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Affiliate Marketing and Disruptive Innovation

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Disruptive Innovation is a term that is attributed to Clayton M. Christensen in 2003. Basically, it refers to what occurs when some type of significant innovation (new technology, business practice, etc.) is developed that dramatically affects an existing market or industry. Often a significantly disruptive innovation will eventually force an existing industry to either adapt or become obsolete. Some of the most obvious instances of disruptive innovation involve a new technology completely turning a pre-existing industry upside down. A couple of historical examples would be the invention of the printing press which disrupted the traditional 'industry' of hand copying books and the invention of the automobile which disrupted the established horse and buggy industry. More recently, we have the development of digital photography and the traditional film photography industry, digital music and the recording industry, wireless cell phones and the legacy phone companies. You get the idea.

The rise of the internet and digital media in general created massive disruption of numerous legacy markets and industries. In fact, affiliate marketing could easily be viewed as a disruptive innovation affecting the traditional advertising and marketing industry. The interesting thing about disruptive innovations is that the most successful ones (that eventually replace a pre-existing industry) then become targets for future disruption themselves. Put another way, yesterday's disruptive innovation is tomorrow's legacy industry that is destined to be disrupted by some other innovation.

Historically, major disruptive innovation seems to have taken place over longer periods of time. The automobile didn't replace the horse drawn carriage overnight (it took the additional development of mass production to really speed it along). But, much of the innovation we see happening today happens more quickly. In the purely digital realm, we see a company like Twitter rise seemingly overnight and change the landscape for the social media and search marketing industries.

The marketing industry has been in almost a constant state of disruption since the dawning of the internet. Since one of the foundations of the industry is based on how consumers communicate and access information, any new development that changes consumer behavior in these areas becomes a new challenge and opportunity for marketers.

As online marketers, we have leveraged new technology and helped to drive the massive disruption of traditional advertising. In fact, many online and affiliate marketers seem to thrive by closely following the latest disruptions. Far from the old-school advertising execs who initially resisted the online medium because it was new and different (and therefore a threat to the status quo), today's successful affiliate marketer is quick to take advantage of the latest developments. The rise of social media wasn't viewed as a threat to our current business model, but rather a new opportunity to grow and become even more profitable.

This strategy of looking for ways to leverage new technology and consumer communication trends has served the online marketing industry well in an environment where change happens incredibly quickly. The fact that we have basically grown up with constant change will likely serve us well in the years ahead as our industry continues to evolve to meet consumers wherever they go (mobile anyone?).

If there is any lesson for affiliate and online marketers from looking back at other examples of disruptive innovation, it is that if you get too comfortable with the way things are today and aren't ready to adjust your thinking and tactics to accommodate surprising changes, you risk being left in the dust. If you didn't adjust your search marketing programs the next time Google changes its algorithms or tweak your email initiatives to accommodate new filtering technology, you would end up as becoming as obsolete as a VCR. The better you are at actively identifying new disruptions as they emerge, the more successful you are likely to be in affiliate marketing.

Where Can I Find A No Win No Fee Solicitor?

Monday, April 28, 2014

If you were to be involved in an automobile accident you could end up experiencing changes to your life that could cause you to have to change the way in which you live. Many people that are involved in an accident acquire damages that are so severe that they have to spend time in a hospital, endure physical therapy, and take medications in order to manage their pain. These individuals also generally have to take of work while they are in recovery. This can result in all types of financial issues.

Even if your injuries are mild you should be aware that you are still entitled to financial compensation. If you were not at fault in the accident you will want to seek out legal services to make use of so that you can acquire compensation so that you don’t end up having to pay for all the above expenses on your own.

If you were driving during an accident that was no fault of your own then you are legally entitled to file a claim. Additionally, if you were the passenger in a car that was involved in an accident you are also entitled to file a claim.

The moment that an accident occurs you will want to immediately begin considering those Solicitors in your area that can assist you in filing your claim. However, you don’t want to rush into the process of selecting a Solicitor. There are several things that you will want to focus on so that you can be certain that you are choosing an individual or firm that will go out of their way to ensure that you win your claim and get the compensation that you are entitled to.

The first thing to consider is the reputation of each Solicitor that you are considering. You want to ensure that they have years of proven experience and that they have the training that is necessary to provide you with the results that you want. This may require a little research on your part.

The next thing to consider is the expertise that these Solicitors have. For example, if you are involved in an automobile accident you will only want to deal with Solicitors that have actual experience in handling these types of cases. The more experience that they have the better your chances are of winning your claim.

Finally, you will want to most likely only deal with those Solicitors that don’t charge for their services up front or that charge you any type of money unless your case is won. The good news is that you can easily find a no win no fee Solicitor if you take your time during the selection process. There is no reason that you should pay for a case that you don’t win.

Most Solicitors understand this and have no win no fee offers.

You should focus on no win no fee claims if you truly want to save money. One of the best no win no fee claims services you can rely on to save money is No Win No Fee Solicitors.

Bad Credit Loans For Nurses - An Answer To Your Fiscal Worries

Friday, April 25, 2014

Monetary demands are ever increasing. Therefore, in particular for nurses who face a problem of availing advances because of their poor financial status there is a solution in the form of bad credit loans for nurses. These finances help nurses to satisfy their requirements without any difficulties. Hence, they prove to be an answer to all fiscal worries for nurses.

The amount that can be acquired through this form of credit extends from £200 to £25,000. This range is sufficient since it corresponds to the cost of demands including the purchase of a car or the renovation of a house. At the same time, the applicant must keep in mind that this amount is repaid within 1 to 10 years.

The applicant also benefits as these advances are available in the secured as well as the unsecured form. Thus, the borrower gets the opportunity to make an appeal through anyone of these formats. According to secured advances, the applicant can draw a large amount as compared to unsecured advances due to the pledging of collateral. On the other hand, the applicant is entitled to pay a high interest rate on unsecured loans.

The lender puts forth an eligibility criterion which is to be followed. He must be a UK citizen to apply for this form of cash. At the same time, he must attain 18 years of age or more. He is also required to maintain an active bank account and must work on the basis of a monthly income.

There is an advantage for the applicant to sit in one place and register his application with an online lender without getting out of the house. Therefore, this method of application for a loan is very beneficial as it provides all facilities to the borrower without any processing fees. Thus, it is significant due to its easy availability.

Bosch Prints

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Hieronymus Bosch was a famous Dutch artist within the 15th and 16th centuries at a time when European art was in a transitional stage on the path to the contemporary art movement that we have today. This article covers Bosch prints in full and details some of his best known paintings. Bosch's most famous painting was certainly the Garden of Earthly Delights triptych. In fact, Bosch is particularly well remembered for his work on triptychs, a medium which is rarely seen today because of the lack of religious-style architecture requiring decoration in this way.

Bosch is one of several well respected artists who devoted years of their life to the medium of triptychs, with other notable artists who also experimented in this area including Simone Martini, Robert Campin, Hugo Van Der Goes, Peter Paul Rubens, Max Beckmann and Francis Bacon.

Bosch comes from the exceptional past of Dutch art which included the famous set of painters termed the Dutch Golden Age. Although the Netherlands was not technically around in the same form during the career of Bosch, he remains one of the most influential Dutch painters since the Middle Ages.

Hieronymus Bosch has been compared to many other significant artists of more recent times thanks to the legacy that he left and how it influenced many who followed. Pieter Bruegel the Younger and Elder are two such artists whose style was extremely similar to Bosch, with large numbers of active characters strewn over complex and powerful backgrounds.

Bosch liked to portray characters within complex landscapes in order to get across certain moral issues that he felt important at the time. In some cases, Bosch also tackled major religious themes as well, as shown in The Last Judgement and Hell.

The most famous paintings by Hieronymus Bosch that make great art print reproductions include Garden of Earthly Delights, Temptation of St Anthony, Tondals Vision, Ascent of the Blessed, Concert in the Egg, Ship of Fools, Hell and Last Judgement.

Many still choose to buy Bosch reproductions online even today as his reputation remains strong. The most popular include framed prints and unframed art prints, posters and stretched canvases. Tapestries are also available in some cases, but the level of detail included in most Bosch paintings makes other mediums normally a better choice.

In conclusion, Hieronymus Bosch prints arean excellent way to enjoy classic art within your own home and it should be remembered that Bosch was a very important artist who laid an important legacy for future generations of European artists. Paintings such as The Garden of Earthly Delights will remain important parts of any comprehensive art history course for many years because of the role played by Bosch during the early parts of the rise of European art from the Middle Ages.

Debt Settlement Law Firms: Understand How They Work

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

In many cases, the decision to settle with creditors is the best that can be made. Bankruptcy carries with it a heavy toll and unless something is done to deal with towering debts, financial ruin is around the corner. But how should the settlement be reached? Should it be through a debt settlement law firm, or through a settlement company?

The most common option is to go for debt settlement companies, and there are many to choose from. But, there are clear advantages to choosing a law firm to negotiate and represent a debtor. And if the debt settlement agreement means saving money and being legally protected too, then it is hard to ignore.

Why Debt Settlement Is A Solution

It might seem that agreeing a settlement is not going to make that great a difference. But settlements of as little as 30% of the actual sum owed can be achieved. So, a $10,000 balance is cleared with a single payment of $3,000, and whether the debtor goes through a debt settlement law firm or company, this is a great deal.

