Clyde is a business graduate interested in writing about latest news in politics and business. He enjoys writing and is about to publish his first book. He’s a pet lover and likes to spend time with family. When the time allows he likes to go fishing waiting for the muse to come.
Imagine your life without a car. Hard to imagine,
Cars make our life simple, comfortable, and more
efficient. However, cars come with their own hazards. Globally, close to 3,700
people meet their untimely death through road traffic accidents.
You read that right: a whopping 3,700
If you have a family, the risks are even much higher. When it comes to the death of children and young adults between the ages of 5 to 29 years, road traffic accidents are the foremost cause. If you’ve ever experienced a road accident or you know anyone who has been in a road accident, you know how harrowing and devastating such experiences can be.
Thus, any feature that can ensure your car is
safe should not be sneered at. Such measures should be wholeheartedly embraced
and implemented. Here are three such measures (accessories).
Auto Emergency Braking
Cars with an Auto Emergency Braking (AEB) are 38%
less likely to collide with another car. That’s how efficient an AEB feature is.
An AEB feature slows down your car or completely
stops it in the event of a looming accident. It works by alerting the driver of
an impending crash, but if the driver fails to take action, the AEB feature
takes over and brings the car to a halt.
So, when you decide to purchase a new car, make sure you find a car that has an AEB fitted. For various manufacturers, an AEB feature may have another name. For instance, with Mazda, it is called the Smart City Brake Support while Mitsubishi calls it the Forward Collision Mitigation. Check with your car manufacturer or retailer to ensure your car has an AEB feature.
Ignition Interlock Device
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration, someone is injured in a drunk-driving crash every 90 seconds.
This makes DUI related offenses one of the leading causes of road traffic
There have been various measures implemented to
curb drunk driving, particularly license suspensions. However, the most
effective way to curtail drunk driving is to use an Ignition interlock device. The device is a car
breathalyzer that controls a vehicle’s ignition.
The driver, before starting a car, would be
required to provide a breath sample through the mouthpiece of the ignition
interlock device. Once the sample returns a breath alcohol concentration (BrAC)
value beyond the stipulated value (0.02 for most states in the U.S), the car
will not start.
While ignition interlock devices are often
mandated for people who have been convicted of drunk-driving, it is also very
beneficial for any ordinary driver.
Driver Fatigue Monitoring
Driver fatigue or drowsiness is a major cause of
Using a unique pupil identification technique,
the feature analyzes the behavior of a driver’s eyes and predicts if the driver
is getting drowsy and not in the state to drive.
While the specifics differ by brands, this
feature usually comes with WiFi, GPS, and built-in infrared light. If there is
any aberration in driving behavior (including calls, tiredness, anxiety,
smoking), sound and light alarms will go off. The Driver Fatigue Monitoring
tool is especially useful for long journeys.
Your life is precious. With car accidents among
the leading causes of deaths globally, it is imperative that everyone takes
measures to ensure their cars are safe.
Fitting your car with devices such as ignition
interlock device and auto emergency braking and making sure your airbags are
always functional are crucial ways to keep your car – and more importantly,
yourself and your family – safe.
Formula 1 legend Niki Lauda has died
at the age of 70.
The three-time world champion, who
underwent a lung transplant in August 2018, “passed away peacefully”
on May 20, his family announced.
“His unique achievements as an
athlete and entrepreneur are and will remain unforgettable, his tireless zest
for action, his straightforwardness and his courage remain a role model and a benchmark
for all of us,” his family’s statement said.
Niki Lauda, one of the best-known
figures in motor racing, took the title for Ferrari in 1975 and 1977 and
McLaren in 1984.
For many, the legendary Austrian
will be remembered for his remarkable recovery and return to racing after being
badly burned in a crash in the 1976 German Grand Prix.
A new generation of fans was
introduced to Niki Lauda in the acclaimed 2013 film Rush, which detailed his rivalry with British driver James Hunt,
the 1976 world champion.
Niki Lauda, who was born in Vienna
in February 1949, was a motor racing legend who went on to be a successful
businessman following his retirement from the sport.
However, the Austrian was probably
best-known for surviving a crash during the 1976 season which left him scarred
On August 1, 1976, one year after winning his first title, Niki Lauda
suffered third-degree burns to his head and face and inhaled toxic gases that
damaged his lungs after his vehicle burst into flames at Nurburgring.
Niki Lauda was given the last rites in hospital but made an almost miraculous
recovery and returned to racing, still bandaged, just 40 days later.
After his career as a racing driver, Niki Lauda became an airline
entrepreneur and, most recently, a non-executive chairman for the Formula 1
Mercedes team, instrumental in bringing in British driver Lewis Hamilton, who
has won five world championships.
However, ill health followed him into his later years and he underwent a
lung transplant last year.
Niki Lauda had previously had two kidney transplants, the second donated in
2005 by his then-girlfriend Birgit Wetzinger, a former flight attendant for his
airline whom he married in 2008.
In January 2019, he spent 10 days in hospital while suffering from
Niki Lauda leaves behind his wife, their twins born in 2009, and three sons from previous relationships.
people dream of becoming an entrepreneur – having their own shop to sell
clothes, shoes, bags and other stuff. It is a good business which can be a
stable source of income. However, not many can afford the big capital required
to start a store. Budget is indeed a big factor but what if we tell you that
there’s a way to fulfill this dream without having to spend too much money to
start with? The answer to this is the internet. You can start your shopping
business online without needing big money as capital. We will share some tips
on how to start a shopping business online.
Come up with a winning business plan – of course you need a plan before you start your business. What are you planning to sell on your website? Do you want to sell shoes, bags, clothes and apparels or do you plan to offer other goods like baked goods or probably handmade jewelries other products? It is important to know what you will offer.
Choose a remarkable domain name – your website is going to be your virtual shop thus you need to come up with a name that can be remembered by users immediately. It is best if they can easily name your site when someone asks them where they purchased what they purchased on your site.
Choose reliable hosting site – It is important that your site is always up and running especially during peak hours wherein many people are browsing and potentially shopping. You should make sure to choose a web hosting site that has good reputation of having zero to low down time and with easy to contact support team.
Have an SSL certificate – SSL certificate allows safe connection between your site and users’ browser. This gives confidence to users that their details are safe on your website.
Design a layout that is easy to navigation – you should ensure that visitors can easily navigate your site. For example, you should immediately show them options where they should go or what they should click from homepage to go to this page or that page. Online users do not want complicated websites.
Provide various payment options – it is also good practice to provide various payment options like Visa, MasterCard, direct bank transfer or 3rd party payment options like PayPal, Neteller, Skrill and others. This makes things a lot easier for customers.
Publish a thorough and easy to follow step-by-step guidelines – another thing to remember is to come up with an easy step by step guide for new users on your site. You should have a guide that they can use so they know how to register, place order, pay and so on and so forth.
Provide a customer hotline or support email or chat – lastly, you should provide a support contact details that users can contact in case they have questions or enquiries.
These tips will help you start
your very own online shopping site and eventually fulfill your dream of
becoming a successful entrepreneur. Just like in running a land-based business,
you should work hard and be patient. Sometimes it can take a while before the
business grows and starts earning so don’t lose focus.
Providing that Washington and Mexico City also announce an agreement to lift
levies on steel and aluminum, the US, Mexico and Canada will ask their
respective governments to ratify USMCA.
It also targeted US farm goods as
well as items like tomato ketchup and household products.
On May 17, Canadian PM Justin
Trudeau said: “These tariffs were
harming workers and consumers on both sides of the border. As we look at moving
forward with the new NAFTA, it didn’t make a lot of sense to continue to have
tariffs on steel and aluminum between our countries.”
EU steel and aluminum exports to the
US are still subject to the tariffs, but there has been some good news for trade
relations between the two.
On May 17, President Donald Trump
delayed a decision on whether to impose levies on cars and car part imports.
The White House has put back the
decision by six months to allow more time for trade talks with the EU and
Tariffs of up to 25% on imported
cars and car parts were under consideration.
A report by the Commerce Department
claimed that imports of foreign-made cars and auto parts into the US were a
threat to national security.
