Discover The Offerings of The SouthEast Asian Cruise

The continent of Asia is home to unequaled exotic cultural influences and temples built in times past, white blazing beaches, and tastefully unique cuisines. This should be a tour that any cruise fan must indulge. Cruise lines are an ideal way to tour this lovely continent.

During the extent of your cruise, there will be plentiful stops at some of the best tourist destinations that Asian culture has to offer. Gorgeous landscapes and unmistakably delightful food draws more tourists than the typical tour of the Bahamas. For those of you who seek new and different climates to satisfy that touring urge, this is the place to go. The entertainment is available at every stop.

Tourist cruising routes began to frequent South East Asia because the regions there respond to visitors with such an appeal that it is irresistible. Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Singapore are certain stops along the South East Asia shores. The sights are amazing and these countries offer such friendly hospitality to those who come from distant lands.

Enter the region of Wat Pho in Bangkok, Thailand and experience the splendor of the Reclining Buddha, a famous tourist attraction. Hong KongĀ“s bustling retail environment is overwhelming at first, but once you get used to it, you feel welcomed as an equal and there are many souvenirs and gifts to bring home.

Many countries of Asia have moved into the tourist scene in order to boost industry interest and commerce. The Maldives and India as well as Sri Lanka and Taiwan represent the growth of Asian industry, and the advances in technology appeal to private-public sector partnerships that foster global growth of business. These countries especially call to tourists for this reason.

Ten days would be the minimum amount of time to allow for your cruise to tour Asia. You should expect an early arrival in order to adjust to the difference in time. You are going a significant distance from home for this experience.

Many cruise lines will arrange for you to stay in a hotel for the duration of your adjustment to the changes in time. From that point, after you have had time to settle, your journey will begin. Be sure that you have studied the Asian customs and rituals to some extent before your arrival in these countries so that you show reverence for local customs.

On a cruise, you can tour Asia at your leisure. This is such a huge continent that there will be much for you to take in, but you can set your own pace. Enjoy the sights and entertainment completely and you need not become overwhelmed by the breadth of it all.

Advice On Sports Nutrition Supplements

Have you wondered how your favorite athletes do their workout? Or what kind of exercises they perform, what kind of food they eat or how do they manage to relax under pressure situations? Probably you don’t care about all this because what matters for you is their performance in the sport. But it doesn’t mean that they don’t take care of themselves like we do.

In fact, athletes need to monitor their lifestyle very closely and keep their health conditions at par with their competitors; not just by eating right food items but also by consuming supplements.

Supplements are an integral part of athletes’ diet. It is required to have an enhancement of their endurance, and also to increase or, if not increase, at least maintain the appropriate muscle mass to be able to improve size and strength.

One of the most important parts of any sports nutrition is protein supplements. Without these supplements, athletes would not be the way they are at present. However, contrary to what most people think, diets jam-packed with protein do not necessarily build up muscle strength.

Building up muscle strength would be the job of regular physical activity. So if you want those big muscles you have to do exercises, not necessarily at gyms but could be also at your residences, daily. The key factor here is regularity. What you can achieve with steady and regular exercises may not be possible with a high profile but an irregular one.

Sports nutrition supplements need high levels of protein, which you can get from protein-rich foods. Enumerating all those food item will be a total waste of space in this article.

But to make you aware of the basics, here are a few of the foods that are rich in protein. There is fish, poultry and dairy products, and these are the foods you usually get your protein from because some sources of protein are high in fat and also in calories. So basically, you must take note of which sources are high in fat and which are not.

Even though nutrition supplements are useful, there are many reasons because of which sports nutrition experts discourage use of such supplements. One of the reasons is that these supplements can put a strain on your liver and kidneys.

Other reasons include high amounts of nitrogen in the nutrition supplement, which will only be excreted from your body as urea. But it is not as easy nor is as safe as it sounds because this said excretion often causes fluid imbalance, which leads to dehydration.

Another problem with sports nutrition supplements that have high amounts of protein from animal sources is that there are higher risks of heart diseases due to the high fat intake associated with such nutrition.

One more disadvantage of sports nutrition supplements is that there is a huge tendency that you will ingest amino acids that are capable of interfering with other amino acids, which results in a metabolic imbalance.

Beware of sports nutrition supplements that have high amounts of amino aids because it can cause gout; diarrhea and stomach cramping that can rank from mild to severe pain.

Even though sports nutrition supplements are being discouraged by sports nutrition experts, Bricker Labs, a sports nutrition supplement manufacturer, still does a lot of research, developments and marketing in this area.

Bricker Labs has over thirty years to blame for their success in their provision of sports nutrition supplements. They do not apply to sports nutrition only too, but also to weight loss, diet, health and other nutritional aspects.

