How to Shop For a Woman

There’s a saying that goes, “Women are from Venus, men are from Mars;” this saying does hold true when shopping for a woman. It can get quite difficult and intimidating to buy gifts for a woman, like an anniversary present or a gift for Valentine’s Day. Many men get intimidated when shopping for women, because it’s quite difficult to know and understand what a woman really wants. There are times that even the most heartfelt and well-intentioned gifts can spark fits of the wrong emotions in a woman. Shopping for women doesn’t have to be a roller coaster of confusion; here’s a quick guide to help.

Think Like a Woman

To shop for a woman, you have to get in touch with your feminine side. Whether you’re shopping for your mother, your sister, your wife, or your girlfriend, you need to have a good idea of what she likes. Don’t go for obvious things like jewelry or flowers or teddy bears. Every woman has a unique personality, which means that what she really wants may fall under a stereotype or an idea you have of what women want.

Go for the Sale

Many women love sales. Sales are that time of the year where everything good comes cheap. The mall may be crowded during mall-wide promo sales, but the extra time and effort you spend looking for a gift is well worth the savings you get if you buy shop on a sale. Sales can be difficult to come by, and can get a bit stressful especially with a crowd of shoppers. Here are some tips to keep in mind when shopping at a sale.

* Holiday and clearance sales. The most expensive items usually have up to a 50% markdown during special sales, when stores and boutiques need to clear out inventory. Make sure that you’re not buying old stock, and that you’re getting the best value for money.

* Discounts. Shopping for women can get a bit expensive. Store owners know this, and try to offer discounts for gift items for women as much as they can. Discount goods need not be cheap; as long as the gift is of a good quality and has a reasonable price, then you can buy it.

* Follow the leader.

Duplicates and One-of-a-Kind Items

If you think that shopping for women won’t get any more difficult, think again. Some women prefer to have two or more items of the same variety, and some prefer to have a one-of-a-kind item that only they own. What makes it even more confusing is that many women have certain preferences on what items should be bought in duplicates, and what items should be one-of-a-kind. To make things easier for your shopping day, here’s a quick list of what can be duplicated, and what should be extra-special:

* Duplicates: perfumes, shoes, jewelry, make-up kits, skin care products

* One-of-a-kind items: clothes, bags, purses, watches, bracelets

Keep Up With Trends

While reading a fashion or women’s lifestyle magazine may sound unappealing and completely beneath your manhood, it’s always a good idea to do research before shopping. You don’t have to completely and thoroughly read the articles as much as you would a hotrod magazine or the latest video games; the least you could do is to look at pictures, memorize them, and look for similar items at the boutique or the department store. That way, you can keep your friend or significant other trendy and happy with the way she looks.

Shop, and Get It Over With

One of the reasons why men find it so difficult to shop for gifts is the very idea of shopping. For some men, a boutique or a store that specializes in women’s apparel and accessories is like a punishment for some unknown sin. While the place may seem a bit too feminine and fluffy for your own tastes, the only way you’re going to get a good gift for that special woman in your life is if you enter the store, have a good idea of what you’re going to buy, make shopping quick, and high-tail it out. Chances are, though, that you may enjoy the shopping experience more than you’re willing to admit to yourself.

Planning and Design of Behavioral Healthcare Facilities

Behavioral Healthcare Facilities: The Current State of Design

In keeping with most districts of healthcare, the marketplace has seen a boom in the construction of Behavioral Healthcare facilities. Contributing to this increase is the paradigm shift in the way society views mental illness. Society is placing a heavier value on the need to treat people with serious addictions such as alcohol, prescription and elicit drugs. A large percentage of people suffering from behavioral disorders are afflicted with both mental and addictive behaviors, and most will re-enter communities and either become contributors or violators.

These very specialized facilities do not typically yield the attention from today’s top healthcare designers and their quantity accounts for a small fraction of healthcare construction. However, Behavioral Healthcare projects are increasing in number and are being designed by some very prominent architectural firms such as Cannon Design and Architecture Plus. Many are creating state-of-the-art, award-winning contemporary facilities that defy what most of us believe Behavioral Healthcare design to be.

Changing the Way We Design Behavioral Healthcare Facilities

As with all good planners and designers, A+D (along with facility experts) are reviewing the direct needs of patient and staff while reflecting on how new medicine and modern design can foster patient healing rates, reduce environmental stress, and increase safety. This is changing the face of treatment and outcome by giving the practitioner more time to treat because they require less time and resources to “manage” disruptive patient populations.

The face of Behavioral Healthcare is quickly changing. No longer are these facilities designed to warehouse patients indefinitely. And society’s expectations have changed. Patients are often treated with the belief that they can return to their community and be a contributor to society. According to the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems (NAPHS), depending on the severity of illness, the average length of stay in a Behavioral Healthcare facility is only 9.6 days.

What has changed?

Jaques Laurence Black, AIA, president and principal of New York City-based daSILVA Architects, states that there are two primary reasons for the shortened admission period:

1. Introduction of modern psychotropic drugs that greatly speed recovery

2. Pressures from insurance companies to get patients out of expensive modes of care

To meet these challenges, healthcare professionals are finding it very difficult to effectively treat patients within the walls of antiquated, rapidly deteriorating mental facilities. A great percentage of these facilities were built between 1908 and 1928 and were designed for psychiatric needs that were principled in the belief to “store” not to “rehabilitate.”

Also impacting the need for Behavioral Healthcare construction is the reluctance of acute-care facilities to provide mental health level services for psychiatric or addiction patients. They recognize that patient groups suffering from behavioral disorders have unique health needs, all of which need to be handled and treated only by very experienced healthcare professionals. This patient population also requires a heightened level of security. Self-harm and injuring staff and other patients are major concerns.

The Report of the Surgeon General: “Epidemiology of Mental Illness” also reports that within a given year about 20% of Americans suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder and 5.4% suffer from a serious mental illness (SMI ) – defined as bipolar, panic, obsessive-compulsive, personality, and depression disorders and schizophrenia. It is also believed 6% of Americans suffer from addiction disorders, a statistic that is separate from individuals who suffer from both mental and addiction disorders. Within a given year it is believed that over one-quarter of America’s population warrants levels of mental clinical care. Even if these statistics were cut in half, it cannot be denied as a serious societal issue.

With a growing population, effectively designing in accordance with such measures is at the heart of public health.

Understanding the Complexity of Behavioral Healthcare Design

Therefore, like Corrections, leading planners and designers specializing in Behavioral Healthcare are delving deeper to better understand the complexity of issues and to be the activist to design facilities that promote treatment and healing – and a safer community.