The report has not been published,
but in his announcement President Trump cited its findings which conclude that
US carmakers are missing out on revenues to invest in research and development
The announcement said: “The lag in R&D expenditures by
American-owned producers is weakening innovation and, accordingly, threatening
to impair our national security.”
President Trump said he agreed with
the study’s finding that imported cars and trucks were “weakening our
The deal with Canada, as well as the
delay in higher tariffs on EU and Japanese cars and auto parts, come at a
critical time for the US and China – the world’s two biggest economies.
You have to spend money to make money: We’re told that.
While that’s true in a lot of cases, it’s not always an absolute requirement.
With the right tips, you can improve sales and efficiency at your call center
by just spending smarter rather than spending more.
The main issue
The research indicates that 70 percent of people switch to a business rival not because they didn’t like your products or services, but because they didn’t like the customer experience. Increase your customer satisfaction and you will see sales go up accordingly. Here’s how to spend smarter to do just that:
Change out your multichannel call center software for omnichannel. Omnichannel seamlessly coordinates communications from your customers across all possible platforms. In practicality, that means your agents can communicate via IVR calls, video or audio calls, messaging, live chat, emails, and more.
Imagine this scenario: You have an issue with a
business, so you navigate to their website and pull up the live chat. After a
brief conversation, a chat agent advises you to call. You do so, and now you’re
talking with a whole new person.
This new person knows nothing about your issue, so you
have to explain the whole thing again. Once they hear the issue, they give you
another number or an email because they aren’t actually the one who can deal
with your issue.
This scenario is exactly how you lose customers to other
businesses, even if you have a superior product. Omnichannel call center
software is how you integrate all your channels for service that customers will
Train your people well
All the software in the world won’t help you get sales
if you don’t have the best people on the job. Too many call centers make the
mistake of thinking that training is all about scripts, questions, and answers.
If you’re wasting money on this sort of training, it’s time to redirect your
Great call center agents need to keep their cool with an irate caller. They need to be good listeners. They need to be smart and capable with the kind of cognitive skills that make it possible to really understand and solve problems.
Great call center agents also need to know how to make
good decisions. They need to be warm, polite, and understanding. Some of these
traits are natural; others can be taught. Spending your money in recruiting the
right people and then training them in these skills is money well-spent.
Set up as many self-service options
as you can
Some people always want to talk with a live person when
they have a question or issue; but many of your customers would prefer to fix
their problems by themselves whenever possible.
Redesign your website by improving your FAQ section and making it easy to find. Provide a search bar that’s easy to spot and returns useful answers. Rewrite technical pages and information in layman’s terms.
You should also get good IVR call software capable of doing more with voice recognition. You want as many callers as possible to get the answer they need early on in a call. Chatbots on your website can provide a similar helpful function.
It will cost a bit to set this all up, but you make it
all back, and more, quickly as customers get their questions answered fast.
Better yet, pleased customers will start spending more and talk about their
good experience on social media.
The bottom line
You can do lots of things to slash costs here and there;
but nothing will make such a profound difference in the end as excellent
service. To improve your customer service, you don’t need to make drastic,
expensive changes. Instead just spend your money wisely, and then watch your
profits grow as satisfied customers come back again and again.
The Chinese government has yet to officially comment on President Trump’s
In China, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dropped 3.7%, while the Shanghai
Composite plunged 5.3%.
US stock futures pointed to a lower open on Wall Street.
On May 3, President Trump tweeted: “For 10 months, China has been paying Tariffs to the USA of 25% on 50
Billion Dollars of High Tech, and 10% on 200 Billion Dollars of other goods.
These payments are partially responsible for our great economic results. The
10% will go up to 25% on Friday. 325 Billions Dollars….”
“The Trade Deal with China
continues, but too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate. No!” he
After imposing duties on billions of dollars worth of one another’s goods
last year, the US and China have been negotiating and in recent weeks, appeared
to be close to striking a trade deal.
Last week US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin described talks held in
Beijing as “productive”.
So far, the US has imposed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods, having
accused China of unfair trade practices.
Beijing hit back with duties on $110 billion of American goods, blaming the
US for starting “the largest trade war in economic history”.
President Trump’s latest move will raise duties on more than 5,000 products
made by Chinese producers, ranging from chemicals to textiles and consumer
He originally imposed a 10% tariff on these goods in September that was due
to rise in January, but postponed this as negotiations advanced.
However, both US and international companies have said they are being harmed
by the trade war.
Fears about a further escalation caused a slump in world stock markets
towards the end of last year.
The IMF has warned a full-blown trade war would weaken the global economy.
Real estate is a wise and
popular investment option for several reasons including great returns, tax
benefits, and increased value over time. When hopeful investors think about
obtaining financing for real estate, the set conditions from traditional
lenders stop many of them in their tracks. These include high credit scores,
low debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, and a down payment of up to 30%.
Banks put these stringent
requirements in place after the economic downturn in 2008 and sadly, not
everyone can meet them. Even with all the necessary requirements, it can be a
lengthy and agonizing process. Fortunately, non-conventional methods of
financing have enabled eager investors to realize their dreams of becoming
property owners, and in a short time.
These financing alternatives are hard money and private money. Although they both have advantages over traditional lending, they also have downsides. Borrowers must thoroughly research each alternative and each lender to ensure all is a good fit and to avoid disastrous situations.
is Hard Money?
Hard money is a short term,
asset-based type of loan. A hard money loan is suitable for purchasing land,
construction, fixer-uppers, and flips. You can get it from a group of
investors or a company. Unlike usual lenders, hard money lenders are more
interested in the value of the property than your credit report.
The words ‘hard money’ does not
imply that this financing is difficult to acquire. On the contrary, it’s quite
easy. It actually defines the property being a hard asset. When borrowers have
been frustrated by the banks, or they require quick financing, this is a great
alternative. The typical payment period is 1 year although it can be increased
up to 2-5 years.
Other requirements by lenders may include:
The geographical location (some
lenders provide their services locally or to particular states)
Some may even ask you how many
homes you flipped; the higher the number of homes you flipped that have had
good repayment records lowers your interest rate
Borrower’s plan for the
property. The lender may want to know the borrower’s intentions, for example,
whether they plan to renovate the property or obtain further financing over the
Properties Financed by Hard Money Loans
Any kind of property can be financed by a hard money loan, including commercial property, land, residential property and industrial property. A few lenders may specify a niche, for example, commercial and not residential. Very few lenders will transact with owner-occupied properties. They involve extra requirements and include loads of paperwork.
What is Private Money?
Private money is short-term
financing borrowed from an individual who could be a friend or family member
and can be used for financing real estate transactions. The characteristics and
benefits are basically similar to those of hard money.
Benefits of Hard Money and
Quick Approval Process
The process of obtaining the loan from www.justrightloans.com is quick and straightforward. It can take a maximum of two weeks as opposed to a bank’s usual 30-40 days. No time is wasted on filling and signing piles of paperwork or checking your credit history. Lenders make decisions fast. They focus more on the property.
As long as the collateral has
good value, they are not worried about whether you will make the payments or
not. They will simply sell off the property and probably make more money than
what you would have paid back.
Unlike traditional lenders who have their rules set in stone, hard money lenders assess borrowers on a case-by-case basis. This means that you can come to terms about extending your repayment period based on your state of affairs.
Downsides to Hard Money
Interest rates differ for each lender and each geographical
location. Areas with several money lending firms will charge lower because of
competition. Loans from hard money lenders are high risk, and so they will
charge high-interest, usually between 10% and 15%.
High origination free
Hard money lenders will charge a high fee for processing your loan application because the loan is risky. They can charge as much as 5% of the loan compared to banks, which might charge only 1%.
Short Repayment Period
mortgages typically have long repayment periods of 30-40 years, these loans
have a very short period of up to a maximum of 5 years. Real estate properties
are not cheap and normally require a longer period to pay back unless the
property is highly profitable.
taking on a private or hard loan, borrowers should ascertain how long it would
take for the property to become profitable. Then they can see whether the
repayment period is feasible.
