Start Your Food Business With Restaurant Financing

Have you always loved food, but not just the mere gloriously wonderful experience of eating divine food, but actually providing and/or creating incredible edible masterpieces for friends and loved ones? If so, then chances are you’ve either been told to or played with the idea yourself of opening your own restaurant where you can share your delicious treats for the masses. If you have already made the decision to do so, let the simmering begin; but don’t forget, just like starting any other business, it is extremely important to take all of the appropriate steps needed to ensure the success of your new company… and be prepared, the restaurant business can be bring a lot of heat!

Restaurant Financing

There aren’t too many people out there who can resist a savory work of art on their plate and if you’re the genius behind it can you imagine the wonderful feeling that comes with such a creation? Well if you’re in the market of starting your own restaurant, get ready to hear the “mmms” and “yummms.” If you have the cooking skills or at least the desire and passion to open up your own restaurant you already have one of the biggest steps down, next up…financing! It is extremely important with any new business to get the proper financing to ensure its success and longstanding. From costs of employees, food, appliances, building leases or purchases, permits, licensing and much more, the budget tally can rake up pretty fast. Luckily for the foodies and chef’s out there, there are actually lenders that specialize in specific business financing, even restaurant financing! With that being said, first thing is first… get the financing needed to open AND run your new restaurant.

Do the appropriate research needed to successfully open a new restaurant to ensure the success of your new company. Don’t forget the importance of decor and your business name, which will draw the customers in, but allow your exquisite food to bring them back.

Cash Loans For Luxuries

Sometimes the days we get paid and the days we need money don’t work in unison, a lot of the time we’re desperate for our next pay check but still have a couple of weeks to wait. This then leaves us with an uncomfortable and awkward predicament to be in; we know that we need extra money, but we don’t want to have to go through the bank to do so. This is especially true for anyone who has bad credit history. If this sounds like a problem you know all too well, maybe it’s time for you to look into other avenues for loans, specifically cash loans. With help from cash loan companies like Cash Window you can be in touch with that extra money a lot quicker and easier than before. This is because, not only can they transfer the money to your bank, but they can also allow you to collect the cash in person.

Cash Loans

Their new approach to money lending means that you can be in touch with them whether on your mobile, surfing the web or in one of the 200+ stores that they’re going to be launched in. Therefore, when you’re in need for an extra bit of cash for a little luxury like an iPhone, or maybe for necessities like your food shopping, this cash loan team will be on hand closer than you think.

Now when your next pay check seems like a long way off, you can rest assured that you can find an easy and hassle free way of making it through the dry patch of income. Furthermore, while cash loans are good to cover you when you have no money, they’re also helpful when you do have some money but not enough to treat yourself. Many people find themselves in need of a new TV or bed but unwilling to break into the last of their funds however, with a cash loan you don’t have to. You can just request the amount you want and be in pocket without any fuss or stress.

5 Ways to Avoid Spending Unnecessary Money During a Natural Disaster

natural disasterWatching Hurricane Sandy ravage East Coast the last few days has made me wonder, and hope, that the millions of residents in those areas were properly prepared as their electricity, Internet, and phone systems went down.

Although not at all comparable in terms of damage or devastation, the situation reminded me of the 2008-09 snowstorm, which hit Washington state, where I live, particularly hard. Power was knocked out, and in some communities they were not able to get electricity back for weeks. The high level of snow (at least for the area) left roads and street blocked, making it difficult or impossible for vehicles to get inside, which meant many stores were either closed or in short supply of critical goods.

Working as a helper clerk at the local grocery store during that snowstorm, I can tell you the first place people go in a natural disaster, depending on the severity, is their nearest store â“ if it’s still operating. And the shelves can cleaned out within hours.

The trouble is, most people don’t prepare for a disaster until the effects – no electricity, transportation, Internet or pluming – have already begun to occur. This ends up thinning their wallet, as they have to either make large purchases of goods they might have bought for cheaper prior, or they have to go outside the area to find necessities, which can incur even higher costs.

Fortunately, my family, always one to perk up earnestly whenever a potential storm is on the horizon, was well prepared and managed to relax somewhat during the snowstorm, rather than participate in the mad scramble to find what we needed to wait it out.

