The Best Investment Strategy for 2013

For the average investor, the best investment strategy for 2013 likely won’t be the traditional investment strategy commonly recommended by the investment companies and their representatives. Change is in the wind, and one of the best ways to deal with this is to make adjustments to the asset allocation strategy in your investment portfolio.For over 30 years the investment industry recommended that the best investment strategy for most investors was an asset allocation of: 50% to 60% in stocks and 40% to 50% in bonds. The investment vehicle promoted was mutual funds – stock funds and bond funds. This kept things simple and actually worked quite well. Losses in one asset class were often offset by gains in the other. This investment portfolio produced both good growth and income for average investors over the years.As 2013 unfolds it’s time to review your asset allocation. Sometimes the best investment strategy is to be a bit more conservative than the tried and true strategy of yesterday. The stock market has more than doubled in value since early 2009. Bond prices are near historical highs, with interest rates pushing all-time lows. The markets are in a state of uncertainty, as Americans in general are fed up with the lackluster economy and the Congressmen who represent them.Having followed the markets for over 40 years, I have never seen a tougher environment to invest in. Putting together the best investment strategy has never been more difficult. All of the investment asset classes appear to be selling at high price levels, with real estate being perhaps the exception. So, let’s take a look at the things to consider in your asset allocation strategy.If you are one of the millions of every-day Americans who are relatively heavy into bond funds, consider cutting back on your asset allocation to these funds. Bond funds are NOT safe investments in today’s low-interest-rate environment. Your best strategy: no more than 30% or 40% invested in bonds or bond funds. Even U.S.Treasury bonds (T-bonds) will lose significant value if interest rates go back up to normal levels.Also, if you hold long-term bond funds, consider moving to intermediate-term funds that hold bonds with an average maturity of about 5 to 7 years in their investment portfolio. Bond funds that hold long term bonds, maturing in 20 years or more, can lose significant value when interest rates head upward. With this investment strategy you will receive a bit less in dividend income, but you will gain by significantly increasing the safety factor.Millions of Americans have lost faith in the stock market, and many have sold their stocks funds to buy bond funds. The average diversified stock fund gained more than 100% between early 2009 and early 2013. If you missed this opportunity, it is not the best investment strategy to jump in big time and play catch-up now. But, depending on your risk profile and age, you should consider an asset allocation with 20% to 50% going to stock funds.In times of high uncertainty diversification is one of the investor’s best friends. Let this thought guide your investment strategy and asset allocation when picking stock funds for 2013 and beyond. Include a variety of stock (equity) funds in your investment portfolio. The perfect place to start is with a diversified large-cap equity fund like an S&P 500 index fund. With an S&P 500 index fund you own a small piece of 500 of America’s largest, best known companies. Make this your largest holding in the stock portion of your investment portfolio.Then, add an international equity fund to your portfolio. Also include specialty funds in your investment strategy that focus on specific sectors like real estate, gold, natural resources and basic materials. These funds have sometimes been the best investment when the stock market in general is weak.Now that you have cut your asset allocation to stocks and bonds, where do you invest those proceeds? Cash is your other friend when uncertainty is high. Cash refers to safe, liquid investments like money market funds or money in bank savings accounts. Sometimes the best investment strategy includes keeping some powder dry awaiting future opportunity.Your best investment strategy for 2013 is to modify your asset allocation in stocks and bonds so that risk is only moderate. Diversify broadly across the asset classes, and have cash available so you can take advantage of future investment opportunities. This strategy will keep you in the game, with less risk than yesterday’s conventional investment strategy.