The following is a list of key design variables that are being studied and implemented:

1. Right Sizing

2. Humanizing Materials and Color

3. Staff-Focused Amneties and Happiness

4. Security and Safety

5. Therapeutic Design Tenants

Right-sizing

Today’s Behavioral Healthcare facilities are often one-story single buildings within a campus size. Often debated by Clients due to costs, this design preference is driven by the demand for Uncategorized light, window views to nature for all patient areas, and outdoor open-air gardens “wrapped” within. All of this provides soothing qualities to the patient, reduces their anxieties, counteracts disruptive conduct and helps to reduce staff stress.

“When you look at the program mix in these buildings, there’s a high demand for perimeter because there are a lot of rooms that need Uncategorized light. Offices, classrooms, dining areas, community rooms, and patient rooms all demand Uncategorized light, so you end up with a tremendous amount of exterior wall, and it forces the building to have a very large footprint.” – James Kent Muirhead, AIA, associate principal at Cannon Design in Baltimore

These design principles are also believed to improve staff work conditions. Unlike a multi-story complex, at any moment staff can walk outdoors and access nature, free from visual barriers, and within a building that more accurately reflects building types that both patients and staff would encounter in their communities.

In addition to right-sizing for the overall building footprint, is right-sizing for internal patient and staff support area. Similar to the move we have seen in Corrections to de-centralize support spaces, Behavioral Healthcare is moving to decentralized nursing/patient units called “neighborhoods.” With mental health facilities there is a large concern with distances and space adjacencies in relation to the patient room and patient support areas such as treatment and social spaces. Frank Pitts, AIA, FACHA, OAA president of Architecture Plus, Troy, NY, advocates neighborhoods that average 24-30 beds arranged in sub-clusters, called “houses”, of 8-10 beds. Thus, each neighborhood consists of three houses. Often these layouts will include a common area where patients congregate and socialize, with a separate quiet room so patients can elect to avoid active, crowded areas. In addition Pitts states, “There’s a move away from central dining facilities. So, while facilities will still have a central kitchen, it’s a whole lot easier moving food than it is patients.” However, it is important for the facility to mimic normal outside daily life routines, so patients are encouraged to frequently leave their neighborhoods to attend treatment sessions, and outdoor courtyards.

Humanizing Materials & Color

In all facilities that play a role in rehabilitation, design strives to create spaces that humanize, calm, and relax. Behavioral Healthcare patients need to feel that they are in familiar surroundings; therefore, the architectural vocabulary should feel comfortable and normal. Since these facilities are about rehabilitation (when possible) and encouraging patients to merge back into society, the facility should feel like an extension of the community. Their spaces should reflect the nature and architecture of the surrounding region and thus so, no two facilities should look too much alike.

“Our a
pproach to designing these facilities is to view the facility as an extension of the community where patients will end up when they’re released. Interior finishes also depend on geography because you want to replicate the environment patients are used to. You want to de-stigmatize the facility as much as possible.” – Tim Rommel, AIA, ACHA, OAA, principal with Cannon Design in Buffalo, NY.

Therefore, materials and colors within these spaces want to feel familiar to one’s region and everyday life. To soothe the psyche and rehabilitate, they want to feel soft and comfortable, yet visually stimulating. An interior that is overly neutral or hard in appearance is not appropriate. Materials should reduce noise, and colors should lift the spirit. This can help to create an environment in which the patient can learn, socialize, and be productive while easing anxieties, delivering dignity, and modifying behavior. As stated previously, behavioral studies advise the use of softer interior materials-like carpeting, wood doors and tile. Doing so translates directly to both patient and staff well-being, particularly staff safety, and makes for a nicer place to work. In addition, staff have more resources to “treat” instead of manage heated situations. When staff experiences are eased and satisfied, morale is boosted and life-saving rules and policies are more likely to be enforced.

Staff-Focused Amenities & Happiness

While reducing staff stress and fatigue through a healing supportive environment seems like an obvious goal, there are relatively few studies that have dealt with this issue in any detail. More attention has been given to patient outcomes. However, many leading hospitals that have adopted therapeutic tenants into their newly built environments have seen vast improvement through their “business matrixes” and financial reporting.

In one example, the Mayo Clinic, a national leader in implementing healing design in its facilities, has reported a reduction of nursing turnover from a national annual average of 20% to an annual 3%-4%. In another example, when Bronson Methodist Hospital incorporated evidence-based design into its new 343-bed hospital, they cited their 19%-20% nurse turnover rate dramatically dropped to 5%.

Now, both the Mayo Clinic and Bronson Methodist Hospital have had to initiate a waiting list for nursing staff seeking positions. This converts to better-trained and qualified staff, and a reduced error rate. Therefore, more health facilities are investing in staff support areas such as lounges, changing rooms, and temporary sleep rooms. Within these staff spaces and in the hospital throughout, facilities are also recognizing the need for upgrade materials, better day lighting, and an interesting use of color: One soon realizes that the need of patients and staff are interwoven, each impacting positively or negatively the other.

Security & Safety

Without debate, self harm and harm to staff is one of the biggest concerns mental health facilities manage. Often the biggest safety and security concern is the damage patients can do to themselves. “There are three rules I had drummed in me,” says Mark Hanchar; Director of Preconstruction Services for Gilbane Building Company, Providence, R.I. “First, there can’t be any way for people to hang themselves. Second, there can be no way for them to create weapons. Third, you must eliminate things that can be thrown.” Hanchar says that the typical facility is, “a hospital with medium-security prison construction.” This means shatter proof glass, solid surface countertops (laminate can be peeled apart), stainless steel toilets and sinks (porcelain can shatter), push pull door latches and furniture that cannot be pulled apart and used as a weapon. These are just to name a few.

Additionally, removing barriers between patients and nursing staff is a safety consideration. Frank Pitts, AIA, FACHA, OAA president of Architecture Plus, says what may be counter-intuitive for safety precautions, “Glass walls around nursing stations just aggravate the patients.” Removing glass or lowering it at nursing stations so patients can feel a more human connection to nurses often calms patients. There is also discussion of removing nursing stations altogether; decentralizing and placing these care needs directly into the clinical neighborhoods and community spaces. Pitt says, “The view is that [nursing staff] need to be out there treating their patients.”

Therapeutic Design Tenants

As medicine is increasingly moving towards “evidence-based” medicine, where clinical choices are informed by research, healthcare design is increasingly guided by research linking the physical environment directly to patient and staff outcomes. Research teams from Texas A&M and Georgia Tech sifted through thousands of scientific articles and identified more than 600 – most from top peer-reviewed journals – to quantify how hospital design can play a direct role in clinical outcomes.

