Thursday, November 1, 2012

Future Visions of the Auto Industry and Automotive Advertising Based

Auto industry social networks all have different rules and protocols to create their unique identities in the auto industry and the inter-dependent automotive advertising industry. While there are differences in format, content and contributors they share the common goal to educate their community members by sharing best practices and insights with the concept that a rising tide floats all boats. To provide clarity and share my vision of the future of the retail auto industry and automotive advertising it must be framed it in the context of our changing geo-political and economic environment. Once the foundation of today is built on the broad picture of our world economy and politic, then the role of the Internet and related technologies can be applied to the one constant that we can all depend on -- human nature -- to help define tomorrow as I see it.
Any competitive business model must be built to accommodate tomorrow as well as today. Today is obvious. Sales volume, profit margins and inventory are down across all brands. Consumer confidence is falling as unemployment is rising even in the face of the expected temporary increase when the million plus census workers and various government employees -- such as the sixteen thousand IRS agents to police our new health care system -- are artificially added to the equation. Wholesale and retail credit lines are restricted by both natural business cycles and government intervention. Our economy is directly linked to the world economy along both monetary and political lines and the United States as well as our European trading partners are faced with excessive debt and unstable monetary systems. Our monetization of our debt -- basically the fact that we loaned ourselves the money we needed to fund our growing debt by printing more money, since no one else would lend it to us -- has insured the inevitable inflation of our dollar or some similar correction to our monetary system. This anticipated correction is already supported when observing the situation maturing in Greece, Portugal, Spain and other European Countries tied to the Euro and the International Monetary Fund, (IMF). No one has a crystal ball, so the only way to plan for tomorrow is to recap today's critical issues that didn't exist yesterday. It is these changes in -- what was -- vs. -- what is -- that will likely define -- what will be and the actions that auto dealers and automotive advertising agencies must take to remain profitable and competitive in unchartered waters.
The current administration was voted in on a platform of hope and change with the expectation that the promised transformation of America would take place within the confines of our constitution and in consideration of our established belief in a free marketplace. The redistribution of wealth was understood by most to reflect the giving nature of the American people as a moral and sharing society. Unfortunately, the transformation began in ways that could not have been imagined by the majority that voted for it with an agenda that is only now coming to light. The inherited financial burdens on our banking system that justified the need for change were matured across Republican and Democratic party lines -- as evidenced by the contributions of Fannie May and Freddie Mac to our mortgage crisis and the preferred treatment enjoyed by the unions, Goldman Sachs, AIG and other entities on Wall Street supported by the progressive political movement that is represented within both parties.
By way of disclaimer, I recognize that approximately 30% of our population believes in the collective -- We the people -- and the associated movement for the -- workers of the world to unite -- vs. the framers of the constitution that defined it as the individual -- We The People -- and the rights of the individual as a contributing member of the whole. That said, as the President has clearly stated, elections have consequences and I will attempt to limit my comments and future visions to only those actions that have or will have a direct impact on the auto industry and the automotive advertising agencies that are engaged to serve it.
The empowerment of the unions in the formation of Government Motors is already impacting the marketplace even while it is being challenged in the courts. The mandated consolidation of the retail distribution channels for General Motors and Chrysler preserved the interest of the unions over the guaranteed bond holders and independent dealers contrary to established rules of law. This precedence diluted expectations of both investors and corporations to rely on binding contracts and individual rights in favor of the collective we that our evolving society is expected to serve. Recent adjustments to the language in a variety of Federal powers have impacted previously accepted State and individual rights which must also be considered when projecting the future of the auto industry and automotive advertising -- if not our country as a whole.
For example, the change in the definition of eminent domain from taking personal property -- for public use -- to the new definition -- for public good -- has already resulted in private and commercial property being taken at distressed market values and given to other individuals that promised a higher tax base to the governing authority based on their position that the additional tax revenue was for the public good. Similarly, the ownership of water rights in the United States has been changed from the previous Federal ownership of all -- navigable waterways -- to include -- all waterways -- such as ponds, surface streams and basically any water that the government determines can be used for the public good. The potential impact on the farming industry and our food supplies evidence a shift in government control of society that must be considered when projecting the future of any industry -- including our beloved auto industry.
Given the government takeover of the banking industry, General Motors, Chrysler, Health Care and Student Loans that are now part of our history, the point becomes self evident. These single word changes and government takeover of entire industries for the public good dilute individual and corporate rights in favor of the rights of the collective. This is a basic step in the process of redistributing the wealth in accordance with Socialistic and Marxist principles. I am not judging the validity of any of these differing political philosophies since it would risk my ability to remain unbiased in my evaluation of present and pending opportunities in the auto industry. My intent is not to defend our previous constitutional republic over the shift to a Socialistic or Marxist democratic society, but rather to apply them when preparing a business model moving forward for my auto dealer / vendor clients and affiliated automotive advertising agencies.
For example, the recess appointment of Craig Becker as member of the five seat body of the National Labor Relations Board, (NLRB), suggests the intent of the administration to resume its push for the Card Check Regulation that is designed to facilitate unionizing all businesses in the United States. Recess appointments are an accepted practice used by previous administrations to bypass the Congress and the Senate to fill cabinet positions with individuals that are often blocked by partisan agendas. However, Mr. Becker was challenged in a bi-partisan manner based on his role as a senior attorney for the Unions including the CIO and the Service Employees International Union, (S.E.I.U), just before his appointment. The NLRB decides cases involving workers' rights which directly impacts larger issues between Democrats and their labor allies vs. stated Republican party interests and those of the corporate world When coupled with the intent of Card Check regulation to eliminate the right of workers to a private vote to determine if a business can be unionized, the likelihood that retail auto dealerships will be forced to become union shops becomes a real possibility. The regulation also allows the government to intervene in the event that an employer challenges a union take over with a Federal administrator enforcing the union proposals as to wage and other terms and conditions of employment pending a final determination. Based on reduced sales volume, profit margins and increased costs of doing business the inevitability of these privately held dealerships collapsing under the financial weight of union demands is painfully obvious to any auto dealer that understands his cost of sales line items and their impact on his shrinking bottom line.
Similarly, the administration's success in manipulating the processes in the Congress to pass its version of Health Care reform will increase expenses to auto dealers regarding insurance costs for their employees either in the form of forced coverage or penalties which must now be factored into projected operational expenses. These expenses may pale in comparison to other increases in the cost of doing business if the administrations' next stated goal to enforce Cap and Trade regulations are passed. This legislation promises to raise the cost of electricity and other costs of goods in America on many energy related fronts.
For those not familiar with Cap and Trade regulations, think of it as a tax on carbon emissions that would be collected by yet another government controlled body to pay restitution to third world countries who have been breathing our pollution and suffering from its impact on global warming. Of course the same scientists that collected the evidence that global warming exists which supported this legislation have since reversed their position while confessing that they manipulated the data. However, that revelation has not slowed the administrations' desire to move forward. In fact, they have empowered the Environment Protection Agency, (E.P.A.), to intercede and impose carbon taxes by claiming that carbon is a poisonous gas which they are authorized to restrict. Either way, the taxes will be imposed on American industry while other industrialized countries have already reversed their positions on imposing these same fees. This inequity in manufacturing costs will further reduce the ability for American manufacturers to compete in the world economy and will likely force the exit of many carbon producing industries to countries that do not impose these additional costs while taking their jobs with them.
