Saturday, February 28, 2015

Paying For College: How To Position Assets To Qualify For More College Financial Aid

The high price of college has forced parents to look for savvy ways to reduce the cost of college and preserve their hard-earned assets. In some cases, strategically positioning those assets can make a big difference in the amount of financial aid colleges give based on the three different aid formulas colleges use. Here is how I determine if a family should consider strategic positioning.

Assets In 529 College Plans Near Quarter Of A Trillion Dollars As House Passes Key Legislation

As 529 plans assets push a quarter of a trillion dollars, key 529 college savings legislation passes in the House. Industry leaders watched the legislative action closely, sharing their insights on the challenges facing passage in the senate, and how the proposed changes will help families saving for college.

'Sorry To Intrude, But Can I Get Some Customer Service Over Here?'

I know that you, as a forward-thinking business leader, aren't intentionally treating your customers like they’re an interruption of your business (rather than as the point of your business), but are you unintentionally giving customers that nasty feeling that they don’t belong in your workspace?

Weighting Down UK-Listed Oil and Gas Shares

Using Brent as a global proxy benchmark, we find that the oil price continues to skate around $60 per barrel. That’s a far cry from $115 we saw last summer. So after two months into the not so New Year, and having received the latest financial data from many UK-listed oil and gas companies, it is worth revisiting or rather re-weighting their share target price.

Helping Small Business Lenders Up Their Game

The Small Business Finance Collaborative aims to help Community Development Financial Institutions supply more credit to small companies in low-wealth areas.

Playing 'Pass The Parcel' On Corporate Governance

In the current UK business landscape, efforts to create the right ethos of corporate governance through the use of principles-based codes as well as regulation brings several traditional children's games to mind. One is that old favorite - musical chairs, as revolving doors lead from one sector to another. But there's also 'Pass the Parcel' - when the music stops, whoever is holding that parcel is 'out.'

Coffee Power: London Entrepreneur Uses the Cities' Coffee Waste for Fuel

Bio-bean, a London-based enterprise, takes coffee grinds and turns them into fuel.

China's Super Rich Go Gaga Over Prada

Why buy just the handbag when you can buy the company

Tools & Tricks That Capture Readers Attention In Seconds

You may not know this, but there’s actually two doors users can go about entering your website. The front door is the way that allows them access through providing them with engaging content that will keep them involved and cause them to spend more time on your site. The back door on the other hand, is the sleazy way in where you attract a broad audience by offering extraordinary deals, or promising something you can’t fulfill but you lose them right then and there.

Eric Holder Defends Al Sharpton's Ties To White House, Despite Tax Debts

Al Sharpton still owes millions in taxes but seems to live a charmed life, in and out of the White House. Even Politico asked outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder if Sharpton wasn't too close. Heck no.

The Benefits of Solar Energy

The use of solar energy or energy from sunlight has many advantages. Let’s take a closer look at each of them. • Solar energy saves money. In 2006, we saw the highest jump in residential electricity rates. In some regions, increased to 60% was observed. Many experts agree that the trend will continue in the ...

Joye To The World: Charm Bracelets For A Cause

There is a new fashion accessory that aims to make the world a better place to live in. Launched this February 2015, Joye is a fashion start-up based in Hong Kong founded by Dr. Joerg Zobel that creates customized-charms charity bracelets. Zobel, former general manager of Puma for Asia Pacific and consultant at The Boston Consulting Group, was inspired with the belief that "fashion has the power to make this world a happier place." For the price of USD$33, customers can order a bracelet-- made from real lamb leather-- which comes with 1 Smile charm and 1 Charity charm.

How The Nation's Most-Awarded Restaurant Handles Extreme Customer Expectations

So you think your customers have high expectations, do you? Let me introduce you to perhaps the house of highest expectations in the world: The Inn At little Washington, a double five diamond–and Forbes 5 star–institution nestled in the absolute middle of nowhere in Virginia–in other words, about an hour and a half drive from anywhere its customers are likely to live. Which means: a three hour round trip in which to discuss both your high expectations and your disappointment if those expectations aren't fulfilled.

Friday, February 27, 2015

CEOs' Top 5 Tips For The Second Job Search

Founders of 4 web start ups dedicated to connecting individuals to jobs provide tips for the online job hunt.

According To CMOs This Is Priority #1 For Consumers In 2015

Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business recently released its latest iteration of its CMO Survey. They've been doing it twice a year since 2008. Among the many findings on a wide array of topics was the response to the question to CMOs to identify in their minds what they think will be most top of minds for consumers in 2015. Their choices were:

What Is 'Maker Culture,' And How Can You Put It To Work?

Maker culture, like any social phenomenon, is something not easily defined. While it has all of the qualities of a cultural movement, it means different things to different people, represents different values according to the situation to which they are applied, and can result in vastly different business models, products, and philosophies from company to company.

Why Every Company Should Be Thinking Open-source And Why Many Still Aren't

Take a look at what open-source could do for your business and discover some of the reasons it's not been embraced wholeheartedly thus far.

Will Christian Soldiers Be On The Streets Of Pensacola As Kent Hovind Goes To Trial?

Kent Hovind goes on trial Monday in the United States Courthouse in Pensacloa Fl. Kent Hovind is an Independent Baptist minister whose main focus has been on Young Earth Creationism - the notion that there is scientific, not just scriptural, evidence that the physical universe is roughly 6,000 years old. Kent is nearing the end of a long prison sentence for tax related crimes arising out of the manner in which his ministry, Creation Science Evangelism, operated. CSE distributed Kent's videos and ran a theme park called Dinosaur Adventureland (One of the implications of YEC is that people and dinosaurs must have existed contemporaneously)

Why One Executive Waving A Red Pen Lost All My Respect

Unfortunately, there is still an emphasis on what is on the surface, not what is below. That is why I lost respect for one executive eager to make spelling and grammar corrections but not much else.

The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Killer Explainer Video

Have you ever thought about putting an explainer video on your site? It could be an easy way to convert more visitors into customers. When we added one to Crazy Egg, it helped us make an additional $21,000 in monthly income. So, how do you create an explainer video that will increase your conversion rate?  [click to continue...]

3 Things You Should Know Before Your Endoscopy

The recent news story about patients at UCLA medical center developing a life-threatening infection has been shocking. Two of seven infected patients died from the nightmare bacteria carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) after an ordinary medical device was used to inspect their digestive system. In this specific case, a type of endoscope called a duodenoscope was used to perform the procedure. Although the design of the duodenoscope largely carried the blame, the medical community should now be looking to make all types of upper endoscopy safer, because many of them have been implicated in other outbreaks of dangerous bacteria and viruses.

The Only Place In America For Apple To Successfully Build The iCar

Recent speculation over Apple's entry into the car-making world has reached a fever pitch. Multiple reports have sources explaining (anonymously) that the tech behemoth has hundreds of employees working on a now-not-so-top-secret project to innovate and develop an electric vehicle. If this comes to fruition by as early as 2020, as sources have indicated, it would be a game-changer for not only the world of technology, but the automotive and transportation industries as a whole.

To Fix U.S. Schools, Consider Camfed's Work In Sub-Saharan Africa

Camfed is an international non-profit that addresses global poverty and inequality by investing in girls’ education. More than 3 million children from some of the poorest rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa—Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, Tanzania, and Malawi—have benefited from Camfed’s work.

New IRS Scandal Hearings Reveal 32,000 More Emails, Possible Criminal Activity

IRS Inspector General says IRS never asked for back-up tapes, as 32,000 more 'lost emails' emerge. Now, investigation probes possible criminal activity at IRS.

Robert De Niro Hit With $6.4M Tax Bill: A Cautionary Tale

Actor Robert De Niro was slapped with a $6.4M IRS lien for taxes that slipped through the cracks. He promptly paid it, but likely could have gotten a better deal had he received all the key notices and stopped it sooner.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

With Mesh, Bluetooth Strengthens Case As Key Internet Of Things Technology

Bluetooth Smart made Bluetooth sexy again and created additional demand for the technology. By adding mesh, the Bluetooth industry again sees a whole new wave of growth on the horizon.

Three Misconceptions About Modern SEO That Confuse Content Marketers

What’s the reality of search engine optimization after the Google Hummingbird update? Can someone destroy your business with negative SEO? Did Google kill the concept of AuthorRank when it eliminated the Authorship initiative? For these types of questions, there’s no better person to ask than Danny Sullivan, founder of Search Engine Land and Marketing Land,


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A Brief Guide to Fixing Your Old, Neglected, and Broken Content

One of the first steps to creating adaptive content is becoming aware of the content you already have. This is why we encourage you to audit your site. But before you dive into a full-blown comprehensive content audit, it might be possible to make your job a little easier by first dealing with all of


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How to Create a Deep Connection with Your Readers

Why do you keep coming back to Quick Sprout? Maybe it’s because you are learning a lot from me, or maybe it’s because I’ve helped you grow your business. Although those are contributing factors, they aren’t the main reason you come back. So, what makes you keep coming back? Over the years, I’ve built a  [click to continue...]

Solar Energy Systems for Pools

If you have a pool, you know how much warming can mount your electricity bill. Solar systems for swimming pools offer an alternative method that does not devastate your bank account. Solar energy systems for swimming pools When most people think of solar energy systems, they think of large crystalline structures that are intended to ...

