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Archive for October, 2010|Monthly archive page

A Sustainable Innovation: the Chinese Tibetan Khullu, a New Wool Material

In Uncategorized on October 25, 2010 at 2:02 pm

 

What do you know about khullu? It is a special kind of material which has been completely forgotten since the “silk road” times. The khullu is made of a tibetan yak underfur that has been pulled out by hand from under its thick fleece.

Norlha, a fruit of the chinese tibetan sustainable development, is a brand which, having set off in search of a lost material – worn by Chinese Emperors and Siberian nomads in olden days – did also revive the ancient techniques of spinning and weaving this yak underfur. The best khullu is    a very rare and precious material for its wool has been picked up by hand, in small quantities and from two years old animals called “yareys”. Spun and woven, this underfur comes as a soft, warm, strong and bugged woolen fabric, but it is due in large part to the rediscovery and mastery of its ancient weaving technique that this special woolen fabric looks so delicate and nicely finished: a new luxury good to be added to our range of remarkable chinese products.

Norlha is already under negotiations with several occidental firms of high repute. In Paris, one can find its products at Arnys or Sonia Rykiel. In China, shawls and scarves will be available at the “Shanghai Trio” boutique of Shanghai or Beijing.

I appreciate seeing that China innovates, on our luxury planet, this time with a rival for cashemere, alpaca and pashmina. And is it not interesting to discover on this occasion how this civilization has been living in luxury, a civilization which still maintains today that it has initiated the world to luxury? It is also a good thing for this “past innovation” to be run in accordance with the sustainable development for this is how the Tibetan people from the high plateau can be justly rewarded for their work: collecting (by nomads) and then spinning, dying, weaving so carefully this amazing wool. To consume luxury sensibly, this should occur more often; it is what Norlha offers today.
The company organizes some private sales this autumn in Paris; on November 18 and 19 and December 2 and 3: atelier one o one, 41 rue de Richelieu 75001 Paris.

If you want more information about these private events, please send Nathalie a mail: nathalie@zhenji.info.

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10 Ways To Increase Highly-Targeted Leads On LinkedIn

In Uncategorized on October 25, 2010 at 1:58 pm

 

Imagine how your business would look if you received an ongoing flood of highly-targeted, industry-specific leads on a daily basis.

It would feel pretty amazing, wouldn’t it?

You may even feel like an All-Star or a champion with all of those leads.

What if I told you there is a place on the internet that you could spend some dedicated time each week, and those highly-targeted leads would show up and it would no longer be part of your imagination?

It would be even sweeter, wouldn’t it?

Luckily for you, there is such a place and it’s called LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is the most powerful business networking site on the planet.  With the highest average household income over any other major social networking site, and nearly 45% of users being business decision makers, it’s the number one place you should be spending your time when wanting to attract the best leads for your business.

Although there are many more ways to attract leads on LinkedIn, here are 10 things you can implement today to start seeing results:

1.  Be Specific

Specificity is a key ingredient to getting more leads on LinkedIn.  If you don’t tell people who you are, who you help, and how you help them in the most basic of terms, then you will confuse those who land on your profile.  Be specific with the principle features first: your headline, current and past work experiences, summary, and specialties. This will ensure others know exactly what you do and how you can help them.

2.  Add Websites

I see people who have been on LinkedIn for more than three years that still have not customized their website section.  You can add three links to your LinkedIn profile (that are hyper linked anyways) but you want to make sure you customize what they links say.  Instead of “My Website”, rename it “Best Marketing Tips” or “Download My Marketing Guide” as this will increase the viewers’ curiosity and make them want to learn more about how they can get what you are offering.

3.  Be Creative

Here’s a hint: Almost every LinkedIn profile sucks or is extremely bland.  If you want to separate yours from the other 80 million boring profiles, it won’t be that hard.  The best way to stand out it to add a video that automatically plays when people land on your profile.  You can add a “Welcome to My Profile” video, or even add a video of one of your clients who praises your business and gives you a great testimony.

4.  Ask to Connect

Want more leads?  Believe it or not, you can just ask for them.  That’s right, when someone lands on your profile you don’t want them to leave because you haven’t given them a call to action and they got bored.  Let them know in your summary or in your video that you would love to connect on LinkedIn.  You should also reach out and connect with everyone.  Here are six reasons why you should connect with everyone on LinkedIn.

5.  Add Contact Info

It’s great to connect on LinkedIn, especially being that it is the only major social networking site that actually allows you to export your connections (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Myspace and others don’t).  It’s even better to connect via email or over the phone.  In your summary, make sure to direct people to the contact page on your website, or add your direct phone line to have them reach you in real time.  Offer up a free 15-minute phone consultation and you will be amazed from the boost in leads that will start flooding in.

6.  Answer Questions

One of my connections is so busy working on his own business that he doesn’t have time to manage all of his social media marketing efforts.  He started spending about 15 minutes a day a few times a week simply answering questions on LinkedIn that were related to his niche.  He told me that he would give the most informative answer he could, add a lot of value, and try to be a resource for the person asking the question.  Then he would send a private follow-up message letting them know he would be happy to get on the phone to give them some brief help and see if he could be of assistance for anything else.  This strategy got him around three new clients per month, bringing an extra $5,000 a month to his business.  Answer questions, and you will see what I mean.  If you have any questions about LinkedIn, ask them here.

7.  Discuss in Groups

If you haven’t figured it out by now, you can build a business around Groups on LinkedIn.  Some groups have hundreds of thousands of highly-targeted business decision makers for your industry.  The more you add compelling topics, and offer your expertise in the various conversations, the more people will become aware of who you are, who you help, and what you have to offer.  Another (amazing) thing you could do would be to start your own group.  Here are ten reason to start your own LinkedIn group.

8.  Create an Event on LinkedIn

Want to take the conversation offline and meet more people face to face?  Create a business networking event in your local area and use the Events application to promote it.  You can partner with group owners who have large groups in your area or niche, and make it a free event or charge a small entry fee.  Being the host and organizer of an event gives you more power and opportunities to meet others than just simply attending.  Just make sure you shake everyone’s hand when they enter the event, collect their business cards, and connect as many people together as possible.  This is a great way to get face-to-face leads!

9.  Introduce Others

Referrals are a great way to get quality leads.  Frank Agin talks about this in The Champion, and John Jantsch does as well in The Referral Engine (both great reads on increasing your business through referrals).  As you build your 1st degree connections on LinkedIn, start sending introductions to those you are connected with who you see could mutually benefit each others businesses now or in the future.  Reciprocity is an amazing thing.  The more you help and give to others, the more they will want to help you get leads in return.

10.  Recommend Others

When someone has a great product or service and you get a lot of results from it, make sure to write a nice recommendation.  The more recommendations that a person has on his profile, the more likely others will be interested in buying from him as well.  This goes back to the reciprocity factor; the more recommendations you give, the more you will receive as well.  By helping others get leads, you are helping yourself get more leads as well, and quality recommendations on your profile could be the decision someone makes to contact you or not.

