How to Widen the Gap Between Your Compensation Versus Your Value

I recently sat at breakfast with a few cohorts, a group of invitees initiated by my friend Glynne Johnston, who coined the group’s name, “Young Guns”. I was the first invited, so the moniker came later as the average age kept lowering. We meet once a month at a café in Fort Worth that’s been there forever. You probably have one like it in your city, the walls covered with glossy photos of movie stars and sports legends and the menu hasn’t changed since before WWII. We discuss business, finance and other lofty and deep subjects, as is everyone else. All at the table with the exception of one bank VP are the Principals of their business.

As we talk about our lives and our businesses, we discovered that we all have clients, companies and customers who are struggling right now as well as those who are experiencing growth.

We noted that economic volatility often reveals character, the behaviors that people tend to have within themselves. The stress that the economy is going through can actually be healthy, because it reveals and makes us re-examine our flawed, unproductive, or non-value producing activity.

Since I am the only Management Consultant at the table they asked what I have discovered across the country that separated the successful from those who were struggling. I shared with them a list of character traits and managing styles that are common in both.

The first I noted is the difference in approach. Those that struggle allow their focus be on bad news and waiting for it all to ‘turn-around’. In my mentoring and coaching programs, I have identified people who spend unproductive time watching the stock market, checking email, and generally worrying about things that are beyond their control. And of course the news media confirms their belief. Add to that, conversations and discussions that invoke fear and helplessness, i.e. “The housing market has dried up.” “No one can get credit,” or “Businesses have stopped spending.” Of course, these are not valid statements.

On the other hand, my achieving clients and others I have met who are enjoying any level of success have a different approach. The absolute single most common denominator with this group is that they are not going it alone. They all have invested in acquiring outside expertise to be on their team, i.e. mentor, and coach, consultant, advisory board, continuing education, etc. They certainly aren’t naïve to the financial calamities that are real. In fact, they watch the same news programs and read the same information as those who are struggling but with a completely different approach.

There’s no denying that the economy recently had an enema and new business realities are emerging as a result, but achievers know that the fundamental principles of achievement are unchanged, and opportunities always exist. You either ‘choose’ to see or you don’t. As Joe Martin once said, “It’s not your IQ, or I have, it’s your, I will, that counts.”

Around the table, a few more traits were offered up that we agreed would apply to having the right approach in being a part of the more successful.

First, it is routine to think that entrepreneurs are the only ones that own their own business. But it is imperative to accept that everyone is really in business for him / herself, in one way or another. Clearly, when you own a business, you are in business for yourself; in contrast, what happens if you are an employee? How do you perceive that connection? To me, it means that you are in business for yourself. I think Tom Peters put it like, you own your own company called Me, Inc.

If you’ll permit, I suggest it’s like the difference between the employee mind-set and that of an independent contractor. The employee rarely, if ever, is outside the box and is in lock-step with their co-workers and peers; where as, the independent contractor has an entrepreneurial responsibility to maximize and deliver value. So, if you adopt this approach, then the question is; what can you do to deliver your assigned responsibilities with a new approach and be proactive with your talents in a way that creates maximum value? This is important because increasing your value contribution triggers your personal stock to go up. Those are the folks who never get laid off, no matter what the economy is doing.

We live in times when accepting personal responsibility is no longer the norm, because we associate ourselves with a group, don’t keep score and get trophies for losing. What do you do when you find out that life keeps score and losers are cut from the team? The reality is that each of us has our own personal economy that we control and is determined more by our personal stock value than it is by the economy.

The next trait that the “Young Guns” agreed was common with the achievers that we know was that they invested time and money increasing their value. Most focus on financial value; however, the achievers that came to mind realized that financial value is the least important measure of achievement, and is only a derivative of other primary values.

As the conversation continued the same key traits seemed to stand out. Intellectual Value: Our ability to think. To contribute ideas, analysis and logic, is essential to increased value. As I wrote above, people get sucked in to fear and helplessness, refusing to invest in themselves and increasing their value through training and coaching, which has proven to assure employment and career options.

Organizational Value: Who you know and trust remains a truism. The people that may control your employment and career options sidestep people with a less than positive approach. Investing in alliances within any organization, i.e. being willing to extend yourself and increasing the number of people who know and trust you, volunteering to work on a problem even when it’s not your job, delivering more and before it’s expected, (not necessarily working more hours, although that may be what it takes, but deliver what others value, not what you think is of value, etc. all create a personal portfolio of value.

In conclusion, the greater the disparity you create between your value to others (intellectual and organizational), versus what you use up (compensation), the more your services are secure, and the greater the opportunity for increased compensation and other achievement goals.

I wonder what we’ll talk about next month.

Ron Hequet; Entrepreneur, Consultant, Speaker, Coach and is considered one of America’s Leading Authorities on Small Business.

Ron has successfully founded, owned and operated businesses in distribution, sales, retail, and manufacturing, 8 different organizations in 6 different industries.

His consulting firm, Actum Consulting has worked with clients across the United States in as many as 20 different industries.

Ron’s Winner’s Circle ™, Private Mentor Program, Coaching Programs and Achievement Resources for implementing success strategies and tactics, are guaranteed to guide you to attain your goals.

Finance and Wealth Building

1. Capitalization
The term “capitalize” means registering the quantity of an entity in a balance sheet account against the income statement. Capitalizing can be different in different companies depending on their turnovers. But a big company would not do that. Moreover, in case of leased equipment, if it is a disguised purchase and not a rental agreement, then the lease should be capitalized. A process whereby anticipated future income is converted to one lump sum capital value. A Capitalization Rate is divided into the expected periodic income to derive a capital value for the expected income
There are basic differences between capitalization and depreciation.

