Disruptive Innovation

bus3One of the biggest challenges for companies is innovation. Companies need to focus on this for their industry. At the same time, they must be ready to adapt to new innovations ahead of competitors. If a company fails to position themselves, it can be a victim of disruptive innovation. Usually when disruptive innovation occurs, a company will have seen the new innovation to come, but due to constraints within their corporate structure, they are not able to quickly adapt to the new market. Read more…


Franchise Opportunities

bus4There are parameters that need to be explored when starting a business. If you wish to jump in an invest in a franchise, this is particularly true. If you want to become a partner in a large company to have your own business that a corporate identity introduced in the public mind, that you may need to check similar settings similar to those beginning their own business from scratch. Find opportunities that will help you move forward with can be difficult, especially if you are looking for franchise opportunities pizza individuals to start making serious money.
Read more…


Why You Should Be Trading Forex Today

Although trading Forex is definitely not a pursuit for the faint of heart, it can certainly be said that it’s something any serious trader should consider at one point or another. The Forex market comes attached to a number of unique advantages that the alternatives just can’t bring to the table. It also offers a unique chance to really vary your investment portfolio in a big way. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most notable and widely acknowledged benefits of making Forex a part of your investment plan today.

An All-Hours Market

When you’re trading on the Forex market, you’re no longer simply limited to what’s available within your own area of the globe. Forex is a worldwide market, so assuming there are markets open somewhere in the world at any given time, trading opportunities are not only available, but abundant.
The official start of the Forex trading week is on Sunday evening in Australia. The end of the trading week occurs when the New York markets close at the end of the American business week on Friday.

Straightforward and Liquid

Trading Forex is generally pretty straightforward when it comes to assessing what a given option will ultimately cost you. Any expenses attached to a transaction are included as part of the specified price with little exception.
Investors that swear by Forex trading also cite the high liquidity of the assets involved. Forex assets come attached to a very high level of liquidity. This means that moving even hefty amounts of money across a variety of different currencies with little to no depletion of value is an easy process.

High Potential for Profit

Directional trading isn’t limited when you’re dealing with the Forex market. This means that you’re 100% free to invest in a given currency pair if you think it’s likely to increase in value. The same goes for instances where you think an option might decrease in value. You’re free to simply sell it as you please.
You’re also able to trade on the market with leverage. This means a trader can actually work with more money on the market itself than he might actually have in his account. Savvy traders can really maximize their profits this way, as they can control a trade that far exceeds their actual capital.

How to Succeed at Forex

Although there are a variety of different strategies out there for becoming a Forex success, most successfully traders recommend using little to no leverage, at least at first. Leverage is best used by experts that have been working the market for a while and thoroughly understand the ins and outs of making money that way.
Start small and learn the ropes before taking the really big gambles. Trade for pennies before you start attempting to trade for dollars. If you can’t do the former, you won’t be able to do the latter either. Gaining access to trustworthy, carefully curated caches of Forex resources and comparison tools is also a great idea, a good example of a site where you can compare Forex brokers features is compare Forex brokers . Forexchurch.com also have a section where you can compare live Forex broker spreads offered by many brokers, Forex spreads

You’ll be a Forex success before you know it! Explore the possibilities of Forex trading today.


Investing in small companies such as Leather Briefcases Inc

As an investment banker I learned to invest money the smart way. The word investing means more to me than investing in companies. You can also invest money in a lot of other things (for example real estate). But today I’m going to talk about investing money in new companies.

I’m going to review 2 companies that are currently still penny stocks but are growing fast. I have them in my own investment portfolio so you can be sure I’m convinced about them. For those who don’t know what penny stocks are: it’s stock with a very low value. They’re start-ups that can yield a very high return later on. Once they’re not a penny stock anymore they will be found on other exchanges.

I will look at 2 companies today that are start-ups which are selling mainly through the internet.

The first company I will review today is Leather Briefaces Inc.

They sell briefcases on their website which they make in their own local factory in the US. They import the leather from Italy. So you can be sure the quality of the leather is high. Currently they’re even hiring some new people, so this means there is growth and things are looking good for them. On social media people are very positive about the leather briefcases they bought from them and you see that their followers and Facebook likes are climbing. All this proofs that they are doing a good job.

