Software Industry – Employment Avenues

Software industries today have become backbone for any economy in the world. They produce huge revenue and employ large numbers of IT professionals all over the world. Technology has become very advanced and is broadly spread. Therefore, software industries in India and world have gained huge momentum in the recent years. There are numbers of budding software industries mushrooming in the IT market besides many IT mega companies. Boom in the software domain has led to numbers of software training institutes in Delhi and other parts of India which impart courses in software development and assist in job placements as well.

The computer training institutes in Delhi or outside run various software programs which open a gateway for you to apply in various software companies. You can also seek software (Engineering) degree from the well known Engineering college of India.

Professionals from prestigious Engineering colleges are being paid very well by the IT companies. Some of brand names of the software companies are as follows- Infosys, TCS, HCL, Microsoft, Accenture, Cognizant, IBM etc. Just to name a few.

All these mega companies offer a great future prospect and highly remunerated salary to its employees. Software industry involves lot of expenditure and thus, requires right solutions, proper management and infrastructure and dedicated people. Today, outsourcing has become an important feature of most of IT companies. They outsource their work in order to reduce their work at reasonable rates. Outsourcing provides employment to millions of individual world- wide and promotes the rapid growth of the software companies. Half of the big IT companies are dependent upon outsourcing for their revenue and growth.

You can opt for numbers of software courses to seek employment in a software company. Some of them are listed below;

C and C++ programming – It is a basic software course and a must to get entry into software domain.

Advanced Diploma in Software Engineering (ADSE) – This course provides thorough inputs in all important areas of Networking. It ensures you are precisely groomed to meet the challenges of software companies.

Core Java- This program helps to gain proficiency in the fundamental of Java Language.

MCAD.NET (Microsoft Certified Application Developer) – This program is designed to help developers to develop their skills necessary for implementing functional specifications and maintain Microsoft windows and Web applications.

MCDBA (the Microsoft Certified Database Administrator) – This program is meant for the individuals who implement and administer Microsoft SQL Server Databases.

Indian software industries are thriving rapidly and they are offering software Engineers excellent chances of growth and promotions. These Software engineers also have the privilege to work in international projects and sites. The growth and promotion depend upon their qualifications, experience, job performance and attitude. The future of software professionals is very bright and promising

Today India is also considered a hub of IT world and technology after US. The metropolitan cities of India such Delhi ( NCR), Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai are some of the major epicenter of software industries in India. A large number of the mega software companies from abroad have come down to these cities and invested millions in setting up their offices and business. Today, a large amount of Indian economy is dependent upon IT industry and any set-back in this industry could seriously hinder the development and functioning of the economy at a large scale.

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What Should Matter When Choosing A Software Development Company?

Different businesses require varying software solutions to make processes smoother through all departments. The best you can do as a business or individual is to choose a software development company you can trust to offer you the best solutions for the needs you have. With the increase in software technology companies, you can only get the best when you know what matters most in finding the perfect solutions for your line of business.

Professionalism – Only professionals will be in a position to develop a professional program or software application for you. The software technology company should therefore give you that professional impression from their website appearance to media interactions. If possible to physically visit the company then you can do so just to see how organized, professional and clean the offices are and all. Professionalism goes hand in hand with efficiency so choose a company you can fully trust in.

Technical ability – Find out what type of work the company handles and the kind of projects it is open for. Their official website may be the best place to find out exactly what sorts of software projects it handles and the project sizes it can handle. If the line of development matches yours, then you can check out past work and examples provided so you are in a better position to decide whether it is the most suitable company for your needs. If you are looking for bespoke software development or one that is specific to your business needs, then you want to ensure that you are about to choose a company that can effectively handle you and provide you desired outcomes.

Experience – At the end of the day you will want your bespoke software to match your business setting and actually work in real business situations. Experience in developing similar bespoke software therefore should matter when looking at a development company. Find out the kind of experience the company has in your industry and your kind of projects. Some experience in your line will put the company in a better position to deliver software solutions that are effective enough. It also means that they have an understanding of the market issues you face and can create reliable solutions for the same.

Reputation – Testimonials can go a long way in telling you just how well-placed the company is in handling your software project. It helps to choose a company that has a reasonable past projects record. The history of its methods and practices can help you decide whether to go right ahead and work with it or to look for a better company to handle your software needs. Use all means possible to find out what kind of reputation the company has and how it handles and communicates with its clients to ensure that only best quality solutions are achieved in the end. Look out for any awards and recognitions too to give you a clearer picture of just how trustworthy and professional the company is before going ahead with your project.