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Pebble Time Vs. Flow Hive: Kickstarter, Indiegogo Projects Break Records

Crowdfunding has long been touted as "the next big thing" and this week we have more evidence of that trend.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tech E-Trade Route Between The UK And China Opens Up

London is joining the parade of cities that are figuring out Asia is where it's at for tech innovation growth.

Avoid Pain, Plan Ahead For The Break-Up Of Your Business

A destructive marital dissolution can burn through mountains of money, take an immeasurable toll on both spouses, and harm innocent children. A poorly planned, hot-headed business breakup can cost the owners every dollar they have saved and kill the business that is the subject of their dispute.

New Product Development Lessons From America's Leading Mixologists

Businesses can learn valuable lessons how to innovate from the country's best "mixologists" and bar directors.

21 Employee Perks that Attract the Best Talent

For the second year in a row, Lendio was voted one of the Best Companies to Work For in Utah for 2014. Out of all the possible awards that a company can win, this award may be the most meaningful because it's voted on by a confidential survey from your employees (and,

The Tax Reform Supermarket

Dissatisfaction with conventional tax reform proposals means members of Congress and presidential candidates will be shopping for new ideas.

Here’s How to Answer the Most Important Question in Life (and Make a Living from It)

Why bother? Each and every morning you and I both wake up and ask ourselves that question. Some mornings we don’t even think about the question, but answer it deliberately by jumping out of bed and bolting for the office. In these cases, we bother because we care deeply about what we do. We feel


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IBM Wants You To Make Connected Things Faster Than A Coffee

Big Blue claims people can smart connect objects to the IoT within 5 minutes.

Can IRS Seize First, Ask Questions Later? 'Yes We Can'

IRS can grab assets first and ask questions later if it suspects 'structuring' to avoid cash reporting. Many honest taxpayers have been forced to prove their innocence, so IRS has cut back. But some civil forfeitures continue.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Why Words Matter: Young Video Producers Tell A Hidden Story Of Identity

They're called "microaggressions" - small, seemingly innocuous questions or expressions that separate those speaking from those listening because of race, gender, religion or economic status.

Confessions Of A Trade Show Veteran: Screaming Without Raising Your Voice

Trade show veterans know that the louder you scream at an industry event, the less your voice is heard. Instead, you have to push the envelope of propriety to cut through the noise and become part of the conversation.

One Domain Name Is Never Enough

Be vigilant. “Keep your eyes open for any domain that will help your business, either defensively or offensively.”

Renren's Burst Of Deals In US Startups Shows New Focus

China's Renren is continuing to invest outside its core business and has backed yet another disruptive US startup, putting $5 million in mortgage marketplace Sindeo.

Asia's Drama: The Condition And Status Of Women

Asian Drama was the title of a 1968 three-volume opus by the late Swedish Economics Nobel Laureate Gunnar Myrdal. The subtitle was: An Inquiry into the Poverty of Nations. In the 1960s to the extent that there were promising developing countries at all, they tended to be seen in Latin America, in de-colonizing Africa and in the Middle East, notably Iran. Asia, on the other hand, mired in poverty and wars, was hopeless: a drama, a tragedy.

How I Increased My Search Traffic by 47% from Translating My Blog into 82 Languages

When you write your blog posts, what language do you write them in? Chances are that you write them in English. What if I told you that you would get more traffic if you wrote your blog posts in Mandarin and Spanish as they are the two most popular languages in the world? I thought it would  [click to continue...]

PepsiCo Adding Breadth to Talent Depth with Critical Experiences

As a leadership consultant, trainer and executive coach, it’s clear that leading in the current corporate environment is much different than it was even 10 or 15 years ago. Today, management at Fortune 500 companies is often uncertain how to best develop its top talent as requirements for success rapidly change. To address this issue, I recently spoke with Taylor Flake, PepsiCo’s Vice President of Human Resources and Talent Development for PepsiCo North America Beverages. Taylor is responsible for leadership development, among many initiatives, for roughly 55,000 employees in the company’s beverage division. My question? What was this world-leading food and beverage company doing to prepare its best and brightest during these uncertain times?

Are You Overlooking Any (or All) of These 7 Ways to Build Online Authority with LinkedIn?

Flash mobs. People are attracted to these spectacles. We drop what we’re doing and gather around to watch, but then we leave. We go back to what we were doing before we were interrupted. No one really knows who orchestrated the performance. The entire experience is short-lived and doesn’t make any profound impact. Now, imagine


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A Matter of Time Before West Coast Port Labor Issues Recur

The nine-month labor conflict at U.S. West Coast ports between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) ended with a tentative agreement on Friday.

The 6 Most Meaningful Oscar Moments

The 2015 Oscars will go down in history as one of the most historic for both its social significance and social advocacy. It was a disappointingly homogenous crowd - blindingly white and the least diverse Oscars in 17 years; there was not one person of color among the 20 acting nominees.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Improving Customer Service And Support By Reducing Contact Center Agent Stress And Attrition

As often as not, you’ll find me on the road speaking and consulting on how to improve the performance of contact centers. Also known as “call centers,” contact centers have an indisputably crucial role in providing superior customer service.

What If HomeKit Fails?

HomeKit, Apple's smart home framework, has already been crowned the savior of the smart home by some. But what if it fails to meet its lofty expectations?

Mayweather v. Pacquiao v. IRS

Mayweather v. Pacquiao may be about the title, but it's also about money. Pacquiao owes the IRS and Philippine tax man, and his return to Las Vegas means IRS will win big.

To Be An Inclusive Business, Forget Business School Lessons on Strategy

In the coming decades, the majority of the world's economic output and market growth will come from the emerging markets. Already, the seven largest emerging markets collectively contribute more to global output than do the G7 countries combined. That said, once one gets beneath the aggregate statistics, these emerging – and dynamic – markets are rife with inequities, bottlenecks and missing institutions.

Day 825: Pausing To Reflect On Mongolia's Economic Retreat

This is the eleventh article in eleven days on Mongolia penned by me. The focus has been on parallel stories that have unfolded in Mongolia since 2011. Three men's freedom has been put in ever greater jeopardy while Mongolia's economy, particularly its currency and foreign direct investment, have faltered. The legal case against former SouthGobi executives Justin Kapla, Hilarion Cajucom Jr., and Cristobal David - all detained 825 days or more - has shown flaws in Mongolia's legal system: that even breaches by its own prosecutors and judiciary of its own sovereign laws of due process can result in imprisonment. Almost equally shocking is reviewing investment analyst reports from 2011 and early 2012 about the Mongolian economy that could have been. Mongolia has not only fallen short of its potential but it succeeded in ticking the boxes of nearly every potential economic, political and social risk buried in the short "although this sounds great this is how things could go wrong" sections of glowing investment reports on the country.

Noodle & Company's Stock Crashed -- Is Shake Shack Next?

Noodle & Company (NASDAQ:NDLS) is a great franchise. If you are a consumer who craves for a “global menu, prepared locally,” that is. But it has been a poor investment for those who purchased into the company’s shares during the IPO days a couple of years ago. N&C stock has been trading

Funding - Keep It In The Family But Keep It Professional

Let's start with a quick round of applause for “friends and family.” According to a survey published in January by UK business lender Everline, nearly a third of small companies – 30% to be precise – are borrowing from friends and family rather than from banks. That's not just seed money

Saturday, February 21, 2015

McDonald's Should Either Make Burgers And Fries Right Or Drop Them From The Menu

If you follow the financial reports of McDonalds -- the biggest hamburger and French fries chain -- closely, you would probably conclude that burgers and fries are falling out of favor among consumers. Moreover, its coffee and shakes business do not seem to have helped enough.

Solar Energy Risks To Health

Solar energy is a potential free electricity and water heating source. It has the power to take advantage of electricity in remote areas of the world. It seems to offer health and safety with power, but is it? Rarely health risks of solar energy are mentioned. This may be partly due to the limited use ...

IRS Paid $5.8 Billion In Fraudulent Refunds, Identity Theft Efforts Need Work

The Government Accountability Office rates IRS identity theft refund fraud efforts as needing improvement.

Getting To The Real Cost Of Customer Success

SaaS is not immune to churn. Each defection costs a vendor more than just lost revenue. Vendors need to find two new customers to make up for the one they just lost. One new customer to replace the lost revenue and a second one to support the vendor’s growth plans. Because management is fixated on revenue there is a belief that once a customer is successfully onboarded the level of ongoing engagement can be minimized. As well as the associated costs. In reality, this is where and often why SaaS customers churn. Their satisfaction is based on a level of enablement and engagement that is polar opposite from what vendors believe the customer needs.

Friday, February 20, 2015

5 'Under 30' Fashion Designers You Need To Know Now

Meet five "under 30" emerging fashion designers who graduated from the top schools, interned with the best design houses, and have been lauded by the likes of Women’s Wear Daily, Vogue, ELLE and The New York Times. They’re doing it on their own and stepping into the spotlight.