Since their start in last November they have professionalized their website and the first positive results are coming in. In the first quarter they had a profit of 5800$. In the second quarter their profit had already risen to 83000$. Currently the stock is sold at 0.67$ and the future is looking positive so I don’t think they will be a penny stock much longer. My advice is to get some stock of this company now before the value is too high.
The second company I’ll review today is called Best Wallets Inc. This firm was founded this February by Brunello Couch. However they don’t sell couches, but wallets. They claim they sell only the best ones. Best Wallets doesn’t produce their own wallets, but they import them from local companies and sell them under their own brand. This company sells through their website handmade wallets, western wallets and many more.

Since February they have grown really fast. Each month the profit has increased significantly. In the second quarter the profit was already at 73000$ and this only by selling wallets on their website. Currently they are making plans to sell wallets under their own brand in local US stores.
This penny stock currently sold at 0.43$ per stock. But the outlook is positive and also this stock will not stay for long a penny stock anymore.

These 2 companies are still in their early phase, but are showing positive signs, growing quickly, led by qualified people and the stock value has increased significantly the last couple of months. My advice is to get in now while it’s still a penny stock. The future looks brightfor these 2 American companies.


How To Save Money By Spending Money (A Study In Risk)

From time to time in my career I was tasked with assessing risk for companies. Specifically, I was paid to recommend a course of action for their proposed capital investments. If, for example, a mining company hired our firm to advise them on investing $1 billion in capital to expand their operations, it was our job to plug in all the risks and rewards and end up with a recommendation. These companies were smart. They knew that investing money now to expand would carry a risk but would also (possibly) carry a large reward over the next 10 – 20 years. With this specific case (and there were many others in many industries) the numbers came out in large favor of their proposed capital investment. Here I wanted to bring the scale of investment down to something around your home and illustrate how and why you should be investing money in certain things to save money in the long run.

Risk of Weather Events

Back to the mining example. Mines in remote locations often face adverse weather during the year. For instance, iron ore mines in North Western Australia face hurricanes 4-6 months out of the year. For accounting purposes they factor 6 no work days a year due to weather events. They plan for these. They studied the risk over years and have done this to avoid share price collapses during earning announcements.

The risk of weather events in Canada and the USA are mostly due to cold weather and in the US hurricanes and tornados. If you live in hurricane alley your risk of a weather event is high. Flooding, power outages and structural damage is almost inevitable.

Managing Risk With Investment

For homes in high risk areas investment to prevent home damage is easily justified. For example, investing in a sump pump to pump water out of your basement and prevent loss of or damage to anything in your basement is a good investment. You’ll have to spend $500 to buy the product and install it but over the years as hurricanes come through you won’t have to replace all the damaged goods in your basement. Get the best primary and best backup pump and even if the power goes out you’ll avoid loss.

How Much Investment is Justified?

Of course, the answer to this question is that it depends on the possible loss. If not investing means losing more than the investment in the first year then you should have invested. I suppose that you really have to sit down and study what pay back period you want. So if your risk is that each year you will lose $100 if you do not make a particular investment, then typically, a $500 investment is justified if you’re happy with a 5 year payback period. Most companies I worked with looked at the 5 to 10 year payback range.

I find most people, for goods or services around the home, mostly look at much shorter term. In other words, they look to solve problems with duct tape instead of nuts and bolts.

Conclusion

The point of this article is not to get you to start investing tons of money around your home. The point is to get you thinking in a risk vs. reward mindset with regards to spending your money. If you live in an area with high crime, then maybe “investing” in a solid front door deadbolt is a good thing?


5 Ways Companies Can Maximize ROI With Their Learning Management Systems (LMS)

Companies must continually invest in the education and progression of their employees and staff in order to stay competitive and keep up with the ever-expanding digital market landscape. Learning management systems are a brilliant way to ensure educational information are facilitated directly to your personnel and will help them stay up to the tasks of the future. But not all companies know how to receive the best return on their e-learning investment. So let’s take a look at some of the best options for getting the most out of your LMS and employees.