Capitalization refers to adding the sum to the balance sheet. Suppose, a house is constructed after taking loans ,then some interests of it will be added to its cost, which in total with the cost will be shown as an asset on your balance sheet.

Whereas, depreciation is the reduced amount registered on the balance sheet. It refers to the systematic allocation of the price of an asset from the balance sheet and reporting it as depreciation expense on the income statement. In short, capitalization refers to the addition and depreciation refers to the subtraction of an amount from the balance sheet.

Though not distinctly different, following types of capitalization are predominant.
o Mega cap: it includes the companies, whose market capital is over $200 billion. The most publicly traded companies like the Exxon are the leaders, which is not applicable to the majority of companies.
o Big/large cap: their market capital is between $10 billion and $200 billion. The well noted companies like the Microsoft, Wal-Mart, General Electric and IBM fall into this category. The large capital stocks are considered to be steady and safe. These stocks are also known as blue chips.
o Mid cap: the companies under this category are considered to be more unstable than the mega and large capital companies. A considerable part of this capital is characterized by the Growth Stocks. Some of the companies under this category are on the verge of becoming the industrial leaders.
o Small cap: the comparatively new and young companies having the capital between $300 million to $2 billion. They offer the possibility of greater capital increase but leaving the risk factor.
o Micro cap: The companies primarily consist of penny stocks ranging between $50 million to $300 million. They have equal upward and downward potential and thus are risk prone. You should do a lot of research before venturing into this position.
o Nano cap: capitals below $50 million are the indicator of this category. This is the riskiest of the categories and offer for very meager gain. The stocks normally trade on the pink sheets or OTCBB.
o This categorization does vary with the variation in the actual market.

2. Unemployment rate nearing 700ks, it may get worse

The last statistics for the job-cut given by the Labor Department in February this year reflected the worse picture than was speculated in January. The previous one registered 598,000 job-cuts in the private sector, which the February stat projected 650,000. The figures according to Briefing.com were somewhat different, which anticipated a hike of 11% in the unemployment rate from January’s 614,000 to February’s 697,000. This burning scenario would create wrinkles in the forehead of President Obama and would dent his administration’s futuristic expenditure plans envisioning the dynamicity of the stumbling economy in the coming years.

The stark discrepancy between the White House’s statement as 3.8% decline of the economy and the daily life of the Americans was evident from the actual 6.2%, the worst since 1982. Economists though are neither ready to compare the severity with that of the 1930’s 25% and nor with the twin depressions of the 1980’s, yet some are forecasting of more worsening. They are emphasizing on the term “depression” to describe the much longer span of crisis, which cannot be connoted by the term “downturn”. The alteration of terms is much more decisive, when the govt. is strategizing to further straining of cash for the critical banks and the aid for the automobile industry.

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moddy’s Economy.com, predicted that the unemployment rate would reach 10.5% by the end of 2011, from 7.6% of end January, the average home prices would fall 20% over the already reached 27% and the financial system losses would more than treble, to $3.7 trillion. The chief global economist of Decision Economics, Allen Sinai maintained that the economy is already at depression. He added that Washington’s assumption of the 3.2% hike in 2010 should only be a hope, not a confirmation. And in this situation, the government would be bound to reduce expenditure, increase taxes and run larger deficits. The Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke predicted the rise of unemployment rate to touch 8.8% next year as against the current speculated rate of 10.3%.

Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C., censured Sinai for predicting so early and estimated the ratio to over 12%, the highest since 1948. Zandi gave the rate as 9.3%. The inseparable connection among the financial system, the job market and real estate has resulted in the pink slips even in stable companies. This in turn reduces the investment by the laid offs, further cutting on the revenue from different sectors. A downward spiral is thus set to act.

3. Relation between politics and Wall Street.

Since the December take over of the Wall Street Journal by Rupert Murdoch, it has developed a sharp edge on the political issues and asserted its influence on the presidential campaign. With the fresh approach to place journalism on a new trajectory of paramount, Murdoch stressed on a broader cover area in the newspaper. Along with the primary feature on the Federal Reserve’s endeavor to salvage the Bear Stearns from the seemingly inevitable crash, it also focused on the Finance Chairman Penny Pritzker and the burning Tibet issue.

In the time of bulk dismissal of the newspaper staffs and financial collapse, Murdoch has raised the volume of the journal and also expanded the Washington bureau, not leaving the foreign coverage. The 1940’s approach of the newspaper to focus only on the business news and discount the breaking news is now a history, and it was also called for at the most exciting campaign moment. In fact, politics now occupies double its earlier space in it. It got reflected from the campaign backbiting of the two advisers of Hillary Clinton to the advantage of Barrack Obama in Texas due to the strife between the blacks and Latinos.

With the increased co-existence of finance and politics, the legendary A-heads are losing their importance to be constricted to the page-bottom. Murdoch led the daily for extensive campaign coverage to make it the master of journalism. But this effort may raise the question in future of its becoming the jack of the business journals.
According to Charlie Cook, a political analyst, WSJ has been barely maintaining its stand in the business, save the business coverage and a fun story on the front page, though the standard has somewhat augmented. To add to the popularity, WSJ has started a weekly sports page, publishes recipes in the Saturday edition and has plans to commence a quarterly magazine on fashion and travel.

