The New Economy Real Estate Model – A Soft Sell Concept

As far back as the 1970′s Sears envisioned a kiosk in their stores where a customer could buy stock and even real estate. It was a bold look at the future from one of the world’s largest retailers. All they had to do was to get the consumer to come to their stores to do business. This was quite a challenge thrown down to both Wall Street and Main Street USA. Most of us probably never heard or remember this strategy, and it never got off the ground. People just did not equate Sears with stock or real estate; they were a department store.

In fairness to Sears, the technologies and conveniences did not exist to enable the plan. Sears may have also thought themselves too big to fail. That theme does seem to be a constant.

Hmm, it appears that history does indeed repeat itself, and perhaps at shorter and shorter intervals. It may be ironic that by speeding up processes and the rate at which things can change, the lessons of history are lost at a quicker rate. Did that make sense? If it did, you may be thinking a bit like me – you’ve been cautioned.

In the 1980′s the successful real estate agent became more independent and needed fewer and fewer services from the brokerage firm. As they claimed a higher and higher portion of the brokerage fee, margins for the real estate brokerage began to shrink. Some phenomenally high interest rates had a similar impact on the mortgage banking industry. Unless buyers had no choice, they did not take on these inflated mortgages. The mortgage industry literally shrunk along with their profit margins. We all know that real estate cycles; it goes up and it goes down. The curve is rarely smooth, and is punctuated by sharp turns in one direction or another. Most features of the real estate industry react quickly to the conditions in the market that affect it. Now we have the background for the next attempt to create a commodities market from the real estate process.

In 1974, the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act (RESPA), as amended, was passed. It opened the door for consolidations within the industry. To foster competition, companies were regulated to prevent abuses in the industry and to keep prices to the consumer lower. It was almost ironic that the very act that was passed to prevent abuses, in a way opened the door. I don’t know that it has empirically been demonstrated that RESPA actually lowered costs or prevented abuses. With HUD as a watchdog, there was little real enforcement, and although fines were levied, industry practices ultimately were left to the states to manage. It took decades to sort it out, and Wall Street only a few months to make it yesterday’s issue.

The point for mentioning RESPA was that it allowed what was called “controlled business entities,” a term later changed to “affiliated business entities.” The home builder and the real estate brokerage could now have a captive mortgage and title business. The theory was that this would somehow create efficiencies and economies lowering the cost and improve service to the consumer. It didn’t. With all of this vertical integration, each one of the independently managed businesses was caught in the same financial wringer.

What was not taken into consideration was the pro-cyclical nature of the model. When one business was down so were the others. The upside was champagne and roses, but the downside left little room for beer and carnations. There were other oversights as well. Not understanding the risk models for businesses outside of their core competencies was seldom given the focus it deserved. Few also embraced managing the business with the same zeal they had for their core model.

The result was that many of these affiliated arrangements have failed, and the industry model for how transactions are managed remains much the same as it has since the post WWII era. Certainly technology has improved systems, but not nearly to the extent that it could. The competitive natures of the individual sectors of the real estate business keep the technologies proprietary and therefore parochial. A 21st Century model for the industry will come from somewhere outside of the core real estate industry. Next came a far a more organized and systematic attempt to create a commodity market in the real estate arena.

The boldest strategy to commoditize the residential real estate market came from a company called National Realty Trust (NRT). NRT has gone through a number of name changes. In the mid to late 1990s NRT was known as Cendant (CD). The CEO of Cendant, Henry Silverman was a Wall Street visionary who understood commodities. He was big in the rental car business (Avis) and in hospitality with a string of motel franchises. Mr. Silverman viewed the real estate as a commodity that could be franchised and methodically went about acquiring national real estate marks such as Coldwell Banker (Residential), Century 21, ERA and Sotheby’s. Subsequently they also acquired established regional real estate companies. They were and remain the largest single group of real estate companies in the industry.

Cendant experienced an accounting scandal in the last decade and lost its impetus. It never quite recovered from the scandal, and the company divided its assets into four groups. The real estate companies were sold to the Apollo Management Group. Apollo has been beset by the soft real estate market and a suit filed by Carl Icahn over a debt exchange plan. With the continuing financial and legal problems, they stumble along with business as usual. They are not in a position to lead the real estate industry into the 21st Century. This strategy involved getting in upstream in the transaction by “owning” the gatekeeper function. It required enormous amounts of capital, and technology was evolving to provide a far more efficient less capital intensive platform to emerge. The Internet makes anyone with the vision and the concept to be a potential player.

