Tag : 4

The 4 Best Laptops For Business #business #loans #for #veterans


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Time to grow up! Four laptops for the office professional

Finding the right laptop for work or business isn t necessarily about opting for the nicest graphics cards, or the most exuberant storage setup, or an industrious eight-core processor. It s more about having a machine that can go with you wherever you need to be, can endure an entire flight on a single charge and most importantly doesn t stop working when you need it most. Thankfully, the four computers outlined below cover all the aforementioned bases and more, allowing you to revel in a function-first approach whether you re in the office or elsewhere. Just don t count on the sleekest exterior.

The Best

15-inch Apple MacBook Pro ($2,000+)

Say what you will about Apple, but it s hard to beat the Macbook Pro when it comes to a well-rounded balance of performance, battery power, and portability. The beautiful Retina display comes equipped on even the entry-level models, rendering it perfect for watching movies, viewing photos, or editing documents on the go. Underneath the hood, the Macbook Pro boasts a lightning-quick, 2.2GHz Core i7 processor and 8GB of RAM, along with solid state storage. You also get the same keyboard and resounding build quality with every model, with a recent price reduction to boot. Recent updates haven t added much, yet the minor changes ensure the system remains at the top of the food chain. Well, at least until Apple unveils the next iteration.

The Rest

Dell XPS 13 ($800+)

Greg Mombert/Digital Trends

Greg Mombert/Digital Trends

Dell s redesigned XPS 13 came out of nowhere and caught us totally off guard. You probably value portability over performance if you re considering a 13-inch laptop, but with the slim XPS 13, you get both. Sure, connectivity suffers a little given the laptop lacks an HDMI port, but the standard 1080p display (upgradable to 3,200 x 1,800) is great for catching up on movies and shows between flights or morning meetings. The XPS 13 ran for more than nine hours in our Peacekeeper battery benchmark despite packing the latest i5 processor, which is an impressive feat for any laptop this well equipped.

ThinkPad T440s ($679+)

The Thinkpad T440s is close enough to the no-nonsense Thinkpads you re used to, but with a few tweaks designed to bring it up to speed with the other laptops of 2015. The 1080p touchscreen is a nice addition, enabling a number of useful features for Windows 8, and the redesigned island-style keyboard is spacious and responsive. With an optional, extra battery pack, the T440s can run for an astounding 28 hours on a single charge, which is no small feat for a laptop of its size. The Thinkpad may not be the flashiest computer considering its general lack of bells and whistles, but it has remained a benchmark in the business world for years due to its sheer reliability and simple, professional aesthetic.

Thinkpad Edge E431 ($527+)

Performance isn t everyone s top priority, and the Thinkpad Edge E431 gets that. It features a graciously-sized touchpad and spill-resistant keyboard, so you don t have to worry about bringing it to the lunch meeting with your cohorts. It also keeps cool and quiet even under stress, which is great if you need to use it on your lap or during a presentation. Furthermore, if you re using a dock to expand your laptop s work area, the Edge E431 offers a Lenovo OneLink port designed to carry power and connectivity through a single cable. The price point is the most appealing aspect of the E431, though. It starts at a budget-friendly MSRP of $527, with a few extra customization options for upping the performance.



How to start a dog walking business: 4 simple steps: Starting a

#dog walking business

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How to start a dog walking business: 4 simple steps

With recent figures showing that Brits spent more than £4bn on their beloved pets in 2015, you’d be barking mad to think the recession has impacted on the UK’s pet spend.

Action point: Need a loan to start a business of your own? See how we can help here and here

Marking a 10% increase on pooch spending from 2010, it’s not only large retailers benefitting, with many entrepreneurs realising there’s opportunities to be had in the pet industry.

The average dog walker now earns 20% more than the average UK salary. so it’s clearly a viable and potentially profitable business opportunity.

Of course you’ll need to have a genuine interest in dogs as well as a good knowledge of the various rules and regulations surrounding the industry – and it’s a fairly business marketplace.

However, with plenty of doting pet owners out there, finding a good niche can still present great opportunities.

Sound interesting? Then read our four simple steps to help you become top dog in the industry.

1. Experience is essential

While it’s not imperative to have a career background with animals, you should at least be confident around dogs and at the very least have experience in walking a family or friend’s pet.

The Kennel Club’s guidelines for people working with dogs advises “strong interpersonal and communication skills”, as well as “a high level of fitness” and, naturally, “an affinity with, and understanding of dogs” for anyone wishing to pursue a career with man’s best friend.

If you’re in need of experience in handling dogs, you might want to consider volunteering at your local kennels or rescue centre. They’ll often house a good range of dogs of various sizes, age and temperament, so you’ll be fit to face whatever comes your way.

Consider attending courses in animal first aid, pet medication or even animal psychology as gaining a diploma or certificate in any of these would showcase your commitment to the dog’s welfare and impress clients.

2. Remember, it’s a business

While any animal lover might feel like they’ve died and gone to doggy heaven, remind yourself that your dog walking business is just that – a business. As such, you’ll need to possess all the regular entrepreneurial skills required for founding and running a successful company.