When dealing with overall debts of $100,000 or more, the challenge is to secure a deal that can see the debt repaid gradually over a given period of time – for example 10 years. Debt settlement companies and law firms will negotiate with creditors to agree the overall figure, and then set an austerity structure that will see the debt cleared on time.

The main advantage of setting about dealing with the debt problem through debt settlement, of course, is that significant savings can be made while alleviating the financial pressure. What is more, the effect it has on a credit report is less damaging than bankruptcy since some of the debt is paid.

Law firm Vs Company: The Key Differences

So, why choose a law firm to handle the task of taking control and clearing mounting debts? Are they really the better choice? In many ways they are, as the differences between how debt settlement law firms and companies are quite stark.

The key difference is that a law firm can be hugely effective when it comes to dealing with the legal intricacies that are often so important when things do not go according to plan. For example, with relation to collection calls, debt settlement companies have little power to counter the tendency for collection agencies to make continual calls.

However, a law firm knows the legal rights of debtors, and can very swiftly put an end to these calls, which are in violation of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. So, a law firm can ensure that the debt settlement is conducted properly.

Other areas in which debt settlement law firms hold an advantage include when a creditor decides to exercise their right to sue the debtor for money. Because they are law firms, they can make contact with the creditor and negotiate a settlement.

But debt settlement companies are not permitted to make contact with creditors once legal proceedings have begun. They have no power in the law at all, so would be unable to find a solution in the unlikely event that a creditor did opt for a court appearance.

Finally, the law firm is perfectly positioned to take care of all legal issues that come out of the debt settlement agreement. They are also correctly set up to ensure the best representation, in sharp contrast to companies, which are not always legitimate in the eyes of the law - so they are closed down.

How to Capitalize on Emerging Insurance Claims Management Technology?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Is your current core claims system constraining your business? Small modifications and changes can begin to amount to large dollars being spent in IT on claims system adjustments, because completely replacing a legacy product is trying to be avoided. However, not completely diving into modernizing your claims management platform can be causing insurers to begin to waste company dollars, rather than grow the business. Replacing a claims management system can be looked at as a daunting process, but to ease the software selection process it is critical to be meticulous in the decision making process.

Your goal should be to deliver an agile yet simple technology solution for your adjusters, and customers. A system that brings efficiency and effectiveness not only helps with the bottom line but keeps adjusters providing optimal customer service.

Prepare a detailed prioritized list of what are the most important items that need to be addressed. Your list should include enhancements such as:
Manage Claims Efficiently/Updated Workflows
Improve Customer Service
Business Intelligence
Reduce Claim Costs
Improve Fraud Detection
Compliance and Regulation Guidelines

What is your success criterion?
Knowing the 'why' is just as important as calculating the 'how'. This knowledge will help you guide the search. A uniformed goal will assist in providing a practical approach. If your success criterion is to be able to better identify trends, then it's clear that business intelligence, and capabilities to access detailed data to make informed decisions should be numbers one or two on your priority list.

What is your commitment level?
Are you mapping out a full workflow starting with the frontline, all the components, and players that take part in each claim? Have you fully reviewed the IT resources needed to maximize your IT support without increasing requirements on your existing IT department? Modernizing an antiquated claims process is no easy fete and all areas should be fully assessed with a multi-functional perspective that takes a strong commitment to making a major system change.

The union of a very mature vendor landscape, and antiquated legacy has created an environment where insurers view claims management system transformations as an essential and accessible initiative. Most insurers have inflexible systems that constrain their ability to respond to market changes and new business needs. A practical approach with a detailed outline will help in creating the right business technology partnership, and maximize your ability to respond to business changes effectively.

Sell Real Estate Notes

Selling real estate notes is a fast and simple solution for a real estate investor who needs quick cash. These notes specify terms of payback and include the loan amount, interest rate, and pay back time.

An investor can sell the entire lot of real estate notes, or part of them. The partial sale of real estate notes provides you a higher rate of return. There are several ways to sell real estate notes, including media advertising and postings on blogs. The real estate note selling market is a vast field of opportunities. The best technique to sell a real estate note is to list it on some reliable media. Remember that buyers range from individual investors to financing institutions and companies.

Real estate notes usually are residential notes, commercial notes, and vacant land notes. Residential real estate notes can be notes for houses, townhouses, condominiums, apartment buildings, and mobile homes. Vacant land notes pertain to developed land, undeveloped land and land not designated as a specific-use property, such as farm land or waste storage property.

The best option for those intending to sell real estate notes is to list them in any of the real estate note listing websites. Visitors to these websites are mostly professional people involved in the real estate business. You can also advertise in newspapers and magazines. When your real estate note reaches a wider audience, the chances of your getting a good profit are high. Real estate note brokers also offer you professional help in selling your real estate notes.

Everything A Real Estate Agent Doesn't Want You To Know, A Year In Review 2006

Friday, April 18, 2014

During 2006 I have written a number of articles known as the "Everything A Real Estate Agent Doesn't Want You To Know" series which has been a consumer oriented series of information to help home buyers and sellers protect themselves when conducting a real estate transaction. These articles are a natural extension of books I have written known as "Everything A Real Estate Agent Doesn't Want A Home Buyer To Know" and "Everything A Real Estate Agent Doesn't Want A Home Seller To Know".

The first book written during 1990 was called "Everything A Real Estate Agent Doesn't Want You To Know" and it had a fair degree of national success, much more than I thought it would, when I introduced it to the media during 1991/92. We sold the book in every state in the U.S. including Alaska, Hawaii and as far as Pakistan and Japan. This was not a bad performance for a self-published under-funded author.

I wrote this book because I was a licensed real estate agent in the state of Ohio and, more importantly, I was a residential mortgage banker for a few years and I saw many home buyers and sellers experience financial damage from dealing with inexperienced and unethical real estate agents. Many of the agents were either totally incompetent or so self interested that they would mislead buyers and sellers, anything to get them to sign a purchase offer or a listing contract. Many of these home buyers and sellers who were cut through the neck and didn't even realize they were bleeding because they lacked knowledge and insight into how the real estate game is played.

These books have always caused friction between real estate agents and myself because many agents resent the title of the books and the ill conceived premise that my position is that all agents are bad crooked people, which is false. In fact, whenever I did a media gig I always made it a point to clarify this is NOT a blanket indictment against real estate agents. There are good, honest, knowledgeable, full time real estate agents in the business who are highly professional. The problem is they are the minority and not the majority.

The major problem with the real estate industry as a whole is the ease with which a person can get a real estate license. While the educational requirements vary from state to state, in most cases, anybody can get a license to sell real estate in about 90 days. This just doesn't make sense to me. Consider that many agents are little old women who operate part-time, have no business or selling background, go to school for 30 or 90 days and are licensed to represent home sellers in property transactions from around $50,000.00 and up. I mean, a lawyer has to go to school for seven years to get a license to write a fifty-dollar will or represent somebody in a petty traffic accident. But silly-sally can go to school for 30 days and list a $250,000 house for sale? That does not compute in my mind. What kind of representation will a seller get from a part time agent with one toe in the tub? And the full-time pros know what I am talking about.

I have had many close discussions with agents while I was in the business and the bottom line is that part timers are often the weakest link in getting a deal done, unavailable for showings, etc. The bottom line, part time agents give part time results whether you are a buyer, seller or a full time agent trying to make a living.

And the truth is that most people, especially first time home buyers and sellers don't know what is going on...not really. How you select an agent to sell a home, the nature of contract law and the negotiable elements of listing contracts, purchase contracts, etc. is way beyond most first time buyers and sellers. The result is that sellers sign stupid long-term listing contracts with the wrong agents and the wrong companies and buyers pay way more for property then they would if they had more insight into the workings of real estate transactions involving commissioned real estate sales agents. I didn't originate the problem, I just identified the problems and the solutions for home buyers and sellers.

CAVEAT EMPTOR is legal jargon which means "buyer beware" and it means what it says. Whether you are a home seller or home buyer, you better know what you are doing when you are making decisions and signing contracts because, it is your duty to know and ignorance is no excuse under the law. If you do a stupid real estate deal, it's your fault. Which is a shame because buying or selling a home is a BIG business decision. It is a business transaction composed of people, emotions, contracts and cash and those are all the ingredients for legal and financial pain if you don't know what you are doing, and most people don't. And how are people supposed to get access to this information that will protect their legal and financial interests before they buy or sell a home anyway?


What many people don't know is the National Association of Realtors  (NAR) is one of America's largest special interest groups who have incredible lobbying power over our politicians to write real estate laws that benefit the real estate industry, not consumers. Thus, the caveat emptor clause... state and federal real estate laws are written in the interests of your local real estate company and not you.

Something else people are not aware of is the tremendous advertising influence the NAR has over print and electronic media to manipulate the news you read, hear and see because of their advertising dollar power. There is an article written by Elizabeth Lesley of the Washington Journalism review called Demand Happy News And Often Get It and it exposes the corruption and manipulation of the news consumers count on to make decisions about buying or selling a home. I strongly urge everyone to read this article.

