February 9, 2013

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a comprehensive approach for creating, maintaining and expanding customer relationships. Let’s take a closer look at what this definition implies.

First, consider the word “comprehensive.” CRM does not belong just to sales and marketing. It is not the sole responsibility of the customer service group. Nor is it the brainchild of the information technology team. While any one of these areas may be the internal champion for CRM in your organization, in point of fact, CRM must be a way of doing business that touches all areas. When CRM is delegated to one area of an organization, such as IT, customer relationships will suffer. Likewise, when an area is left out of CRM planning, the organization puts at risk the very customer relationships it seeks to maintain.

The second key word in our definition is “approach.” An approach, according to Webster, is “a way of treating or dealing with something.” CRM is a way of thinking about and dealing with customer relationships. We might also use the word strategy here because, done well, CRM involves a clear plan. In fact, we believe that your CRM strategy can actually serve as a benchmark for every other strategy in your organization. Any organizational strategy that doesn’t serve to create, maintain, or expand relationships with your target customers doesn’t serve the organization.

Strategy sets the direction for your organization. And any strategy that gets in the way of customer relationships is going to send the organization in a wrong direction. You can also consider this from a department or area level. Just as the larger organization has strategies—plans—for shareholder management, logistics, marketing, and the like, your department or area has its own set of strategies for employee retention, productivity, scheduling, and the like. Each of these strategies must support managing customer relationships. Sounds too logical to need to be mentioned. Yet it is all too easy to forget. For example, in times of extremely low unemployment, how tempting is it to keep a less than ideal employee just to have a more comfortable headcount? Or, consider the situation all too familiar to call center environments, where pressure to keep calls short goes head to head with taking the time necessary to create a positive customer experience.

Now, let’s look at the words, “creating, maintaining and expanding.” CRM is about the entire customer cycle. When you implement your CRM strategy, you will capture and analyze data about your targeted customers and their targeted buying habits. From this wealth of information, you can understand and predict customer behavior. Marketing efforts, armed with this customer intelligence, are more successful at both finding brand new customers and cultivating a deeper share of wallet from current customers. Customer contacts, informed by detailed information about customer preferences, are more satisfying.

Are you a manager whose area doesn't deal with external customers? This part of the definition still applies. First, you and your team support and add value to the individuals in your organization who do come into direct contact with customers. Again and again, the research has proven that external customer satisfaction is directly proportional to employee satisfaction.

That means that the quality of support given to internal customers predicts the quality of support that is given to external customers. Second, consider your internal customers as advocates for your department or area. For you and your team, CRM is about growing advocates and finding new ways to add value.

Finally, what do we mean by “customer relationships” in today’s economy, where we do business with individuals and organizations whom we may never meet, may never want to meet, much less know in a person-to-person sense? CRM is about creating the feel of high touch in a high tech environment. Consider the success of Amazon.com. Both of us are frequent customers and neither of us has ever spoken to a human being during one of our service interactions. Yet, we each have a sense of relationship with Amazon. Why? Because the CRM tools that support Amazon’s customer relationship strategy allow Amazon to:

• Add value to customer transactions by identifying related items with their “customers who bought this book also bought” feature, in much the same way that a retail clerk might suggest related items to complete a sale.

• Reinforce a sense of relationship by recognizing repeat shoppers and targeting them with thank you’s ranging from thermal coffee cups to one-cent stamps to ease the transition to new postal rates. In short, customers want to do business with organizations that understand what they want and need. Wherever you are in your organization, CRM is about managing relationships more effectively so you can drive down costs while at the same time increasing the viability of your product and service offerings.

February 7, 2013

Trading jargons


Cycle analysis has a long history and is also part of technical analysis. All markets appear to be subject to cyclical patterns and forces caused by economic influences and countless other factors. Stock market movements seem to take place with cyclical regularity and timing your trades to coincide with anticipated cyclical movements can be very rewarding. Wall Street Courier offers some very reliable cycles for subscribers.

Large Block Index

The Large Block Index is calculated from the number of upticks and downticks in large block transactions of single trades of 10 000 shares and over. An uptick is at a price higher than the last previous trade and initiated by a buyer. A downtick is at a price lower than the previous trade and initiated by a seller. The rationale behind the Large Block Index is quite simple. It measures activities and extremes in institutional sentiment and behavior. When the ratio of upticks rises to very high levels, it indicates that the institutions are buying heavily, reaching a fully invested position and therefore lowering their cash reserves.