Hard money lenders use a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio to decide on
the amount of the loan. Most of these lenders provide between 65 and 75% of the
total value of the property. They maintain a low LTV ratio so that it’s easy
for them to put the property on the market with the likelihood of getting back
Some lenders will use the after-repair value (ARV) to determine the total amount of the loan. This is the future value of a property after it has been renovated by the borrower. A few lenders may even offer to cover the rehabilitation costs of the property on top of a high percentage of the ARV. This would seem attractive to the borrower; however, it makes the deal riskier because of even higher interest rates of up to 18%. If the property is highly profitable, it would be better for the borrower to cover the rehab costs.
Lenders You Should Avoid
Some hard money lenders have ruined the industry’s name with predatory lending actions. They intentionally provide high-risk loans so that the borrower is in a position of not being able to pay. They exploit the borrower’s inability to understand certain financial terms regarding loans.
Sometimes lenders will bait borrowers with
attractive schemes and then, later on, switch the scheme without the borrower
They only discover these several months later when their subsequent payments are much higher. After a thorough investigation, they realize that there was a modification on the interest rate that they were not informed about. Eventually, the lenders end up owning borrower’s property when borrowers fail to pay, as was their intention all along.
Be careful not
to fall prey to predatory lenders. The loan may be quick and easy to get, but
you need to do thorough research, preferably with referrals if possible. Check
your documents completely to make sure that they are consistent with what was
agreed. Getting educated with financial terms can save you from a
Department of Housing and Urban Development has put on controls to eliminate
this unscrupulous behavior. Many money lenders have adjusted their operations
by further assessing the eligibility of borrowers through income documents.
the Right Hard Money Lender
You can find
the right money lender by starting with a Google search. Type in ‘your area’ +
‘hard money lenders.’ This will bring up a list of lenders that you can
you have real estate clubs in your neighborhood, you could attend the meetings
and find out from other investors.
The lender should ideally have
a great track record and should cater to customers’ needs first. You can check
out their website for reviews and meet with them to decide if they are the
right fit for you. Stay away from lenders who have no reputation to speak of.
If you’re new to private
lending, the lender should have several years of experience as well. You need
to deal with a transparent, qualified professional who will provide sufficient
knowledge about these loans, including the good and bad. This will help you
weigh your options.
Although alternative lenders typically charge a high-interest rate, they aren’t all the same. You can still do some digging around to compare and find the one with the best rate for you.
Every lending opportunity has a
good and bad side. The point is that you choose the one that works for your
situation. If you are an investor looking for lending alternatives, hopefully,
the above information has given you some confidence. You can now approach hard
money and private money knowing what to expect.
Machinery is the lifeblood of any manufacturing business. The ability for your equipment to operate without fail can be a bottom line issue. It has safety implications for your team as well. However, knowing when it’s time to repair or replace vital manufacturing equipment can be challenging for business owners.
Should I replace or repair? How much are repairs going to cost? What is the extended life of the equipment if I repair versus replacing? These are all important questions manufacturers need to ask. There are certainly benefits and pitfalls associated, but we are here to help. The following five machinery replacement essentials to consider can serve as your roadmap to efficiency and productivity. Let’s dive in!
1. Take a hard look at your
machinery equipment and maintenance schedule
costs involved with replacing or repairing machinery equipment are always at
the forefront when decisions need to be made by manufacturers. To most business
owners, replacing is a last step due to the price tag of new equipment. But the
opposite can be true in some cases.
You can get a good idea of potential equipment problems to come. Regular maintenance is good, and many manufacturers take preventive maintenance and care service (PMCS) seriously, doing it weekly. But there is also technology, like vibration sensor that can detect issues early, saving money and time down the road.
2. Don’t make assumptions when it
comes to repairs and replacements
can add up pretty quickly on manufacturing equipment, since the specialization
and the parts needed to make repairs have a hefty price tag. And if you combine
that with multiple repairs over a fiscal year, and you have a big problem that
can negatively affect your bottom line. Instead of assuming repairs are best,
examine long-term repair costs versus replacement of the equipment. This will
give you a clear picture of what to do.
This is very true for new equipment that needs repair. In most cases, if the machinery equipment is relatively new, repairs may be the best option. Why? Because replacing new equipment with new equipment is not short-term budget friendly. On the other hand, if the equipment that is having issues is older, it may be time to call it a day and replace it.
3. Think about the loss of
production before making a decision
an important machinery replacement essential to consider, because the workflow
and production you put out equals profits that are coming in. Depending on the
industry and type of machinery equipment you have in place, repairs can often
be done faster than physically replacing a unit. And since time is money,
you’ll need to do a bit of math.
say a piece of equipment takes two weeks to replace, in order to meet state and
federal guidelines, as well as implementation standards of your company. This
two weeks will cost you $10,000 in production. However, repairing the equipment
will take three days, at a cost of $2000. The repair option is definitely more
4. Safety is a very important
consideration when it comes to machinery equipment
Considering safety should be the first thought when considering replacing or repairing machinery equipment. If equipment is not safe, you are putting the lives of your team in jeopardy. You will need to make a calculated judgement call and balance your bottom line with the safety of your operators.
also need to consider the safety of nearby equipment. For instance, if a piece
of machinery can damage other machinery in your manufacturing facility, the
costs of ignoring the problem can be far more dangerous and expensive down the
road. Think safety of team first, safety of surrounding equipment second, and
monetary cost third.
5. Consider the efficiency gain
with new machinery equipment in place
Every manufacturing CEO and facility manager knows that efficiency equals profits. The ability to crank out products faster can be a calling card for retaining current and future clients. This makes replacing problematic machinery a potential must-do. If you can increase efficiency by 25 percent by replacing a piece of machinery equipment, the sticker shock will pass as soon as profits increase. This is a very sustainable manufacturing essential to consider.
In conclusion . . .
whether to repair or replace machinery equipment can weigh heavy on the mind.
It is expensive, time consuming, and has bottom line costs down the road. The
above five machinery replacement essentials to consider are not the be-all,
end-all, but they are among the most important considerations. Take a deeper
look at your equipment and make the right call.
So you’re ready to shop for a new car (or a used one) —
great! But before you get started, you need to think about a few things. There
are a lot of factors to consider when you’re shopping for something as
expensive as a vehicle, and while you probably already have an idea of things
like how much seating or horsepower you need, there are some burning questions
that you should take a closer look at before you part with any of your
hard-earned money. Here are four things to consider as you shop for your next vehicle.
What is your
Americans are operating under tight budgets these days.
Yet this year, many of us will head out and buy a car for far more expensive
than we can afford. Lured by the siren songs of “zero down” financing and
options for those with “bad credit or no credit,” we’ll take our lenders at
their word and bury ourselves in debt. That may give us our dream vehicle in
the short-term, but it can trigger financial disasters in the long-term.
Don’t let yourself become one of these people. Do the
research yourself and make sure that you really can afford the car that you
want to buy. Take all of your potential expenses into account, from the down
payment to the maintenance and gas costs.
What about our
planet’s future (and your wallet’s present)?
Gas-guzzling cars have played a major role in environmental problems like pollution and global warming. And, if you’re not careful, a gas guzzler could also play a major role in draining your wallet! Gas isn’t cheap, and if your car is burning through it faster than is necessary, you’re going to feel the pinch.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are now plenty of great environmentally friendly cars, including those that take alternate fuels, say the experts at a BioFuel company that handles used oil collections and other important tasks that make biofuels possible. Opting for a hybrid, an electric car, or even just a car that gets great gas mileage can help you save money while feeling better about your impact on our planet.
How will your
vehicle of choice depreciate?
There are a lot of cars, trucks, SUVs, minivans, and other vehicles out there, and virtually all of them have at least one thing in common: They’re going to drop in value over time (and over the course of the miles you drive). It’s called depreciation, and it’s a certainty with most vehicles. But here’s the thing: Not all used and new cars depreciate at the same rate.
When you’re shopping for a vehicle, it pays to know
which makes and models are known for holding their value — and which aren’t. Of
course, you should remember that your dedication in caring for your vehicle
will have a huge impact on its resale value down the line, too.
Where will you
Even after you’ve narrowed down your criteria and are
well on your way to identifying your dream car, there is still some work to be
done. Shopping for a car isn’t something that everyone does the same way, and
some tactics have big advantages over others.
