Here are Direct Marketing Ideas That Put Cash in Your Pocket

If you are giving your customers only what they expect, you’re in danger of being made redundant by the clever marketer who knows how to add value to his product or service. So here’s some direct marketing ideas to make sure this doesn’t happen.Or if you’re just doing enough in the way of service to get by, then lookout for the savvy entrepreneur who knows what we buyers really want. Here’s an example to illustrate my point.A couple of years ago my wife and I went shopping for swimming pools. I’d thought it would be easy. Go to a pool place, choose what I want and then they would take charge and get the job done. I had money burning a hole in my pocket and I was determined to spend it. Easy right? Wrong!You see, the pool place I chose did not offer installation of the pool. They only sold them. And what’s worse, I had to take care of delivering the damn thing myself. What?It was like I was caught up in some Twilight Zone movie where everything works back-ass-wards. I couldn’t believe what they were telling me.Did I buy the pool from these guys? What do you think?Look, I want things done for me. I don’t want to have to track down three different guys to do the one job. So let’s look at what these clowns wanted me to do. First, buy the pool off of them.Second, locate someone to install it. Third, locate someone to deliver it. Fourth, locate someone to put the fence up around it. Shit, these guys didn’t have a clue and they just blew a five figure sale.Here’s what should have happened.You buy the pool and they organise the lot. Delivery, installation and pool fencing included. The customer doesn’t have to do a damn thing. Just pay the money and then go swimming. Sheesh, how easy is that? So, think about this…What opportunities are you missing out on? What services and or products can you include to add value to your business and to make it easier for your customers to give you money?

Africa and Global Warming

Certain activities of man produce gases known as Green House gases. These activities are those that involve the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, wood, and petroleum products at oilrigs, vehicle combustion engines and factories. Part of the heat energy that comes to us from the sun is usually reflected back. Green House gases in the atmosphere trap the reflected heat resulting in increased global temperatures. This is what environmentalists refer to as global warming.The Role Of Green Plants Carbon dioxide is a major component of Green House gases. Green plants use carbon dioxide to manufacture their food during the process of photosynthesis. In return they produce a benevolent gas, oxygen. Clearing forests for wood or to construct highways thus reduces the world’s natural ability to minimize global warming by regulating the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.Significance of Awareness CampaignsFormer American Vice President, Al Gore eventually won a Nobel Price for Peace, following his efforts to bring about progress in the fight against global warming. One of his numerous activities is the organization of concerts with the aim of raising awareness about global warming and its consequences to our planet. In the efforts of environmentalists to combat global warming, raising the awareness of people around the world on the issue is indeed the wise step since the fight against global warming is something that must be fought by the world as a community if it has to succeed. In a situation were people don’t know about the problem it would be impossible for them to know what role to play.The Role of Africa in Atmospheric PollutionIndustrialized nations have been blamed for their role in the generation of Green House gases that are responsible for global warming. Developing nations like those in Africa also have a share of the blame. Oil producing nations like Nigeria and Angola are among countries in Africa that contribute to atmospheric pollution at oilrigs through gas flaring. Uncontrolled lumbering is another cause of a setback to efforts against global warming and is common in Africa. In Africa were a lot of people live a rural life, the main source of cooking fuel is firewood obtained by cutting down forest resources.There is also the problem of corruption that frustrates forestations programmes. Since the environmental laws in African countries are generally weak, organizations whose activities result in environmental damages usually do little to minimize such damages. Corruption among public officials is another factor that complicates the issue.Level of Awareness Working to reverse the problem of global warming should be everybody’s business. The level of awareness about global warming and its disastrous outcome in Africa is unfortunately low. Programmes aimed at raising awareness about global warming are rare. Generally, awareness campaigns are carried out in English language. They take the form of workshops were the press are invited and educated. They are then expected to relay the information to the rest of the nation. Most people see the issue of global warming as an issue for the educated but issue of global warming is a complex issue that even some among the educated do not seem to grasp. Further more everything here usually ends up at the theoretical stage.Africa’s Contribution Against Global WarmingBeside Wangari Mathai who won the Nobel Prize for Peace as a result of her contribution to the struggle against global warming, the concern has not gone beyond the level of intellectual exercise by lecturers of Universities and other tertiary institutions. Most people here also think that it is the responsibility of western nations to find a solution to global warming.The Way ForwardThere is the need for African nations to make tangible contributions to global warming. The first and most important aspect of our contribution is an aggressive awareness campaign about global warming. A campaign is not just about throwing money at the programme but ensuring that the money percolates down to its target. Also important is a pragmatic reforestation programme to replace the trees cut down for timber or used as firewood. The use of alternative material for roofing and furniture making can also reduce the pressure on forest resources. We can also work to ensure that automobiles plying our roads release the minimum amount of gases that are deleterious to the atmosphere. Constant and reliable eclectic power can minimize the amount of firewood and coal used as energy source in our homes and factories.

Commercial Finance Funding and Identifying Zombie Banks

In the world of business finance funding, the colorful terms “Zombie Banks” and “Dead Banks Walking” have been applied recently to a number of commercial lenders. Although these discussions have an element of humor and entertainment, there is a practical aspect to them as well. Ultimately it is not likely to be in the best interest of a business owner to have extensive involvement with any of the banks which these terms describe accurately. In any case it should be beneficial for commercial borrowers to understand what constitutes a zombie bank and what they should do if they are working with a dead bank walking.For any business owner currently needing a commercial loan or working capital financing, the concept of “Dead Banks Walking” is likely to be an essential part of their decision. This description has been used by several sources recently, all with a similar reference point of banks which have already gone broke. This critical but apparently accurate assessment is largely derived from a straightforward net worth approach. Such an analysis recognizes that many banks have substantial assets which are either worthless or at least worth well below the values reflected on their books, with the resulting real current value being less than the current debts of many banks.Based on the evaluation of many observers who have realistically reviewed current asset values, most of the largest banks in the United States been shown to be worth even less than Lehman Brothers (which is already in bankruptcy). Many banks have compounded their public relations nightmare by demonstrating very little common sense in how they make commercial loans and spend money. If a bank is already worthless, it certainly calls into question how businesses and commercial borrowers will benefit by the government throwing money at these “zombie banks” in the first place. This controversy has been fueled by the failure of most banks to increase their commercial lending to business owners after receiving government bailout funds. Banks who have received bailout funds appear to be determined to hoard the money in order to preserve their own solvency rather than providing commercial finance funding to commercial borrowers.This raises several questions. The emerging consensus is that giving otherwise bankrupt companies (the dead banks walking) more cash does little more than cover the internal operating expenses for the zombie banks.First, should we really believe that a bank should be “saved” simply because it is so large? There appears to be a growing majority of the public which would suggest that these banks have already lost too much good faith to ever recover in response to some arguments that the largest banks cannot be taken over even if they are already insolvent.Second, is there a better way to solve the problem than giving insolvent banks more money? George Soros and others have recently described in detail how other banking systems have successfully handled mortgage financing. Even though residential and commercial real estate loans are thought to be at the heart of the current crisis, there is no real effort underway to revise this approach.Third, can business owners really afford to wait for the government to solve this problem? Although waiting a few weeks or even several months might be viable for a practical solution which results in needed commercial loans, the current logjam impacting business finance funding shows little evidence of subsiding that quickly. Prudent commercial borrowers should seek alternative sources for essential working capital financing such as business cash advances. In case it is not obvious from the discussion above, dead banks walking and zombie banks can be avoided when seeking new commercial financing.