It’s because of their experience in the field of sports nutrition and also because of their choice of perfectly safer ingredients in developing the nutrition that you would not like to consider any other manufacturer for your sports nutrition supplements. So what are the ingredients they use and how are they safer than those that other manufacturers use?

They make us of the L-Carnitine, which is mainly used for weight loss, energy and also for having a healthy heart function; Colostrums, which gives your body a healthy immune system function and also gives your body an improved stamina and also for an easier recovery in almost all cases; Vandayl Sulfate, which is capable of growing your muscles and also has the ability to define your muscles; Protein, everyone knows what protein is for and that is for sports nutrition, and also for health and muscle growth.

Another component is called Creatine, which is used for sports nutrition and muscle growth but it also involves bodybuilding at this time; HCA or Garcinia Cambogia, are for losing weight and suppressing your appetite; and last but certainly not the least, Vitamin B-12, is for overall health and nutrition.

All these ingredients mixed proportionately make the right sports nutrition. And an adequate dose of such nutrition gives the athlete required energy and muscle strength. Now you know what keeps an athlete going!

Waterless Cooking

Have you heard of the waterless cooking method? It is a relatively new method of cooking that has many advantages. In the past, a lot of household cooking has involved cooking food with water. When cooked in water, however, a lot of the food’s nutritional value, not to mention the flavor, is taken away. Waterless cooking allows you to cook food in it own juices, retaining all the vitamins and minerals as well as most of the original flavor. There is no need to add water to foods (especially vegetables) because the natural moisture in the food is released and the steam created helps the cooking process. The steam is circulated throughout the pot and falls back into the food allowing it to stay moist and juicy.

So what are the advantages to waterless cooking? First of all, it is an easy way to cook. Many times you can use a one-pan cooking method so that all the food (meat, veggies and potatoes) is cooked together. This also allows for easier clean up with only one pan to wash up. And the new waterless cookware, with its superior heat distribution, tends to have less chance of food burning or sticking.

Waterless cooking also tends to cook food a lot faster. With the new waterless cookware available now the heat is evenly distributed along the bottom of the pot or pan. Because of this, there are no ‘hot-spots’ that may tend to burn your food. The lid of the pot forms a seal, which locks in the heat (as well as the moisture) so the cooking time is decreased.

As mentioned, waterless cooking is a healthy way to cook. None of the nutrients are lost during cooking, and you don’t need to add oil to stop the food from sticking to the pan, which also makes it healthier. The natural color and texture of the food is also retained which makes the food more appealing. Foods that are supposed to be crisp tend to keep their crunchy texture as well.

The features of waterless cookware that allow this cooking method to work include a flat bottom on the pots and pans which allow the most efficient means of heat transfer. The flat bottom connects with your stove element better, whether it be the coils of an electric stove or a gas unit, so that the heat transfer is more efficient. The cookware also has an iron core and an aluminum or copper base plate built into it that helps to retain a continuous, constant cooking temperature even after the heating element has been turned off.

Waterless cookware is typically made of high-grade stainless steel, which is better than other traditional pans in a couple of different ways. The stainless steel does not allow the taste of the metal to transfer to your food, as may be the case with aluminum or Teflon-coated cookware. Some companies use surgical stainless steel, which is the highest grade you can get for a real quality product. The stainless steel is easy to clean, durable (enabling it to last an extremely long time) and it allows you to keep your cookware sterilized.

One of the main features of waterless cookware is the special lid that keeps the natural moisture in the food from escaping. The lid forms a seal with the pot and lets the natural juices form into steam so the food cooks in its own natural juices, retaining all the nutrients and original flavors. There is a steam valve that whistles and tells you when you should turn off the heat (once the juices have created sufficient steam). In this way you save energy when cooking and the food is always cooked at a constant temperature.

Although it is referred to as waterless cooking, one thing you should do before cooking with this method is to rinse your food in water and then drain it before cooking. This ensures there will be enough water clinging to the food to create enough steam, mixed with foods natural juices, to cook it properly.

Cooking times with the waterless cooking method is generally a little less than traditional cooking times, depending on personal tastes for doneness. You should always cook your food at medium to low temperatures because the special waterless cookware construction allows the unit to conduct heat in the most efficient manner. You must also resist the urge to lift the lid during the cooking process as this will lengthen the cooking time and may even allow the food to dry out when the steam escapes.

The steam valve will tell you when you should turn off your stove element-when the correct temperature has been reached to allow the food to cook itself. When the steam valve whistles, turn off your stove, but do not lift the lid until the specified cooking time has elapsed-then you can open the lid and serve out your hot food. As a tip, put warm water into the unit after the food has been removed and let it sit while you eat so clean-up will be a snap afterwards.

