Sunday, December 4, 2011

Predicting Factors That Can Affect Stock Prices

If investors want a stock and are willing to pay more, the price will go up. If investors are selling a stock and there are not many buyers, the price will go down. The stock market can often be demystified by the basic economic principle of supply and demand. Economists generally calculate the economic health of several sectors to determine whether the markets will go up or down.

When there is a fall of jobless claims and higher labor productivity many economists begin to speculate that a recession is slowly recovering. As more investors show optimism in a recovery there becomes an increase in the demand of stocks. This is because they believe the value of the stock price will increase in the future. If the jobless claims fall lower and lower the public feels more confident spending and investors begin to have faith in the markets which drives them higher. The fact is, stocks don't have a "fair value", and they never have.

A lot of the buying and selling is driven by supply and demand. So not only do economic factors play a role in the rise or fall of a stock price but they are also driven by psychological forces (fear of lost opportunity, good news, bad news). The market goes up and down dependent on what the public or investors think about the variety of economic factors and that can create demand or a lack of demand for stocks.

When purchasing stocks in a volatile market such as today, timing is key. Here are some basic principles to look at when deciding whether or not to purchase some shares of stock in a company.

Look at the macro environment or the overall economic market and begin to decide what direction you think it will be going.

Try to find different sectors or industries poised for future growth.

Find companies within those sectors that are growing, and you believe in their product or service and would buy their products. It can also help a lot if you can find a company in a growing sector that has a strong sustainable competitive advantage.

Many other factors should be observed when deciding to purchase a share of stock. Make sure to do you research and understand how markets function before jumping into the stock market. Many times there is often elements that can affect the price of a share of stock which cannot be foreseen. A good idea is to paper trade some of your stock theories before investing any real money. This way you can begin to understand some of the different factors that drive prices up and down as the days pass by.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Progression of Ipad has Depressed the Market for Netbook Computers

Analysts expect used apple iPads to continue to compete very well against existing low-end notebooks and netbooks, particularly in the segment of the market where surfing, reading, game playing and emailing dominate the usage model. The iPad will continue to depress the market for netbooks and cheap notebooks that were the fastest growing segment of the computer market. The iPad Apple machine combines the best features of smart phones and laptops and is presented as the perfect combination smart phone and a laptop.

The economic model here can be looked at using the substitution effect and income effect. In the technology sector of industry a company must be very innovative to stay on top of their market niche. Netbooks and Notebooks saw a surge in demand in 2008 and 2009 due to the economic recession. Price was a key element in all consumers’ behavior and it basically served the purpose of a low end PC. Notebooks filled a gap in the market to users that needed more than a smart phone but did not have the income to invest in a very advanced personal computer. Notebooks are still looked at as a secondary machine for surfing, reading, game playing and emailing. They are not utilized in companies as a basic tool for a job.

The iPad is quickly stealing market share in this niche because there is a strong demand for personal tablet computing devices. It falls perfectly in the niche between a smart phone and a personal computer. The main reason the iPad is successful is because it is a portable device all about consuming media rather than creating it. We will also continue to see many more advancements with mobile technology. Companies need to position their internet marketing strategies appropriately to not only compete on the search levels, but the social, local and mobile levels that will also continue to grow even larger in the coming years.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Internet Marketing SEO Strategy

As a small business or personal website owner there is such a rush of joy and excitement once you have your first website up and running. However, that excitement starts to wear off a little after you realize that you, your friends and maybe your parents are the only ones viewing it. The internet is the number one place everyone now goes for any type of information or even leisure time. If website viewers want to be entertained or educated, everything is being accomplished online. With that many eyeballs online comes increased competition and also businesses with large marketing budgets. This article provides some intitial key steps on how to start forming your initial Internet Marketing SEO Strategy for more traffic and website hits.

Here are a few important steps and internet marketing strategies to review before you begin optimizing your website for internet traffic:

Know your Business and Website Goals

Before anything else, you need to understand your business goals, website goals and advertising/marketing goals. If you are a business, how will more traffic to your website really convert to more profits or clients? If you are considering doing PPC or Google Adwords, what do you want to achieve with your ads and how are you set up to measure success or ROI? For example, is your PPC or Ad campaign designed to generate sales, increase traffic to your website, or bring about more brand awareness about your company's products? If your focus is on ROI and profits, than you will want to understand how valuable a click is rather than just how many clicks your website is receiving. By understanding your internet market or advertising goals, you can then choose website optimization strategies that will best help you achieve that specific goal. If you have an ecommerce website that sells tulip bulbs and you only make $1.00 profit margin on each tulip bulb, it would not be too wise to pay $2.00 per click to get people to your website. You should then look for other ways to drive traffic to your website or a different internet marketing strategy.

Track and Measure your conversions and results

After completing an initial internet marketing campaign or website optimization, measure what effect your changes have had and how does that relate to your ROI(Return on Investment). In a PPC or Google Adwords campaign your conversion rates, CTR, first page bid estimates, and other statistics can be good indicators of how well your ads are performing. For most advertisers, the key measure of success is the return on investment (ROI). Use conversion tracking tools and Google Analytics to see which of your ads and keywords are most profitable to your business.

If you do not have the marketing budget to do a PPC campaign then another option could be to do article marketing. Writing insightful articles on topics viewers are interested in learning about can also drive traffic to your website.;) By establishing yourself as a legitimate resource or providing new knowledge to viewers interested in the subject can funnel traffic to your website for free. The key to article marketing is being passionate and knowledgeable about your topic. When writing articles they need to be written for the benefit of your viewers not just a sales pitch or marketing scheme.

Begin to Experiment, Test your Market and Adapt as often as Necessary

Let your different Internet Marketing Strategies begin to educate you about what is most effective for your business or niche and what will be most effective in achieving your goals. You will begin to see over time, that some strategies are working especially well and some are not working so well. For example, if you find users aren't responding to a particular ad campaign, delete that ad and try something new. Another example is social media. With all the hype around social media a lot of business owners believe their whole internet marketing strategy needs to be focuses around facebook and twitter. While these are two very powerful tools they may not be the most effective for your business. A restaurant or a spa may have a lot more of the public looking to interact with their social media pages for updates or to voice their opinion than your local watch repair company. The watch repair company should have a different internet marketing strategy, such as providing educational items about watches or getting listed in local business directories online.

Finding the correct Internet Marketing SEO Strategy for your company takes time and perseverance. It is typical to try a strategy for at least 30 days before turning in any different directions. Changes made on the internet in search engines are not instant and they could take a week or several weeks before they crawl your website for new additions.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Business Leadership

Over the past several years during the current economic downturn many groups of business professionals have speculated about what it takes to be a leader. Is a leader someone who grows the company and will stop at nothing to get profits? After all, without profits a business cannot operate. However, we have seen that some leaders will stop at nothing to gain the most profits and have no regard for the greater good of society. The term leader can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. This article takes an in depth analysis on the topic of Business Leadership and what clearly defines it.