Murdoch once donated $1 million to the California Republican Party, had his New York Post go after selected liberal politicians, and yanked BBC News from his Sky TV satellite service in China to appease the Beijing authorities. Despite his well-spoken authority on news judgments, the journal does not seem to have evolved under the News Corp. takeover. According to him newspapers in Britain and Australia had sometimes endorsed Labor Party candidates.
Marcus Brauchli, the chief editor has stated that Murdoch allows independence to his editors to find the means to achieve the goals he has set for the journal. But at the same time, he also waves his hands to maneuver their decisions, whether visibly or not.

4. “Trend is your Friend”?

It is very crucial for you to follow the correct trend whether you are investing in stocks, dollar or interest rates. There are no such investments that are free of risks, not even the government bonds. 95% of the Americans, having net worth of less than $1,000,000 are not allowed the choices as the rich are. They are also not expected to be that savvy of the risks in stocks, stock options, futures, mutual funds and a whole lot of very high risk investments and presumed to be incapable of understanding the risks in hedge funds. The existing system which relegates most investors to second class status is economically wrong, philosophically decadent and politically discriminatory.
While a considerable time is given to track the accurate direction of the stock, a cautious observation to the support and the resistance lines can make the trend your friend, as shown below.

These “Trend Lines” directs to the general trends of the stock movement. Not useful for daily tracking, they are used for a long-term purpose for the stock, mutual fund or commodity.

The trend lines can also guide you for even years, than weeks or months. But they are mostly the speed-breakers, as the stocks show their inconsistency to move along these lines, and then spring back to the reverse.

If you are skilled enough to fish a stock as it springs off the support line, which is the ideal time to purchase, as you will find an authentic and valid point to stop. This could be near the support line, just below it and would reduce your amount at risk.

The stocks that are purchased just as the stock breaks through overhead resistance and forms new patterns, ensures the best performers. You should hold the stock for months or even years, until it breaks the support line to enhance your winning chance.

Often the logic behind the stocks’ heightened leap is not made up. It can occur after days or weeks or even years. But the leap of that extent to break the trend line is always talked about.

When your stock jumps over its overhead resistance, you can be confident that it would continue to do so.
One should be careful, if the support line of mutual fund or stock is broken. This will be the high time to sell a portion or the entire position. One will consider at risk, if the support line is broken, which indicates that supply is now clearly in command.

5. What are Trailing Stop and how to use them?

It is equally crucial for you to decide the time to put your hands off the trade as it is to put then on, whether in the case of long-term investing and short-term trading. Usually, selling exerts more pressure on your heart than buying. Therefore, you can not make up your mind when to exit from the trade and when you are profiting from it. Same happens when you incur a loss and cannot think to quit but wait, expecting the recovery. But prioritizing on these emotional deliberations is irrational and illogical. Despite the existence of many state-of-the-art trading techniques, a whole lot of general techniques are also available to save you from awful losses and simultaneously guarantees for awesome profits.

This calls for the use of the Trailing Stop technique. The term “Trailing Stop” refers to a stop-loss order set at a percentage level below the market price – for a long position. The trailing stop price is adjusted as the price fluctuates. The trailing stop order can be placed as a trailing stop limit order, or a trailing stop market order. Therefore, the trader is confident about the minimum profit that he or she is going to gain.

Momentum-Based Trailing Stop:

The trickiest part to set up a trailing-stop system is to predict the suitable profits or tolerable losses. This can be exemplified as a trader’s entry to the position after watching and waiting for a consolidation and by placing the stops below that consolidation. It needs patience.

Apart from that, the concept of ‘being overvalued’ requires basic research. The trailing stops are to be squeezed to a lower percentage if the stock starts to show a P/E higher than its historical P/E. This situation aggravates when a stock enters a “blow-off” period and this can last even up to several months. The daring traders can still continue with profiting by avoiding the losses with the help of the trailing stops. But there is risk.

The Parabolic Stop and Reverse (SAR)
The traditional traders prefer to stick to the more disciplined outlook in a systematic market and the parabolic stop and reverse (SAR) suites them. It provides stop-loss levels for both sides of the market, moving incrementally each day with changes in price. The SAR is a technical indicator plotted on a price chart that will occasionally intersect with price due to a reversal or loss of momentum in the security in question. When this intersection occurs, the trade is considered to be stopped out, and the opportunity exists to take the other side of the market. The key stipulation of the SAR is the irregularly moving security that in the unbalanced market, your trading charges and other costs will be exhausted. Another clause of the utility of the SAR would be in the security that is not showing a significant trend. You will never reach the stop, if the trend is too feeble. So the SAR is inefficient here and only most suitable in between the two extremes.

6. Work duration on demo account
The demo account is an account which is funded virtually, but acts as a real one. All the costs and dealings are the replica of the actual business. If you want to open a demo account, you will get ready help from any brokers of Forex . They would provide you with a guidance kit to create it. To proceed, you have to fill up an online form with the help of your chosen broker and after following some simple steps; your demo account would be ready. The virtual fund depending on the brokers can range from $50,000 to $100,000.

It would be helpful for you, if you retune the balance amount of the demo account according to your actual trading amount, as it is not gambling. You will also have to learn the tactics of the trading platform, which is different with different brokers. When they offer for different orders, you will have to be attuned with the facts of placing market orders accurately, setting up targets, preventing loss and other nuances. You must have the answers to the following questions: Are contingent orders available? One cancels other (OCO)? How far from market price can you place limit buy/sell order? And more. These also vary and must be well-researched before investing, as the lack of the knowledge has led to huge amount of losses.

But, don’t worry. You have the option to practice it with your demo. Before you start, get acquainted with the technical expertise that the trading software requires. You should also know whether the policy offers for system integration, automated trading, news feed and back testing capabilities. As the software are getting more intricate and are offering unnecessary features, you have to be clear about your real need before opting for them.

