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Web Business Marketing Tools For Businesses And Individuals Alike

Marketing tools will literally make or break a business if you use them properly, improperly or not at all. If you have no talent for marketing whatsoever then maybe even the world’s best internet marketing tools could help you but generally the right one can really help a business get the great competitive edge in spite of the skill (or lack thereof) of the business owner. Business advertising modules have been around for a very long time and these B to B ones come into play every day by businesses to help them make the results that they are after. Just because promotional gimmicks are great is not a reason to go ahead and buy as many as you can afford and the rest of this article will explain to you the method you will use when considering the various business to business marketing tools (or really any useful website marketing tools) available out there for you.

Remember that to achieve success as a business marketer you need to understand what your strengths and weaknesses are and then take steps to protect yourself from your weaknesses. Promotion tools help you diminish the impact that your weaknesses have on your business and because of that you should only choose the tools that are right for you. Hate doing research? Then a marketing research tool you would like to have on your next list of expenditures. Detest the thought of having to create a website from scratch to do promotion? Then a webmaster promotion means might be just what you need to help. Before deciding on which advertising means you want to pursue it is important to sit down and create a list of your strengths and weaknesses. When done, you can go down your list of weaknesses and add an e promotion gimmick to each that you think might help. If you can come up with a website or a blog promotion service that will help more than one weakness, you will create redundancy, which will ultimately decrease the amount that you end up paying.

Remember that there are many things that you could classify as weaknesses and not just what mentioned above. For example if you are not good at writing sales letters and e-mails then you might want to go ahead and buy a so-called mean to help you. Likewise, if you suck at building contacts then a network advertising device is probably right for you. There are many network marketing means out there and many of them are available for any group of advertising you could think of. Whatever marketing tools you end up purchasing, as long as they make sense in the grand scheme of your own strengths and weaknesses then they will be a good way to leverage you money over the long run.

Alternative Investment Strategies For Crazy Markets

During the economic crisis of the past decade, markets and industries crashed and hundreds of companies and millions of people were caught with their pants down. This ordeal has taught everyone the value of security during uncertain times. One of the surest ways to buffer yourself from economic crunches is by making sound investments. While there are traditional investment strategies available to first-time investors, alternative investments are rapidly gaining momentum, and for good reason.

Alternative Investments: The Basics

Alternative investments refer to investment strategies that go beyond traditional investments like stocks, bonds, cash, or property. Popular financial assets in the alternative investment category are:

1. Hedge Funds

2. Private Equities

3. Financial Derivatives

4. Venture Capital

5.Commodities

They also include several tangible assets including, but not limited to, the following:

1. Wine

2.Antiques

3. Stamps

4. Art

5. Coins

Characteristics of Alternative Investments

Unlike traditional investment strategies, alternative investments are not direct fixed-income or equity claim on the assets of an issuing body. They are complex in nature, so most of these assets are held by accredited, high net-worth individuals. They also tend to lack liquidity and have a low correlation to traditional financial investments such as shares of stock in a company. This low correlation adds to its appeal, especially with investors who are looking to diversify their investment portfolio (the low correlation coefficient will be discussed in depth in a later section).

Also, compared with more common investments like mutual funds, alternative investments have higher minimum investment requirements and fee structures. The cost of purchase and sale is relatively high. In addition, they are subject to less regulation. While this may be good on one hand, it also has the effect of limiting opportunities to publish verifiable performance data. Hence, historical data on risk and returns may be limited. This data could be useful in promoting an alternative investment to potential investors.

Because current market values of some forms of assets are difficult to determine at the least, it is imperative for investors looking to invest in alternative investments to conduct proper due diligence. This especially applies to tangible assets like artworks and wine.

Some investors consider alternative investments as a good means to diversify their portfolio, thereby reducing overall investment risk. However, this is not the only reason why more and more investors are now looking into expanding their financial prospects via alternative channels.

The Appeal of Alternative Investments: Low Correlation, Absolute Return

Although there are a number of alternative assets presently being offered in the marketplace, a common characteristic among these numerous options is their low correlation coefficients with both fixed income and equities. Low correlation is considered important when choosing assets for inclusion in a portfolio, primarily because assets that are relatively uncorrelated with both bonds and stocks tend to have minimal exposure to systematic market risk factors. Absolute Return Strategies – strategies that seek a low correlation to systematic risks in the market, make it their objective to attain relative independence from the underlying equity or fixed-income market benchmarks’ overall performance.