Real estate is like the stock market in some ways. When you hear of a fad like "flipping" you are probably at the tail end of that gimmick bubble, kind of like the dot.com days... everybody jumped in because they thought it was hot and it was really the end of the dot.com bubble. A lot of people have gotten caught with their pants down on the flipping angle.

Home foreclosures are up across the U.S. because real estate agents and the lenders who cater to them (the real estate industry has tremendous influence over the lending industry because the are the source of so many home loans) have qualified otherwise unqualified borrowers, by putting them in gimmick loans. In the mad dash to milk the market, people have been steered in to interest only loans, negative amortization loans or attractive teaser loans like low interest adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) and other stupid financing that is NOT in the best interest of the buyer. That's why many of the foreclosures are happening. Naïve and gullible people were sold a bill of goods based on unrealistic property values. The market got hyped and the agents and lenders were right there to exploit buyers and sellers. Did some people make money? Sure. But many people have found themselves against the wall with too much "house", too big a payment and a housing market that looks pretty bleak for a while...

All it takes is one ripple in our fragile economy to turn the real estate market into a landslide. Here's a news flash: The economy is on shaky ground. The economy has been kept strong by housing sales and corporate profits and both are an illusion. The real measure of the economy is durable goods, like automotive sales, which are in the tank causing massive restructuring and layoffs. People can't afford to buy cars because they are scraping the enamel off their teeth trying to make house payments...

So, whoever you are, and you read my real estate articles, keep in mind that the reason I have done what I have done, and will do what I do, is because I am on the side of the consumer. I am on the side of the person who wants to be a better, more informed consumer. I am on the side of the person who wants to save a few thousand on their real estate transaction by being smart and on a more level playing field with real estate agents.

And you know what? By educating people and teaching them how to do deals more intelligently, how to weed out the part timer agents from the pros and save a few bucks in the process, I am actually helping the professional full time agents. The truth is that honest agents won't have a problem with my position because it will get rid of the riff raff.

Thanks for reading!

Jim Hart

Copyright © 2006 James W. Hart, IV All Rights Reserved

Feng Shui

A Brief History

Feng Shui has been practised in China at least since the Tang Dynasty.

The most ancient master in this art is generally believed to be Yang Yun Sang who is universally acknowledged as the Founder of Feng Shui.

Master Yang left a legacy of classic that have been preserved and continuously studied to this day.

He was the principal advisor of the court of the Emperor Hi Tsang (A.D. 888), and his books on Feng Shui made up the major texts on which succeeding generations of practitioners based their art.

Master Yang's emphasis was on the shape of the mountains, the direction of water courses, and above all, on locating and understanding the influence of the Dragon, Cha's most revered celestial creature.

His doctrines were detailed in three famous classic works that wholly describe Feng Shui practice in terms of colourful Dragon metaphors.

The first of these, "Han Lung Ching", contains the "Art of Rousing the Dragon".

The second, "Ching Nang Ao Chih", comprises the methods of determining the location of the Dragon's lair.

While the third book is "I Lung Ching", translated under the title "Canons approximating Dragons".

This third book provides the methods and techniques on how to find the Dragon in areas where they do not prominently stand forth.

Understanding FS

Modern science has only recently discovered that the earth's atmosphere is crowded with powerful but invisible energy waves and lines that enable us to enjoy telephones and radios, fax machines and satellite communications.

The ancient Chinese scientists discovered the existence of these energy lines many centuries ago.

They described these invisible atmospheric lines of energy in symbolic terms, referring to them as the Dragon's cosmic breath if they were beneficial and as its killing breath if they were unfavourable.

Feng Shui was the name given to the practice of beneficially harnessing these energy forces.

People of Chinese origin have long known about Feng Shui. Over the centuries it has been passed by word of mouth from generation to generation, so that those ignorant of its philosophical underpinnings, have come to regard it as superstitious practice.

Feng Shui is the art of living in harmony with the land, such that one derives the greatest benefits, peace and prosperity from being in perfect equilibrium with Nature.

Feng Shui holds out the promise of a life of meaningful abundance to those who follow its principles and precepts when building their homes and workplaces.

Perhaps it is knowledge and practice of this ancient science that has enabled Chinese immigrants and their families all over the world to succeed and flourish, building respectable businesses for themselves, and living in harmonious interface with their neighbours in their adoptive lands.

Feng Shui cannot be viewed narrowly either as a science, with "magical" formular, nor as a art based totally on instincts.

It is a flexible mixture of both, and to practice it effectively, conceptual principles extracted from ancient classical manuals must be applied in consonance with the thinking man's intuition and personal judgements.

To further complicate the practice, there are also elements of superstitious beliefs superimposed on the whole body of Feng Shi principles.

These cannot be ignored nor forgotten.

Indeed, today's Feng Shui veterans frequently and successfully employ symbolism and village-type superstition.

Form & Compass School Feng Shui

Master Yang's principles came to be regarded as the "Form School" of Feng Shui, which rationalises good or bad sites in terms of Dragon symbolism. According to this school, good Feng Shui locations require the presence of the Dragon, and where there is the true Dragon, there will also be found the White Tiger.

Feng Shui Masters who subscribe to the Form School begin their search for favourable locations by first searching for the Dragon. Emphasis was thus put on landforms, shapes of hills and mountains, waterways, their orientations and directions.

While Dragon symbolism was the principle mainstay of the Form School, there eventually emerged a second major system that approached the practice of Feng Shui from quite different perspectives. This second system laid stress on metaphysical speculations, using the symbols of the I Ching - or Book of Changes, and the Trigrams and the Hexagrams - three and six-lined symbols to calculate good and bad Feng Shui.

The Trigrams were placed around an eight-sided octagonal symbol called the Pa Kua, and according to where each of these eight Trigrams were placed, other corresponding attributes and symbols were further identified. These refer to colours, to different members of the family, to specific compass directions, to one of the five elements and to other attributes.

Each of these symbols and attributes were supposed to offer "clues" for designing homes, for allocating different rooms, for different purposes and for assigning different members of the family to different corners of the home in order to maximise auspicious Feng Shui for the entire family.

This second major system came to be collectively referred to as the Compass School of Feng Shui, and depending on which branch of this school is being practised, the calculations took on different equations and methods.

Certain branches of Compass School also emphasized the influence of the planets on the quality of locations. In contrast to the Form School, it assigned only minor importance to landscape configurations, relying heavily instead on complex calculations of actual dimensions, compass directions and sectors of main entrances and important rooms.

By the late 19th and early 20th centuries, however, the two schools had merged completely. Theories of the Form School including beliefs in Dragon symbolism gained wider acceptability and practice amongst followers of the Compass School. Today, Feng Shui practitioners in Hong Kong and Taiwan customarily practise a hazy combination of both schools.

Between the two schools, the Form School, with its heavy emphasis on the natural landscape, requires a greater amount of intuitive insight. It is therefore considered harder to practice even though the Green Dragon/White Tiger symbolisms are relatively easy to comprehend. The Compass School method is harder to learn and its formulae more difficult to grasp, but once mastered, is considered easier to practice due to its more precise methodologies.

Real Estate Schools

Thursday, April 17, 2014

When a person is looking for the right living or office space, but does not know how to go about the buying process, then a real estate broker or agent is the person to approach. These professionals not only help a buyer find and select the right property, but also get some of the best deals for their customers. Today, careers in the real estate industry are highly rewarding. Hence, the importance of real estate schools arises.

Aspiring real estate agents are offered real estate pre-license, post-license and continuing education courses in the classroom. They are also provided with online courses. There are various schools that pass knowledge in this faculty. Conveniently located in various states, these schools have been training real estate professionals for more than 20 years. They help a majority of students obtain real estate licenses.

Online real estate courses offered are also second to none. Students are offered online sales associate pre-licensing and online post-licensing courses, with a wide variety of supplemental material to help students pass the real estate exam. Real estate schools offer thorough training to the candidates, making sure they will be prepared the day of their exams.

It is said that choosing the best real estate school can be a tough decision. There is an eligibility criterion that needs to be fulfilled in order to apply for the real estate license. To begin with, the student must be at least 18 years of age and have a high school diploma or GED. In order to apply, a candidate needs to submit application to the Division of Real Estate with the appropriate fee. He must also complete and pass the state approved 63-hour sales associate pre-license course.

Real estate schools have grown in popularity over the years. Most of what is taught in real estate pre-license classes, courses, and training is designed to help the student know what is required to be a qualified licensed real estate professional. In addition to this, one needs good communication and persuasion skills to make a successful career in real estate.

Insurance Professional Tips - Sales Letter Writing Like an Insurance Pro

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

An insurance professional talks, acts, writes, and make sales like a pro. To elevate your level to insurance pro, these tips guide you to increase sales letter writing response by 30%. You will be shown, besides letter writing, how to motivate your prospects to transform them into buyers. Learn the insurance professional walk and talk.

Increasing replies for an insurance pro is more than a feather in their hat. When an insurance sales letter writing brings a great response the reward is a higher income. The entire progression of insurance direct marketing is to procure leads starting from receptive prospect replies. I am not chatting to you regarding cheap leads from prospects that counter a response to just about letter that converts to a flying paper airplane. It is pounding action verbs into your insurance sales letter writing that nails down favorable replies.