Increasing Leads On LinkedIn

It doesn’t matter what your business is, LinkedIn is the best way to attract leads when it comes to customers, investors, business partners, sponsors, affiliates, and more.  Spend twenty minutes implementing at least three of these points above, and you will be amazed with the results in no time.

Have you had success getting leads or customers from LinkedIn?  If so, please type in the specific thing you did to get those leads or new customers as your success story will be helping others that read this post.

10 Best (and Real) Work-at-Home Jobs

In Uncategorized on October 25, 2010 at 1:41 pm

 

Searching for jobs you can do from home used to be a matter of scanning the Sunday classifieds for offers to get rich quick by stuffing envelopes.
Now, exposure to at-home employment opportunities has exploded, and a wide range of job ads are just a mouse click away. But so are the scams.
Two years ago, when The Rat Race Rebellion began tracking at-home jobs, there were 30 scams for every legitimate opportunity. Now, with 4,500 to 5,000 work-at-home job ads screened weekly, the Web site finds 57 phonies for every one that’s for real, says Christine Durst, CEO of The Rat Race Rebellion.
Nevertheless, there’s no shortage of people who dream of beating the odds and earning a living from home.
Durst, who is also CEO of Connecticut-based Staffcentrix, which develops home-based and virtual career training programs, says people interested in work-at-home jobs primarily are:

  • Parents who say they want to spend more time with their children.
  • Trailing military spouses who, according to Durst, by virtue of their spouse’s career need to pick up and move every few years.
  • Retirees needing supplemental income.
  • People with disabilities.

It’s difficult to be a good parent and simultaneously work well at home, says Durst, because most jobs require blocks of uninterrupted time to accomplish tasks, and children’s schedules are less than predictable. For those who do choose to walk the tightrope between paid work and parenting, consider deadline-oriented work. Durst says it’s generally better for those with younger children than schedule-oriented hourly work.
Steven Rothberg, president and founder of CollegeRecruiter.com, says "an increasing minority" of entry-level workers, are attracted to these gigs. He says he believes social introverts make good candidates. "They like working with people (but) they like interacting by e-mail and by being on the phone. They dislike working in person with a lot of others," he says, due to meetings and other "time-sucking problems" at an office.
Self-motivation, discipline, job skills and independence are key characteristics for at-home workers, says Stephanie Foster of Poway, Calif., a former medical transcriptionist who runs the Web site Homewiththekids.com.
A growing number of employers appear to believe telecommuting is a good deal for them as well. It reduces overhead expenses, allows access to talented workers who may not be available locally, provides off-hours support and helps retain employees, says Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of FlexJobs.com, a Web site that aggregates hand-screened telecommuting/work-at-home jobs. "We’ve seen a real broadening of the audience of both employers and job seekers."
Consider these 10 jobs — some rather traditional and others unexpected — for interesting at-home work and good (if competitive) prospects.
1. Virtual Assistant
This is a field with much potential, in part because the title description covers many things. "You can fit your offerings to what you know how to do," says Foster. One can own a virtual assistant business or work from home for a company that makes you available to other employees or clients. Homewiththekids.com, for example, currently features a dozen such companies. Small businesses hire virtual assistants to help when they can’t justify a permanent employee. The International Virtual Assistants Association, which Durst co-founded in the 1990s, began with 28 members and has grown to more than 600, who charge from $15 per hour to more than $100 per hour.
2. Medical Transcriptionist
As Foster knows, being a medical receptionist is a demanding job, and nearly every company listed on her site seeks applicants with experience and/or training from certain schools. The work involves listening to and typing up dictation from doctors — some of whom have difficult accents, slur words together, and even "eat, drink, chew gum (and) talk to other people in the room" while dictating, she says. But hearing about medical matters can be interesting, and good transcriptionists are in very high demand. Expect initial earnings of less than $10 per hour, but some transcriptionists earn $20 or more per hour.
3. Translator
Those with fluency in more than one language translate audio files or documents, not just word for word but often with cultural differences in mind. "Companies can access home-based translators with hard-to-find language skills without being held back by geographic location," says Fell.
Foster’s site lists 15 companies that seek home-based translators. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook 2008-09, which groups translators and interpreters, notes a projected employment increase of 24 percent over the 2006-to-2016 decade, much faster than the average for all occupations.
The national mean hourly wage for translators and interpreters was $20.74, with a mean annual wage of $43,130 as of May 2008, according to estimates by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some industries pay significantly higher, with the highest paying jobs generally in the management, scientific and technical consulting services areas, in which the mean hourly wage was $56.50 and the annual mean wage was $117,530.
4. Web Developer/Designer
Information technology is the sector, Durst says, where most of the home-based hiring is being done. Terri Orlowski, a virtual assistant and Web developer based in Ledyard, Conn., offers services such as custom Web site design, template modification and redesigns, code updates, hosting, and usability reviews. She previously held administrative positions in a variety of industries, and makes a higher per-hour rate now. The job is in high demand. Of the more than 15,000 new monthly work-from-home job postings on Odesk.com, Web developers are in the greatest demand, says spokeswoman Elizabeth Gordon. A list of companies that post at-home tech jobs is available at ratracerebellion.com.
5. Call Center Representative
When you phone to order something from a catalog or infomercial, a big office with rows of cubicles may come to mind. But the person on the other end of the line is likely to be sitting in a home office. "It’s a huge and growing industry," says Durst of companies that hire independent contractors to take calls from home. She says the "home-shore movement" started in response to complaints about the many companies that looked offshore for workers. While some Web sites, such as Alpineaccess.com, actually hire representatives, most use subcontractors. Just be aware that the pay may be by the minute rather than by the hour, so you may not be paid for time you spend waiting by the phone. A list of companies that hire call center reps can be found at Homewiththekids.com.
6. Tech Support Specialist
Call centers also hire technical support specialists to work remotely. Kate Lister, co-author of "Undress for Success: The Naked Truth About Making Money at Home," names it as one of her top three "best-bet work-at-home jobs." And according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, jobs for computer support specialists (on-site and remote combined) were expected to increase by 13 percent from 2006 to 2016 — much faster than the average for all occupations — with 71,000 new jobs.
7. Travel Agent
Scams abound in the travel industry — particularly organizations that charge for information on how to break into the field. But operating a home-based travel agency can be an excellent business, says Tom Ogg of the Home Based Travel Agent Information Center. "Real home-based travel agents have experienced robust growth over the last decade, and there are probably around 35,000 of them and growing." A growing (although small) number of people earn $100,000 or more a year, he says. "A solid business concept and plan focused on profitability will take you a long way to achieving your monetary goals." There’s also the joy of helping others enjoy their leisure time.
8. Teacher
From postsecondary education to elementary schools, there are opportunities for students to learn virtually. Along with that, come opportunities to teach (and tutor) virtually. While distance learning is not new, advanced technology, collaborative multimedia software designed for schools and high-speed Internet connections have created more opportunities for teachers and students to work together from afar, says Fell. Durst has also noticed more teacher jobs being posted, and she knows of one professor who works mainly online and makes six figures — although income "depends on how many hours you’re applying to it and the type of classes you’re teaching." A resource center for online teaching jobs is available at GetEducated.com.
9. Writer/Editor
Yes, the print publishing industry has been suffering, but Durst is seeing frequent listings these days for writing, editing and proofreading, particularly for the Web. Even those without writing experience can join the blogosphere. Not only can blogging be lots of fun, Foster says, but also there’s money to be earned blogging for someone else’s site, getting paid to post on your own blog or through revenue-sharing arrangements. A list of blogging opportunities, for which the pay range is less than $5 per post to more than $20 per post, can be found at Homewiththekids.com.
10. Franchise Owner
It’s a no-brainer: Owning a business can be the road to at-home work. For an initial investment, franchises may offer a ready-made business with brand awareness, a system and a territory, says Leslie Truex, founder of the Web site Work-At-Home Success. She advises considering businesses that target the over-50 crowd or the self-employed, involve health and wellness, relate to the "green" movement, or involve electronic or online devices (i.e., accessories, applications).
Scam Alert:
When considering any at-home job, put up the scam-detection radar.
Durst suggests watching for these positive indicators of "real" employment:

  • The hirer is an established company.
  • The ad includes the company name and does not have applicants reply to a blind e-mail address.
  • Human resources personnel are available for questions.
  • There is mention of information commonly associated with "real" employment (benefits, vacations, policies, etc.).
  • There is an application and interview process, not simply an e-mailed offer.
  • The employer can detail the job duties and expectations.
  • References/work samples are requested.


Melissa Ezarik

7 Inbound Marketing Tactics That Will Grow Website Traffic

In Uncategorized on October 25, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Posted by Andy Xhignesse on Tue, Oct 19, 2010 @ 06:04 AM

low website traffic This?                       inbound marketing with heavy traffic  Or this!

They (that would be the all wise and knowing ‘they’) say that web traffic is the currency of the web so the logical extension of the metaphor is that more is better! (this assumes that you like having more currency!) It’s true because if you increase the traffic to your company’s website, you will have more opportunities to engage your visitor with your product or service. One of the powerful results of a well executed inbound marketing program is that you will gain website traffic, not only that, you will gain better targeted site traffic. In surveys of companies who’ve used Hubspot’s inbound marketing platform, the results achieved have been remarkable. Sites that had lower monthly traffic volumes typically experienced traffic growth measured in 100’s of % and those with higher initial traffic volumes have experienced growth in the 10-50% range after using inbound marketing for six months or less. Of course, to grow website traffic is not the only goal you should have, you want to convert them into leads as well, and we’ll be talking about that in an upcoming post. But, your company can improve website traffic and achieve similar results with a well planned and executed inbound marketing program.

Without further delay, here are:

7 Inbound Marketing Tactics to Gain Website Traffic
  1. Ensure that your existing website content has gone through an SEO (search engine optimization) process- It’s remarkable how many websites are created without completing basic SEO actions.
  2. Implement a new content development strategy– This critical piece of the puzzle can be a stumbling block but do whatever is necessary to come up with a plan that will allow your company to add new and relevant content to your website. One of the best strategies is to commit to blogging and the addition of a new information page, both in a scheduled manner. For example you may add one blog post per week and one new page per month. In both cases more is better!
  3. Begin your keyword research- It’s widely recognized that while keywords don’t impact SEO the way they once did, but they still form the foundation on which you will create your company’s content. Understanding what your target audience is looking for from a keyword perspective is critical to building the content that is relevant to them. Look to your competitors websites for this information as well, if they’re getting traffic, you may as well create content around keywords that work for them!
  4. Implement an ongoing SEO process and strategy- This doesn’t have to be complex, but as your new content is being created, ensure that it goes through a rigorous basic SEO process so that it will be more easily found by the search engines. Your SEO program should include at a minimum, on-page structure SEO, internal site linking, and a strategy for inbound link development.
  5. Participate in social media networks- Start slowly! Too many companies make the mistake of trying to go all out in every network out there and quickly find themselves overwhelmed. Pick your first network after doing some research to find out which of the social media platforms best serves your industry vertical and begin your engagement slowly. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon!
  6. Participate in your industry’s online conversation- It’s important that you be seen as one of the ‘players’ in your market so find other websites that have blog posts where you can add a comment. Just saying "Hi, thanks for the post." Doesn’t really do much to elevate your company’s profile. If you’re going to add a comment, think about adding something you genuinely believe adds value to the post.
  7. Re-purpose your content- Over time you will increase the amount of content you have and you can re-purpose that content to reach new potential prospects.

There you have it, 6 tactics that will definitely grow website traffic. There’s a fair amount of work involved, but again nothing that is complex, it just takes effort. There are many ways to skin this cat. Everything that we’ve outlined here can be done inhouse with individual tools to help you get the work done. One of the reasons we love the Hubspot platform is that it consolidates all those tools into one simple to use set of tools. Our experience at Inbound Marketing Experts is a testimony in itself. Our website was launched back in late April 2010. When we started we had no traffic, no presence, and the first Alexa ranking we saw was in the 30 millionth range! This month we will probably have somewhere between 800 and 1000 visitors, and our latest Alexa ranking has us at 3,567,614 (just copied this in fresh from Alexa.com). This isn’t magic, we are living by our words. As we’ve said previously, inbound marketing is not an event it’s a process with powerful outcomes, we’re really excited by the outcomes we’ve had…are you happy with yours?

We’re at the edge of the future!

8 Tips for Starting a Side Business While Working Full Time

In Uncategorized on October 25, 2010 at 12:56 pm

 

If you’re thinking about entrepreneurship, you’ve probably heard that you should start your business before you quit your day job.

It’s good advice, but not always practical. Depending on how many hours you have to put in at work, you may have very little time left for your business. The catch is that if you want to be a full-time business owner, you have to build up your business so that you’ll still be able to pay your bills. It can be hard to give up the security of a regular paycheck to pursue your dream of being an entrepreneur.

How can you balance being an employee while you’re moonlighting?

For one thing, you might not want your boss to know that you have something else on the side. You don’t want to appear to be expendable or less dedicated. Keep your business under wraps as much as possible. That also means you shouldn’t conduct your business at work, no matter how tempted you may be to bring your side business to your workplace. And with computer use monitoring becoming more pervasive in the workplace, you probably won’t have much privacy if you’re using company equipment for personal use.

Moving from employee to entrepreneur

If your goal is to leave your job and run your business, here are some steps you should follow.

1. Pick a date for when you’d like to make the move into running your business full time. Be realistic when you look at the calendar. The date has to feel comfortable and be something that you think you can do. 

2. Check your spending. How much money do you need for your business and for personal expenses? It may be tempting to continue to spend money because it’s regularly coming in, but once you’re no longer an employee, you won’t have that income. 

3. Start paying down debt if you can. Set up a payment plan for your credit cards. Create a budget for business expenses as well.

4. Get ready to spend more time alone. If your business is home-based, you won’t have the office co-workers around. Start networking now so that you can have a support system before you leave your job.

5. Get a plan together for what you want to accomplish in your business. Whether you use a business plan or a mission statement, have a clear idea of what your business is about and why you’re doing it. It’s not enough to go into business because you don’t want to work for someone else. Know what you’re getting into before you leave your day job.