When analyzing business leadership, the first step is to define some of the traits and characteristics of successful entrepreneurs and business leaders today. With the advent of globalization, the business environment has had an increasing rate of change. With this new change to businesses everywhere, most business markets have become dynamic and volatile. Now more than ever, most companies are looking to their leaders to guide them through these rough waters. All companies are placing a lot more emphasis on business leadership on all different levels throughout their organization.

Managers of the past may have been easily promoted due to large economic growth and may have just been expected to maintain the status quo. Now many managers or successful business leaders have to think outside of the box to constantly deliver growth to their shareholders or superiors. The new business leaders we are seeing in the new economy tend to be visionaries. They look to see how business is changing and try to adapt strategies before any of their markets are impacted. The recent subprime mortgage scandals and housing bubble burst steered several large institutions into bankruptcy. Many companies are now trying to also look for business leaders that will not only keep the profits coming but also build a strong sense of ethics and integrity into their organizations.

After careful investigation and research here are some of the top traits or characteristics noted in most of the business leaders today. Good leaders must be able to keep a clear head and tolerate frustration and stress well. A business leader today must be able to stay calm under adversity and be able to process a clear vision of the actions that need to be taken to accomplish their ultimate goal. One trait of a successful business leader is emotional stability also known as locus of control.

The next trait would have to be self-esteem. When you are a business leader you are constantly being analyzed and many decisions are made quickly. A leader has to know that they will guide the business in the right direction and be confident in their choices. This in turn, can often inspire others in the organization to believe in the same goal or vision.

Drive or need to achieve is often looked at as common trait in business leaders today. If the leader is just satisfied with average results he or she will not continue to push the envelope and often productivity or profits can lack. The drive or need to achieve is rarely filled in a true business leader. They are always looking for the next challenge and create ways to get around obstacles.

Filtering information quickly is also a trait that is held by most business leaders today. Another term used to define this is business acumen. Ted Prince notes "Before the Great Recession, leadership development was essentially a boom-time phenomenon. It could afford to focus on traditional leadership competencies such as interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence and decision making. To some extent, leadership development had atrophied into the study of leadership when things are going well.

Today, we are in a very different place. Business acumen is all about showing how our behaviors directly impact and improve business outcomes, measured in financial and market value terms. Business acumen development aims to fill the chasm in traditional leadership development programs, which involves the behavioral skills that lead to increases in profitability and market value. Business acumen is defined as the capability to bring about positive business outcomes" (Prince).

Optimism is a trait that will be found in every successful business leader. The leader often views problems as a challenge and looks at setbacks as a possible new direction. They are constantly focused on the main goal at hand and will not let many things deter their mindset that the goals will be achieved. If they do not get a sale that day they will still believe they are going to get the sale in the future. Their sense of optimism can often be a motor to keep them driving to their ultimate goals.

Tolerance to ambiguity refers to a person's tolerance to uncertainty and risk. Business Leaders will face this on a day to day basis and have to also possess this trait to be successful in business today. Art Petty writes in his blog that "top performers fight the routine. High performance individuals in all areas of life, from leaders to athletes to great individual contributors work hard everyday to fight the gravitational pull of getting stuck in the proverbial rut. High performance teams and organizations find their comfort not in sameness or routine, but in embracing the ambiguity of the world and the constancy of change and the constant need to change. Many of the best leaders go out of their way to push themselves and their teams to constantly do things different to keep their senses sharp, their individual and collective minds expanding and their ideas fresh" (Petty).

Courage is also a trait that comes up quite often when referring to business leadership. As a leader or entrepreneur you have to have a high tolerance for risk. Generally, when you start out you are all on your own and many more businesses fail than succeed. A true business leader has the gumption to take a calculated risk and keep going when times get slow.

The traits listed above seem to be the most common in the true business leaders today. Some other traits that are highly desirable but may not be found in every business leader are high energy, intuitiveness, maturity, team orientation, empathy and charisma. We can analyze these traits closer to see how a leader can benefit from possessing them.

Generally, as a business leader you have to put in a lot of hours to see your visions through to the end. A leader with high energy can stay alert and focused no matter what large obstacles are encountered by the business. Intuitiveness is another trait that is tossed around in regards to business leader. This can also fall under the umbrella of business acumen. It is also mentioned by many scholars that a leader must know him or her self. When a leader is aware of their strengths or weaknesses a leader can then begin to adjust given the current situation.

To truly be effective and have a high level of intuitiveness, a leader should also possess humility. This would mean the leader has the ability to understand that they do not know everything and the possibility of error can happen. Reasoning and logic can get most people through many situations but there will always come a time were the individual will need to go on their own instincts or gut to get the job done. The true business leaders of today also have maturity and are excellent at adopting a team orientation strategy. The leader realizes he is only as good as his worst employee. Profits, accolades and success must be put second behind developing a positive teamwork atmosphere among a company. It must also be recognized that more can be accomplished by empowering others than trying to rule others or a didactic style of management.

Two other traits that are often found in successful business leaders and sales professionals are empathy and charisma. By being able to relate to many different people on many different levels one can begin to view the world from many different perspectives. Once you are able to understand and empathize with a customer or employee you can then start building trust. Without building trust among customers or employees you will not get the best results from either of them.

A constant debate that goes on in most of society is if leaders are born or are they developed. After extensive research I feel that they are ultimately developed. People are born with certain characteristics or traits but it is how you harness them that ultimately determine how far you can go as a leader. Persistence, timing and circumstances are key elements that can be found in every successful leader but they also worked very hard to develop a lot of the traits listed above if they were not blessed with them at birth.

The key in developing as a successful business leader comes back to the old Greek quote by Socrates, "know thy self." By understanding your natural born strengths and weaknesses you can then begin to develop some of the traits you may be lacking. For example, you may have trouble with public speaking. If this is not one of your strengths then it would be wise to join a toast masters group or any forum where you can consistently practice your public speaking skills and gain feedback from your peers. In the article, "What Makes Leaders Great", Tricia Bisoux interviews many of the directors of today's top MBA schools. Paula Hill Strasser, Director at Southern Methodist University in Dallas points out that the job of a business school isn't necessarily to teach leadership. She states, "We don't believe leaders are born, but that people are born with different potentials to lead."

Her goal as director is to create a program that provides highly personalized experiences that help students discover who they are, what they believe, and how their actions affect others. The article by Bisoux also goes on to list a top 10 of characteristics that all leaders should possess. Many of the characteristics are very similar if not identical to a lot the characteristics mentioned above in this paper. She goes on to conclude that "Leaders often follow such incredibly different paths and take such drastically different approaches that it's difficult to pinpoint the common traits that make them effective. Educators have found, however, that excellent leaders share a set of distinct behaviors' and characteristics; which students must possess if they, too, wish to lead" (Bioux pg. 40-42). Developing yourself as leader and working to strengthen some of your weaknesses can be quite a task in itself. However, a more difficult task when it comes to understanding leadership is how to foster leadership in business or within an organization.