Take shopping online, for instance. Many shoppers dislike the dealership experience, where opaque pricing systems and pushy sales associates leave them feeling like they’ve been ripped off. With online shopping, on the other hand, you can bid in auctions on sites like Auto Auction Mall, research while you shop, and do your shopping on your schedule. That can lead to a more pleasant shopping experience and a better deal for you.
Prosecutors did not name the other
four senior managers charged.
VW first admitted in September 2015
that it had used illegal software to cheat US emissions tests.
The devices, which allowed cars to
perform better in test conditions than they did on the road, were installed on
almost 600,000 vehicles sold in the US from 2009 though 2015 and millions more
They came to light after a study of
emissions by researchers at West Virginia University in the US.
The Dieselgate scandal sparked
investigations in Germany and other countries.
To date, the emissions scandal has
cost Volkswagen roughly €28 billion, ($31 billion).
Last month, the US Securities and
Exchange Commission (SEC) sued VW and Martin Winterkorn, accusing the company
of “massive fraud” over the emissions scandal.
The SEC claims VW misled investors
by issuing billions of dollars worth of bonds and securities, without
disclosing that it had cheated emissions tests.
VW said it would contest the SEC lawsuit vigorously.
Of all the money invested in startups annually, $130 billion came from venture funds in 2018. This was the first year that that number crossed the $100 billion dollar line. Venture funds have also raised record amounts, and deal sizes have surged. United States firms alone have invested 4x more money into startups than they did 15 years ago.
Venture capitalism is
changing, and the start of 2019 have made those shifts more apparent. For
starters, the world venture capitalism tends to be different depending on who
you ask—everyone from investors to startup founders have had different experiences,
and the perception of what’s happening in the industry varies. Some people
consider it a golden ticket to growth, while others believe today’s business
climate means it’s better left avoided. But regardless of differing perception,
one thing is clear: for emerging startups, VC funding is often the best (and
only) option. Here’s how the world of venture capitalism is changing in 2019.
A Shift in Power Change
One of the first changes
many have noted in venture capitalism is the slow but sure shift in power
change. “With the large majority of VC returns coming from a small number of
deals and more startup capital on the table, the power dynamic is shifting,”
says Miruna Girtu, who specializes in researching and writing on the startup
ecosystem. “Increasingly, we hear of startups picking their VCs rather than the
other way around.”
With a slight shift in
power change noted, venture capitalists are continuously looking for ways to
differentiate themselves in a business sphere where the amount of VCs in the
startup world is surging. With so much competitive pressure, venture
capitalists are always looking for unique ways to tips the odds in their
“Today, venture capitalists need to have more than just capital,” says Lee Jacobs, a former partner at AngelList. “With so many other firms on the hunt, it’s important to distinguish your model and approach. Today’s VCs need to think about what makes their firms valuable and original; ask yourself, what can you bring to the table—besides capital—that others VCs cannot?”
There ae several ways VCs can set themselves apart from their competition, and some of those methodolgies were outline at a panel called, “The Shifting Funding Landscape.” Here are a few notable ways VCs are carving a unique approach:
Using thesis-based investing,
which analyzes how speficifc trends or industries will evolve over longer
periods of time, and matching potential investments to ensure they align
with their thesis model
Forming agencies to provide
functional and operational expertise to their investments. By offering
value-add services, VCs are able to attract more startups with a bigger
batch of benefits
Investing in scouts who keep
their eyes and ears open for the best potential startup investments
To aid the process of
discovering the companies most likely to yield a high ROI, some VC firms have
gone the extra mile to design in-house software. For example, InReach Ventures,
a Europe-based VC, designed an internal proprietary tool called DIG. DIG uses
data aggregation, workflow management, and automated proactive outreach to
increase the efficiency of their sourcing efforts.
“We have been in business for only 3 years, therefore, there’s still a lot to prove,” Roberto Bonanzinga and Karolina Kukielka, investors at InReach, told Forbes. “However, we have had some interesting validations of our unique model. For example, Shopify acquired our portfolio company Oberlo last year. When we invested in Oberlo, very few people knew that the company existed and we found them thanks to our unique data-driven approach.”
Motherbrain is another
data-driven tool employed by EQT Ventures. It was designed to filter out the
noise of the VC world and track and prioritize leads. According to its
Investment Lead, David Fogel, this allowed them to make faster investment
A Team of Mentors &
Some VC firms are
beginning to operate much like a long-term accelerator. This is because, to
accelerate the growth of their companies, they’re bringing in a diverse team of
startup specialists to help guide their investments. These specialist range in
talent, offering everything from everything marketing support to product design
and business intelligence.
One London-based fund
called Forward Partners has conducted research to prove that this approach to
helping startups grow has helped their portfolio of 50+ companies excel.
According to them, by helping their startups with the right guidance and
operational support, their portfolio companies are 4x more likely to reach
Series A with 55% higher valuation. Those services are also offered at
one-third of the typical costs.
With nearly 60 million credit cards floating around the UK, it’s fair to say plenty of us are using multiple credit cards at once.
But how many is too many?
If you’re wondering about opening another
account, consider the pros and cons before you make a move.
your credit utilisation
Multiple credit cards, if used correctly, are great for your credit score. This is because of a feature called credit utilisation and how credit providers perceive it.
Credit utilisation is, in short, the percentage of credit you are using against your credit limit. For example, if you had a monthly credit limit of £1,000 and were using £800 a month, your utilisation would be 80%. £500 would be 50%, £200 would be 20%, and so on.
Where your provider is concerned, high
utilisation is bad news and will affect your credit score negatively. Providers
like to see utilisation of no more than 30% so, if you are close to your credit
limit on one card (indeed anything above 30%), it benefits you and your credit
score to spread the debt across several cards.
Speaking of spreading your debt, the same
process is beneficial to those struggling with a lot of debt on one card or
looking to spread out a purchase cost (and avoid high utilisation).
Where high interest debt is concerned, you
can use multiple cards to transfer a balance from a high interest account to a
new, 0% interest card or two in order to release the pressure on an account
building interest. It’s a temporary solution but saves you money in the long
If credit cards are your main source of
payment, it’s worth having multiple cards so one can be used as a backup or for
This is useful if your card provider
freezes your main card, for example if it suspects fraudulent use, or an
unexpected payment comes up that needs dealing with immediately.
Credit cards offer various incentives to
spend, and different credit cards offer different perks. An example would be a
percentage cashback amount on certain purchases across the month.
Using different cards on the right
purchases means you’re getting the most back from your spending.
The big risk with multiple cards is that they
can, if mismanaged, rack up debt and harm your credit score.
The more cards you have, the easier it is
to lose track of both spending and repayments. Purchase frivolously and you may
spend more money than you have. Meanwhile, missing repayments can mean interest
and a hit on your credit score.
Whilst you’ll no doubt be looking for the best
interest deals and lowest charges, introductory offers do come to an end and
many cards come with an attached monthly fee.
If you’re running a handful of cards, such
fees and interest can add up, leaving you with unwanted costs at the end of the
Just as it’s easy to lose track of your spending and repayments, it’s also harder to notice possible theft or fraud across multiple accounts if you’re not paying too much attention.
An unlikely occurrence, but another thing
you need to be on top of.
The answer is no one really knows!
It depends on your current situation with outstanding debt and your future plans. More than anything your ability to responsibly manage your finances will be the determining factor in selecting the right number of credit cards for you.
All businesses like to have a period of sustained growth. Competition from similar organisations doesn’t necessarily need to be viewed negatively, it should be seen as a time to show your own strengths and growths within your particular area of expertise. If you feel that your business could do with a little boost, we will investigate some areas that could help you to achieve this goal.
Let’s face it, we can all over look stationery from time to time. However, when you visit a client and they give you a piece of their stationery which has their brand identity upon it, you go away with that company in your mind. So, one of the steps that you could take is to personalise your stationery with your logo or company name. Maybe even consider contacting a Singapore rubber stamp maker so that your company logo or name can be easily stamped and printed on documents and letter heads, as well as on stationery items. This means that any documentation that your clients take away, even if the documents belong to them, will leave a long-lasting mark within their business premises.