Keeping your side business on the side

For some people, having a side business is part of a long-term plan, not an interim step. If you aren’t looking to leave your regular job, it’s less about growing your business than maintaining it. Here are some ways to balance the moonlighting with the "daylighting."

1. Set boundaries. Your clients may want more of your time, but your priority is your day job. Let them know what your business hours are and stick to them. If you end up working long nights, you won’t have the energy to accomplish what’s required on your job. You don’t want to put your steady paycheck into jeopardy because you’re not getting things done.

2. Be careful about how you use social media. In some cases, employers are checking up on what their employees are doing online. Depending on what type of business you have, promoting your side business on your social media profile may raise red flags. For instance, if what you do on the job is similar to what you’re doing in your business, you don’t want to appear to be in competition.

3. Extra money coming in from a side business can be a great supplement to your income. Resist the temptation to spend more because you’re making more money. Unless your business income is targeted for a specific purpose, you can end up spending it as fast as it comes in. Don’t put yourself in a position where the money is going out faster than it’s coming in — you may have to work harder at work and in your business to keep up the momentum.

———————

Deborah A. Bailey

Kajian mengapa kita ditegah dari melewatkan solat

In Uncategorized on October 25, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Ditanya Nabi SAW, apakah amalan yang sebaiknya, maka bersabda Nabi : Solat di awal waktunya” ( Riwayat oleh At-Tirmidzi dan Abu Daud, Al-Albani menshohihkannya)
Nabi SAW bersabda. Ertinya : “Tangguhlah sehingga sejuk bagi solat zohor, kerana… kekuatan panas (matahari) adalah dari bahang neraka jahannam.” ( Hadith shohih riwayat Al-Bukhari).

SUBUH

Waktu solat subuh adalah dimulai setelah terbit fajar shadiq sampai terbitnya matahari.
Pada waktu Subuh alam berada dalam spektrum warna biru muda yang bersamaan dengan frekuensi tiroid yang mempengaruhi sistem metabolisma tubuh. Jadi …warna biru muda atau waktu Subuh mempunyai rahsia berkaitan dengan penawar/rezeki dan komunikasi. Mereka yang kerap tertinggal waktu Subuhnya ataupun terlewat secara berulang-ulang kali, lama kelamaan akan menghadapi masalah komunikasi dan rezeki. Ini kerana tenaga alam iaitu biru muda tidak dapat diserap oleh tiroid yang mesti berlaku dalam keadaan roh dan jasad bercantum (keserentakan ruang dan masa) – dalam erti kata lain jaga daripada tidur. Disini juga dapat kita cungkil akan rahsia diperintahkan solat diawal waktu. Bermulanya saja azan Subuh, tenaga alam pada waktu itu berada pada tahap optimum. Tenaga inilah yang akan diserap oleh tubuh melalui konsep resonan pada waktu rukuk dan sujud. Jadi mereka yang terlewat Subuhnya sebenar sudah mendapat tenaga yang tidak optimum lagi.
ZUHUR

Waktu solat zuhur adalah dimulai sejak matahari tergelincir ke barat dan berakhir di saat bayangan sesuatu benda seperti kayu panjang itu sama betul panjangnya dengan kayu tersebut.
Warna alam seterusnya berubah ke warna hijau (isyraq &… dhuha) dan kemudian warna kuning menandakan masuknya waktu Zohor. Spektrum warna pada waktu ini bersamaan dengan frekuensi perut dan hati yang berkaitan dengan sistem penghadaman. Warna kuning ini mempunyai rahsia yang berkaitan dengan keceriaan. Jadi mereka yang selalu ketinggalan atau terlewat Zuhurnya berulang-ulang kali dalam hidupnya akan menghadapi masalah di perut dan hilang sifat cerianya. Orang yang tengah sakit perut ceria tak ?
ASAR
Waktu solat asar adalah dimulai setelah waktu Zuhur tamat, iaitu ketika bayangan sesuatu benda seperti kayu panjang, sama panjang dengan bendanya dan berakhir setelah matahari terbenam.
Warna alam akan berubah kepada warna oren, iaitu masuknya waktu Asar di mana spektrum warna pada waktu ini bersamaan dengan frekuensi prostat, uterus, ovari dan testis yang merangkumi sistem reproduktif. Rahsia warna oren ialah kreativiti. Orang yang kerap tertinggal Asar akan hilang daya kreativitinya dan lebih malang lagi kalau di waktu Asar ni jasad dan roh seseorang ini terpisah (tidur la tu …). Dan jangan lupa, tenaga pada waktu Asar ni amat diperlukan oleh organ-organ reproduktif kita 😉
MAGHRIB

Waktu solat mahgrib adalah dimulai setelah terbenamnya matahari dan berakhir apabila mega merah telah hilang dan tidak kelihatan.
Menjelang waktu Maghrib, alam berubah ke warna merah dan di waktu ini kita kerap dinasihatkan oleh orang-orang tua agar tidak berada di luar rumah. Ini kerana spektrum warna pada waktu ini menghampiri frekuensi jin dan iblis (infra-red) dan ini bermakna jin dan iblis pada waktu ini amat bertenaga kerana mereka bergema dengan alam. Mereka yang sedang dalam perjalanan juga seelok-eloknya berhenti dahulu pada waktu ini (solat Maghrib dulu la …) kerana banyak interference(pembelauan) berlaku pada waktu ini yang boleh mengelirukan mata kita. Rahsia waktu Maghrib atau warna merah ialah keyakinan, pada frekuensi otot, saraf dan tulang.
ISYA’

Waktu solat isya’ adalah dimulai setelah hilangnya mega merah sampai terbitnya fajar shadiq iaitu subuh.
Apabila masuk waktu Isyak, alam berubah ke warna Indigo dan seterusnya memasuki fasa Kegelapan. Waktu Isyak ini menyimpan rahsia ketenteraman dan kedamaian di mana frekuensinya bersamaan dengan sistem kawalan otak. Mereka yang kerap ketinggalan Isyaknya akan selalu berada dalam kegelisahan. Alam sekarang berada dalam Kegelapan dan sebetulnya, inilah waktu tidur dalam Islam. Tidur pada waktu ini dipanggil tidur delta dimana keseluruhan sistem tubuh berada dalam kerehatan. Selepas tengah malam, alam mula bersinar kembali dengan warna putih, merah jambu dan seterusnya ungu di mana ianya bersamaan dengan frekuensi kelenjar pineal, pituitari, talamus dan hipotalamus. Tubuh sepatutnya bangkit kembali pada waktu ini dan dalam Islam waktu ini dipanggil Qiamullail.
*(SUMBER ARTIKEL INI DIPETIK DARI LAMAN FACEBOOK SAHABAT SAYA, USTADZ SYAZRUL MOHD AMRAN)

Marketing to Baby Boomers

In Uncategorized on October 18, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Brands have always focused advertising on younger audience. In 2010, this is an incorrect approach. A recent study from Nielsen Company validates this line of thinking.
This is why Boomers should not be neglected as a target market for advertising
* In 2011, approximately 30 percent of the United States’ population will be over 50 years old.
* Boomers have more disposable income than their younger generational counterparts. The Boomers are expected to outspend their younger peers by over $1 trillion in 2011. Also, Gen Y (considered to be birth years 1980-1994) has been disproportionally affected by the downturn and is unable to spend in a significant fashion.
* Boomers account for 38% of consumer package goods (CPG) purchases, yet major CPG brands are only currently spending 5% of their advertising budgets on this group. There is opportunity for growth for companies that can connect meaningfully with Boomers.
* The Boomers are unlike other 50+ markets in the past, as they have shown less brand loyalty (open minded to change) and a willingness to adopt technological products into their lives at the same pace as younger generations.