Itemizing -- what is -- vs. -- what was -- has little value other than to cause panic when people realize that there is little that they can do to reverse the changes that they voted in. However, if properly framed in a problem solution format it can provide an opportunity for those that accept -- what is, forget -- what was, and work towards -- what can be. Now comes the good news!
The solution to surviving the promised redistribution of wealth from the perspective of auto dealers and automotive advertising agencies lies in their use of technology to reduce and even eliminate certain fixed and semi-variable expenses. Brick and mortar facilities are often financed with mortgage terms and/or rent factors that were based on now dated real estate values and anticipated sales volume and profit margins to carry the debt service. The commercial real estate bubble of over one trillion dollars coming due over the next eighteen months with no current resource of funds to replace maturing commercial mortgages promise to exasperate already reduced equity positions for auto dealers. The related unsustainable debt service demands a change in the ways that vehicles are sold in the United States; can you say Internet!
Similarly, current staffing needs are often related to processes that are labor intensive. The associated human resource expense and exposure is based on a business model that is antiquated in the face of potential union intervention and government controls; can you say Technology!
Tax consequences resulting from LIFO credits that impacted auto dealerships who could not maintain inventory levels projected in their annual computations due to issues beyond their control are eliminating annual profits. As a direct result of all of these cumulative issues, even captive lenders are balking on maintaining floor plan credit lines or real estate mortgages. Minimum working capital requirements for auto dealers faced with reduced sales, profits and equity to present as collateral for much needed financing has severely limited dealer options to acquire funds to maintain operations.
As already hinted, the solution lies in shifting the focus form brick and mortar facilities to new online virtual showrooms and other Internet based applications that provide more efficient selling processes. Of course real world facilities for sales and service are still part of the projected solution as are the people that will be required to staff them. All processes start and end with people and human nature has and will survive on the Internet. However, the allocation of these resources and the associated expenses must be reduced in the face of the changes already in place as well as those being contemplated to accommodate our new role in a world economy.
Today's car sales person must be educated to use new technologies and Internet based selling systems much like previous generations needed to be trained with the skills of a mechanized society versus an agricultural one. Computers are already an integral part of our culture so the transition shouldn't be as hard as some may perceive. Similarly, large central distribution channels that used to provide efficiencies for manufacturing and retail outlets have been replaced by more cost effective online linked resources across the World Wide Web that reduce fixed and semi-variable expenses in a shared manner that didn't exist before the Internet Super Highway.
Consumers have already been empowered by the Internet to bypass the auto dealer in both the real and the virtual world as the source for the information that they need to purchase a vehicle. Seeking the path of least resistance to satisfy a need is an established element in human nature. An auto dealers ability to accommodate their customers preference to be in charge of their vehicle purchase will be the key to their survival now and in the future. Online customer interaction platforms already allow a dealer to accommodate a two way video communication with real time interaction with the online shopper/buyer sourced from data on the auto dealer's DMS and linked to their CRM. The transparency of this negotiation process allows the dealer to crash through the glass wall of the Internet with the ability to push and pull the same material that they can at their dealership. The result is the opportunity to accommodate an online transaction with the inevitable ability to reduce staff and facility needs in the real world along with the associated expenses and increased profits.
Social networking is another technology based solution that capitalizes on human nature which promises to change the face of the auto industry and the resources available to automotive advertising agencies to help their auto dealers sell more for less in the future. Consumer centric inventory based marketing platforms fueled by social networking communities that provide word of mouth advertising to virally extend the auto dealer's branding and marketing messages represent the next generation of applied social media. C2C marketing messaging to social networking communities from the inside out vs. the now dated attempts to market to online communities with B2C messages from the outside in builds on established protocols in social media. Next generation platforms promise to monetize social media for automotive advertising agencies with integrated Ask-A-Friend / Tell-A-Friend features that allow online shoppers to solicit opinions from friends and family. Customer driven posts on their Face Book page drags the dealership and their vehicle into the conversation with the obvious advantage of the increased exposure and the associated viral coefficient to extend their message and online footprint for potential customers linked to the initial online shopper. Google agrees as evidenced by their weighted consideration of real time social media which quantifies the R.O.I. for the dealer with improved S.E.O. for the sourcing dealer's expanding virtual showroom.
Other technology based solutions that improve online marketing processes converts the pictures on an auto dealer's web site to professional quality videos with human voice placed on the auto dealer's site, all third party marketing sites and even the search engines through a dedicated API with You Tube -- further evidence the ability of auto dealers to expand beyond the limitations of their brick and mortar facilities and in-house support staff. Extended social networking platforms which allow an auto dealer to empower their sales staff to develop their own websites to market to their spheres of influence with management controls to moderate content and monitor use to prevent employee abuse exist today with the promise to be more widely used tomorrow to build the vision of what will be in the face of a challenging economy.
To extend my vision for the auto industry beyond the technologies that exist today requires a similar understanding that expenses and staff need to be consolidated beyond current expectations. Limited resources for consumers to purchase, finance and/or lease their vehicles won't eliminate their need for transportation. Future financial instruments that are a hybrid of a lease and a rental agreement could allow consumers access to a pool of vehicles in a convenient central location where their Drivers License could act as a key and a charge card to apply charges against pre-paid transportation credits deducted by their employers and controlled by the government to track personal activities and location along with socially accepted consumption of our limited resources. I recognize that the big brother flavor of that vision may seem foreign in the context of what was and is, but we are talking about what will be based on the new collective society that our country has moved towards.
As for the role of the OEM and the auto dealer in the future, it would be reasonable to accept that the government's existing control of the auto and banking industry will extend into the energy industry which will set the stage for the government determining which vehicles could be manufactured and/or imported and placed into the transportation pools with the locations determined by public transportation hubs that link to local distribution centers. The government currently owns 51 % of all real estate in the country through their mortgage interests in Fannie May and Freddie Mack and the pending commercial real estate bubble promises to shift a great deal more to public control. In addition. the government has recently changed the funding available to both organizations to be considered unlimited with the full faith and backing of the United States Treasury. That action coupled with the previously stated changes in eminent domain and the fact that millions of acres of resource rich land was recently acquired by the government to build additional -- national monuments -- suggests that land will be made available as needed to accomplish this community transportation system for the public good. Of course government employees will be needed to manage and staff these transportation hubs which would likely represent the auto dealer of the future.
Simply put, my future visions of the auto industry and automotive advertising is built on the past and the present with a recognition of what will be if we continue on the path that we have already chosen. I assume the constant of human nature and the role of technology in our evolution to date with the expectation that neither will change. Of course, there are consequences to elections so I suppose that I should update my projections after November, 2010 and the presidential election in 2012. In any case, the movement from the real to the virtual world has already started and will surely continue so that part of the vision should remain clear.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Building a Collaborative Team