A common mistake is mostly done by the traders that they forget about the demo after starting the real account. One more important question is, whether to keep the demo alive, and the answer is yes. You should keep it so as long as possible; whether or not you have to re-register it after every 30 days, as some of them expire after that. Don’t forget to check its health regularly by the brokers.

This is required because trading is something that mandates regular updating of the trader’s awareness. Be it a tool launched by your broker, a new approach or a new system; first give it a try in your demo. And the most interesting part of it is, it is available free of cost.

7. Use of multiple time frames in trading

To ensure constant profit, you must know and follow the trend that is in, as a trader. The most common formulae include “trade with the trend” and “the trend is your friend”. These are categorized as primary, intermediate and short term. But that does not entail that the market would remain in a specific trend, rather in a conjoint frame. It is quite obvious that a particular stock will be in a primary uptrend while being stalled in intermediate and short-term downtrends. It is the common practice of the greenhorn traders to deal in a specific time frame, often overlooking the even powerful primary one and the others usually disregard the importance of the short-term. But, you can have the guidelines as how to keep yourself updated with these trends.

A generalized convention is that the more stretched the time span, the more consistent the signals are. The further you go into the time frames; the charts would become more clumsy and full with deceptive move. To have an idea of their trading patterns, you should start and continue with the primary trend for a considerable time period. As you get the firm idea of the trade, you can venture into the intermediate time frame and then to the short term. For your assistance, some typical trading terms are illustrated below.

o Swing trader: you can focus on the daily charts, especially the weekly charts that set the primary timeframe and the 60-minute charts for the short-term trend.
o Day trader: the 15-minute charts are useful, where the 60-minute charts would define the primary trend and a 5-minute chart or a tick chart to define the short-term trend.
o Long-term position trader: while using the weekly charts, the monthly charts can be used to define the primary trend and daily charts for refining the entries and exits.

Although the ideal chart combination is the sole choice of you, yet, you should opt for the main timeframe of your interest and balance it by two timeframes above and below it. You can use the long-term chart to define the trend, the intermediate-term chart to provide the trading signal and the short-term chart to refine the entry and exit. Short-term charts are predominantly used to analyze the decisions taken in the primary chart.

A careful analysis can assure your chances of increased profit. While the long-term charts provide for the traders the advantage to assess their propositions, it also gives a caution when the different timeframes are not organized. The short timeframes give the chance to augment the entries and exits. In a nutshell, the combination of multiple timeframes gives you the complete picture of your trade and increases your confidence.

8. The History of Japanese Candlesticks

The study of candlestick methodology would lead you to the Japanese “Age of Country at War” from 1500 to 1600. It was developed during the military era and often uses related terms. You have to be as alert and cunning as a military general, with the psychology of a competitor and an aggressor to succeed in this battle named business.
In the mid-1700’s, “The god of the markets” Munehisa Homna’s research on the price-movement and weather conditions concretized into the concept of candlestick. His “Sakata Rules” laid the foundation of the Japanese investment strategy. The candlestick has always been a very open and widely practiced methodology throughout Japan, but did not create interest in the US market until 25 years back. But the recent economic setback has led the researchers to look up to it. Popularizing this technique to the west is the contribution of Steve Nison’s extensive research.

This theory stresses more on the real price action than on the causes of it, as the reports, wages etc. all the statistics are clearly shown in the price and the market would be controlled by the apprehension and the ravenousness of the buyers and the sellers.

12 candlestick models explaining 40 different market signals are available, which are reliable enough in terms of price-move. The 12 major signals provide sufficient outlook for the market-situations, but the others are also useful for profit-making. Though the candlestick uses the basics of a bar chart like the open, close, high and low values over the fixed phase, but it shows various connections of them with the “real body” drawn, and expressed through different colours.

There are 9 fundamental decline and inclined conditions in a candlestick. The lines extending from the candle-body are known as the wicks or the tails, which indicate the high or low of that phase. When the candle-body is clear, it indicates that the close price was above the opening price, whereas, a dark body indicates below. The Doji candle-body refers to the situation of equal open-and-close price. The different candle-models can only predict the directions, but not the extent of it.

Candlestick charts are the oldest to predict the price. They are given interesting names as the black, white, shaven head, shaven bottom, spinning top and the Doji lines and reversal patterns are the hammer, hanging man, engulfing, dark cloud, the piecing and the stars: morning, evening, Doji and the shooting (inverted hammer). This technique is very user-friendly and does not require professional help. The basic advantage of candlestick over the standard bar chart elucidation is its scope for visual analysis of the various market-conditions.

9. Types of Charts (pink denotes unchanged)

Charts are the graphical representations of any information to make the data analysis in a visually convenient manner. They are often created in a tabular form and arranges huge amount of data and their interrelations in a much more easy approach, which would not be possible without them. Among the various types of charts, some are suitable for specific purposes than the others. Having being the point of interest of the Sigma, charts are also essential for a trader for a successful, accurate and technical trade analysis. The currency charts can cover any time period ranging from a minute to a month to even many years.

Open a new Forex Chart by:
o Through the menu options File > New Chart.
o Right-click the Market Watch window, then select the Chart Window options
o Clicking on “New Chart button” on the toolbar
o Or press the Ctrl + W key combination

Trading charts are used by the day traders to supervise the trade markets, and to speculate as when or not to invest. Trading charts are all equally useful for trading analysis involving the previous and recent prices. Some of the different types of charts are as follows.