Alternative Investment Fund Regulations

What is an Alternative Investment Fund (AIF)

AIF is an Alternative Investment Fund Regulations privately pooled investment vehicle which collects funds from investors, whether Indian or foreign, for investing it in accordance with a defined investment policy for the benefit of its investors. AIF may be in the form of a trust or a company or a limited liability partnership or a body corporate.

Why AIF

AIF Regulations endeavor to extend the perimeter of regulation to unregulated funds with a view to ensuring systemic stability, increasing market efficiency, encouraging the formation of new capital and consumer protection.

Who are not covered

Currently, the AIF Regulations do not apply to mutual funds, collective investment schemes, family trusts, ESOP and other employee welfare trusts, holding companies, special purpose vehicles, funds managed by securitisation or reconstruction companies and any such pool of funds which is directly regulated by any other regulator in India.

Categories of AIFs

An AIF needs to seek registration broadly under one of the 3 categories –

Category I AIF: The following are covered under Category I

1. Funds investing in start-up or early stage ventures or social ventures or SMEs or infrastructure

2. Other sectors or areas which the government or regulators consider as socially or economically desirable including the Venture Capital Funds

3. AIFs with positive spillover effects on the economy, for which certain incentives or concessions might be considered by SEBI or Government of India or other regulators in India

Category II AIF: The following are covered under Category II

1. AIFs for which no specific incentives or concessions are given by the government or any other Regulator

2. Which shall not undertake leverage other than to meet day-to-day operational requirements as permitted in these Regulations

3. Which shall include Private Equity Funds, Debt Funds, Fund of Funds and such other funds that are not classified as category I or III

Category III AIF: The following get covered under Category III

1. The AIFs including hedge funds which trade with a view to making short term returns;

2. Which employ diverse or complex trading strategies

3. Which may employ leverage including through investment in listed or unlisted derivatives

Applicability of AIF Regulations to Real Estate Funds

After knowing what an AIF is and its broad categories, we analyse whether AIF Regulations are applicable to the Real Estate Funds

Firstly AIF has to seek registration under AIF Regulations under one of the three categories stated above. Therefore if a Fund does not fall under any of the three categories stated above, then it will not seek the registration with SEBI.

If we look at the Category 1, registration is required by funds which invest in start-up or early stage ventures or social ventures or SMEs or infrastructure

If we look at the definition of infrastructure, Explanation to Regulation 2 (m) states that Infrastructure shall be as defined by the Government of India from time to time.

And in the normal parlance, the term typically refers to the technical structures that support a society, such as roads, water supply, sewers, electrical grids,

telecommunications, and so forth, and can be defined as “the physical components of interrelated systems providing commodities and services essential to enable, sustain, or enhance societal living conditions.

Therefore infrastructure does not include the real estate or construction activity since this activity deals in investing in land, developing the land by way of construction of flats, townships and other residential and commercial projects.

But if the real estate fund carries on certain projects for a social purpose like purchasing land for charity etc.; then the fund may be covered under social venture funds.

The clause further states that ‘or other sectors or areas which the government or regulators consider as socially or economically desirable and such other Alternative Investment Funds as may be specified;’

The AIF Regulations have been notified just a few days back and till date, no other AIF funds have been specified in the Category 1 by the Government. Further what the government or regulators consider as socially and economically viable is a very broad concept. However, till the Government specifically comes out with specific inclusions under Category 1; a Real Estate Fund will not be covered under Category 1 and therefore would not require Registration.

Further, the clause also states that – Alternative Investment Funds which are generally perceived to have positive spillover effects on economy and for which the Board or Government of India or other regulators in India might consider providing incentives or concessions will bee included

By adding these lines to the Category 1, SEBI has made the category 1 very vague and open to dispute and litigations since what SEBI intends with positive spillover effects on the economy is not defined or clarified. Different people or organizations may have a different opinion on this which would lead to unnecessary litigations and hardships to business owners. However, till any clarity comes on this, the business owners need to take a cautious approach to the decision of seeking Registration under AIF Regulations.