I am often asked by doctors "How can I get a great office staff/team and keep them? How do I know the right person to hire? How much do I pay them? How do I train them? Etc... To try to answer these questions in one article is not possible so this is the first article in a series on "The Building of a Collaborative Team."
As we know when building a house or building we need to start with the ground floor where our structure is to be built. Every architectural structure is built on a solid foundation that will ensure the longevity of the building. A foundation is the foremost most essential part of a building or structure. The foundation is a structure that transmits loads from a building to the ground. Failure to install appropriate foundations underneath the structure is sure disaster. Without a solidly constructed foundation a building can be destroyed very easily, all it would take is a bad rain or earthquake to cause it to tumbling down.
Now let us apply this same principle to our offices. We need to have a good foundation to build our office staff on. What I mean by this is to have systems in order when you bring new staff members on board that will make sure that they get the solid foundation to build on with your office team.
First, how do I hire the right person for the job? This is not an easy task, but you can make the process easier by becoming a better interviewer. Prepare for your interviews. Before you meet your applicants spend time looking over their application and resume. Look for any areas of question like seeing that there is a lapse in employment that they did not account for. Make a job description for yourself that will have many of the detailed job duties for the position that you are hiring for. This way you know what qualifications the applicant must have. If you are hiring for a front office assistant that will be doing computer input, scheduling appointments, taking payments and messages you will want to make sure that the applicant can type and listen carefully to a message and then transfer the correct information onto paper. Computer skills and accuracy are a must for this position. You would then want to set up a few tests for the considered applicants to take. I have had applicants type a letter from a handwritten one to check how fast and accurate they can type. Also we will make a call from the back office to the front line and have the applicant answer the phone and take a message from us to see if this is something they can do. Do they ask for correct spelling of the name given? How about saying the phone number back to the caller make sure they have it correctly? If the applicant has no clue how to take a message do you want to spend the time training them to do this? You need to decide what qualifications you are requiring for the position and then set your interview and your performance tests to fit that.
During the interview make sure your questioning is in line with your state laws (you can find these online). Here are few unlawful questions I found in my online search that you cannot ask and the correct way of asking certain questions that may be of help to you.
1. You cannot inquire about the applicants religious denomination or affiliations.
2. Marital status - You cannot ask if the applicant is married or not.
3. Children - You cannot ask if the applicant has children. You can tell the applicant what the working hours of employment are and do they have any problems with working these hours. Many times, the applicant will reveal information about childcare when asked this question, but you cannot ask specifically about children and childcare unless the applicant brings it up.
4. Age - You cannot ask how old the applicant is, but you can ask if they are 18 years or older.
5. Arrest record - You cannot ask, "Have you ever been arrested?" but you can ask, "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" and let them know they may be asked to provide the details.
6. Disabilities - You cannot ask, "Do you have a disability?" But you can ask, "Do you have any impairment, physical, mental or medical which would interfere with your ability to perform the job for which you have applied?
7. Name - The applicant may not be asked his or her original name, if their name has been changed, maiden name, or "have your ever worked under a different name? If so what was it and the dates you used it.
8. Birthplace - You cannot ask the applicant their birthplace, or their parents birthplace, wife or other close relatives birthplace.
9. Citizenship - An applicant may not be asked if he or she is a naturalized or native-born citizen or the date when the applicant acquired citizenship. The applicant may not be required to produce naturalization papers or first papers. An applicant may not be asked, "Of what country are you a citizen?" An applicant may be asked any of the following: Are you a citizen of the United States? If not a citizen of the United States, do you intend to become a citizen of the United States? If you are not a United States citizen, have you the legal right to remain permanently in the United States?
10. Education - You can inquire into the applicants academic, vocational or professional education and the public and private schools they attended. You cannot ask dates attended or graduated.
11. Drivers license - You can ask, "Do you posses a valid drivers license?" but you cannot require the applicant to produce it prior to employment.
When sitting down with the applicant make sure that the atmosphere is a comfortable one. Remember the applicant is going to be nervous and you do want them to feel comfortable so that you can get them to open up and talk so they will reveal information that will be helpful to you for your hiring process. Depending on who is doing the interviewing in your office (the doctor or the office manager) they may want to open up the interview by telling the applicant a little about how they got into the medical profession or some of the history of the practice. This will ease the applicant up and make the situation more comfortable for the interview to progress.
How you word your questions is important, remember you want to get the applicant to give you information about them. Do not ask questions that can be answered "Yes or No." Instead of asking "Have you ever been in charge of answering the phones?" Say "Tell me about your experiences of being in charge of answering the phones." This will allow the applicant to give you information about what they did and allow them to expound on what their experience has been.
Never put words in the applicants mouth. Instead of asking "I see you have had plenty of patient service experience" say, "I see you have worked at The Get Healthy Clinic, what was that like?"
Do not ask questions that are unrelated to what you need to know about the applicant. Ask questions that will give you further information about what your applicants experience has been with relation to what you are looking for in a prospective employee.
You can give the applicant hypothetical situations and ask how they would handle it. The situations should be close to what actually happens in your office so you can see what they would do. A technique that that may be helpful when interviewing is when you have asked the applicant a question and they have answered wait five seconds before going on. By waiting you give the applicant time to think and many times they add more information that gives you further insight to them.
Now that you have given them time to talk about themselves and what they have done it is important that you give them more information about the position. You may want to give them a job description. I do this after the interview because if you give the job description to the applicant prior to the interview they might answer their questions to make them more in line with what the job description is. Let them know what the doctors expectations are regarding the position. Paint an accurate picture of what the office is like, what the compensation is for the position and describe potential opportunities. By letting the applicants know this information it will allow them to let you know if they are still interested. I have found over the years it is best to be up front about compensation, as many times applicants expectations are unrealistic when it comes to this and none of us have the time to waste on applicants that are expecting more than what we can deliver.
Whoever is doing the interview should take good notes, make these brief as an applicant will get nervous if they see you writing down everything they say and may clam-up on you. You only need to write down key thoughts or things that will trigger thoughts about the applicant that you can share later. It is good practices that after an interview to write a summary of what your thoughts are on the interview and applicant so it is fresh in your mind to have for later.
Now that you have all the information that you need from each applicant it is time to figure out which one to pick. Usually from your interviews you have someone that sticks out more than the rest.
If you have discussed compensation during the interview process you know if this person is willing to come on-board with what you can offer.
Now it is time to make the decision. You can do this either in person or over the phone, but one thing that is very important is that the applicant (employee) understands what the job and expectations are and what the compensation is.
Now that you have hired the right person, it is time to make sure that you have all of the office systems in order. This is necessary to begin on the right foot once they begin their employment.
Hiring a new employee is not an easy task. You the doctor are in a very vulnerable position, that is why you need to make sure you have all of your "ducks in order" to protect yourself and keep your practice running as smoothly as possible during this transition period. My next article will be about "On-Boarding" the transitioning of the new employee into your practice.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My Quest to Find My First Design