Writing a letter for your sales piece can be a grueling process. Rewrite it again by swapping words and phrases, so it sounds smoother. Presume a response rate of one half of a percent to one percent is normally respectable. Increasing this amount by 30% gives insurance brokers agents a great return on the money they are spending (investing on themselves). Also I am taking for granted that you, like an insurance professional, uses refined and carefully selected mailing list. This maximizes the ratio of prospects you can close. On a 5,000 piece insurance sales letter mailer, you should attain possession of 25 to 50 lead opportunities to close sales.


If rewriting your letter one final time could boost your response rate 30%, would you elect to execute a final letter draft.? The answer is "yes", then "but how"? I assure you, undertaking properly placed action verbs will sprout higher yielding results. You are cleverly combining emotional motivation while aiming the leads trigger directly at your prospect. Acquiring inspiring action verbs is rather simple. In fact, provided free at the end of this article are 100 action verbs. These are key verbs triggering your clients inner emotions and implementing responses to your letter.

An insurance pro can transform 50% to 90% of the lead responses into sales. In this instance, at least 14 additional money making leads could easily result in seven more profitable business dealings. The added replies alone compensate lead acquisition expenditures. Plus extra sales reap long term benefits. Inserting action verbs to your sales piece bears record breaking results. This in turn, escalates new sales volume to the top level.

All this, just by self-injecting action verbs, when rewriting your dynamic insurance sales letter. Your exceptional lead productive writing is led by adding action verbs. It's that simple.

Here is a list of the first action verbs.

Focus, forecast, stun, harvest, advance, surprise, grab, hustle, identify, gesture, evaluate, icy, appoint, approve, arouse, inherit, assume, attacking, automate, master, backtrack, bait, bang, blending, brag, kick, capitalize, capture, celebrate, certify, mobilize, reinvent, honor, cheer, interject, cinch, thrill, clench, cling, incite, coax, intervene, combine, impress, compare, flash, halt, jolt, help, illuminate, and shining.

The remainder of the action verbs list sample follows.

Launch, gallop, congratulate, jam, conserve, ignite, link, consult, investigate, contribute, leap, increase, convey, invade, howl, counseled, crunch, illustrate, decrease, deliver, delve, manipulate, design, mandate, detail, imagine, develop, magnify, diffuse, liberate, license, discover, leverage, display, dissected, gamble, diversify, manhandle, holler, dream, isolate. economize, echo, elaborate, knockout, humble, encourage, energize, hiss, enhance, and maximize.

Accomplishing the Mission

Now starts the challenge of professional champions. Take the initiative on elevating skyhigh the interest in your insurance sales letter. You must add startling eye-to eye headlines that will start your prospect's mind spinning. Ordinary and dull reading will instantly get your sales message pitched in the dirty disgusting trash. Everything should get a complete makeover. Your whole sales letter must come alive to force your reader into a trance to read on. This task involves enthralling sub-headlines, dreamful benefits, and a captivating call to action Then a final irresistible P.S. message to lock in replies for your sales letter writing.

Undervalued Cars in Today's Market

Monday, April 14, 2014

There are so many cars on the market that it is hard to know what to choose. Depending on your needs, here are three new cars that are currently on the market that are undervalued in what they can do. This isn't just a list of three of the hottest cars or three cars that are undervalued because they won't pull as many hot ladies as you want. No, this list is simply three cars that are undervalued in their price sector.

In the economy car sector, we have the Suzuki SX4. While you may have heard of the motorcycles that Suzuki is famous for, they are also big into making small cars that are actually not too bad. While this car won't win any beauty contests, the Suzuki SX4 isn't trying to win anyone over. And although the styling may not grab you, the fact that this is the lowest priced, new all wheel drive vehicle that you can buy, should. In fact, given that the Suzuki actually has a very decent reliability record, and that it returns an impressive - for an AWD vehicle anyway - 22 city mpg and 28 highway, this car should not be overlooked. The engine is tiny though, at only 2.0 liters and pushing out only 143 hp. The main problem with this type of engine is the transmission and the Suzuki does itself no favors with the four-speed automatic. It is pretty much a dog with this, and the best bet is to stick with the manual. For around $16,000 you can have a small, AWD vehicle that has good reliability, sure footed handling in all weather, and even have the option of an integrated Garmin navigation system.

For those who want a little more space for their families or, simply to carry more things, there is a very, sorely undervalued sedan on the market right now. The Subaru Legacy has been around since the late 80s, but it has never had the mainstream success that Honda and Toyota have had. So why is this? For starters, Subaru does not do as much advertising as the other two giants. Plus, Subaru is pretty much an independent when it comes to the automotive world, being a subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries, and does not have the budget, or the large scale operation to try and take on the heavy hitters dollar for dollar. Where the Legacy really succeeds though, is in the drive. This car is much more involving and fun to drive than either the Accord or the Camry. Both of those cars have their merits, but none of those merits come down to fun. The Legacy also offers a wide range of specifications for the driver. The current model features three different engine choices and three different transmission choices. The base model features a 170 hp, 2.5 liter horizontally-opposed four cylinder engine with a standard six-speed manual transmission. You can also opt to get a CVT, or continuously variable transmission, as well that will give a boost in fuel mileage. In fact, with this engine and transmission combo, the Legacy will return over 30 mpg on the highway. That's particularly impressive when you factor in that it is a full size sedan and that it comes standard, like every Subaru, with AWD. The other engines include a 3.6 liter six-cylinder with 256 hp (on 87 octane by the way) as well as the always enjoyable, and driver's favorite, 2.5 liter turbo engine with 243 hp. While these engines may not get the same sort of fuel mileage as the smaller one, they do return a much bigger smile. These engines give the whole range a larger flexibility when it comes to buyer preference as well. Honda and Toyota both offer various engine choices as well, but neither of them offers a full on turbo charged, manual transmissioned car for the automotive enthusiast. Subaru is trying hard to make sure that everyone has a choice when it comes to getting into the sedan sector, and thanks to the different choices on offer, everyone from the fuel miser to the canyon carver can be satisfied with their Legacy choice.

Moving up the car spectrum even farther we come to the big hitters. The supercar segment took a big hit when the economy went into the toilet, but they are still out there and they are still very much alive. In fact, there are probably more choices out there for the new supercar buyer than ever before. But what should you buy? Well, most people will say, get a Lambo, or buy a Ferrari, but I have another Italian in mind. If it were up to me, more people would be driving Alfa Romeos. Now I know that Alfa has not been part of the American car landscape for a little over a decade, but they will be making a come back in just a few years. And, as of right now, there is one Alfa that stands above all the rest, and that you can actually buy in America right now. That car is the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione. Some have said, and rightfully so, that this is the most beautiful car on sale today. I can't agree more, though most Alfa cars are very lovely to look at anyway. But they went above and beyond with this model. The long, swoopy front end flows over the top of the car and ends in a beautifully stubby tail that recalls GT race cars. When you combine the short front and rear overhangs and the bulging, muscular wheel arches, you end up with a car that can do no wrong cosmetically. And under the bonnet things get even better. The engine is a Ferrari-sourced 4.7 liter V8 pumping out 450 hp that makes one of the best noises you will ever hear. From a burbling grumble on start up to a high pitched wail nearing the red line, the whole thing is a symphony of sound wrapped up in one of the loveliest shapes there is. Of course, this does mean that it costs a pretty penny. In fact, the car itself costs around $300,000, but there will only be 500 of these ever made, with only 84 in this country. Sure it doesn't accelerate the fastest, it isn't the most powerful and it won't blow people away when the road gets twisty, but for the looks, sound and exclusivity you get with this car, nothing else is going to matter to you.

So there you are. Three cars that are undervalued in their segment and three cars that are actually a good bargain when you consider the value that they will give you. In the case of the Suzuki, it means having the surefootedness of AWD in a compact car. The Legacy is there for those who want more driver involvement in the sedan category and the Alfa proves that buying a car with your heart makes more sense than ever.

How to Become a Real Estate Agent

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Real estate includes residential and commercial property. The former refers to property that people live in and the latter to trade and lease of property intended for profits. Inflation, augmented income, better government measures, and easily available mortgages have improved consumer purchase capacities. Such progressive consumer trends have proved to be a boon for the real estate trade. Real estate includes real estate business purchases, sales, and property rentals.

Individuals are required to enroll in real estate schools to make a career in real estate, as is the case with many other professions. Courses conducted at such business schools provide an opportunity to learn tricks of the trade in order to identify market trends and patterns. They also provide certification to individuals who practice a particular trade. There are numerous real estate schools that offer a wide range of courses.

Individuals may decide upon a desired real estate education program. When selecting an institute, it is advisable to be cautious and make enquiries regarding college reputation, degrees, and fees. A number of these courses and diplomas are made available online. This enables practicing real estate agents to enroll for specialized courses and helps students living in different cities to take the courses they need. Some people may opt for such courses as a continuing education program. Certain institutes offer a money-back guarantee in case enrolled individuals are not are not successful in the real estate business upon completion of their education program. Accredited and reputed institutes offer a universal platform and can hire industry leaders as part of their visiting faculty.