Absolute return does not come without its challenges, however. There are potential constraints on the upside. To illustrate, when broader stock markets are picking up, investors with low-correlation alternatives may see their portfolios performing weaker in relation to those with traditional assets. This somehow implies that absolute returns can be maximized in negative market climates and tend to underperform during positive economic climates.

The Economic Atmosphere for Alternative Investments

It would not be an understatement to say that alternative investments were, for the longest time, reserved mostly to high net-worth investors. The broader retail market finds the field of alternative investments difficult to penetrate because of reasons mentioned earlier in this article:

- High minimum investment sizes;

- High minimum fee structures; and

- Assets with no liquidity.

Recent years show a change – an evolution – in the economic atmosphere, where alternative investments are concerned. Progress in global financial markets has developed and provided greater opportunities and a wider range of products through which more investors can enrich their portfolios with alternative assets. Directional alternative assets like commodities, real estate and foreign currencies, as well as hedge strategies like buy-write become accessible to more investors through exchange-traded funds (ETFs), exchange-traded notes (ETNs), and mutual funds.

These options were not available until recently. With increasing entry points into alternative investments, investors now find themselves able to participate in innovative investment approaches that promise increased profits. If alternative investments appeal to you, now would be the best time to start investing in alternative assets.

How To Invest In The Stock Market Without Losing Money

Do you wish you could capture the future growth of the major world markets with zero risk of losing money?

Well, this article reveals how to do exactly that.

The stock market has been one wild ride since 2008. After a 20-year bull run, a huge 50% drop in 2007/2008 wiped out trillions of dollars of wealth in just over a year’s time. It was gut-wrenching to say the least. A few people even committed suicide over it. Then in just a few months, the markets grew by more than 20%.

Now, three years later, we’re getting close to where the market was at the beginning of 2008… but we’re still seeing way too many days where the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA or the “Dow”) rises and falls by more than 300 points in a single day.

It’s enough to make you want to just “get out”… park your money in a CD, and move on. But when you are only getting maybe a half a percent from savings and money market accounts, it just seems like there has to be a better alternative… and there is… using what I call “Zero Loss” investing.

There are several “Zero Loss” investment alternatives available and each type is a little bit different; in this article, I will focus on the advantages, disadvantages, and how they work in general.

How Zero Loss Investments Work

In most cases, these types of investments are contracts or certificates of deposit (CD’s) offered by banks where you invest your money for a period of months or years. When the contract or CD matures, you get back your original investment plus a percentage (which can be more than 100%) of the growth of the market index or indices. If the index (or indices) have a net loss, you simply get back your original investment… guaranteed.

For example, if you paid $10 per share or unit and the index goes down relevant to the index on the date the certificate was created (or stays flat), you lose nothing; you simply get your $10 per share back. Assuming the “participation rate” is 100% and the index goes up 50% over the 2-year life of the certificate (for example), you would get 100% of the growth. Since 50% of the $10 investment is $5… and since your participation rate is 100%, you get 100% of that $5. Thus, you would get back $15 for your “zero loss” investment.

Advantages of Zero Loss Investing

The advantages of zero loss investing is pretty obvious… you get 80% to 125% of the growth of the index (or multiple indices) with zero risk of loss of principle. This means you can invest your “sensitive” money such as savings for college, retirement, etc.

Since in most cases you can buy these certificates on the market just like an exchange traded fund (ETF), you can structure your investments to mature just before you need it. For example, if your son or daughter is going to start college in 24 months and you will need $15,000 at that time, you could simply invest $15,000 in a Zero Loss investment that matures in 22 months. This way you will receive your original investment plus any growth a couple months before you need it (don’t forget to account for the bills coming due a couple months before the semester starts).

Disadvantages of Zero Loss Investing

The only real disadvantage is you really must plan to hold the investment until it matures to ensure you don’t lose any money. These certificates will float in value based on their underlying index (or indices). If they are up relative to what you paid, you can sell them and take your profits. However, if you need the money and they are currently down, you will only get whatever the current market value is… which can be less than the face value of the shares. On the other hand, if you hold them until they mature, you will at least get back the face value.