Allow me to introduce Soft Sell Solutions LLC, a creative concept for the 21st Century model for real estate. Forged with decades of experience and inside industry knowledge, the concept is supportable by existing technology, demonstrated consumer practice and buy in. The vision and passion to deliver a seamlessly integrated system stands ready to tie the disparate process together.

The third article in this series Who Controls the Real Estate Process sets the stage for a 21st Century approach.

Fitness Tip: Results or Excuses

All you fitness freaks out there, this will be an article that may make you mad, so be ready.

With the Olympics going on, I’m sure we’ve all read dozens of posts, article, comments, etc. about how this athlete was great, that athlete wasn’t prepared, this athlete was too cocky, that athlete is too timid, etc.

No matter how you look at it, no matter what you think of it, no matter how you slice it one thing is for sure, NONE of the athletes, I don’t care which sport you want to talk about, and I’ll say it again, NONE of the athletes make excuses about their performance! You will never hear:

“I was too tired”, “I didn’t feel like it today”, “I have 3 kids at home, I didn’t have time”, etc.

My point, these people focus on RESULTS, not EXCUSES.

Now, I bring this up because, in a way, we can compare this attitude to what a lot of the non-Olympic world does too.

“But Andrew, we are talking about world class athletes, I’m not in that world. Life gets in the way for me.”

To that I say, “Of course life gets in the way! Life happens to everyone, you’re not singled out because life gets in the way!”

I will also admit that the person who doesn’t care how he/she looks, or how healthy he/she is, just really doesn’t care about it to begin with, right?

But what about the person that cares about themselves AND has the ability to do something about it? These folks come up with excuses all the time. Oh, just to add fuel to my soapbox fire, if you have to defend or justify why you can’t do something. that is an EXCUSE! If there is one other person on the planet that has overcome what you are defending, it is an EXCUSE… PERIOD! (I’m sure I’ll get hate mail for that one)

If you’re the type of person that can walk by a mirror, nekked, and not think about what they can do to change that look, then you probably wouldn’t be reading this anyway.

But the person who WANTS to change their health and/or looks, needs to focus on RESULTS not EXCUSES!

Once an excuse gets in your head, you need to stamp it out right away. Oh, I’m not saying you should work out 5 hours a day. I’m also not saying to change your entire eating habits and become a health guru. What I am saying is take 15-30 minutes a day and do something (if you’re currently not), put down that diet soda and drink a glass of water instead. The little things you do will have a DRASTIC effect on your life, if you believe they will.

Instead of saying, “I don’t have time to do X today”, say “I can take 30 minutes and be focused on being active.”

Instead of saying, “I don’t like water, it has no taste”, say “water has not taste, so drinking an extra glass or two is great for me!”

Instead of saying, “I have kids, I have to tend to them”, say “I’ll take my kids to the park and play with them for the next 30 minutes.”

But, it all starts with the “want to” part of things. If you really “want to”, you’ll find a way to move towards the RESULTS and move away from the EXCUSES. It all starts with YOU.

What are YOU going to do about it

Three Internet Marketing Tips to Promote Your Product

A well-planned internet marketing technique is sure to hit more customers, subscribers, users or fans who would be using your products and services endorsed. There are abundant online applications which are made easy for users to transact their business, save their important files, communicate with their customers or even reach out more prospects.

The internet is now becoming a mammoth pillar that saves hundreds of businesses and unemployed people especially during the previous year’s devastating global economic crisis starting from the first world countries. Many unemployed people dwell their passion through the internet and found themselves the online wonders that were made possible. The internet happens to be a life saver during the past financial catastrophe and now it keeps on improving as more people and industries are taking advantage of its benefits.

The next step for a newly crafted product is to promote it based on its marketing plan. To name a few promotion schemes that have been practiced by many marketers would usually include ad campaigns, free testing or trial periods, sponsorships and many more. On the other hand, another main thing to consider is of course a huge budget needed to cover the marketing expenses. But, if you want to start slow because your budget is quite limited, you can take advantage of the many ways that the internet can do to aid your marketing preparation. Here are some of the useful internet marketing tips to promote your product.

· Practice good branding. Branding can be done in several ways, yet one solid branding technique is having a good reputation. If you are to start branding, make use of attractive and simple logos which can be displayed in different sites or premium freebies given to anyone offline, like customized pens, t-shirts, key holders, etc.