People can become real estate agents upon completion of undergraduate and graduate courses and certified distance-learning programs. Others may be part of a family business and choose to get certified after joining the trade. It is possible to start working without any educational degree, but the success rate is not guaranteed. Most professionals are required to work as apprentices with listed real estate companies.

Professional Indemnity Insurance for Various Professions

A solicitor seeking protection under professional indemnity insurance is not something which most of us thought about being necessary until recent years. As the very name suggests, a solicitor is adept with his profession, with various laws and legislations that pertains to his area of expertise. In fact, the very status of a solicitor itself is a sure sign of authenticity and height of meticulousness, and he being charged for failure to deliver up to his standards is something which we never believed could be a possibility.

The situation is quite different nowadays. The overall industry scenario has become much volatile, making the jobs of solicitors tougher. A minute and unaccounted step has a good probability to leading to nasty claim against a solicitor, amounting to severe financial loss, loss of reputation, or both, and these are not uncommon. Hence, professional indemnity insurance is a necessity for solicitors even.

Professional indemnity insurance policies for solicitors are bit different from typical professional indemnity covers available for other professionals. Professional indemnity covers for solicitors are widely drawn. It should be noted that the type of service offered by solicitors are different in nature from other professionals and so are the types of claims that arise against solicitors. A typical policy covers civil liability arising in the course of work carried out in the course of private legal practice; however, there is some exclusion. Professional indemnity insurance for solicitors does not usually cover claims for negligence or breach of contract, but for breach of trust, breach of fiduciary duty, perceived dishonesty, etc. These are the areas where professional indemnity insurance policy that is applicable to other professionals differs from a professional indemnity cover for solicitors.

In most instances, a policy breach may result in claims going unpaid. In such situations, other professionals have policies that contain provisions limiting the rights of the insurer in cases of policy non-compliance; however, professional indemnity insurance policies for solicitors are in comparison more generous in nature of the cover provided.

It is very important that solicitors take note that while the cover may be widely drawn, it may not include any activity that typically does not come under the areas covered by a solicitor under normal circumstances. If any solicitor engages in any activity that falls outside the periphery of solicitation, it should be immaculate put across the insurance agency, who, in turn, will make sure that the offered policy covers the applicant from any claim.

Who Is Eligible For Heating Allowance In The Uk?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The rules that govern which people are eligible for heating allowance in the UK are slightly complicated. Many people who are eligible for payments receive them automatically through the same systems that administer their other benefits, but others who are eligible need to apply to get the money they are entitled to. The following is a guide to help you determine whether you are eligible for Winter Fuel Payment or Cold Weather Payments, so you can apply for and receive the money you need to stay warm.

Who is Eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment?

In order to be eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment, you must meet the following criteria.


Winter Fuel Payment is only paid to the older people in UK society. The minimum age you need to be to claim the Winter Fuel Payment changes every year, as it is rising in line with the female state pension age.

For the winter of 2012-2013, only people born on or before the 5th July 1951 are eligible to claim the Winter Fuel Payment.

For the winter of 2013-2014, only people born on or before the 5th January 1952 are eligible to claim the Winter Fuel Payment.

For the winter of 2014-2015, only people born on or before the 5th July 1952 are eligible to claim the Winter Fuel Payment.


Even if you meet the age requirement, you will still not be eligible to claim the Winter Fuel Payment if any of the following exceptions apply to you:

If you were in prison during the week of 17 to 23 September 2012, you would not be eligible to claim the Winter Fuel Payment during the winter of 2012-2013.

If during the week of 17 to 23 September 2012 you were in hospital, and you had been in hospital for at least a year beforehand, you would not be eligible to claim the Winter Fuel Payment.

If you have been living in a care home for 12 weeks or more, you cannot claim the Winter Fuel Payment, even if you are receiving other income-based benefits such as Pension Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance, or ESA.

If your immigration status excludes you from claiming benefits, you are not eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment.

Living Abroad and Claiming the Winter Fuel Payment

Contrary to popular belief, it is possible for UK citizens to claim the Winter Fuel if they live outside of the UK. However, there are a few conditions you must meet to claim the Winter Fuel Payment while living overseas. You must have already qualified for the Winter Fuel Payment before you left the UK. Furthermore, you can only claim the Winter Fuel Payment if you live in another country in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland; UK citizens living outside this area are not eligible to claim the payment.

Receiving the Winter Fuel Payment

Most people who are eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment will receive it automatically. The payment is administered using the same system as is used to distribute the State Pension and certain other benefits, including Pension Credit and Incapacity Benefit, so if you already are in receipt any of these benefits you should receive the Winter Fuel Payment once you reach the age of eligibility.

If you do not receive the State Pension, but you meet the eligibility requirements for the Winter Fuel Payments, you will need to make a claim to receive this heating benefit. You can make either a claim via the gov.uk website or write to the Winter Fuel Payment Team via the address given on the gov.uk site.

If you claim before the end of September, you should receive your payment before Christmas. People who receive the payment automatically will receive the money in either November or December, following a letter informing them that the payment will soon be arriving.

Cold Weather Payment Eligibility

The other benefit that exists in the UK to help people meet their heating bills is the Cold Weather Payment. This allowance only applies when the temperature in your local area dips below zero degrees Celsius for a period of 7 days or longer.

Who is Eligible for the Cold Weather Payment?

Only people who are already receiving one of the following benefits are eligible for the Cold Weather Payment. In each case, there are also some further conditions that must be met in order to be eligible.

Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)

There are two components to Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA): a universal component which is paid to anyone who has made enough National Insurance contributions, and an income-based component which is means tested. If you are receiving income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, you will also be eligible for the Cold Weather Payment if you have a disabled child, a child under 5, or if you receive a disability or pensioner premium on top of your JSA.

Income-Based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

Employment and Support Allowance is paid to people who are disabled or suffering from an illness that makes working difficult. You can receive income-based ESA if you are unemployed or in work, providing you meet the eligibility and income requirements. In addition, you’ll also get Cold Weather Payments to help you meet your heating costs if you receive the work-related component of ESA, if you have a disabled child or a child under five, or if you receive a severe disability premium in addition to the standard rate of ESA.

Receiving Cold Weather Payments

If you are eligible for Cold Weather Payments, you will receive them automatically. To make sure that you get the money you are entitled to during spells of severe cold, make sure that you keep the Jobcentre informed of any changes in your circumstances, for example if you have a new baby.

Real Estate Website Promotion is Easy

If you are a Real Estate Agent, Real Estate Broker, or provide a Real Estate service you know how important effective real estate web promotion is to your business. The large number of people searching the internet for local, national and international real estate information can simply not be ignored.

At the same time you may think effective real estate website promotion is too difficult to master, too expensive to afford, or just too mysterious to understand - an area reserved for experts in the field of search engine marketing.

Like most practitioners of highly specialized skills, search engine marketing specialists have a vested interest in making their field seem mysterious and difficult to master. But it is not really that mysterious. It is possible for anyone to dominate the search engines in virtually any local market. All it takes is a bit of common sense and some hard work.

The principles involved in getting good positioning for your real estate website are quite simple and straightforward. They are the same principles that apply to search engine marketing for any website and it is actually quite easy to apply these principles to real estate websites. Many real estate agents have simply given up trying to score well in the search engines for local real estate searches because they don't properly understand the process.

But think about it for a minute. When you do a search in Google for "real estate Phoenix" or "Banff real estate" or "Halifax real estate" or "Fort Lauderdale real estate", and you see the same real estate agents or agencies coming up on the first page week after week, how do you think they got there? What magical real estate website promotion formula are they using or who have they paid to get this high position?

Now before you answer that question, ask yourself how you think Google assigns these positions to different websites. Does their giant computer just pull names from a great big cyber-hat? Do they use secret rules that only a few insiders know about?

Of course not. All the major search engines make it perfectly clear what they are looking for - and especially Google. If you want to score well for a term like "real estate Phoenix" or "real estate Ottawa", really all you have to do is pack your site with good information about Phoenix (or Ottawa) and focus your home page in a very deliberate way on those search terms.

The search engines like focused content. They assume if your site contains lots of content relevant to "real estate Phoenix" then it should be shown high in searches for that keyword.

Of course the problem is that there are already a number of other real estate websites offering good content focused on your favorite search term, so you are going head to head with sites that have previously established position, and it will take a bit of time and a fair amount of work to get past them.

That is fair enough. After all, if the real estate agent down the streat offers more focused and relevant information than you do about the market you are both chasing, she deserves to come up above you in the search engine rankings. It makes sense, doesn't it?

That does not mean you should not keep on trying. It simply means you should be patient and work harder. Take a close look at her site and outdo her by refocusing your site and creating more interesting and valuable content. Focus is the name of the game. Make it crystal clear that you are the "expert" on "Calgary real estate" by offering the kinds of things that an expert would offer.

And please, do not hesitate to mention the search phrase you are trying to get positioning on. If it is "Kingston real estate" or "Sacramento real estate", then use that term all over your home page. Say to yourself, "OK Google, so you are looking for real estate websites that have something to say about 'Sacramento real estate', well here I am. I breathe Sacramento Real Estate. I ooze Sacramento Real Estate. I AM Sacramento Real Estate." This is called Search Engine Optimization.