“Zero Loss” Investments Are Not Really “Zero Risk”… Although They Are Close!

Generally speaking, “Zero Loss investments” are considered zero risk, but they do have two types of risk which I will discuss in a moment. First of all, if you invest properly, there is virtually zero risk of losing your principle (i.e., the money you invested). Your principle is guaranteed against loss.

The first type of risk, however, is the risk of Guarantor Default… in other words, if the organization guaranteeing your investment goes bankrupt, you could lose money… but in general this risk is very low. In fact, some of these investments are actually guaranteed by the FDIC (the same group that guarantees your bank accounts).

The second type of risk, which is always present in all investments, is called “opportunity risk”. Opportunity risk is the risk you incur because you could have invested your money elsewhere and made more money than with the investment you selected.

Alternative Investments – Real Assets

Alternative Investment Lessons – Buy Physical Assets

In the current climate, investors are seeking alternatives to traditional investment assets, hoping to preserve capital, avoid the ravages of volatile equity markets, and generate investment returns that are not wholly dependent on the performance of the wider financial markets.

Physical assets are proving most popular with investors, items that retain a tangible value, rather than paper-based investments that can ultimately reduce in value to zero, despite the value of any underlying assets. Gold is the prime example. Whenever the stock market fall substantially, investors sell shares and buy gold. The resulting spike in demand for what is a finite asset drives up the price, creating returns for investors.

Other alternative investment assets that are becoming increasingly popular also rely on supply and demand for their capital value, but where demand is guaranteed. Farmland is a good example; there is a finite stock of suitable arable land, most of which is already being used, yet the population is not only growing in size, but also in consumption per capita of food and energy. This means that the product of farmland -crops – will continue to rise in price as demand outweighs supply. This creates an income stream with a positive correlation to population growth. Also, as the land earns more money it too becomes a more valuable assets, so farmland rises in value faster than the rate of inflation providing a good capital preserve as well as income.

Farmland as an alternative investment now forms part of the investment portfolios of a number of major pension funds, hedge funds, sovereign wealth funds and university endowments. Long-term investors that can afford to hold the asset for some time are well positioned to preserve and grow capital whilst also generating income.

Investing in real assets like farmland protects the investor from short term market volatility, as these kind of alternative investment assets have a real use, they hold real value. Some investor attempt to harness this growth in global consumption by investing in agribusinesses through the equity markets, but whilst this method of investment will capture broad sector-wide growth, the value of even great companies falls when the market dips or crashes.

Another alternative investment asset that relies on demand for essential commodities is timber. Investors that purchase commercial woodland, earn revenue from timber sales at harvest, so returns are dependent on the growth of trees, rather than financial markets. Also, trees retain their value, and grow into bigger, more valuable trees every year.

Forestry investments are similar to farmland investments in a number of respects; in the first instance, they benefit from increasing demand and limited supply, they retain value when the markets crash, and investing in timber companies does not provide the same shelter as investing in the physical asset.

But timber is unique in one respect, and that is that not only do the trees grow bigger giving more timber to sell, they also grow in value as timber prices increase in line with, or faster than the rate of inflation.

There are all kinds of alternative investments, but many share very similar characteristics as laid out in this article. They rely on supply and demand, rarer items command higher prices, and their performance has a low or negative correlation to traditional assets like stock and shares. The same can be said for investing in fine wine, art or collectibles, all of which are also becoming more and more popular as alternative investments.

Investing and Educating Yourself

Some people say they have no money or too little income and, thus, can’t afford to invest any of it. Let’s get something very clear right from the start of this article: you can’t afford not to invest. If you don’t start putting aside a good portion (at least 10%) of your earnings into investments – if you don’t start building a portfolio for yourself – you’ll find yourself in a very precarious financial position as you approach your declining years. When you’re facing the day you can no longer work as much or you’d just like to retire, and you realize you can’t afford to retire comfortably, you’ll wish you’d thought ahead a bit better and planned for such a day by investing when you were younger.

Educate Yourself – That said, it helps to know something about investing, even if you have an automatic retirement account, a financial planner, or savvy assistance from friends. To inform yourself, talk to some successful investors, read books and articles, and watch some videos. Try starting with Eric Tyson’s Investing. Of course, there’s an enormous amount of help online. Try Charles Schwab, Merrill-Lynch, CNN Money, Ameritrade, or Etrade. They all have terrific websites with a wealth of information. You could also take a class at the local college or go to a live financial planning seminar. There’s also a good non-profit organization called the American Association of Individual Investors which offers educational materials and holds seminars on various topics.