Having a basic understanding of bookkeeping is important as you’ll need to be able to balance your own books and fill in your self-assessment tax return. Remember that this is your livelihood and not a hobby, your income should reflect this.

Similarly, a good understanding of marketing and self-promotion will be needed to get your business off the ground.

Finally, an ability to network and negotiate with both your customers and local animal industry is key. Never underestimate the potential for clients to try and negotiate price or you could find yourself working for substantially less than you might have hoped.

3. Be aware of the rules and regulations

Although there are relatively few regulations specifically targeted at dog walkers, businesses providing a service must get public liability insurance.

If this is the start-up business idea for you, be aware you may have to deal with dogs injuring other dogs or people while in your charge.

It’s vital to have the right insurance cover to deal with legal claims, should they arise.

They can help provide you with support and advice on dog walkers insurance and training, plus your membership will give your clients confidence.

To ensure you abide by key regulations, Narps suggest you should:

  • Meet owners prior to the first booking
  • Restrict the number of dogs walked to no more than four at a time
  • Keep records of all work undertaken
  • Protect clients’ personal information

All dogs in public must wear a collar with the owners name and address on it and you could be fined up to £1,000 if you fail to clean up its faeces.

While not the most exciting element of running your own business, it’s crucial you keep abreast of the latest rules and regulations to ensure you’re not jeopardising the safety of others or the reputation of your business.

4. Find a niche in the market

Given the popularity of setting up a dog walking business, it’s very probable you’ll have to find a niche to distinguish yourself from the crowd.

Above all else, carry out market research and see if there’s actually room in your area for another dog walker.

A simple google search or contacting NarpsUK will help a lot in this regard.

Consider offering pet sitting as well as dog walking. Much like babysitting, you’ll mind your client’s pets at their home while they are away, as well as feeding them and attending to any medical needs such as medication or fulfilling dietary requirements.

Having a diploma in pet medication would be advantageous in this instance as it would allow you to cater to a specific group of dogs.

Provided you are properly trained, you could also offer grooming services such as hair cutting or washing.

Offering one-to-one intense sessions with larger dogs could also widen your appeal.

Some dogs simply won’t be satisfied by a trip around the block and will require a more strenuous workout.

For more information on starting a dog walking business, take a look atour in-depth guide to help you prepare for the launch of your start-up.

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4 Ways To Predict Market Performance #small #business #advice


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4 Ways To Predict Market Performance

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There are two prices that are critical for any investor to know: the current price of the investment he or she owns, or plans to own, and its future selling price. Despite this, investors are constantly reviewing past pricing history and using it to influence their future investment decisions. Some investors won’t buy a stock or index that has risen too sharply, because they assume that it’s due for a correction, while other investors avoid a falling stock, because they fear that it will continue to deteriorate.

Does academic evidence support these types of predictions, based on recent pricing? In this article, we’ll look at four different views of the market and learn more about the associated academic research that supports each view. The conclusions will help you better understand how the market functions, and perhaps eliminate some of your own biases.

Momentum
“Don’t fight the tape.” This widely quoted piece of stock market wisdom warns investors not to get in the way of market trends. The assumption is that the best bet about market movements is that they will continue in the same direction. This concept has is roots in behavioral finance. With so many stocks to choose from, why would investors keep their money in a stock that’s falling, as opposed to one that’s climbing? It’s classic fear and greed. (For more insight, see the Behavioral Finance tutorial.)

Studies have found that mutual fund inflows are positively correlated with market returns. Momentum plays a part in the decision to invest and when more people invest, the market goes up, encouraging even more people to buy. It’s a positive feedback loop.

A 1993 study by Narasimhan Jagadeesh and Sheridan Titman, “Returns to Buying Winners and Selling Losers,” suggests that individual stocks have momentum. They found that stocks that have performed well during the past few months, are more likely to continue their outperformance next month. The inverse also applies; stocks that have performed poorly, are more likely to continue their poor performance.

However, this study only looked ahead a single month. Over longer periods, the momentum effect appears to reverse. According to a 1985 study by Werner DeBondt and Richard Thaler, “Does the Stock Market Overreact?” stocks that have performed well in the past three to five years are more likely to underperform the market in the next three to five years and vice versa. This suggests that something else is going on: mean reversion .

Mean Reversion
Experienced investors who have seen many market ups and downs, often take the view that the market will even out, over time. Historically high market prices often discourage these investors from investing, while historically low prices may represent an opportunity.

The tendency of a variable, such as a stock price, to converge on an average value over time is called mean reversion. The phenomenon has been found in several economic indicators. including exchange rates. gross domestic product (GDP) growth, interest rates and unemployment. Mean reversion may also be responsible for business cycles. (For more insight, check out Economic Indicators To Know and Economic Indicators For The Do-It-Yoursel Investor .)

The research is still inconclusive about whether stock prices revert to the mean. Some studies show mean reversion in some data sets over some periods, but many others do not. For example, in 2000, Ronald Balvers, Yangru Wu and Erik Gilliland found some evidence of mean reversion over long investment horizons. in the relative stock index prices of 18 countries, which they described in the “Journal of Finance.”

However, even they weren’t completely convinced, as they wrote in their study, “A serious obstacle in detecting mean reversion is the absence of reliable long-term series, especially because mean-reversion, if it exists, is thought to be slow and can only be picked up over long horizons.”