The research teams uncovered a large body of evidence that demonstrates design features such as increased day-lighting, access to nature, reduced noise and increased patient control helped reduce stress, improve sleep, and increase staff effectiveness – all of which promote healing rates and save facilities cost. Therefore, improving physical settings can be a critical tool in making hospitals more safe, more healing, and better places to work.

Today’s therapeutic spaces have been defined to excel in 3 categories:

1. Provide clinical excellence in the treatment of the body

2. Meet the psycho-social needs of patients, families, and staff

3. Produce measurable positive patient outcomes and staff effectiveness

Considering the cost of treating mental illness, which is exceedingly high, and wanting facilities to have effective outcomes, a further practice of incorporating therapeutic design is increasing. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIM H) approximated in 2008 that serious mental illnesses (SMI ), costs the nation $193 billion annually in lost wages. The indirect costs are impossible to estimate.

The estimated direct cost to clinically treat is approximately $70 billion annually and another $12 billion spent towards substance abuse disorders. In addition to the increased need of care and the boom in Behavioral Healthcare construction, it becomes an obligation to make certain that we as facility managers, architects, designers and manufacturers therapeutically plan and design these facilities.

Notably, in 2004, “The Role of the Physical Environment in the Hospital for the 21st Century: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity,” published by Roger Ulrich P.H.D., of Texas A&M University, was released. In a culmination of evidence-based research, research teams found five design principles that contributed significantly to achieving therapeutic design goals.

The report indicates five key factors that are essential for the psychological well-being of patients, families and staff, including:

1. Access to Nature

2. Provide Positive Distractions

3. Provide Social Support Spaces

4. Give a Sense of Control

5. Reduce or eliminate environmental stress

Access to Nature

Studies indicate that nature might have the most powerful impact to help patient outcomes and staff effectiveness. Nature can be literal or figurative – Uncategorized light, water walls, views to nature, large prints of botanicals and geography, materials that indicate nature and most importantly, stimulating color that evokes nature. Several studies strongly support that access to nature such as day-lighting and appropriate colorations can improve health outcomes such as depression, agitation, sleep, circadian rest-activity rhythms, as well as length of stay in demented patients and persons with seasonal affective disorders (SAD).

These and related studies continue to affirm the powerful impact of Uncategorized elements on patient recovery and stress reduction. Thus, it is clea
r that interior designs which integrate Uncategorized elements can create a more relaxing, therapeutic environment that benefits both patients and staff.

Positive Distractions

These are a small set of environmental features that provide the patient and family a positive diversion from “the difficult” and, in doing so, also negate an institutional feel. These can be views to nature, water walls, artwork, super imposed graphics, sculpture, music – and ideally all of these want to be focused on nature and, when applicable, an interesting use of color. Therapeutic environments that provide such patient-centered features can empower patients and families, but also increase their confidence in the facility and staff. This helps with open lines of communication between patient and caregiver.

Social Support Spaces

These are spaces designed partially for the patient but mainly for the comfort and socialization of family members and friends of the patient; therefore, family lounges, resource libraries, chapels, sleep rooms and consult rooms all play a role. When family and friends play a key role in a patient’s healing, these spaces encourage families to play an active role in the rehabilitation process.

Sense of Control

In times when patients and family feel out of control, it is very healing for the facility design and staff to provide it back when appropriate. Although, this cannot always be done suitably in mental healthcare facilities. However, when applicable, these design features include optional lighting choices, architectural way-finding, resource libraries, enhanced food menus, private patient rooms and

optional areas to reside in. A few well-appointed studies in psychiatric wards and nursing homes have found that optional choices of moveable seating in dining areas enhanced social interaction and improved eating disorders. When patients feel partially in control of their healing program and that the building features are focused to them, an increased confidence of the quality of care enters and tensions lower.

As with all therapeutic design, this allows the caregiver to use their resources healing in lieu of “managing” patient populations.

Reduce or Eliminate Environmental Stress

Noise level measurements show that hospital wards can be excessively noisy places resulting in negative effects on patient outcomes. The continuous background noise produced by medical equipment and staff voices often exceeds the level of a busy restaurant. Peak noise periods (shift changes, equipment alarms, paging systems, telephones, bedrails, trolleys, and certain medical equipment like portable xray machines are comparable to walking next to a busy highway when a motorcycle or large truck passes.

Several studies have focused on infants in NIC Us, finding that higher noise levels, for example, decrease oxygen saturation (increasing need for oxygen support therapy), elevate blood pressure, increase heart and respiration rate, and worsen sleep. Research on adults and children show that noise is a major cause of awakening and sleep loss.

In addition to worsening sleep, there is strong evidence that noise increases stress in adult patients, for example, heightening blood pressure and heart rate. Environmental surfaces in hospitals are usually hard and sound-reflecting, not sound-absorbing causing noise to travel down corridors and into patient rooms. Sounds tend to echo, overlap and linger longer.

Interventions that reduce noise have been found to improve sleep and reduce patient stress. Of these, the environmental or design interventions such as changing to sound-absorbing ceiling tiles, are more successful than organizational interventions like establishing “quiet hours.”

Conclusion and Additional Information

The information contained in this excerpted report is intended as a guide for architects, specifiers, designers, facility planners, medical directors, procurers, psychologists and social workers which have a stake in providing improved facilities for behavioral healthcare patients. It is a portion of a report entitled “The Contributions of Color” authored by Tara Hill, of Little Fish Think Tank. Ms. Hill was commissioned by Norix Group Inc., in 2010 to research the role color plays in the safe operation of correctional facilities and behavioral health centers. More in-depth information specifically about the psychological influence of color and behavioral healthcare facility design can be found by reading the full report.

Internet Marketing – New Trends in an Evolving Industry

Over the years internet marketing has been evolving from the
Efforts of the first marketers. Trends in the past have seen
marketers placed ads on talk forums, classified sites, in emails
and where ever they could find potential customers.

Some of these actions led to the introduction of changes from
Within the internet marketing community and from without.
An example of a change from within the community is the banning
Of ads on all forums and relegating them to only the signature file.

An example of a change from outside the community it the Can Spam
Law, which was introduced by the USA government to prevent the sending
Of unsolicited emails. This has done much to reduce the problems of
Spam; further to this from within the community we have seen programs
Which filter emails based on the words used in the headlines and in
The body of the emails.

What all these methods have done is fueled the evolution of internet
Marketing. Now marketers are using double opt-in techniques to
Comply with the Can Spam Law, they are using Tele-seminars to
Reach their target market. They are using SEO, search engine optimization,
To reach clients who are using the search engines to look for products
And services.