Category II AIF

Now we examine whether a Real Estate Fund falls under the Category II AIF

If we look at the funds covered by Category II above, they

1. Shall not fall in Category I and III

2. Shall not undertake leverage or borrowing other than to meet day-to- day operational requirements and as permitted by these regulations;

3. Shall be funded such as private equity funds or debt funds for which no specific incentives or concessions are given by the government or any other Regulator

For Real Estate Fund under Category I, we notice that at present it does not fall under Category I and it also does not fall under Category III since these are basically hedge funds. Further, no specific incentives or concessions are given by the Government to the Real Estate Sector. Therefore if we look at the applicability of Real Estate Fund under Category II, these funds may fall under the Category II AIFs if they do not take leverage or borrowing except for short-term requirements.

Impact of AIF on the Real Estate Funds

Under these Regulations, the minimum investment amount has to be Rs 1 crore from each investor. Therefore attracting the funds from the investors would become tough for the real estate funds, who used to raise amounts as less as INR 1 million from the investors. Now they would need to find high-value investors though this is not the only challenge that lies ahead for those raising domestic corpuses. They now also have to invest 2.5% of the corpus or Rs 5 crore, whichever is lower, to ensure that the managing company’s risk is aligned with that of the investor. Moreover, a single investment in a company or a project cannot exceed 25% of the entire corpus.

Further a Real Estate Fund registered in the form of an LLP also would be covered under the AIF Regulations. In an LLP Structure, since the investors are also partners, the risk to the rights of the investors being misused is very minimum. Therefore applying the AIF Regulations to the LLP Structure would reduce the flexibility available to such a Structure.

Conclusion

If we look at the AIF Regulations from a short term perspective, in light of the difficult fund raising environment today, the higher ticket size for investors could potentially throw up some challenges and could in a manner constrict the growth of the asset class, but clearly, in the long run, these regulations appear to have an element of maturity to play a pivotal role in the development and shaping up of the future of alternate asset class in India. It is also clear that alternative investments are more sophisticated and risky as compared to investments in equity and debt and till market matures it is advisable that only HNIs and well informed investors make an investment in this asset class and once the market matures it is made open to all. In the long run, we may see more investments in the Alternative asset class (in terms of quantum and maturity) due to the increased investor confidence in these funds.

Favorite Disney World Resort Pools

A major part of any Orlando vacation is relaxing and swimming at a Disney Resort pool. When picking your Disney Resort, you may focus your attention on finding a great pool for your whole family. Here is a list of the most popular pools at the Walt Disney World Resort, selected from the guests that visit Disney.

Best Overall Pool – Hands down, Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resort is picked for the best pool at the Walt Disney World Resort. This 3 acre pool area includes a pool with real sand and a tube area where you can just relax in a tube and bask in the sun. This pool also has the best water slide at Disney World. The water slide is a huge pirate ship!

If the pool area gets too busy, you can even relax in a chair or hammock on the beach overlooking a beautiful lake. In the evening, you can enjoy a swim in the pool and then a campfire sing along or movies on the sandy beach. This pool area has fun for everyone, which makes Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resort the most popular pool at Disney World.

Best Pool for Adults – Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort takes the prize for best pool for adults. This pool area is naturally beautiful with a waterfall and beach entry. The hot tubs are a little more private compared to the other Disney Resorts. Plus, you can see the animals right from the pool. What a fun way to enjoy an afternoon swim!

Best Pool for Teens and Preschoolers – One of the Disney Resorts Resort called Disney's Coronado Springs Resort gets the most votes for the best pool for teens and preschoolers! Let's start with the teenagers. Disney's Coronado Springs Resort has a lot of fun amenities all in the same pool area. You can grab a snack at the poolside bar, play some sand volleyball, ride a Jaguar water slide, and then play some video games. All of the teen favorites in one area!

This resort also got the most popular pool for preschoolers. The pool features a pyramid with a waterfall trickling down the pyramid. There is also a kiddie pool and Dig Site playground, just for preschoolers. The Dig Site is a playground and sand pit for the little ones to dig up artifacts and bones. This is a perfect area for the little ones and teenagers.

Pool with the Best View – Disney's Polynesian Resort was one of the most popular pools at the Walt Disney World Resort and came in right behind Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resort for the best overall pool. Since this is such a great pool, we made up a category for this pool. So, the Disney Resort pool with the best view is Disney's Polynesian Resort. This fun pool features a huge erupting volcano and beach entry. There is also a separate water jet area for the little ones to play. Just feet away from this pool is the sandy beach that overlooks the Seven Seas Lagoon and Magic Kingdom. You can see Cinderella's Castle right from the pool. This is a great pool to enjoy in the evening. You can relax at the pool and watch the Electrical Water Pageant and Wishes Fireworks!