In the meantime, while you're waiting for Google to come around on your primary search term, find some less competitive ones to focus on as well. For instance, if you want to service the entire Ottawa area, but most of your clientele is in Kanata or Nepean, focus some of your internet marketing efforts on those smaller markets. You have a much better chance of getting results in these significantly smaller and less competitive markets.

Data - The Poor Relation With a Big Say

Friday, April 11, 2014

To some use of the word 'data' signals the beginning of one of the most boring, technically esoteric and generally useless topics of discussion they can imagine. Data model, data dictionary, data schema, data cleansing, data coding & classification.... or just plain old data.

HELP! How much boredom and technophobia can one person be expected to cope with! Can't those sad techie's keep all that gobbledy-gook stuff to themselves and just talk to the rest of us about normal business things?

Oh dear, a response common to many technophobes we know. We even have some sympathy for this perspective. However, we also know from hard experience that the technophobes are dead wrong to place this conversation on one of the lower rungs of technical hell.

Unfortunately, although we'd never claim the topic was scintillating to most listeners, we know how fundamentally important good data is to modern organisations. It is not too much of an exaggeration to say that without it they are lost with little hope of rescue!

You see, business processes, functions, workflows, metrics, org charts, etc, etc change quite regularly... sometimes at the whim of a passing management fad. Where-as base data on the other hand generally changes relatively little on the whole... while underpinning all the rest of the faster changing artefacts that rest on top of it.

To understand this, while trying to avoid the more technical aspects, it is useful to think of (business) data as being split into three camps: meta data, static data and dynamic data.

Meta data is simply data about data. This camp covers such things as should data be ten digits long or fifteen digits long. Should it be numeric or alpha-numeric. Should it use an existing classification system (e.g. NATO schema) to group and relate items or one you invent for yourself. These basic decisions underpin every data structure (e.g. database) ever devised and are essential to being able to speak a common data 'language' that uses consistent definitions and formats.

A very common business example of meta data is the structuring of an organisation's financial chart of accounts... i.e. what locations and functions, what departmental / budget codes, what time periods, what currency, what consolidation roll-up, what accounting standards, etc.

Look more widely and you will also see that the concept of an invoice, an order, a requisition, a product, a part and many, many other familiar business artefacts are also meta data entities. That is, an object or item with an understood set of data attributes and rules that define and specify it and its relationship to other data entities. In fact, a map of such things is known as an entity relationship diagram or data schema!

Once the basic data entity building blocks are defined, for both operational and maintenance purposes, they are often then divided into two further camps... static data and dynamic data.

Static data, as the name implies is data that either does not change, or more typically, changes relatively infrequently. Into this camp we can place data items such as products, customers, suppliers, BOMs, routings, etc. It is not that these data items never change, but that once created they commonly change little and infrequently... for some organisations, sometimes verging on never... which can be a problem in and of itself!

Finally, we have the camp of dynamic data. As this name implies this is data that changes fairly frequently. Into this camp we can place data items such as quotes, orders, requisitions, GRNs, invoices, etc. These items by definition change regularly as part of the normal cycle and rhythm of conducting business.

However, lets now circle back to our original point... that base data changes relatively little on the whole. How does this reconcile with the idea of dynamic data which changes regularly for instance? Well, as for most things, the distinction is in the definition and the use of the qualifier 'base' in base data.

The point is that while dynamic data changes regularly (e.g. new invoice number, new requisition number, etc) and static data from time-to-time (e.g. new supplier, existing supplier address with a new address, etc) the meta data that defines those entities (e.g. the fact that there is an invoice number or address field) almost NEVER changes!

When is the last time for instance that you can remember a basic data concept like that of an invoice being introduced for the first time?

Hence our use of the phrase 'on the whole' when describing the low change rate of base data. It also explains our desire to illuminate the distinction between the data camps as we did to explain things a bit more clearly and accurately.

With your new understanding of these three data camps... keeping in mind that these definitions have a wide general applicability, but if you went outside the realms of business (e.g. scientific research), you would find far more data camps in use than just these... you should be beginning to see how fundamental data is to everything built on top of it.

And for common business concepts like P&L, ROI, management reporting, project status, etc... that is almost EVERYTHING!!

Now perhaps it is becoming fully clear why an apparently boring and technically esoteric topic like data is actually of PARAMOUNT importance to any business!

After money, it is arguably the lifeblood of any organisation in terms of understanding and deciding where it is, where it needs to go and how well it is progressing on that journey. Without good quality data a business is quite literally lost... even more dangerously so if it actually believes it knows where it is (i.e. based on access to 'bad' data) but in fact does not...

This observation leads the conversation nicely to a few additional important facts about data. Namely, once you have some data, you also need to ensure that it is as:

  • Accurate - plus or minus how much?
  • Precise - to how many decimal places?
  • Timely - when am I going to be able to get this?
  • Available - How will I be able to access it?
as it needs to be (i.e. as opposed to as much as it 'theoretically' could be) to fill your legitimate business needs. There are many approaches to accomplishing this list of requirements, e.g.:
  • use of mobile technologies (e.g. handheld devices, laptops, etc)
  • use of automated technologies (e.g. bar coding, RFID, etc)
  • use of rigorous routines (e.g. perpetual inventory / cycle counting, stock counts, trial balances, month-end closes, etc)
and many others too numerous to quantify here, but the message is the same.

If something is important to the organisation then the relevant data relating to it also needs to be defined, instantiated, collected, collated, accurate, precise, timely and available to a level of quality matched to the importance placed on it by the organisation!

The number of times we have seen managers puzzling over 'mysterious' business project failures... especially in the context of large, multi-site, multi-function transformational change programmes... is nothing short of astounding. Failures in which they resolutely believe they broadly got (and perhaps did get) the strategy, processes, metrics, people, systems and other dimensions of change right, but still fell short somehow.

Although not on every occasion of course, but with frightening regularity all the same, one of the most obviously missing considerations in our experience has been a good understanding of the quality of the underlying legacy data landscape.

Had they (i.e. management, not the 'techies' who often do understand but whose views are often not sought or are 'unwelcome') deigned to look, it being a low-level techie subject and all, they might have actually seen (shock horror) that the data landscape was not fit for purpose.

They might have even found that it never had been and was thus never going to be capable of supporting the level of integration of processes, metrics, systems, reporting, etc that everyone had been working towards!

Unfortunately, given its lowly 'techie' status, looking at the data landscape is not a high priority on many a corporate transformational change programme agenda.

And although data is often not the only issue needing attention... it is one of the most commonly overlooked, and thus one of the most inscrutably responsible culprits for the failure to achieve the expected results!

Connecticut Real Estate Agents

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

For people who are at all interested in Connecticut real estate, there are Connecticut real estate agents who are willing to assist and lend a hand. It should not be hard to choose the right agent who can help you find the right real estate for your purposes.

Who are these Connecticut real estate agents?

Connecticut real estate agents are also known in the real estate business as real estate brokers. They conduct real estate transactions with regards to any kind of real estate in the said area or location. These agents could be employed by a group or company who handles this kind of business. However, Connecticut real estate agents could also be the owner and the manager of their own agency.

Connecticut real estate agents assist sellers or buyers in marketing or in purchasing pieces of real estate property. There are agents who are mainly focused on helping clients market their properties and there are also agents who specialize in the buying process. However, there also are some agents who could do both. Connecticut real estate agents are required by law to have a license before they practice.

What do Connecticut real estate agents do?

The most basic thing that a Connecticut real estate agent does is to assist their clients in their Connecticut real estate transactions. They should be able to have the capability to let their clients purchase or market their Connecticut real estate property at the best possible price. These Connecticut real estate agents represent their clients during the whole transaction.

Awesome Family Summer Travel Destinations

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The world is full of amazing and awe-inspiring sights and sounds. To squeeze all of Mother Nature's extravagance into the top ten great summer travel destinations for families is a daunting task. Summer brings everything outdoors; the furniture, toys, children and every kind of outdoor activity one can imagine. However, one of the best ways to enjoy one's summer vacation is to pack up ones family and go discover the world. Now, you may be wondering, isn't that what the rich do? Well, today you can find cheap flights to almost anywhere, and once you arrive you can rest assured there are one or two reasonably good cheap hotels to stay in. That said; spoil your family with a vacation to one of the following great summer travel destinations for families:

Costa Rica
This beautiful south Caribbean tropical paradise is located in Central America and bounded by the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea to one side and Nicaragua and Panama on the other. Amazing white beaches and tropical flora and fauna adorn this country making it the perfect tropical paradise to visit. What's more, many budget airlines that fly to Costa Rica offer discount airfare rates especially when advance bookings are made.

The Hamptons
Located conveniently on the east end of Long Island, NY, this historical summer getaway is great for domestic tourism. Accessible via domestic couriers that offer cheap airline tickets to locals, enjoy the long stretches of beach, sprawling vineyards and magnanimous estates. In addition, experience the unique historical seaside villages that dot the Hampton coastline and make for a great family travel vacation.

This prehistoric island off the Southeastern coast of Africa has some fantastic and extraordinary creatures and plant life. Perfect for a summer vacation eco tour, this country has all sorts of great flora and fauna to keep everyone excited. Popularized by the Hollywood movie, Madagascar, this destination will definitely live up to your expectations. Hospitable locals, exuberant landscapes and cheap hotels all go towards making this a perfect summer vacation destination.