This article down here discusses comprehensively on why our marketing efforts should focus on the baby boomers. It is written by David Mitchel, Vice President of Norton Mitchel Marketing.

Marketers Missing the Boom

The Nielsen Company released new research this past week indicating that the Baby Boomer generation is being neglected by brand marketers, particularly consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands. This is not radical new insight, but it does highlight how this notion is becoming more mainstream. Those who follow demographic trends have known for a long time that the United States’ population would skew older as the Baby Boomers aged. In 2011, approximately 30 percent of the United States’ population will be over 50 years old. With an aging population, it is important for brands to learn how to market to those 50+, an uncommon practice in recent decades for most brands. Nielsen’s conclusion that the Baby Boomers are neglected by brand advertising and shouldn’t be is a correct conclusion. However, their basic analysis posted on the website failed to mention a key driver of their conclusion. Brands that are able to connect to this group meaningfully in the years to come should reap rewards from a revenue and profitability standpoint.

Nielsen was quite accurate in their conclusion that Boomers have tremendous spending power. The standard definition of the Baby Boom Generation is those born between 1946 and 1964. Today, Boomers are between the ages of 45/46 and 64. At this stage in life, many of the older Boomers are nearing retirement age and the younger Boomers are in a mature stage of their careers. This means that Boomers have more disposable income than their younger generational counterparts. The Boomers are expected to outspend their younger peers by over $1 trillion in 2011. It is noted that Boomers account for 38% of CPG purchases, yet major CPG brands are only currently spending 5% of their advertising budgets on this group. Two major conclusions can be drawn from this information. First, CPG brands are getting a tremendous return on investment by spending advertising dollars on Boomers. Next, those brands that recognize this trend and further look to capitalize on the Baby Boomers will demonstrate revenue growth in the years to come. In this depressed economic era, finding a source of growth and exploiting it represents a major competitive advantage.

The current economic downturn should be a major force examined by market research and considered by brands when charting a course of action. In an economic downturn, the vast majority of people suffer. Those who suffer the least emerge as winners. With regard to Baby Boomers, they have suffered less than other generational cohorts. The generational cohort that been disproportionally affected by this downturn is Generation Y (often considered birth years 1980-1994). Generation Y is currently between the ages of 16 and 30. Marketers have always paid a lot of attention to the 18-30 age group in the hopes of building brand loyalty amongst the youth. In this era, that is the wrong strategic approach. Generation Y has little spending power as compared to 18-30 year olds in the past. This is because youth unemployment is extraordinarily high. This is a social crisis brewing and has been underreported by major media outlets save for the exception of BusinessWeek in October 2009, but that is not the focus of this analysis. This is relevant knowledge to brand marketers when considering the Boomers. Boomers have been far more likely to keep their employment, thus producing income that can generate demand for products. The insights from this paragraph represent the key bits of information that Nielsen didn’t share in their basic analysis of marketing why Boomers have spending power and why brands should focus on them.

Focusing greater efforts on the Boomers, who are mostly 50 and up at this point, will be a new approach for brands. Over the past few decades, the majority of brands have focused their advertising efforts on those ages 18-49. The highly satirical writing staff at “The Simpsons” noticed this trend and mocked it in a 1994 episode entitled “Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy”. “Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy” parodies many aspects of brand marketing. From the 10:26 to 10:41 mark, this marketing trend is lampooned in a short dialogue between Lisa, Abe and Homer Simpson.

The majority of mainstream brands had never really considered the 50+ market in their promotion strategies for a myriad of reasons. The primary reason is they have not been considered a profitable segment of the market. It has been that these types of brands considered this market to be set in their ways, unlikely to be open to new brands and not extravagant spenders. They have also associated 50+ individuals as a declining market, and brands often desire to be associated with ascending or peak maturity markets. However, the Baby Boomers, poised to make up the overwhelming majority of the 50+ market in the years to come, are fundamentally different from 50+ individuals and senior citizen markets of the past. Modern medicine has allowed for many to have longer and more active lives. Additionally, from a psychographic standpoint, Boomers are markedly different than 50+ individuals from predecessor generations. They are less likely to be brand loyal than predecessors. They are a very open minded generation, and have embraced technologically innovative products. Boomers have adopted cell phone technology at a rate nearly consistent with their younger counterparts. In 2008, the Boomers had a more significant presence on the Internet as compared with 2000.  Unlike their parents, the generation that spent their formative years during the Great Depression and World War II and were significantly scarred as a result, the Baby Boomers grew up during an era of prosperity and are more likely to have an optimistic outlook. They are also more likely to spend money more freely than the children of the Great Depression.

Since we have established that the Boomers are a cohort worth pursuing, how do brands go about promoting their products to them? Larger brands with larger advertising budgets should consider television advertising. Television isn’t the least expensive medium, but it has always been known as a medium of great reach. The Baby Boomers have been voracious consumers of television. This was the initial generation to grow up with television, and they perceive the medium favorably. The broadcast networks, the very same networks that the Boomers grew up with, are a quality place to start. The median age of prime time broadcast television is 51 years old. The median age of broadcast nightly news viewers was 62.3 years old in 2009. Median age of broadcast network morning show viewers was 55.2 in 2009. The median age of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” viewer is 56. There are even opportunities on cable networks for targeting Boomers. Fox News Channel had a median age viewer of 65 in 2008, MSNBC’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” has a median age of approximately 60 years old. CNBC’s median age viewer was 49.7 in 2006 and is now likely over 50. CNBC also has the most affluent audience of any television network, making it a great fit for luxury brands.

One of the hottest buzzwords in marketing right now is social media. Conventional wisdom would indicate that the social media space is the domain of the youth. While many social networks skew younger, that fact doesn’t tell the whole story. 60 percent of Baby Boomers consume sort form of social media. As of January 2010, the 55+ segment on Facebook is the fastest growing, as it grew 922.7% in 2009. Another fast growing segment on Facebook is 35-54, a segment that grew 328.1% in 2009 and is comprised of younger Boomers and the older members of Generation X. Twitter had a median age older than Facebook in 2009. LinkedIn has the oldest median age of the major social networks at 43 in 2009. A 43 year old in 2009 would be considered an older member of Generation X, but it is reasonable to surmise that Baby Boomers, especially the younger part of the generation, are a sizable portion of LinkedIn. Since Boomers have shown a willingness to adopt technology, it is no surprise that they are present in social media. Ignoring social media when targeting Boomers would be a mistake, especially considering that it is inexpensive compared to traditional media advertising.