Since we are approaching the winter season, here are a few tips I’ve learned from my experiences that will help you prepare and spare you from spending unnecessary amounts of money in the process.

1. Buy what you need before you need it

The Boy Scout motto is to “Be Prepared.” Natural disasters are one of the many things the motto refers to. Whatever the type of natural disaster is most frequent in your region, the most important thing is for you be ready for it well before it comes.

This means having it planned out. It means having a well-stocked cellar, garage or pantry of emergency food; the best is nonperishable food with extra-long expiration dates that don’t require refrigeration, freezing, or cooking.

And for the majority of you, don’t forget to buy coffee you can make without electricity. Trust me. You don’t want to have to wait for four hours to get an espresso. After the storm had subsided, my grocery store had the only operating coffee store in the Lake Hills area of Bellevue. Word got around fast., By the time I showed up for work at 9 a.m., the line stretched out to the back of the parking lot. Our manager ended up taking coffee off the shelves to continue making it because it was the one item people couldn’t use at the moment.

There are also other less noticeable but equally important items people tend to overlook. For example, during the fall and summer my family would borrow a truck and pick up free wood whenever we saw it advertised outside people’s homes, usually after they had had a tree cut down and didn’t want to pay to have it taken. We would then bring it back to our house, chop it up and stack it in the backyard.

During the snowstorm, we were able to maintain a constant fire to warm our living room and cook our food on the fire stove, while other people were forced to either use expensive emergency generators to cook and heat, or they had to buy overpriced wood at stores.

2. Stock up on additional provisions when they’re on sale

When weather reports first indicated that a massive snowstorm might be headed our family, my family hurried to the grocery store and filled up a large cart full of everything we would need, in addition to what we already had in stock, in case we were stuck inside the house for a while.

In addition to food, we also bought candles and blankets and lots of batteries. You do not want to roam around a dark house in the middle of the night because you forgot to stock up on Energizer Bunnies.

The key is to buy when they’ve on sale rather than at the last minute. Shop smart by going to discount stores and thrift shops for warm clothing.

Keep an eye on sales during regular weather season. Don’t just think of what you need to buy at the moment. Think of what you may need in six months that happens to be on sale right now.

Ultimately, shopping in advance, when there are good deals, sales, or discounts, will save you money because you get it when it’s cheap, not when you absolutely have to have it and are forced to pay through the nose to get it.

Or, worse, you will end up having to drive for miles to actually find what you need and pay much higher prices when the supply is impacted.

3. Fill up on gas in anticipation of high prices

As soon as the snow started to fall my dad drove all our cars one by one to the nearest gas station and filled them up. He also brought along containers in the back of the cars, which he filled up as well. The reason for this is because the roads were blocked and gas trucks could not resupply the gas stations, which meant there was going to be a shortage within a day or two. The last thing you want during a disaster is to run out of gas at the very moment you need to get out of Dodge, so to speak, or when someone requires your help. Running out of fuel limits you to using bikes, if the terrain permits, or walking on foot. In the snow, as was in our case, this can be slow and painstaking or simply not practical.

You also save money when you buy gas before, rather than after a disaster, due to price fluctuation. In 2005, right before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, we filled up as much gas as we could, right before the oil refineries were hit and prices skyrocketed, as well as in late 2008 and early 2009, when the price of oil per barrel had dropped down to $35.

4. Have sizable cash reserve at home in lieu of credit/debit cards

During a disaster, telephone lines and connection to the Internet can get cut off, making it impossible to verify PIN numbers for debit cards or use credit cards. Having a sufficient reserve of cash helps protect you from losing access to your money at a time when you need it the most. You can also go to the bank and withdraw additional funds before the disaster hits if you feel you will need more. In the event of an extreme situation, where is no electricity, your only option may be cash when all power has been knocked out.

5. If you expect damage, prepare all necessary paperwork necessary to document it for insurance claims

If the storm appears likely to or is guaranteed to cause damage to your home or property and you have insurance, you want to ensure (I’m not sure if the pun is intended or if there’s even a pun there) that you have all your T’s crossed and your I’s dotted. Become educated about the type of natural disasters in your region and what to do if it damages your property.

Know the steps you have to take afterwards in order to submit a claim and what your insurance will actually cover in such an event. Know what number to call, who to speak to, and what information to provide.