Given that academia has access to at least 80 years of stock market research. this suggests that if the market does have a tendency to mean revert, it is a phenomenon that happens slowly and almost imperceptibly, over many years or even decades.

Martingales
Another possibility is that past returns just don’t matter. In 1965, Paul Samuelson studied market returns and found that past pricing trends had no effect on future prices and reasoned that in an efficient market. there should be no such effect. His conclusion was that market prices are martingales. (To read more, see Working Through The Efficient Market Hypothesis .)

A martingale is a mathematical series in which the best prediction for the next number is the current number. The concept is used in probability theory, to estimate the results of random motion. For example, suppose that you have $50 and bet it all on a coin toss. How much money will you have after the toss? You may have $100 or you may have $0 after the toss, but statistically the best prediction is $50; your original starting position. The prediction of your fortunes after the toss is a martingale. (To learn how this applies to trading, see Forex Trading The Martingale Way .)

In stock option pricing, stock market returns could be assumed to be martingales. According to this theory, the valuation of the option does not depend on the past pricing trend, or on any estimate of future price trends. The current price and the estimated volatility are the only stock-specific inputs.

A martingale in which the next number is more likely to be higher, is known as a sub-martingale. In popular literature, this motion is known as a random walk with upward drift. This description is consistent with the more than 80 years of stock market pricing history. Despite many short-term reversals. the overall trend has been consistently higher. (To learn more about random walk, read Financial Concepts: Random Walk .)

If stock returns are essentially random, the best prediction for tomorrow’s market price is simply today’s price, plus a very small increase. Rather than focusing on past trends and looking for possible momentum or mean reversion, investors should instead concentrate on managing the risk inherent in their volatile investments.

The Search for Value
Value investors purchase stock cheaply and expect to be rewarded later. Their hope is that an inefficient market has underpriced the stock, but that the price will adjust over time. The question is does this happen and why would an inefficient market make this adjustment?

Research suggests that this mispricing and readjustment consistently happens, although it presents very little evidence for why it happens.

In 1964, Gene Fama and Ken French studied decades of stock market history and developed the three-factor model to explain stock market prices. The most significant factor in explaining future price returns was valuation, as measured by the price-to-book ratio. Stocks with low price-to-book ratios delivered significantly better returns than other stocks. (To read more about this ratio, see Value By The Book .)

Valuation ratios tend to move in the same direction and in 1977, Sanjoy Basu found similar results for stocks with low price-earnings (P/E) ratios. Since then, the same effect has been found in many other studies across dozens of markets. (For more on this, check out Understanding The P/E Ratio .)

However, studies have not explained why the market is consistently mispricing these “value” stocks and then adjusting later. The only conclusion that could be drawn is that these stocks have extra risk, for which investors demand additional compensation. (To learn more about this phenomenon, read The Equity-Risk Premium: More Risk For Higher Returns and Calculating The Equity Risk Premium .)

Price is the driver of the valuation ratios, therefore, the findings do support the idea of a mean-reverting stock market. As prices climb, the valuation ratios get higher and, as a result, future predicted returns are lower. However, the market P/E ratio has fluctuated widely over time and has never been a consistent buy or sell signal .

The Bottom Line
Even after decades of study by the brightest minds in finance, there are no solid answers. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that there may be some momentum effects, in the short term. and a weak mean reversion effect, in the long term.

The current price is a key component of valuation ratios such as P/B and P/E, that have been shown to have some predictive power on the future returns of a stock. However, these ratios should not be viewed as specific buy and sell signals, just factors that have been shown to play a role in increasing or reducing the expected long-term return.



Top 4 Mistakes When Franchising Your Business #canadian #business


#franchising your business

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Top 4 Mistakes When Franchising Your Business

Freelance Writer and editor, Self-employed

Specializations: small business, entrepreneurship and human interest topics. Katie’s work has appeared in Hemispheres, USA Today, Consumers Digest, Crain’s Chicago Business and others. Read more of her work at www.katiemorell.com

Michael S. Rosenthal has childhood issues relating to franchising. No, he isn t damaged by a bad experience; he s regretful of what could have been. Back in 1957, the same year as his birth, his father Harvey opened a hot dog joint on the north side of Chicago. One day, a man came in and asked Harvey to go into business with him, offering a restaurant concept at $5,000 per store that, the man said, would blanket the nation and make Harvey very rich.

My Dad told him to get the hell out of his store, that there was no way he would pony up $5,000 that was a lot of money back then, says Rosenthal. That man was Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonalds. If only he had said yes, I wouldn t be working right now.

Perhaps due to this story, Rosenthal has made it his life s work to save wannabe franchisors from bad decisions. Today he heads the franchise law practice at Wagner, Johnston Rosenthal in Atlanta, Georgia, and shares the top four biggest mistakes he sees every day.

Mistake No. 1: Underestimating costs

While franchising can make your company (and you) wildly successful, it can also sink you in a massive hole if you don t have enough money on the outset. Most startup costs go to legal representation and the drafting of regulatory documents, says Rosenthal. And regardless if your franchise is doing well or not, the Federal Trade Commission mandates you update them once per year.