Bar Chart:
This chart is drawn with rectangular bars the lengths of which are the representation of the magnitude or the frequencies that they stand for and they are also known as Bar graphs. The bar graphs can be both vertical and horizontal. The bars show the opening, closing, high and low during a certain time span which displays the direction. They have the flexibility of being set up in any short or long time spans, which vary from 1 minute, 33 ticks, 500 volume to 1 day, 1 week and 1 month respectively. The bars in the bar charts are often represented in different colours to enhance their visibility. They are most popular and are supported by most of the charting software.

Candlestick Chart:
As said before the oldest of all charts, this chart was developed by the phenomenal Japanese rice merchant Homma Munehisa, in the 18th century. This chart is most simple and easy to understand and therefore is very popular. The candlestick chart shows the standard open, close, high and low market conditions along with the upward and downward direction within a period. It is the most efficient one in terms of visual analysis of data.

Line Chart:
The line chart is the graphical representation in a two-dimensional manner of the chronological trade rate of the definite currency pair within the given time span. The lines are drawn in accordance with the closing price connections of the day.

10. Achievement of trading perfection
The moment you decide to trade, take an oath to do it in the best way possible, not compromising on quality. Remember, that trade selection and prior planning are the two faces of a coin. Your success is half achieved through a proper planning, than by hours of trading of anything that comes handy, which is completely incomprehensible.
Each trade has a proper style, which you must follow to reach the perfection. It involves proper management: planning, organizing, delegating, directing, and controlling.

You will not be able to plan properly, if you are not organized. Make handy your trading software, data and proper equipment. Your own well-being is also not to be done away with. It is said in trade that, there is only the winner or the loser; there is no place for the mediocre. To be the champion you need to have discipline, self-control and a willingness to train extensively. You have to give your leisure to the over charts, studying, thinking, planning and to practicing your trading and the trade selection.

This extensive study involves the study of charts. You have to record the organized and pictures data on the charts in your mind that will intrigue you to ask the questions continually as, “How does what I see in front of me relate to the supply and demand for the underlying?” or “Is what I am seeing on the chart even related to supply and demand, or is what I am seeing related to an engineered move by some insider or market mover?” As soon as you realize the fact that supply and demand do not always solely move or fail prices, it is better. Markets are maneuvered three fourth.
But the charts reflect something else than the price patterns, as the response to the world happenings, rumours, government reports and many more. The most common thing to be overlooked is the engineering from and by the insiders, the market movers and by commercials holding large inventories. You must train yourself to analyze these things from the charts. For instance, the price patterns on your charts will help you to recognize between true and false breakouts. The pioneer trader will master trading the trend and will get the best out of it. If prices are rising, the trend is up. If prices are falling, the trend is down. The tips and tricks are equally important for you to follow and it is promising to maintain and update a collection of the techniques. To be a master trader, you can not but help practicing the recognition of blockage areas, trend identification and high possibility breakouts. Though a genius never achieves perfection, yet it is always advisable to improve your performance.

How to Find the Best Windows Phone 7 Apps and Games

Windows Phone 7 marketplace is Microsoft’s virtual store to download apps, games, music, TV shows, movies, podcasts-in other words, everything that makes your Windows Phone 7 more fun and useful. In this article, you’ll learn how to find and buy great Windows Phone 7 apps and entertainment in Marketplace. I’ll also cover the Games hub. With its strong Xbox pedigree, Windows Phone 7 is quickly shaping up to be a killer gaming machine.

You’ll find Marketplace on both your phone and PC. Think of the PC version as the flagship store: It has everything Microsoft has to offer. The Marketplace hub on your phone is a branch outlet. It deals only in apps, games, and music. But the hub has the advantage of convenience, since you can shop directly on your phone. By the way, not everything in Marketplace costs money. Many apps and games are free. Some paid apps in Marketplace also let you try them before you buy them.

Speaking of games, Windows Phone is the first mobile device to fully weave in Xbox LIVE, Microsoft’s hugely popular online gaming service, with more than 20 million subscribers. If you’re one of them, you’ll have access to your avatar, gamerscore, and other familiar Xbox goodies right on your phone. So let the fun begin!

Touring the Marketplace Hub

The Marketplace hub is one of the default tiles on your Start screen. The hub is divided into several areas, including a list of featured apps and a main menu. On the menu you can pick from Apps, Games, Music, or any custom category added by your cell-phone carrier. This screen also shows the status of items you’re downloading and whether any software updates are available for apps already on your phone. Apps-short for applications-are the add-on software programs that give smartphones their smarts. Because Windows Phone 7 is the new kid on the block, only time will tell how many you’ll find for it in Marketplace. But early signs look promising. Marketplace is expected to have 16 categories of apps, including books, business, entertainment, finance, games, health and fitness, lifestyle, music and video, navigation, news and weather, photos, productivity, social, sports, tools, and travel.

Four Reasons Why CMS Wins Hands Down

Originally, the websites of every company, from small personal pages to multi-page portals, were static websites written in HTML. With the development of database driven Content Management Systems (CMS), many websites, especially content rich ones, began contacting local companies to switch to the new system. Today, most businesses are using CMS to create their company websites, mainly because of the ease through which they can be maintained.

Basic Meaning

Static websites are primarily coded in HTML, and are stored on a web server in the same format that is sent to the client browser. When you click a link, the website displays the same information to all users. It is mainly used for small five-page websites or brochures, which plan to remain unchanged for long periods of time.

Content Management System based websites, on the other hand, have dynamic web pages that are generated in real-time. They are formed by piecing together certain chunks of code, procedures or routines, from a database. This platform is usually used for websites needing constant content updates, like news portals, retail stores and finance related websites.