Abu Dhabi, UAE
Tipped 'the richest city in the world' (Fortune and CNN) this rapidly growing capital of the United Arab Emirates is fast becoming one of the premier destinations for summer vacationers. Multicultural and super urbanization features characterize this area. As the Emirati begins to diversify the economy of the area, tourism has become a key building block for the developing economy. With cheap flights from the numerous carriers plying the Middle East, experiencing this new city f the world has never been easier.

Located in the Eastern Mediterranean sea, Cyprus is a great summer vacation destination for all. With an excellent economy to match the excellent Mediterranean climate, Cyprus has a booming tourism sector and great packages for the interested traveler. The Mediterranean climate provides warm to hot weather all year round and the azure waters surrounding the island are a great way to kick back and relax.

This continent 'down under' has a great adventure awaiting the intrepid traveler. Arrive in style in either Sydney or Melbourne and embark on an Aussie adventure in this expansive country. Camel hikes, dune bashing, or seaside holidays are all on the itinerary. Once in the country, get some cheap airline tickets form one of the budget airlines in the country and hop from one area of the country to the next, you'll have a whole continent to explore to your heart's content.

Home of the safari, travel to the renowned Maasia Mara or recline on the white sand beaches enjoy that perfect summer vacation. Hospitable locals, a vibrant, cosmopolitan capital and numerous options available to access, a summer vacation to Kenya would be a different experience altogether.

Well, you may be wondering, Scandinavia is not a country; exactly the point. Take a summer vacation to one of the Scandinavian countries and simple hop onto a bus, train or cheap flight and in no time, you are in the next Scandinavian country. Offering great summer travel destinations for families, the kids will get a lesson in European geography as well as have a great time.

Tuscany, Italy
Home to the true Italian Renaissance; walk in the neighborhood of great artistic leaders such as Dante, Botticelli, Leonardo De Vinci, and Galileo Galilei amongst others. Breathtaking landscapes add to the rich artistic legacy to create a holiday vacation like no other.

Two billion people call this country home and so there must be something to it. In deed there is; from the Great Wall of China to the Yangtze River, China has such diverse landscapes it will leave you wondering if you were in one country or ten. The top vacation destination in Asia, China offers eco-cultural tours like no other.

Bad Credit Home Loans From Wells Fargo

Monday, April 7, 2014

Wells Fargo is one of the premiere home mortgage companies in the United States and considers itself a specialist in offering solutions to every kind of home loan situation. Indeed, it has plans for home buyers who need a bad credit home loan. If you count sixteen houses on a suburban block, at least one of them will have been financed by Wells Fargo.

Wells Fargo Range of Operations

It offers a variety of financial instruments to its clients including, some with rather esoteric names: The Jumbo Mortgage. The Reverse Mortgage. The Adjustable Rate Mortgage. It is the most visible lender financing newly constructed houses in the U.S. It will even go out of its way to structure a home loan program suited directly to the individual home buyer. If you are an employee of a Fortune 100 company, chances are your relocation (and your new housing) with your company was handled by a Wells Fargo representative.

Wells Fargo Home Loan Services

Wells Fargo has earned its reputation by providing some of the best financial instruments for its clientele, especially in the mortgage markets. Its services are fast and reliable, they are solutions oriented, and the application process is free of bureaucratic dead ends that slows down other mortgage servicers. Some of its competitively priced home loan products include:

– New Construction F
– Home Equity Loans
– First Time Buyers Program
– Timed Withdrawals (Cued to Repayment Cycles)

Wells Fargo Bad Credit Home Loan Services

Wells Fargo is aware that these troubled times have caused more than a few folks to take some hits on their credit histories. If a consumer with poor credit was to shop around, he or she would find that Wells Fargo has the most opportunities to offer such borrowers. And the consumer would also find that the prices or the interest rates on their products are competitively, and often lower, priced than other bad credit home loan mortgage servicers. Among its many programs you will find:

– Closing Guarantees

Wells Fargo organizes closing guarantee loan plans that go far in easing uncertainties in the purchase of housing real estate for borrowers with poor credit histories.

– Credit Counseling

Credit management programs are conducted for customers with a not so impressive credit history to help them boost their scores and thereby get a better home loan deal.

– Loan Counseling

A great service for first time home buyers, Wells Fargo functions with a commitment to provide responsible servicing to customers by offering a step by step guidance through loan processing. This could be called hand-holding, but it is a definite plus for first time buyers who also have poor credit.

Wells Fargo Expands

To expand its base and thereby increase the services and benefits offered to its clientele, Wells Fargo bought a leading mortgage giant, Wachovia Corporation. The deal was approved by the federal government and was signed during the second week of October 2008. With this merger, Wells Fargo emerges as one of the leading top mortgage companies with the best customer services and policies, and a commitment to offer the best bad credit mortgage solutions to meet the rising and increasingly complex financial requirements of its customers.

Real Estate Rebate - Can The Traditional Model Survive?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Beginning Of The Real Estate Rebate: Society as a whole has been significantly impacted by the emergence of the Internet. It has made the world a smaller place and has intern changed the way we communicate and conduct business. It has helped companies target their clients through avenues such as Google & Yahoo, and has subsequently put the products and information that consumers looking for, at their finger tips. Social Networks such as Myspace and Facebook have made it possible to stay in contact with friends and family around the world via the Internet. As time passes these changes and effects will become more wide spread and alarmingly self evident. One such industry that stands to be dramatically affected is Real Estate.

For decades, the real estate industry has been defined by traditional representation in which an agent charges the seller a commission to market and sell their home or represents buyers through the entire home buying process. In the past, the traditional model was the staple of the real estate profession and it faced little to no opposition. This has begun to change. With the dependency that society and has developed on Internet, creative minds have begun to develop new models that cater to every type of consumer. As a result, consumers no longer have to settle for the "One Size Fits All" traditional model, but have a choice in choosing the type of service that fits their real estate needs.

New Models: Consumers may now choose between a variety of real estate products and services. These services are characterized by enabling buyers or sellers to seek specific real estate assistance as opposed to the whole package. In the case of sellers, real estate agents will charge a fee only for the services they provide. For example, a seller may only want to list their home on MLS (Multiple Listing Service Used By Real Estate Professionals around the Country) for the added exposure, and require some assistance drafting a purchase and sale agreement. Listing a home and receiving assistance with a P&S will cost you hundreds of dollars as opposed to paying a 5%-6% commission that would cost thousands of dollars. Buyers who are interested in finding a home on their own or willing to participate in the initial house hunting work, can receive a rebate at closing. This model gives buyers the professional assistance of a realtor and rewards them for their efforts with a portion of the commission at closing. One company that gives buyers a rebate is SharpBuyers. They are a national real estate rebate company based out of Boston Massachusetts. They have agents all throughout the country that will help buyers find a home and give them a rebate at closing. Another emerging model is real estate consultants. These are licensed real estate professionals that exclusively charge flat fee's for specific services.

The brokerages that offer these innovative real estate services are referred to as Discount Brokers, Rebate Agents, and Real Estate Consultants. It can clearly be seen, that all of these new models engage the buyers and sellers in the home buying or selling process. Subsequently, these models are ideal for the home buyers of tomorrow, generation X and Y. These are tech-savvy home buyers and they are not afraid to delve into the process if it means they will save thousands of dollars. Ten years from now, generation X will collectively be in their early and mid 30's. Many will use the traditional method to buy their first home, while others will seek out innovative brokers. How will the market share shake out in 2017? Only time will tell. It is anticipated that many traditional brokerages will be forced to adapt to a mixed service model, meaning they will offer both traditional and discount services to buyers, rather than one or the other. This may prove to be a necessary strategy if traditional brokerages would like to remain competitive after 2020. The new real estate business models enable consumers to have the best of both worlds, professional assistance and more money in their pockets.

Real Estate and The Internet Today: In today's world, the effect that the Internet has had on the real estate profession is extremely apparent. As the popularity of the Internet initially grew, many agents were concerned that consumers would cut them right out of the deal. To date, this has not been the case. The real estate industry has come to embrace the Internet and all of the great marketing tools that it has given birth to. It has also helped real estate professionals have better access to listing information, recent sales history and various statistical data reports. Leonard Nomura of Bentley Real Estate Group says he could not imagine life as a broker without the Internet. The numbers are astounding. According to the National Association of Realtors, 77% of home buyers used the Internet to find their homes in 2005. This has steadily grown from 2% of buyers using the Internet to find their homes in 1995 and is speculated to be over 85% today. According to clickz.com, 50% of all consumers who surf the web, do so with the intent to purchase consumer goods and services. This includes Real Estate, automobiles, clothing, music and anything else imaginable.

As a result of the emerging mixed service models, consumers can now choose from a range of real estate services that did not previously exist. It is believed that many real estate professionals see these new models as a threat because of their ability to significantly impact the traditional real estate brokerage's market share. According to Real Trends an industry newsletter, alternative Real Estate Models currently make up 2% of the market, but could grow to 12% by 2010. The transformation of the real estate industry has only just begun. Time will tell the true story of how the market will shake out, but the bottom line is this; alternative real estate models are putting money back into consumer's pockets and you will always put a smile on someone's face when you show them how to save thousands of dollars.