On the legal side, Rosenthal says costs can range from the low teens to the mid-20s. From there, you must file with your state s attorney general, which could cost you another $1,000 to $2,000. Then there are the accountant fees (franchised businesses must be audited once per year, even if you don t sell any units), which could ring you anywhere from $7,500 to $15,000. Gulp.

How much are we talking here?

I d say you should have somewhere in the high five figures, says Rosenthal. I ve had clients start with less, but it is rare. You really need to set aside legal and marketing money because things add up quicker than you think.

Greg Archer learned this the hard way. As co-founder of Age Advantage. a San Diego, California-based company that provides in-home care to senior citizens, he and his wife began offering franchises in 2006, but stopped about 18 months later largely because of under capitalization. He says you need even more than five figures starting out.

Being undercapitalized really inhibits growth ; I recommend starting with a minimum of $300,000 to $500,000, he says. As a new franchisor, there is no cash flow. You really don t make money on the sale of a franchise, you make your money on ongoing royalties.

In addition to legal and regulatory fees, the Archers were strapped with sales and marketing costs, all which proved to be too much. In 2008, they reevaluated their business. Two years later another company bought out their original location, which freed them up to focus on franchising alone.

Today, they are going to tradeshows and actively advertising. According to Archer, the company is on par to close about 15 more locations (they already have six) this year.

Mistake No. 2: Confusing the roles of franchisor and business owner

Rosenthal uses a barbecue restaurant as an example. As the business owner, it is your job to deliver mouth watering pulled pork; you do a great job and have legions of loyal customers. Pretty soon a potential business partner offers to open a franchise and you jump at the opportunity. It s an ace in the hole, right? Not exactly.

You need to recognize that being a franchisor and a business owner are two different skill sets, says Rosenthal. You may be a great chef, but that doesn t mean you will be a great franchisor.

Franchisors must be focused on finding and recruiting franchisees, says Rosenthal. Processes need to be put into place, manuals need to be written and franchisors need to invest time into training franchisees and lower level employees. These duties can take away from those related to owning your primary business.

Also consider bringing in a franchise consultant to help you with the process. (Note: to find a consultant, check out the International Franchise Association .)

Mistake No. 3: Lack of planning

Planning is key to a successful franchised business. Before even considering the business model, make sure you have a detailed operations manual for your business that goes step by step through every process in your company and you ve talked to an attorney or franchise consultant, recommends Rosenthal.

Don t just think that you can do it on the cheap and see how it goes, he says. Franchises take a lot of pre-planning.

Mistake No. 4: Franchising too soon

Just because your five-month-old Mexican restaurant is selling out every night doesn t mean it s time to think about franchising. Rosenthal suggests waiting three years before considering the business model.

You need to have everything figured out, he says. No one is going to want to buy your franchise if you haven t worked the kinks out yet.



4 Affordable Small Business CRM Options #business #bank #accounts


#small business crm

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4 Affordable Small Business CRM Options

When you think of customer relationship management (CRM) software, there’s a misconception that the solutions are not well-suited to a small business environment—that CRM falls into the category of enterprise applications and systems that require dedicated IT teams. Luckily, this isn’t the case, as there are a number of CRM solutions designed specifically for small busineses.

Small business CRM software is typically lightweight (in the good sense), designed to meet the unique needs of a small business without being cumbersome, overwhelming or expensive to maintain. These systems will consolidate customer records and other data to give your business timely access to critical business data and actionable business insights. This means less time wasted trying to maneuver through reports and functions you really don’t need.

If you’re looking to invest in small business CRM software, here are four systems with social integration that are worth a look.

Batchbook: Learn Who Your Customers Are

Batchbook is a cloud-based social CRM platform. Any member of your or team can use Batchbook on any device to keep track of important customers, partners and deals. To get started, you can import existing contacts from a spreadsheet or collect contact information from your website.

Batchbook offers several ways to organize contacts to learn who customers are, how they relate to each other and what steps are needed to close a deal. You can organize contact lists by location, by last contact date or by using custom fields. You can also learn more about customers by connecting to their Facebook profile within the Batchbook interface.

Another important feature of BatchBook for SMBs is easy access to your communication history with a customer. You can record emails automatically, attach notes to the conversation and chat with team members about different company contacts. The Task System lets you assign tasks within a team, create lists to see who you haven’t talked to in a while and keep everyone up to date on who’s conversing with contacts at any point in time.

Batchbook for small businesses starts at $20 per month for unlimited users. A free 30-day trial is available.

ContactMe: Use Modern Web Interface

ContactMe is Web-based small businesses CRM app with a comfortable, easy-to-use interface. The CRM offers a number of useful tools for notes and email forwarding, calendar and reminders and task management in addition to the contact management and reporting tools.

The contact management tool will be useful for small businesses looking to consolidate and sort contacts. Most small business owners use a system of email, documents and spreadsheets to handle contacts. With ContactMe, though, you’ll be able to update your contact list from one place and organize contacts into categories such as lead, potential and customer.

Also worth noting are the ContactMe sales lead buttons and forms. These can be displayed on any website or social page, and the messages that potential customers send messages are added into the CRM.