Why Do Businesses Prefer CMS over Static Pages?

    • No More Tricky Coding: CMS based websites are easy to update, as you won’t need a web design professional to manually code the page, to change any of the content inside. You also won’t need any pricey software, like Adobe Dreamweaver or Microsoft FrontPage.
    • Less Work: For static websites, a single change to the design, content or menu bar would require the same change to be made repeatedly, over every page of the website. This would consume a great amount of time, effort and money. With CMS, you only have to make the change once. This change is reflected on all pages that would have needed to be worked upon.
    • Lower Costs: CMS based websites may initially cost more to design than static HTML ones, but they pay off in the long run. Since all modifications can be easily made by non-technical users like yourself, you’ll save thousands of dollars you’d have otherwise spent on hiring a web design professional to make those repetitive page-wise changes for you.
  • Fewer Errors: With static websites, as you add more pages, you’ll find it harder to keep track of page changes, sections, links and navigation. Missing links and other slip-ups may occur, which could put off potential customers. With CMS, your design and content is separate. When items on a menu bar are changed once, it automatically shows up on all pages.

If you plan to expand your business, and expect to add additional content-rich pages over a period of time, then having a CMS based website can be a huge advantage. As you can see, CMS can make the process of looking after your website very easy. Businesses that want to prosper should consider revamping their website with CMS, to give the latest information about their company to website visitors, and increase their brand value.

Rescue Your Business With 5 Simple Optimization Techniques

Close your eyes and think back to the time when you first started your business. Remember the day when you sold your first product or service, or when you officially launched your website? Can you recall the time and effort you put in and how excited you were to finally get the business off the ground? You were giddy with great expectations and life was feeling pretty good. Maybe your start date wasn’t all that long ago or maybe a few years have already passed.

Now fast forward to where you are today. You might be scratching your head and wondering what happened or why the dream business you created a while back has not materialized as you had once imagined.

You might have the best product in the world, but it can’t help people if they don’t know your business, product or service exists. In essence, when prospects can’t find your business, it is the equivalent of you living on a deserted island. Living on the island may have been fun at first, but now your resource (you time, finances and energy) are starting to wear thin. It’s time to get off the island and back to civilization where you can be revitalized. It’s time to rescue your business.

There are a few simple tactics that you can do to drive traffic and improve the chances of being on page one for Google and more importantly, found by your prospects. Some of these tactics you can do yourself, others may require you to speak to your webmaster to implement. So grab your life ring and let’s jump in the water.

1. Use your main keywords within your website title tag.

If people don’t know about you or your business, then they can’t type in your business name to find you online. The way they are likely to find you is through the keywords that they enter into the search engine. Determine the major keywords or keyword phrase (3 to 4 words that people would use in a search) that describes any of the following: what you offer; the benefits of your product; or how you solve a problem.

Now go to the back end (the dashboard) of your website and list that keyword phrase in your title tag section followed by a vertical bar and then your company name. Hit the save or update button.

Let me demonstrate what I mean about the process. I work in the training and development space for corporates. I’ve also identified the major topic that people seek me out is for presentation skills training. Therefore my focus for my keyword phrase is corporate training and presentation. To further narrow down a prospects search geographically, I also include my location as part of my keyword phrase.

My title tag reads:

Singapore Corporate Training | Presentations | Experiential Hands-on Learning

By having relevant keyword phrases in my title tag, I don’t need to worry about whether or not people know my company name, I just need to indicate the keywords people are searching for and it’s more likely I will be come up on page one for the organic search listing.

Make sure you also add these keyword phrases in the keyword meta tag section for your home page.

2. Spy on your competition.

One of the best ways to determine great key words is to check out your competition to see what they are doing. Take a moment to list out the top 10 keyword phrases that people would use when searching for your product. Now type in keyword phrase and note what comes up as the top 5 websites for this phrase. Here’s the fun part.

I want you to do two things. Look at each of the website names that come up. Each of the underlined phrases or sentences is what is listed in their title tag. Notice how many companies list the benefits of their offering vs. the name of their company.

Now you can do a bit of spying. Click on the website. Now right click your mouse. Scroll down the menu until you come to View Source. Click on this and it will take you to the html code page for the home page (you can do the same for any page in a website). Here you will be able to see the title tag phrase shown as in code as <head><title>. Scroll down a bit further and you will see where it says keywords. Here is where you can see some of the keyword phrases that may also be driving traffic to the site; some which you may not have thought about.

3. Add an XML Sitemap to your website.

An XML Sitemap is a structured format that a user doesn’t need to see, but it tells the search engine about the pages in your site, their relative importance to each other, and how often they are updated. A sitemap is an easy way to inform search engines about pages on your sites that are available for crawling. Site maps can improve search engine optimization of a site by making sure that all the pages can be found.

Most webmasters will list your website with search engines; however it is usually only the home page that gets indexed, not all of the pages within your site. A XML sitemap makes it possible for all pages to be found.

4. Re-Submit your Website to search engine directories.

Chances are your website has already been listed with the major search engine players such as Google, Yahoo and Bing given that you’ve been in business for a while. The purpose of re-submitting is so the search engines can update your site and index each page based on your adding in the site map.

Look for a free website submission service to use to get listed on the various search directories. You will need to go directly to Google and Yahoo to add in your website.

5. Write a Blog post and then spread the news.

Sharing valuable content and tips is a great way to drive traffic to your website, blog or newsletter. Start by writing a blog post once or twice a week. Once you’ve posted the blog to your site, start a discussion on the different LinkedIn groups you belong to. Write 3- 5 sentences in your discussion and then give a hyperlink where people can read the full story.