Being aware beforehand will help make your life less stressful than it already will be, especially if the damage is catastrophic. It is also less likely the insurance provider will fight the claim if it’s done correctly, which saves you both time and money.

photo by georgiaema

Advantages of Renting a Conference Room

conference roomMeetings that need to be held off-site or in a neutral location can be done by renting a conference room or meeting space. A rented conference room may also be needed because existing space is not available for the number of expected attendees. Renting conference rooms is an ideal way for a small business to conduct meetings and benefit from many advantages.  One such company leading the way in this industry is Cliftons Hong Kong.  They offer various conference rooms in Hong Kong at reasonable prices and tastefully decorated!

Reduced Expenditures

Renting a conference room is a great way to reduce expenditures for a business. Maintenance costs that are often required for an on-site conference room are eliminated. This means that money can be saved on any cleaning and maintenance that is required. Many conference rooms will be wired to an internal network for Internet access and communication. If your business has yet to perform any type of upgrade, then using a rented conference room is a great way to reduce costs.

Space Availability

The need for increased space is often not met by an on-site conference room. Most conference rooms in a building have a certain occupancy. This means that only a certain number of people will be able to get inside the room. If a conference room is rented, then a specific size room is available to accommodate a large group or meeting. Space is available to allow for easy movement and plenty of leg room.

Convenience Factor

A conference room can be rented in an area that is easy for all attendees to access. A company that is in need of a parking ramp or access to a downtown area can easily select the best location. One benefit of a rented conference room with access to a downtown area is available public transportation that can be used instead of driving a car to the location. Car pooling to a downtown location is also an option.


Available Technology

Rented conference rooms often have the latest technology available. This is an advantage that is not an option with most on-site conference rooms. A meeting may require access to the Internet. Access to the Internet is typically provided via a wireless connection. Businesses that are giving a presentation need a way to display video. Video playback is often provided by a video hookup to a computer or by using a DVD player.

Additional Options

Many conference rooms for rent will have a variety of seating options. This may include an ergonomic chair or a beverage station. Catering services may also be available if a meeting is scheduled to last an entire day. If your office does not have many of the features expected by clients, then the use of rented conference room space is a good solution to this problem.

photo by Christian Church of the Hills

5 Economics Lessons Obama didn’t Learn from the Great Depression

lessons on obamaOne of the more cliché statements one hears in politics is those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it,❠stated by George Santayana.

Unfortunately, this statement is very true. And nowhere else is it more noticeable than how the federal government, and in particular President Obama, has attempted to handle the Great Recession.

It is easy to try to justify the president’s decisions by discussing the enormous responsibilities he has on his shoulders and the incredible duties he has to attend to every day.

The problem I have with this argument is that not only are many of those duties and responsibilities voluntarily placed on his own shoulders, since he has taken it upon himself to solve these problems, but if he simply left many of these issues alone he would find greater success in reviving the economy.

The Great Depression, for all of its suffering and hardship, provides us with numerous examples of what works and what doesn’t work when attempting to lift a country out of an economic downturn.

Sadly, an Orwellian mythos has been created for this time period, in which the federal government’s intervention guided❠the nation through the 1930’s rather than stifled it.

The facts speak for themselves. For all the New Deal programs (most of them started under Hoover, contrary to popular belief) and massive government spending, the average unemployment remained at 18 percent throughout the 1930’s, and the economy did not truly recover until after World War II.

Had Obama studied the Great Depression more carefully, and without viewing events through a blatantly ideological lens, the economy might have already recovered within the first year he took office, and his reelection would have been guaranteed.

But the race is now tight and highly contested because he failed to recognize five important economic lessons from the Great Depression. Considering his background, which does not contain a single significant private sector employment whatsoever, it is easy to see how someone who has had such little involvement in actual affairs should be so ignorant about them.

In this way, history has repeated itself.

1. Government (deficit) spending does not boost or stimulate an economy

During his first month in office, Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, commonly known as the stimulus package. The package cost is estimated to be $831 billion between 2009 and 2019, which Obama, as well as many other politicians argued, was essential for the economy to recover.

Currently, the national debt is $16 trillion. And while the unemployment rate is still high (the exact numbers depend on how you view the statistics) Obama still believes further government spending is needed.