As we can see the evolution of internet marketing has been fueled from
Numerous sides, the government, the internet community, the internet
Service providers and the customers themselves.

Well my fellow entrepreneur the internet marketing industry is undergoing
another major evolutionary shift fueled this time by the customers.
October, 2006 was the apex of this change which has been building for awhile.

Over the months subscribers to the various mailing lists have been receiving
Emails on a daily basis promoting one new product launch or another. In
some cases some of us have received 2 or 3 emails promoting the same new
product launch. This activity reached it breaking point in October when there
were several product launches in the same day and we received up to a dozen
duplicate emails for the launch of new products.

The end result is that, there were a large number of un-subscribed requests to
The various mailing lists owners, many gurus saw their profits dropped
Dramatically from previous launches.

Currently we are sitting on the verge of a new era in marketing, an era in which
The consumers are helping to create what they consume. This new direction
Presents many opportunities for consumers and marketers. Download this
Free report at the URL below to learn more about how you can profit from
this new trend in internet marketing. http://5kpermonth.blogspot.com

What to Expect From the Best SEO Article Writing Services

SEO article writing services should always provide you with high quality and well written articles. The articles will enable you to reach out to more potential clients. It also ensures that you get a high page rank on the popular web browser. The article writing services are provided by a number of online companies. These companies have the expertise needed to provide the services. They have professional and high qualified writers to provide the articles. They also have a large number of editors who proofread the articles and ascertain that they are error free. The following are the various things that you should expect from the article writing services.

Well researched articles

The articles will be well researched. The writers always conduct a thorough research on the topic that is provided. They will seek as much information from you as possible regarding the products and services sold. They will then write the articles basing on the information that they have gathered. It is always essential to note that the SEO article writing services will always provide truthful and accurate information. The information will be sourced from highly reputable sources. The articles will also contain up to date information about your company.

Optimal keyword usage

Keyword usage is always important. The keywords enable readers to instantly get the articles that they want. The best SEO article writing services always ensure that they have the optimal number of keywords on the articles. This prevents over stuffing that can lead to penalties from the search engines. The keywords are also relevant to the information that is provided. They are also placed seamlessly on the article body. This makes it easy for the readers to scroll through the information on the articles. It also ensures that the readers deem your company as authentic.

Unique and impeccable

The SEO article writing services always ensure that the articles are unique and impeccable. Then articles are written from scratch by the professional writers. These articles will always pass through copyscape in order to ascertain that they are not plagiarized. It is essential to note that plagiarized content might lead you to a lot of problems with the authorities. Therefore, the writers should always ascertain that the articles have not been copied from another source. Any references made should be permitted and clearly indicated on the article. This will help to avoid copyright infringement.

Well organized and structured

The articles will always be well organized in order to make it easy for the reader to extract the information needed. The information should be presented in paragraphs that have unique information. The keywords should also be well distributed on the entire body of their article. It is also essential to ensure that the articles contain information that is relevant to the clients. It should be up to date and well written. The tone of the article should also be appropriate for the intended readers. The SEO article writing services should always provide information that is relevant to the products and services sold by your company.

Budget Your Total Bathroom Remodel

Like any responsible homeowner or renter, you plan to budget for your upcoming bathroom remodeling project. But finding the dough to accessorize like a celebrity may prove more than challenging. Whether you’re looking to install high-tech toilets, new faucets and showerheads or simply to afford new rugs, follow these penny-pinching tips; you’ll be on your way to a new total bathroom makeover without cutting back on your family’s food or selling your assets.

Plan in Advance

No matter what size remodeling project you plan to undertake, you can never plan too far in advance. The larger the project, the more long term you should think. But before you either sell you’re car or begin purchasing new bathroom accessories or fixtures, write down your plan. Create a mock blueprint of your ideal bathroom, complete with what fixtures you need or want to replace, as well as the aspects you can repurpose and refurbish for free. Now, conduct simple market research online and estimate the average price for the new features you wish to include in your makeover project. For standard durable pieces, look for trusted brands such as Kohler, Price Pfister and American Standard.

A good rule to follow should be based upon how long you intend to stay in your home. If you’re simply looking at a quick fix and sell home, then opt for simple improvements. If your family will be staying for decades, you may want to consider comfort and ease first, and then think of what will increase the value of the home over time.

Additional costs are accrued when you pay for the labor. So no matter how big or small you plan to remodel, also factor in how much – or how little – the cost of labor will be.

Evaluate the Spending

With your estimated expenses in hand, examine your current weekly and monthly spending habits. Are there any areas where you can afford to trim down? A few dollars here and there spent on gourmet coffee, fast food restaurants and even those extra cents tacked onto gasoline prices paid with debit or credit cards can really add up quickly. Budget-friendly ideas include carpooling, consolidating all errands into one day to eliminate expensive fuel costs as well as opting for stay-at-home dinners which tend to be cheaper and healthier.

Stick to the Plan

If you’ve decided to trade in your Chinese take-out Tuesdays and quick trips to the post office for a home cooked meal and a walk to the local stores, then stick to it. And it will be tough to stick to this plan, but be prepared. It’s easy to find excuses (it’s too cold outside to walk); writing down specific tasks on your calendar will help keep you focused on your goal: remodeling your new bathroom. Also, seeing tasks written in permanent ink will help guilt-trip you into behaving, especially if you’ve slipped once or twice.

Small Budget Makeovers

With the rocky economy and unstable job market, many families simply cannot afford a total bathroom makeover as they’ve dreamed. However, a few small and inexpensive changes can transform your bathroom. Often, just a simple accent wall in a dark, rich paint can change the feel of a bathroom instantly-while only a fraction of the cost of totally repainting your entire bathroom. Check out local yard sales and online listings for freebies and discount giveaways; a wicker basket or antique bedside table can double as an artistic and decorative toilet paper holder.

Total Redesign

Transforming your entire bathroom will require a hefty budget, especially if you’re reinstalling valves, bath tubs and cabinetry (which will most likely require the assistance of a professional). Splurge on the luxury model toilets with heated seats, heated tile floors to keep your toes toasty or the automated sink faucets that eliminate wasted water. Over time, you’ll see more money in your pocket, since these luxury upgrades will most likely replace your frequent trips to day spas.

Lower Your Premium Payments on Vehicle Insurance

With all the other expenses in life the last thing you want to pay more for is auto insurance. Insurance companies can raise their rates with no warning and it might not have anything to do with how good of a driver you are or how old you are. Don’t get me wrong, sex, age, driving record and other factors play a role it determining your car insurance premium, but sometimes companies simply need to raise their prices to keep solvent. Trust me, you would rather have the company raise the cost of insurance and stay financial stable then keep the prices the same and go bankrupt or sell off.