1. Consider How You Introduce The System

No one likes to be forced to do something. Even when we’re being paid for our efforts, the mentality can shift when we feel we have no choice. So presenting your e-learning portal as an exciting new option for continued educations and corporate growth can free employees from the negative connotations that come with orders. Like so much else in business, it’s all about the pitch. You know your employees better than anyone. Finding the right way to showcase the LMS will go a long way toward getting them actively involved. And once they’re involved, you can continually rely on them for feedback.

2. Allow Employee Evaluation

Your employees aren’t children in elementary school. They have ideas, experience and knowledge of their own. Listening to their insights about the tools with which they’re working can help you alter your approaches or modify the material to garner better results. There are several ways to implement evaluations plans.

  • Anonymous evaluations of systems can open up employees who might not otherwise speak out.
  • Group discussions can bring the benefits of open debate to the subject.
  • Open-door policies can make employees feel heard and respected.
  • And depending upon your industry, software and design suggestions can add to the overall user experience.

3. Tailor The User Interface

No two companies are exactly the same, and no two groups will view the same software in exactly the same way. As such working with your interface and its design to tailor the system’s flow and style can increase the appeal to employees. Stripping away components and features that will never be used in your particular company, and highlighting the portions you use frequently, can give a more personal and approachable feel to the software. And you can even go one step further.

4. Make It Fun

Chances are, many of your employees spent a long time in school learning how to do their jobs. They don’t want to feel like they’re right back in those uncomfortable seats being graded for their ability to memorize and recite. Making your educational portal entertaining and engaging can take the sophisticated learning tool and turn it into a motivational apparatus. Here are a few ideas on how to get employees excited:

  • Games and competitions involving tests and completion rates
  • Team-building exercises utilizing study groups
  • Incentivizing learning through prizes and reward systems
  • Expanding the learning beyond the office doors

5. Connect Through Social Media

The more we can connect today, the easier we can educate ourselves. When using Learning management systems, we’re gathering knowledge about new subjects to share. By creating a network through social media, your employees can discuss their objectives and accomplishments with each other. And they can reach out to other workers at companies around the globe to share knowledge and insights. They may even brag about how much they enjoy working for you because of it.

There are many reasons to invest in an LMS portal for your employees but the above five points will definitely help you in getting the most of your investment dollars!

 


It is Time To Invest In The Football Industry

In this article I would like to talk about the opportunities to invest in the sports industry or more specifically the National Football League and provide important background information to support your investment decision.

If you look at the most popular sports internationally, basketball and soccer probably have the biggest followings, closely followed by rugby and cricket that also have a big TV audience in certain regions of the world. Then there are the really big sporting events like the Olympics, the Soccer World Cup or Cricket and Rugby World Championships that are usually followed by over a billion people worldwide. Compared to the NFL this is a massive audience, for example, the Super Bowl “only” had about 110 million spectators in the US last year. However, looking at the overall revenue, the NFL is the most successful league at all.

With American Football being the most popular sports in the US, it is the biggest sports market with respect to total generated revenue in the world. If you look at the breakdown of the revenue to different categories, you can see that by far the most revenue is generated from TV deals with online broadcasters and cable networks. The NFL recently closed a new deal with four TV networks – ESPN, Fox, NBC and CBS – with a total value of about $5 to $6 billion. This is an increase of over 60% compared to the previous year for rights fees alone.

As you may know, the TV market in general is shrinking and still the NFL is able to increase their revenue from TV content deals in that manner. The main reason for that is probably that today, information can be accessed from everywhere, any time using mobile devices. While many people taped games to watch them later on in the past (and fast forward commercials, of course), in times of social networks and twitter updates, it is almost impossible not to hear anything about the results of American football games in real-time. At the same time, new ways of broadcasting, like live streaming of football games, become accessible by a broader audience. That’s why broadcasts of live sports are at an all-time high and companies are keen to use them to market to their customers.

American football recently also becomes more popular outside of the US giving a lot of new opportunities to marketing companies and the NFL itself to expand internationally. The NFL wants to follow the NBA’s approach to establish international partnerships with global media companies and brands. Some games are already played in cities around the world like Tokyo, Mexico City and London. The NFL even planned a “China Bowl”, but had to postpone it to have more time to concentrate on the events in London. But as for every company, China is an incredibly huge market that the NFL wants to focus on in the years to come. Judging from the revenue generated from TV deals in the US, this also yields interesting investment opportunities in Chinese media companies and other brands licensing NFL products or content. The NFL is even thinking about an NFL Asia League in the near future and would need numerous investors to build up the required facilities and teams. Or course, I will keep you updated on this specific topic.