At the heart of this thought is an economic belief known as Keynesianism. Created by British economist John Maynard Keynes, it is based on the idea that governments could spend their way out of recessions or depressions, even if this means running up a deficit and accumulating debt. The idea is for the government to make up for the decrease in private sector spending by increasing its own spending.

This tactic was tried repeatedly, first by Hoover. According to historian and economist Thomas Woods, Jr. in his book the Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, Hoover spent more money on public-works projects in four years than had been spent in the previous thirty years. Although he is portrayed today as a do-nothing president, this image only works if compared to the economic intervention of future presidents.

The idea of government spending would continue into the FDR administration, all to no effect. Gross Domestic Product did not return to the 1929 level until 1940.

Inasmuch as Keynesianism is the bread and butter for many modern economists, most notoriously New York Times columnist Paul Krugmen, it ignores the most basic principle of economics by advocating higher spending than revenue.

It also begs the question: If a private company, which makes up the private sector and economy, can’t spend its way into prosperity, in what way can the government spend its way into prosperity?

Rather than state my own opinion, this is the viewpoint of FDR’s Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgebnthau, Jr., also known as the Architect of the New Deal, a viewpoint Obama should have taken heed to:

We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work.â

2. Government cannot create wealth

The function of government is to protect and defend the rights and freedoms of its citizens. It is not an institution designed to create wealth, nor can it. Government is not self-sufficient. It relies on a compulsory system of monetary confiscation via taxes to support itself.

This is critical to understanding government. Any money it spends has to come from somewhere else. It does not produce anything. Everything it has was originally taken from the private sector, which is where wealth is created.

The concept of government creating wealth is what leads to ideas such as a high minimum wage, which actually encourages higher unemployment since hiring a worker costs an employer more for performing the same job.

Both Hoover and FDR made this mistake during the Great Depression through the notion of central planning. The National Industrial Recovery Act, through the National Recovery Administration ( the other NRA) created industry cartels that were allowed to institute minimum wages and minimum prices at the same time. Naturally, rather than create jobs, it led to further unemployment because employers couldn’t afford to hire as many employees and had no control over the cost of the product they sold. In such an environment it was impossible to make profit, which is the heart of all private sector growth.

Tied to the notion of spending into prosperity, this also leads to ideas that the government can assist private companies via funding, which always leads to disaster.

One example of this is in the push for green energy❠initiatives which are both impractical and not efficient enough to be cost-productive. Most notably was Solyndra, a solar cell company which received billions either in financial assistance or loans from the government. Another clean energy company, Konarka Technologies, Inc., which went bankrupt in May of this year. Under the Obama administration, Konarka was one of 183 companies to receive $2.3 billion in tax credits as part of the stimulus package.

After Solyndra declared bankruptcy in Sept. 2011, President Obama’s chief strategist, David Axelrod, said “It’s good for the planet, it’s good for the economy, it’ll create great jobsâ¦high end manufacturing jobs.â

Such statements also lead people to confuse job creation with wealth creation. The federal government could hire every single unemployed person in this country, which would lower the unemployment rate to nearly zero. But where does the money come from to pay their wages? Either the government has to incur further debt or take the money from the private sector. And no doubt the private sector would be vastly impacted by the higher tax rate needed to pay for a massive increase in federal workers.

As Woods points out, such jobs are funded by taking money from some people (taxpayers) and giving it to others, so there is no net stimulus. In fact, such programs are positively bad in that they divert capital from the private sector and inhibit healthy job creation.â

In other words, creating jobs in order to create wealth doesn’t make sense. You create jobs when there’s wealth. And the private sector creates the wealth, and the jobs they create as a result are more productive than government jobs because they exist to produce rather than merely provide for the worker.

Just last year, the White House pushed to extend unemployment benefits, claiming it would create❠one million jobs.

When pressed by a Wall Street Journal reporter as to how this would create❠jobs, Press Secretary Jay Carney replied “Oh, uh, it is by, uh, I would expect a reporter from the Wall Street Journal would know this as part of the entrance exam.”

There’s a reason why he deflected the question. It doesn’t create jobs; it merely allows people to collect financial assistance without having to work. Which also violates another basic economic principle.