Some internet marketing companies and other large corporations work hard to offer Leadership Development Programs or other ongoing education to continue to grow their employees and others simply hire talent from outside the organization when faced with a challenge. An article from Nancy Lockwood takes an in depth look at Leadership Development and how to optimize human capital for business success. She defines leadership development as the formal and informal training and professional development programs designed for all management and executive-level employees to assist in developing the required leadership skills and styles to deal with a variety of situations. She finds that organizations are increasingly linking leadership development with business value and organizational success. Recent studies found that the more organizations do toward developing leaders, the greater the financial success. They also go on to mention that when linked with organizational strategy, leadership development programs and leadership competencies effectively support profound long-lasting change. At Colgate-Palmolive Company, for example, leadership is governed by three core values; caring, continuous improvement and global teamwork. The company carefully monitors how development fits with its business model and objectives.

Business and being a leader in today's business environment is fraught with challenges and opportunities. Today's highly competitive global marketplace requires dedication and devotion to excellence and the ability to see the big picture that affects the changing face of leadership and business. A lot of successful organizations have moved from secure salary wages to a pay for performance business plan. This helps create an environment where employees are always reaching higher for knowledge in their intensive work environments. It also requires employees to possess adaptability, innovation and flexibility which are key elements in today's global economy (Lockwood).

Now that we have analyzed the many different characteristics that it takes to be a leader and some of the strategies to develop these traits it is time to take a look at some of actions to take once you are in a leadership role to get the highest level of performance, engagement and loyalty from your employees or team members. In the book, Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter, the authors believe that much of what constitutes good leadership can be summarized in two words: respect and selflessness. They believe that some leaders can create more intelligence around them, while others diminish it. They refer to great leaders as "multipliers" and ineffective leaders as "diminishers."

A leader who is labeled as a multiplier views their business as having many intelligent people and they will help figure things out and get even smarter in the process. They view their position in leadership is to foster their employees growth and ask the right questions to each employee. The diminisher mindset is that there are few really intelligent people in this organization and no one will be able to figure anything out without my guidance. The multiplier leaders look beyond their own genius and focus on extracting the genius or innovation out of their employees. They are not always classified as a feel good leader or cheerleader, but more as a tough, detailed manager who sees the potential in every employee and helps them and the company utilize that potential to the fullest.

The authors of this book identify five key behaviors that separate the diminishing leaders from the multiplying leaders. Listed below are some of the characteristics of a diminishing leader:

Empire Builder: Hoards resources and underutilizes talent

Tyrant: Creates a tense environment that suppresses people's thinking and capability.

Know-It-All: Gives directives that illustrates how much knowledge they have on a subject or task.

Decision Maker: Makes centralized, abrupt decisions that confuse the organization and lack ultimate direction.

Micro Manager: Drives results through their personal involvement on almost every task.

Obviously, the multiplying leader possesses a lot of different characteristics needed to help his or her company to grow. The characteristics listed in the book are as follows:

Talent Magnet: Attracts talented people and uses them to their highest point of contribution and growth.

Liberator: Creates an intense environment that requires people's best thinking and work. They help employees to become a problem solver and foster innovation.

Challenger: Defines an opportunity that causes employees to go beyond their normal job scope to solve the problem. Giving the employee more confidence and solving dilemmas within the organization.

Debate Maker: Drives sound decisions through rigorous debate and analysis.

Investor: Gives other people the ownership for results and invests in their success and growth.

The authors provide a great analysis of how to be an effective leader in business. They make a good point in that the skills that get leaders into top positions are not necessarily the same skills they need to lead. We have seen this in many business examples today. Many leaders have the drive, perseverance and other traits to get to the top of an organization but may not have the skills to continue to develop others leaders.

When looking at leadership in business today one has to take all of these elements under analysis. With the advent of globalization every business and industry has become very dynamic and volatile. The leaders that will rise to top will understand which traits of leadership they possess and which ones they need to develop. When they find they have raised to a position of leadership the key will be to grow leaders from those beneath them. The greatest leaders throughout history have shown that their drive to learn new things and new goals is paramount. All the truly effective leaders have admitted to being lifelong learners and constantly allowing their view of the world and their surroundings to change.

Sometimes a really good quote can summarize an entire article, argument or even an advanced theory. A quote from John Quincy Adams encompasses what it means to be a leader in business today and concludes the analysis of leadership well. "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader" -John Quincy Adams.

Works Cited:

 Bisoux, Tricia. What Makes Leaders Great. BizEd. September/October 2005.

Lockwood, Nancy. Leadership Development: Optimizing Human Capital for Business Success. HR Magazine, Dec 2006. Vol 51 Issue 12.

Petty, Art. Blog: Management Excellence. Leadership Caffeine: 7 Odd Ideas to Help You Get Unstuck. March 21, 2010.

Prince, Ted. Building Better Business Acumen. Chief Learning Officer. August 2010.

Wiseman, Liz. Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter. Harper Collins Publishing. June 15, 2010.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Business Negotiations

Every time we engage in conversation with another individual we are generally negotiating a view, discussion or action. Everyone has different filters from which they perceive the world or their surroundings. These filters are developed throughout one's life as they grow from a child to an adult. Some of the main influences that can develop one's filters are parents, friends, family, social environment, religion, school and experience. As these filters are molded every individual brings a different view point to a negotiation or business discussion. Understanding the angle or view of an individual with whom you are negotiating is key to laying the foundation to work towards a viable solution.

One of the more widely known methods of understanding human negotiation psychology is the Thomas-Kilman Conflict Mode Instrument, also known as the (TKI). This model asserts that an individual's behavior falls along two basic dimensions: assertiveness - the extent to which the individual attempts to satisfy his or her own concerns and cooperativeness - the extent to which the individual attempts to satisfy the other's person's concerns. This instrument then places an individual into five different style methods when it comes to dealing with conflict.

The first negotiation style is competing.

Competing is an assertive and uncooperative, power-oriented style. Most individuals that fall into this category tend to pursue their own interests at the expense of other's using whatever methods they can to win the negotiation. The next style is collaborating. Collaborating is both assertive and cooperative. When collaborating, an individual attempts to work with other individuals to find a solution that fully satisfies the concerns of both. It involves digging into an issue to identify the underlying concerns of the two individuals to find an alternative that meets both sets of concerns. Collaborating between two individuals can take the form of exploring a disagreement to learn from each other's insights, resolving some condition that would otherwise have them competing for resources, or confronting and trying to find a creative solution to their conflict.

The next style is compromising.

Compromising is generally right in the middle of the assertiveness and cooperativeness dimensions. When compromising, parties look to seek a mutually acceptable solution that can benefit all parties involved. Compromising might mean splitting the difference, exchanging concessions, or seeking a common ground position. However, compromising can also mean that both parties are giving up something to meet on the middle ground and this is not always a positive.

Another type of style is avoiding.

Avoiding is unassertive and uncooperative. When avoiding, an individual does not immediately pursue his or her own concerns or those of the other person. The individual is generally side-stepping the true conflict at hand. They generally find ways to withdraw or postpone an issue to avoid a threatening or intense situation.

The last style of the five mentioned in TKI model is accommodating.

The accommodating style is generally unassertive and cooperative. Generally, an individual that has an accommodating style will neglect his or her own concerns to satisfy the concerns of others. An accommodating style will just accept the view or stance of others and does not try too hard to push their own objectives onto others.