Conversely, when the ratio of downticks rises to high levels, it indicates that the institutions are selling and are raising cash. When the institutional behavior reaches extremes, the market will turn in a contrary direction. This indicator has often signaled major reversals and has also prevented investors from plunging into the market at the wrong time. The chart below shows you this indicator on a 10-day moving average.

Trend Indicator

Why are some traders more successful than others? There are probably as many answers as there are traders out there. But you will undoubtedly agree that most of the money is being made in a trend, especially as far as options and futures are concerned. In options trading your biggest enemy by far is time. You need to have the patience and discipline to wait for a trend in the market in order to succeed on the long run. The same rule applies to any short-term oriented trader. The Global Futures Trend Index shows you clearly when to enter the market. This index is computed by dividing the daily highs by the sum of the daily highs and lows. A 10-week moving average is applied to smooth out the swings. As long as the readings of this index stay above the 80%-level there is a solid bullish trend in progress. Any weakness should be used to go long or to buy call options, preferably of stocks which are in a clear uptrend, or stock index options. Readings below 20 indicate a bearish trend. Strong days should be used to short stocks which are already weak, or to buy put options. As long as this indicator is in neutral territory don't do anything unless you are a savvy stockpicker, insider or a long-term value investor.

February 5, 2013

Business Plan - why write one?

Here are some of the specific and immediate benefits you will derive from writing your business plan.

1. Helps You Get Money

Most lenders or investors require a written business plan before they will consider your proposal seriously. Even some landlords require a sound business plan before they will lease you space. Before making a commitment to you, they want to see that you have thought through critical issues facing you as a business owner and that you really understand your business. They also want to make sure your business has a good chance of succeeding. In my experience, about 35% to 40% of the people currently in business do not know how money flows through their business. Writing a business plan with this book teaches you where money comes from and where it goes. Is it any wonder that your backers want to see your plan before they consider your financial request?

There are as many potential lenders and investors as there are prospective business owners. If you have a thoroughly thought out business and financial plan that demonstrates a good likelihood of success and you are persistent, you will find the money you need. Of course, it may take longer than you expect and require more work than you expect, but you will ultimately be successful if you believe in your business.

2. Helps You Decide to Proceed or Stop

One major theme of the book may surprise you. It’s as simple as it is important. You, as the prospective business owner, are the most important person you must convince of the soundness of your proposal. Therefore, much of the work you are asked to do here serves a dual purpose. It is designed to provide answers to all the questions that prospective lenders and investors will ask.

But it will also teach you how money flows through your business, what the strengths and weaknesses in your business concept are and what your realistic chances of success are. The detailed planning process you may have known maybe nothing is in a small business—but it should help you uncover and correct flaws in your business concept. If this analysis demonstrates that your idea won’t work, you’ll be able to avoid starting or expanding your business. This is extremely important. It should go without saying that a great many businesspeople owe their ultimate success to an earlier decision not to start a business with built in problems.

3. Lets You Improve Your Business Concept

Writing a plan allows you to see how changing parts of the plan increases profits or accomplishes other goals. You can tinker with individual parts of your business with no cash outlay. If you’re using a computer spreadsheet to make financial projections, you can try out different alternatives even more quickly. This ability to fine tune your plans and business design increases your chances of success.

For example, let’s say that your idea is to start a business importing Korean leather jackets. Everything looks great on the first pass through your plan. Then you read an article about the declining exchange ratio of U.S. dollars to Korean currency. After doing some homework about exchange rate fluctuations, you decide to increase your profit margin on the jackets to cover anticipated declines in dollar purchasing power. This change shows you that your prices are still competitive with other jackets and that your average profits will increase. And you are now covered
for any likely decline in exchange rates.

4. Improves Your Odds of Success

One way of looking at business is that it’s a gamble. You open or expand a business and gamble your and the bank’s or investor’s money. If you’re right, you make a profit and pay back the loans and everyone’s happy. But if your estimate is wrong, you and the bank or investors can lose money and experience the discomfort that comes from failure. (Of course, a bank probably is protected because it has title to the collateral you put up to get the loan.

Writing a business plan helps beat the odds. Most new, small businesses don’t last very long. And, most small businesses don’t have a business plan. Is that only a coincidence, or is there a connection between these two seemingly unconnected facts? My suggestion is this: Let someone else prove the connection wrong. Why not be prudent and improve your odds by writing a plan?

5. Helps You Keep on Track

Many business owners spend countless hours handling emergencies, simply because they haven’t learned how to plan ahead. This book helps you anticipate problems and solve them before they become disasters.