3. People don’t work when you take away any incentive to be productive

The Bible says He who does not work shall not eat.❠But with Obama it’s he who does not work shall eat with food paid for by those who do work.â

This summer, Obama waived Section 407 of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, which requires work as a condition to collect welfare checks. While his Administration has denied this, one would be hard pressed to explain what else could is waved instead.

Additionally, food stamp recipients have skyrocketed. Out of a population of roughly 300 million, 47 million collect food stamps. In June of this year alone, 173,600 people were added, which was three times greater than Americans who found jobs, most of which part-time, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Obama administration has even partnered with the Mexican government through the
United States Department of Agriculture to increase participation in the food stamp program for immigrants.

If Obama’s wondering why the unemployment has remained high, this may be an idea to consider: why should someone go through all the trouble to apply for a job and have to work when they can get what they need from the government?

This was a factor that prolonged the Great Depression. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was designed to put Americans back to work. Instead, the guaranteed❠jobs meant workers had little or no incentive to actually work, since the purpose of the jobs wasn’t to create or produce, but to provide employment.

The work they performed was also either unproductive or counterproductive. A common occurrence was for one group of WPA workers to dig a hole during their shift, only to have the next shift of workers fill it back in.

4. Government intervention hinders, not benefits economy

Another big myth of the Great Depression is that Black Tuesday in October 1929 started it. While there massive loss of stock value certainly paved the road for future economic downturn, there had been other similar instances before. Yet the Great Depression was the first time that the government took it upon itself to assume control of the economy, which is somewhat like a toddler attempting to land a space module on the Moon.

Rather than help the economy recover, government efforts did the opposite and actually were the chief causes of the Great Depression.

For example, Congress passed the 1930 Smoot-Hawley Tariff, which was intended to protect American businesses by making it more difficult for foreign companies to compete. Rather than stimulate growth, however, it cause havoc within American export industries, and foreign governments retaliated by raising tariffs on American companies or shutting them out altogether.

The myth of government intervention dies hard. Myths have already been created about the Great Recession, one of which is that the repeal of Glass-Steagall allowed the crisis to happen.

But the fact is the law was never repealed. Only the provision prohibiting a commercial bank and an investment bank from being controlled by the same holding company was repealed. This, incidentally, had nothing to do with the financial collapse in 2009.

As Robert Wenzel wrote in an article for the Washington Post, “Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch â” three institutions at the heart of the crisis â” were pure investment banks that had never crossed the old line into commercial banking. The same goes for Goldman Sachs..The infamous AIG? An insurance firm. New Century Financial? A real estate investment trust. No Glass-Steagall there.”

But none of this prevented Obama from signing the Doddâ“Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010. Among other things, it established another federal bureaucracy designed to “prevent” another similar incident.

Rather than keeping federal government out of such financial institutions entirely, thereby forcing them to rise or fall on their own merits, such legislation creates innumerable provisions that necessitate entire departments in order to comply with all federal laws and regulations.

5. Uncertainty prevents business investment

In the business world, the worst state to be in is uncertainty. Even if the situation known is bad, at the very least the risks can be measured when making financial decisions. But when there is no certainty at all, and possible legislation by Congress could dramatically change everything or affect their investments, a business or investor will be very unlikely to risk losing their wealth.

This was another huge factor to the sense of uncertainty during the 1930’s. With a new law or proposed law coming out of Washington D.C.

In his self-explanatory-titled article for the Independent Review, Regime Uncertainty: Why the Great Depression Lasted So Long and Why Prosperity Resumed After the War❠economist Robert Higgs argued that long term investments, such as in the bond market, were significantly affected by what came out of the White House.

Had FDR simply sat back and said nothing at all, and allowed some certainty into the economy, businesses would have been more inclined to invest and growth might have occurred rather than stagnant for a decade.

So every time Obama discusses how the wealthy or rich need to pay their fair share,❠or proposes some new idiosyncratic legislation such as the Buffet Rule, he is inadvertently (or deliberately) scaring potential investors away from putting their wealth into a business or venture. It may be political rhetoric merely designed to get Obama votes or help shore up his base supporters, but businesses, who have millions and billions of dollar at stake, take such talk seriously.

photo by osipovva

Inside the Secret World of the Parcel Couriers

courierUsing an online parcel courier to send a package abroad has never been easier. These days you can arrange a delivery about as easily as you can order a pizza. Once you’ve found a courier that offers the service you need at a price you like, it should be no harder than entering a few details into a website and deciding how to pay.