Call For Largest US Pension Funds To Support Real Diversity

John Chiang, State Treasurer of California, has called on the two largest pension funds in the United States to re-double their efforts for more diversity in corporate boardrooms. In a further challenge to the status quo, he has also called for the broadening of the definition of 'diversity' to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

[VIDEO] CMO Sean Blankenship On Why Coldwell Banker Is Going To The Dogs

Tomorrow night’s Academy Awards broadcast will include a new TV spot from Coldwell Banker Real Estate. It highlights a welcome sight for many who return home after a long day: the beloved dog.

IndieBio Will Accelerate Synthetic Biology To Tech Startup Speed

Can biology move at "internet speed"? Is there a Moore's Law for cells? What about the problems that cannot be solved by information technology alone? IndieBio is proposing to answer these questions and more.

Email Overload? Do This And Gain 10 Hours Per Week

Experiencing Email Overload? 3 Steps to take control of your inbox and gain 10 extra hours per week.

How Women And Minorities Are Changing The Tech Game

Don't let the bad rap about the tech world's treatment of women stop you. Create your own opportunities.

The Ultimate Guide to Hashtags

You see them everywhere around the web… From Twitter to Instagram, hashtags are an essential part of social media. So, why should you care about hashtags? Well, hashtags are a great way to increase your overall social media traffic. For example, tweets with hashtags generate two times more engagement than tweets without them. In order  [click to continue...]

The Future Of Crowdfunding: What The Next 5 Years Will Bring

Social funding revolutionized the way everyone -- from small startups to independent artists -- fund and find new ideas. What will the next five years bring?

A Story About Waiting For a Prognosis And The Patient Experience

A Story About Waiting For a Prognosis And The Patient Experience. Whilst working hard to find a solution for a patient (or a client or a customer) don’t lose sight of them in the process and how they might be feeling while they wait. Think about their whole and actual experience.

What Chinese New Year Says About The Growth Of The World's Most Vibrant Economy

It’s traditional for most people in China to go home to their families on Lunar New Year, which falls on Feb. 19 this year. China experiences a massive migration around the holiday, with an estimated 3.65 billion trips made during a 40-day period. What’s interesting about all of these holiday trips is that they give a picture of the country’s migration patterns, but in reverse. They have also changed a lot in the past 10 years, along with China’s economy.

Solar Energy Tips Everyone Needs To Know

Solar energy can seem quite complicated if you are not familiar with the technology and products used. You just need the right information so you can take the opportunity by the horns. Read this article to learn of the many benefits that solar energy can provide homes and businesses. You need to understand how you ...

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Former Apple CEO: Creating A Billion Dollar Business

Just this week, there were reports that Snapchat and Pinterest were starting the process of raising enormous rounds of financing. While some may think this is another sign of VCs gone wild, the reality is something very different. The fact is that the world of business is changing in a fundamental way because of megatrends like mobile, cloud computing, social media and Big Data.

The Advantage Of Personal Interests In The Workplace

By investing some time in listening to the outside interests of your employees, you may discover talents that provide unexpected benefits to your business.

TurboTax, Phishing, E-Filing, And IRS Security

Fraud, identity theft, phishing and tax scams dominate the news, with new warnings from the IRS. If you long for the days of filing on paper, should you e-file this year?

4 Ways Mobile POS Can Boost Your Business

By AT&T Business Circle Contributor

Lessons from Amazon Prime: Learning to Value "Product Experience"

Why is Amazon coming under fire for creating a sticky product?

How an Email Newsletter Publisher Built an Audience of 223,991 Subscribers

Brian and I have been talking about his new curation-based email newsletter lately, and I thought it’d be interesting to have a similar conversation with someone in a completely different topical market. It’s about one person writing and curating a topic he knows and cares about, building a massive email audience over a period of


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Freelancers, Here's Why You Need a Tribe to Succeed

Many self-employed people think the keys to success are savings, an accountant and regular gigs. But other freelancers are essential as well.

The Amazing Advantage of a Running Head Start

While planning in advance beats jumping right in, best of all is planning ahead and getting a head start.

Caterpillar's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Caterpillar faced Senate scrutiny over its tax plans in 2014. Now, the IRS has swooped in and wants $1 billion.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

5 Ways To Get Out Of A Funk

The holidays are over. The surge of energy that swirls with New Year’s Resolutions has dwindled. The romance of Valentine’s Day has passed, too. And now, we’re left with the last weeks of winter. Whether you’re in the Midwestern frozen tundra (like me, in currently below-zero temperatures) or elsewhere, these months are hard on all of us. Self-worth, motivation, and creativity all feel like a struggle at times. This isn’t something unique to you – remember that we all get down at times, and it’s all the more common at this point in the season. While it happens to many of us, the way you handle yourself to get out of a funk makes the difference between the good and the great champions. Here are a few ways to boost yourself back to high-energy, high-performance.

Why Just About Every Single Head of Innovation -- Including Me -- Should Be Fired

No matter how aggressive we are being, we aren’t being aggressive enough.

Solar Energy Tips You Can Start Trying Today

Are you familiar with solar energy? Is there anything else you want to know about solar energy? If this is the case, you should learn everything you can and have a good plan for moving forward. Read on to discover how to take advantage of solar energy market. The number of solar panels to purchase, ...

National Husband Of China Jokes 'Big Boobs' Is A Must For A Girlfriend; State News Agency Fires Back

When the “national husband of China” joked about large bosoms being a must-have quality of his future girlfriend, the state news agency took it seriously and fired back.

How Entrepreneurs Are Winning By Understanding Big Data

Three years ago, CSC predicted that by 2020 data production will be 44 times greater than it was in 2009. Zetabytes (that’s one thousand terabytes) of information, residing online and on internal databases, has become both a huge opportunity and a terrifying information overload for many companies. Both private and public information has become so vast that there’re some that have taken the opportunity to calm the storm or control it to help their customers.

How Entrepreneurs Turn The Tide On Waterfront Erosion

Science and entrepreneurship combine to protect against extreme weather.

Quiet Wine, Successful Wine: Five Lessons From Radio-Coteau [Photo Essay]

Winemaker Eric Sussman has steered Radio-Coteau to critical and commercial acclaim. Here are five quiet lessons from their success.

10 Most Costly Marketing Blunders I’ve Ever Made

When you think of my name, Neil Patel, what comes to mind? You probably see me as a marketing guru or as an expert who is good at driving traffic to websites. Although that’s true these days, I’ve made a lot of marketing blunders over the years. Luckily, most of these blunders affected my own  [click to continue...]

Strong Economic Outlook Spurs Marketing Spending

Marketing leaders report their most positive outlook since the recession hit six years ago, according to new results from The CMO Survey. When asked to rate how optimistic they are about the overall U.S. economy on a scale where 0 is least optimistic and 100 is most optimistic, current reports are 69.9 compared to February 2009 levels of 47.7.

13 Simple Questions to Help You Draft a Winning Content Strategy [Free Worksheet]

Welcome to the year of adaptive content. The choose-your-own-adventure era of content marketing. The age of the customized customer experience. We’ve already tipped our hand by publishing two podcasts on the topic: Adaptive Content: A Trend to Pay Attention to in 2015 and Behind the Scenes: 2014 in Review and the Road Ahead. And 16


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You Will Never See Us Coming

I was talking with the ever smart Jeff Brown who does the Read to Lead Podcast (one of my favorites), and we were talking about how podcasting is just booming. Jeff runs a Podcaster Academy. I co-founded PodCamp, etc. It’s a big topic these days. Jeff said that once at his former job in radio, […]

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8 Expert Tips To Having A Healthy Company Environment

Arguably one of the most important elements in motivating and engaging employees is by having a healthy company environment. But, how exactly can you make an environment where team members are productive, happy, encouraged and accepted? Try these eight valuable tips and you’ll be on your way to having a healthy company environment. 1. Build Trust According to 90% or workers, honesty, trust and fairness are considered the most important attributes valued in the workplace. But, how exactly can you establish trust in the workplace? According to Eva Rykrsmith on QuickBase, an organizational psychologist and HR/OD leader, you can begin by doing the following: Make promises and keep them - don’t overpromise and underdeliver. Make firm commitments - avoid words like I’ll try” or “I’ll do my best.” Follow-up - keep team member updated. Communicate obstacles - discuss how you can overcome any problems with team members.

ExaGrid Nibbles At EMC's Ankles

If you just provide one product -- you need to make it better than a rival that sells lots of different ones. That's why one Massachusetts company thinks it's beating another local giant.

Why Gender Should Be Off The Agenda

These days we hear a lot about businesses needing ‘more women in the board room’. We hardly need to be reminded that historically we have lived in a patriarch society where men have dominated the business world and more.

Social Security Could Be In Worse Shape Than We Thought

Social Security is the backbone of retirement planning in the United States. Nearly one-third of retirees receive almost all of their retirement income from the system and nearly two-thirds receive more than half of their retirement income from Social Security. In short, America’s retirees need Social Security. However, it is not only retirees that rely upon Social Security. The Social Security Disability Insurance Trust Fund provides benefits to disabled workers, their spouses, and children. In December 2014, nearly 11 million people received Disability Insurance from Social Security, with an average benefit of roughly $1,000 per month. While the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund, the portion of Social Security that most people think of as their retirement benefits, is not set to run out of money in the trust until 2033, the Disability Insurance Trust will run out in 2016 if nothing is changed. This shortfall would result in a nearly 20% cut to benefits, reducing those $1,000 checks down to $800 a month. The acting commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Carolyn Colvin, recently stressed the importance of the situation when she stated “I don’t want to be dramatic, but I’ve worked with this population my whole career. I think we give them a death sentence” However, some of the proposals coming from Congress and the current Administration would provide only temporary relief, again delaying any solutions to the real funding issues with Social Security.