These are the favorite Disney World Resort pools for your next family vacation.

Build Family Connection Through This Family Craft Project

When's the last time you sat down as a family and got your fingers sticky together ?!

If your family goes to a regular religious service, you already have a lot of ceremony and ritual built into your life. These practices not only connect your kids to a greater power, they make them feel more connected to you. As you sit in physical portfolio focused on a common uniting experience, your energies and body rhythms line up and match.

Have a Deliberate Plan for Connection

Families without the external structure of coming together have to be more purposeful about creating these experiences that will nourish your children's sense of being woven into a part of the larger whole that is your family.

Of course, playing a game or cooking a meal together as a family are wonderful ways to bond, but some children need something more concrete or visual. That's why I love the idea of ​​putting some time away as a family to do a project that represents the family.

Here's an idea you might try: Family Placemats

Purpose: To create a visual depiction of family memories and values; To have each family member contribute equally; To foster a positive view of both individual members and of the family as a whole.

Procedure:

1. Print out or draw multiple pictures of each family member (pets included!).

2. Create multiple sentence stems and have each family member fill them out:

Ex: What I love about our family is _________________________.

We are the kind of family that __________________________.

My favorite family memory is when ___________________.

Our family is special because we ________________________.

3. Brainstorm other symbols or images that represent your family. Perhaps you will print out pictures or maps of where your family comes from or what you love to do together.

4. Use marks to write the positive qualities of the family members in large print. Are there people in your family who are thoughtful? Funny? Disciplined? Creative? Hard working? Good problem solvers? Write those things down. Do not attach names to them. In this case, we are de-emphasizing the practices of the individual and instead displaying what are the strengths this family team has together.

5. One you have a rich pile of materials, give each family member a placemat size piece of construction paper. Have each person take one item from the pile and glue it onto the placemat. Now hand each table mat clockwise to the next person. Again, each person will choose something from the pile to glue to the placemat. Once done, rotate again. Continue this process until each placem is full and / or the pile of materials has been used up.

6. Once the glue has thoroughly washed, cover the placemats with clear contact paper or take them to your local copy shop and have them laminated.

Benefit:

Not only will this project allow for you to focus on what makes you unique as a family, but it will be an oasis of time when you are creating goodwill amongst you. Even more importantly, by working in the round-robin style, no one person feels ownership over the design of any one placem. Each mat will reflect the developmental stages of your children and will be a mixture of more or less sophisticated efforts depending on their ages and personalities. (No perfection allowed here!) Because you have all had a hand in creating each one, when it comes to using them, family members will be delicated to get whichever one they happen to get.

Think this idea is too corny to do with your older kids? Think again! Make some excuse if you need to. Perhaps one of your children is entering high school-or even moving away to go to college or get a job. Tell your kids you want to mark this passage and have a way to daily remember the best part of being a family, even as kids grow up and outward. Teens may not admit to enjoying such a family project, but they will secretly treasure it and carry with them that warm fuzzy feeling of family love and connection.

One last rule! Ban electronics from the table while doing this project. The point is to come together as a family – not to each be checking Snapchat or Facebook. Your kids might grumble, but in the end they will be glad they have done it.

Happy Gluing!

Who Are The Most Famous Olympic Athletes in the History of the United States of America?

Evelyn Ashford (100m, 200m / Athletics)

In the latter half of the 20th century, curious, America's sprinter Evelyn Ashford took part in four Summer Games: Canada 1976, Los Angeles 1984, Korea 1988, and Spain 1992, after winning the right in the US Olympian Trials. By late 1980, she also was a member of the 1980 US Olympic Squad which boycotted the Moscow Games for political reasons. As well as winning several medals and special awards in the World Championships and National Tournaments, she won two Olympic medals during her athletic career, among them one gold medal in the women's 100m at the 23rd Summer Games.

Thomas Burke (Track & Field)

During the First Modern Games in Greece's capital city of Athens, toward the end of the 19th century, Thomas Burke won two Olympic gold medals: 100m and 400m, becoming a pioneer in the history of track and field. A few years later, the States had become a powerhouse in athletics on Earth, winning numerous Olympic gold medals and setting many world records.