Why Money Is The Most Important Thing In Life

Today’s post is a little different. I don’t know what came over me but I decided to get a little personal. Usually I hide myself behind the raw data of facts and figures and account. Profit and loss are probably the 2 most frequently used words on this site! In today’s post I want to share with you a little more about the man behind the blog.

A Big Change In My Life

When I started this site it was a challenging time in my life. I had left the banking game and I was looking for somewhere to use all the experience I had gained but without the pressure of the banking world. If there is one thing that the crash of 2008 taught me it’s this. No amount of cash bonus can make up for living under that level of strain.

I knew after 2008 that I would never again work in a corporate position. Nothing would get me out of retirement. But after a few months of playing my guitar and getting into recording music and playing golf daily with Arnold Clavell I was bored already.

I Love Money

You see the problem is, I love money. It’s been my life. Yes, I love spending it but there is one thing that I love even more than that. I love making money. Some people in this world will hate you for that. I’ve encountered these hippies all my life and for me their stance can be explained from 1 simple thing. It’s a cop out. These are people that don’t take the responsibility to earn money and support their family and make a good life. It’s a cop out to simply say that money is the root of all evil and then you don’t need to do any work to get money for yourself and for your family.

Within this financial powerhouse there is a family man lurking. It’s what drives me. I got rich for myself sure. I also got rich for my wife and for my children. I made us a better life. I was able to buy us things and we didn’t want for anything. Yes, love comes first and we would have been happy even if we were poor I would make sure of that, but there is no denying the truth. In life, money helps.

After I left investment banking I couldn’t leave money behind. I have so much to share about the topic of money and learning about money. I especially love teaching the fundamentals of money, because money is all around us so sometimes we forget what it really is. If there is one thing that I want to teach, it’s that money is not a dirty word. We must not hate money. Every parent should educate their child that money is really just an abstraction of how much you helped people. And the amount of money you acquired through your life is just your high score on the helping chart.

The Most Important Thing In Life?

I continue to help people on this blog by sharing what I know about money and yes it brings in a few dollars. I hope my writings here will help people to go out and improve the life of their families like I did for mine.

After all what can be more important in life?


How A Hunter Cut Costs to Protect His Savings

In challenging economic times it’s important to make every effort to continue to save money.  Real income levels have not increased with the current pace of inflation, and this means that you often need to look to cut costs in order to ensure that you can keep putting money away for retirement.

Most people look at their biggest expenses when it comes to cutting cost.  It’s important to find savings in major areas such as food, gas, and clothing.  But if you really spend some time on it, you can come up with some pretty clever ideas.

A particular case comes to mind as a perfect example.  An acquaintance of mine is an avid hunter. Every year he spends the majority of his vacation time traveling to different locations in the U.S. in search of the best hunting grounds.

Unfortunately, like many businesses, his has been hit by the recent economic downturn.  This means that he’s having to cut back on travel.  But he found an interesting expense that is helping him to still enjoy his favorite pastime while not breaking the bank.

The price of ammunition has climbed dramatically over the last several years.  There is lots of conjecture as to the reasons behind this ranging from cost of goods increases to large purchases by institutions such as the U.S. federal government.

These increases had driven the price of his annual outlay for ammunition into the many thousands of dollars.  But he has found a clever way around this.

Rather than continuing to pay these high prices he has decided to try hunting with air rifles and pellet guns.  Most people are probably not aware, but there are pellet rifles on the market that are as powerful as some standard powder based rifles.

The best part is that the cost savings are immediate.  A top of the line air rifle can run from $500-$700 dollars.  But there are models out there for much less.  This is significantly less than a highly rated standard rifle.

But the real cost savings comes with the purchasing of ammunition.  100 rounds of one of the more common rifle rounds (30-06) go for around $1 per round.  This price used to be closer to .25 per round.  That’s an increase of 300%.

In comparison, .22 caliber pellet rounds can be purchased for as little as .02 per round at any number of online retailers including Amazon.com.