Use Hashtags to Generate Greater Brand Engagement

The hashtag has become the new "like" -- and that's not a good thing. Just as marketers used to (and some sorry folks still do) obsess over how many Facebook likes they accumulate, many are now plastering hashtags on their communications and adding up the times they're used.

Why The Future Of Our Organizations Depends On Having More Women In Management

Last year when I was writing my most recent book on The Future of Work, I shared some ideas with my wife (Blake Morgan) around topics that I wanted to include and she said, "You know, you really should write something about women and management." My immediate response was, "Huh? Why would I do that?" I was a bit naive when it came to anything related to women in the workplace. I always heard about the issues and challenges that women are faced with in the corporate world but I really didn't know much about them. My wife has dealt with many of these first hand and she encouraged me to do my own exploration. I was shocked by the information I found and the things I learned and perhaps most shocked by the things that I didn't know! I feel a lot of people are in this same "I don't know" boat.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How To Sell To The Generation That Has Grown Up With Touch Technology

This article is by Paul Do Forno, senior VP of eCommerce at Razorfish.

7 Signs Your Company Has Made It

How do you know when your company has “made it”? What are the signs that your startup has officially become viable? Or your viable startup has become a mature company? Or your mature company has become the business you always dreamed it could be?

Motivating The Middle 80% With Contests

motivate the middle 80% by keeping score together in short bursts

Technology And Inequality In San Francisco

A new case by Clayton Rose explores the clash of cultures in San Francisco, and the role of business in promoting the right balance.

How Many Obamacare Taxes Are There?

Obamacare was upheld by the Supreme Court as a tax law, and it certainly is that. It imposes numerous taxes and penalties, and some taxes are labeled as "shared responsibility payments."

Making Freemium Users Pay

Freemium business models are popular because they allow companies to quickly drive user adoption. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs who rely on this approach, fail to properly monetize such non-paying users.

Is the Shake Shack IPO overcooked?

By now, I’m sure you know all about Shake Shack's recent IPO. The burger chain’s nearly $2 billion valuation and 130% pop on day-one of trading was nothing short of impressive, albeit slightly anticipated¹.

Sally Hogshead on How You Can Unlock Your Natural Ability to Fascinate

You have a natural ability to fascinate others that you may or may not be taking full advantage of. And getting in touch with this “fascination advantage” can pay big dividends, both in business and in your personal relationships. Sally Hogshead is a copywriter-turned-Catalyst who teaches you how to tap into your natural ability to


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The Real Reason You Are Stressed (And It's Not Your Job)

Do you know anyone who is stressed? It’s not news that stress is a problem and we don’t need a lot of statistics to prove it. The latest annual “Stress in America” survey from the American Psychological Association reports 83% of Americans polled say their stress levels have stayed the same or increased. Overall, Americans think they are significantly more stressed than is good for their health and realize that they overeat, drink, and lose sleep because of stress; and people report they are anxious, irritable, snap at their loved ones, and call in sick because of stress.

Swedish Crowdfunder, FundedByMe, Eyes Global Investor Market

The crowdfunding concept has swept the world, but for the most part – aside from a few global brands such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo – even the biggest platforms tend to focus on audiences within their own national boundaries. There are some good reasons for this. Most early stage businesses start out by targeting their local marketplace. And given that businesses often use crowdfunding as a means to enhance their profiles and attract customers while also raising cash, concentrating on domestic investors makes perfect sense. There are potential regulatory issues too. Equity crowdfunding and its close sibling peer-to-peer lending are now firmly on the radar screen of policymakers. Any platform promoting itself and its businesses abroad must be mindful of the laws and practices of other jurisdictions. But a national focus by definition imposes limitations on the size of the investor pool, which can be frustrating for a business struggling to meet its target figure. Arguably that frustration is more acute for companies seeking to raise finance in regions with a relatively low population, such as Scandinavia. On the other side of the equation, a potential fund in, say, Hong Kong or Thailand is going to have, at best, limited opportunities to seek out potential peer-to-peer or crowdfunding opportunities in, say, Germany or the UK. But crowdfunding platforms are beginning to push beyond their national boundaries. Witness Fundedbyme, a Swedish platform that is today announcing the launch of a new peer-to-peer loan product which will be rolled out and to global audience of lenders. Branching Out Fundedbyme has been operating from its Stockholm base for the last four years or so, and during that period it has raised 100,000,000 SK from investors, not just in Sweden but from all over Europe. Although primarily focused on reward and equity crowdfunding it has developed a peer-to-peer lending platform, which has been available to German investors. Fundedbyme's new peer-to-peer product promises an quick and simple sign up process for entrepreneurs in which they provide information on the business and the borrowing requirement. This is used by the platform to create a risk profile, which in turn is the basis for a recommended interest rate. The process for lenders is intended to be equally simple, with individuals providing the details necessary to conform with international lending and borrowing regulations. The rates available to investors range from 0.93% through to 13.3% but according to Fundedbyme, the return is unlikely to be set at anything less than 1.6%. So in common with other peer-to-peer sites, Fundedbyme says it can offer investors better rates than they could expect from, say, a bank deposit account while entrepreneurs have access to cash, potentially at lower cost than would be the case from traditional lenders. Potentially the process is much faster than applying directly to a bank and going through the protracted process of negotiating with account or relationship managers and then waiting (perhaps weeks) for yes or a no from the credit committee. But perhaps most importantly, the platform is giving Swedish companies to reach out beyond their home market. According to Marketing and Communications manager Maciej Szulc, this is an important consideration. “Due to the fact that Sweden is a relatively small country, the international development is a part of a long-term strategy of every company located here.” Added to that, of course, is the fact that a larger pool of investors increases the chance of raising the necessary sums of money. Fundedbyme currently has representatives working in seven countries and has already attracted investment from 47 jurisdictions. According to Szulc, this existing network will be used to promote the international peer-to-peer lending product, using the internet as the main marketing tool. Beyond Europe, Asia is seen as a particular important region. The company is aware of the need to remain compliant with investment rules. However, with peer-to-peer lending legal in it's home country , the new platform will operate under Swedish rules. Having taken legal advice . FundedmyMe does not expect to encounter too many legal problems. However, it is rolling the international service “iteratively” to assure users that there will not be any “additional risks.” Such has been the publicity surrounding crowdfunding that the leading individual platforms – such as Seedrs, Funding Circle and Crowdcube here in the UK - have built well recognized brands in their home nations. As platforms flex look beyond borders it will be interesting to see if those brands can be scaled up internationally.

It Pays To Show Off Online; So How About A Company Comparison Website?

Want to buy a hi-fi online? Simple, almost every electronics site you visit will tell you everything you need to know; pictures, a list of specifications, price, warranty; if you’re lucky, or if you’re on a comparison site, you can study the advantages and disadvantages of each product, read reviews, see the overall rating. The full store experience and more from the comfort of your armchair.

Day 820: Mongolia Thanks China That Currency Descends Slowly Instead Of Plummeting

Mongolia's government has recently imprisoned American Justin Kapla and Filipinos Cristobal David and Hilarion Cajucom Jr. as part of the government's ongoing battles with foreign owned mining companies SouthGobi Resources, Turquoise Hill Resources and Rio Tinto. The men are in their 820th day of being detained in Mongolia. During this time, Mongolia's battles with foreign mining companies have caused a decline in foreign investment that has wreaked havoc on Mongolia's economy and caused a decline in its Tugrik currency near 50%. Yet the currency would likely be in free fall if not for the geopolitical motivations of China.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Starwood's Paul James Talks 21st-Century Luxury Travel Trends

"We needed to think more about the holistic environment, about health and wellness, about sustainability, and those sorts of things because that’s what our consumer is after.” --Paul James

The 9 Most Common Lies Agencies Tell Clients During A Pitch

Agencies lose 10% of their income on average every year due to attrition. Some of this loss can be chalked up to clients leaving the agency, and some to reduced investment by roster clients. This pressure is compounded by the demands of the holding companies, which own hundreds of agencies for high margins. That makes winning new business a matter of survival. Which sometimes leads to aggressive behavior during the pitch.

15 Most-Funded Crowdfunding Projects On Kickstarter And Indiegogo

2015 is shaping up as the greatest ever for crowdfunding, with three 2015 projects already making it to the list of 15 most-funded crowdfunding projects on Kicstarter and Indeigogo.

Samsung Tops Apple

Samsung Electronics now tops Apple in popularity among American consumers, according to a Harris Poll report. ?Samsung, steadily gaining ground over the past four years, rises to #3 and tops Apple for first time, while Apple falls from #3 to #9,? notes the poll. Samsung ranks highly in four metrics?product quality

How To Be Genuinely Happy (Not Jealous!) When Others Succeed

We bet you've never heard this strategy before.

