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Invest in Safe and Long Term Invesments

If you want to invest in your retirement or your kid’s college education, you can pick several options. You can pick the safe investment choice instead of the risky stock market. Over a long period of time, the safe option will yield a decent amount of return. There are several safe investments you can choose from.

You can consider bonds which has several types that you can purchase. There are bonds that can be purchased from the government. Bonds are like Certificate of Deposits, the only difference is that CD’s are issued by banks. Your investment can have the chance to double depending on the bonds that you purchase.

There are also mutual funds that are relatively safe. Mutual funds are formed from a group of investors pooling their money together to buy stocks, bonds, and other forms of investment. The fund manager handles the fund and decides where to invest it. You have to find a qualified and reputable fund manager with a prove track record to invest your money in. Mutual funds can be riskier than bonds depending on the type of mutual fund you choose.

Stocks as long-term investments can yield the highest return. If you buy shares of stocks, you are buying ownership of the company you are investing in. The value of your stocks depends how well the company does financially. A company who does poorly will make its stocks drop in value which make stocks very risky. You can invest in companies with good reputation and that are stable to keep your money relatively safe.

It is important to do your part in research before investing to have your money earn long-term. Look for well established stocks when purchasing stocks. Find a good mutual fund that has a good track record and history to invest in. If you are not ready to invest in stocks or mutual funds, you can go for the safe option of bonds that are backed by the government.

Hiring A Business Development Consultant – Mistake Or Opportunity?

I just finished searching the web for business and marketing consultants, and even as a professional Business Consultant, I was left confused and skeptical. The profession seems to be filled with those who over-promise, have little experience, and some who only want to sell you anything but knowledge based on experience. Fortunately, under the rubble, there are those who have spent a lifetime in business and who are practicing professional consultants with a great deal to offer the right customers. Since this is my business, I decided it might be time to offer my observations on why you might need a professional consultant, and how you can benefit.

I am a Business Development, Strategic Planning, and Marketing consultant. I specialized in helping small to mid-sized companies review their current activities and providing Critical Analysis, Strategic Planning and Implementation guidance in my areas of expertise. My goal is to help small business and mid-sized companies grow by understanding where they are today, where they want to go, and exactly how to get there.

With the disclosure out of the way, let me provide my guidance on hiring a business consultant, what to look for, and what to expect for your time and money.

1) EXPERTISE: The single most important reason to hire an outside business consultant is to bring in expertise that you do not already have in house.

Most people have a background in their industry, and many have experience in two or three industries. Some people even have experience with 10 or 15 products within that industry, but knowledge, experience and hands on management of a broader range of products, from over a hundred companies, and building marketing and distribution in diverse markets such as North America, Europe and Asia is experience few people have.

When you look for a consultant you want someone who has a breadth of knowledge and experience that exceeds that which you already have. Along with bringing a new or different perspective to your analysis and strategic planning, a consultant should bring knowledge that is outside the scope of your current environment.

By bringing in someone with a wide range of knowledge and experience in their area of expertise you supplement your current knowledge base. Most companies already have excellent people on staff performing their duties in the areas of business development, marketing and sales. Limitations occur because of the ‘box’ in which we work. You and your staff are running full speed ahead to keep up with the demands of your business. In many cases, you are putting out fires as quickly as they ignite (if you’re lucky). This environment dictates that you focus on the job at hand. When you and your staff meet, you are discussing real problems that need immediate solutions. There is little time to research what other companies are doing and what is successful or not for them.

A consultant should bring an ‘out of the box’ perspective to your table the moment they walk in the door. They may not understand the minutia of your business immediately, but through discussion and some research they will bring new perspective and ideas to your problem solving and business planning process. Their expanded world view will open new doors of opportunity for your organization and offer ideas that have proven successful in other environments.

2) ECONOMICS: The second most likely reason to hire an expert business development consultant is saving money.

Hiring the expertise you need for every aspect of your business development process is not only impractical, but impossible.

When we need professional expertise we either outsource or bring on new staff. Today, in this economy, hiring new staff is a luxury most small business cannot afford. Outsourcing is a good alternative, and in the case of consultants, a highly cost effective alternative.