Once an individual identifies what method of negotiation they often fall into, then they can begin to understand what some of their strengths and weaknesses may be during a negotiation. All the different styles or methods have different strengths and weaknesses associated with them. Individuals who participate in sales or internet marketing consulting have to learn to negotiate often and with many different personality types.

Competing can be valuable at times when a decisive action is needed and that individual is not afraid to take control of the situation and make an immediate decision. However, some of the negatives of this style are that a lot of the competing individuals always fight for influence and respect. They may not even have the best solution or not know the answer but often push their opinion on others and act more confident that they feel. This style or method can also cause those around you to inquire less about information or opinions and everyone will be less likely to learn from the negotiation or conflicts.

Collaborating seems to be one of the more effective negotiation methods. The main strength of the collaborative style is that they generally find integrative solutions and adhere to the concerns of both parties because they understand that some items may be too important to compromise. This style can also be very good at merging insights from a variety of people with very different perspectives on an issue or problem. This method can also be viewed as a style that still is able to accomplish all their objectives without rolling over the other parties involved. They are able to gain commitment by incorporating everyone's concerns into a consensual decision.

The weaknesses in this style are fairly limited. However, every negotiation or conflict is different so there will always be times when one method will be better suited for that negotiation. The weakness in always collaborating during a negotiation is that it can take a lot of time and effort. There may be situations where you do not have the luxury of time and effort. Some negotiations don't require advanced solutions or the time it can take to understand the ultimate goals and viewpoint of every individual involved in the negotiation.

Everyone has heard the old saying that it is always best to compromise. However, when truly analyzing this method more in depth that may not always be the case. In a compromise all parties involved are giving up something to help the other achieve their goal. Even in a compromise where the results are considered to be Pareto optimal, individuals would still have to give up some of their ultimate goal to have all the others achieve the optimal position for all parties involved. This style can also lead some to unintended costly compromises of principles, values, long-term objectives, or company welfare. The main benefit of this style as many are aware is that it often satisfies the needs of all parties involved in the negotiation. It can also be a good way to achieve a quick resolution to a complex issue.

Avoiding generally has more of a negative connotation to it than some of the other negotiation styles. However, there can be at times, some advantages to the avoidance method of conflict. This can be a viable way to solve a conflict or negotiation if the potential costs of confronting a conflict outweigh the benefits of its resolution. It can also be used if an issue is not important enough to address and time will be wasted if the negotiation about the issue even begins to ensue.

Last but not least in the methods of negotiating is accommodating. Accommodating can often help a negotiation in the future because if one accommodates to others' needs initially they may be viewed very favorable right away by the others involved. Accommodators are also good at reading situations and can realize when they are wrong. They often can allow better positions or decisions to be considered, able to learn from others and demonstrate that they are caring and reasonable to others needs. However, if one is always accommodating then they may be sacrificing many of their beliefs or ultimate goals just to appease the other parties involved.

After one begins to understand the method or style he or she may fall into then it is time to understand the some of the steps needed to reach an agreement. The first step is to understand everyone's goals or objectives. After one is able to understand the other parties motives than they can begin to understand the needs of each individual and starting negotiating towards a common ground. A key in beginning to uncover an individual's needs and form a common ground is to start to ask some open ended questions.

After gaining a strong understanding of the other parties needs then we can begin to understand how closely their needs fall in line with our objectives. In a lot of situations you can start by gaining agreement on a collaborative effort to solve the problem and fulfilling each party's needs. Then once trust has been established and the other party understands that you are not only searching to obtain your own objectives but also helping them to reach theirs it will become easier to negotiate more of the greater details.

The next step after understanding the other party's needs and working towards a common ground is to start surveying the options available to you. An option can be a possible agreement or part of an agreement that can satisfy either party's objectives. By beginning to explore different options both parties will be able to see different solutions to the problem coming to the table. When you create different options you are create value to the negotiation and building blocks to move the negotiation further down the continuum.

Most of the best negotiations are those in which a number of options have been explored. The first resolution to a conflict is not always accepted and not necessarily the best option for all parties involved. The more options that are generated, the greater the chance that one of them will mutually and effectively satisfy the differing needs of all parties involved. Often, by understanding each other's needs, one can begin to formulate some possible ways to execute a strategy that better solutions and give you some more creative bargaining power.

The key behind developing options in a negotiation is to take organized approach at understanding each parties needs and creating a range of options that can fulfill most of them. To do this one must always come to a negotiation with an open mind. If you do not try to understand the other individual's viewpoints then you will never be effectively working towards a strategy that will fulfill both of your goals. The more options you begin to create, the more room or leverage you will have in that negotiation. To create these options you have to continually remind yourself of the needs and common grounds of the other party and also remember to take into account differences in perception or the filters that were mentioned in the beginning of this paper.

The next items to understand in creating options are timing and risk. Some individuals enjoy the rush of risk and have to make tough decisions in a limited amount of time while others cannot stand the idea of it. Everyone has a different tolerance for risk and they are also different on the speed in which they operate, take action and make decisions. When dealing with any of these scenarios in a negotiation the best action is to try and accommodate the timing involved in the decisions that have to be made.

According to Roger Fisher and Danny Ertel, authors of Getting Ready to Negotiate, when people have several of something, they value the last one somewhat less than those that came before. Fisher and Ertel also state that differences in the marginal value to each party, of some of the goods under negotiation, can create opportunities to improve the overall value they each receive. There is no guarantee that these value creating trade-offs will work in every negotiation. However, if one strives to create good options, prepare in advance, and carefully consider opportunities that create value, then possibilities will become available.

As described by William Ury in his book, Getting Past No, an independent standard is a measuring stick that allows us to decide what a fair solution is. Some common standards include: market value, fair and equal treatment, laws, precedents that have been established in the past. Standards can be utilized when one begins to work or negotiate with a new customer. By establishing certain standards it can help to form the common ground in the negotiation that was mentioned earlier in the paper. Without setting standards the negotiation can have no boundaries and will only make it more difficult to come to a viable solution.

Negotiations always differ in complexity and content. Understanding the different style or methods used by different individuals will help to identify their needs and wants. After understanding the needs and wants it is then time to form the common ground. Once common ground is established in the negotiation then it is time to present the options that will help all parties involved achieve their most viable solutions. Keeping an open mind and always trying to understand the argument from the other individuals' viewpoint will always help achieve the main objectives in a negotiation. A good quote by John Lubbock encompasses a lot about negotiations, "what we see depends mainly on what we look for." By keeping an open mind during any negotiation one may be able to find new possibilities that he or she did not even know existed.

Works Cited:

Roger Fisher and Danny Ertel. Getting Ready to Negotiate. Penguin Books. 1995.
K. Thomas and R. Killman, The Conflict Mode Instrument. (Tuxedo Park, NY: XICOM, 1974). Negotiation 6th Edition. Roy J Lewicki, David M. Saunders, Bruce Barry.
Ury, William. Getting past No. Bantam Books. 1993.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Economic Business Growth

Many Firms in the U.S. have increased output per labor hour significantly in the last couple years. Combined with actual drop in wages, this has boosted profitability for many companies without employment growth.