Most recipes can be adapted (with a few alterations) to using the waterless cooking method as well. You will discover that old favorites will taste better and new recipes will be simple to master. The waterless cooking method is a new and healthier way to cook. It is more energy efficient, allows the food to retain its own juices, texture and color, and is an easy way to cook.

Small Business Owners: Utilizing Technology to Improve Profits

If you really want to become more profitable and improve operations in your company, you have to shift your focus from the following limiting thoughts about technology.

 

  1. If I buy the latest production software we will be in good shape
  2. We don’t do that here
  3. We are unique, we don’t have competition that use technology to help them generate profits
  4. The plan is in my head, people will steal it off the computer
  5. All I need is more sales to make more profits

 

You’ve got to get the right mindset by eliminating restricting thoughts, and then you’ll be ready to improve people, processes and profitability.

Do you ever wonder how a company can start out with just one idea, a passion and a vision, then 10 to 20 years later have thousands of employees and millions in sales?

 

  1. What did these companies do to become so successful
  2. Are the owners smarter than you?
  3. Do they work harder than you?
  4. Did they have better equipment or people than you?

 

No. But they do use better technology tools to drive operation (the people and the process). Operations represent about 60% or 80% of all your overhead costs but they’re the least understood by US businesses.

For decades, the Japanese have focused on operations that have driven innovation and a culture of continuous improvement. In the right small business owner hands, operations and technology can be a competitive weapon.

Now, ask yourself how can your small company— with just a handful of employees and limited resources — turn operations and technology applications into a powerful weapon to beat competition and learn to grow and thrive!

Why invest in technology / What are the benefits

The bottom line is, if you’re suffering from tight cash flow, exhausted lines of credit and top-line growth, then you have weak operations and have underutilized the technology applications onsite or off-the-shelf that can help you.

First step to rapid profit improvement is to start by questioning your employees. They usually know where costly blocks and bottlenecks are hidden.

Technology can store employee survey results that help you to plan profitability.

Employee Questionnaire(sample)

 

  1. Are your interests and ambitions being challenged
  2. Does each department in this company have measurable standard designed to increase profitability? Does each area have documentation of process flows and procedures of how it should work?
  3. Does everyone in this company share the goal of improving the company profits? Does the CEO hold town hall meetings about ‘planned profits’?
  4. Are you regularly told when you do good work?
  5. Do you get the help you need to do a good job?
  6. As an employee, do you feel you can trust your direct supervisor/manager?
  7. Are owner/managers open and honest with employees?
  8. Does the company provide you with continual training in areas that will make you a better employee? Has it trained you on how to cut operating expenses or increase revenue to improve profits in your area?
  9. Are your responsibilities generally explained, well planned and organized?
  10. Is poor performance tolerated by management? i.e., worker performance, operations bottlenecks and customer relations.

The following are other ways business productivity software drives business processes more efficiently to gain optimal results:

Create an open and communicative environment.

By storing appraisal information within a formal database, managers can more easily communicate business strategy and create measurable goals for their employees that will support overall company objectives. In allowing employees to see the whole picture and understand better how individual goals fit into the company’s business objectives. This can create a energized and engaged employees, thereby raising the business productivity of the company.

Motivate your employees using technology.

Based upon the information gathered in an online performance evaluation, managers can compare current skills with those required for advancement or other recognition or reward opportunities that present themselves as the manager tracks progress on employee goals throughout the year. You may also find you need to redirect employees to different departments if you feel their business productivity could increase elsewhere. If there are impediments to better performance, the company should review why it is happening and try to eliminate these through better allocation of resources or additional training.

Monitor business productivity and employee progress on goals.

Business productivity software solutions enable managers to more easily track progress during every phase of goal completion and offer immediate reinforcement or coaching to keep performance and deadlines on track in daily operations, and utilize performance measurements for strategic planning.

Electronic Commerce

There are many business applications related to e-commerce, from setting up your online storefront to managing your supply chain to marketing your products and services. These technologies fall into three main categories:

Business to Business(B2B)

 

  • Purchasing indirect supplies
  • Look for catalogue-based websites offered by suppliers for corporate purchases, similar to business-to-customer websites, for purchasing indirect supplies such as office furniture, pens, paper, and general office equipment.
  • Leveraging your existing Web presence
  • Improve your existing business-to-customer e-commerce website. Greater sophistication can be added into your online store to target your business clientele.

 

Business to Customer(B2C)

The global reach of the Internet has allowed many businesses to sell their products and services online, both at home and abroad. An electronic storefront is a website with many pre-built e-commerce components like electronic shopping carts and secure payment gateways that you can use to set up an online store.