Strategic Planning - Steps For Trailblazing a Path to Long-term Business Success

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Companies often have trouble maintaining growth, even in favorable economic conditions. The modern business landscape is ever changing: The information highway remains supercharged; technology continues to develop at warp speed; distribution channels change unexpectedly; and new competitors spring into action every day. And if growing a business wasn't challenging enough, business leaders now face another uphill battle as we face one of the toughest economic environments of our generation.

In today's complex business environment, strategic thinking is essential for sustaining a long-term competitive position. Corporations recognize this necessity and invest ample resources towards strategic planning efforts. However, small-to-mid-sized companies often fail to engage in strategy development activities. As a result, subtle changes in the competitive landscape go unnoticed and once a new technology, process or change in cost structure enters the marketplace, the incumbent's competitive advantages disappear. In response, the corporation goes into reactive mode and ends up playing catch up instead of proactively embracing new opportunities.

The dearth of strategic planning in smaller-sized companies is often attributed to an absence of time and understanding. Owners and company executives tend to become absorbed with the daily operations of the company and focus on immediate tasks instead of long-term goals. Some company owners may recognize the importance of strategic planning but simply lack clear understanding of the process. While vast libraries exist on the subject of strategic planning, many authors focus on the concerns of large corporation and key in on issues that non-applicable to smaller organizations.

Strategic planning shouldn't be complicated. In its simplest form, a strategic plan is a clear vision of a company long-term position based upon the value-add it provides to customers and shareholders. Strategic plans require knowledge of fundamental industry shifts and how customers and competitors are expected to respond to those changes. Flexibility is an inherent characteristic of strategic plans, which should be easily adaptable to the current market. Evaluating strategic options is based on identifying choices that are most capable of providing value for all stakeholders and align with the organization's vision and core competencies.

So, where to begin? First, become aware of the major changes impacting your industry and begin to align those changes with your organization's core competencies. Your answers to the following three questions can help develop your starting point.

1. What business are we in?
The answer to this question isn't always the most obvious. It is not necessarily tied to the product or service your company offers. For example, insurance companies have long recognized that they are in the business of selling security and assurance. Small retail outlets such as 7-Eleven stores understand that they are in the business of selling convenience. Whole Foods realized that it was in the business of social responsibility and identified a large consumer base that would respond to this message. As a result, the market chain has been rewarded with higher margins than commonly seen in a traditional grocery store. Companies who understand what business they are in are more adept at identifying niches, following trends and responding to market demand. This flexibility makes them more successful at formulating sustainable businesses models.

2. What changes are occurring in our industry?
New technologies can change the competitive landscape overnight. Moreover, competitors may emerge from the most unexpected places. Today, candy bar companies compete with digital music providers for teenagers' discretionary income. Make it a point to maintain a constant dialogue with your customers, suppliers and industry experts. Schedule quarterly meetings with your sales staff to learn what they are hearing in the marketplace.

3. How can we continue to make money?
Recognizing the core competencies of your organization is critical to building strategic flexibility. The best way to preserve your competitive edge is to continually innovate. Upgrade your technologies, hone your internal processes or develop more efficient distribution channels. Core competencies can be repackaged, stripped down, re-bundled and reconfigured in order to appeal to a changing marketplace. Technology companies have a firm understanding of this concept. New electronic gadgets are introduced to the market and are quickly followed by advanced models. These products are in turn succeeded by stripped-down, less expensive models that appeal to a large consumer base. Fast food chain McDonalds built an entire marketing campaign around the Happy Meal, a shining example of a product bundling strategy at work.

By answering the three questions above, your organization can begin to think in a more strategic manner. Independent of size, all companies must participate in strategic planning activities. In the new economy, knowledge has trumped raw materials as the essential business resource. Strategy development and execution is crucial for long term business success. Don't get blindsided by your competition. Playing catch-up has never put a business in a good position.

Markets are not destroyed overnight, even though executives may feel that a loss is swift and unexpected. Markets deteriorate slowly over time and leaving a trail of clues along the way. More often than not, these clues go unnoticed. Usually the cause of a company's failure was a inability to identify looming changes in the business environment and adjust corporate strategy accordingly. One of the contributing factors to the lack of business acumen is an executive's false belief in continuity. Companies are firmly convinced of their own perpetuity, and envelope themselves in a misguided sense of security and invincibility. This is especially true of generation businesses or legacy organizations. Where once a business model could be counted on to provide a successful foundation for at least a decade, today's companies may need to revamp themselves in as little as a year or two. Creative destruction is constantly reshaping our business landscape. As a result, companies cannot expect to operate from a position of assured continuity.

Financial Considerations
Strategy without financial analysis is incomplete and subject to failure. Continual growth under any economic condition requires a strong financial plan. CEOs often find themselves in right-brain, left-brain quandary - how do you commingle visionary optimism with cost-conscious pessimism? Executives often adopt strategies that do not consider the financial implications. Ineffective strategic plans are void of comprehensive ROI analysis. Smaller firms are particularly at risk, since they may lack a qualified CFO. Controllers with only basic accounting procedures are missing the advanced analytical skills that are required for close financial examination of a strategic plan.

Industries are not created or destroyed equally. Some companies are better positioned for economic uncertainty. Executives who strive to become increasingly strategic in their financial decision-making and engage in vigilant oversight of the company's financial condition have an edge over their competitors. Financial vigilance includes evaluating the company's fundamental economic position by analyzing the industry, customer profitability, financial performance, cost structure, availability of capital, debt leverage and retained earnings.

The balance sheet will reveal your debt leverage and the strength of your borrowing power. Retained earnings examine the past performance of your business model and your management team. If the retained earnings reveal past negative growth, the business model's ability to take an additional hit will be questionable at best.

Revenues and costs should be carefully monitored. A revenue loss may be attributed to an overall reduction in demand or foregone market share due to a competitor's introduction of a new product. Operationally, the cost to bring the product to market may increase or it may become necessary to invest in new technology or human capital. If additional costs cannot be passed onto the consumer, pricing power squeezes margins and net profit is ultimately reduced.

Cost structures delineate your profit margin and your company's ability to absorb overhead costs. Higher margins allow greater cost flexibility. Additionally, a reduction in overhead may be easier than cutting production cost, particularly if inflation is a competing factor.

In the case of a company with less favorable financial position, innovation may be the only solution. Since negative growth and declining retained earnings impact the balance sheet and reduces a company's ability to obtain debt or equity investment, your company may need to form a strategic alliance or joint venture to allow reorganization without a substantial reinvestment of funds. So how do you ensure that your firm's desire for high product quality and superior customer service transfers to the entire partnership? Incorporate best practices and monitor processes as you would if they were operating directly under your sole supervision. Meet with each partner to share your goal of creating a seamless existence and work together to adopt common procedures, forms and processes across the organization. Your partners will likely be more than happy to support the goal, since it is in their best interest to do so. If conformation proves impossible, look elsewhere. There is always another firm willing and capable to take their place.

The following outline provides a brief summary of key takeaways to help you develop your company plan:
-Watch for future trends and be prepared to change your strategy
-Use technology to reduce cost and drive efficiencies
-Strategic alliances (if well formed) can provide a competitive advantage
-Keep a close eye on your financial position
-Profit margins are not guaranteed - competitors can change everything.

What's the bottom line? Regardless of economic conditions, your industry, business model or financial position, company executives should have a growth strategy that is inclusive of financial performance measures.

©2009 LW and Associates

Benefits of Having Professional Liability Insurance

Professional Liability Insurance policy is a very wide subject or term. Before going into the details of professional insurance policy, it is vital to know the connection of insurance and profession. Today, insurance has become a demanding field. From life to property and professional, all needs insurance for getting safe and assured against risks or perils. Insurance doesn't have power or position to stop or avoid risk and peril; in fact it helps in providing safety and security against the risk taken place. Insurance on the grounds of professional liability gives security and safety against the professional failure or infrastructure.

Professional Liability Insurance:

Professional Liability and insurance policy is limited to the scope of contact and act chosen while signing the insurance form. Professional liability policy covers the financial loss done to others by your professional negligence. For an e.g. If you are a doctor and have performed some mistake while operating a patient then your professional liability policy can help you by paying some financial compensation to your patient against your negligence towards work and profession. You can take the same kind of an example for an accountant, beautician or magician. This is one of the rare insurance policy and very few people have actually heard about it.

Myths and beliefs:

Professional insurance policy covers the kind of skills and designing that makes your profession known to others. It helps in maintaining your security against the small of negligence caused to others by your professional service. Many people opt for general liability insurance coverage thinking that professional insurance coverage might not serve them in a way they need but it is not true or valid. Looking on the norms of profession and skills, it is vital to choose the kind of professional insurance coverage that saves your risks and damages. Proper liability professional insurance coverage is a better option for saving you from financial harm and damage.

Paying proper insurance installments is your duty for making your policy continued till its expiry. Events taken place during the lapse period of policy are not covered under professional liability insurance, hence you should pay the premiums on time taking care that it doesn't lapse or get discontinue. Also, Claims are responsible only when they occur during the period of policy and not after its expiry. (Note: Your premium amount depends upon the kind of professional and skills involved.)


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