Website and SEO
The second area that you need to consider is your online presence. One of the easiest ways to improve your online presence is by contacting a company such as Mandreel, an online digital agency who will help be able to guide you through the ways that you can improve your online presence. You will hear terms such as ‘SEO’ ‘link build’ and ‘content creation.’ These are some basic terms and aspects that the digital media industry focusses on. Having a well-orchestrated website is also beneficial as it provides your customers and clients an instant port of call as well as a reference point to your business. It is also important to maintain your website by regularly adding blogs to it so that your website remains current. A final point related to the media element is looking at your social media footprint. There are a number of mediums to use and you don’t necessarily need to use all of them, but hubs such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are a standard way to start your social media presence. It is fast becoming the modern way of doing business as it improves and increases your global access with the simple touch of a button.
As we have mentioned above, the
online section of your business will play a major role in increasing the performance
of your business. However, at this stage it is also worth mentioning that
creating business cards for when out visiting clients or customers is still a
good way of publicising your brand. The same can be said for leafleting. If you
consider the fact that if the average household receives a leaflet through the
post, it may draw in new business from new customers who may never have
considered what you offer.
It’s clear to see there are a number
of simple ways to promote your business. We have only covered a few of these
areas, but they are probably some of the most important
factors to consider.
Over the past few years,
you’ve may have noticed some interesting brand partnerships. When a brand
partnership is executed correctly, it can prove to be very valuable and
A solid example of a branding partnership is when VW and Tata Motors came together to help another boost sales. And without even realizing it, you’ve even seen brand partnerships all around you; even when you were young. For instance, when you opened up a box of cereal as a child and found a toy—that was co-branding. Strategic alliances are everywhere, and for good reason.
Here are just a few
benefits of partnering with another brand:
awareness by expanding reach. This is one of the biggest benefits of co-branding and
partnerships. With two businesses working together, each can leverage the
audience of the other, and will have double the marketing power and reach.
Creates a higher value
perception. When one or more
companies gets together, it increases the perceived value of the partnership to
great more of a powerhouse duo.
Expands the marketing budget. This is obvious: two businesses equals two marketing budgets, and when combined, you can take your efforts much further. This also helps to save money. Want to print custom posters? Need a flag designer for your event? Plan to increase your Facebook spend? No matter how you decide to allocate your funds, you’ll have more wiggle room.
Reach new segments. Not only will you reach a wider range of people
in your industry, but you’ll also reach new audience segments that weren’t in
your original marketing plan.
What to Consider When
There are several things
you should consider before you begin researching potential brands to partner
with. For instance, you should choose a company that will benefit equally from
the partnership as you. For instance, as a the owner of a coffee shop, you
might want to partner with a local bakery. This allows you to serve customers
great baked goods with a “locally sourced” tag, as well as makes it easier for
the local bakery to spread their inventory outside of their own location.
Additionally, the value
of each brand should match one another. As a local coffee shop, it would be
difficult to partner with a brand that far exceeds yours in value. As
previously mentioned, both companies should benefit equally, and therefore,
both should be on level ground with one another. If you’re a new business,
you’ll likely want to partner with a business that’s relatively new as well.
And lastly, the strategy
you have in mind with the other brand should be easily understood by the
consumer. A coffee shop and a bakery partnership makes sense, but a coffee shop
with a candy company might not seem as strategic or sensible.
The main objective of
choosing a business to partner with is to choose a brand that complements yours
well. Now that you understand some of the key points in choosing a brand, you
can go ahead and start researching complementary businesses. The options
available to you depend on whether you’re a physical or online location, and
whether your business requires local partnerships or can come from any
direction. Typically, local business owners have an easier time cultivating
relationships with one another.
Keep in mind that you
don’t always have to start off with a full-blown contract and partnership
agreement. You could host a small event, or have a trial period to see how one
another’s businesses fares once cross-promotion and marketing has begun. It’s important
that you’re flexible and choose businesses who have similar values and
management as well.
Now that you’ve created
a list of potential partners, it’s time to start reaching out. Your
introductory email should be short and simple. Begin by introducing yourself
and your business, and briefly stating what your brand is about. Then, let them
know that you’re interested in creating a co-branded campaign, or a long-term
partnership (depending on what your own objectives are).
The important thing here
is to clearly state the benefit of the other company entering a partnership.
You can’t approach the partnership by thinking only of what their brand can do
for you, or how your business can take benefit. Brainstorm concepts and use
bullet points to describe what your brand can bring to the table.
Host a Joint Event
Once you’ve identified
the perfect partner and have agreed to work with one another, what better way
to celebrate that partnership than through an event? After all, events are a
great way to generate buzz. Of course, with your event, you want to put your
products or services on display, so be prepared to give out freebies and
discounts. You may even consider working with your partner to bring in sponsors
who can make budgeting even more manageable.
Ecommerce is booming and the momentum doesn’t seem to be showing signs of slowing anytime soon. The year over year growth is astounding with estimated ecommerce sales expected to reach $700 billion by 2022, according to data by Statista.
as the ecommerce industry grows, more competition is at the table to get a
slice of the multi-billion dollar pie. This competition has led to
unprecedented changes in shipping products purchased online. There are now free
shipping options, free returns options, and more offered by online retailers to
sweeten the deal for consumers.
This has led to larger gaps in profit margins for small ecommerce businesses trying to compete with big box retailers with an online sales platform, as well as ecommerce giants like Jeff Bezos’ Amazon and eBay.
however, ways to master shipping in 2019 businesses can consider. The following
ecommerce shipping tactics can serve as your playbook. Let’s dive in!
1. Automate the Ecommerce
Unlike big box retailers and leading ecommerce sites, you don’t have thousands of employees tending to your shipping process. This can make it difficult to compete, but by automating the process you can streamline shipping. This can have an impact on your profits, since less mistakes are made and more time can be allocated to building your ecommerce business for long-term growth and success.
the shipping process is also a lot less complicated as it sounds. It is simply
just setting up rules that keep everything running smoothly. For instance, you
can automate label shipping by having a shipping options available on your
checkout/cart web page, like shipping category and saved carrier selections.
reduces the need to pull up shipping orders and process them manually in order
to create the shipping label on every purchase. This saves a lot of time and
decreases costly mistakes.
2. Make International Shipping
shipping is another pain point for ecommerce businesses, whether shipping to
customers, or receiving product to sell in your country. You would think this
isn’t such a big deal, but international shipping costs and international
shipping regulations can be very costly, depending on the country you are doing
“Many U.S. online retailers and auction site sellers do not ship purchases overseas, charge too much for international shipping, or do not accept international credit cards,” according to BluePostal, an international shipping solution provider for consumers and businesses.
are now a lot of solutions ecommerce businesses can utilize when it comes to
international shipping. For example, there is dropshipping of course, but there
are also intermediary companies that will take the leg work out of
international shipping for you at a pretty affordable shipping rate with
reduced international taxes.
Maybe one of the most challenging obstacles ecommerce businesses have when it comes to competing with large ecommerce sites and big box retailers is free shipping for online purchases. As you know, shipping any product can be costly, especially when you want to keep your product prices low enough to compel consumers to buy from you and not competitors.
can you offer free shipping like the big ecommerce players? This is in fact a
million dollar question. One of the best ways is to find a way to cut your
operation costs to lower shipping prices or serve up free shipping on all
products. This can be very hard, but not impossible.
are receiving product from manufacturers overseas, maybe you can order more
product at a discounted rate in order to offset shipping costs to your
customers. This of course only works if you have the storage space. You can
also just eat the cost on your end if the math tells you that more sales via
free shipping would actually increase your bottom line over a fiscal year. You
just need to find that cost cut somewhere.
In Conclusion . . .
above three shipping tactics for business success are only the tip of the
iceberg. There are certainly more tactics you can identify and employ in 2019
to make shipping easier, cheaper, and work for your profit margins. From
automation to opening up international markets, how you approach shipping can
be the key to exponential growth this year.
You might think that risk-rated funds are the only solution for the core hold of your portfolio. After all, it is what you would normally hear from others. But, in reality, the secret to ensuring their assets match the ones you aim for is to supplement them with so-called “satellite” funds and shares.
Fortunately, it is not too late to turn
things around. Here are some tips on how to customize your portfolio to suit
your goals. Be sure to keep them in mind from now on!