Internet Marketing

Everything you do to promote your business online is Internet marketing. For example, Internet marketing strategies include (but are not limited to) website design and content, search engine optimization, directory submissions, reciprocal linking strategies, online advertising, and email marketing.

How to Implement Technology to increase profits

IT implementation can be a valuable tool for increasing workplace productivity, but without a careful selection of the right technologies for your specific industry and comprehensive employee training, it can also serve to reduce productivity, profitability and employee satisfaction. The return on investment will depend on whether the technologies implemented are right for a given business’ needs and how prepared employees are to use them.

Step 1

Brainstorm a list of business process improvements you may be able to realize from a technological implementation. Your list should include three categories: improvements that you know to be possible, and which are core requirements for your expense; a wish list of things you would like to have, but which may be future development efforts; and a list of things which would transform the way you do business, but which may not be possible. These three targets provide you with a present-day implementation goal, as well as a future development target–and it may be that your transformational goals could be far easier to reach than you expect.

Step 2

Determine whether you intend to develop these technologies using in-house resources, or through outside consultancies. Nearly every major workflow technology requires extensive customization, implementation procedures and training. Small businesses can sometimes get by cheaply using staff members technologically proficient–but mistakes made at the beginning of the process can ramp up costs later on when you turn to professional outside support.

Step 3

Avoid specifying particular technologies if you do not have the technical expertise to evaluate them properly. The purpose of the managerial process at this stage is to define goals and budgetary constraints; non-technical managers who wed themselves to specific technologies too early can miss out on substantial cost savings, and choose a technology not the best suited for the work.

Step 4

Circulate your request for proposals among outside consultants and implementors, or establish an internal process for doing the same among your staff if you are keeping the work in-house. Major technological implementations will not succeed if they are added to the existing workload of an employee. Proper technological implementations can be more than a full-time job in and of themselves. Staff members shifted to technology implementation should have their existing duties moved to other staff resources.

Step 5

Negotiate a time frame, budget and implementation benchmarks with your external or internal staff resources. If you are working with an outside consultant, your contract should include protections against running over budget and over schedule. Likewise, the consultant will protect his own firm by setting specific terms of the work to be completed, and charging you extra if you change them over the course of the contract.

Step 6

Develop an implementation timetable, including the following steps: test deployment to review the work; training, if necessary; a transition phase from the current workflow to the new technology; and production deployment of the completed technology. This last phase is typically followed by an iterative process, in which improvements to the technology are collected from the staff who have direct experience working with it. When budget and time allow for it, apply a new cycle of upgrades to your technology to ensure that you are getting the most out of it.

Finance, Credit, Investments – Economical Categories

Scientific works in the theories of finances and credit, according to the specification of the research object, are characterized to be many-sided and many-leveled.

The definition of totality of the economical relations formed in the process of formation, distribution and usage of finances, as money sources is widely spread. For example, in “the general theory of finances” there are two definitions of finances:

1) “…Finances reflect economical relations, formation of the funds of money sources, in the process of distribution and redistribution of national receipts according to the distribution and usage”. This definition is given relatively to the conditions of Capitalism, when cash-commodity relations gain universal character;

2) “Finances represent the formation of centralized ad decentralized money sources, economical relations relatively with the distribution and usage, which serve for fulfillment of the state functions and obligations and also provision of the conditions of the widened further production”. This definition is brought without showing the environment of its action. We share partly such explanation of finances and think expedient to make some specification.

First, finances overcome the bounds of distribution and redistribution service of the national income, though it is a basic foundation of finances. Also, formation and usage of the depreciation fund which is the part of financial domain, belongs not to the distribution and redistribution of the national income (of newly formed value during a year), but to the distribution of already developed value.

This latest first appears to be a part of value of main industrial funds, later it is moved to the cost price of a ready product (that is to the value too) and after its realization, and it is set the depression fund. Its source is taken into account before hand as a depression kind in the consistence of the ready products cost price.

Second, main goal of finances is much wider then “fulfillment of the state functions and obligations and provision of conditions for the widened further production”. Finances exist on the state level and also on the manufactures and branches’ level too, and in such conditions, when the most part of the manufactures are not state.

V. M. Rodionova has a different position about this subject: “real formation of the financial resources begins on the stage of distribution, when the value is realized and concrete economical forms of the realized value are separated from the consistence of the profit”. V. M. Rodionova makes an accent of finances, as distributing relations, when D. S. Moliakov underlines industrial foundation of finances. Though both of them give quite substantiate discussion of finances, as a system of formation, distribution and usage of the funds of money sources, that comes out of the following definition of the finances: “financial cash relations, which forms in the process of distribution and redistribution of the partial value of the national wealth and total social product, is related with the subjects of the economy and formation and usage of the state cash incomes and savings in the widened further production, in the material stimulation of the workers for satisfaction of the society social and other requests”.