Hunting with an air rifle is obviously very different from hunting with a powder based gun.  The muzzle velocity of a pellet gun is typically no higher than 1200 feet per second.  A powder based rifle will give you much greater range and more power.  But a pellet rifle is capable of bringing down prey as large as a deer.  It does require you to hone your stalking skills though since you have to be much closer to the prey when you shoot it.  Here is a great site with more information.

While this is certainly not a conventional way to tighten your budgeting belt, for this particular individual it has resulted two significant achievements.  For one he is able to maintain his favorite hobby, and two is able to continue to put money away each month towards his retirement.  If you’re in a similar situation, start thinking outside the box about where you can best save money.


Simple Long-term Investing Advice

If there is one thing I learned in all my years working as an investment banker it’s that, in the long-term, the stocks that go up are the ones that make products that everyone uses all the time. An example of a stellar investment (if it wasn’t a private company) would be to invest in the company that manufactures zippers. Yes, the zippers on your bags, jeans, jackets and sweaters. If you look close you’ll see that all those little zippers have the letters YKK on them. That’s because almost all the zippers in the world are made by that company, YKK. The point is not that zippers are the best investment, the point is that you should not just think big like Google, Microsoft and GM with your investments think about the lesser known products you use all the time. Here I’d like to give an example of 2 products that you probably never thought of investing in.

The first is: companies that produce cordless electric lawn mowers for residential use. Now, again, who would invest in a lawn mower company? They’re so boring and nobody talks about them. But think about it – have you used one? Have your friends used one? I’m sure almost everyone you know has used one. And the fact is the majority of homes in the USA own one. And if you look at the trends, you’ll notice that gradually, as battery technology improves, more and more cordless electric mowers are being sold in proportion to petrol powered ones. What this all equates to is a solid investment. As more and more people’s petrol lawn mowers breakdown and require replacement more and more people will turn to the cordless electric style and the companies that have placed themselves in that market will increase revenues and profits.

So what companies should you look at?

Look at Stanley Black & Decker. Stanley joined with Black & Decker in 2010. They’re both major tool companies. Black & Decker brand seems to have the lead in the electric lawn mower category. They’re also a huge Fortune 500 company. If I were giving advice to a client I would put some money into that company for the reasons stated above. Keep in mind that you should do your own due-diligence and make an informed decision. That said, my gut instinct tells me they’re a good buy.

The second little known industry that is on the rise is electric motor companies. Companies like Teco that provide affordable electric motors are on the rise. And this is for the same reason that electric lawn mowers are. As batteries become better so does the portability of electric appliances and equipment, which all require an electric motor. Teco is one of the three biggest makers and suppliers of electric motors in the world. They are well positioned to continue to grow their revenue and profit and almost always that means an increase in their stock price.

So there you have two companies in different but related industries that you probably had never thought of investing in. But I think they both offer great opportunity in the future. In addition, I hope you have learned about simple investing for the long-term… Always look at companies that provide items you and most people you know use daily.


LLC Setup Made Simple

Many people today would like to run their own business. But, the many laws and the paperwork often make it seem a daunting task. Questions like whether to becoming a corporation or a Limited Liability Company LLC are confusing. My friend Arielle, who runs a blog on hair care advice over at Total Hair Beauty recently wanted to incorporate before converting her site to an ecommerce store. I advised her that an LLC was probably the better way to go and I gave her the information she needed to get herself going. In this article, I will walk you through the flow of what is necessary to form an LLC and will give you a clearer picture of the details of an LLC and what it can do for you.

What is a LLC

  • It is where your business becomes a Legal Entity and you personally become immune from the legal debts and liabilities of your business.
  • This means as it is a separate entity from the member(s) who set it up. It has its own Tax ID number or EIN.
  • The LLC has its own responsibility for legal debts and legal claims. This means the members are protected.
  • LLCs have fewer regulations and consequently less paperwork to setup and run.
  • LLCs provide pass through taxation, thus avoiding double taxation as with a corporation.
  • LLCs are managed by either its members or a designated manager.
  • LLCs can be owned by a single person or by multiple people working together. This provides many advantages over a more traditional C-Corp.