· Join social networking. Many big companies and schools have blocked few social media hubs because it tends to distract their employees or students on their daily activities. In spite of this issue, anyone can practically draw out several internet marketing tips that social communities can offer to maximize profit.

· Create and post quality blog contents. Weblogs were first introduced in 2006 and it became widely used because it is one effective means for browsers to crawl unto your site and could possibly make your site on the top rank. Still, the internet marketing tips in blogging include quality content, rich keywords and the strongly-built links.

Moreover, the three key points of internet marketing tips mentioned above would take more effect if careful preparation and continuous development will take place. To promote your products online, choose the best technique that works best for your business.

Google Video Explained

1. About Google Video

We are living in a digital world, where pretty much everything gets uploaded online. There are 80 million web hosts according to the stats made in 2006. The growth of the World Wide Web is obvious, it’s all on the web – companies addresses, documents, pictures, books, you can buy everything from cars to ships. But it’s not just documents any more, pages are far from stating these days. The web is now full with video clips being shared by millions of people around the world.

Google Video allows people to search for video files, download and play them on their computers. Although Google has not released an exact number of the video files available at their site, they claim there are several thousands and increasing all the time. The video material includes just about anything – TV shows, movies, amateur videos, commercials not displayed on US channels, etc. The files are either free of charge or must be purchase online from the Google Video Store. Google Video enables users from all over the world to upload their own content on Google Servers and share it with everyone. The files are in GVI, AVI, GVP and MP4 formats.

Google Video Player lets you watch videos that have been downloaded or purchased from the Google Video website, Google Video Player allows you to watch the videos in full screen as well as browse the video using thumbnails. It also uses OpenSSL Toolkit, QPluginLoader and QLibrary classes.

Some say that Google Video is just an effort of the search engine giant to enter the online video sharing, gathering up a rich archive of moving pictures to be accessed either for free or for pay. Market trick or not, Google Video is here to stay and this article will try to familiarize you with the technology behind it.

The Google Video Player is a piece of software that transfers the paid video content from Google’s servers to your computer. There is a version for MAC and Windows. Technically as a video player, it has some pretty cool features. It allows you to browse the scenes using thumbnails, so that one can easily find each and every moment.

The GV player has full-screen mode and the FTP portion of it is on a high level as it supports download resuming, automatically. This is a really nice feature especially for people on a dial-up or other users with a low and unstable connection. Perhaps the only strange thing about this application is that it is made to play paid-content, which is sort of useless, considering the amount of websites with video clips and all the video players, torrents and ftp clients.

The overall success of this software depends on the richness of the library. If it has a lot of interesting content, it will succeed even if the service is paid. But if the library is weak, then it doesn’t matter how smart and functional the player is, cause it just won’t matter when you don’t have any multimedia to play.

In the context of all that, it’s important to know that Google faces a strong competition when it comes to online video content, from the likes of YouTube, MetaCage, iFilm and several other websites with a pretty decent traffic. A lot of money are involved in this sector, so that’s a big opportunity for any company. The content available at Google Video is mostly amateur, because of the ease with which users can upload their files. Video files can be uploaded at the website or with the help of Google Video Uploader, available for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

But it’s not just amateurs that upload content to Google Video, television networks also participate by making whole shows available and Hollywood studios are also putting up some movie trailers. Because of all that, the video quality is inconsistent, depending on who uploaded it. There are all types of video files, copy-protected or not, with or without ads. Google screens out any sex related material, so Google Video is totally safe for the children.

The paid content is another interesting moment regarding Google Video. Amateur movies might be free, but episodes of Survivor or other TV shows cost $1.99 each, a price set by the producer of the given video.

2. System Requirements:

• For playing videos:

As mentioned, you can play the videos with your Internet browser or trough the Google Video Player.

To play videos through your browser on Google Video, your system must meet the following requirements:

- Adobe Flash Player 7.0+

- Microsoft Windows 2000 or higher, all updates installed

- Internet Explorer 5.0+, Firefox 1.1+

- broadband connection with 500+ Kbps for continuous playback on Google Video.

To play videos trough the Google Video Player, your pc must meet the following requirements:

- Intel Pentium III 1GHz

- 256MB RAM

- 16MB Video memory

• For uploading videos:

The Google Video Uploader has the following requirements:

- Windows 98 or higher, Mac 10.3 or higher, or any OS that has Java 1.4.1 or higher in order to install the Uploader

- broadband connection to upload video.