In the manuals of the political economy we meet with the following definitions of finances:
“Finances of the socialistic state represent economical (cash) relations, with the help of which, in the way of planned distribution of the incomes and savings the funds of money sources of the state and socialistic manufactures are formed for guaranteeing the growth of the production, rising the material and cultural level of the people and for satisfying other general society requests”.
“The system of creation and usage of necessary funds of cash resources for guarantying socialistic widened further production represent exactly the finances of the socialistic society. And the totality of economical relations arisen between state, manufactures and organizations, branches, regions and separate citizen according to the movement of cash funds make financial relations”.
As we’ve seen, definitions of finances made by financiers and political economists do not differ greatly.
In every discussed position there are:

1) expression of essence and phenomenon in the definition of finances;

2) the definition of finances, as the system of the creation and usage of funds of cash sources on the level of phenomenon.

3) Distribution of finances as social product and the value of national income, definition of the distributions planned character, main goals of the economy and economical relations, for servicing of which it is used.

Single Family Homes Versus Multi-Units – The Great Real Estate Investor Debate

Investors have long discussed, argued and debated whether single family homes or multi-units are better for your real estate investing portfolio.

There are advantages and disadvantages for each and I will briefly highlight some of these below.

Let’s start with single family homes.

Single family homes are typically easier to finance, easier to find long term tenants for and easier to sell.

They are easier to finance because you can go to just about any bank and get a non-owner occupant loan, often with very little down payment. (But note, at the time this is being written, May of 2008, lending requirements have gotten significantly stiffer.)

Single family homes are easier to find long term tenants for because many tenants prefer living in a detached home rather than sharing a wall and/or ceiling with multiple neighbors in a multiplex unit. Tenants also tend to stay longer because those who rent houses instead of apartments tend to have more stuff and they don’t like to move it as much.

Since you can sell your single family home either to another investor or to any family looking for a home, you have a very large market for liquidating your property.

Another advantage of single family homes is that there are lots of them. However, single family homes tend to cost more per unit and they are harder to justify an income approach to pricing.

If you looked at a cost per rental unit, single family homes tend to be much higher than the cost per unit of similar (in terms of bed/bath) multi-units.

Since single family homes are primarily built for and sold to owner occupants, they are not priced based on the amount of income that they will produce. Sellers tend to rely on appraisals to value their houses and not on the amount of rent their house can generate.

Now, let’s look at multi-units.

Multi-units are different (not worse) to finance and tend to have better cash flow since the cost per unit is usually lower than similar single family homes.

Multiplexes with more than four units usually don’t qualify for residential financing and require a commercial loan, which is a significantly different process than financing single family homes.

This can be an advantage or a disadvantage depending on your specific situation. It usually requires a larger down payment, but your personal credit score is less important.

Since the cost per unit is lower, you can usually realize better cash flow from the property when looked at on a per month basis compared to single family homes.

Since the number of people looking to buy multi-units is smaller than those looking to buy single family homes, you may be able to negotiate a better deal when buying, but it also may mean you need to give a better deal when selling. This may be a contributing factor to why the cost per unit is lower than similar single family homes.

Personally, I prefer single family homes, but I believe that multi-units have their place in the right portfolio.
Single Family Homes Versus Multi-Units – The Great Real Estate Investor Debate

Investors have long discussed, argued and debated whether single family homes or multi-units are better for your real estate investing portfolio.

There are advantages and disadvantages for each and I will briefly highlight some of these below.

Let’s start with single family homes.

Single family homes are typically easier to finance, easier to find long term tenants for and easier to sell.

They are easier to finance because you can go to just about any bank and get a non-owner occupant loan, often with very little down payment. (But note, at the time this is being written, May of 2008, lending requirements have gotten significantly stiffer.)

Single family homes are easier to find long term tenants for because many tenants prefer living in a detached home rather than sharing a wall and/or ceiling with multiple neighbors in a multiplex unit. Tenants also tend to stay longer because those who rent houses instead of apartments tend to have more stuff and they don’t like to move it as much.

Since you can sell your single family home either to another investor or to any family looking for a home, you have a very large market for liquidating your property.

Another advantage of single family homes is that there are lots of them. However, single family homes tend to cost more per unit and they are harder to justify an income approach to pricing.

If you looked at a cost per rental unit, single family homes tend to be much higher than the cost per unit of similar (in terms of bed/bath) multi-units.

Since single family homes are primarily built for and sold to owner occupants, they are not priced based on the amount of income that they will produce. Sellers tend to rely on appraisals to value their houses and not on the amount of rent their house can generate.

Now, let’s look at multi-units.

Multi-units are different (not worse) to finance and tend to have better cash flow since the cost per unit is usually lower than similar single family homes.