Consistency is the key with blogging. If you content is newsworthy or informative, people will begin to follow you and eventually the traffic to your site will increase.

Start today and begin implementing just a few of these tactics. I’m confident that in a few short weeks you will begin to see an increase in the amount of traffic coming to your website. The key is to have quality content on your site to keep them coming back.

Pamela Wigglesworth is a Singapore-based American corporate trainer, speaker and Managing Director of Experiential Hands-on Learning, a training and development company. A resident of Asia for over 20 years, she works with companies across multiple industries to enhance their branding, marketing communications, personal communication skills and effectiveness in the workplace.

Tighten Up Your Family Finances

If times are tougher for your family than they were in years past, you may be having a hard time making it from paycheck to paycheck like you use to do. It can be hard to go from one standard of living to something less without making some mistakes. Once you are used to living one way, cutting back and getting rid of some of your costlier habits is harder than one might think. Your family finances are not going to get any better if you don’t adjust a bit. The good news is that you can make some inroads towards saving money while still enjoying your life.

Eating out is one things that may families and couples enjoy, but can be a problem when family finances get tight. If you go out a few times a week, you can spend a hundred or more dollars than you need to on food. Giving up on eating out can be hard, but you don’t have to completely give it up. For the sake of your family finances, go just once a week and choose a lower priced menu or restaurant. It is not the same as you are used to, but you can still go out and then eat in the rest of the week, saving money on your food budget.

Think of ways to lower your clothing budget for the sake of your family finances. This means that you should be aware of how much you spend on clothes as opposed to what you have to spend on clothes. You may find that you are spending way more than you should be when money is tight. If there is nothing wrong with the winter coat you wore last year, don’t buy a new one this year. Buy new accessories, which are much cheaper than new clothes, to change up the wardrobe you already have. This is one great way to save a lot of money in your family finances.

Think about what you spend each week on your way to and from work if you need help with family finances and spending too much money. Do you purchase a coffee to go each morning? Fill up at home with a reusable mug each morning on your way out to save up to ten or twenty dollars a week per adult in your home. See if you can car pool with someone, even a few days a week, to save on gas. Take your lunch instead of eating out (business lunches excluded, of course) to save a lot on your work-related expenses.

All of these small changes can be an adjustment, but you will find it easy to stick with them once you try them out. You can then put your extra money into your family finances to pay your bills and pay back debts. You may soon find that you have more money for savings, and you may even be able to add an extra night out once in a while because you are saving so much money otherwise. You will soon love what this does for your family finances so much you will wonder why you didn’t think of it sooner.

Promotional Products for Travel and Leisure

Choosing promotional products can be tricky for your business. The key however, is to make them as relevant to your business as possible. The next step would be to personalise them to make them not only attractive, but also to define them as representing your company. This can be achieved with a range of printing and design work, aimed to market the product to your target audience.

If your business is involved in the travel and leisure industry, then it goes without saying that you should be searching for relevant products. Thankfully, the market is awash with all kinds of promotional products geared up for every line of industry, large or small.

Travel and leisure encompasses a vast array of products, so you will certainly not be lacking for choice. The one problem will be selecting individual products from such a large list. Even so, having such a range can only be a positive thing.

If your business caters for a type of sport, then you’ll find an excellent amount of products and will be pleasantly surprised by what you can make your own and personalise. Just for golf alone, you can purchase tees, golf balls, gloves, ball markers, club covers, pencils, caps, socks and more still.

Other fantastic options in terms of more general travel and leisure would be luggage tags, bank card holders, travel toothbrush, drawstring bags, beach balls, water bottles, travel games, first aid kits, pool inflatables, travel cushions and pocket fans. The list just goes on and on. Take bottles for instance – this is a single item but one that has a hundred variants, shapes, colours and sizes. It is some task to narrow it down to one particular item, but one that will be worth it in the long run.

The vast amount of goods available out there for travel and leisure makes it a very competitive market and so choose wisely before you buy and not act on impulses alone. The cost varies greatly between each item and you want to try and get the best value for money as possible, without losing too much in terms of quality.

By using the best travel and leisure promotional products, displaying them well and having them printed with your company details, you stand a great chance for a successful campaign. Products like those described are a fantastic marketing tool for getting the word out there about your business.

The Best Deals of Travel and Leisure Magazine

Constant travelers who want to score the best deals in every continent that they step into should never do without a copy of travel and leisure magazine. This magazine which is well known as travel + leisure magazine provides the A lists of the best hotels, restaurants, wellness clubs, cruise ships, events and festivals, resorts and beaches, food and drinks, and other significant facts that are essential to the well-being of one’s travel itinerary. The travel and leisure magazine is a top rated, professional travel companion that would make sure you do not lose your way in every travel decision that you make.

The travel and leisure magazine used to be a compiled journal of travel photographs which placed emphasis on leisure travel and often features contributions from novelists, poets, travel columnists, artists, and avid travelers who are eager to share their acquired wisdom and serve as a helpful guide especially for those who are still neophyte in the realm of travel. The magazine publishes in a monthly basis and has several international editions such as China, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, and South East Asia though most of them were already defunct.