Cheap Is Not Necessarily Cheerful
Believe it or not, many tend to focus more
on fund charges, which seem to be the trend since time immemorial. But what you
may not know is that most, if not all, are not necessary. Some might have a
charge for the platform or advice, especially if you are taking it. More
importantly, there is always a charge for the investment funds.
Remember that a cheap fund does not necessarily
mean it fits your purpose. The same thing can be said for an expensive fund –
it does not convey superiority. Your best course of action is to look out for
performance-related charges, as well as those platform costs (i.e. when trying
to move money around).
Identify Your Goals
It holds true that your appetite for risk is – and always will be – a significant consideration. But do not forget that there are other contributing factors involved. This is the point where you need to ask yourself: “What are my investment goals?” Do you require a short- or long-term objective? Or perhaps you are in need of a certain amount just to guarantee an annual growth for your investment goal in the stock market?
These questions, while all may not
necessarily apply to your current situation, can help you gain concrete knowledge
about your stand. Even more so, it will help you realize the fact that there is
more importance emphasis when it comes to risk analysis. The latter, in
particular, conveys the message that your fund may either underperform or take
too much risk.
Keep Everything in One Place
Do you know what a balanced portfolio should be? Well, it is the type that holds bonds, cash, and even shares. As soon as you achieve a solid core portfolio, expect a great number of adventurous investors to add riskier holdings in order to diversify. You may find it difficult to acquire this type of ideas, but as long as you are willing to think outside the box, you will be introduced to more tantalizing investments.
Being a professional means utilizing a wide
range of left-of-field investments – a crucial element in achieving
diversification. This includes, but not limited to, private equity, currencies,
commodities, and student housing.
Remember To Consider All Assets
A lot of investors these days tend to consider their investment portfolio as something that is merely their shares and/or composite funds. Unfortunately, this is a worn-down idea that needs an overhaul. Why exactly? That is because there are other factors involved, and they may refer to cash accounts and properties. All of them, regardless of size and shape, are to be accounted as assets as well.
Let’s say you own multiple properties. This
is where you want to be extremely wary of purchasing a fund, particularly the
type that comes with property exposure. Likewise, if you hold a lot of cash, it
is imperative that you find a liquid fund which is totally invested. Otherwise,
there is a possibility that you will be hit by extremely low-interest rates.
Regularly Review Your Holdings
This is definitely a no-brainer. It is even
something that you should always consider. Keep in mind that risk-rated funds –
no matter how you perceive them – are a one-stop-shop for life. Your goals will
have the potential to change as time passes by. As such, you must ensure to
review all of them as you would with investments. A general rule of thumb is to
look at your portfolio at least once a year, though doing it twice has become a
more acceptable narrative.
Sure, you may not find the need to purchase
or sell funds, say, as often as twice or thrice a year. But, in one way or
another, you will chance upon certain life stages that will force you to
consider tweaking your portfolio. It could be about purchasing a property or
simply becoming a parent.
Riding an ATV is a whole lot of fun. All-terrain vehicles are made for handling wild rides through beautiful country. Unimpeded views, thrilling hills and turns, and unhindered exploration: those are the things that ATV riding is all about.
But this sort of adventure-seeking comes with risks. ATV riders should be very careful to practice safe riding when they’re out on the trail and enjoying themselves. It takes skill and a great sense of one’s own limitations to make the right decisions and get back safely from a top-notch ATV ride. And it takes one more thing, too: an ATV that you can rely on.
A poorly maintained ATV is a dangerous ATV
If your ATV is not well maintained, then it could become a liability. You want your ATV to have great traction, to turn when you need it to turn, to brake when you need it to brake. You want to avoid breakdowns and system failures so that you can always make return trips safely so that you never have to worry about a sudden disaster when you’re flying along at top speeds or trying to make a difficult turn.
As a responsible ATV rider, you want to work hard to keep yourself safe while you’re having fun. You need an ATV that works with you toward that same goal, and that means you need to keep your ATV in top-notch shape. Here’s how to do that.
Rely on a great mechanic
Just like any other kind of vehicle, your ATV needs the occasional check-up from a mechanic. So find one that you trust, and don’t be a stranger! While there are some basic maintenance jobs that you can do yourself on your ATV, it never hurts to have an expert touch. A frequent visits to a mechanic will mean that small or potential problems can be stopped before they get worse. Don’t wait until something goes wrong to get your ATV checked out. Be proactive, and you’ll enjoy a safer ride. You’ll also save money by avoiding more costly repair needs down the line!
Invest in quality parts
There will come a time when you need to replace a part on your ATV. When that time comes, you will most likely have a choice: should you go with a more expensive brand-name part, or take a flyer on a cheaper alternative?
Go with the brand name. Elite products like Polaris parts are going to be more reliable for your ATV — which means that, in turn, your ATV is going to be more reliable for you. You should talk to your mechanic about the importance of opting for great parts. When in doubt, you should always go with quality brand names. This is your safety we’re talking about — don’t skimp on it!
Protect your ATV from the elements
When you’re out riding, your ATV is right out in nature with you. It’s going to get muddy, and it’s going to barrel through crazy terrain. But when your ride is finished, you should take the time to clean things up. You don’t want to let mud stay caked on your vehicle, and you certainly don’t want your ATV to stay wet — that could lead to rust. Rust destroys vehicles of all kinds, and ATVs are no exception.
When you’re not using your ATV, you should keep it stored in a dry place with moderate and relatively constant temperatures. Invest in a great ATV cover to keep your ride protected from dust and other dangers. And if you’re not going to ride your ATV for a long time, prepare it for the time off. Winterizing is a key step for ATV riders in cold climates who are hanging up the helmet for the season, and ATVs should be prepared for long-term disuse even if the weather is warm.
Caring for an ATV isn’t too tough, and it will pay off big time. A well maintained ATV is a safer and more enjoyable vehicle.
One of the
most important decisions any family will make is the choice of an automobile.
The mainstay of the automotive industry – the family car segment – is the most
competitive in the marketplace. As such, it bristles with highly capable offering.
To help you
sort through them, Parents magazine,
one of the most respected family-oriented publications, recently named its list
of the best vehicles for large families.
We’ll focus on five of them here, but you’ll find the entire list at Parents.com.
the 2018 model year, Chevrolet’s Traverse is exceptionally commodious,
adequately powered and delightfully comfortable. It’s also well thought through
for its primary mission as family transportation. You’ll find six USB charging
ports, seating for eight, accommodations for four child safety seats and
outstanding cargo capacity. This makes Traverse ideal for family vacations as
well as mainstream family duties. A built-in Wi-Fi Hotspot keeps teens
connected (and relatively complaint-free) wherever you go. Heated seats and
climate control vents for rear passengers add to the sanctity you’ll experience
with a Chevrolet Traverse.
Universally agreed upon by experts to be the smartest solution ever devised for family transportation, the minivan stands head and shoulders above its more popular crossover SUV competition. And yet, the minivan segment is very nearly decimated. Perhaps proof the best hold on regardless, Honda’s Odyssey has been revised for the 2018 model year. Long recognized as the leader in its class, this new Odyssey is the best one Honda has ever offered. The second-row seats slide apart to keep squabbling siblings in neutral corners and an interior camera helps you keep tabs on a sleeping infant in the back seat. However, the single most innovative feature of the 2018 Honda Odyssey is the way its navigation system links with the “Are We There Yet?” app so you’ll never have to suffer that query again.
attributes of a car and a traditional SUV better than most crossover SUVs,
Subaru’s Outback is well suited for light off-roading, while offering plenty of
cargo capacity for outdoorsy families. All-wheel drive and roof racks further
bolster the Subaru’s credibility in this regard. Capable of seating five and
accommodating up to three child safety seats, the Subaru will also expand right
along with your family as the kids mature.