Multiplexes with more than four units usually don’t qualify for residential financing and require a commercial loan, which is a significantly different process than financing single family homes.

This can be an advantage or a disadvantage depending on your specific situation. It usually requires a larger down payment, but your personal credit score is less important.

Since the cost per unit is lower, you can usually realize better cash flow from the property when looked at on a per month basis compared to single family homes.

Since the number of people looking to buy multi-units is smaller than those looking to buy single family homes, you may be able to negotiate a better deal when buying, but it also may mean you need to give a better deal when selling. This may be a contributing factor to why the cost per unit is lower than similar single family homes.

Personally, I prefer single family homes, but I believe that multi-units have their place in the right portfolio.

Elements of a Strong Corporate Travel Program

In order to make the most of your corporate travel budget, it is critical to plan for leveraging your program for all it is worth. Telling travelers to select the lowest logical airfare is just not enough. Here are the elements that should be considered when planning or evaluating your travel program.

1. Travel policy

A well written and disseminated travel policy is the foundation of any good travel program, and I am consistently amazed that so many corporations have such an outdated and poorly conceived travel policy, if they have one at all. It is not difficult to find a well written policy. One can be found online quite easily. All that remains is that it is edited to reflect corporate culture, and disseminated within the company so that everyone understands and agrees to follow it. For this reason, it is a good idea to have everyone sign a copy of the travel policy to ensure that it is read, understood and owned by all company staff. I suggest that everyone in the company signs a copy of the travel policy, whether they travel or not. They may change positions in the company later and be required to travel. A travel policy need not be long or complex. Some of the best travel policies I have ever seen were only a few pages long.

2. Centralized travel internally and externally

Many companies do not centralize their travel program, and they pay a price in terms of a loss of expense reduction opportunities and internal efficiencies. Many companies that do not centralize travel have a fear of requiring travelers to do something they may not want to do, along with the idea that centralizing travel will require hiring a Travel Manager. Both of these may be legitimate concerns but they do not have to be in most cases. By requiring travelers to book centrally, you are not necessarily causing them to lose flexibility. You can centralize travel while still allowing travelers to book on their own, either with a travel agency of your choice, or online through a provider that you have partnered with and have confidence in. By assigning someone with the responsibility of overseeing travel, you are getting a single point of contact both internally and externally for travel issues. If your company spends less than $1 million in air travel, you probably do not need a full time travel manager. In these cases, travel oversight can be given to the finance department, human resources, or even an executive level assistant. Here is a look at the advantages to be gained by centralizing travel.

When you centralize travel with a single agency, you gain in a number of important ways. You will have a single point of contact for problems while travelers are on the road, and you will have one entity to go to for all your travel needs. This eliminates the problem of consolidating a travel report from among several sources. By bringing travel together, you will gain significantly from economies of scale. If you can measure total travel among various divisions or locations, you can get more for your money from travel suppliers. This will allow you to gain more from airline soft dollar programs, which means more free tickets and upgrades, get a higher percentage discount from our preferred airline, and get better negotiated rates from your hotel and car contracts. Your fulfillment costs will decrease as well, as your travel agency will often discount their fees for a higher overall volume of travel.

3. Mix of online booking and personal service

This is an addendum to the previous element, which calls for centralizing travel with one travel agency. This is important, but in doing so, you need not require travelers to use an online booking system, and you need not require travelers to call the agency directly. By offering travelers the option of doing either, you are accomplishing several goals. You will reduce your fulfillment costs, as online booking is cheaper in terms of a service fee. By giving travelers the option, you are giving them a sense of control, thereby increasing morale and standing a better chance of a high adoption rate. Thirdly, you leave open a best practice of using your online booking engine for less complex itineraries, and allowing senior executives, frequent travelers, and complex itineraries to be booked directly with a travel agent that can offer a higher level of service and a better overall travel experience where it is most warranted.

4. Look under every stone

While the bulk of most travel programs revolve around the air budget, there are several other areas one can investigate to find savings opportunities. There are a couple of more obvious areas to look, such as negotiated hotel rates at your favorite hotels, or car rental discounts with a favored supplier. Often your travel agency will already have discounted rates through consortia affiliations and agency car contracts. There are also some less common areas that should be investigated. For example, if ground transportation is a concern, most suppliers will offer discounted rates and a direct billing option. Direct billing arrangements with hotels and car rental agencies are also a great way to increase efficiencies and make the job of the accounting department easier.