The popularity of tattoos is exploding; everywhere I go I see tattoo art on somebody. I've wanted one for a long time and yet I want my first to be a unique and original tattoo design. I want the perfect first tattoo after all it may be the only one I ever get. Then I may get the obsession others have and get more. What ever the case I want my first to be original and different, something that turns heads on the street because it hasn't been done yet.
Going into a tattoo shop to look at designs can be intimidating. The artist inside seem as if they expect you to get that new tat now. They're much desensitized to giving them and seeing them day in and out. I think they forget how big it can be for a first timer.
So I offer this advice. If you're looking for the perfect tattoo you can now explore designs and art online. I've been looking and have found I can explore all my options while online checking out some amazing stuff. Now it takes me forever to make up my mind and you may be like me. What ever your case is you can take your time and find just the right tat for you by looking through art galleries on the internet.
After you take your time and find the perfect body art for you online you can take it to your local tattoo shop and go in like you know what you're doing. You will also want to educate yourself on tattoo procedures and watch videos of it to know what to expect. All in all you can do your leg work before you set foot in the shop. This will make you much happier and not leave you with any regret.
I'm having a great time sorting through all the great body art to find the one perfect first for me. I can't wait but I know I want it to be a special piece that I will look upon fondly forever. So if you've been wondering will it hurt, how long will it take and where to find the best and freshest designs the internet is the place to educate yourself.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Best Natural Moisturizer Cream For Your Skin Type