How I Generated 518,399 Visitors and 16,394 Leads from 77 Webinars

At KISSmetrics, we’ve held 77 webinars to date, with great results so far. You can safely assume that we would have stopped holding webinars long ago if the results had been less than desirable since we are a company that measures everything. So, what have the webinars yielded? The 77 webinars have brought us an additional 518,399 visitors,  [click to continue...]

Marijuana Tax Up In Smoke? Don't Worry, Feds Plot 50% Tax

Marijuana taxes are coming, and not just in Colorado and Washington. A proposed 50% federal tax could grease nationwide legalization. But with still thriving illegal and medical marijuana markets, how do we know what revenues the taxes will produce?

Islamic Teaching On Usury Kills Property Tax Exemption In Tennessee

The Islamic Center of Nashville is listed on as being a church meaning it has 501(c)(3) status, but is not required to file Form 990. They are advertising for an imam and presumably whoever gets the job would qualify for a tax exempt housing allowance under Section 107(2). So you would think that ICN would not have any issues with its property tax exemption, as long as it avoids doing something like running a bookstore and a fitness center as Christ Church Pentecostal of Nashville (which is a bit over nine miles away according to mapquest) did. Only ICN did have a problem with its property tax exemption. And sad to say, the problems come from it being Islamic, although you really can't blame the Tennessee State Board of Equalization, which ruled against ICN. They were following Reilly's First Law of Tax Planning - It is what it is. Deal with it.

The New Authenticity and Authority: What it Looks Like, How to Use It

Jon Stewart’s retirement from The Daily Show this week, accompanied by many tears and some cheers, is getting a lot of coverage around the web. First, because the show is insanely popular. But more than that, because the show demonstrates a real shift in what authority and authenticity look like in the 21st century. In


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Build Your Leadership on a Foundation of Trust

Ensure your team is functioning at its full potential by being intentional about developing trust.

Five Things Successful People Do Before They Go To Bed

The time before going to bed is critical to ensure that one closes out the day that has passed, plans for the day ahead, but it is also critical that the mind is calmed so that one has a restful sleep. Too many successful executives get this wrong. One can only burn the candle at both ends for so long before it will mean that they are not as productive as they should be at work, and not as happy as they should be overall. Based on research and conversation with successful executives on the topic, here are the five things that successful people do before they go to sleep:

Day 819: Mongolia's Mining Squabbles Squander Sovereignty And Gift China Power

Since August 2011, a swathe of Mongolia’s politicians have committed themselves to a series of public squabbles with international mining companies operating in Mongolia. These politically staged disputes are ultimately diminishing a century of work by Mongolia’s politicians to be independent of China. The politicians behind these schemes seem unable to comprehend the knock-on effects of their grandstanding that renders their country more beholden to China with each passing month of their maneuvers.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Share My Jet: Can XOJet Ever Join Uber and Airbnb In The Sharing Economy?

XOJet, America’s third largest private jet leasing company, struggled in the crisis of 2008 but has been a lot more financially airborne since the arrival in 2010 of Brad Stewart, the turnaround expert who is now the company’s chief executive.. Revenues have more than trebled from $100m in 2009 to between $300m-$400m, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation increased by 33 per cent to about $50m in 2014, having been in negative territory five years earlier.

Colorado Residents To Have Their Pot And Their Tax Dollars Too?

Buy weed. Pay tax on weed. Consume weed. Get weed tax refunded from state. Buy more weed. The circle of life is complete.

Shining the Light on Angel Investing: Interview with Merrick Furst, CEO of Flashpoint

Angel investing can generate returns that are highly uncorrelated and superior to the rest of an investor’s portfolio which is typically dominated by publicly traded equities, bonds or real estate. However, angel investing is fraught with risk and your investment may end up being worth zero which is why most individual investors stay away from what could be a highly profitable opportunity. The problem stems from the fact that most startups fail and less than one in a thousand delivers meaningful returns. In the article, Why and How to be an Angel Investor?, a fellow Forbes contributor, David Teten writes that angel investing outperforms any other investment class including Venture Capital and have averaged returns consistently well above 20% during the period from 1990s to 2014. The problem is that results vary widely from the mean. But what if there was a way to change the odds in your favor?

Savvy London Mayor Boris Johnson Paid IRS, Is Now Renouncing U.S. Citizenship

Boris Johnson paid his outrageous IRS bill and now is renouncing. It's the only way to do it properly and to get free of the yoke of FATCA, FBARs, and U.S. wordwide taxation.

Day 818: Mongolia's Lacking Due Process Versus Families On Social Media

American Justin Kapla and Filipinos Hilarion Cajucom Jr. and Cristobal David have been detained in Mongolia for 818 days now. Americans who wish to draw this case to President Obama’s attention can sign this linked petition to accomplish that. Supporters of Hilaron Cajucom can likewise sign this iPetition to draw attention to his case. Facing clear failings of due process by Mongolian and international standards alike, family members and friends of the three imprisoned men have taken their cause to social media.

Realise The Value Of Your 'Content Empire' In A Knowledge Economy, Romanian-style

Making online content more effective

Chinese Airline Tycoon Buys NYC Condo For $47.4M

The founder of China's Hainan Airlines, Chen Guoqing, paid a sky-high $47.4 million for an apartment on an upper floor of Manhattan's One57 earlier this month, and notched the biggest home deal of the week in the process.

Chinese Airline Tycoon Buys NYC Condo for $47.4M

The founder of China's Hainan Airlines, Chen Guoqing, paid a sky-high $47.4 million for an apartment on an upper floor of Manhattan's One57 earlier this month, and notched the biggest home deal of the week in the process.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Why Analytics Is Finally Ripe For The Cloud

Analytics is a huge area that takes many shapes, forms and sizes. It also eats up a lot of processing cycles, and it takes a high level of expertise to put it into motion. In other words, it's ripe for the cloud. But why is it taking so long for organizations to embrace cloud analytics?

The 5 Awkward Truths About Professional Speaking

From professional speaker and television host Troy Dunn, five surprising truths about the “glamorous” world of professional speaking. As entrepreneurs hone their skills in presenting these points will likely ring true.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Developing An Authentic Customer Service Style: A Requirement For Success In The New Economy

Developing an authentic customer service style is a requirement for success with customers in the new economy. Customers in today’s marketplace (including the enormous millennial generation, their Boomer parents and the GenX’ers in the middle) favor a straightforward, down to earth, even slangy style of communication from most types of business with which they interact. (Obvious exceptions include oncologists, pilots, accountants and funeral directors.)

John Koskinen Saves Tax Season With Form 3115 Relief For Small Business

That massive sigh of relief that you will be hearing over the next couple of days is coming from all the people who prepare tax returns for the little people (Those with average annual gross receipts of $10 million or less). We had been gearing up to launch a tsunami of paper on the Ogden Utah IRS Service Center as the finalized repair regulations appeared to require every business entity, including individuals with modest Schedules C to file Form 3115. IR-2015-29, just released, allows the accounting method change to be applied prospectively and waives Form 3115. Here is the text.
The Internal Revenue Service today made it easier for small business owners to comply with the final tangible property regulations.

London Calling: The World's Largest Accelerator Scheme Arrives In The UK

MassChallenge is launching its second international programme, with London chosen to host an ambitious new initiative

Five Things To Do For A Successful Referral Strategy

For as long as businesses have tried to get customers to buy their stuff, a referral has been the holy grail of prospecting. Like the mythical chalice, a referral is golden.

Delaware's Asset Protection Problem

Depending on how a Delaware-domiciled trust was drafted, divorcing spouses might be able to drill into trust assets that were heretofore been believed "safe." But, there is a simple and inexpensive solution.

Echo of WWII: Americans Revisit Foxholes In Europe

This article appeared in Forbes Hungary

How to Get the Most Value out of Your LinkedIn Posts

Whether you are trying to appeal to other businesses or position yourself for finding a high-paying job, LinkedIn is a social network you can’t ignore. Posting on this social network, which has over 250 million active members, is a great way to grow your brand and generate income. If you are still not convinced that  [click to continue...]

3 Key Principles For Managing Growth As An Early-Stage Entrepreneur

Early-stage entrepreneurs miss out on critical opportunities when scrambling to keep up with a growth surge. Don't get caught unaware.

The Excitement of a Rock Concert. The Education of a Graduate Course.

Check out the entire Authority Rainmaker experience here, and take advantage of Early Bird registration. We’ll see you in sunny Denver in May!   (If you like this video by The Draw Shop, you’re going to love meeting them at the live event — they’ll be creating Genius Maps of our sessions and providing avatar-ready


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2015 Retirement Tax Planning For Small Business Owners

Learn what a small business owner may do to reduce income taxes during the earning years and increase cash flow during retirement.

Day 816: Mongolia Prefers Economic Suicide Over Ending SouthGobi Vendetta

While former SouthGobi executives American Justin Kapla and Filipinos Cristobal David & Hilarion Cajucom Jr. have been detained in Mongolia for 816 days, Mongolia’s economy has mirrored the despair of their situation in its death spiral. 2012 was the year Mongolia changed laws that would reduce foreign investment more than 80% annually on average the next two years, the year the country had its last national parliamentary elections and the year the government’s legal team began a stubborn endless pursuit to destroy the coal company SouthGobi Resources and the lives of three former employees.