The reporting tool, while basic, does include graphs to view button views and form submissions, charts to view contacts by sales stage and data charts that show where customers are coming from.

The ContactMe “BizPro” plan starts at $7.42 monthly. A free 14-day trial is available.

Zoho CRM: Automate Day-to-Day Activities

With features such as sales tracking, Google service synchronization and social profiles, Zoho CRM lets your business focus on customers, not data.

One important feature in Zoho CRM is the Opportunity Tracking Tool, which is designed to give your business a comprehensive view of all sales activities. You’ll know where every customer is in the sales cycle, the deal size and contact history. You can even access competitor information. An editable Notes Section displays the time and content of past customer conversations; this lets you make each connection with the customer more personal and productive.

Small businesses using Google Apps and Google Drive can synchronize Google Mail and access other information within Zoho CRM. You can contextually create business opportunities within Gmail, attach documents from Google Docs, export events to Google Calendar and capture leads from Google Sites using Web forms. This makes it easier to collaborate, communicate and share information whether users are in Zoho CRM or Gmail.

Zoho offers a mobile edition for the iOS, Android and BlackBerry operating systems. Users can also link prospects’ and customers’ social profiles from LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter directly to Zoho CRM.

Zoho CRM is free for entrepreneurs and startups (up to three users). The Professional plan for SMBs is $12 per user per month.

Nimble: Manage Social Relationships

Nimble aims to help you to better manage social contacts—including co-workers, customers and partners—and all the online conversations you have with them over email, Twitter, Skype, Facebook and other services. All your contacts (and team contacts) can be managed in one screen using this lightweight online platform.

Nimble offers a Daily Digest email to keep you informed of new social engagement opportunities around birthdays, job changes or upcoming meetings.

Nimble’s Contact Manger interface provides options for adding people or companies as a contact and for syncing all messages from email or social media sites to a contact. You can then create new events and manage the list for upcoming and completed tasks.

Nimble also offers team collaboration features, which let any team member check contacts and see what’s pending and who’s working with a particular contact. The team functionality lets all users see all the conversations that have occurred with every contact and team member. This makes it easy to delegate or schedule tasks.

Business plans are priced at $15 per user per month. A 14-day free trial of Nimble is available.



The 4 Best Business Internet Service Providers of 2016 #bakery #business #plan


#best business phone

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The 4 Best Business Internet Service Providers

When searching for the best business Internet service provider, there are several factors about your Internet usage that you must consider. Price, availability, and speeds are the most obvious factors to think about, but it is also a good idea to determine how many people use the Internet at once and what they use it for on a daily basis. The number of web users and different types of web activity have an impact on your actual Internet speeds. If you re also interested in getting phone service at your business, it may be smart to look for an Internet company that offers discounts when you bundle phone with your Internet.

Verizon FiOS Internet is ideal for businesses that require extremely fast Internet solutions. Their 300 Mbps download speed is far and away the best in the industry at the moment, and their 65 Mbps upload rates should be more than enough for most businesses. Prices are slightly higher than what competitors offer, but the speeds available at Verizon are unmatched anywhere and can be highly desirable for some businesses. However, if price is a major concern, you can often save money by signing a two-year contract with Verizon Wireless, or by purchasing phone service in a bundled deal. An Internet subscription with Verizon also gives you access to Wi-Fi hotspots all over the country, which could be extremely useful if you travel frequently for work. If any of these services match your business needs, it would be smart to look into Verizon FiOS Internet.

AT T s U-verse® Internet rounds out the list of best business Internet providers for their fair pricing. Their speeds are considerably slower than the other companies on this list, and they require a one-year commitment with all of their plans. However, their prices are also far more affordable than many other Internet providers, and if your business is smaller, their 24 Mbps top download speed could be all that you need. They also offer some excellent choices for bundle deals, as they offer several different solutions tailored to different kinds of businesses. Most of their plans include both phone and Internet services, while some also throw in data backup, remote tech support, or even a smartphone. If any of these solutions sound like a match for your business, take a closer look at AT T s business Internet services.

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4 Ways To Predict Market Performance #best #business #to #start


#stock market results

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4 Ways To Predict Market Performance

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There are two prices that are critical for any investor to know: the current price of the investment he or she owns, or plans to own, and its future selling price. Despite this, investors are constantly reviewing past pricing history and using it to influence their future investment decisions. Some investors won’t buy a stock or index that has risen too sharply, because they assume that it’s due for a correction, while other investors avoid a falling stock, because they fear that it will continue to deteriorate.

Does academic evidence support these types of predictions, based on recent pricing? In this article, we’ll look at four different views of the market and learn more about the associated academic research that supports each view. The conclusions will help you better understand how the market functions, and perhaps eliminate some of your own biases.

Momentum
“Don’t fight the tape.” This widely quoted piece of stock market wisdom warns investors not to get in the way of market trends. The assumption is that the best bet about market movements is that they will continue in the same direction. This concept has is roots in behavioral finance. With so many stocks to choose from, why would investors keep their money in a stock that’s falling, as opposed to one that’s climbing? It’s classic fear and greed. (For more insight, see the Behavioral Finance tutorial.)