Every person has a different skin type, so finding the best natural moisturizer cream for your skin can be tough. Some of the best ways to learn the optimum cream for your skin are outlined below. Before you continue reading, make sure you are willing to do what it takes to make this as easy as possible for yourself. Be open to new ideas, allow yourself time to learn what is best, and reward yourself by taking action to help your skin.
The first step to finding the best natural moisturizing cream is to identify what type of skin you have. You can do this in many ways:
  • Contact a skin care consultant for a free assessment. They will educate you about your skin type, hot zones, and examine your T-zone (forehead and nose area) and inform you about their products as well, and possibly provide you with samples. Most of these will not be natural products.
  • Go to any department store's cosmetic department for a free assessment. Again, they will educate you about your skin type, their products, and possibly provide you with samples.
  • Check on-line for self assessments. These assessments can help you identify the right creams and lotions for your epidermis.
Second, become familiar with natural beauty and skin care product lines. You will come across many different options, so you will want to know what you are looking for. Cyntergy TK, Phytessence Wakame, and Extrapone are great natural ingredients that are included in some of the top natural products.
Take action by trying a few natural brands of moisturizer. Note how your skin feels after using each brand for a set period of time. Ask yourself how your skin looks and feels. Over time, you will find natural products that work great on your skin.
You are now on your way to finding the best natural moisturizer creams for your face, your body, your hands and your feet. You can restore your skin's natural beauty with great natural moisturizers.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Online Learning Leads to More Bachelors, Degrees at Least

A bachelor degree is your basic four year college degree, but the difference it can make in your career is anything but basic. Having a college degree makes you stand out in the job pool and increases your earning potential. Thanks to the Internet, getting a bachelors degree is easier and cheaper than ever. You can get your degree online and more people are taking advantage of that convenience.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics found people with this degree can expect their earning to double within ten years of graduation. Not only do degree holders earn more money, they also are less likely to be unemployed. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also found bachelors degree recipients are almost five times less likely to be unemployed than those with only a high school diploma.
Online bachelors degree programs are now available from hundreds of accredited public and private educational institutions around the country. Online degrees are tailor made for students who want to complete a four-year degree on their time. Since most courses can be completed entirely on the web, stay-at-home parents or busy professionals can complete the coursework on their own schedule. Online programs may also benefit students who want to earn a second degree, take a few classes, or get special training not available in their area.
Now employers are just as accepting of online bachelors degree programs as conventional degrees. If a school is accredited, an employer can expect a graduate to have the same skills as graduates from a campus-based program. In some cases online colleges may give student advanced skills. Since the students learn advanced web applications, e-mail and other web-based communication devices to complete their studies.
Having a college degree will make you stand out from the average job applicant. Why? Not only do you have more skills, but according to the Census Bureau only 27.4% of people over the age of 25 have a bachelors degree. So if you want your resume to rise to the top of the pile, getting a college degree is one way to do it.
More people are choosing to get their bachelors degree online, simply because of the convenience. As many as a quarter of all college students are taking at least one course online. The curriculum is often the same for online colleges as on campus colleges. However, with online college you set your own schedule. You can take as many or as few classes as you like. That way you can complete your degree in a time frame that fits your life.
Getting a bachelors degree is worth the time and effort. The U.S. Census Bureau finds workers with a bachelors degree earn nearly twice as much as those with only a high school diploma. The average person over 18 with a college degree gets a salary of $51,000 a year. Those with only a high school education earn just under $28,000 a year. If you don't even graduate from high school, your earnings on average are less than $19,000 a year.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Types of Doulas