Fifty Shades Of Taxes: IRS Domination With No Safe Words

If you think the sexy world of BDSM is hard to understand, it has nothing on the tax law. The lingo is more confusing, there's no pleasure, and the stakes are high. There aren't even any safe words. Welcome to tax filing season, fraud and all.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

This Valentine's Day, Nurture The Agency/Client Romance

This article is by Damon Gorrie, CEO and chief creative officer, Safari Sundays.

Let's Talk About The Gender Pay Gap

Think Progress recently highlighted stats around the ongoing gender wage gap (at 22% overall) in nearly every kind of job. These days, public sector roles appear to have much more transparent pay structures, which has ultimately led to smaller pay gaps and greater employee empowerment to discuss rates of compensation. However, in the private sector, salaries are much less transparent, and in the recent Sony hack, some private salaries were exposed. When Charlize Theron found out that she was making $10 million less than her male costar, Chris Hemsworth, she was then able to negotiate her salary to be on par with his. However, she wasn't alone at Sony; of the 6,000 employees, just one of the 17 who made $1 million or more was a woman.

One State Wants To Let You Carry Your Drivers License On Your Phone

There’s now a technology to replace almost everything in your wallet. Your cash, credit cards, and loyalty programs are all on their way to becoming obsolete. Money can now be sent via app, text, e-mail - it can even be sent via Snapchat. But you can’t leave your wallet home just yet. That’s because there is one item that remains largely unchanged: your drivers license.

Remember When I Said I Quit Facebook?

A few years back, I quit Facebook. I tried deleting my old profile, but in Facebook, that’s pretty much an act of congress, so I just abandoned it. A year ago-ish, I snuck back on, but decided not to do much in the way of “business” via my Facebook. Along the way, I discovered what […]

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6 Ways To Make Your Customers Fall In Love With You

As Valentine’s Day rolls around again this weekend, love is in the air. This week especially, people are focused on the most important human emotion of all. The greeting card aisle is crowded with customers searching high and low for the perfect way to express sentiments toward their partners. Florists are inundated with orders and restaurants are packed with reservations, as ways for lovebirds to show how much they care for one another. Simply put, love moves people to action. When we utter “till death do us part,” we’ve expressed the ultimate in loyalty, so expressing that is paramount.

6 Ideas To Shake Up Your Digital Marketing

For some reason I have the number 6 on my brain this week. Not quite sure why. Yesterday it was 6 Ways To Take Advantage Of Negative Reviews and today it's 6 Ideas To Shake Up Your Digital Marketing.

Why Community Management Is Different From Social Media Marketing

It’s only been a few years since the majority of people were questioning whether leveraging social media channels as a platform for consumer-brand interactions was a viable strategy, and now most businesses in the country have some discernable social media presence. Not all of these businesses are actively engaging in an ongoing marketing strategy through these platforms, but they still acknowledge the potential there.

What Angels Need To Know About New Startup Tool: Lean LaunchPad

Have you heard of Lean LaunchPad? It is a new tool being taught at more than 200 universities to help startups really hone their business plans and may one day help avoid wasting investors’ money. It’s a game-changing concept that angels should know about now, even though it is new to the investor part of the startup scene.

4 Common Productivity Tips That Are Actually the Worst

Permission to ignore all of the tips that aren't working for you. You're welcome.

Entrepreneurs Are Born, Not Created

Despite the fact that I teach entrepreneurship at UC Santa Barbara, I do not believe that entrepreneurs are created in classrooms. Instead of trying to teach students to be an entrepreneur, I expose my entrepreneurial students to tools that will help them solve real-world problems.

A Copernicus Moment for Liver Disease

The nonprofit NuSI is preparing to fund studies capable of identifying the dietary triggers of a silent condition known as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Day 815: American And Filipinos Wrongfully Detained In Mongolia

American Justin Kapla along with Filipinos Hilarion Cajucom Jr. and Cristobal David have been wrongfully detained in Mongolia for 815 days. Although Mongolia’s courts stated on multiple occasions that the prosecution had insufficient evidence in the legal case against them in Mongolia, they have been in the medieval circumstances of Mongolia’s jails for the past 13 days now.

TurboTax Fraud May Impact Federal Returns Too, FBI Investigating

Tax filing season arrived with a bang this year, punctuated by a big uptick in fears about fraud. There was nearly a bank run when TurboTax had to suspend filing state tax returns over fraud concerns. It would be bad enough to find that someone had filed 'your' tax return in your state and scooped up your refund. But all indications were that this was just a state tax problem, not a federal one. Not any more. Although details are sketchy, the FBI is now investigating fraudulent tax returns filed through TurboTax. Some taxpayers claim that their federal refund may be in jeopardy. Taxpayers interviewed about the fraudulent tax filings said their IRS data was compromised too and returns were filed, perhaps based on their 2013 tax return data. Imagine getting a congratulatory email from TurboTax that your federal return is on file when you haven't yet filed! Given that virtually everything is electronic these days, that has become a massive issue. TurboTax is one of the most popular individual return preparation programs, but the impact of this kind of mess is significant. During the state return flap, H&R Block was able to one-up its TurboTax rival by stating that it was not impacted by all of this. When TurboTax got back in the saddle and resumed the processing of state tax returns, it said it added security.

3 Winning Tickets In $564 Million Powerball, Less After Tax, Claims, Family 

Do you have a winning lottery ticket? It's a chance at $564 million, though the real total after tax could be as low as about $200 million. And then, there are the relatives...

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Customer Is The CMO's Best New-Product Developer: Survey

Marketing strategy consultancy CMG Partners today releases the results of its seventh-annual CMO’s Agenda, “Your #1 Resource for Innovation: the Customer,” a qualitative survey assessing the role and responsibilities of the chief marketer. CMG Partners conducted interviews with CMOs, senior marketing executives and new-product development experts between August and December of 2014 to cull the findings: that the customer is the single-biggest asset in developing new products that resonate in a given market.

6 Ways To Take Advantage Of Negative Reviews

With sites like Yelp and Google Reviews a single customer can share his or her poor experience with your company with millions of people by a few clicks of the mouse. From there, your reputation can be dragged in the mud by any crackpot or veiled competitor.

Why I Won’t Stop Blogging

I started blogging in 1998, back when they called it journaling. My first site wasn’t really blogging software. It didn’t exist yet. A bunch of my sites have been lost to software companies folding. Then eventually, I landed on, ported some of those posts to WordPress, made a lot of mistakes, and finally settled […]

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Rainmaker.FM: Has Social Media Killed Consumer Trust?

This week, Robert and I put on our commentary caps to take on subjects that have been in the news. Plus, we reveal what’s in the very near future for Rainmaker.FM (think big). The main story this week is all too familiar … short-cut marketers are the reason we can’t have nice things. Now, apparently,


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Passion? Data? People? 6 Experts Weigh In On Small Business Advice.

There's no business like show business, as the saying goes, however this same expression could be applied to small businesses.

Bitcoin Comes To The Mall

Mall owners like Westfield and REITs like Simon Property Group and General Growth Properties are sinking significant money in consumer tech to entice shoppers and make the shopping experience as fun as possible

No One Is Going to Read Your Corporate Blog (Unless You Read This)

So you’re interested in starting a corporate blog. Now what? You already know how it generates sales, but the real questions is…where do you start? And how do you ensure that people are actually going to read your blog (because company blogs are inherently boring, right?) Don’t worry, I’m going to answer all of those questions and more. As  [click to continue...]

30 Under 30: Snowflakes

Your unique and perfect match from the FORBES 30 Under 30, in 30 words or less.

The Smart Way to Use Surveys to Engage and Grow Your Audience

Last month, you may have seen Copyblogger’s 2015 Cost of Online Business Report that analyzed the results of a survey we conducted on the blog. The report explores the cost of doing business online, so you can accurately evaluate your current strategies and tactics — and their associated costs — to help you see if


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How Coca-Cola Turned Its Ship Around - And How Your Business Can Too

If you want to build a ship,” runs the quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupery at the beginning of David Butler’s new book about Coca-Cola, “don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”

Could You Do A Bit Less And Be More Productive?

Many of us are experts at being busy. It’s easy to do in a digital world. But could you do a bit less? This might seem like counter-intuitive productivity advice. But by leaving space we can achieve clarity, regain perspective, and remain efficient.

Do's And Don'ts Of Passing Down A Private Foundation

Think your kid really wants to run your foundation?