Since we know that insurance companies can increase prices at anytime, you have to keep that in mind when we talk about ways you can lower your premium. You can do everything correct to decrease your insurance price, but still not see your premium go down. This could be due to many reasons and sometimes it is in the insurance company hands and there is nothing you can do. Enough with the downer news. Let’s review the ways you could possible save money on car insurance.

Safe driving courses. This is a simple but somewhat inconvenient way of lowering your insurance premium or qualifying for insurance company discounts. I say this is inconvenient because you have to go take the course, but usually you can do this on a weekend and get it over with. If you are trying to stretch pennies it could be an easy way to save some money on your insurance policy.

Raising your deductible. This tactic should be looked at as a last resort to saving money on car insurance. This is a pretty safe way to lower your premium, meaning it is almost a guarantee that your insurance premium will decrease when you raise your deductibles. There are two deductible to look at. Your comprehensive and your collision. You do not want to increase your deductible unless you need to. By doing this you will increase the amount you will have to pay out when you have to file a claim (accident).

Combine your auto and home. If you own a home and have home insurance it is wise to have both your auto and home policy with one company. You hear tv ads all of the time stating how much you can save if you combine. It does not matter who you combine these policies with because most companies will provide a discount in this case.

Compare insurance quotes online. If you do not have car insurance or if you are coming upon your ex-date of your current plan you should look into getting free car insurance quotes online. The web is full of insurance websites that let you accomplish this task. Make sure the company is reputable and review their terms of use before you sign up. You should use a free website that allows you to enter your information once in return for multiple auto insurance quotes.

If you apply all four of these tactics you can be sure to have a better chance of getting cheaper insurance premiums. I hope you all will find a good insurance company that provides you with great service.

The Life Cycle of Acquisition-Based Companies

A few years ago, I was discussing this phenomenon with the CEO of one of our clients. His company had grown almost entirely through acquisition, and for several years the company had experienced revenue growth rates exceeding 20%. However, the company had plateaued with respect to earnings, and looking at their overall performance it became clear to him (and to the Wall Street analysts that watched his company) that a great deal of money had been left on the table. Working with that CEO, I developed a model called the ACL Life Cycle. Understanding and using the ACL Life Cycle has proven enormously beneficial to clients depending on an M&A strategy for continued growth.

The ACL Life Cycle

The ACL Life Cycle describes the maturation process of companies who grow substantially through acquisitions and mergers. Using the ACL model, we can clearly identify the company’s current position. Knowing that position, and then looking forward at the company’s financial objectives through the lens of their business strategies, the specific actions that are needed become clear. Those actions can then be formed into an executable plan with associated performance measures, and managed through completion to bring the overall enterprise to heightened levels of financial performance. It is important for acquisition-oriented executives to understand the major phases and characteristics of the ACL Life Cycle.

Businesses who have survived one or more acquisitions and/or mergers are usually left with some degree of disintegration among their processes and systems. A company’s success in reaching the financial objectives of the merger or acquisition is directly correlated with the degree to which that disintegration has been replaced by a set of business processes and information systems that are common enough to generate enterprise-wide leverage. Implicit in that commonality is enterprise-level direction and guidance, manifested in company-wide business strategies and performance measures that align all of the combined business units. These businesses move, in this post-acquisition or post-merger environment, from an acquisition-based operating model to one characterized by shared services and a general commonization, to a stage where the enterprise “whole” really is able to become something greater than the sum of its business unit “parts”. It is more than the typical cost-reduction synergy anticipated in most of these transactions; it is a new platform for innovation, and an even higher level of innovation-based leverage.

Companies who experience substantive growth as a result of business acquisitions typically follow the ACL life cycle. ACL in this context stands for: Acquisition, Commonization, and Leverage. Many companies never leave the first stage of this maturity scale, and still more remain at the second stage. The most successful companies are usually those who recognize the importance of moving through all three stages, and consistently implement a structured process for doing so.
All companies experience pressures that push them toward decentralized operations, including idiosyncrasies of specific market niches served, the uniquenesses of isolated business processes, unusual needs of specific customer populations, and Uncategorized organizational entropy. At the same time, most of the companies that are successful in achieving the financial performance objectives established for the newly merged enterprise manage to overcome those challenges, electing to pursue the advantages of leverage, including:

  • broad synergistic brand recognition, enabling cross-selling, bundling of products and services, and improving revenue
  • interchangeability of business process resources, enabling the company to reduce its asset base
  • commonality and scalability in equipment / skills / facilities, facilitating innovation and growth into additional markets
  • higher utilization of business assets, reducing unit cost
  • lower levels of redundancy, resulting in reduced operating costs

These companies also typically find that maintaining compliance with financial reporting standards such as Sarbanes-Oxley requirements are enhanced as a result of strengthened internal controls.
Some companies make a deliberate decision to remain “holding companies”, which simply buy and sell diverse businesses that have only marginal relationships with one another. These conglomerates prefer to manage the portfolio through buying and selling components, and allowing the leadership teams at the individual companies to manage ongoing operations from strategy through execution. A few of them have been quite successful, and this article is sometimes not as directly applicable to those at a corporate level. It works very well, however, for their major divisions. Companies that benefit most from understanding the three stages of the ACL Life Cycle are those companies who have decided to focus on a single core industry – Aerospace & Defense, Automotive, Chemicals and Polymers, Textiles, Electronics, Telecommunications, Consumer Products, Medical Equipment producers, Healthcare providers, and Financial Services providers are all good candidates. 

The Acquisition Stage of the ACL Life Cycle

Companies in the Acquisition Stageof their life cycles are usually focused on revenue growth, and capturing market share. They are characterized by high levels of autonomy in management, in the reporting of site-level data to the corporate parent, and in the design of their business processes and systems. Companies who remain in this stage for long periods of time following acquisitions usually act as holding companies, with the corporation allowing individual divisions or sites to operate almost as independent companies with their own P&L, strategic plans, and market-facing branding. Often, companies in the Acquisition stage lack a common vision of the future of the overall business, and tend to operate at cross-purposes among the operating units. They sometimes even compete against one another for the same customers. They share little operating information, making it nearly impossible to coordinate and deploy “best practices”, effectively distribute work load, utilize general market intelligence, and grasp other elements that could provide corporate-wide leverage of the businesses’ assets and resources. A few industry-specific examples here should help to illustrate the situation:

Manufacturing companies in the acquisition stage are usually characterized by redundancies in raw materials, equipment, staffing, and other business resources. Because manufacturing companies are relatively material-intense, a great deal of cost can be tied up in raw materials, work-in-process, and finished goods. Since acquisition stage companies have so little visibility between business units, there is little opportunity for them to reallocate these assets in order to use them effectively. As a result, the most costly resources remain the most underutilized. In addition, acquisition-stage companies have not centralized the management of even commodity-level business processes, such as finance, human resources, and information technology. This lack of centralization leaves additional inefficiencies in place around accounting staff, employee benefits provider subscriptions, business software applications, data centers, and computing equipment. 