3. Installing Google Video Player and playing it

If there is a video you wish to view from, then click the “Download” button to the right of the video, and if you don’t have the GVP installed, you will be prompted to do so. Of course, you can download the setup executable on your own from, or from the official website at []. Once you have it on your desktop, run the GoogleVideoPlayerSetup.exe application to complete the installation. When the installation is complete, the video you’ve selected will download automatically.

4. Finding videos on

Google’s video library is expanding all the time. Considering the amount of video clips available, users often need an advanced search technology that will help them find what they are looking for. Google has responded to this need, by developing the Advanced Video Search available at On this page, you can specify all or just some of the words describing it; filter results by duration, price, and genre; language; duration; price; site domain. The Advanced Video Search will output results based on their relevance with the video’s title, popularity, and many other factors.

5. Buying Google Videos

Apple’s iTunes Store was the first that started selling videos online and from the day they started, internet exprets immediately understood it will be a great hit. TV fans from all over the world bought videos for about $8 million just in the first three months. Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL and Google are the major competitors on the “download TV show for free” market. Google calls its system “the first open video marketplace” because of the idea that everyone is able to upload his content, from professional TV producers to neighborhood amateurs. Everything is available – complete NBA reruns, TV shows from CBS to family videos. This makes the whole market a bit chaotic, as there is a lot of contrast in terms of video quality. Therefore, some videos are copy-protected and require payment, while others are free for download and distribution. Google gets 30% of the fee you pay for a given video.

The thing about Google Videos is that some of them will self-destruct 24 hours after being downloaded, because you buy the rights just for that short period of time. That’s how we come up to the three basic categories established:

1) Commercial TV Shows – Star Trek, I Love Lucy, all games played in the National Basketball Association are available for download 24 hours after they are played, for $4 each. Sony Music Videos can be downloaded for $2 each.

2) “Pseudo-commercial” – concerts and third-tier stuff.

3) User submitted material – home movies, just like the ones you see on

Videos that should be purchased have buttons saying “Buy High Quality” and “Day-Pass High Quality”. Buy High Quality is the best option, because the video doesn’t self-destruct and you can watch it whenever you want, directly from your Desktop. The Day-Pass High, are once again with high quality, but cheaper, because you must be online to view them and you got only 24 hours to do that. You must be online to view copy-protected content, because to decrypt those files, Google Video Player needs to communicate with Google servers over an active Internet connection.

To purchase Google Videos, you must create a Google Account, by entering your email address, password and payment details.

6. The GVI Format

The Google Video Player reads files in Google’s own GVI format. The Google Video Files – GVIs are a modified .avi files with an extra layer with additional information, about the type of the file – self-destructable or not. GVI video files are encoded in DiVx along with MP3 audio stream.

You can download a GVI2AVI converter from The program requires the .NET Framework. is also a website from which you can download a GVI converter allowing to turn GVI into AVI and the opposite. It’s extremely easy to use, simple and clean interface.

For a fast and secure download of Google Video, go to

The Evolution of Healthcare Mystery Shopping

Patients answer patient satisfaction survey questions based on their perception, and yet there is limited context for the healthcare provider. It leaves one asking the questions – who were they interacting with, what was said, when did it happen, and how capable and reliable was the patient to make those interpretations? So instead of convening a committee to explore the reasons for poor scores, healthcare mystery shopping provides healthcare clients with the research intelligence needed to make real-time improvements.

In an era of value based purchasing with a focus on inpatient stays, I have estimated that over 80% of the lives touched by health systems in this country are not patients at all, but rather family members, visitors, outpatients, and consumers of everything from equipment to Starbucks. By all means make the patient room environment as clean and silent as possible, communicate effectively with the patient, and ensure that they are fully prepared to be discharged, but the emphasis must still be on the patient’s perception. Observations, opinions, and ultimately consumer decisions derive from that source.

The elevated importance of patient satisfaction data means that as the data is digested, more and more questions will arise. For instance, a survey will tell you there is a concern with the friendliness of the radiology staff. Instead of creating a broad-brush customer service program for the Radiology Department, the logical next step is to determine how the department is being perceived by end-users, what the department’s behavioral weaknesses are, and who on the staff is exhibiting those behaviors.

Together patient satisfaction data and healthcare mystery shopping can begin to focus on meaningful solutions that cause providers to say, “We know from patient satisfaction there is a problem and from mystery shopping we know what that problem is and who is primarily responsible.”

While it is recommended that managers look for coaching opportunities by observing their employees in action, expecting them to alter the service culture is less likely since – for the most part – they created the culture. Because this type of research is strictly consumer perception, it provides an unbiased view of a department or organization’s culture. This gives managers a third party perspective that increases coaching opportunities.