As more couples are choosing natural childbirth, the practice of using various types of doulas is becoming popular. The word doula is a Greek word and means to be a woman's servant. A doula is educated and trained to deal with different aspects of pregnancy and childbirth. There are three different types of doulas; antepartum, labor (birth) and postpartum. Each type of doula specializes in a different stage of pregnancy and/or birth.
The role of an antepartum doula is to provide assistance in the months preceding the birth of a child. For mothers-to-be who are put on bed rest or having a high risk pregnancy, an antepartum doula can provide invaluable services. The antepartum doula provides much needed practical help. The antepartum doula can assist with errands, laundry, cooking and everyday chores that the pregnant mother can no longer do. She also provides much needed emotional support. Having been trained in all aspects of pregnancy she can answer questions and calm the fears of an already stressed mother-to-be.
A labor doula's job is to assist once labor begins. She will usually meet with the couple several times prior to labor to discuss what they want during labor and help them create a birth plan. She establishes a relationship with the couple and answers questions during the months prior to giving birth. She does not provide medical care but can be a great source of information. Once contractions begin, the labor doula begins her work in earnest. Once it is established that the mother is in true labor, the labor doula will be her constant companion. The labor doula is trained in relaxation and comfort techniques to assist in both labor and delivery. Her job is to try and ensure that the couple has the best birth experience possible.
The last type of doula is a postpartum doula. A postpartum doula's job is to assist in the weeks following the birth of a baby. Her education and training in breastfeeding and newborn growth and development allows her to expertly assist the new mother. She provides physical help with things such as laundry, cooking and cleaning. She provides emotional support and gives the mother time to rest and relax knowing everything is under control.
If you are considering hiring doula for any aspect of your pregnancy, make sure you find one that you are confident in using. Consult with several if need be to find the one that you feel most comfortable with. Confidence in your doula is highly important so interview as many as you need. Most doulas will not charge for the initial consultation. Hiring one of the three types of doulas is an important decision so take your time and find one that meets your requirements.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Powerful Computer Components and Products From Micro Direct

Online Shopping has attracted many people from across the world. eBay no longer holds the title of being the most-visited website in the cyber world when it comes to online shopping. Online shoppers already found other equally reliable online store that deliver various items and UK boasts one of its own, Micro Direct. This store is a UK-based site and is a very user-friendly and favorable online shop to most online shoppers in UK. With the wide range of products by this online store, it can even compete with Amazon.
Micro Direct and Its Business Partners
This online company has close partnerships with world-renowned names such as HP, Lenovo, IBM, Apple, Asus, Epson, Energizer, and more which allow them to deliver with pride products from these big names. It is an authorized retailer of Microsoft making it the biggest provider of computer components and electronic gadgets for schools, universities, colleges and institutes across UK. And with its being a Microsoft Authorized Education Reseller, educational institutions like Oxford, Cambridge and the Open University patronized their items and services, too. Not only that, It also do business with the corporate sectors and business sector as they offer bulk deals and services all over the UK and even across the continent. Whether you are seeking for computer components, notebooks, electronic gadgets, peripherals, networking components (e.g. switches, routers, firewalls) software, or consumable products, you are in the right site.
Strong Customer Relationship
When it comes to computer components trading, nothing beats this online site as they are dedicated and deeply committed in selling first-class electronic products. Not only is the company gathering praises for their impeccable services, It is also known for the philosophy of consumers always comes first as they successfully cultivated a strong bond with their clientele. Considering their invaluable customer service and wide range of product benefits, there is no doubt that this store also manages to deliver a diverse range of products like electronics and computers with their specifications and other peripherals. Moreover, the pre and post sales support that this online shop provides make them one of the trusted providers of computer components and products online.
Enjoying the Money Off Vouchers for Micro Direct
You can enjoy more benefits by shopping at this online shop. To allow you get more products with the same amount of money, they also provide Micro Direct Offer Code, Money Off Vouchers for Micro Direct, Micro Direct UK Discount Codes that allow buyers to save more while earning more benefits and features with the product they avail from this site. The Money Off Vouchers for Micro Direct allows buyers to enjoy discounts and the money off vouchers for buyers are also a treat for every buyer who are shopping and willing to shed their budgeted money.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