But once your parcel has been collected how many hoops will it need to jump through before arriving at its destination? – Probably a few more than a Deep Pan Hawaiian.

Because international delivery companies handle thousands of parcels on a daily basis they have developed sophisticated technologies and processes to ensure that everything arrives where it should, when it should. The courier, who collects your delivery, takes the package back to his depot at the end of his day, and your parcel will be unloaded and processed along with all the other parcels that have been collected that day. This sorting process separates the international and domestic deliveries before moving them on to the next stage of their journey.

If your parcel is going overseas then it is likely to be moved to a larger hub where international deliveries are again sorted according to destination â“ those going to America, for example, will be separated from those going to China.

Upon arriving in the correct country these consolidated consignments are again sorted at a hub depot before being moved on to the local delivery depot closest to its final destination. Once at the appropriate local delivery depot your package will be assigned to a driver for delivery.

As you can see, the further your parcel needs to travel the more it will be handled along the way. That’s why it makes sense to ensure your parcel is properly packaged before it starts the journey. After all, if your pizza arrives with its topping spattered across the inside of the box you’re not going to be too happy, are you?

Two Spread Betting Disasters

Spread betting is currently illegal in almost all the United States, however this may well change due to legal moves by several states. While spread betting offers the prospect of untold riches through such means as Cantor financial betting, it can sometimes go the other way.

A 22 year-old who makes a living from playing poker was left out of pocket to the tune of $252,000 when an English High Court judge ruled that he had to pay the man who had made spread bets on his behalf. Rabbi Simon Nissim told Andrew Feldman that he would pay him any winnings he made from online spread betting after the latter lost in excess of $1,130,000 playing poker online in the first week of October 2008, which the judge described as an astonishingly large sum.❠Feldman said that he would pay for any losses, and was left with a bill of $220,000. Nissim was evidently in acute need of better spread betting tips. Feldman asked a judge to be excused the debt, but the judge found against him, and also charged him costs.

The two men were brought together in 2007 by a charitable Jewish organisation which employed Nissim. Their mutual predilection for gambling led to their becoming friends. Nissim agreed to give Feldman the winnings from spread bets placed on the Wall Street Index and Feldman agreed to pay for any losses. Feldman admitted to telling Nissim he was willing to risk $323,000. His barrister said that he esteemed Nissim highly and consequently placed great trust in him. Feldman said he had not consented to the large number of bets Nissim made. He declared that he had given authority for no more than five bets to be made per session, but Nissim once made 77 bets over a period of four hours.

The judge said he believed that Nissim would not put money of his own at risk on account of an unsecured promise. He said that jeopardising a large quantity of one’s own money was not an obvious hallmark❠of a person committing fraud.

Another, greater tale of woe is that of a leading figure in the City of London who was made bankrupt after losing $10 million on spread betting. Geoffrey Conway-Henderson, formerly a director of the broker, Intercapital, placed spread bets on oil and gas stocks of the Alternative Investment Market.

The bets were made with City Index, which is owned by Conway-Henderson’s close friend, Michael Spencer. Spencer founded Intercapital, and worked with Conway-Henderson for more than two decades. Relations between the pair are likely to have cooled, as City Index closed Conway-Henderson’s positions in July 2008, rendering him bankrupt, and then sued him for $259,000 of unpaid interest.

City Index wrote off $126 million in the two years leading up to March 2009, which caused Spencer to inject $113 million of his own money into the business. Less than a dozen major clients, of whom Conway-Henderson was one, accounted for most of this loss. One unnamed client lost $47 million betting on a Spanish property company.

Egypt â“ Both Eyes Fixed on a Lucrative Economic Future

egypt financesWhen it comes to financial services, we tend to think no one does it better than the British, and that’s understandable, really, given the worldwide influence of London’s Square Mile. Historically, it was at the centre of world business during the heights of the British Empire, but since then other financial centres have sprung up, notably New York City, with Wall Street at its heart, which now rank alongside the City as leading centres of global finance. Yet, often overlooked is Egypt, which has one of the oldest and best-developed banking and business sectors in the world. It is, without doubt, one of the dominating forces which has been driving growth in the thriving Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region for many years.