The Baby Boomers are going to be a formidable force in product marketing now and in the years to come. This generational cohort will represent the overwhelming majority of the 50+ market in the years to come and a much larger share of the population will be 50+ soon. They have greater disposable than younger age groups, have adopted technology willingly, and are much different than the older cohorts of years past. The majority of brands need to continue to take this group seriously as they age. Brands that neglect this group do so at their own peril.

Email newsletters. Are they still effective?

In Uncategorized on October 14, 2010 at 3:55 pm

 

My blog entry for today is about email newsletters. To me, email newsletters are quite effective in generating leads and sales conversion. But are they still effective as they used to be? I’d like to think that if you create enough value to be given away, you’ll be rewarded with something in return – attention. Garnering prospects’ attention is key to sales conversion.

Below is a discussion of a LinkedIn group I joined that discusses the strategies you can employ to make your email newsletters attractive and effective.

Alicia posted a question on email newsletters:

Alicia Anderson 

Is anyone still doing email newsletters?

For the last few years, we have been doing a monthly email newsletter to our clients and prospects, but it gets very few clicks and is getting pretty stale. is anyone still doing these?

    The following are the feedback posted by several users:

    71 comments • Jump to most recent comments

    Mac Bull

    Mac Bull • Hello Alicia,
    Many are still doing newsletters.
    There are a handful of newsletters that I receive on a regular basis and read without fail. If your newsletter seems to be running dry, maybe it is time to change your methods. This could be as simple as calling it something different. Or send it out every other month on CD. Another option would be to do it quarterly or bi-monthly. By making it less frequent, you bring scarcity into the picture. We all know that scarcity in direct response is a WINNER.
    By the way, I actually went to your company website to sign up for the newsletter. I was hoping to provide more insight by having actually read an issue of it. The problem is that I am in Japan. Japan was not an option in the fields that one is required to fill-in. "Other" was not an option either. If you lost me, you may consider how many other prospects have left or were lost because of this.
    Newsletters and the like are in abundance, but I recently read some statistics showing that readers are sponges looking for information to soak up. Consider your content in light of this. Is your newsletter only providing company product updates and other related selling? Or is it providing information readers will find useful? The content/information should have them reaching out for more…and then…reaching out for your products or services.
    If you would like more insight as to the content of your newsletter, send me a few issues by attachment to: copybymac@copybymac.com
    Then we can talk.
    Best of luck,
    Mac Bull
    Your "Go To Guy" in Japan

    3 months ago

    Ed Tallents 

    Ed Tallents • If you want it to work, you need to freshen it up, and provide some valuable content.
    We offer SEO services, and noticed that competitors were charging £100 to put your business on Google Maps. We offered a free guide to DIY, and that got lots of people interested in doing SEO on our site, looking at our guaranteed SEO service.
    At Christmas, we did an email campaign which thanked all our subscribers for their support and (as they are all businesses), we offered 200 email credits for our software, and six Christmas card templates to choose from so they could send a coropoate e-greeting rather than spending a lot of time and money on paper cards. The email just said we’d got them a present, to open it, they clicked thru to a customised landing page where we offered them the free service.
    Finally, we made a flash game, branded it with our products, and sent it out at lunchtime on a friday before the bank holiday. We had people spending hours on our site playing the game, but also browsing our products and services.
    If you can keep-up this level of "free and interesting stuff", you’ll rejuvenate your campaigns, and engage better with your audience.
    It’s too easy to resort to selling, or finding news for the sake of it. You should try to find ways of adding value to your newsletter so recipients are always looking forward to seeing what you are going to give them next.
    Hope this helps!

    3 months ago

    Ed Tallents 

    Ed Tallents • Another thought – if you are struggling with a monthly newsletter, do it quarterly instead, and save-up your resources to give the emails more clout, rather than diluting them – probably much cheaper too.

    3 months ago

    Tessa Dunn 

    Tessa Dunn • Yes; in addition to Inbound marketing efforts as well.

    3 months ago

    Mark Amtower 

    Mark Amtower • Lot of people. I get about 15 each week. Some of these are market specific (my market is B2G), some are focused on marketing or sales.
    I have considered re-laiunching my own, but have opted to do it through the groups that I manage on LinkedIn.

    3 months ago

    Marney MacFadyen 

    Marney MacFadyen • We do a quarterly newsletter as well as special announcement emails to our prospects and clients. We track the read rates on the newsletter and found that it continues to be one of our more popular items of communication with our prospects. We did notice an uptick in reads when we went from monthly to quarterly. The trick is to keep the content interesting and relevant to your prospects and clients.

    3 months ago

    Paul da Silva 

    Paul da Silva • I have a number of clients doing email newsletters and they are still working as well as always. As others have commented, the frequency needs to be right for the kind of business you are and the quality of the content that you can come up with for each issue. If you can’t get enough good content together to make it monthly then do it slightly less frequently.
    My other big point is preparing an editorial schedule in advance. If you know what will be in each issue long before you need to send it you can pull together much better material. If you’re looking for ideas two days before you send it then you’re always going to struggle.

    3 months ago

    Alicia Anderson 

    Alicia Anderson • Thanks, everyone, that is great feedback.

    3 months ago

    Dan Sharry 

    Dan Sharry • Hi, Alicia:
    Have you looked into LinkedIn user groups like Constant Contact Customers and Business Partners. I’m not affiliated with the company, but it seems that groups like this would be a good source of information, both practical and strategic.
    In my experience, relevant content trumps everything, but as mentioned elsewhere frequency, navigation and template design issues are also important to your success.
    Good luck.

    3 months ago

    Nora Bäckman 

    Nora Bäckman • Hi,
    great discussion, it gives fresh ideas to me too, as we are also doing a monthly e newsletter – which is at the moment mostly focused on new products and services.
    What is your experience in what kind of percentages of receivers read it and click forward? We have had around 5 – 10 % of receivers reading the newsletter (total amount of receivers is 6500).
    Thanks,
    Nora

    3 months ago

    Ken Boos 

    Ken Boos • Although people are overwhelmed with email newsletters, we create, produce and distribute them for our clients with varying success. Our "open" rates typically range from 12% to 40% (on a good day). As with direct mail three elements need to work cohesively: (1) reach the correct people with the list; (2) employ "creative" that attracts attention and is easy to read and understand; (3) have an offer worth responding to. The frequency levels are campaign-specific, from monthly to quarterly.

    3 months ago

    Dan Sharry 

    Dan Sharry • Hello All:
    Here’s a recent article from Inc. Magazine with great information and links to additional resources.
    http://www.inc.com/guides/2010/05/email-marketing-tips.html?partner=newsletter_Success
    Good luck,
    Dan

    3 months ago

    Steven Lowell 

    Steven Lowell • Yes, but if you do it wrong, you cant say the effort failed because its an email newsletter. It has to be done properly.

    3 months ago

    Jennifer Sheran 

    Jennifer Sheran • Hi Alicia, my firm regularly puts out enewsletters for our clients and will be launching our own soon. I concur with everything listed above. People still enjoy regular, relevant content delivered right to them. The is in addition to "selling" which should be a soft sell, you need to provide added value & insights. It is a great brand building tool. Good luck.