UK Government Cutbacks Will Widen the North-South Divide

News of job losses continues unabated. Not so much for those employed by the house builders or major financial institutions, but further down the economic food chain. Those companies such as fashion house Ethel Austin with 300 stores predominantly in the North of England. They called in the receiver in February 2010 and have since set about closing 120 stores and issuing 1800 redundancy notices. They, like many others shedding labour, held on waiting for an upturn in the economy that never came soon enough to save them. Faced with still hesitant consumer spending, their loses continued and creditors ran out of patience. However, for the North, it is about to get a lot worse.
The UK's fairy tale economy saw a mushrooming of Public Sector jobs over the last 10 years. The broad industrial group 'public administration, education and health' covered 7.16 million jobs in 2007, 26.9 percent of total employment (Source: ABI statistics). Since then the Public Sector has grown whereas the Private Sector has been battered by the recession. In 2007 there were substantially less than one million unemployed, in February 2010 this figure had grown to 2.5 million (Source: office of National Statistics) and almost all of these job losses were in the Private Sector. Post election slashing of Government budgets is unavoidable and contraction of Public Sector jobs is now widely forecast. The only question is where the axe will fall.
The North South divide is about to get a lot wider as the cut backs in pubic expenditure will be felt most acutely in the North. Because of their national pay scales, the wages of Public Sector employees have always gone much further in the North. They offer the opportunity to spend significantly more in the local economy than their colleagues in the South, saddled for years with high mortgage costs and rents. This has benefited the money in circulation in the North and the boom in restaurants, bars and countless other businesses blossomed up and down the land. Just how much this was dependent upon salaries paid out of the public purse is about to become far more apparent.
Things have now changed and 'its grim' is about to return 'up North' because cut backs will be felt disproportionately by the major northern conurbations. Perversely, past efforts of Governments to create jobs in northern Britain are about to make matters worse. The Lyons Review from 2004 had a target to move over 24,000 jobs out of London by this year. However Lyons followed years of relocation of Government functions to the regions that started in the 1970's. As a consequence, by 2009 in the North West 3.4% of total employment was in the Civil Service. This compares to a more typical 1.3% in Eastern England and just 2.1% in London despite being the heart of Government. (Source: ONS, Civil Service Statistics, 2009).
Politicians pledging to preserve front line services in Health and Education will only mean even more pressure is applied elsewhere. Once again it is the North, specifically core cities that are likely to bear the brunt. Local Government statistics show they employ just over 40 people per 1000 residents in cities across the UK as a whole. However, in Manchester this is nearer 45 and in Birmingham, Nottingham, Leeds and Newcastle there are over 55 per capita. Clearly these cities offer greater scope for large scale cut backs than elsewhere in the country.
Whether the Public Sector 'efficiency savings' manifest themselves in redundancies or just a recruitment freeze, the North's disproportionate dependency on the public purse will weigh heavily for several years to come. Money will melt from local economies and it follows that particularly smaller or regional businesses will suffer as a consequence.
State benefits paid when out of work are pitifully inadequate to meet the outgoings of the average household. Therefore, should anyone not have savings to get them and their families through six months to a year of unemployment, they should consider Income Protection Insurance. This can be bought for much less than insuring a car. On-line there are Income Protection Insurance providers offering typical policy benefits of up to £1500 per month. This will pay to up to a year and is enough to meet mortgage and other big bills. Dennis Haggerty of income protection specialist iprotect insurance commented "The most popular benefit level chosen by our customers is £1,000 per month, the average monthly premium for this insurance is under £30."
Income Protection Insurance is only available to people who are in work and have no immediate prospect of being selected for redundancy. So the time is running out for Civil Servants and other people in the Public Sector to secure this cover before the budget cuts for their particular area are announced.
Insurance companies are there to spread the risk of lost earnings. However they will not sell this type of cover to someone who is very likely to be made redundant, just like they decline fire insurance for a house that is already smouldering. With Public Sector jobs looking vulnerable, there has never been a more urgent time for anyone ultimately paid by the taxpayer to consider how they would meet their financial commitments if they were out of work. With a large section of the local workforce suddenly cutting back their spending because they are worried about their jobs, people employed in the Private Sector 'up North' should also be thinking how this could affect them and taking steps to protect themselves and their families.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Rewarding Careers in Public Speaking

There are some brave souls out there that have a natural or developed charisma for speaking in public. These public speakers are rare, because if you survey people in general about speaking in public they'll readily admit that it's one of the most feared things they have in their lives. There are some great rewarding careers in public speaking, and there are some key elements that make this type of career the right one for those that can muster up courage to publicly speak on a professional level.
First and foremost is should be noted that it requires no degree or higher education to be a good public speaker. While it's important to get an education for various reasons, some naturally gifted public orators can really showcase a credibility and sincerity in public speaking that transcends collegiate studies.
Motivational speakers are a great example of rewarding careers in public speaking. They provide a crucial element for people that are looking to change their lives path. By throwing a convincing argument of overcoming the obstacles in life, these career minded individuals have helped millions across the world achieve their dreams.
Rewarding careers in public speaking come with a benefit that most people do not have. They come equipped with the fact that you do not have to sit in an office somewhere, or have to wake up early to punch in the clock. There is a high demand for good public speakers, and if you can develop your natural talents to showcase speaking in public, you're going to find that it's one of the best decisions in life. Public speaking is not easy, that's why if you or someone you know is good at it, it's important to consider a career doing just that.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Barack Hussein Obama II

Barack Hussein Obama II has lead the life that almost every American lives; the one that is filled with good upbringing, a strong family bonding and quality education. It is because of the strong conviction and blessings of his elders that he is the first African-American to become the President of USA. One thing that makes Barack Obama unusual from his counterparts is an unwavering urge to serve the general public and keep them united.
The persona of Barack Obama is definitely one such element that would leave everyone impressed as he is an open minded person and has a poised personality that helps him a lot in winning fans and followers. With his impressive and captivating speaking skills, one can get an indication that he is a pensive writer who likes to say what he feels.
As Barack Obama II has a very balanced persona, he has given some clear indications most of the times for the astute political sense that he possesses. The prominent areas that interest Barack Obama are supporting healthcare, public education and economic growth of his country. The various job creation ventures that are taking place in US show that Barack Obama is highly concerned about carrying out some principled reforms.
His prior experience has helped him a lot in reaching the place where he is today. Serving the senate for good seven years and working as a community attorney, he got the right idea of what the people of US were in the emergent need of.
This avid basketball player loves to spend quality time with his family and one would often notice him with his family members at the weekend. One memorable quote from Barack Obama that shows the emotional set up that he has is "You can't have No Child Left Behind if you leave the money behind".
Barack Hussain Obama II is truly the leader that United States has been looking in for. With in depth knowledge about the political affairs and keenness to make the best possible things happen, he is definitely going to pen down a new era of US ruler ship.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Job Functions and Responsibilities