Toyota Prius Prime
Among its lengthy list of qualifications for family duty is the fact the Toyota Prius Prime delivers 54 miles per gallon. If you’re a budget conscious parent, that sentence is going to be particularly appealing. Prius Prime’s interior is also more than adequate for the needs of a family. Capable of seating five passengers and accommodating two child safety seats, it’s suitably spacious and will remain so even as adolescence morphs into puberty and legs get longer. Nicely equipped and eco-friendly, now you know why there always seems to be a Prius in front of you wherever you go.
an all-new product for Volkswagen in 2017, Atlas is a seven-passenger crossover
sport utility vehicle with a decidedly Germanic attitude. This means it rides
comfortably at highway speeds, exhibits significant agility and is quite
maneuverable around town—despite its size. The Atlas Car-Net app allows you to
keep tabs on the security of the VW when you’re away from it and help you find
it in a crowded parking lot. With seating for seven, Atlas is capable of accommodating
five child safety seats. The Volkswagen Atlas also boasts a six-year
/72,000-mile warranty and is built in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
they all have above average safety ratings and host of standard safety features
such as blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and proximity sensors.
Picking the Right Vehicle
So, if you are shopping for a vehicle to fit the needs of your large family, start by considering the safety features first. After all, you are carrying very precious cargo!
step is to make sure there is enough room of kids, parents, pets, backpacks,
soccer cleats and anything else you might be packing. And finally, you’ll want
to make sure your chosen vehicle fits nicely into your budget.
these tips have put your on the right track to picking a vehicle for your
family. Happy trails!
The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates
again despite President Donald Trump’s opposition.
The Fed’s key interest rate has been increased by 0.25% to a target range of
However, the Fed officials also said future increases could come at a slower
pace amid concerns about global growth.
The move comes two days after President Trump warned the Fed against making
“yet another mistake” in raising rates, urging it instead to
“feel the market”.
The president also urged the bank not to wind down a multi-billion dollar
stimulus program brought in after the financial crisis.
President Trump – who appointed the Fed’s chairman, Jerome Powell – has
repeatedly blamed the central bank for unsettled markets and dismissed analysts
who cite other factors, such as rising trade tariffs.
His remarks have put pressure on the Fed, as presidents generally avoid criticizing
the bank publicly, for fear of politicizing the institution.
President Trump tweeted: “I
hope the people over at the Fed will read today’s Wall Street Journal Editorial
before they make yet another mistake. Also, don’t let the market become any
more illiquid than it already is. Stop with the 50 B’s. Feel the market, don’t
just go by meaningless numbers. Good luck!”
At a press conference on December
19, Jerome Powell defended the Fed’s independence, saying that political
pressure played “no role whatsoever” in its discussions or decisions.
The Fed’s chairman added that the
central bank had no plans to change its ongoing reduction of its portfolio of
Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities.
The central bank has been gradually
raising the benchmark rate since 2015, moving the US away from the ultra-low
rates put in place during the financial crisis to spur economic activity.
The decision, which was widely
expected, marked the ninth increase since 2015 and the fourth this year.
However, the moves have made
borrowing more expensive, contributing to slowdowns in some sectors, such as
With economic growth expected to
slow, some worry that further increases risk stifling economic activity.
On December 19, officials did cut their forecasts for economic growth in
2019 to 2.3%, down from the 2.5% they anticipated in September.
Estimates released by the bank showed most Fed members expect two rate
increases in 2019 – not three, as previously forecast.
It follows a downturn in financial markets and concerns about slowing growth
in the US and abroad.
However, Jerome Powell said the strength of the US economy – which is
expected to grow about 3% this year – justified another rate rise, despite
recent “cross currents” that have weakened the outlook.
He said: “We think this move was
appropriate for what is a very healthy economy.
“Policy at this point does not
need to be accommodative.”
In its official statement, the Fed also said increases to its benchmark rate
would help the US economy sustain its expansion, keeping the unemployment rate
low and inflation near 2%.
Shares sank after the announcement, reversing earlier gains. The Dow and S&P 500 closed about 1.5% lower, while the NASDAQ fell than 2%.
When an e-commerce business reaches a certain point
managing stock and determining which marketing channels are producing results
becomes difficult. This is where a Product Information Management (PIM) system
In this post, we look at how a good PIM system can make
your business more agile and productive.
What is a PIM?
Put simply PIM software helps you better manage every aspect of your e-commerce system. From tracking sales and stock accurately to determining which marketing channels are performing well, a good productive information management system will help you see the information you need faster and more accurately.
Access to the information and purchasing approvals can be
controlled using a hierarchal system. This provides good management control
systems, approval purchase tracking, and security.
PIM systems allow for much better and faster accounting. Seeing your bottom line is easy, seeing your best selling items, successful marketing campaigns, and vice versa are made simple. You can keep track of the sales process from start to finish. Every aspect of accounting is now visible to you. This leads to better decisions from a financial view.
Once a PIM system is in place and configured correctly making faster and better business decisions become possible. Consider, no more data mining across various spreadsheets. Simply discover the information when needed. The better PIM systems such as Sales Layer can run reports based on your input. The information you need to make the big calls are at your fingertips.
Management and Distribution
Stock management and distribution is vital to the success
of an e-commerce based business. Aspects such as re-order levels can be set and
configured to re-order when needed. No more losing sales because you have run
out of stock. Distribution networks can be managed more effectively with stock
levels at each of your plants made visible and easily accessible.
All of this adds up to the oh so important better customer
A PIM system ensures that your marketing is brought
into the hub. Images, social media updates, can all be brought together and
published from the system itself. This makes the update process far easier to
keep track off and makes tracking the success of your marketing channels far
PIM systems can be cloud-based avoiding hefty
infrastructure costs and allowing for better more agile and flexible working.
This results in better productivity across your teams. Better productivity and
workflow results in better profit and better business.
Having a cloud-based system also means there are less
clash and conflicts. Under the older systems, a team can make changes which
another team can’t see. This can result in chaos and lost time. Now, everyone
works from the same data hub, making changes visible to all departments.
Your teams can now work remotely with PIM cloud and you
can use the hierarchal controls to apply security measures to control who can
Once a PIM system is in place you can manage your
business more effectively, improving workflow and productivity. If you find
you’re spending hours looking across spreadsheets to find answers, it is time
to invest in a product information management system.
Malaysia has filed criminal charges against Goldman Sachs and two former bankers in connection with a corruption and money laundering investigation at the state-owned investment fund 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Goldman Sachs has been under scrutiny for its role in helping to raise funds for the 1MDB.
The US bank is being investigated in at least six countries.
Goldman Sachs called the charges
“misdirected” and said it would “vigorously defend them”.
The bank added: “The firm continues to co-operate with all authorities investigating these matters.”
Malaysia filed the charges against Goldman Sachs and its former employees Tim Leissner and Roger Ng.
Tim Leissner served as Goldman’s South East Asia chairman, and left the bank in 2016. Roger Ng was a managing director at Goldman until his departure in May 2014.
Malaysia has also brought charges against former 1MDB employee Jasmine Loo and financier Jho Low.
Malaysia’s attorney general Tommy Thomas said in a statement: “The charges arise from the proceeds of three bonds issued by the subsidiaries of 1MDB, which were arranged and underwritten by Goldman Sachs.”
Last month, Tim Leissner, Roger Ngand and Jho Low were served with criminal charges in the US in relation to 1MDB.
Tim Leissner pleaded guilty in the US to conspiring to launder money and violating anti-bribery laws.
In that case, prosecutors said Tim Leissner and Roger Ng worked with Jho Low to bribe government officials to win 1MDB business for Goldman Sachs.
US authorities said billions of dollars were embezzled from the state fund to buy art, property, a private jet- and even to help finance the Wolf ofWall Street movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
The scandal has prompted investigations around the world and played a role in the election defeat earlier this year of Malaysia’s former PM Najib Razak, who is accused of pocketing $700 million from the fund he set up.
While the darkness of the night may spell great fear for some, it can signal an unmatched amount of fun and excitement to many others. If you’re a lover of bikes, speed and thrill, driving through the night can turn out to be one of your favourite adventures. The freedom of having roads relatively empty to your disposal, the option to speed higher than possible in the day and the enjoyment of the gush of wind along with the adrenalin rush is something that can be experienced only while riding at night.
However, it is going to be so only if you’re completely safe and you manage to complete your journey without fighting any undue troubles or meeting unfortunate injuries. In that regard, if you’re planning to indulge in a night ride with your gang, here are some ways to ensure that your experience is completely safe and nothing short of enthrallment.