Economic growth is driven primarily by increases in productivity. Greater productivity allows us to do more work with fewer resources. Productivity growth is important to the firm because it means that it can meet its obligation to workers, shareholders and governments, and still remain competitive or even improve its competitiveness in the marketplace.

 There are essentially two ways to promote growth in output:

a.) increase productivity
b.) bring additional inputs into production.

Adding more inputs will not increase the income earned per unit of input unless there are increasing returns to scale. In fact, in the beginning it is likely to mean lower average wages and lower rates of profit.
Productivity was able to climb 6.9% in the U.S. mainly from strong bottom line growth. Many firms cut a substantial amount of employees and have the remaining ones working twice as hard. The problem with this is it can only be sustained for so long as many employees will eventually burn out. Also when working employees harder for less pay more errors may be made in production because they do not have time to double check any processes. Eventually, a firm also has to hire new employees to increase output and profits.

If the firms begin to rehire employees that were laid off and already have the skills necessary to complete the job then they may be able to sustain a decent amount of productivity growth. However, once they start hiring new employees that have to be trained, productivity growth may slow because of the new added salaries and relatively low production of a novice employee.

At the national level, productivity growth raises living standards because more real income improves people’s ability to purchase goods and services, enjoy leisure, improve housing and education and contribute to social and environmental programs. Innovation and technology will be key to sustain high levels of economic growth and productivity in the U.S. Expect to see more out of the box techniques for marketing and advertising. With companies watching every dime they spend we will continue to see more companies going to digital or internet marketing to constantly track costs and get a better return on investment than previous advertising methods which were difficult to measure results.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Management Theories for Business

Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs groups individuals into five basic categories: physiological, safety, belongingness, esteem and self actualization. 

 Maslow also identified the desire to know and the desire for aesthetic beauty as two innate drives that do not fit within the hierarchy. Maslow was one of the first to bring a theory to test and study human motivation. However, some of the limitations of Maslow’s theory compared with other models are that Maslow suggests that needs priorities shift over a long time. New data has shown that priorities rise and fall more frequently with the situation. A person’s needs for status, food, social interaction and so forth, change daily or weekly, not every few years.

The ERG Theory is similar to Maslow’s theory but only groups them into three categories; existence, relatedness and growth. 

 Both theories help to understand the most basic human needs but they still fail to explain the dynamics of employee needs. This is because most people don’t fit into a single needs hierarchy. Some people place social status at the top of their personal hierarchy others consider personal development and growth an ongoing priority over social relation or status.
The four drive theory is a motivation theory that is based on the innate drives to acquire, bond, learn, and defend. The four drive theory is more practical than the others because it avoids the assumption that everyone has the same needs hierarchy, and it explains why needs vary from one person to the next. The four drive theory provides a much clearer understanding of the role of emotional intelligence in employee motivation and behavior.

Each theory is different but still has a lot of parallels. All theories tell about needs, drives and motivations that are innate and universal and can be found in all individuals. Each encompasses how people are motivated on a whole and what they may strive for in society.

All concepts rally around the same point that drives or needs produce emotions, self concepts and social norms that translate human emotions into goal directed needs. These individual characteristics translate each need into decisions and behavior.

Most well run internet marketing companies today have recognized the needs and drives of employees. To satisfy all employees companies must provide a balanced atmosphere where individuals can continually seek fulfillment for their innate drives or needs. According to these theories a successful company should provide sufficient rewards, learning opportunities and social interaction for all employees. To do this a company could offer bonuses for top performers, pay for advancing educational programs and encourage social interactions through company plan of action meetings held several times a year.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Supply and Demand of Starbucks Coffee during Economic Recession

Coffee is the second most traded commodity on worldwide markets next to oil.

 It has gained mass popularity in the last several decades and investors can use Coffee investments to trade stock markets just about anywhere today. Coffee is grown in more than 50 countries in a band around the equator and provides a living for more than 20 million farmers. One of the major corporations today that is trying to control a large portion of the supply of coffee is Starbucks. Starbucks Corporation is one of the leading retailer, roaster and brand of specialty coffee in the world. Starbucks purchases, roasts, and sells whole bean and rich brewed coffees, espresso beverages, cold blended beverages, an assortment of food items, coffee-related accessories and equipment, a selection of quality teas and a line of compact discs. Starbucks has locations in North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific Rim. When coffee is considered, Starbucks has developed a worldwide name for itself and has become a huge success.

In the 1990’s the coffee consumption patterns had changed in the United States to about 1.7 cups per day per person. Compared to the two or three cups a day in the 1960’s and 1970’s, 1.7 cups is a significant decrease. However, coffee consumption has been on the rise since the 1990’s. First, consumers adopted a healthier lifestyle that led North Americans to replace alcohol with coffee. Next, coffee bars offered a place where people could meet and specialty coffee became an affordable luxury.

Starbucks built its business as the anti-fast-food joint. 

The economic downturn and growing competition are forcing the coffeehouse giant to see the virtues of behaving more like its streamlined competitors. The Seattle Company is facing heightened competition from McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts trying to lure customers with new, cheaper specialty-coffee drinks.

The recession has resulted in a new thrift among consumers.

In April 2009 poll of 1,500 people, research company WSL Strategic Retail found 28% said they were putting more money into savings, up from 19% six months earlier (Jargon). Starbucks has had to change up their corporate strategy to weather the recession. The demand for a luxury coffee experience declines in periods of economic downturn. Consumers look to lean down spending habits and get it quickly it periods of economic stress. These two factors has had to make Starbucks readjust their corporate model.

Starbucks’ efficiency quest is an example of how even premium brands have to re-re-engineer how they do business amid economic crisis. Unlike in boom times, offering ever-fancier products and opening new stores is no longer a recipe for growth. After years of broadening its customer base and making forays into entertainment, Starbucks has now made its top priorities to retain its existing patrons and running leaner business models. “The issue at hand… is the cost of losing your core customer,” (Howard Schultz CEO, “It’s very hard to get them back.” Analysts say that Starbucks has seen the most pronounced drops in customers during afternoons and weekends, and that the company’s Frappuccino drinks have been particularly hard hit (Adamy, Wingfield).

The first response Starbucks has had to the loss in revenue is executing leaner business models throughout its 10,000+ stores in the nation. Drink preparation was becoming a bottleneck at Starbuck stores along with other time consuming processes at Starbucks. In an economic downturn consumers tend to have less leisure time to chat and sip coffee among friends. Most consumers work longer during times of economic distress to avoid job loss and also monitor where their money is spent. So Starbucks was losing customers to price inertia and customer satisfaction.

Management at Starbucks began to identify these trends and in the middle of 2008 they implemented a leaner business model by moving all but the most commonly ordered syrup flavors and now store pitchers closer to where the drinks are made. After learning that topping the drinks with whipped cream and chocolate or caramel drizzle at the drink station was slowing down production, they moved those items closer to where drinks are handed to customers. These changes shaved eight seconds off the 45-second process and cut their drive through time to an average of 23 seconds. Starbucks estimates that stores have experienced a 10% increase in transactions between September 2008 and June 2009 just from a leaner business model (Jargon).