In addition to bringing immediate knowledge, consultants bring all the benefits of outsourcing. Taxes and Benefits are the responsibility of the consultant and never carried as overhead by the company. Costs are controlled and can fit your budget. Hiring and firing are as simple as picking up the phone. No job search, no severance. Consultants are usually available when you want them and expendable when you do not. For many that description is a little uncomfortable, but a professional consultant is an independent business person (or company) who works at the pleasure of YOU.

In addition to all the benefits of outsourcing, a professional consultant brings immediate payback. Duplicating the expertise of a good consultant might require 3, 5 or even 8 different positions to be filled by experienced managers. Each position requires training and integration into the organization. One expert not only provides the knowledge-base of those positions, but also hits the ground running.

Finally, regarding a good consultant’s hourly or daily fee. My experience is that they are usually priced at the level of a senior partner in a law firm or regional accounting firm. When compared to the cost of hiring that same expertise on a long-term basis, they are almost always a bargain.

When hiring a consultant, clearly define your objectives and identify the deliverables he or she will provide. Always receive a firm bid quote. Then consider; can we do this in house? If so, what is the cost in using our own manpower, including the cost of pulling that manpower off other projects? If not (which is usually the case), then ask if the deliverables and benefits are worth the cost?

3) USABLE DELIVERABLES: You want a deliverable that can be used over a long period of time throughout the organization.

In most cases, you hire a business development consultant to help you solve a specific problem or more often help you define a plan of action for taking you where you want to go. In such cases, you want someone who can deliver in writing a road map for future activities. To do this, they must be able to guide you through a careful and thorough review process in which both you and the consultant identify what is working and what is not, and where the holes are in your present plan.

A good consultant will then be able to lead a strategic planning process in which the consultant, you and your staff collaborate on developing an expanded plan in which your ideas and wishes are combined with the consultant’s to create a plan that is much better than anyone alone could create.

Finally, a qualified expert consultant will be able to create a written plan that includes a full marketing plan and budget that can be used as a guide, a road map if you will, to take you where you want to go.

This document should not be an academic study, but a dynamic real-world document that reflects the hands-on expertise of your organization and the consultant, and is used, reviewed, and updated on a regular basis.

4) OBJECTIVITY: You must have objectivity that ensures the advice you receive is in YOUR best interest.

You want a consultant that is objective with no conflicts of interest or hidden agendas. In order to give you the valuable information you’re paying for, your consultant must have only one allegiance – you.

This doesn’t mean that the consultant you hire hasn’t, or won’t in the future, work for companies in your industry. In affect, that experience and diversity of knowledge is what gives them value. It does mean that they sign a confidentiality agreement; they do not discuss or disclose any proprietary information to anyone outside your organization; and they are not obligated to another company in any way that would degrade their work for you. ­­­­­­­

What you want is someone who has the experience to be called an expert, and professional ethics to match their expertise.

5) HANDS ON EXPERIENCE: Finally, you want someone who has experience in the field. As a small business manager or entrepreneur you need experts who understand the challenges you face, and who have had to meet and solve those challenges.

As a small businessman in my first company (a drafting and engineering company) I hired someone who had been a high level manager with a very large engineering firm. I thought they would bring expertise in how to run my business. What I got was someone who was used to managing assistants and departments, but who had no real knowledge of how to get the job done. In other words, he understood big business and big budgets, but he didn’t know how to roll his sleeves up and deal with my problems. After spending much time and money, I finally realized my mistake. After that, I made sure the advisors I hired had the hands-on experience of an entrepreneur and knew what running a small business was all about.

When you hire a consultant you want someone who has been there, built and managed companies, analyzed markets, and implemented and managed business development, marketing and sales campaigns in a wide range of markets for diverse products, for small to mid sized companies. You want a professional consultant with hands-on experience who understands your problems and can offer real world advice and solutions.