Cassius Clay (Boxing)

At the 1960 Olympic Games in the Italian capital of Rome, Kentucky-born Cassius Clay –then known as Muhammad Ali– earned the light heavyweight gold medal. Thirty-six years later, he lit the Olympian torch for the Centennial Games in Atlanta (Georgia, US). After his victory on Italian soil, he became one of the greatest professional boxers of all time.

Janet Evans (Swimming)

By 1988, Janet Evans was one of the most famous swimmers on Earth, after capturing three gold medals — 400m, 800m and 400m individual medley– in the Games of the 24th Olympiad in Seoul. Thus, a year later, she won James E. Sullivan Memorial Trophy. In 1992, she won other title in the Summer Games in Spain. During her Olympian career, she set seven world records. She hails from Fullerton, CA.

Mia Hamm (Soccer)

Almost everyone across the United States, from Chicago and Kansas City to Miami Beach, Salt Lake City and Anchorage, have heard the name Mia Hamm. Why? Historically, Miss Hamm is the most important player in America's soccer history (male or female). By 1991, she quickly earned herself a name as a world-class player when her national squad came in first in the Inaugural FIFA World Championship. Then, she helped the US team to a gold medal in the first women's Soccer Olympic Tournament during the 26th Summer Games. By 2004, her team finished first in the Summer Games in Athens after a silver medal at the Sydney 2000 Games. Aside from learning Olympic medals and other international meets, she also led the American side to its second FIFA World Cup in the end of the 1990s; Hamm and her fellow Americans had captured the global title by defeating the team from the People's Republic of China (PRC), 5-4, on penal kicks in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena (CA). Hamm was born on March 17, 1972 in Selma, Alabama. Bill Clinton, the former President of the United States, one of her fans.

Bruce Jenner (Decathlon / Track & Field)

At the 1976 Montreal Games, Bruce Jenner captured the decathlon event and set a new world record of 8.618 points during a battle with Nikolai Avilov of the USSR (his main rival), whon finished third. Due to his noticable performance in Canada, Jenner was one of the most popular sportsmen in the 70s.

Carl Lewis (Track & Field)

On the world stage, Carl Lewis is a sporting icon due to his wins in the Summer Games. Astonishingly, he has won nine Olympian gold medals (100m, 200m, 4x100m relay, long jump), becoming one of the greatest male athletes in the 20th Century, along with Jesse Owens (track) and Nikolai Adrianov (gymnastics). In addition, he won 10 golds at the IAAF World Tournaments in Western Europe and Japan. He hails from Birmingham, Alabama.

Edwin Moses (Athletics)

Edwin Moses never lost a race from 1977 until 1987. 122 wins! Over that years, he amassed two Olympic gold medals (Montreal '76 & Los Angeles' 84). Moses came onto the scene as an international icon in the world when he captured the men's 110m hurdles at the XXI Summer Games in Canada in July 1976. During those Games, he broke John Akii-Bua's Olympic record with 47.64 seconds. Four years later, he lowered his personal record to 47.13

Jesse Owens (100m, 200m, long jump / Track & Field)

Jesse Owens wrote history for the United States of America after winning four Olympic gold medals at the 1936 Games in Berlin (Germany). With a time of 10.3 seconds (a new world record), he captured the 100m. Then, after defeating Lutz Long of Germany, the heavy-favorite in Berlin '36, Owens came in first place in the men's long jump. In addition to winning the gold, in the following day, he set a new Olympic record of 20.3 seconds in the 200m. Under the direction of Owens, USA won the men's 4 x 100m with a new world record of 39.8 seconds. Owens hails from Alabama.

Michael Phelps (Aquatics)

Considered as the "Most Outstanding Athlete of the 21st Century", Michael Phelps has won 14 more gold medals than the combined total of ten countries around the globe: India (a country with a billion inhabitants and which made its Olympic debut in 1900) Iceland, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Chile, Luxembourg, Moldova, Sudan, Brunei Darussalam, and the Socialist republic of Vietnam. By 2004, Phelps captured six golds at the Athens Games. In the next Games, he picked a total of 8 Olympic gold medals. He was born on June 30, 1985, in Baltimore (Maryland).