Types of Healthcare Mystery Shopping

From those early days of healthcare mystery shopping, healthcare provider requests have gotten more creative, more targeted, and more sophisticated. For example, a client may request something as all encompassing as a 24-hour inpatient stay in which the shopper is admitted for a 24-hour period to evaluate the patient experience from registration to discharge. Or shoppers may be asked to call physician offices to make appointments with the intent of determining how long it will be before they can be seen tying the research to more efficient use of resources.

In 2008, healthcare mystery shopping received significant national press when the American Medical Association attempted to take up a position on the practice. What was not as readily reported was the fact that the issue was tabled indefinitely. In fact, it was already the custom of one of the leading providers (prior to the accusation that healthcare mystery shopping was unnecessarily taking up physician time) to utilize what they call process observations. This form of mystery shopping, which is most effective in Emergency Departments, avoids taking up valuable patient time by having a shopper join a patient as a friend as they go through the patient experience.

Two of the most beneficial types of perception research are: 1) shopping the competition, and 2) evaluating individual employees. Call it spying, many do, but it is important to know your competition’s culture. For example, what do they believe in and how is it transferred to the patient, and can the anecdotal stories you’ve heard be verified?

A great deal of value can be derived from conducting evaluations of individual employees. For a number of reasons – cost certainly being a factor – this works best in a departmental environment and gives managers an apples-to-apples comparison of each employee as it pertains to specific standards, i.e., is Cindy more likely than Jeff to greet patients immediately (setting up a coaching opportunity for Jeff)? Or, does Jeff do a great job of cross-selling services and should be commended?

Healthcare mystery shopping also gives managers concrete examples of the specific behavior that “turns patients on.” This sets up the perfect opportunity to present to staff the behaviors the organization would like emulated while giving kudos to the employee who displays them.

Quantitative and Qualitative Appeal

Healthcare mystery shopping appeals to managers and administrators whether they are left brained (numbers focused) or right brained (narrative focused). On the one hand, mystery shopping is about story telling. Fred Lee wrote in If Disney Ran Your Hospital, “What seems to be a major component of both loyalty and dissatisfaction are stories. A satisfied person has no story to tell.” Stories are important in articulating the who, what, when, where, and how of the patient or consumer experience. The right brain approach to mystery shopping allows clients to clearly discern the difference between a completely satisfactory experience and all the various facets that went into it, and those elements of an experience that triggered displeasure or frustration. At the same time, healthcare mystery shopping is an effective compliance tool. Standards that are specific to the healthcare industry, and therefore can be benchmarked, are mixed with organizationally specific standards to create a quantitative amalgam that can be data spliced in any way necessary. Healthcare mystery shopping primarily answers the following question – How well does your organization perform on the behaviors and processes you told your people are important? In addition, it lets organizations measure those standards against perception-based goals.

The Flexibility of Healthcare Mystery Shopping

Patient satisfaction surveys are, for the most part, static. They are unchanging for a reason. Conversely, healthcare mystery shopping is much more flexible. It can be designed as a program that measures the same standards or processes over time, or studies can be developed to determine exactly what behaviors or processes are being performed.

Healthcare mystery shopping can also be redirected ‘on the fly’ if the desired objectives are not being met. For example, to their surprise, a physician practice that was asking shoppers to make appointments found out they weren’t accepting new patients. Another practice that was evaluating the customer service of their registrars discovered that none of the calls were being answered by a ‘live’ person. In both instances, the practice put on the brakes until they could fix the issue. One hospital was having shoppers go to their website to look for specific information and then having them request a response. What this uncovered was that the requests were accumulating on a PC that was not being used. This finding allowed the hospital to avoid upsetting hundreds of consumers who felt they were being rudely ignored.

How does one know if a service initiative is really working? Healthcare mystery shopping is an excellent complement to any service initiative. It can be directed in such a way that it provides real time verification that the initiative is being effective. Anything from a discharge process to valet service can be shopped at various times to ensure that the initiative’s message was received and implemented.

Flexibility does not, however, extend to internal programs. Sometimes in the name of saving money, healthcare providers will launch a do-it-yourself program. They attempt to get employees or volunteers to perform the same function that professional healthcare mystery shopping firms do. This rarely if ever works for any duration for obvious reasons. Insiders have internal biases and, despite their best intentions, are no longer able to be objective. The other reason this is not effective is that employees (and even volunteers) can think of a million things they should be doing or would rather be doing. And the lack of staying power for a do-it-yourself program puts a tremendous burden on the manager assigned to administer the task.