Telecommunications companies in the acquisition stage also have unrealized opportunities for greater leverage from their business assets, but these more often take the form of redundancies in network equipment, network coverage, retail outlets, partner agreements related to the sale of their products, and interconnection agreements with other carriers. In addition, acquisition stage telecom companies often have a substantial amount of unrealized leverage in the lack of integration among the data bases and information of their various divisions that could enable shared service operations for commodity-type processes such as billing and cross-selling of products and services. Like manufacturing companies, telecom companies in the acquisition stage also typically have unexploited opportunities around the consolidation of data centers and related equipment and staffing.

Healthcare providers in the acquisition stage usually find opportunities in different areas of their businesses, because of the differing cost structure of their operations. The bulk of their costs and their opportunities while in the acquisition stage of maturity in the ACL Life Cycle are related to employee salaries & benefits, and to medical supplies and drugs. It is less common for these businesses to be able to effectively share inventories and equipment, since the nature of their business is rooted in community health care that requires local service provision. The opportunities that do exist, which are typically not exploited well in acquisition stage health care companies, are related to centralizing commodity type business processes such as finance, human resources, and information systems, and leveraging required service and supply procurement across the enterprise. 

Financial Services providers, such as banks, brokerages, credit unions, financial planning companies and tax & audit services exhibit yet another cost profile, with the largest elements typically including personnel and occupancy costs. In these businesses, like health care provision, being where the customers are is critical. The companies’ ability to understand the changing demographics and match up their branches as well as their skills to the targeted customer base is often a differentiator between the companies that succeed and those that fail. Financial services providers who are still in the acquisition stage of maturity in the ACL Life Cycle often do not have the commonality in fundamental business processes and systems to readily reconfigure their operations to meet the changing needs of their marketplace. Their acquisitions or mergers have enabled them to grow horizontally, typically into adjacent markets. However, lacking an adequate foundation of commonality in processes and systems, there is substantial money left on the proverbial table as a result of ineffective resource deployment, and delays in the reporting of operational performance data that would enable the company to be more responsive. These companies also fail, in their acquisition stage, to take advantage of their larger purchasing power to gain leverage around purchased services spanning items as diverse as employee health care and branch-level office supplies.   

The Commonization Stage of the ACL Life Cycle

Companies in the Commonization Stage of their life cycles have usually awakened to the value of focusing on Return on Net Assets (RONA) and Return on Invested Capital (ROIC). In order to begin to capture improvements in these areas, companies in the Commonization Stage often turn to shared service models of operations for selected business processes and systems. Strategies and performance measures begin to crystallize around common themes that span multiple operating units or divisions. Among the areas of focus for a shared service model in this stage are Finance (A/R, A/P, General Ledger, and Financial Reporting), Human Resources (Payroll, Benefits, and Employment Records), and Information Technology (Computer Hardware, Network Administration, and selected Software Applications Management). Some companies in the Commonization Stage also move Procurement and other aspects of Materials Management to a shared service model, enabling the corporation to more effectively leverage its broadest possible purchasing power.

Manufacturing companies in the commonization stage of maturity typically have shared services in place for commodity types of business processes such as finance, human resources, and information systems management. As they advance through the commonization phase, some of them also begin to pull together a common platform for procurement, encompassing at least their most costly and common raw materials. A few in this stage reach a point where their data center
operations are completely centralized, and may even be outsourced to a third party like CSC. Toward the end of the commonization phase, centralization of work deployment and capacity utilization as well as process quality emerge as companies begin to deploy common processes and systems in customer requirements management, enterprise requirements planning, manufacturing execution systems, and distribution management systems. 

Telecommunications companies in the commonization stage of maturity also typically have shared services in place for commodity types of business processes such as finance, human resources, and information systems management. As they advance in maturity through this stage, telecoms also become aware of the available leverage in centralizing the management of some of their most valuable assets. However, unlike the manufacturer’s raw material focus, for telecommunications operations those elements are things like spectrum licenses, network equipment, connection agreements, partner agreements, distribution centers, and retail outlets. Centralizing the management of those assets to identify overlaps and redundancies enables telecoms to emerge from the commonization stage with much more effectively leveraged business assets, providing broader market coverage with a lower total asset base and generating much higher earnings on that consolidated foundation.

Healthcare companies in the commonization phase of maturity find substantial benefit in the commonization and centralization of their commodity type processes and systems.  This is primarily because of the impact on cash flow and earnings when the employee base is reduced through shared services, and employee benefits and supplies are both leveraged in terms of the broader purchasing power of the company following a business acquisition of significant size. However, there is also an especially rich opportunity available to healthcare companies in the commonization stage that stems form the leverage available related to insurance coverage – not for the employees directly, but covering the potential liability of the company itself. This category of cost is typically about the third largest slice of the pie, and significant reductions there can translate quickly to a meaningful earnings impact. 

 Financial services providers in the commonization stage of the ACL Life Cycle, like healthcare providers, often find substantial benefit in the commonization and centralization of their commodity type processes and systems. With roughly half of their cost of operations wrapped up in employee salaries and benefits, there is an opportunity for meaningful impact on cash flow and earnings when the employee base is reduced through shared services, and employee benefits and supplies are both leveraged in terms of the broader purchasing power of the company following a business acquisition or merger. The next significant area for financial service providers in the commonization stage is the capability for rapid reconfiguration of the business based on enterprise-wide visibility of operational data and market intelligence.

The Leverage Stage of the ACL Life Cycle

Companies in the Leverage Stage of their life cycles are usually embarked on a fierce drive toward adding real value. They are relentless in their efforts to fully utilize the assets of the entire corporation, driving out redundancy and its associated costs. They are then able to pivot on the fulcrum of those more agile processes and systems to implement innovations that foster organic growth resulting in greater market share, greater revenue, and improved earnings for their shareholders. Leverage Stage companies also establish a structured and repetitive process of assimilating new businesses, gathering and incorporating market intelligence into company-wide strategies, and innovating on the basis of these new combinations to capture additional market segments. These companies are characterized by coordination and centralization of major business functions such as the planning and allocation of R&D, production work, inventories, raw material purchases, personnel, and factories & equipment. They centrally manage a broad spectrum of common business processes and systems, including customer requirements management, product data management, enterprise requirements planning, manufacturing execution systems, and logistics management. They are constantly changing, evaluating and configuring business assets to meet future market needs, acquiring and developing new businesses, and shedding assets that no longer fit their evolving model.