The candidates should have strong customer service skills and should have good mathematical and reading abilities and should have a thorough knowledge of the names and uses of the medicines and should not have a record of substance or drug abuse. Typically, technicians are certified and formally trained from accredited institutions, colleges or the military. Community colleges also offer formal training in technician courses and include an internship and extensive educational programs. There are both degree and diploma courses.
Advancement Possibilities
The job prospects of pharmacy technicians look positive and upbeat for the next several years considering the gap between demand and supply of qualified hands in the healthcare sector. Experienced pharmacy technicians with formal training are always in demand in the career sector and as people retire or relocate, new positions come up and to fill in those who leave the field. Though not many advancement opportunities exist for pharmacy, they can be supervisors or sales officers or can move into specialty positions, or become pharmacists with the proper training.
Working Conditions
Pharmacy technicians work in clean and organized environments such as hospitals, and retail pharmacies where they will be spending most of their working hours standing on their feet. Hence they should be physically fit and should be healthy and disease free. Pharmacy technicians can be employed either part-time or full-time and they many be required to work evenings, weekends, and some holidays. Part time job opportunities are ideal for students who wish to fund their education expenses.
Pharmacy technicians employed by hospitals earn more money than those who work in grocery stores or drug stores. Like wise certified technicians are likely to earn more money. Night shifts or working n weekends and holidays might add up to the earnings.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Loan Officer Job

Scope of Work
Loan officers basically work for banks, credit unions and other financial and savings institutions and they specialize in commercial, consumer or mortgage as per the officer job description. Commercial officers, as the name implies work with businesses to help them obtain loans to buy machinery or for expanding business operations where as consumer officers help individuals to get auto loans, personal loans, and home equity loans. Mortgage loan officers offer guidance in refinancing an existing mortgage or to get fresh mortgage for buying commercial or residential property.
Educational Qualification and Other Requirements
officers should be self driven and highly motivated individuals who are good at multitasking. They should have excellent interpersonal skills, flawless communication capabilities and should be physically and mentally strong to tackle the many challenges that come their way in completing the paper work and liaison with the concerned departments in getting the loan proceedings ready.
A bachelor's degree in finance, economics or a related field is the ideal qualification for a loan officer. Even people who do not have college education can become officers if they wish. Starting their career as tellers or customer service representatives they can move up the corporate ladder to be a lit after several years of working experience in the financial industry.
Additional Eligibility Criteria
Officers working in mortgage banks and brokerages should have license and in some cases might involve additional training as well. Normally there are no licensing requirements for officers employed at banks.
The Promotional Scope
The employment scenario of loan officers will be robust and bright in the days to come. Candidates with degree and adequate lending experience have a fair chance of getting into some of the best financial institutions. Depending on the merit and performance they will be promoted to branch managers or still higher positions
Working Conditions
The candidates should be ready. Though the average working hours per week is around 40 hours, they may be forced to put in extra hours when there are more loan applications to process.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Career Scope of School Counselor Jobs

Nature of Job
Also known as guidance counselors they serve as an interface between the student community and the school and are seen in both private and public schools. They work in tandem with teachers, parents, school nurses and community groups to ensure the well being of the students. The private and group sessions are very helpful for the students where they can discuss their problems- both personal and academic and arrive at a practical solution. Counselors help the students to tide over anxiety and low esteem issues of students and exam phobia too.
Education and Training Requirements
Student counselors should have certifications; however the nature of certification might differ from school to school. Some US states also require teaching certification fro student counselors. Typically Bachelor's degrees in psychology, education, or the liberal arts form the requirement. In addition, the candidates aspiring to be student counselors should have excellent interpersonal skills, communication capability and group dynamics to be successful in the job.
Getting the Job
Counselor job seekers can apply to news paper ads, employment agencies, college placement agencies and online employment sites. They can also directly apply to the superintendents of school districts.
Employment Prospects
School counselors can become supervisors or school administrators. Specialization in guidance areas like vocational guidance might open up higher levels of job placement opportunities.
It is estimated that the employment scope of school counselors is likely to grow faster that many other jobs for the next 4-5 years because of a jump in school enrollments and the legislation, which makes it mandatory for all elementary schools to have student counselors. The crisis prevention counseling is also a very promising area in the job market.
Working conditions
School counselors might have longer working hours than teachers because their job involves meeting the students and teachers before or after the class.
Earnings and Benefits
The salary of school counselors depends on the nature of the organization and the work experience of the counselors. Other benefits include paid holidays and vacations, sick leave, health insurance, and retirement plans.