What Clients are Looking For

Hospitals, health systems and physician practices seek out healthcare mystery shopping vendors for a number of reasons. In some cases, they want to validate “good news.” For example, one health system client entered into a long-term relationship with the primary goal of proving that their services were superior to the competition that was also shopped. A recent wayfinding study of over 300 ‘shops’ conducted for a large hospital on the east coast concluded that less than 76% of their employees received a top box score of five for greeting consumers with a smile. This finding was indicative of a culture that was not treating consumers in ‘a personal and memorable way.’ However, healthcare mystery shopping afforded them the advantage of validating their original concern, isolating where this concern is most prevalent, and using the shopper’s language to convey to staff why greeting people was critically important to overall perception. Much like satisfaction surveys, healthcare mystery shopping is able to monitor improvement over time, but with the added benefit of story telling to pinpoint issues. It can also be instrumental in determining the specific nature of the concern and identifying where weaknesses exist.

A healthcare mystery shopping executive, who is undergoing therapy for breast cancer, wrote in a blog recently, “What matters to healthcare organizations are things like how many steps it takes to check a patient in, scripted greetings for frontline employees, record keeping for correct billing, and clinical training for new safety measures. However, as a patient, I notice if the person checking me in for chemo is smiling and greets me because she cares, not if she delivers a scripted sentence. Next, I notice if the nurses in the chemo area are working as a team and greet me personally (they should know me after two months). But what is most important to me is whether or not the clinical staff is aligned with my recovery goals.”

While this executive may be more attuned to her surroundings than most patients and able to articulate what it means to her, the goal for any healthcare mystery-shopping program is to use the shopper’s heightened sense of awareness and their ability to effectively communicate their experiences in a way that is clear and concise.

What is the Non-Farm Employment Change Report?

The U.S Non-Farm Employment Change, also known as “Non-Farm Payrolls” (NFP) or “Employment Report”, is a monthly economic indicator used to measure the change in the number of employed people, excluding those in the farming industry.Each month the Current Employment Statistics program surveys about 150,000 businesses, representing approximately 390,000 worksites, in order to provide detailed industry data on employment, work-hours, and earnings of workers on non-farm payrolls for all 50 US states. The survey is then published on the first Friday of each month.The NFP is an important leading indicator that also affects consumer spending, which accounts for a majority of overall economic activity. Traders value the indicator with the highest importance as its early monthly release can set the tone for the rest of the month’s market movement. Investors should also note Thursday’s 12:15 GMT release of Automatic Data Processing Inc.’s (ADP’s) estimate of Non-Farm Employment Change. In the past, ADP has provided an accurate assessment of what was to come from the actual NFP release a day later. With the volatility of world economies in recent months, ADP has not been able to correctly estimate the Non-Farm Payroll outcome which has strengthened the real power behind Friday’s news release.If the Survey Comes Inline with Market ForecastsExpectations for this month reveal that the Non-Farm Employment Change figures will drop by 73K from July. Such a result, should it take place, will be the biggest drop in employment numbers that the U.S economy has experienced since April of this year. Former surveys have shown that publications that reflect a significant contraction in the job sector had a radical impact on the USD, and concluded in a sudden downtrend. Considering that the survey has delivered negative figures for several consecutive months now, another sharp drop could signal a temporary halt in the dollar’s bullishness, and the USD could be facing an unfortunate weekend, causing the EUR/USD pair to rise back toward levels around 1.4700If the Survey Will Surprise with BullishnessIf the actual figure is higher than forecasted, traders are likely to see the USD appreciate against its currency pairs and crosses. Currently, investors are setting their positions on the USD based on the assumption that by the end of the week the USD should face a sharp bearish movement. However, if the survey delivers better figures than expected, such as 40K drop instead of the forecasted 73K drop, investors will be compelled to reevaluate their strategies, and go long on the USD. In this turn of events, the dollar might receive an extra boost that will broaden its bullish voyage and the EUR/USD could drop toward levels of 1.4350, breaking what would be a 9 month record.