Manufacturing companies in the leverage stage of maturity typically have shared services in place for most of the critical business processes of their company, having reached beyond the commodity level processes and into those which deliver the most value to their customers. Examples include sales & marketing, order entry & customer service, capacity planning and management, production scheduling and shop floor control, and distribution requirements planning. As they move through the leverage stage of the ACL Life Cycle, some of these companies leverage the commonality of their processes and systems to produce innovative new products and services, identify additional market opportunities, and develop industry-changing relationships that reach through their supply chains. 

Telecommunications companies in the leverage stage of maturity also have shared services in place for most of the critical business processes of their company, including the seamless provisioning (often called “flow-through provisioning” by industry insiders) of all telephonic services to customers stemming from a single telephone conversation responding to an individual inquiry about a service. This type of capability is only enabled when all of the information from what have historically been disparate data bases is available in an intelligent form through excellent systems integration, based on exceptional levels of commonality and strength in enterprise-wide business processes.

Healthcare companies in the leverage stage of maturity have typically discovered and implemented leverage-based improvements in their major cost structure elements as a result of enterprise-wide information visibility flowing from systems integration and centralized management of critical business processes. Health care companies generally also have uniquely challenging business conditions related to three other areas where leverage level operations can be a powerful tool. 

The first of these areas is employee safety. Most health care organizations are spending a substantial amount of money in this regard, with training and documentation of company polices and safety-related practices requiring an increasing amount of company attention. The integration of systems and commonization of processes in a leverage stage health care company offers opportunities to more quickly incorporate internal best practices, externally imposed business requirements, and feedback about lessons learned across the entire health care organization regardless of geographic dispersion. Commonization and centralized management here can result in substantially lower cost, and more importantly, substantially higher and more uniform levels of employee safety. 

The second area is bad debt. The integration of customer data, and effectively interfacing a common set of enterprise-wide processes and systems with outside service providers such health maintenance organizations and insurance carriers, substantially reduces the amount of bad debt in leverage level health care companies. 

The third area, and perhaps the area of richest opportunity, is the area of patient medical information. This area is tricky because of legislation related to patient privacy and guidelines recently established for the maintenance and communication of patient medic
al information. However, one of the fundamental challenges faced by health care providers is the absence of available medical history, particularly when a patient is admitted to an emergency room or urgent care facility. Particularly when a patient is unable to respond to questions directly due to an incapacitation illness or injury, time can literally mean life or death. Making all necessary information available to the physicians and other health care professionals involved as quickly as possible is extremely important. When critical business processes and information systems for the management of this information are brought to an effective level of commonality, the rapid dissemination of the needed information can be greatly improved, while patients’ expectations around the privacy of their information are still met. 

Financial services companies in the leverage stage of maturity, like health care companies in some ways, must balance the needs of differing local customer geographies against the advantages of centralized management in critical business processes and systems. There is real value in allowing some latitude to local branch officers and customer-facing staff such as loan officers to accommodate the unique circumstances involved in specific cases. However, these companies often find that a significant advantage of the leverage provided by enterprise-wide commonization of processes and systems is the ability to see the nuances of differing markets at a corporate level, and recognize broader trends among those different markets more quickly and clearly than they could before. This improved visibility, in turn, enables management to reconfigure their service offerings, redeploy resources such as sales dollars, and organize sales campaigns for those specific markets more quickly than they could previously.  

The best of these companies, regardless of what industry they occupy, utilize their common platform of processes, systems, and information to understand the needs of their customers in unique ways, and fluidly translate those needs into the features of their products and services. A few, at the very top of the game, come to understand the customers’ needs even before the customer recognizes them, and when necessary they reconfigure their entire business to meet those needs, gaining unassailable competitive advantage. The enterprise-wide leverage they achieved as a result of carefully and skillfully handling the post-merger or post-acquisition integration of processes, systems, and data provided the platform from which innovation launched them to new levels of performance. Examples could as easily be provided for companies in pharmaceuticals, retail operations, or the food & beverage industry. The lessons learned and the techniques vary a little, but the principles are the same.

3 Tips For a Budget Holiday Road Trip

Looking for budget travel plans for your next long weekend holiday? A road trip might be your best shot!

1. Rented cars is the most economical solution for road trips.

Car rental companies normally offer a variety of ‘holiday car rental’ packages for holiday travelers to select from. These packages have to be affordable for travelers who are on budget and also wants to have a free & easy driving holiday.

Holiday car rental has been appealing to seasoned travelers and lately has attracted younger travelers that want to explore places that are less travelled. Competitive holiday car rental rates help travelers to save money and enable them to go to places less-travelled where ordinary holiday travelers are unable to explore.

With the advent of intra-Asia travel, holiday car rental will continue to grow as it offers the benefit of leisure travel at individual pace. As a result, many rental companies are aggressively marketing their holiday car rental program to meet the discerning needs of travelers. Several rental companies have seen double digit growth and demand continue to increase for this segment of the business.

2. Plan your route wisely. Use Google Map or GPS Navigation.

A traditional way of planning your driving route is to purchase a printed map from a bookstore. Today, it is a lot more convenient to just route your journey on Google Map, then just print out the map with specific driving directions. But for the adventurous travelers, a GPS navigation system is their best choice. And more than often, a GPS Navigator is included in your rented car for just a little extra money.

3. Travel packages for overnight trips – Low cost and safety.

If you are planning an overnight stay, then you should check with your rental company for any travel packages available. Many do offer competitive travel packages to attract budget holiday travelers. Working closely with travel agencies, they are able to offer special rates on hotels, motels and inns, which sometimes also provide occupants with complimentary breakfast.

It is also usually safer to go with the hotels, motels or inns associated with your rental company. Their relationships with your rental company should indicate that they meet a certain quality standard and are more trustworthy.

Bathroom Remodeling – Top 10 Tips For a Successful Bathroom Remodel

1.) Choose the Right Contractor:

Selecting the right contractor for a bathroom remodeling project in Dayton, Ohio is the crucial first step and can make the difference between a successful enjoyable process and a never ending nightmare of regret. Make sure the bathroom contractor you select is qualified and capable. Apples to Apples estimates often differ since outstanding quality and customer service costs more to provide you then low attention to detail and no customer service.