The other answer to keeping it’s customers in an economic downturn is obviously, money. Starbucks entered the instant-coffee market with a version called, Via, that the company bills as offering a cup of Starbucks coffee for less than a $1. It has also introduced pairings of breakfast sandwiches and drinks priced at $3.95, or about $1 less than when bought individually. A combo pricing strategy that has been unanimous with McDonald’s and Dunkin Donut’s to stay competitive.

*Sorry, Could not reproduce supply and demand graph on here.*

The two graphs above model the theories described in this paper. Graph 1 depicts the change in the demand curve for luxury coffee in times of economic stress. Supply will stay the same in this scenario and the demand curve will decline. Graph 2 demonstrates the second theory to how Starbucks is going to be able to whether this recession. It is a profit maximizing efficiency output chart showing as Starbucks began to utilize the resources they already had and begun to get more organized and run a leaner business model they were able to increase production and profits without increasing any business costs.

Adamy, Janet. Wingfield, Nick. Starbucks to Present Recession Strategy. 17 March. 2009. Wall Street Journal.

Jargon, Julie. Recession Forces Starbucks to think Lean. 6 August. 2009. Wall Street Journal.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cyber Squatting

            Since the inception of the internet in the 90’s the information super highway has grown at exponential proportions. Laws often times have trouble catching up with new advancements with technology. Disputes over intellectual property and domain names on the internet have been an ever evolving issue since the late 1990’s. As almost every business looks to put more information on the internet, disputes over domain names have become more common. Domain names are an address on an internet host that is owned by an individual or a company.  Typically, web pages are displayed under the owner’s domain name to represent that business or genre whatever it may be.  Today as almost every business or individual moves more information to the internet it has become harder not to cross some wires when setting up similar domain names. 
            The internet has established many new top level domain names to allow businesses or individuals to correctly find a domain that would suite their webpage or brand.  Examples of top level domains are .com, .net, org., .edu and .gov.  These are the primary domains most internet users look to at this point.  However, many additions include geography such as .us, .la or .nj.  As more extensions become available it becomes very easy for businesses to have the same domain name with just a different extension on the end.
            As of December 1999, the ability to register .com, .net and .org domains was spread out among many registers.  These registrars are accredited by ICANN.  ICANN is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.  It is a non-profit corporation formed to control Internet domain name management.  Anyone can purchase a domain name from an individual registrar.  They are assigned on a first come, first serve basis and there are no validation checks to see if you are associated with the business you registrar your domain name under.
            Many people as well as companies have realized the importance of having your company name or product name as your domain name on the internet.  This is very important for search engines as well as building a brand on the internet.  However, one needs to search on a registrar to see if the domain they choose is still available and has not been registered by someone else.  When a company finds that the domain name corresponding to their corporate name or product trademark is owned by someone else, the company can either choose a different name or fight to get the domain name back from its current owners.
            In the late 1990’s early 2000’s their became a rush for internet domain names.  Many people were hoping to strike it rich by purchasing a company domain name and selling it back to the company for very high profits.  ICANN was created to solve a lot of these disputes.  The main driver they look for in domain registration fraud or cyber squatting is to question whether the individual registered the domain name in bad faith or not.  Thus, they look to see if this person was planning on using the site to develop or legitimate business purposes or using to sell back to a well known product or company. 
            When a dispute over a domain name occurs parties can generally turn to ICANN and the court systems.  Courts and judges have the authority to award control and ownership over a domain to a new party if they deem a violation has occurred.  However, at times this can be very hard to prove and the process can be very slow.  You will find a lot of cases that are settled out of court.
The practice that's come to be known as cyber squatting originated at a time when most businesses were not savvy about the commercial opportunities on the Internet. Some entrepreneurial souls registered the names of well-known companies as domain names, with the intent of selling the names back to the companies when they finally woke up. There have been many rags to riches stories of cyber squatters who bought a business name or highly searched product name and sold it to a large commercial business for an exuberant amount of cash.  Opportunities for cyber squatters are rapidly diminishing, because most businesses now know that nailing down domain names is a high priority. 
However, with a lot of new domain extensions it can make it very easy to confuse whose website is whose.  A good example of this is when you go to the website.  Most people associate Nissan with the very large car and truck company.  However, there is an unknown smaller company that was started awhile ago by a Mr. Uzi Nissan that sells Computer services.  The website for the car company is  This will continue to be get very interesting as the internet continues to evolve. 
Google is constantly trying to find ways to better help people search for the exact items they are looking for with their keyword search tools.  The advance of this tool has also helped protect against cyber squatting.  Most people today do not type in an exact web address to find a website.  They search for the product in Google or another search engine.
However, the problem is starting to arise again now that a lot of new generic level domain names have been released.  A lot of the search engines are now trying to add location into your searches to help guide your further.  Their has now been a lot of domains issued for each country so that companies can register a domain there to show they do business there.  With this now opening up we see that people are again trying to buy a company name with .us or .pp behind them in hopes that this company will need a domain for that country.  .Us would stand for the United States and .pp would stand for the Philippines.
There are much better rules in place this time around, however, the process with law is very slow and sometimes companies may rather just pay a small fee to get the domain name they desire even if it is a lot higher than the original owner paid for it.  Another infringement of trademark domain names is if an individual tries to spell the name so close to a well known name that they actually get a lot of traffic from the misspelling.  Also that traffic has to be web traffic that was intending on going to the original site or trademark but was directed to yours because of the misspelling.  An example of this would be buying the domain name in hopes that people would type an extra o to come to your site instead of   Sometimes squatters will also try to gain cyber traffic by using a well known domain name and just adding a hyphen.  An example would be to use TradeStock.Net as hoping to get some traffic from the more well known website.  This can also be a form of cybersquatting.
Anyone who owns or has registered more than a handful of domain names has probably owned one or more names that infringe on the trademark of another company, whether its intentional or unintentional. Figuring out what domain names are dangerous to a domain portfolio is a big part of doing business as a domain investor.
Sometimes blatant trademarks pose no threat because the trademark holder doesn’t seem to care, and other times seemingly generic domain names become issues when overreaching companies attempt to take domain names using the legal system or threats of the legal system. You need to be aware of the risks involved with domain investing before jumping into the virtual real estate landscape.
When thinking about registering a domain name it is best to checks with different websites if it infringes on any trademarks. and can run checks to see if a domain infringes on any trademark issues.  One can also try to speak to a lawyer or a serious domain investor. As the internet continues to grow around the world I suspect there will be many more issues the law will need to catch up with besides domain names.  It will be interesting to watch it grow and see how different parties or companies try to exploit it for monetary benefits.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Investing in a Global Economy