It’s not surprising images of camels, pyramids, Pharaohs, or the River Nile all spring to mind when we think of Egypt. Such images remind us of its ancient and glorious roots, encouraged more than a little by a dynamic and thoroughly modern tourism industry. And with the annual influx of millions of tourists into the country comes the need for a personal banking, IT and economic infrastructure capable of meeting such 21st century challenges.

But it is not only tourists who might be more than a little surprised by the modernity of ‘ancient’ Egypt. There are many from the UK and elsewhere who have already settled in the country, making it their home. Others are considering such a move, whether as a lifestyle choice or for business and other reasons. And, of course, easy access to finance, in the form of online banking or the more traditional face-to-face encounters, are often key considerations.

Well known banks such as HSBC Egypt, one of the largest multinational banks operating in Egypt, have been committed to the country for decades. The bank not only provides high quality personal banking for its many customers, offering a comprehensive range of banking and related financial services through a network of 83 branches, but it also supports a remarkable number of community projects, many with a particular focus on education and the environment.

In terms of a home-grown mortgage market, Egypt’s is a relatively young one. However, according to financial commentators, it is about to enter a rapid-growth phase. Changes in regulations have seen EGP 2 billion in mortgages being taken out over recent years, with around three-quarters of the total being provided by banks backed by five mortgage finance companies, including the Egyptian Mortgage Refinance Company (EMRC), a newly established government institution aimed at helping mortgage companies offer more competitive terms.

Several other factors have also fuelled the growing optimism within the mortgage market, not least a reduction in property registration fees, which should mean more properties eligible for mortgage financing, and the formation of I-Score, the newly established Egyptian credit bureau used to verify creditworthiness of customers.

It may seem to outsiders Egypt is firmly rooted in its past â“ but astute observers know this is for overseas consumption, as evidenced by the millions of visitors who holiday there year after year. However, the country is extremely modern in its outlook. If it has one eye on its past, it has both eyes firmly fixed on a positive and lucrative economic future.

photo by  heatheronhertravels

Most Popular Outsourced Jobs

outsourced jobsMany companies are realizing that they can outsource jobs to other companies and save their company money. Instead of paying benefits and salaries to more employees, they would pay a contract fee for the job being outsourced.

Collection Agencies

In today’s times, many people have experienced the situation of having to talk to a collection agency employee. Credit card companies, department stores, doctors and many other businesses have outsourced their collection of overdue payments to other companies. These collection agencies hire local people to call on clients who owe money to businesses and arrange for payments to be made. When money is collected, the collection agency would be paid a fee out of what is collected. The collection agency in turn pays the employee a salary and sometimes benefits or commissions, on what was collected.

The companies would get a percentage of what was collected, but would not have the expense of paying the salary, benefits or commissions. The companies would also benefit by outsourcing this type of business because they would not have to buy all the phones, computers, and staff to run a collection department. Companies could then focus on what their company produces and save money on their employee budget.

Customer Service Centers

Companies have outsourced their customer service calls to other companies who hire people who work from home to represent their clients. Customer service centers handle many different clients at one time. The call center will hire people to work from home to answer their client’s questions or take orders for products that are online. The employee would be set up with a high-speed Internet computer and be required to have a quiet space at home in which to work.

The employee would be a sub-contractor to the call center and would answer questions about the clients company and help customers who call in for information. Some of the clients may be selling products online and others may need employees to answer questions about their products. The employee would work from home and be given all the information needed about the client on their computer screen. The call center employee could answer questions about the customers account and settle disputes about orders.

The customer service center would be responsible for the employees and pay their salary, benefits and any other commissions that may be owed to the employee. This relieves the business that hired the call center, from the responsibility of the hiring and maintaining a customer service department.

Medical Billing

Physicians and health care providers often use a medical billing service to assure them of proper compensation for their services. Medical billing outsourcing companies work as intermediaries between both government-owned and private health care provides, with insurance companies.

Medical billing can be an extremely difficult process and errors in billing can be costly. With a professional billing service, physicians and health care providers are assured that their billing is handled with the proper coding. With proper coding, they receive payments from the insurance companies in a timely manner and have fewer aging account receivables. Accounts that are coded wrong usually sit on a desk waiting to be solved. A good billing company will handle all problems with the medical accounts and get the physician or health care provided paid for their services. The professional billing company also helps the patients from dealing with insurance companies and allows the doctors to do their job instead of wasting time on billing problems.