Remember often times in life you get what you pay for. Be sure to compare more then just Scope of Work when comparing estimates and investigate and verify their Better Business record.

2.) Proper Prior Planning:

Sound familiar from college? Well it applies to everything including bathroom remodeling. There is a lot of coordinating to be done in typically small spaces when bathroom remodeling. Sure a good contractor will do most if not all the coordinating for you but it is a good idea to go over the steps yourself prior to construction.

Planning the process yourself will not only allow you to be more educated about it, but also make you more informed and better capable of making good decisions with regards to your bathroom remodeling project.

3.) Functional Work Triangles:

Work triangles typically apply to kitchen remodeling but also have value when Bathroom remodeling. “Work triangles” refer to the distance between the functional amenities of your bathroom such as toilet, lavatory sink, showers and tubs, and storage. Creating the right amount of space between these items can make your bathroom functional and comfortable as well as create a feeling of openness and space.

4.) Choose the Right Materials:

With the increased popularity of the big box stores came a gambit of new choices, consequently making selecting materials a nerve racking experience for some remodeling novices. A good contractor will help you select the right stuff for the right spot keeping esthetic appeal, texture, durability and cost in mind.

By properly installing the right materials, they should last the lifetime of your home. The right materials can make all the difference in the world and its painfully obvious when you select the wrong ones.

5.) Waterproofing and Concrete.

By properly waterproofing the concrete board it will create a durable long lasting medium for the tile setting. Reputable contractors only remodel bathrooms using moisture resistant drywall for dry painted surfaces, and concrete board for any areas to be tiled or exposed to wet conditions. However hanging cement board alone is not enough.

The joints and corners need to be taped and finished with ASTM approved mortar in a similar fashion as one finishes drywall. Doing this waterproofs the system allowing your walls to not rely solely on the finished tile for water proofing characteristics and, creates a second moisture barrier.

This simple, low cost step will add decades of time to your bathrooms life span. Ask your proposed contractors how they intend to waterproof the cement board. If they leave this step out of the answer, or say, “the tile is the waterproof system.” move onto the next guy.

6.) Get Great Lighting:

Proper lighting is essential for bathrooms. The right lighting can dramatically improve the appearance and function of your newly remodeled bathrooms. Utilizing a diverse selection of lighting such as 6 inch can lights, 4 inch cans lights, flush mounted lighting, wall sconces, under cabinet lighting, and vanity lights truly livens the space and adds a sense of elegance only great lighting can. The more lights and type of lights you use the more dramatic the aesthetic appeal.

7.) Select the Right Trim:

A bathrooms trim is very important. Types of bathroom trim include; baseboard, casing, chair rail, wainscoting, crown molding, and around mirror trim. The correct combination of trim separates good bathrooms from great bathrooms. There is a fallacy that all of a home’s trim must match. It just isn’t true. Upgrading a bathroom’s trim package can provide huge design dividends while remodeling a bath room and separate it as the most elegant room in the house, which it should be.

8.) Hardware and Fixture Fluency:

Not many things can destroy a bathroom remodel like mismatched hardware and fixtures. There are several finishes to choose from when considering which one is best for your project such as, chrome, brass, brass and chrome, nickel, brushed nickel, stainless steel, brushed stainless steel, antiqued bronze, brushed bronze, and oil rubbed bronze. It is imperative that all items in your bathroom have similar finishes. Disregarding this will confuse the eye, create an un-unified look and take away from your bathrooms appeal.

9.) Remember the Small Stuff:

The small stuff is commonly overlooked then thrown together in the end. One of the largest consumer complaints with regards to bathroom remodeling is that the contractors did not include, or forgot to hang the towel bars, robe hooks, toilet paper dispenser, and soap dishes. Excluding these items results in them being thrown together in an often times dysfunctional manner.

Including the small stuff in the initial prior planning process allows you to select and order the proper pieces for your project with matching finishes to you hardware and fixtures. Keep in mind brushed nickel from Moen does not always match the brushed nickel finish from Kohler and other manufacturers. Ordering all your stuff from the same brand at the same time in the beginning shortens total time for your remodel, assures finish matching, and adds value to your home’s bathroom.

10.) Don’t over Due It:

Bathrooms are typically limited by space regardless of their size. Cramming too many things into to your bathroom will not increase its beauty or function. Instead concentrate on selecting high quality products, proper design, and excellent installation. Quality over quantity is mode of best approach. There are thousands of great products available for bathrooms, try not to fit them all into your bathroom at once.

Also avoid too many accents in tile work. Often time’s people are taken away by the beauty of a mosaic pattern or tile trim detail and throw it up everywhere resulting in a busy almost dizzying effect. Focus on material cohesiveness and minimalist design and you’ll be amazed what you can come up with, without breaking the bank.

Things I Have Learnt About Prospecting and Cold Calling in Commercial Real Estate

In any real estate market and economy, the prospecting process remains fundamentally important to the success of the real estate agent and individual salesperson. Prospecting on a daily basis is the key to progress and success with both territory control and domination.

Here are some key facts that I have learned from prospecting and cold calling over the years:

  1. Most people working in the industry rank very poorly when it comes to prospecting on a regular basis. This is a significant opportunity for those that get their prospecting model under control.
  2. Face to face contact remains the ultimate conversion factor when it comes to prospecting. Everything you do should point towards a successful introductory meeting with the qualified parties.
  3. The telephone is a very powerful tool for creating meetings and contact with the right people. The cold calling process you use must be consistent and professional. Gone are the days of sleazy sales pitches.
  4. One of the more successful traditional methods of marketing that has been around for years is the signboard. The more signboards you get into your territory, the more momentum and ease you will have with building listing and sales opportunity. The signboard infers that you have market presence and domination. That is what the local community and property investors think, providing you have a good number of signboards placed on quality property throughout the area.
  5. E-mail marketing and database use is now critical to both the individual salesperson and the real estate agency office. It remains a tool of constant contact of relevant property information to qualified prospects. These are people that already know you and expect information and property updates from time to time. Growing and shaping the database each day from personal contact across the sales team is fundamental to progress and market share.
  6. Some less experienced salespeople tend to rely on E mail as the first and final point of contact. The process of Email is convenient and easy to use, however it has little benefit in prospecting and will not replace the benefit of one to one contact. If the prospect does not respond to the Email, a typical salesperson will usually discard and forget the prospect. The reality of the prospecting emails that you send is that most of them are deleted and discarded.

Prospecting for commercial real estate listing opportunity should be based around unique and personal contact. The more that local people know you personally as a professional and knowledgeable real estate expert, the more listings you will achieve. This image and mantle takes time to develop but it will occur through diligent personal contact.