    3 months ago

    Jeannie Odza 

    Jeannie Odza • Absolutely. If your content is of interest to your readers they will read it. If they are not reading it, then you may want to revamp the content, the messaging/copy, times it is sent etc.
    Newsletters may include new products/services but should not be the main focus. Offering valuable information to your targets, even if it means multiple newsletters, will increase readership.
    In addition to being relevant, it is important to make it short and easy to read.
    I am working as a marcomm consultant for a bookkeeping & tax firm, since revamping the newsletter they receive between 25 – 40% readership, whereas the industry average is about 12%.

    3 months ago

     

    Stuart Hall-Cooper • Steven has got this spot on. If the content of your email newsletter is poor, it will ultimately fail – but this doesn’t necessarily indicate that email newsletters in general will fail. Make the email newsletter relevant and interesting to your target audience and they’ll want to read it, and come back asking for more.

    3 months ago

    Janet Bates 

    Janet Bates • I am a freelance writer who writes newsletters on occasion for a variety of organizations in many different industries. Short, specific and relevant content is king. Too often organizations want a customer "newsletter", but they don’t think through what kind of content they are able to provide.
    I frequently get vague input such as "let’s talk about best practices in our industries" (which I believe don’t really exist) or "just come up with some industry-related filler" or they spend too much space talking about their own structure, anniversaries, history, etc.
    Less is more. Don’t lock yourself into newsletter that has to be a specific length and has to include certain topics. If you only have two things to say in a particular month, say those well and end it.

    3 months ago

    Kirsti Scott 

    Kirsti Scott • The Direct Marketing Association does a "Power of Direct economic-impact study" every year and for every $1 invested in e-mail campaigns ion 2009, businesses earned a return on investment of $43.62. The return was $21.85 for internet search advertising, $15.22 for direct mail, and $7.32 for catalogs.
    So, e-mail marketing is still a great way to reach your customers.

    3 months ago

    Adam J. Wilbur 

    Adam J. Wilbur • Absolutely! We have found that newsletters are much more effective as a cross-selling tool to additional lines of service to existing clients rather than a lead generation tool for net new customers. If nothing else, its a great way to strategically toot your own horn, showcase a breadth of offerings and/or showcase company momentum. By no means should e-newsletters be used as a stand-alone communications tactic, but rather as a complimentary communication channel to a more integrated loyalty/cross-selling strategy.
    If resources and content creation is an issue, you may want to consider re-purposing (non-competitive) 3rd party content that is relevant to your audience and helps to position your organization as an expert/thought leader. We have established many great business partnerships as a side effect of this process, which only helps to generate additional awareness via backlinks to your branded content. Hosting online versions of your newsletters can also, to some degree or another, aid in your organic search rankings but that’s another story altogether.
    It goes without saying, but….at the end of the day, if your newsletter is overly promotional or focused solely on the interests of your organization, you will have a difficult time connecting with your audience. The best content marketing focuses on the readers interests first and foremost. An e-newsletter these days should read more like an industry insights overview with brand content strategically weaved into it rather than a long copy-ridden advertisement.
    Good luck!
    Adam Wilbur
    Account Director
    http://www.jacobsagency.com
    312-664-5000 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting   312-664-5000 end_of_the_skype_highlighting x111

    3 months ago

    Carol Worthington-Levy 

    Carol Worthington-Levy • Original content is what makes people read our newsletter. It’s a free, 100% educational monthly, and there’s no pitching at all. Like many here, we believe in education to make everyone’s business stronger. We have an incredibly loyal following.
    The only thing that I have to say is that admittedly we don’t do a great job of using our newsletter to pull in new business for ourselves! It supports our position in the marketplace but we really treat it as education.
    To check it out for yourself you can see it at
    http://www.lenser.com/index.php/category/newsletter/2010/05
    or, you can sign up for it at
    http://www.lenser.com/index.php/newsletter-signup
    Ah yes, there are probably ways we could use it to drive new business more effectively — but we love being able to provide all this content since it’s "from the trenches" stuff that people tell us they want to know.
    Our audience constantly thanks us for that.
    Maybe that’s enough for us!

    3 months ago

    RENTS AS BUSINESS INCOME: BENEFITS & SNAGS

    In Uncategorized on October 7, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Posted Date: Sep 15, 2010
    By: Richard Thornton

    RENTS AS BUSINESS INCOME: BENEFITS & SNAGS

    Holding properties to derive income from them is basically a passive activity so it is understandable that in most cases the income is treated as investment income. Nevertheless, investors are often aware that when rents are taxed as business income there are some potential tax advantages. What are those advantages and how can they be obtained?
    Advantages
    More Scope for Expense Deductions
    With passive lettings, each property must be considered separately. Expenses directly attributable to the letting of a property are eligible for deduction from the rents of that property but this leaves little or no scope for deducting expenses of a more general nature. Conversely, when rents are treated as business income, all eligible properties are treated as part of one single source of income, the ‘business’ of renting. Thus, expenses such as the cost of travel to and between the properties and other management and administration expenses can often be allowed as a deduction because they are incurred for ‘the business’. When the owner is a company, this can also apply to reasonable sums paid out as directors’ fees.
    Deductions for Depreciation of Assets
    When there is a business income source, deductions can be claimed for capital allowances on the cost of eligible assets used for the purposes of the business. This will apply to furniture and equipment in the case of furnished lettings and to assets used generally in connection with maintenance or management of properties. The rates at which capital expenditure can be written off vary according to the nature of the assets but, in many cases, the allowances are available at accelerated rates permitting a full write-off over a very short period. This contrasts with the method used for passive lettings which is to allow the cost of an asset bought to replace an existing one to be deducted from the rent but  without giving any deduction for the cost of the original one (the “renewals basis”).
    Relief for Tax Losses
    Nobody plans to lose money but when a business does incur a loss, it is useful to have some way to obtain relief for it. Although a business of renting may produce a tax loss, it is more usual for the person concerned, whether an individual or a company, to be seeking relief for a loss sustained in another business. There are several ways in which this can be done. A current year loss can be offset against current year income but also a business loss sustained in an earlier year can be offset against the current income from a different business, such as the business of renting. There is also the possibility of tax relief by carry back of the loss where it occurs in 2009 or 2010.