Studies have found that mutual fund inflows are positively correlated with market returns. Momentum plays a part in the decision to invest and when more people invest, the market goes up, encouraging even more people to buy. It’s a positive feedback loop.

A 1993 study by Narasimhan Jagadeesh and Sheridan Titman, “Returns to Buying Winners and Selling Losers,” suggests that individual stocks have momentum. They found that stocks that have performed well during the past few months, are more likely to continue their outperformance next month. The inverse also applies; stocks that have performed poorly, are more likely to continue their poor performance.

However, this study only looked ahead a single month. Over longer periods, the momentum effect appears to reverse. According to a 1985 study by Werner DeBondt and Richard Thaler, “Does the Stock Market Overreact?” stocks that have performed well in the past three to five years are more likely to underperform the market in the next three to five years and vice versa. This suggests that something else is going on: mean reversion .

Mean Reversion
Experienced investors who have seen many market ups and downs, often take the view that the market will even out, over time. Historically high market prices often discourage these investors from investing, while historically low prices may represent an opportunity.

The tendency of a variable, such as a stock price, to converge on an average value over time is called mean reversion. The phenomenon has been found in several economic indicators. including exchange rates. gross domestic product (GDP) growth, interest rates and unemployment. Mean reversion may also be responsible for business cycles. (For more insight, check out Economic Indicators To Know and Economic Indicators For The Do-It-Yoursel Investor .)

The research is still inconclusive about whether stock prices revert to the mean. Some studies show mean reversion in some data sets over some periods, but many others do not. For example, in 2000, Ronald Balvers, Yangru Wu and Erik Gilliland found some evidence of mean reversion over long investment horizons. in the relative stock index prices of 18 countries, which they described in the “Journal of Finance.”

However, even they weren’t completely convinced, as they wrote in their study, “A serious obstacle in detecting mean reversion is the absence of reliable long-term series, especially because mean-reversion, if it exists, is thought to be slow and can only be picked up over long horizons.”

Given that academia has access to at least 80 years of stock market research. this suggests that if the market does have a tendency to mean revert, it is a phenomenon that happens slowly and almost imperceptibly, over many years or even decades.

Martingales
Another possibility is that past returns just don’t matter. In 1965, Paul Samuelson studied market returns and found that past pricing trends had no effect on future prices and reasoned that in an efficient market. there should be no such effect. His conclusion was that market prices are martingales. (To read more, see Working Through The Efficient Market Hypothesis .)

A martingale is a mathematical series in which the best prediction for the next number is the current number. The concept is used in probability theory, to estimate the results of random motion. For example, suppose that you have $50 and bet it all on a coin toss. How much money will you have after the toss? You may have $100 or you may have $0 after the toss, but statistically the best prediction is $50; your original starting position. The prediction of your fortunes after the toss is a martingale. (To learn how this applies to trading, see Forex Trading The Martingale Way .)

In stock option pricing, stock market returns could be assumed to be martingales. According to this theory, the valuation of the option does not depend on the past pricing trend, or on any estimate of future price trends. The current price and the estimated volatility are the only stock-specific inputs.

A martingale in which the next number is more likely to be higher, is known as a sub-martingale. In popular literature, this motion is known as a random walk with upward drift. This description is consistent with the more than 80 years of stock market pricing history. Despite many short-term reversals. the overall trend has been consistently higher. (To learn more about random walk, read Financial Concepts: Random Walk .)

If stock returns are essentially random, the best prediction for tomorrow’s market price is simply today’s price, plus a very small increase. Rather than focusing on past trends and looking for possible momentum or mean reversion, investors should instead concentrate on managing the risk inherent in their volatile investments.

The Search for Value
Value investors purchase stock cheaply and expect to be rewarded later. Their hope is that an inefficient market has underpriced the stock, but that the price will adjust over time. The question is does this happen and why would an inefficient market make this adjustment?

Research suggests that this mispricing and readjustment consistently happens, although it presents very little evidence for why it happens.

In 1964, Gene Fama and Ken French studied decades of stock market history and developed the three-factor model to explain stock market prices. The most significant factor in explaining future price returns was valuation, as measured by the price-to-book ratio. Stocks with low price-to-book ratios delivered significantly better returns than other stocks. (To read more about this ratio, see Value By The Book .)

Valuation ratios tend to move in the same direction and in 1977, Sanjoy Basu found similar results for stocks with low price-earnings (P/E) ratios. Since then, the same effect has been found in many other studies across dozens of markets. (For more on this, check out Understanding The P/E Ratio .)

However, studies have not explained why the market is consistently mispricing these “value” stocks and then adjusting later. The only conclusion that could be drawn is that these stocks have extra risk, for which investors demand additional compensation. (To learn more about this phenomenon, read The Equity-Risk Premium: More Risk For Higher Returns and Calculating The Equity Risk Premium .)

Price is the driver of the valuation ratios, therefore, the findings do support the idea of a mean-reverting stock market. As prices climb, the valuation ratios get higher and, as a result, future predicted returns are lower. However, the market P/E ratio has fluctuated widely over time and has never been a consistent buy or sell signal .

The Bottom Line
Even after decades of study by the brightest minds in finance, there are no solid answers. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that there may be some momentum effects, in the short term. and a weak mean reversion effect, in the long term.