Globalization is a widely used term that is used to describe the increased movement of people’s knowledge, ideas, goods and money across multi-national borders that leads to increased connectivity among the world’s populations, economically, politically, socially and culturally.  With the advent of Globalization, an investor can now see that many of the world’s economies are tied together.  Investing today has become more complex than at any other time.
 In the past many people contributed to a 401K or invested in company stock not knowing what risk was involved.  Most people would expect a 6-8% return on their investments and not think twice about where there funds were allocated or how to diversify their portfolio.  The stock market crash of 2008 began to change the way most investors handled their finances.  Many investors saw a 0% return on their investments from 2000-2010.  This fact has many people interested to learn more about finances and how to properly invest in a dynamic, ever-changing, global marketplace.
The first step investors should take is to learn what strategy fits their long term goals.  When initial research is begun on learning how to trade stocks, one will find that many different strategies exist and some often contradict the other.  The key is to know what risk levels you are comfortable with and the ultimate goal of your investing strategy.  Some novices are very timid to invest now that most economies are interlinked, but one must also realize that there is a lot opportunity to be had as well.
On our MBA International trip to Austria and Germany we had the pleasure to visit Garmisch, Germany and attend a banking seminar with Mr. Leonhard Guntz.  Mr. Guntz is Director and Head of Trade Finance Advisory of HypoVereinsBank, based in Nuremberg, and has almost 30 years of progressively responsible experience in international banking.  Mr. Guntz helped us to understand how different economies are interlinked and how some have to rely on each other to function.  This seminar broadened our exposure to the global economy and allowed us to take in new ideas in how to invest in emerging markets.
Once you begin to formulate what risk you are comfortable with and also your long term goals for investing, the next step is to identify a strategy that fits your needs.  Here are some of the basic popular strategies some investors follow today.  The majority of this list comes from the Motley Fool financial website.  The Motley Fool is a financial investing website dedicated to helping all investors at every level.
·         Large-Cap Investors seek the stability of established companies with proven track records.  Stocks like Wal-Mart and Microsoft have some of their boom and fast growth years behind them, but shareholders don’t have to worry about them going out of business anytime soon.
·         Value Investors look for stocks that trade at attractive prices.  Like a Christmas shopper waking up at 4 a.m. on the day after Thanksgiving, value investors hope to snag bargains by buying out of favor stocks.  While some beaten-down companies never recover, others, such as FairFax Financial, provide standout returns when they come back.
·         Growth Investors focus more on companies with strong prospects for the future.  Although they prefer not to pay too much, growth investors are willing to pay up for the most promising businesses.  Google is a good example, with more than 75% annual earnings in the past five years.
·         Dividend Investors value stocks that pay them back with generous income streams.  Dividend-paying stocks like Duke Energy, with its 4.8% yield, won’t always show big price jumps.  However, over time dividend investors hope to outpace their counterparts.
·         Small-cap Investors look beyond the security of blue-chip stocks to find undiscovered companies, such as specialty chemical-maker Innophos, that have the potential to become household names tomorrow.  While this strategy is riskier, small-cap investors rely on good speculation and expect profits from their successes to outweigh the losses from failures.
·         International Investors recognize that great companies exist throughout the world.  Most everyone in the United States has heard of Google, but a lot of people have not heard about Baidu, which is the Chinese search engine similar to Google which has had enormous growth in China over the last year (
After reading through some of the different investor types one should be able to start to relate to what strategy should fit him or her best.  If you are wary of risk and plan to retire soon, than you may find that dividend or large-cap stocks would fit more of your appetite.   Generally, most investors feel the younger you are, the more risk you can afford to take.  So those in their 20’s or 30’s may feel more inclined to look for growth stocks or small-cap stocks for their long term investing strategy. 
As one begins to trade and understand more, then they may be able to see how different markets or stocks function.  Once you are at this level than you can start to look at emerging markets and international investing.  This is usually a little more challenging because there can be different disclosure rules and cultural differences that one may not be aware of.  This was also mentioned by Mr. Guntz in his banking seminar.  The more you begin to understand other cultures and economies, the more different happenings in the world will begin to make sense.  He encouraged all of us to continue to travel and learn as much as we can about other cultures and economies to become more aware on a global level. 
A prime example of how international knowledge can help an investor is in the stock mentioned above, Baidu.  Baidu is the Chinese search engine very similar to Google.  If one knew some facts about China then they would know that China’s population is around 1.5 billion people.  The US consists of only about 300 million people.  Another important factor is that the government in China is communist.  This means they can control to some extent what their citizens have access to.  Therefore, if they chose not to let Google have access to their citizens and keep only Baidu as their internet search engine, one would have to conclude that Baidu should get significant growth and business here.  This scenario would be just the tip of the iceberg on how to start researching an international stock.
Investment expert John W. Rogers, Jr, notes that it is of critical importance that investors at all levels get comfortable with the jargon of investing and the stock market.  He goes on to say that short-term volatility can scare even the most sophisticated investor out of the markets, but the successful investor is one who can think long-term, because the stock market can go up and down.  The main focus right now in terms of the 401K is that you’ve got to have a diversified portfolio; people who got burned were people who had too much of their money either in the company stock, one large growth fund option, or whatever the hottest fund was in that period of time instead of having a diversified portfolio (Rogers).  Therefore, we can see that every investor needs to have a little bit of investing knowledge to navigate the waters of their financial future.
Many other complex strategies exist in investing today.  For many financial analysts, macroeconomic indicators are used to judge where a stock, exchange or countries economy may go.  Macroeconomic indicators are treated as statistical indicators which are used for assessment of the general state of the country’s economy during a certain period of time (Pilinkus).  If you listen to CNBC or Bloomberg radio you may often hear some of the macroeconomics indicators mentioned to clue investors on an idea of how a market will turn.  Some examples of macroeconomic indicators are gross domestic product, unemployment, interest rates, company inventory, home sales, etc.  Depending on what industry your stock is located in you can often use macroeconomic indicators to judge the potential of a stock during a given time period.
As you begin to do research into how to trade stock and investing you may find information on the internet that relays the concept that a market is predictable and can be consistently beat.  After a lot of research I found this to not be true.  Nothing is certain and anything is possible is a strategy I have adopted in life as well as investing.  If you look into the percentage of hedge fund managers that have consistently beaten the market you will find it is very low.  However, most financial experts note that if you have a good sense of the market, learn to read indicators well and choose well run companies poised for growth you can do better than most.  In the end you still have to continue doing research because variables in the market can change at anytime.
Investing today also has many more advantages than it had in the past.  With the advance of technology and the internet, individual investors can research company statistics as well as macroeconomic indicators on their own.  In the past, most of those who had access to company/financial figures were in financial occupations.  Most analysts predict that with globalization the stock market will continue to be volatile.  If you are cognizant of the events happening all around you and the globe than this can be used as a strategy in investing.
Janice Revell goes into great detail on different investment strategies in her article, “Navigating a High-Wire Market.”  Janice feels that is always good to mix some of your stock bets globally.  She urges that one has to be very educated on the stock and country similar to the lesson we received from Mr. Guntz in Germany.  Janice goes on to note with most of Europe apparently falling apart at the seams and even economic powerhouses like China slowing down, there is still a lot of opportunity internationally for emerging markets. 
Many emerging markets offer opportunities that you cannot get in the US anymore.  China’s economy despite the slowdown, is still expected to expand 10% this year (Revell).  When investors mention the term BRIC they are referring to investing in international emerging markets.  This is an acronym for some of the top countries that are continuing to develop quickly.  It stands for Brazil, Russia, India and China.  Investors still have different opinions on which countries have more opportunity than others, but BRIC is still widely used to refer to international investing.
Mr. Guntz also made note of how China is working with Africa to continue to develop parts of this nation.  Africa is also rich with a lot of the earth’s minerals.  However, researching this further I found that an experienced investor such as Mr. Guntz who travels to a lot of these locations frequently may be better aligned to take advantage of some of those investing opportunities than an average investor who has not visited these locations.  In hearing Mr. Guntz speak about some of these emerging markets it did begin to get my mind spinning about opportunities for investment.
The Motley Fool notes in an article that if you believe emerging markets will remain commodity-based oligarchies, then that may limit the amount of international investing you may want to do.  However, if you believe emerging markets are entering a new era of rising consumer spending power, infrastructure development, and more diverse, sustainable development, then there are many profitable ways to invest (  After traveling abroad in college and graduate school I tend to believe in the second notion.  I just look at what America has accomplished in the last 200 years.
I believe it is wise to start investing globally because many people have a fear of the unknown.  As we learned on our international trip, the more you travel and become aware of different cultures and trends the more you are able to process the effects it has on different societies.  Having knowledge of an emerging or international economy can become much less of a risky stock investment.  You can hypothetically be deductively reasoning some of the risk out from your knowledge base of the culture or country. 
Megan McArdle talks about different strategies in investing in her article “The Great Stock Myth.”  What she concludes after researching many different theories is that once everyone believes that the stock market or a stock offers high returns for relatively little risk, that notion stops being true.  She goes on to say that financial markets have an interesting feature that has undone many a trading strategy.  That is once everyone starts believing something, it often stops being true.  If you discover an arbitrage opportunity-otherwise known as a “price anomaly” or “free money” it will be profitable only as long as few people knew about it.  Once it is widely known, bidders will rush into the market until the discrepancy is traded away.  After that happens, future returns will be lower (McArdle).
After learning how to navigate markets and discovering what investment strategy is right for you, then it is on to the last step before jumping in, which is timing.  If you find a great stock, but jump in at the peak of the market you could find yourself starting off with a loss to come back from in the first couple months.  The more time you have, the less you have to worry about the price you purchase the stock.  If you feel the company is going to grow a lot over the next 10 to 20 years then your timing may not be as important.  If you plan to swing trade stocks every several weeks, months or even years then you definitely have to take note of a good time to purchase the stock.
The last topic to review is when to sell your stocks.  Many mutual fund investors are quick to withdraw their cash when returns turn south.  However, several academic studies have proven that investors who jump from one fund to the next, chasing performance, tend to do vastly worse than those who stay put.  If you have done your homework and look for a quality company in the appropriate emerging markets than you should be prepared to stick with a fund through good times and bad as a whole.  Two major signs to sell a stock and not hold for the long term would be that the business’s fundamentals have changed or the stock has become highly overvalued (
Some analysts get very in depth with all the topics I have mentioned above and books have been written for each specific topic.  The whole idea with stock timing is to know how long you have until you will really need the money.  Furthermore, you want to have an idea of how much time you are willing to spend researching investment opportunities.  The market is volatile and will always change.  You cannot fill your portfolio with a couple international companies from around the globe and expect to sell them in 20 years for a substantial profit.  While that is the idea behind investing, you still need to follow the businesses and understand what is happening in the macroeconomic environment.
Mr. Guntz relayed the idea of researching and exploring many different cultures and places to truly get an understanding of how they function with other economies.  The more you experience and travel the easier it will become for you to invest globally.  Investing is a long journey similar to life.  Both worlds are constantly changing and the more you learn along your journey, the easier it will become down the road.  Investing in a global economy can be scary to those that do not have the knowledge to go with it.  It is similar to those people that fear others because they do not try to understand them.  Saint Augustine provides a quality quote that can encompass our MBA international experience as well as investing in a global economy.  He notes that, “the world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only a page.”