Formulate an Investment Strategy – Just as with anything else, a plan will increase your chances of success. Take stock of your assets, income, short-term goals, and long-term financial destination. As I said earlier, you should invest a minimum of 10% of your income – a lot more if you’re able. So think about it: how much money do you have and how much can you put aside? What do you want your investment portfolio to do for you? Help you retire at 55, 60, 65? Or provide you with additional income as soon as possible? Exactly what do you want to accomplish with your money? After you come up with answer to those questions, you’ll be better able to select the right investments and the right combination of assets to meet your financial goals.

Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • How much money can you invest right now?
  • Do you have any outstanding debts?
  • Are you planning on purchasing any large ticket items?
  • What’s the total amount of your monthly bills?
  • Do you have a retirement or registered pension plan?
  • Will you be inheriting any money?
  • How much instant cash do you want to have at your disposal for emergencies?
  • Whether you have a financial adviser or not, you need to be clear about those issues before formalizing your investment plan.

Investment Basics: All investments have three basic ingredients: Expected Return, Risk and Marketability.

Expected Return is the amount of interest, dividends or capital gains that you expect to earn from your investment. The higher the expected return, the greater the risk.

Risk is the chance you take that you could lose some or all of your investment, or that you could earn less return than you expected. Lower risk investments include government treasury bills and savings bonds. Higher risk investments are stocks and futures. Mutual funds vary widely in risk. Your tolerance for risk depends on your overall financial position, how much time you have to endure periodic fluctuations in your investments’ value, and how well you deal with the likely anxiety and stress you’ll feel if your portfolio takes a turn for the worse.

Marketability or liquidity refers to how quickly your investment can be converted to cash. Term deposits are not liquid, since you usually can’t withdraw your money before the end of the term. Mutual funds, however, are very liquid because you can quickly sell them on short notice for little cost.

Stocks – Buying shares or stocks in companies traded on the NYSE or NASDAQ have historically outperformed all other investments over the long term. You can make a killing and become wealthy by trading on the stock market. However, stocks can also bankrupt you if you don’t know what you’re doing, or even if you do. Playing the stock market is not for the feint of heart. The risk is great, but so is the return if you play it smart. The greatest factor in determining stock prices is the company’s earnings. Be prepared to watch your stock go up and down, fluctuating over hurricanes, gas prices, wars, and even presidential elections. It’s the long-term growth of the company that matters. Here’s an encouraging fact: since World War II, an estimated 90% of the stock market’s gain has come from profit growth. As profits accumulate, prices rise, regardless of what’s happened on any given day, month, or year.

U.S. Treasury Bonds – Do you want a sure thing? These are as close as you’re going to get because almost everyone agrees that the U.S. government is unlikely ever to default on its bonds. The government can always print more money to pay them off if necessary. As a result, the Treasury’s interest rate is considered a risk-free rate.

Mutual Funds – A fund is basically a corporation that collects and invests money. You join a pool by buying shares in the fund. Pooling your money together with other investors gives you more power to invest. Also, your money enjoys the advantage of being invested by a team of professional money managers who research bonds, stocks, and assets, placing the pool of money as smartly as possible. Investing your funds in several different places reduces your risk of being hurt by any single bad investment. The fund managers charge an annual fee from.5- 2.5% of assets, plus expenses. For that fee, you buy into the collective wisdom of a team of professional money people, along with attaining instant diversification.

Diversify Whatever you decide – to do it yourself, hire a professional, or go with mutual funds – you need to diversify – to place your money in several different investments. That will lessen your risk of being wiped out if things go badly for you.

It All Adds Up – Don’t postpone investing because you feel you haven’t enough money to make it worth your while. Here’s what investing only $100 a month adds up to in time at 8% interest:

- $12,000 invested over 10 years equals $18,294.

- $24,000 invested over 20 years equals $58,902.

- $36,000 invested over 30 years equals $149,035.

Wow. Now think what kind of money you can make if you double or triple your investment and if the interest rate is greater, such as with the return on savvy stock buys or mutual fund allocations. Do your homework, take the risk, and get in the game!