Top Tips On How To Start A Restaurant Business

How to Start a Restaurant BusinessStarting a restaurant business is an alluring dream for many but a reality for only a select few. The restaurant business is like the start of the New York marathon. Thousands of people start the race but only a fraction of those people finish and an even smaller percentage actually succeed in meeting their goal for the race. Why? Well, it simply isn’t as easy as most people think and there are key skills and attributes that the entrepreneur must consider when thinking how to start a restaurant business. The National Restaurant Association (“NRA”) claims that over 42,000 new licences are issued each year in the US. These are lofty numbers and you would be forgiven for thinking this is a positive.The reality is that restaurants have the highest attrition rate of any business type. The attrition rates in the sector very wildly, ranging from 90% failing in the first year, to as low as 20% in the first year of trading. A recent academic survey conducted by researchers at Michigan State University found that 27% of start up’s failed in the first year; after three years 50% of those restaurants were no longer in business; after five years 60% had fallen away and before the end of the decade 70% of restaurants were no longer trading. While these may seem like scary statistics a subsequent study at Cornell University in 2005 revealed that 81.4% of small business failures result from factors within the owner’s control. In other words, despite these damning metrics, failure is by no means inevitable. So how can restaurateurs evade this landmine? Here are our top tips on how to start a restaurant business.Top Tips For A Successful Restaurant BusinessMost people dream of having a buzzing little establishment with perfect ambiance, a hoard of adoring, loyal customers and a cash register that is brimming with money every night. Nice dream, but it takes a special kind of person to make that a reality.Key Personal Traits that typify a successful restaurateur.1. Unwavering TenacityThe restaurant business is characterized by long hours, customer complaints and an endless list of tasks to perform, and that’s before we even get into the strategy! This is not an easy ride and to succeed you will need all the determination at your disposal to get through each week. Ask any chef, restaurant owner or hospitality worker. It is hard to succeed and only the strong survive. You need to stay the course and remain positive in the face of adversity. Most restaurateurs lament about the hard start but also revel in the “tipping point” when their business really took off. Maintaining the momentum is the trick and tenacity is pivotal in achieving this.2. Attention to detailEverything comes down to the detail in this game. You are providing an experience for your customer base and if you concentrate on getting the detail right you increase your chances of making that experience meet the customer needs. This trait is so important, not just in terms of the quality control of each dish that is served but also in terms of the kitchen cleanliness, ensuring licences are up to date, that the booking system works, the list goes on… If you have a “devil may care” attitude then you won’t last five minutes. Being meticulous about all aspects of you business from the product to the business strategy is absolutely critical.3. Managing PeopleYou can’t run the place yourself. You must recruit and recruit well. You must possess the ability to place trust in your brigade to get the job done in line with your values and strategy. Getting the right chef (assuming you are not one), the right waiting staff and front of house are critical and you have to be able to communicate effectively to motivate and delegate responsibility. When thinking about how to start a restaurant, think about starting a winning team. Managing that team is critical to your success. Teamwork and communication are pivotal skills to ensure success. Empathy and leadership qualities are outstanding traits for the restaurant business.Key Business Success Factors1. Do a Restaurant Business PlanThe best advice you can receive when thinking about how to start a restaurant business is to do a business plan. It is absolutely pivotal. The restaurant business is so customer focussed that doing your homework is the difference between success and failure. Market and customer research will enable you to plan your business model effectively to ensure you continually meet the needs of your customers. It will also help you plan your finances to ensure you run an effective operation and don’t run out of cash. It’s all about seeling an experience in the restaurant game and you need all the right information at hand to ensure you hit the mark and have a strategic plan to explain to a bank or investor to attract the funding you need to open the restaurant. Opening your doors without a business plan is suicide because planning retrospectively while running the business is almost impossible. Prevention is better than cure.2. Be flexibleMake sure your business strategy is flexible. It will need to be in order to continually meet the needs of those customers. Everything from menu construction, wine list, decor and your marketing strategy must be nimble and react instantly to changes in demand. Most businesses keep monthly financial records but in the restaurant game weekly financials help you keep your finger on the pulse and provide an opportunity to cater changing customer demands to maximise sales. This is where the business plan really becomes valuable. It should evolve with your operation. It is not just a static document used for getting funding. Restaurants with nimble business models are the ones that succeed.3. Focus On The CustomerThis flows directly from the initial research you will have done on your market and customer demographic but the focus on the customer should be first and foremost in your mind. Talk to your customers and ask questions about what they like and what they would like to see changed. Rotate your menu and keep it simple. Long convoluted menus breed confusion and make delivering the meals so much harder for the staff. Your customer will guide you in presenting the best menu and setting to maximise sales. They are the source of your success.Build a Sustainable BusinessIf you want to make it to the end of the race you have to never give up. This sounds obvious, but running a restaurant will test your patience and resilience. To get the basics right you have to rely on your research to make sure your business is providing people what they “want” rather than what you think they “need”. The most successful restaurants do simple things well and have a definite strategy to evolve and engage customers. They provide a level of service that meets the customers needs and an atmosphere that appeals to the customer’s requirements. It may seem like a difficult balance to achieve but if you are committed, creative and base your business model on solid research your chances of being one of the few who do survive will improve significantly.