The current price is a key component of valuation ratios such as P/B and P/E, that have been shown to have some predictive power on the future returns of a stock. However, these ratios should not be viewed as specific buy and sell signals, just factors that have been shown to play a role in increasing or reducing the expected long-term return.



4 Tips on Building a Catering Business Plan #business #promotional #items


#catering business

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Tasty tapas, enticing entrées, and delectable desserts – if the sounds of these dishes whet your career appetite, then employment in catering might be right for you. If, in addition to being a virtuoso in the kitchen, you’re an expert event organizer, then perhaps you can do more than just work for a catering company. That skillset is just what a catering business entrepreneur needs to be successful.

Launching your very own catering business can be incredibly rewarding but also requires a lot of hard work and careful planning. Before you start working on your catering business plan, make sure you take into consideration these four factors as advised by professional business plan writers .

Investing in Logistics is Key

Glossing over the logistics in your catering business plan won’t suffice. Being successful in the catering industry requires a keen understanding of the logistics involved in the delivery of your catered dishes. A simple miscommunication between you and a supplier, for instance, can result in a botched wedding and a very unhappy clientele. Therefore, invest in logistics technology that suits your needs and learn all there is to discover about lead times, transportation, handling, etc. These skills will go a long way in keeping your business afloat.

Reach out to Dependable Suppliers

Even if you have all your internal ducks in a row logistics-wise, having an unreliable supplier can just as easily doom your business as if you yourself were a shoddy caterer. This is especially true when the goods being supplied are food. Since you’ll be working with perishable items, stocking up your inventory for the long-term is not an option for the most part. You’ll need to partner with suppliers who can deliver fresh meat, fish, dairy, produce, and more in a timely fashion. Moreover, you’ll need suppliers that you can trust are handling and storing food safely and properly. A bout of food poisoning – though not caused by your kitchen – can ruin your business nevertheless. So, do your research and ask for references when you’re on the hunt for a dependable supplier.

Save on Space

Depending on the needs and requirements of your business, you might be able to save on rental or leasing costs. Instead of leasing a commercial space on your own, you can share it with another caterer to reduce overhead. Other options include working out of your home or renting a restaurant’s kitchen after closing. A little creativity in your catering business plan can go a long way to saving money!

Competing in the Catering World

According to IBISWorld. the catering industry in the U.S. is a $9 billion industry with over 11,000 businesses. Revenue growth is mediocre, however, with annual growth between 2009 and 2014 measuring only 2.0 percent. With the industry as a whole experiencing little growth, new entrants in the catering space have a difficult time getting their share of the catering pie. If you want to compete, finding a speciality might be your best option. For example, you may choose to cater solely for corporate parties and events. Likewise, you might become the first gluten-free or organic caterer in your city. By gaining insight into the industry on a national and local level, you’ll be more prepared to come up with a unique strategy for your catering business.

Creating a successful catering business plan does not have to be difficult, The Plan Writers can help your business flourish. Fill out our online form for more information on building your business.



4 Ways To Predict Market Performance


#stock market results

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4 Ways To Predict Market Performance

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There are two prices that are critical for any investor to know: the current price of the investment he or she owns, or plans to own, and its future selling price. Despite this, investors are constantly reviewing past pricing history and using it to influence their future investment decisions. Some investors won’t buy a stock or index that has risen too sharply, because they assume that it’s due for a correction, while other investors avoid a falling stock, because they fear that it will continue to deteriorate.

Does academic evidence support these types of predictions, based on recent pricing? In this article, we’ll look at four different views of the market and learn more about the associated academic research that supports each view. The conclusions will help you better understand how the market functions, and perhaps eliminate some of your own biases.

Momentum
“Don’t fight the tape.” This widely quoted piece of stock market wisdom warns investors not to get in the way of market trends. The assumption is that the best bet about market movements is that they will continue in the same direction. This concept has is roots in behavioral finance. With so many stocks to choose from, why would investors keep their money in a stock that’s falling, as opposed to one that’s climbing? It’s classic fear and greed. (For more insight, see the Behavioral Finance tutorial.)

Studies have found that mutual fund inflows are positively correlated with market returns. Momentum plays a part in the decision to invest and when more people invest, the market goes up, encouraging even more people to buy. It’s a positive feedback loop.

A 1993 study by Narasimhan Jagadeesh and Sheridan Titman, “Returns to Buying Winners and Selling Losers,” suggests that individual stocks have momentum. They found that stocks that have performed well during the past few months, are more likely to continue their outperformance next month. The inverse also applies; stocks that have performed poorly, are more likely to continue their poor performance.

However, this study only looked ahead a single month. Over longer periods, the momentum effect appears to reverse. According to a 1985 study by Werner DeBondt and Richard Thaler, “Does the Stock Market Overreact?” stocks that have performed well in the past three to five years are more likely to underperform the market in the next three to five years and vice versa. This suggests that something else is going on: mean reversion .

Mean Reversion
Experienced investors who have seen many market ups and downs, often take the view that the market will even out, over time. Historically high market prices often discourage these investors from investing, while historically low prices may represent an opportunity.