5. Leverage hard dollar and soft dollar contracts

Most major airlines today offer hard dollar discounts as well as soft dollar incentives in exchange for company loyalty to their product. If your travel program is over $1 million in air spend, you can secure a discount off of the lowest fares of your carrier of choice in return for a market share commitment. For your secondary carriers, or if your volume is less than the minimum required by the airline, you can enter in to soft dollar programs for free tickets and free upgrades, as well as traveler status enhancements or airport club passes. These programs require little in the way of volume, but they are not well publicized so you may need to hunt for them or ask Baker Travel or your current agency to point you in the right direction.

6. Do not neglect hotel volume

Hotel volume is sometimes overlooked but it should not be. Negotiated rates can be had through your travel agency or directly with the hotel properties of your choice. Individual hotels near corporate locations will negotiate discounted rates for you in exchange for a minimum room/night commitment. By utilizing a travel agency, you are likely to receive discounts of 5% to 50% on thousands of hotels worldwide.

7. Have at least one car rental contract

Rental car contracts are easy to enter into and require little in the way of commitment from the corporation. Choose a partner that has airport locations and a reputation for excellent customer service. You can save 5-10% very easily and can also negotiate frequent renter membership for all your employees. This will make them more efficient and enhance morale. You can also enter in to direct billing agreements at the same time that can make the jobs of your travelers and accounting staff much less stressful.

8. Understand group and meeting contracts

Airlines and hotels will discount your fares and rates when you have groups traveling together or meeting at a single destination from multiple points of origin. These meeting contracts can bring you airfare discounts of 2-10%, and if you have enough travelers on a single airline, you may be able to negotiate for free tickets to be awarded at contract completion. The minimum requirement is usually 10 travelers going to the same place at the same time. Some airlines have higher minimums so be sure to ask before a contract is generated. Hotels will discount their rates in a similar way with a minimum of 10 room nights. These discounts can range from 10% to a much higher discount depending upon occupancy rate and seasonal variances.

9. Use reporting to consistently improve metrics

Well managed travel programs require constant monitoring and financial controls to be properly leveraged. Insist on timely and customized reports that can be designed to bring you the information you need most. By receiving regular reporting on traveler behavior and provider contract performance, you will be in a better position to fulfill contract obligations, achieve cost reduction objectives and see where opportunities for future savings may lie.

10. Use all avenues to enhance traveler comfort and efficiency

Lastly, any well managed travel program will take in to account the comfort and productivity of their travelers. When travelers are comfortable, they can focus on their main priorities that help propel your business forward. If travelers are happy, they perform at a higher level. Ask if your travel agency can upgrade traveler status on a preferred airline. Look in to purchasing blocks of airport club passes so they can be used strategically during long and complex itineraries. There are many ways to reward travelers for the difficult and often grueling chore of travel. These kinds of rewards generate feelings of loyalty and increased productivity and efficiency.

If you would like to learn more about how your company can better leverage their travel program to benefit your bottom line and the satisfaction of your executive level, feel free to contact me. I am delighted to point you in the right direction.

Business Finance Training and Effective Business Solutions

Business finance training refers to programs that teach individuals how to handle various financial duties. Finance training is similar to finance tips in that both help business owners make better monetary decisions, but training programs offer a more detailed explanation of finance strategies. Training programs vary in price and can be used by the owners and employees of a business.

The most basic business finance training provide information on budgeting, preparing financial statements, managing cash flow, strategizing, forecasting, improving performance, and applying basic procedures and concepts to more effectively manage a business. These programs are recommended for new business owners to help them understand standard business practices. Once these basic methods are mastered, more specific financial training may be looked into.

Advanced business finance training delves more deeply into a certain financial procedure or concept, usually at a higher cost than basic programs. Advanced programs may teach business owners how to set up effective business models, make decisions based on quantitative analysis, manage and control accounts, practice due diligence, measure productivity, and strategize concerning mergers and acquisitions.

Taking part in any kind of business finance training gives a business owner the resources to make more intelligent business decisions that result in increased productivity and profits. Many different types of courses are available either online or at a specified location. Some programs may even offer the option to train at the business. Taking into consideration the needs and abilities of a business is the key to finding the best business finance training.

A business finance solution generally refers to methods of funding and maintaining the finances of a business. Most solutions involve ways of obtaining working capital, but others also offer ways of protecting and increasing that capital.

To obtain working capital, business owners look to finance solutions that offer funding by several different means. The most common means are loans and financing. Asset-based loans use a business’s assets, such as inventory and equipment, as collateral. A business may also opt for a property loan in order to acquire commercial space. Invoice financing, such as factoring, involves liquidating or selling a business’s accounts receivables in exchange for quick funding. Some businesses look to trade financing to supply their inventory. The business will tell its financer the amount and cost of goods needed, and the financer will pay for the goods. The business then repays the amount financed over a specified period of time.

