like Glassdoor.com that allow employees to post their opinions about specific companies that they’ve worked for.  Just make sure to take those comments with a grain of salt because you might read a post from a disgruntled employee who is looking to vent.

 

  • Go straight to the Hiring Manager

This is arguably the most important part of landing your dream job and where most people drop the ball.  In today’s job market employers get hundreds, if not, thousands of applications for each position.  Don’t be just another resume weeded out from a keyword search.  

Instead, go directly to the person you will be working for.  Besides, who knows what they want in an employee better than the person who directly needs that employee.

Now that being said, there is an art to getting to the hiring manager.  The scope of which is beyond the limits of this article, but the gist of it is to think outside the box.  Be different than everyone else who is trying to get the job.   You need to be a bit of a detective with this and utilize all the resources you have online and offline.  

We will cover this in more depth in another article.

 

  • Send in your Resume

This step is really simple.  If you have done step 3 correctly, then the hiring manager will let you know who and when to turn your resume in.  Don’t worry too much on creating the perfect resume or spending money on a service to create your resume for you.  This is now just a formality.  Spend your time and energy now on making sure you are prepared for the interview(s).

 

What are some out of the box ways you can think of to get in direct contact with the hiring manager?