The tendency of a variable, such as a stock price, to converge on an average value over time is called mean reversion. The phenomenon has been found in several economic indicators. including exchange rates. gross domestic product (GDP) growth, interest rates and unemployment. Mean reversion may also be responsible for business cycles. (For more insight, check out Economic Indicators To Know and Economic Indicators For The Do-It-Yoursel Investor .)

The research is still inconclusive about whether stock prices revert to the mean. Some studies show mean reversion in some data sets over some periods, but many others do not. For example, in 2000, Ronald Balvers, Yangru Wu and Erik Gilliland found some evidence of mean reversion over long investment horizons. in the relative stock index prices of 18 countries, which they described in the “Journal of Finance.”

However, even they weren’t completely convinced, as they wrote in their study, “A serious obstacle in detecting mean reversion is the absence of reliable long-term series, especially because mean-reversion, if it exists, is thought to be slow and can only be picked up over long horizons.”

Given that academia has access to at least 80 years of stock market research. this suggests that if the market does have a tendency to mean revert, it is a phenomenon that happens slowly and almost imperceptibly, over many years or even decades.

Martingales
Another possibility is that past returns just don’t matter. In 1965, Paul Samuelson studied market returns and found that past pricing trends had no effect on future prices and reasoned that in an efficient market. there should be no such effect. His conclusion was that market prices are martingales. (To read more, see Working Through The Efficient Market Hypothesis .)

A martingale is a mathematical series in which the best prediction for the next number is the current number. The concept is used in probability theory, to estimate the results of random motion. For example, suppose that you have $50 and bet it all on a coin toss. How much money will you have after the toss? You may have $100 or you may have $0 after the toss, but statistically the best prediction is $50; your original starting position. The prediction of your fortunes after the toss is a martingale. (To learn how this applies to trading, see Forex Trading The Martingale Way .)

In stock option pricing, stock market returns could be assumed to be martingales. According to this theory, the valuation of the option does not depend on the past pricing trend, or on any estimate of future price trends. The current price and the estimated volatility are the only stock-specific inputs.

A martingale in which the next number is more likely to be higher, is known as a sub-martingale. In popular literature, this motion is known as a random walk with upward drift. This description is consistent with the more than 80 years of stock market pricing history. Despite many short-term reversals. the overall trend has been consistently higher. (To learn more about random walk, read Financial Concepts: Random Walk .)

If stock returns are essentially random, the best prediction for tomorrow’s market price is simply today’s price, plus a very small increase. Rather than focusing on past trends and looking for possible momentum or mean reversion, investors should instead concentrate on managing the risk inherent in their volatile investments.

The Search for Value
Value investors purchase stock cheaply and expect to be rewarded later. Their hope is that an inefficient market has underpriced the stock, but that the price will adjust over time. The question is does this happen and why would an inefficient market make this adjustment?

Research suggests that this mispricing and readjustment consistently happens, although it presents very little evidence for why it happens.

In 1964, Gene Fama and Ken French studied decades of stock market history and developed the three-factor model to explain stock market prices. The most significant factor in explaining future price returns was valuation, as measured by the price-to-book ratio. Stocks with low price-to-book ratios delivered significantly better returns than other stocks. (To read more about this ratio, see Value By The Book .)

Valuation ratios tend to move in the same direction and in 1977, Sanjoy Basu found similar results for stocks with low price-earnings (P/E) ratios. Since then, the same effect has been found in many other studies across dozens of markets. (For more on this, check out Understanding The P/E Ratio .)

However, studies have not explained why the market is consistently mispricing these “value” stocks and then adjusting later. The only conclusion that could be drawn is that these stocks have extra risk, for which investors demand additional compensation. (To learn more about this phenomenon, read The Equity-Risk Premium: More Risk For Higher Returns and Calculating The Equity Risk Premium .)

Price is the driver of the valuation ratios, therefore, the findings do support the idea of a mean-reverting stock market. As prices climb, the valuation ratios get higher and, as a result, future predicted returns are lower. However, the market P/E ratio has fluctuated widely over time and has never been a consistent buy or sell signal .

The Bottom Line
Even after decades of study by the brightest minds in finance, there are no solid answers. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that there may be some momentum effects, in the short term. and a weak mean reversion effect, in the long term.

The current price is a key component of valuation ratios such as P/B and P/E, that have been shown to have some predictive power on the future returns of a stock. However, these ratios should not be viewed as specific buy and sell signals, just factors that have been shown to play a role in increasing or reducing the expected long-term return.



HOME INSPECTIONS and MOLD INSPECTIONS; We are The Villages Home Inspector and

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HOME INSPECTIONS, COMMERCIAL INSPECTIONS & MOLD ASSESSMENTS

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HOME INSPECTOR USA sets the standard for HOME INSPECTOR, COMMERCIAL INSPECTOR and MOLD INSPECTOR/ MOLD ASSESSOR in The Villages, Lady Lake, Ocala, Micanopy, Leesburg, Mount Dora, Lake Panasoffkee, Clermont, Gainesville and Newberry, Florida. We are distinguished by our background in Engineering, Chemistry/Biology and Residential Commercial construction and by our extensive theoretical experience with intricacies of structural environmental issues.

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