Most companies that provide business finance solutions also offer ways to protect and increase a business’s capital. Credit protection safeguards a business from daily risks, such as customers not paying on time, so that the business does not suffer incredible losses. This makes it much easier for the business to borrow money in the future, and it protects the balance sheet. A finance solution may also offer business insurance plans that increase the stability of a business. The most common types of business insurance are employee and public liability, car, property, and health insurance. These business finance solutions are designed to protect businesses against potential losses.

Fashion Blogs Are Gaining Popularity

You will find all forms and shapes of fashion blogs as the internet is full of them. It can talk about the advantage of wearing skinny jeans over boyfriend jeans or how pink takes the place of black plus all the extras. As you go online, you will get your fill of the latest in fashion trends via fashion blogs.

Fashion As Part of Our Lives

There are people who say that they can live without fashion and this is not at all important to them. Giving it some thought, you don’t really have a choice because fashion has been a part of our being, ever since you can remember, influencing culture and society since it is brought about by factors surrounding us like the environment, weather and most of all, a person’s beliefs, values and experiences.

What Influences Fashion?

Certain periods in history that fashion has defined, involved discrimination among classes. This distinguished the royalty from non-royalty and restrictions on social dressing. During earlier times in Western Europe, the bourgeoisie were prevented by government regulations from wearing fine clothes, so as not to be identified as royalty. Since the dragon was an emperor’s symbol in China, non-royals were prohibited from wearing this. In World War II, American women’s skirts had restricted lengths because of a ration on fabrics. This just shows that fashion has a significant influence in people’s lives. It has been part of us, though we are not aware of it.

Knowing the Latest Trends Via Fashion Blogs

Present-day fashion-conscious individuals called fashionistas, have various ways of living with fashion. They check out the new trends via fashion blogs, not to be tagged as “in” or “cool” but to find out what people are wearing, nowadays. Fashion bloggers are updated, with regards to the latest trends and avoid those who go for super expensive items, suggesting chic but cheap fashion.

Popularity of Fashion Bloggers

Fashion bloggers are well-known since they used to be fashion outsiders but because of determination to gain an edge over what you may call the “snobs” of the fashion world, they have turned into admired insiders. They turn fashion world inside out with their straightforward opinions on the season’s collections, giving their honest views of the latest trends and ways on how these can be carried off by regular folks.

What Influences Fashion Blogging?

Also, they are blessed with innumerable talents, which influence their blogs. Some host fashion events while others design the displays of the world’s renowned fashion storefronts. Others shoot for fashion books while some model the ramp. Fashion blogging’s success makes advertising, among other major industries; want a share of the action. Since fashion bloggers have loyal women followers all over, they have turned into strong personalities, and every word they speak is taken seriously, just like that from the Bible. Retailers and advertisers are hopeful that their products will make it big.

Natural Skin Care Remedies – Make Your Skin Beautiful Naturally

What is the first thought you get when you hear the words “natural skin care remedies”? Do you think about things you can do at home to make your skin beautiful? Or do you associate it with natural skin care you can buy instead?

For me, natural skin care remedies include both things – face gymnastics to give yourself a little face lift without a knife daily, cosmetics you can make in your own kitchen, but also 100% natural, commercial skin care products.

There are as thousands of remedies there for all kinds of skin problems out there, but in this article I’d like to concentrate on the ones that slow down the signs of aging, that means the ones which smooth away wrinkles, tighten skin and make the skin look younger.

Believe me, I’ve done my research and I can say there are so many natural substances that are supposed to make your skin look youthful and smooth. Usually these substances need to be used on the skin in the form of a cream, or taken orally as a supplement.

Of course many foods in themselves are filled with vitamins and nutrients that can help your skin rejuvenate itself, but usually you’d need to eat impossible amounts of these foods to really get the benefits of the substances in them. Don’t get me wrong, I love to have a few tomatoes or strawberries a day, but there’s a limit a person can eat!

To really get a benefit of natural skin care remedies you’ll need to eat a good diet based on natural foods, but also use natural skin care, which you can buy or make yourself. If needed, you can complement the process with quality supplements, too.

Be careful when shopping for natural skin care products, though. There are so many product lines that claim to be natural, but really aren’t. Sure, the cream in the pretty tube has some olive oil, aloe vera or keratin in it, but just a little bit! If that’s not bad enough, many products are in fact based on mineral oil! Make sure you get a 100% natural product and not one with 10% or even 90% natural ingredients.

Get a cream based on natural glycerines instead. These kinds of creams, which are great for moisturizing, can be made at home, too. For an anti-aging effect you’ll need special ingredients and buying a cream might be a more viable option. Do your research and try a few brands, the good ones will have a money-back guarantee so there’s no risk for you.

If you’d like to know more about natural skin care and the products I recommend, please visit my website for more information.

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