    The Difficulties
    Activity is Expected
    Except for a company, the only way to qualify for business income treatment is for the owner to prove that ancillary or support services or facilities are being actively provided. Examples of the kind of services the tax authorities expect to see are security guards; air-conditioning (centralised or split units); supply of hot water; escalators and/or lifts; recreational facilities (clubhouse, gymnasium, tennis/squash/badminton courts, swimming pool, etc.); cleaning or housekeeping (including garbage disposal); maintenance of common property, garden, landscaping, exterior lighting and other external fixtures. However, it is not sufficient to provide them indirectly such as where the owner of a condominium unit gives his tenant the benefit of the services provided to him by a management corporation.
    For a company, there is a natural presumption that whatever activity the company carries on is business, although the presumption may be rebutted. However, there is no such presumption in the case of an individual so the onus is on him to show that he has been actively involved. An individual is also at a disadvantage by comparison with a company because the special basis for classifying rents as business income which does not depend upon activity is only available to a company.
    The Special Basis and Its Limitations
    Although this basis is only available to a company, it is denied to a company which is an investment holding company or a company limited by guarantee which is taxed as a club.
    Otherwise, eligibility for business income treatment on the special basis is determined solely by reference to the type(s) of property rented and without regard to whether the company has actively provided any services. One type of property eligible for this treatment is a special-purpose building owned by the company and provided for a commercial purpose such as a commercial complex, an office complex or shopping complex, or as a factory or warehouse.
    More generally, the special basis is also available for the rents derived from a minimum of four properties of any or all of the following kinds in any combination; commercial units; shop houses; and residential properties. Except for shop houses, where each floor can be treated as one unit, only a property with a separate strata title is considered to be a unit. Property let to or occupied by a related or connected person is disregarded unless it is let for a rent which is not significantly less than the market rate.

    Using a company will not guarantee success. It is very easy for a company renting out properties to be classified as an investment holding company. That would be unfortunate if relying upon the special basis for companies. As mentioned above, that basis is not available to an investment holding company. Even if relying upon ‘activity’ rather than the special basis to justify treating rents as business income, an unlisted investment holding company is at a disadvantage because the deduction available for management expense is very meager. Furthermore, the company’s income from renting is taxed in a special way which effectively prevents the set-off of tax losses. Readers might like to refer to the article “Should I use a Company to hold Investment Property” by the same author in the July 2010 issue.
    Example:
    The Problem: Ken Lim has been able to acquire and rent out four properties, two units of condominium and two terrace houses which are multi-occupied by students. He actively manages the rented terrace houses, arranging tenancies, collecting rents and providing maintenance, cleaning and garbage services. Ken has an unabsorbed loss of RM20,000 sustained in a failed business venture a few years ago and he would like to know whether he might qualify for some tax relief if he can treat the rents from one or more of his properties as business income.
    The Solution: In the case of the two condominium units, all services are provided indirectly and the rents cannot be treated as business income. (Even though Ken has four residential properties, the special basis is unavailable because he is not a company).  As to the terrace houses, all of the services that Ken provides seem to be ‘hands-on’ and they are probably sufficient to justify treating the rents from those properties as business income.  He would be able to offset his unabsorbed losses against the net income from the two terrace houses until the losses are exhausted. Although Ken is not obliged to justify his treatment of the rents as business income to the Inland Revenue, he may be required to do so once he has made a claim to offset his losses.
    Readers who wish to know more may refer to the two books mentioned below as well as to 100Ways to Save Tax in Malaysia for Small Businesses by the same author.

    Richard Thornton is author of 100 Ways to Save Tax in Malaysia for Property Investors (ISBN978-983-2631-83-5) and 100 Ways to Save Tax for Malaysian Investors (ISBN978-967-5040-42-9) published by Sweet & Maxwell Asia. See http://malaysiaauthorindex.com/wiki/Richard Thornton. He is also a Fellow of the Chartered Tax Institute of Malaysia.
    The two works referred to immediately above contain some valuable insights on how to achieve legitimate tax savings for investors in property and other assets as well as dealing with complex issues such as “When can an investor be taxed as a dealer?” and “Is it a good idea to use a company?” Written in clear simple language, the books contain helpful examples to explain how the tax planning ideas can be put into action. They can be obtained from most book stores, or from the author at ricton100@gmail.com

    DIY? 4 Times It’s Cheaper to Pay a Professional

    In Uncategorized on October 6, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    By Farnoosh Torabi | Oct 1, 2010 |

    Doing things on our own always sounds like a good idea. We’ll save money, we tell ourselves, and get the satisfaction of accomplishment. But the truth is that we often end up spending more money and time.

    The folks at CouponSherpa recently released a rundown of products and services they say are less expensive to buy than to do it yourself. Here are four times they say you are better off paying for a pro – unless, of course, you are one.

    1. Auto Oil Change

    For the inexperienced, changing your oil is not only physically difficult – especially without ramps and other equipment – but also environmentally unfriendly. (Do you know how to recycle your oil? We thought not.) “That’s the biggest problem,” says Kate Forgach, an editor with CouponSherpa.  ”Many cities and counties don’t allow consumers to dispose used oil down sewers or in the trash, as we did in the past. The oil now must be brought to recycling centers or city dumps, where consumers are often charged to leave it.” It’s a hidden cost many of us may not understand up front. There’s also the issue of time and possible frustration. “Most people also don’t want to hassle with accumulating enough oil to make the trip and expense worthwhile. Unless you have multiple vehicles and are a real do-it-yourselfer, it’s just easier to leave the entire mess to a quick-lube center,” says Forgach.

    The average price for a professional oil change runs from $25 to $45, depending on the type of oil used and additional services thrown in by the servicing company, according to CouponSherpa. DIY costs, including oil, air filter, etc., will average $20 to $30, depending on the same factors – plus the cost of getting rid of the oil.

    2. Formal Printing Jobs

    Another thing that sounds cheaper than it is: printing invitations, posters and other print jobs at home. What you’re not considering, though, is the cost of ink. “Major manufacturers often break even or lose money on printers, but they more than make up for it with ink cartridges priced more dearly than caviar,” says Forgach.

    A good exercise, if you’re not convinced, is to calculate the cost per page. “Consult the printer manual to determine a base rate of pages per cartridge, divide this rate by the cost of each cartridge [and] add in the cost of paper, test runs and errors,” says Forgach. Don’t forget time and frustration, either, she adds.

    3. Selling Valuable Personal Items

    If you’re trying to offload collectibles, vintage clothes or antique furniture, you may be better off with help from a professional seller, who can help you better appraise the item and match your product to the right buyer – all to earn the best and fastest return. Yes, you will pay a commission – but you may be able to pocket more money this way, says Forgach: “I just went through this process with several collectible pieces of movie memorabilia left me by my father, including an original Laurel and Hardy movie script. I had no idea how to price these items, much less find the appropriate target audience.”

    Find a professional reseller, consignment store, antiques dealer or estate sale company in your neighborhood to help you appraise and connect you with buyers. Ask friends and family for referrals.

    4. Taxes

    “The IRS commissioner doesn’t even do his own taxes,” says Forgach. While it’s not always best to hire a tax professional, sometimes, if your financials are relatively complex, it can be worth the investment. For example, if you own business, are self-employed, own several properties or actively trade stocks.

    Bonus Tip: Replace or Repair?

    One more place where we’re often inclined to be penny-wise, pound foolish: repairs. For most small appliances, it’s cheaper to replace it than to buy the replacement part or get a repair cost estimate from the manufacturer, says Forgach. Parts are hard to find and costly. And even though some major manufacturers offer repairs, it’ll cost you: To replace a 50-cent gear on a coffeemaker, for instance, KitchenAid charges an average of $100 plus shipping (both ways), says Forgach. “If you’ve owned the appliance for several years, you have to consider whether that one repair will ensure many more years of service.”