Physicians and health care provided who use a medical billing service would still have full access to all their billing accounts. The billing service would run medical software that would allow the client to log in and see all the process that is taking place for their billing. This software gives the clients the confidence that they are in control of their own billing, without the stress of doing the work.

Medical Transcription

Patient documentation needs to be complete and accurate. Medical transcription services make sure that they hire professional employees who understand the importance of accurate and timely documents that need to be transcribed. Quality assurance specialists work closely with all transcribers so that any medical questions or questionable writing can be transcribed properly. As a team, the specialists and transcribers work to assure all clients that their documentation is of the best quality and done in a timely manner.

Transcription services use medical software that will enhance the performance of getting your documents transcribed accurately. Voice activated technology is used to meet the needs of many clients. With the understanding of integrated speech technology, client documentation will be effectively executed to meet all HIPAA and other requirements.

Physicians and other health care providers would not have the expense of special software programs, equipment and transcription employees, when using a transcription service. Doctors and staff would then be able to care for their patients and pay attention to their needs.

Freelance Writers

Writers who work from home for other companies or even other writers are considered freelance writers. They can take on projects as small as an article or help a writer with a book. Freelance writers usually are contracted to work on single pieces of writing at one time. Writers are hired to design layouts for a companies advertising, write articles for Websites, or help another writer with a book. Most freelance writers are paid by the piece they write and then move on to another writing assignment.

If a company hires a writer to design a Website or an advertising campaign, he would be paid for that project and not be an employee of the company. Many small companies do not need a writer on staff at all times. Companies will outsource an advertising project in order to find potential customers for their business.

Freelance writers work on setting up blogs on the Internet for businesses, writing product reviews, researching travel adventures or informing the public on special events in their community. A freelance writer, who was hired by someone else for his work, could have written anything that is on the Internet.

photo by victorcastillo

How the Recession has Impacted Small Businesses

recessionThe worldwide recession has shaved trillions off of the global economy. Corporations have posted losses in the billions. Countries have fallen into deep recessions and in some cases, civil unrest. Although not always in the spotlight, small businesses have taken the brunt of what has become known as the worst recession since the great depression of the 1930’s.

From a business standpoint, many small enterprises do not have the wherewithal or the diversification to supersede the turbulence which market conditions have caused. Simply stated, there is less money to spend. When a business‘s target sales market becomes more spendthrift, less revenue is generated. If we combine this with increased taxation and inflationary aspects, budgets are severely restricted. A company may have to downsize or cease operations altogether.

Another problem for small enterprises is that many of their operations require bank loans to operate. Banks worldwide are bordering on the brink of insolvency and the implication here is that less small businesses will be approved for the money they need. Should a business have less-than-perfect credit, the chances for the approval of a loan are even less.

Notwithstanding these factors, there also exist opportunities for the small to medium-sized enterprise. Newer niche markets have opened up as the large corporations have lost much ground due to their overexposure to the markets. Succinctly, there are less big fish❠in the pond. Additionally, should a business develop an innovative product or service, the chances for long-term success are higher than they would be in an economic climate defined by the status-quo.

There are many other options which have opened up for smaller businesses than in the past. One must not forget the power of the internet and the low overhead associated with operating a website which can target millions of people every day. Another facet which has grown considerably is that of selling discounted merchandise, as nearly everyone is looking for a better deal. Should they find a company which specialises in such goods, they will most likely remain loyal when economic conditions improve.

A further effect the recession has had is that low-cost capital is now more available. Let us not forget that the banks themselves cannot make money without granting mortgages and small business loans. Especially in regards to smaller banks, they are now offering loans at significantly lower rates because, simply stated, they have little choice.  Similarly, turning to specialist invoice finance services is a realistic option to improve cashflow.

The case is similar in the insurance industry; agencies are now giving highly discounted policies which were just as valuable as they had been before the economic decline. Many providers have actually increased their coverage to generate further interest from businesses. Indeed, while this downturn has brought about some pronounced difficulties, there also are some factors which can provide a silver lining for those who understand the opportunities created.

photo by clementinegallot