Thousands Renounce U.S. Citizenship Hitting New Record, Not Just Over Taxes

Americans renouncing citizenship just hit a new record. Taxes, disclosures, and worldwide acceptance of FATCA, Americas global reporting law, make being American too troublesome for many living abroad.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Why Getting Out Of Your Comfort Zone Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Career

A few weeks ago I shared a bit of personal information of getting out of your comfort zone with my private group of newsletter subscribers. I wanted to share it here with you as well and expand on it a bit. While I'm still growing, learning, and expanding my career to get to where I want to be, I firmly believe that getting out of my comfort zone was one of the most important things I have for my career but it took me a long time to realize that. I'm hoping that what I share below will inspire you to get out of your comfort zone regardless of whether you are a senior executive or a junior level employee. For someone that is self-employed this is especially crucial

Breaking - Repair Regs - AICPA Says Help On The Way - Maybe

The American Institute Of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has finally responded to the anguished cries of the bulk of its membership that the implementation of the new tangible property regulations (or repair regs as we call them), marvelous as it was for the profits of larger firms, is creating a nightmare for tax preparers who have to crank out returns for people without deep pockets. According to the OMB notice that goes with Form 3115, it takes on average 80 hours to prepare. There is one body of thought that holds that every business return, including a modest Schedule C, requires a From 3115 this year. Besides being attached to the return, Form 3115 has to be separately mailed to Ogden Utah. Of course that 80 hours will get pared way down as routine forms are done in bulk, but still it seems like quite a pain particularly when ACA compliance is also kicking in this year.

Carl Icahn?s Undercover Empire

Five Things CMOs Need To Know About Facebook Local Awareness Ads

This article is by Robert Blatt, CEO of MomentFeed.

Countries With The Most Oil

Who's got the largest proven reserves? Saudi Arabia, by far. But number two may surprise you.

Mexico Suspends Multibillion Dollar High-Speed Rail Project At Center Of Political Scandal

Mexico said it will postpone indefinitely a multi-billion high-speed rail project for lack of funds, but analysts believe that the decision is also related to the possible conflict-of-interest involving the President's wife and Finance Minister and a contractor

Senate Finance Committee Review Of 1986 Act Smacks of Desperation

The Senate Finance Committee will try to use history as a guide to break the logjam on tax reform.

Business Travel Tips: Discover Your Inner Boy Scout

As CEO of a high-growth startup, I’ve been taking more and more business trips lately, many of them at the last minute. After having traveled to 42 countries (for both business and pleasure) and being an optimizer at heart, I’ve learned a lot about maximizing my travel routine. I’d like to share some highlights from those lessons here. A lot of it is simply remembering the Boy Scouts time-honored motto: Be prepared.

How to Learn from Your Successes

We all know about the importance of learning from mistakes. “Fail forward,” as they say. But we shouldn’t just look at our successes as magical moments when everything went right and think these experiences do not hold significant lessons of their own. In the last episode of The Lede, Demian and I discussed mistakes that


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New Book: Success Secrets of the Online Marketing Superstars

In 2005, the Internet had already begun to profoundly change the world of business, yet for many online entrepreneurs the roadmap to success was unclear. In response, I compiled the first edition of Success Secrets of the Online Marketing Superstars, a book that celebrated the ways in which the most successful marketers on the web


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Ninth Circuit Cuts Break To Son Of Man Sentenced To Life For Price Label Switching

The Ninth Circuit decision in the case of Logan Volpicelli is well covered by Carlton Smith guest posting on Procedurally Taxing. The case is all about time limits and jurisdictional stuff making it what I call lawyerly, so I was inclined to let it pass. It is such a great story though.

Disarm Angry Customers With Social Video

We have entered an age where the options for customers to connect to brands have become endless. Beyond the traditional online support and telephone options, social media has driven a whole new plethora of places that customers seeking immediate feedback can go to get attention.

Nightmare Home Renovation: What HGTV Forgot To Tell You

If you have ever watched any of the shows on HGTV, you might conclude that a complete renovation can be completed within an hour… including commercials. The dumpsters are clean, the workers are all fit and tidy, and everyone shows up on time to do their work with a smile.

Monday, February 9, 2015

How Can Marketers Drive Measurable Revenue Growth?

One of the hottest topics in the CMO-sphere today is the need to drive greater accountability for sales and revenue contribution. Unfortunately, research published by Fournaise suggests that 80% of CEOs are expect higher levels of ownership and accountability from the CMOs. This article provides insight into how marketers can do a better a better job of measuring their performance.

Solar Energy Advice That Can Work For You

Solar power is becoming very popular. Anyone who owns a building can benefit from this energy source. If you aren’t sure how it works or what benefits await you, read on! In this article, we will discuss the latest and greatest in solar energy. Start small if you are just starting out with solar energy. ...

Appster Aims to Cut Mobile App Startup Starting Costs By Half

Appster, an Australian based mobile app service company has established its presence in the world’s most competitive market, Silicon Valley. Founded by early twenty’s wunderkind duo Josiah Humphrey and Mark McDonald, Appster is bringing it’s technical co-founder service model to impact the speed and cost to market for non-technical founders.

Why HR Tech And Its Entrepreneurs Are The New Venture Promised Land -- Their Humanity

In 2013, Josh Bersin, Deloitte’s corporate HR research guru, predicted that 57% of companies would be buying HR software in the next 18 months, and in 2014 that the HR tech industry was worth over $15 billion. His logic? Old-school solutions to some of the more boring, testing and most-loathed (according to Fast Company) industries were aging, and Crunchbase shows over a thousand startups looking to step up to the plate.

Good News: NIH Has Discovered Silicon Valley Data Scientists

Solving hard problems requires the most talented people, and some of America?s very best are found in industry.

Under Armour, MyFitnessPal, and Why Brands Want To Know Everything About Your Body

It’s been said that when a technology is free to use, you are not the customer, you are the product. That is still true - but with apparel company Under Armour’s acquisition of health tracking app MyFitnessPal, there is an additional dimension to this. Your thoughts, behaviors, and actions can now be used to improve other products - in an entirely different industry.

America’s Most Promising Companies: The Top 20 Of 2015

Tax Court Hammers IRS CI Who Went Out Into The Cold

image thumbnail - see full story for attributionsVideo
Not too many IRS agents rate wikipedia entries, but Joseph Banister does. His fame is similar to that of Maria Monk. Maria Monk was credited with the work Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk, or, The Hidden Secrets of a Nun's Life in a Convent Exposed first published in 1836. If you

Hitting a Plateau with Your Organic Traffic? Here Is How You Keep Growing

Google is constantly evolving. Not only is its algorithm changing, but the type of data shown within its search results is changing too. For that reason, it’s important that you understand all the changes that have been happening over the years. Why? Because it will help ensure that your site stays relevant so that you  [click to continue...]

How to Create a Deep Connection with Your Prospects and Customers

When my son was about two and a half, he developed a funny habit of walking around the house from time to time, chiming out, “I’m here.” Although this little boy was strongly connected to his family and his small class of school friends, he still had that need to express it. I’m here. I


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When to Pull the Plug on Your Startup

This is not a pleasant subject. Death is never a pleasant subject, even if its the death of a startup.

Many Hedge Funds Can Significantly Benefit By Using Captive Insurance Companies

Hedge funds are famous for innovation, both in their investment strategies and approaches to mitigating enterprise risk. Today, there are many hedge fund managers who are astutely exploring the potential of captive insurance companies in addressing risk and reducing overall taxes incurred.

How to start a business in Oman

Can Oman follow in the footsteps of its world-renowned neighbour Dubai and create an attractive business centre for investment and economic diversification? One local entrepreneur is making it his business to do so.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

IRS Filing Delays, Errors, Can Cause Problems For FAFSA's IRS Data Retrieval Tool

Delays in filing your tax return, like the recent one with Turbo Tax, can lead to missed college financial aid deadlines if you use the IRS data retrieval tool when completing the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Even if parents have filed their taxes promptly and accurately, a delay by the IRS in making the information available for retrieval can lead to delays in completing the FAFSA. You can enter the tax information on the FAFSA yourself and avoid potential delays in submitting your child's FAFSA form.

The (Awkward) Face of Google Glass

Functionality aside, Google's head-worn gadget, Google Glass, may be in need of a fashion overhaul sooner than later.

20 Brands That Help You Start a Business

TurboTax, Fraud & Identity Theft Spare IRS & H&R Block

We all must file tax returns, but finding out someone already filed 'your' return and got your refund is daunting.

Marussia Formula One Team Made "Duress Payments" To Recover Seized Assets

Astonishing details have come to light about the scale of turmoil at the Marussia Formula One team which led to it hitting the wall last year owing $97.5 million (£63.9 million).

Hanging out on MSNBC Your Business

I was on MSNBC’s Your Business with JJ Ramberg, with my co-panelist Larry Broughton. We discussed underpants, second locations, and virtual assistants. If any of that is your thing or if you just want to see me chatting in a tie, here you are: Continue Reading

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Jon Taffer Of Spike TV's Bar Rescue: 'I Know What The Common Denominator Of Failure Is'

Jon Taffer, best known as the no-nonsense, in-your-face host of Spike TV's Bar Rescue, talks about life and business lessons from his 30+ years of experience in the entertainment, media, and hospitality industries.

Levelling The Playing Field For European Startups: A Croatian Entrepreneur's Goal

Are US start-ups worth more then their like-for-like European counterparts?

A PR Pro's "How To" on Earning Trust, Helping Earnings,

After 15 years of asking consumers around the world about who they trust and why, Edelman CEO Richard Edelman offers advice on boosting trust and why it helps earnings and innovation.

How Long Does SEO Take To Start Working?

SEO can provide great results, but only with the right time investment. But how long can it take?