Ensure Perfect Lighting for Your Bike
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It’s quite intuitive to understand how vital lights are from a safety standpoint while driving at night. If you’re planning for a night ride, you must see to it that the lights of your bike are in perfect order, so that you always have good visibility of the road and other vehicles.
You can start by checking whether your illumination, especially that of the headlight is bright enough to light up the dark roads. If you have worn out bulbs, you need to replace them with ones having the right wattage before you head on to any night adventure. Additionally, if you desire to amplify your visibility further, you can also consider fitting in some auxiliary headlamps to support you along with the main one.
Increase Your Visibility
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After lights, the next most important thing you need to be cautious about is increasing your visibility to others on the road. This can be made possible with the help of reflective biking gear and clothing. You can invest in reflective clothing that is available with most of the brands that sell biking apparels. Alternately, you can even fix some reflective tape to your riding gear such as helmet, jacket, gloves or pants. For instance, you could wrap some tape around the sleeve of your jacket or the length of your pants to reflect light. Thus, becoming more visible.
In addition to wearing reflective clothing, you can also stick on reflective tape or neon coloured strips to your bike’s parts such as wheel rims and body panels to make yourself and the bike more visible. Doing so can help to increase the chances of your safety by a significant extent.
Choose the Correct Route
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It’s also helpful to pick a route that you’re familiar with, at least in the beginning. Because even your most acquainted route can appear unfamiliar at night.
Moreover, you should also pick routes that have better roads. Ideally, it is a safer bet that you stick to the trail centres on the road. That’s because the tracks are less likely to have stumps or rocks that could lead to a crash.
Control Your Speed
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You might be a lover of speed and thrill and consider yourself as the most experienced biker with great eyesight. However, it’s crucial that you recognise the importance of practising self-caution and abiding by traffic laws even during the dark hours.
At all times, you must prioritise your safety and ride steadily and defensively. It is quite natural that at night, the degree of visibility is going to reduce. In that situation, you will need to be more careful when you try to overtake a vehicle and take turns. It’s also essential to be aware of the speed limit of the road you’re traversing through.
Ride in A Group
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Riding in a group makes a lot of sense, both from the enjoyment and safety point of view. As the number of people increases with a group, the chances of being attacked by those having wrong objectives reduce significantly. Moreover, in case of any mechanical issue, there is help available instantly. It’s important that you leave and come back together. In case you get separated, it’s good to wait for your group for a few minutes and continue again when together. Besides that, being a part of a club or a group is always a good incentive and motivating factor to head out in the dark.
And Lastly, Make Sure You Have Comprehensive Bike Insurance Policy
Riding bikes at night can be risky to your and your bike’s life. At night due to low visibility, lack of traffic control and rash driving of heavy vehicles, the chances of accidents increase. Therefore, it is crucial to protect yourself and your vehicle of these mishaps.
The best way to do that is to buy a comprehensive 2-wheeler insurance policy. The policy covers you against the damages caused to your vehicleand any other third-party during an accident. As a result, buying 2-wheeler insurance will not only help you stay clear of financial troubles and road mishaps but also avoid any legal skirmishes. Moreover, purchasing long-term third-party liability cover (5 years) for two-wheelers is made mandatory by the Supreme Court from September 1, 2018.
In conclusion, we can say that riding at night is fun, but it is crucial that you be careful and attentive than you usually are in the day. So, follow this checklist and experience the joy of night riding at its best.
At the summit in Buenos Aires on December 1, the G20 leaders agreed a joint declaration that notes divisions over trade but does not criticize protectionism.
Presidents Trump and Xi held a “highly successful meeting”, the White House said in a statement.
The White House says the US tariffs on Chinese goods will remain unchanged for 90 days, but warns: “If at the end of this period of time, the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the 10 percent tariffs will be raised to 25 percent.”
The US says China agreed to “purchase a not yet agreed upon, but very substantial, amount of agricultural, energy, industrial, and other products from the United States to reduce the trade imbalance between our two countries”.
According to the White House, both sides also pledged to “immediately begin negotiations on structural changes with respect to forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft”.
President Trump said earlier this year he wanted to stop the “unfair transfers of American technology and intellectual property to China”.
According to the US, China has also signaled it will allow a tie-up between two major semiconductor manufacturers which Chinese regulators have been blocking.
The White House statement said China was “open to approving the previously unapproved Qualcomm-NXP deal”.
The US also says China agreed to designate Fentanyl as a controlled substance. The opioid – much of it thought to be made in China – is driving a huge rise in drug addiction in the US.
Both sides have imposed tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of goods. The US has hit $250 billion of Chinese goods with tariffs since July, and China has retaliated by imposing duties on $110 billion of US products.
President Trump had also said that if talks in Argentina were unsuccessful, he would carry out a threat to hit the remaining $267 billion of annual Chinese exports to the US with tariffs of between 10 and 25%.
Starting a business today is easier than ever, and today is a great time to be an entrepreneur. Perhaps you’ve been researching your market and have a niche product you think will fit in nicely and sell. You’re excited to get going! Once you’ve got a great concept and an initial product/prototype—and have patented your product—it’s time to start looking for a manufacturer to produce it.
However, if you want to avoid the fate that many startups face (a whopping 90% of startups fail), it’s important to choose the right manufacturer. A bad partnership can cost you a lot of money, and potentially end your business. Sourcing products isn’t exactly a walk in the park, and takes research, dedication, and perseverance. On the plus side, it’s much easier to look for a manufacturer today than it was a decade ago. Here’s how you can find the right partnership:
Determine the Type of Manufacturer You Need
There are many types of manufacturers. There are manufacturers who produce your own product idea from scratch; a supplier that purchases and utilizes existing products and parts; and a dropshipper, which supplies and fulfills product orders that are already on the market, in hopes of getting you a profit without you having to do any heavy lifting. These manufacturers and suppliers are all very experienced, and use complex machine tools to get the job done. Think about the type of product you have and what it needs most. What type of manufacturer will cause the least stress, and generate higher revenue?
Image source Wikimedia
Should You Go Overseas?
You’ll also need to decide whether you want an overseas supplier or a domestic supplier. Of course, there are pros and cons to either situation. When you manufacture locally, there tends to be a higher standard of quality, and you can ensure that the employees working on your product adhere to a certain level of labor standards. There’s also the marketing appeal of being locally sourced, as this is something that many consumers care about today. And lastly, you’ll be able to verify reputable manufacturers much more easily, and communicate seamlessly with no language barrier or cultural differences.
Similarly, going overseas has many pros as well. The biggest advantage is that overseas production costs significantly less. This is the biggest appeal of international manufacturers, as sometimes the margins are so high, it’s hard to find a competitive strategy stateside. Additionally, when you start looking into international manufacturers, you’ll find that there’s a much larger selection to choose from.
Where to Begin Your Search
Once you understand what you’re looking for in a manufacturer, the hunt begins. There are several resources and directories you can use as a starting point. Two of the most popular domestic options are Maker’s Row and ThomasNet. Maker’s Row believes in “factory sourcing made easy” and has an aesthetically pleasing and intuitive site with free registration (although you’ll have to pay for advanced features). ThomasNet dubs themselves as the premier “product sourcing and supplier discovery platform,” has more than 5,000 manufacturer listing, which you can sort by company type, quality certifications, and more.
When you’re making a huge business decision, it’s important to gather several quotes and speak to multiple manufacturers. You can request a quote by sending the manufacturer a well-written email that covers all your bases. One of the most crucial questions you’ll want to ask is, “What’s your minimum order quantity (MOQ)?”
Depending on the supplier, this number can vary widely. If you’re just starting out, chances are you want to work with suppliers who can produce lower quantities, which allows you to better test your market. If a manufacturer has an MOQ of 10,000 on your first ever product, chances are you’ll want to go elsewhere.
You’ll also want to ask for sample and production pricing. Sample pricing is when the manufacturer makes a sample product for you to see before the order is placed, to ensure you are satisfied with the initial product. Some suppliers will even produce samples for free.
Production pricing is also important because this is what determines what your product will cost to produce. This number will steer the rest of your efforts as you move forward. You’ll also want to know if they offer discounts on production prices depending on the quantity ordered.
Be sure your initial email is clear and concise. Emails that are lengthy and contain unnecessary information—like the background and history of your company—could possibly be ignored.