The Secret of Optimal Health and Fitness

We live in a society that strongly believes in the significance of personal choices as far as health and fitness are concerned. When it comes to making the right choices therefore, it is always on how to create a balance between proper nutrition and physical exercise. Many people are concerned that every program is normally promoted as the best one in the market even though not every program will work for every person. It is therefore important for everyone to look for professional help in determining their fitness goals and how to best attain them.As a result of the concern that most people have regarding their own fitness routines, most people end up joining gyms since it is the only option they know. For such people, the availability of fitness equipment in the gym makes them realize they can work out different parts of their bodies without necessarily spending large amounts of money in making purchases. Such people will also take advantage of the company they will get since many other people will also be doing the same thing with them at the same time.The other advantage these people find in belonging to a gym is the fact that they get training on how to train different muscle groups. Such exercise routines are also dome under the supervision of a professional fitness trainer and, as a result, they can avoid risks associated with injury and muscle strains. At other times, getting physically fit will require a simple exercise such as simply walking around your neighborhood or taking some errands on foot together with activities such as biking and swimming.However, there are some people who have all the desires to get physically fit but due to their busy schedules; they just cannot create the time to go to the regular gym. Such people may also not have the time to sit at the gym and wait for their turn to use a particular machine or other facilities. Some of these people attend classes when gyms are not too busy or perhaps they have other family obligations. Such people can easily attain their fitness goals by purchasing gym equipment that can be used at home.Last but not least, remember that for you to succeed in getting physically fit you have to balance all your efforts will with proper nutrition. This includes the consumption of a balanced diet which includes proper foods that will help you to develop your stamina. You can also consider taking some sports supplements so that you fill up all the gaps that are left as a result of your type of diet.

Know Your Identity – Are You a Worshipper Or an Entertainer in the Body of Christ?

Are we experiencing an identity crisis within the Body of Christ? Are we true worshippers of God or are we entertainers for the world? Is it okay to entertain people in order to get their attention about the Word of God? Before I address these questions, I would like to give a definition of worship and entertainment. This will enable us to be able to identify ourselves. Worship is an expression of love and devotion toward our heavenly Father. Entertainment is an activity designed to give people pleasure or relaxation. Entertainment is anything that causes enjoyment. According to both definitions, worship is clearly God-centered and entertainment is man-centered. When we worship, our main focus should be to praise, honor, exalt, and please God. Entertainment is basically an avenue used to amuse or give pleasure to our own flesh and others. Worship and entertainment are direct opponents within the Body of Christ. The worshipper wants to praise and honor God; but, the entertainer wants to be exalted and please others. Which one are you?A true worshipper is a child of God who strives to live a lifestyle of obedience according to the Word of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. God is the center of our worship and also orchestrates our worship (1 Corinthians 14:40). Through His Word, we have been given clear instructions on how we should worship Him. A worshipper knows that he or she must be a believer in Christ in order to worship God. A worshipper knows that God is a Spirit and must be worshipped in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24). All worshippers’ hearts should be focused on pleasing God in their thoughts and their actions. Every worship experience is for the pleasure of God, not for man. Please do not misunderstand; worshipping God should be a joyous occasion for the believer. We can worship Him through musical instruments, song, and prayer. We must learn that emotions are not the main focus or incentive to worship; but God is the center of attention. A true worshipper praises and honors God because He is worthy of all that we have to offer and it is a commandment for His people (Exodus 20:3). True worship keeps us focus on the sovereignty of God and our eternal gratitude for His perfect expression of love for us through Jesus Christ.An entertainer in the Body of Christ is someone who does not understand or does not care that God is the main focus of worship. They have the impression that in order to get people to listen to the gospel; you have to provide entertainment to keep them coming back to church services. An entertainer thinks that they are to “get something out” of worship and feel good during and after the process. The first mistake with this mindset is thinking that worship is about you. The Spirit of the Lord is the author, leader and center of our faith and worship, not the flesh (Colossians 1:16-17). The Word of God does not need the aid of gimmicks or theatrics. Jesus stated that His people will hear His voice and follow His instructions (John 10:27). Entertainment will attract great numbers concerning people in worship services; but, will take the focus off God. When people come to worship services for entertainment, they will always seek the next big gimmick or show. Once they are no longer amused, they will go elsewhere to seek entertainment. Fun and games in worship service will never reach or sustain anyone. The Word of God and the Holy Spirit changes people’ lives (Proverbs 3:5). Entertainment is an event that stimulates our emotions; but, the Spirit of the Lord will sustain and cultivate us in our Christian walk.We have taken a look at the man in the mirror concerning worship and entertainment. Can you see yourself? Are you are worshipper or an entertainer? Hopefully, we have arrived at a truthful answer. Worship is not an entertainment event; but a long-term commitment. The entire life of the believer is a worship experience. We should live our lives as a “light” to a lost world that will continually bring praise and honor to our heavenly Father. Remember, worship is not a short-term event to entertain man; but, a lifetime commitment to the glory of God (Isaiah 26:4).