A written business plan gives you a clear course toward the future and makes your decision making easier. Some problems and opportunities may represent a change of direction worth following, while others may be distractions that referring to your business plan will enable you to avoid. The black and white of your written business plan will help you face facts if things don’t work out as expected. For example, if you planned to be making a living three months after start-up, and six months later you’re going into the hole at the rate of $100 per day, your business plan should help you see that changes are necessary. It’s all too easy to delude yourself into keeping a business going that will never meet its goals if you approach things with a “just another month or two and I’ll be there” attitude, rather than comparing your results to your goals.

February 4, 2013

So why is it that we can sometimes remember our dreams?

Well, if you think about it, most of us don't remember our dreams at all, we only remember some fragments of them for the first 10 minutes when we wake up, then we completely forget about them, and this process continues every single morning.

The reason for this is simple:

When you wake up, you are still partially in-tune with your subconscious mind. You know that feeling of disorientation and slowness when you wake up?

Your conscious mind is slowly “booting up”, like a computer. During this time you have a brief shadow memory window. During this time you can access some of your shadow memory; it's usually at this time that fragments of our dreams still float around our mind aimlessly. As we get up, take a shower and eat breakfast it seems that these memories quickly “deteriorate” and fly out of our minds forever. What's actually happening is your conscious mind is gaining full awareness, and you lose the connection with your subconscious memory.

Because our conscious mind takes over when we wake up, our mind labels the brief half-real fragments of shadow memory as “not important”. When we reflect on them in the 10 minutes after waking up it only seems like our dream(s) may have been a few minutes long.

Sleep Memories

Conscious Memory

Conscious memory is the memory in your mind which you have conscious access to. It is the memory that keeps all the “important” stuff like your bills, your car payments, your appointments etc. All our recent and important memories and emotional aspects are kept in your conscious memory. This could be a time frame of 1 month, 1 year, 5, 10 or more years and it's through these thoughts that we sift and rummage through on a daily basis.

In order for something to register in your conscious memory, it has to be first experienced and labelled as “important” in some way by your mind.

Subconscious Memory

Our subconscious memory keeps all the stuff that isn't “important” but you did experience in some way. You could look at this as all the stuff that gets shuffled aside by your mind and thrown in the garbage pile.

For instance, if I were to ask you how dirty your socks were when you took them off 5 days ago, chances are you wouldn't be able to remember this.

Believe it or not, your mind did register this. It just put it in the “subconscious memory” pile. If you enter a relaxed state, and become more in-tune with your subconscious mind, sometimes thoughts and memories from this area will surface and come to your awareness. This is because thoughts are connected in a chain like structure, where one thought leads to the next. Have you ever had the experience of trying to remember something all day, but not being able to? Then, all of a sudden having that thing pop into your mind later on when you weren't expecting it?

Shadow Memory

As I said before, everyone dreams every night, we simply don't remember our dreams. You see, when we're dreaming, our conscious mind is completely turned off. Our dreams are a production of our subconscious mind, so we're only aware of them when we're having them, and the memory of these dreams DOES NOT enter our conscious memory while we're dreaming. Dreams automatically enter our subconscious memory as we're having them. Therefore, if you try to remember your dreams by accessing your conscious memory, you're out of luck!

I learned to term the memories of these dreams: shadow memory. It is memory that is not linked to our conscious mind in anyway, the source of these memories is purely the subconscious mind, therefore, the chance that these memories will suddenly pop up in your waking life are next to none, and most of the time you will never become consciously aware of these memories for the rest of your life.

So what is Quality Sleep?

As you may have already guessed, quality sleep consists of being able to sleep deeply. For our minds to easily slide into the deep stages of sleep, and stay there for the time needed. Easier said than done.

So I've got a question for you: What controls how long and how deep you sleep? There's an underlying mechanism in our bodies called our “body clock”. However, I don't like the name so I will simply refer to it as the sleep clock. Your sleep clock is a system inside of you which controls how you sleep, how deep you sleep, when you sleep, and how awake you feel during the day. Once you understand this system you'll be able to take control over your sleep and your energy!

The challenge in our society is that our sleep systems have been weakened by so many outside stressors that we're not even aware of, that our sleep clocks are totally out of whack. This is why so many people can't sleep deeply, why they may suffer from insomnia, poor day-time energy levels, or find themselves waking up several times in the middle of the night. Usually when you wake up in the middle of the night it is at the end of a sleep cycle in Stage 2 or REM sleep when our brain waves are highest and we're most wakable. This happens because of a weakened sleep system.