The best way to ensure you have an experienced professional that can truly help your organization is talk with them. A qualified consultant will have a history that speaks to your market, will have references, and will be able to communicate with you in a way that tells you they know what they are talking about. You will hear their competence in their answers to your questions and in the questions they ask you.

What I suggest is after you read their materials, visit their website, and complete your due diligence, call the individual(s) you think are qualified and talk with them. Ask questions specific to your business and industry, and listen carefully to the answers. If the answers are full of fluff and hyperbole know that the service you receive will likely be the same. If, on the other hand, you hear information that feels real, has substance, and reflects an understanding of the subject, you may have found someone who can truly help you shortcut the learning curve of building your business, help you reduce costs, and help you significantly move your small business or mid-sized company forward.

Some final comments about hiring a business development consultant:

Consultants may be experts, but they won’t know everything about every industry. In most cases, you will know your industry and business better than they ever will. What a good business development consultant brings to your table is a diverse range of experience that can apply to your situation. They bring new ideas, and the ability to think outside of the box, which, when combined with your specific company knowledge, catapults your organization forward. Don’t expect them to know upfront all your industry statistics or demographics, that they can obtain through research. What they will know is how to solve the broader questions of where you want to go and how to get there.

Professional consultants are full time and have been for a long time. They are not part time consultants and not ‘between jobs.’ Their expertise is born of long term work and effort, and it is displayed in the service they provide you.

The best consultants work on a fee basis, with costs quoted and known upfront. Proposals should be in writing and itemized to identify a projects objective, scope, and timeline. Transparency and no-surprises are exactly what you’re looking for.

Good luck and good marketing.

Queensland Investment Property

Investment property is a great means of building wealth in a long-term measure through acquiring and disposing of properties at prices which are often discounted. While New Zealand offers many areas for positive property returns, the Gold Coast in Queensland should be considered by anyone who seeks to invest. During the 1980s and 1990s, unethical business practices such as marketeering tainted the reputation of the Gold Coast, but now that smear in history is long forgotten as this surfer’s paradise has emerged. As an investor, one seeks fixed returns by creating a property portfolio. As an investor your portfolio can vary to include townhouses, apartments, houses, land, or any combination therein.

Australia is home to a variation of flourishing investment properties. The Gold Coast is not the only popular area for investment, as the Tweed Coast, Brisbane, Mackay, and Townsville offer viable alternatives. As of now migration rates in each of the areas above have reached a high and future expectations are nothing short of continuing this trend. With Queensland dominating the current investment property market, high growth areas offer an effective vehicle to maximizing the wealth of any property portfolio.

With residential land, acreage land, quality town homes, modern apartments, luxury apartments, as well as house and land packages, contacting a consultation service of experts in the area will suffice to increase one’s knowledge on a range of properties including information on returns, the appeal of investment, pricing for the projects at hand, features and finishes which come with any property. Whether, as an investor, one wishes to opt for the services of a consultation company, or act on their own, investment options include fixed rental incomes which rank up to 7% per annum and up to five years.

One does not have to work with finances and the stock market to invest in property in New Zealand. Anyone can create a property portfolio even if they are an entrepreneur, a salary worker, a seasoned investor, someone with a self-managed super fund, an owner occupier, or a first home buyer. No matter what the label, investing in real estate and other property in Queensland offer areas throughout the Gold Coast which will yield positive returns.

One will find nothing but amazing property deals along Southeast Queensland. The Gold Coast market is available for low entry for investors with strong growth in capital and potential for continual growth. Beenleigh encompasses the Gold Coast-Brisbane Corridor and within it are areas such as Eagleby, Beenleigh, as well as Mount Warren Park. In these areas, unit price and median house prices have risen by over 20% during the first five years. The M1 Motorway links Brisbane to the Gold Coast, offering a viable transportation infrastructure. The airport and the Sunshine Coast are linked thanks to the Gold Coast railway line. Very close to these investment properties is the Logan Motorway which links the area to the western suburbs nearby.South of Beenleigh one will find the Yatala Enterprise Area which offers the largest industrial area and a workforce which is projected to increase to 16,000 workers in the next decade, encapsulating a working population in need of rental homes.