Mark Spitz (Aquatics)

At the 1972 Munich Summer Games, the most outstanding swimming performance was achieved by Mark Spitz (USA), who picked up a total of seven golds. Prior to the 1970s, Spitz earned five continental trophies in the Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada), a record which remained unbeaten until 2007 when Brazil's star swimmer Thiago Pereira won many golds in the Continental Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Jim Thorpe (Decathlon / Athletics)

With 8,847 points, Jim Thorpe became the first American to win the Olympic decathlon during the Games of the 5th Olympiad in Stockholm, Sweden. Historically, he is considered one of the greatest all-around athletes of all time. Curiously, this amazing athlete won membership in more athletic halls of fame than any other American in the Twentieth Century. Following his sporting career, he chose acting as a career. He has become the most popular athlete in American history.

Planning Your Garden Part 1

Soil Conditioning

The soil conditioning is largely dependent on how large your garden will be. So before I go into what’s important, make sure you have an idea of how big your garden will be. If you are doing a relatively small garden (4×4 feet- 10×10 feet) you won’t have to worry about drainage, or turning the soil every season. For example, if you are doing a raised bed garden you won’t have to till up the grass in your yard to do so, you can just build the bed and fill it with dirt & compost. The compost is a great medium for plants to grow in and doesn’t require extra work to get great results, also it will drain just fine on its own.

With larger gardens (10×20 feet- 1 acre or more) the ability to just fill it in with compost becomes very expensive, time consuming, and can still have flooding that will kill your plants. With a larger garden tilling up the grass or dirt is the first step. The ground needs to be broken up, once its broken up it can be planted in. Many people use a tiller or a disc to break up the ground but depending on the size, you can easily rent equipment or invest in buying some equipment to prepare the soil each year. Once you have turned the soil a bit and have it broken down to small chunks smaller than your fist and at least 5 inches deep you should focus on preparing for drainage. Take a step back and look for low spots in the landscape and either make a small ditch or buy drainage pipe to put in the ground before you get all the plants in the ground. This is a CRITICAL step, do not overlook it or ignore it, one hard rain could kill half of your garden in a matter of a day or two and there will be nothing you can do (yes its happened to me). Since the ground is tilled up and loose digging a drainage ditch or putting in plastic piping is very easy. Depending on the size you may need just a shovel and a couple hours or you may need heavy equipment to dig the ditch.

As I said before, planning for all of this can be the difference between success or failure. Taking a few hours to take a step back, look at what you want to do and where, and then seeing it before its there is a powerful way to become successful the first time rather then suffer through trial and error.

Ndebele Weddings

The Ndebele wedding is celebrated in three stages, this can take several years. The first stage is Labola for the bride; this is paid in instalments of both money and livestock. The second stage is a two-week sequestration of the bride during which time other women teach the bride how to be a good wife and the third stage is completed when the bride has her first child.

The groom to be sends a letter to the bride’s family to request a date for the Labola negotiation. He then has to purchase a sheep; some blankets, a broom and a few clothes for the girl’s family. The grooms parents then visit the brides parents and pay the Labola, after this they take the girl to the boys family to get to know him and his family.

Preparation for the wedding day will include writing up a guest list and sending out of the invitations, this happen two weeks before the wedding day. Food is bought and cooked the traditional way this will include ‘mielie pap’ (traditional maize meal) meat and salads, fruit, sweets and cake are served as dessert on the day.

The official ceremony will take place in a church, family members will be present for this so that they can witness the couple saying their wedding vows and the placing of rings on each others fingers. After the church ceremony the couple will change into traditional clothes and go with the guests to the girls home to eat. After they have finished to eat the couple will sit at a table, which has been especially decorated for them. Everyone present will talk to the couple and give them gifts.

The groom will then thank the guests where after they will go to his home. The oldest boy in the family will be there together with all the parents and grand-parents to give the girl an Ndebele name.

Where Does Advertising Fit Into the Marketing Mix?

Many people get confused about the role of advertising in the marketing mix so here’s a simple view of where it fits in.

In the traditional marketing model, we talk about the 4 P’s

o Product

o Pricing

o Place

o Promotion

The last section – Promotion is what we mean when we say you are “doing your marketing”. It’s your communications or your actual marketing activities.

But first, let’s get clear about the PURPOSE of marketing and why you want to get good at it.

“The PURPOSE of marketing or it’s biggest task is to

persuade prospects to visit you online or offline so you

can present your offer. Done well they come waving their

credit card and ready to buy so there’s no need for hard sell.”

Whenever and wherever you get in front of your potential market is your marketing opportunity – you are communicating or getting your message across.

You could say this started as far back as Babylon when the Town Crier was the only delivery method! They went around town shouting out to people to go to the marketplace and you went to the marketplace with your goods to “present your offer”.