The magazine is famous for their World’s Best Awards which is announced every August and has been practiced since 1995. This is an award body created on a basis of an annual survey from magazine readers who gave out their quantitative rating of world’s best travel destination and accommodation. For the 2010’s survey of the World’s Best Awards, the travel and leisure magazine offers a chance to those who will take the survey of winning a $10,000 dream trip. This award has various categories namely hotels, islands, cities, airlines and cruises, wellness and spas and business hotels. These categories are featured on all continents that the travel and leisure magazine encompass such as US and Canada, Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, Europe, Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, and South Pacific. Last 2009, the Bushman’s Kloof atop the Cedarberg Mountains in Western Cape, South Africa emerged as the record holder of the number one spot in the survey with an overall score of 98.67.

Aside from the World’s Best Awards, the travel and leisure magazine also has what they call T+L 500 Best Hotels and America’s Favorite Cities where subscribers and magazine readers rank cities in the U.S. based on several categories. The categories are very informative because it covers almost all the things that one needs to know in famous cities such as their culture, hotels, nightlife, shopping malls, food and dining places, and airports.

The travel and leisure magazine also provides educational articles that are full of ideas not just about traveling but also informative discussions such as books and movies, charity programs, sports and fitness, gadgets, arts and culture, and basic photography lessons.

For those who are interested in subscribing to the travel and leisure magazine, the publication is giving out two risk-free issues of the magazine.

Use a Travel and Leisure Magazine to Plan Your Getaway

Whether you are looking to find a romantic weekend for two or a week long getaway for the whole family, a travel and leisure mag can make your planning easier. You can find recommendations for destinations and hotels in the area, a list of things to do, and reviews on lodging, restaurants, and attractions. In addition, you can usually find special offers available only to the readers of the travel and leisure mag that can save you some serious money.

You can read your travel and leisure mag online, or purchase a copy at your local newsstand. Either way, you will find fascinating articles and a wealth of information. Many sponsor contests for the readers of their travel and leisure mag, so you just might win the trip you’ve been longing to take.

Detailed hotel reviews are to be found at almost every travel and leisure site. You can find out whether they are quiet, clean, and efficient, as well as whether they have restaurants or clubs on the premises. Any other services, such as valet parking, turn down service, concierge, and currency exchange will also be provided by the travel and leisure mag.

One of the best sources for information on cruises is a travel and leisure mag. You will discover which lines or ships provide the most activities for children and which ones are planned for adults. You can also find out whether cruises are planned for singles, couples wishing to take a second honeymoon, or the entire family from Grandma to toddler. Often, you can find discount coupons at a travel and leisure magazine online site that will make your cruise even more affordable.

A travel and leisure magazine can also provide recommendations for destinations that may not have been on your list, but are exactly what you are seeking. Perhaps you want to find a beach resort that is off the beaten track, affordable, and far from the crush of civilization. Browsing a travel and leisure mag may be able to provide you with a list of several destinations that fit the bill.

Even if your travel plans are many years in the future, you can still use a travel and leisure mag to plan the vacation you will someday take. Anticipation is half the fun, anyway, and a vacation that you take only in your imagination still offers some benefit to your psyche.

A travel and leisure mag is practically an essential for couples planning a honeymoon. Together they can search for potential destinations and select one with features of interest to both. They can compare hotel rates and amenities, learn how to reach their destination, and perhaps find discounts to make their honeymoon even more special.

You can also use a travel and leisure mag to plan a day trip for the entire family. Almost everyone has state or national parks, amusement parks, or museums within a few hours’ drive. The magazine will provide with information on location, hours of operation, cost, and what is offered. That way, you will know in advance what to expect when you take your crew out for the day or weekend.

Travel and Leisure Hotels to Fit Your Budget

When it is time to plan a vacation or a weekend trip, you may need to find travel and leisure hotels that will work with your budget. You also want to find choices that offer the amenities you need and the location you want.

The Internet is a good place to locate travel and leisure hotels. Many travel sites offer an excellent starting point, although few have enough information available to make your final decision. However, you can find the names of the travel and leisure hotels that meet your minimum requirements and then visit their home pages individually.

Start by answering why you need to find travel and leisure hotels and for whom. Are you traveling for business or taking a romantic vacation? Who will be in the party? Will it be adults only, or will children be included? If children are going, what are their ages? Will you need child care services? Do you plan to rent a car or walk to local attractions? Once you have defined why you are looking for travel and leisure hotels and who will comprise the party, you can start looking for travel and leisure hotels that will fit those needs.

As you find hotels that might suit your requirements, map out their locations in relation to other attractions you want to visit. Travel and leisure hotels with a slightly higher daily rate may not be the best option if everything else is on the opposite side of a large city, since taxi fares will quickly exceed any savings.

Investigate all amenities offered by all the different hotels. If you work out daily, you might want to find one with a free gym for guests. Perhaps you want a hotel with an indoor pool for taking the children for a swim. You might want to limit your potential travel and leisure hotels to those with 24 hour room service, particularly if you are planning a second honeymoon or romantic weekend. Or if you are traveling on business, you might need on-site cleaning and laundry service.

Certain individuals with health needs may need travel and leisure hotels with specific amenities. For example, those who need to keep insulin refrigerated would probably prefer a room with a mini-fridge. Those with breathing problems might prefer a room on a lower floor just in case there is a power failure or other emergency requiring the use of stairs.

Perhaps you want to narrow your search for hotels to only those with onsite restaurants. This can save time and make it easier when traveling with a large party, since people can eat when they want and there is no need to try to coordinate a meal time for a group.

Once you have a list of hotels that seem like suitable candidates, you can check further on things like cancellation policies, check-in and check-out times and procedures, and parking availability. You may also want to know if there is a club, spa, or convenience store onsite.

With just a little research, you will no doubt find many travel and leisure hotels that interest you. By finding the one with the most qualities you desire, you will make sure that you and everyone traveling with you will have the best trip possible.