Life Insurance – Insure the Precious Life

Most of us are aware about the Life Insurance and its benefits. But knowing about such a policy is different from buying one. There are many factors which need to be considered and analyzed before buying an insurance. Every person expects something different from it and companies also offer different packages according to the requirement of the users. Getting the right deal is equally important as getting the insurance.On a broad classification there are four major life insurances available to the users. These are the Term life, the Whole life, the Universal Life and Variable Universal Life. All these insurances have been designed keeping the requirements of different users in mind and vary in many aspects. The Term Life is the cheapest insurance that one can get. It is also the simplest and carries only the essential requirements of the insurance. The premium for Term Insurance is very low and there are no dividends on the term life policy. The beneficiary gets the required amount in case the insurer dies. The premium for term insurance is low because the insurance company does not have to pay back very often. Term Life policy itself comes in two separate forms. These are the decreasing term policy and the level term policy. In decreasing term policy, the premium keeps on decreasing. The actual amount depends on the benefits and other terms of the policy. This is the cheapest policy available and is even cheaper than the level term life policy. On the other hand, the level term life policy does not decrease in amount. The premium for this policy remains constant.Second type of policy is the whole life insurance. It is more expensive than the term life insurance. The premiums under this policy can be even two times or more than that under term policy. The advantage of this policy lies in the fact that the premium money gains value. There is a dividend on the money that is paid under this policy. This policy last for life time of the insurer.Next is the Universal Life Insurance. It is a combination of both the term life policy and the whole life policy. As it has advantages of both, its cost is also higher than either one of them. Its other advantage lies in the flexibility it offers to the policy owner. This flexibility can be in terms of premiums or other conditions that are a part of insurance policy. It gives the policy owner an option to increase amount of the premiums at a later stage.The amount of premium does not depend only on the policy taken. It also depends upon the health and the habits of insurer. If the person has smoking or drinking habit, the premiums are higher. If proper care is not taken, a person might end up paying more than what is required to gain life insurance. It happens essentially because of two reasons. One reason being the very high coverage taken for the policy. The other reason is the wrong policy opted. This happens because of poor research before buying the policy. Therefore, analyzing all the aspects of the policy is the key to enjoy the benefits of Life Insurance.

Basics of Startup Business Loans

You have heard and are convinced that the best way to make money is to start your own business. Besides, you have this great business idea that will rake in the money in fistfuls. However, you need more money as capital than you have saved up for this. You have a few options before you. You can either sell equity in your new company to obtain finance or apply for startup business loans.The Equity Route
If you chose the equity route, you need to share control of your business with your investors. This prevents you from having a free hand and slows down decision making – something that can affect the profitability of your enterprise. Moreover, you have to share your profits with the investors.Startup Business Loans
You can also decide to obtain loans to help finance your startup. However, this is easier said than done. Most banks consider startup business loans as high-risk loans. This is because many businesses fail within a few years. Bankers consider small business loans for start ups as personal loans. So if your credit history is good, you have a fair chance of obtaining the loan.You other option is to obtain the equipment you need on lease from finance companies. Since they retain a lien on the equipment, the interest rates are low and your credit history need not be very good.Preparedness
Whether you choose to obtain a startup business loan or finance from a leasing company, you need to be prepared to answer all their questions. Have the proper documents such as your company’s business ID as well as your business plan all ready. Financial documents that you need will include bank statements for the past three years in case yours is an existing business and potential opening day receipts in the case of a new business. Be clear in your mind about the nature of your business and provide convincing reasons why you think that your business will be profitable.Bad Credit
Even if your credit history is not so good, you can obtain credit to run your startup. However, you need to keep in mind that obtaining bad credit startup loans is tougher. You have to go the extra mile to convince potential creditors of your business idea. As banks might not be in favor of lending to you, you need to approach the small business administration for getting credit business loans.Minority and Women Run Businesses
In addition, if you are a member of a minority group or a woman, then you qualify for certain startup business loans. For this, the first step you need to take is get your business certified as owned by a person belonging to a minority group or a woman. Once you complete this step, obtaining a loan for your startup is easy.The best way to obtain startup business loans is to convince potential creditors of your commitment to the idea and the financial viability of your business plan.