With the invention of print and other technologies you now have a smorgasbord of delivery methods or media to reach people such as

o Print – newspapers, magazines, catalogues, newsletters

o Phone, mail, fax

o Radio & TV,

o Internet – through websites, blogs, social networking sites, email, video & Audio podcasts

o Teleseminars & webinars

o Mobile media – Blackberrys and mobile or cell phones

o And lets not forget in person public speaking and networking

Now that range adds a level of complexity. But choice is good and you don’t have to use all of these but they are available to you.

In any event you’ll either be speaking or writing. Simply narrow down what makes sense for you and your business and use your strengths to work out a plan.

JUST remember the marketing principles remain the same no matter the medium – so the PURPOSE of your marketing is still the same. To persuade prospects to visit you online or offline so you can present your offer.

So where does advertising fit into this?

Advertising is simply a subset of your marketing activities it’s the SALES function when you make the sales pitch or “present your offer”. This could be verbal or written in all the same media you use for your marketing communications. What adds to the confusion is sometimes big companies use image based ads for awareness so the “sales pitch” isn’t obvious.

But the primary purpose of advertising is to SELL.

So you create ads in one form or another and get them in front of your audience.

Small businesses can’t afford to waste money on image advertising that is designed for the masses to promote a well known brand. It simply isn’t designed to sell, NOW.

What I do and recommend is Direct Marketing which is based on one-on-one relationships and uses proven direct response advertising techniques instead of mass advertising.

The purpose of a direct response advertisement is to get a response, NOW! Which means these ads actually ask the prospect to DO something.

Whether you’re building a list, selling a product or service, an appointment or even something you are giving away – you still need to “sell” it to your prospect. And ask them to take the action you want them to take to move them through the sales process.

In a nutshell, advertising is a subset of marketing and direct response marketing and advertising is the champion for small business.

Free Annual Credit Report – A Groundbreaking Service!

One of the few pieces of legislation which went through like hot knife through butter was the one in 2003, which freed customers and users of credit cards and other credit instruments from a closed door assessment of their credit rating risk. By this legislation, called FACT Act, every person who is a credit user has the right to have a free credit report annually. The upshot of this landmark legislation was that the consumer now has a right to check its veracity and ask for additional information or ask for corrections to the report.

The Act introduced a certain amount of transparency in the how and on what basis the credit rating agencies collected, collated, and arrived at the risks associated to a consumer. Till this time, the consumer was in the dark, with a veil of secrecy shrouding it.

How does this all help you? There can be errors in your credit report. A single different digit or even a space between characters would completely alter it. You might find that you have been billed for what you never even thought about, or, as in many cases, payments made on the due date, were not correctly entered, resulting in a technical default, which adds up over the year, would lead To a misleading impression of always lagging behind in payment! And that's apart from the charges for late payment adding up to your bill.

You may also be unpleasantly surprised that you have been bumped for a few thousands of dollars of purchases made in a place which you never even knew existed..in other words, someone hijacked your identity!

When you find these sort of transactions on your credit report, you have to immediately contact the agency, and enter into a dialogue with them to correct those errors.

Today, you even have software which you can download on your computer which, in addition, to looking up your credit rating, also perform tasks such as monitoring unusual transactions, point to errors in your credit reports, and also warning you if you were to Come near a danger point on your credit rating. Call it an EWS or early warning system for you.

How to get it? Go on to the sites of the main providers of this source of information, namely, Experian, Equifax and Transunion. Their web sites are experian.com, equifax.com, transunion.com. Just add, if you want to, the www. Before them. Today's software just wrists it up automatically.

Logging will require you to confirm your identity, which could include multiple proofs based on what you provided for the credit card, or a unique number which would identify you; Today, additional questions are asked to really confirm that you really are what you are. Sorry, but that's one way of keeping a possible hacker at bay. You can then do anything with it: print, download, or view. It is better to download and also keep a printout.

It is best if you were to take down the your Credit Report from all the three agencies. Some report to one or the other, and therefore what may be in one, may not be in the other. The software mentioned above, can have the facility to log in on its own, provided you enable it, and it would scan it for you, and flag the discrepancies.

You can use freecreditreport.com, annualcreditreport.com, that will give you step by step advise on securing the reports from these agencies.

You must use this facility given to you by law. It is for your protection, safety, and its your money.

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