Choice of Drug Rehab – The Most Crucial Factor For Better Addiction Treatment

In the present day context the substance abuse is one of the most threatening evil to the modern society. In fact the point is that these days the number of drug addiction cases has increased to such an extent that it has become much harder to control it. And the fact is that there is not other option of getting cured of it other than the drug rehab centers. The substance abuse rehab centers also known as the drug abuse rehab centers are the best means to get the perfect cure for the addiction patients. In fact the substance abuse or drug abuse is most commonly applicable to the wrong usage of the prescription or medicinal drugs without the proper guidance of the doctors. In fact the point is that these days the problem of addiction to prescription drugs has increased to such an extent that it is quite hard to control. It is often seen that people use painkillers or other prescription drugs with sedatives, anxiolytic, analgesic or stimulant properties without the consent of the doctors and with regular usage this becomes their habit which gradually becomes their addiction problem. And even it is noticed that these people are not even always aware of the threat they are in.And therefore the best answer to this problem lies in the drug rehab centers where the patient is provided with proper psychological treatment along with the proper detox program. This is very much essential for any drug detox for the reason that the proper drug detox is only possible with the help of the proper choice of the drug rehab center. In fact the choice of the rehab center is the most essential thing for the better treatment of the addiction patients. Besides that the main thing essential for the consideration of the choice of the rehab center is the treatment programs offered by the rehab centers. In fact there are some rehab centers that offers specialized treatment for some particular kind of drug addiction. On the other hand some offers overall treatment programs applicable for all types of addiction problems. Of course it is better to choose the rehab center that offers specialized treatment according to the problem of the patient. In this respect it is essential to note that there are certain rehab centers that are not up to the mark for the appropriate treatment of the addiction patients. Besides that it is important to note whether the addiction rehab center you choose offers psychological treatment along with physical drug detox or not. In this respect the names like Los Angeles drug rehab or California drug rehabs are better choices for the advanced treatment facilities offered by them.The psychological treatment and mental support is a very essential thing for any kind of drug detox for the reason that the problem of drug addiction the physical health is not the only thing. In fact whenever any person gets addicted to any sort of drugs whether it be illegal drugs or prescription drugs it is sure to leave a mark in the mental health of the person. And it is often noticed if the detox program is carried on forcefully without proper psychological support and treatment the result may be devastating and may give rise to several problems like depression, inferiority complex or some other mental imbalance. Therefore to provide proper psychological treatment and mental support is the most essential thing to bring back a drug addict to his normalcy.

Best Alternative For Small Business Loans – Business Cash Advances

The topic of small business loans in the world today is a relatively large topic, primarily because of the fact that so many people are going to get business loans or alternatively want to get business loans in order to start a small business. While this is an admirable goal, a combination of current economic conditions and the general difficulties of getting a small business loan have made it a poor option for most people. Instead of getting sucked into a bad small business loan, there are alternatives that you can explore. One of these alternatives is a business cash advance and it compares very favorably to small business loans in a number of different categories.RequirementsThe requirements on business cash advances are a lot easier than on small business loans. For a business cash advance, all you need to do is have a track record of sales in your company, process credit card sales and get a minimum monthly amount of those sales in order to qualify for unsecured loans that the business cash advances represent.On the other hand, small business loans require you not only submit all of your personal information in a process that seems designed to hassle at times, but you also need to have great credit and meet a lot of other minimum requirements as well. The only conclusion possible is that it is a lot easier to get a business cash advance than a small business loan.AmountAnother big difference between these two types of loans is the amount of money that you can potentially get. Even if you are approved for a small business loan, you are not going to be able to get that much money unless your business is hugely profitable and the credit rating is excellent. Even for expansion, you would be lucky to get $100,000 in a small business loan. With business cash advances on the other hand, what people are beginning to find is that they can sometimes get as much as 5 times that amount. That’s $500,000, certainly an amount of money that would help you facilitate any plans for expansion your small business might have in the near future.RepaymentRepayment is another huge issue. When you are involved in a small business loan, you are going to have to repay on a set schedule that essentially forces you to move money around in a way that might not be conducive to the way your business works. This in turn forces you to do things differently and that in turn could have negative effects on the cash flow situation of your particular business.With a business cash advance however, the money to repay the loan comes directly from the processed credit card sales that your company has accrued. Therefore, all you have to do is simply set those sales aside for the repayment and then use your other revenue generators for the general expenses in your business. Repayment therefore is made extremely simple and that allows you to pull attention away from the loan and focus it on your small business where it belongs.