Meet Mohammed Hamid, The $200 Million Milling Tycoon Of Uganda

Mohammed Hamid is one of Uganda?s most successful entrepreneurs and chairs Aya Group, a $200 million (annual revenues) conglomerate with interests in milling, food manufacturing, commodity trading, transportation and hospitality.. He recounts his story to Mfonobong Nsehe

Bitreserve Goes For The Gold, And E-Commerce Glimpses A Brave New World

The true value of Bitcoin rests in its potential for innovation and equal opportunity in the global marketplace.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Friday's Briefs: Two Shacks Passing in the Night

Today's news and insights for business owners, including how Twitter's struggle to attract new users is obscuring its impressive revenue growth.

5 Tips to Stay Present in Business and in Life

A successful investment banker went on vacation to a tropical island. There he met a fisherman who had a unique way of catching fish. The banker immediately saw a business opportunity.

Friday, February 6, 2015

How to Build a Loyal Audience on the Web

Have you ever wondered how I’ve built a loyal audience with my sites? From Quick Sprout to KISSmetrics and now, I’ve been able to create a loyal following. How? you may ask. Well, to explain how I’ve been able to do so and, more importantly, how you can achieve similar results, I’ve created an infographic  [click to continue...]

Get ‘Significantly Better Hosting Performance and Pay Less’ (Their Words, Not Ours)

On Monday, I explained — in my own words — how Synthesis Managed WordPress Hosting can dramatically improve your website’s speed, stability, and SEO. I also let you know that we are giving you a free migration if you sign up for Synthesis here before the clock strikes 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time today (Friday, February


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How Angels Can Get The Best Deal Flow From Accelerators

Some amazing companies like Airbnb, Dropbox and SendGrid got their start in business accelerators. Even better, they brought great returns and a fun ride to their investors. So what are the best ways for angels to leverage and support accelerators so they can find great startups like these?

How Do You Deal With Negative Feedback?

Someone recently asked if I have ever received negative feedback and how I dealt with it (and still do!). As we move to a more connected, interactive, communicative and collaborative world, it’s imperative that we learn how to deal with feedback, especially negative feedback. Thanks to social media it's easy for anyone to say anything to you . We can all expect to see more feedback on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and anywhere else we have a profile. Hopefully most of this feedback will be positive but some of it will be negative and we must all learn how to deal with it.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Employers Say Machines Will Need Training, Too

In recent years, there's been no shortage of criticism that employers aren't providing enough of the training their workforces need to compete in the information economy. So here's some more fuel for this particular fire: executives report they'll probably be need to "train" machines as much as they need to train people.

Learn Five Guys Burgers' Customer Service Secret: Systematize Surprise And Delight

Although great customer service is most visibly dependent on employee smiles, it lives and dies based on the smiles it creates in customers. And those are the result of the interplay between great employees and great systems. Including what I call “surprise and delight systems.” Surprise and delight systems are formalized

Hedge Fund Meets Mad Men As Interpublic Settles With Elliott Management

On Thursday, hedge Elliott Management settled an activist campaign against Interpublic Group of Companies, the owner of McCann, an agency that payed a prominent role in Mad Men, by having three nominees appointed to Interpublic's board of directors

Salesforce CEO Slams 'The World's Dumbest Idea': Maximizing Shareholder Value

A growing number of CEOs agree: shareholder value theory is stupid

Solar Energy: An Environmentally Friendly Energy Source

Regardless of your setting, choosing solar energy will help you lower your energy costs. It has been proven that energy costs double approximately every ten years. This should help you realize that you should do something about your energy costs. You’ll learn some of the ins and outs of solar energy by reading this article. ...

Part 4: Doors Drummer John Densmore Talks About Preserving Band's Legacy

The first installments (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) in this interview series with Doors drummer John Densmore covered a number of topics including his late band mates Ray Manzarek and Jim Morrison, induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Oliver Stone 1991 movie about the group. Here, Densmore discusses his critically acclaimed 2013 book The Doors, Unhinged and touches on his work with Jeff Jampol to preserve The Doors legacy and estate.

Here’s How Master Brand Storyteller Bernadette Jiwa Writes

Not many people can claim they single-handedly created the new marketing model for the 21st century. And did it simply with a five-column graph called The Difference Map. Well, Bernadette Jiwa can. Which is one reason why we are so excited that she will be a featured speaker at Authority Rainmaker. But her list of


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I’m not a social media expert

I’m a business advisor and educator. My job in one way or another over the last several years has been to help businesses figure out how to market and sell better using digital tools. That makes my job basically business advisor and consultant. I’m not a social media expert. I don’t care about the tools. […]

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Coming Soon: No Travel Or Passport If You Owe IRS

With FATCA and global transparency, tax debts are more easily accessible. Should IRS debts be like airport departure taxes, so you pay before you go?

Split-Testing 101: How to Know Which Words Work

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. ~ Mark Twain That Twain guy was pretty smart. But he had to rely on the intuition that comes from years of writing to choose the right word, and even then it was still a


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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Want To Provide Better Customer Service? Work On Your Customer Service Systems

When the customer service at your business goes bad, it’s because one or more of your customer service systems are broken.

Solar Energy Tips That Can Save You A Fortune!

Do you know much about solar energy? Solar power systems draw energy from the sun and provide electricity to homes and businesses. It is also safe for the environment. This article contains the information you need to add solar energy to your life. Regular maintenance ensures that your solar-powered additions function properly. Inspect your solar ...

How Does Content Marketing Actually Get You More Sales?

There is a big misconception that content marketing doesn’t drive sales. But if it didn’t work well, none of my companies would exist. From KISSmetrics to Crazy Egg, I’ve grown each of my businesses through content marketing. To prove to you that content marketing drives sales, I’m going to share with you stats and data  [click to continue...]

Tuesday's Briefs: Is Golden Krust the Next Chipotle?

Today's news and insights for business owners, including how to write a guest post for a blog.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

7 Steps That Will Hook Readers On Your Content through the Magnetic Force of Fascination

Throughout your journey to overcome online obscurity, you produce a lot of content. Content marketing is about making a connection with your audience and building relationships. Since you invest time and effort into your writing, you want to see tangible results. But what if your posts aren’t getting the engagement you need to take your


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Report: U.S. Entrepreneurship Bounces Back From Recession; Youth Entrepreneurship Sizzles

Mark Zuckerberg and Elizabeth Holmes could be facing some competition in the near future, as more Americans dive into entrepreneurship. About 14% of the U.S. population was involved in starting or running businesses in 2014, up from a post-recession low of 7.6 in 2010, according to a sweeping new study scheduled for release today.

Can You Grow Your Organic Traffic Without Generating Content?

Did you know that the average web page that ranks on page 1 of Google has at least 2,000 words of text? That means if you want more organic traffic, you have to create tons of content, right? What if you don’t have a content bone in your body—does that mean that you’re out of  [click to continue...]

30 Reasons To Do A Digital Detox

Here are 30 reasons to do a digital detox; ideas to make you think, to challenge you, and to give you motivation. If you’re curious about the benefits of a digital detox for work and work-life balance, these tips are for you. A digital detox can be a great strategy to use to achieve balance in the digital world.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Slash Your Energy Costs By Using Solar

Lately, solar energy has become extremely popular for homeowners and businesses alike. If you’re not this source of energy, ask yourself why. If it’s because you aren’t sure how to utilize it right, then this article can definitely help. Continue reading this article to gain a better understanding of solar energy utilization. Avoid technology which ...

Who Should You Tip -- Waiter, Kitchen Staff, Or Manager?

Tipping has been a long tradition in the service industries. Especially in food service, where waiters derive most of their pay from tips.

Dramatically Improve Your Site’s Speed, Stability, and SEO Without the Pain (or Cost) of Migrating

At this point, it’s common knowledge. But it’s so essential to your online success that it bears repeating one more time. You need a seriously fast website. And you know why: The likelihood of losing a visitor due to impatience or frustration increases with each extra millisecond of load time, and fewer happier visitors means

[ Continue Reading... ]

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Ultra-Wealthy Inheritors Are Planning To Directly Invest In Companies

While there is a growing discontent among a percentage of the ultra-wealthy investing through traditional funds, their interest in investing in private companies, infrastructure, real estate and other similar types of assets, has grown unabated. Experts are reporting more and more inquiries from exceptionally wealthy individuals looking to source and participate in a wide variety of deals – creating a diverse portfolio of privately-held companies.

Li Ka-shing's Magic Trick: Unlocking Billions From Undervalued Assets

There has been much speculation about the reasons behind Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing’s reorganization of the two pillars of his family business empire, Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd. and Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. Media have shared many juicy conspiracy theories. No matter what rumors suggest, from an academic perspective these moves make sense and indicate a very rational decision by a shrewd, experienced businessman.

Learn How Solar Energy Can Benefit You

There is no question that installing solar panels in your home is a great way to help the environment. However, it is important to remember that this is an investment. You have to understand if it will fit into your budget. In this article, we will cover the basics of financial considerations when going solar. ...

Sunday, February 1, 2015

College Costs Could Total As Much As $334,000 In Four Years

The rate of increase in college costs has slowed in recent years, but the cost is still going up, and up and up. The projected four-year cost of an elite private college could run as much as $334,000, and that is in after-tax dollars. For taxpayers in the 33% tax bracket, that equates to $500,000 per child. What's more, paying for college can be a confusing process. Here is how to keep it simple.