Sources Cited
Gardner, Tom. Caplinger, Dan. “The First Investing Strategy You Should Learn.” 2008. June.

McArdle, Megan.  “The Great Stock Myth.”  Atlantic Monthly. Sep, 2010, Vol. 306 Issue 2, p46-48.

Pilinkus, Donatas.  “Macroeconomic Indicators and their Impact on Stock Market Performance in the Short and Long Run: The Case of The Baltic States.”  Technological and Economic Development of Economy.  Baltic Journal of Sustainability. 2010. Vol 16, Issue 2, p291-304.

Revell, Janice.  “Navigating a High-Wire Market.”  Money. Aug, 2010, Vol. 39 Issue 7, p84-91.

Rogers, John W.  “Knowledge of Stock Market Key to Investing and Preparing for Retirement.”  Jet. Sept, 2002. Vol. 102, Issue 15, p56.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tips for Buying Fragrances Online

The internet has made shopping easy for the masses. You can find any item you want, have it shipped right to your doorstep and at half the cost. This also applies to your fragrances. The internet is a great spot to get your fragrances if you choose the right website.

How can Online Stores sell fragrances so cheap?

- Online perfume stores buy products in volume so they get a better price per unit. They pass the savings right along to you, the customer.

- Fragrances are available at a cheap price because online stores do not have to have a retail space or storefront. Warehouses do not carry the price tag that a brick and mortar store would. The online store can then discount prices because they do not have to mark up retail price as high to cover their expenses to make a profit.

- New fragrances are developed almost daily. Perfume stores and department stores have limited space, while online stores enjoy the benefit of plenty of storage or the ability to have it shipped directly from warehouse to you.

Things to consider in an Online Fragrance Store

- Customer Testimonials: Look to see if site has testimonials from past customers.

- Secure and Confidential: There are a lot of sites on the internet intended to rip off the consumer. However, there is a lot of bargains to be had on the internet also. Look for a site that uses PayPal or some other service that is widely recognized for payment so you know your personal information will be secure.

- On-time delivery

- Customer support: Look for a site with a legitimate toll free number dedicated to customer service.

- Stay away from e-bay and other online auction sites. A lot of times these perfumes or colognes are knock-offs or inauthentic. If the price is too good to be true, it usually is. Stick to a site that concentrates mainly on fragrances to ensure quality.

Tips to get your fragrance cheap!

- Look for a perfume store online that has the lowest price guarantee or price match.

- Buy bigger bottles - When buying fragrances, size does matter. The bigger the bottle, the bigger the savings. Generally, every designer or company makes a 3.4 Oz or 4.2 Oz bottle which is the most cost effective. Store your perfume or cologne in a cool place - such as the closet or a dresser drawer. Your fragrance can last you a long time if it is stored correctly.

- Buy testers - testers are fragrances packaged for trials, in other words, cheaper perfumes but the same quality. They are the authentic fragrance, the only difference is that it does not come with all of the fancy packaging that the retail products have. You can save a lot of money while showing a little kindness to the environment by purchasing your favorite fragrance as a tester. provides the public with information & access to quality fragrances, skincare, makeup, candles and aromatherapy at discount prices.  It is the premiere spot to buy discount fragrances online