Choose a Business Model
The Next step is to choose a business Model you are going to follow. What kind of model you will follow will of course depend on how your mind works and your temperament. Here are a couple of resources that can help you.

http://timkastelle.org/blog/2012/01/eight-models-of-business-models-why-theyre-important/

Here is a report that can help you get tools that make this easier.
http://crawlwalkrunprofit.com/

QuickBooks Pro has an excellent Business-modeling feature that is built in and you can demo it for 30 days free and learn how to model your business.
http://quickbooks-simple-start.en.softonic.com/download

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juyrGtPOFso

This can save you a great deal of time and effort.

Write your Business Plan
This is the most daunting task for a person creating a LLC. Fortunately, there is a simple solution called copy and paste.

Quick books Pro also has a business plan option built in. (http://quickbooks.intuit.com/products)

Business in a box has the 1300 or so forms you need to get your business and business plan off the ground (http://www.business-in-a-box.com/)

The Next steps require you to know which state you plan to run your LLC. At this point, you need to:

  • Name your LLC
  • Choose a Registering Agent
  • File the Articles of Organization
  • Create an Operating Agreement

Each State has different Laws, rules and regulations covering LLCs and you have to check with the offices similar to the ones mentioned above to get the forms and details to do the above steps.
You can see the flow is not that hard to follow for setting up an LLC. The paperwork is not that difficult to do and it is much simpler than if you were to do a full C-Corporation. An LLC is perfect for the person or group that wants to start a small business.
 


How an Investor Determines which Small Business to Invest in

For any small business investor, the most important question is where they should center all their focus and attention. The key is understanding how the market is functioning, and what makes one particular company more intriguing than another. It is estimated that there just under 30 million small businesses in the United States of America. However, there is very little research on the type of products and services offered by each one of these companies. Due to the lofty number of small companies, it creates immense opportunity for market returns that exceed the cap. But this also illustrates a very important fact: in order to tap into the potential of a small business, you have to determine which company is worth your time and energy. Any veteran investor will tell you there is a basic framework to follow to help guide you in the right direction. Though there may be more to add to the list I am about to create, these are the basic aspects that every investor must cover prior to moving forward with an investment decision. Also note that these tips are applicable to any industry, but focus more on consumerism and the retail industry.

First determine what the gross margin is for each company you are interested in as an investor. The gross margin is a percentage difference in the cost of production or cost of goods sold (COGS) for a product or service, and how much it sells for at retail value on the market (revenue earned). This factor is one of the most important for investors because it lets the company know how to invest the money into the company. It determines which areas of the business need it the most in order to get the product out and onto the market to be distributed as quickly as possible.

The second aspect you will want to cover is the strength of the company’s brand strategy. This is probably the most difficult question for any investor to ask, because there is no way to be certain that it will work or it will not. That aspect is not known until the product has been delivered to the market, where it can be tested through various marketing research tactics. So investors pose another question and ask whether or not the brand offers something unique, that is not currently on the market. How does the company set itself apart from the competitors? One of the ways to narrow down whether or not you believe this company has an effective brand strategy is to analyze the product or service’s design and media outreach plan. For example, a company that distributes eyeglasses online at www.dharmaco.com strategically diversified itself from its competitors by focusing on charity. It is a company founded by a philanthropic and passionate individual who created affordable prescription eyewear and sunglasses for people who are less fortunate. The brand of the company is rooted in philanthropy and social consciousness. The founder partnered with a charity and donates a certain percentage of profits to help provide glasses to people who cannot afford to go to the eye doctor, let alone purchase an expensive pair of eyeglasses. This is the perfect example of a company’s strategy to diversify itself in a crowded market.

The third aspect that you should assess is the leadership of the company. Take a closer look at the founders, and the CEO of the small business. Ask yourself if he or she is someone that you can rely on or if they have what it takes to make this company succeed. Any investor will tell you that you not only invest in a product or service, you invest in the person and team that is building it to deliver to the market. You will want to select a company run by a CEO who you have great synergy with. Do not make the mistake and settle for just a good product. You have to be sure that the person developing it is capable of pushing it through to market. If you do not feel you can rely on this individual, then it is wise to look elsewhere. Many overlook this aspect of businesses, and focus only on what is being sold and branded. However, that product or service is not going to sell itself. It is the team of people behind it that will eventually act in a manner that will warrant its success or failure.


Next Page »