The Mystery of Quality Sleep

You hear people saying this so often these days - but you probably haven't thought of it up until now. You've probably heard someone say this to you, or perhaps you've even used these lines yourself in your life:

“I just need to get a good night's rest...”

“A Good night's rest keeps the sickness away...”

“Get some quality sleep, you'll feel better...”

But what on Earth is quality sleep? Is it some mysterious force that just comes and attacks us in the middle of the night that we have no control over? Most people have very limited knowledge and beliefs about what sleep is. Often sleep just means “sleep”, and nothing more, and we don't pay much attention as to how it affects our health.

Until the 20th century, it was believed that our minds completely turned off during sleep. Recent scientific discovery has un-covered something completely different. What you'll discover in this e-book is that once you sleep, your mind enters a state so fascinating and rich with structure that it makes being awake look boring! When we're sleeping, our minds are more active than they are when we're awake – which you're about to learn. Knowing this may lead you to asking yourself the question: “If our minds are so active during our sleep, perhaps my sleep has a greater effect on my body, and my health, than I previously thought?”

February 3, 2013

Money Saving Tips

People are always trying to save money, especially with today’s economy. No matter what your reason for saving, through some of the tips below, you will discover ways never considered.

The price of everything has gone up, requiring people to be more conscientious about money. The problem is that by the time the mortgage, car, utilities, and credit cards are paid, there is little money to put aside. Saving money is not that hard, just a matter of learning all the different options and being creative.

In addition to the obvious of putting money into a retirement fund or savings account, there are hundreds of ways to save money. Although some ways of saving may not seem like much, once you add them up at the end of the year, you will see how substantial the savings really are. Keep in mind that saving is more than a single lump sum of money put aside. Saving is something found in your everyday life by the way you live and the choices you make.

Rome was not built in a day and neither will your bank account be. Each penny saved is one more penny than before. If you have the ability to save big, that is great. However, most people are not in that position, which is why these tips will show you how little savings can add up quickly. Be encouraged that it is never too late to start saving, regardless of your age. Set your mind that now is the time to start building your future.

Holiday Gift Giving

This tip is especially helpful for large families. Although it is fun buying for and receiving from everyone, it can be very expensive. Make an agreement with your family that you will continue to buy for the children but that the adults will go with a name exchange. This way the children are not disappointed and you can spend a little more on one or two people rather than spreading your moneythin. For the members that you did not pick to exchange with, bake a loaf of their favorite homemade bread or cookies.


Always head straight for the clearance rack where you can find amazing bargains. Sometimes you may have to dig a little to find the right item but the savings will be well-worth your time. Most clearance racks offer variety, current trends, and great value. For example, Bed, Bath & Beyond has a clearance section where you can find all kinds of wonderful household items for a fraction of the original cost.

Thrift / Surplus Stores

Unfortunately, thrift and surplus stores have been given a bad rap. Many of these stores are filled with hundreds of top quality items. Name brand merchandise is easy to find but just like clearance racks, it takes some time to find. Find a thrift or surplus store close to where you live and then plan spending some time to find those outstanding bargains. A woman located such a store about 20 minutes from her home. After shopping through every isle over the period of two hours, she walked out of the store with eight huge garbage bags filled to the brim with designer clothes for her and her children, many with the original tags still attached. She even found a couple of Liz Claiborne suits for herself at $5.99 each and a Dooney & Burke purse normally valued at $225 for $19.95. Her children had an entire season of school clothes and best of all, she paid less than $200.


Everyone should create a budget. If you are not sure how or just not good with money, many businesses such as H&R Block, offer free financial consulting to help you put a budget together. Knowing where you are spending your money is by far the best way to save. In most cases, people have no idea where their money is really going and once they see it on paper, not only are they surprised but eager to change their spending habits.

Buy in Bulk

It is true that warehouse shopping can save a lot of money. Even if you have a small family, you can always split large quantities. The price of items in bulk is generally a great bargain. If you are single, you might go in with friends or family on bulk items.


Do not forget to give yourself an allowance for things you enjoy. Even if on a tight budget, buy something that you enjoy, which could be as simple as buying a new shirt or grabbing lunch at your favorite cafĂ©. If you do not allow yourself this small “splurge”, you could find yourself in the same position as if dieting. Total deprivation leads to overindulgence.

What Matters to You

Make a list of the 10 most important things in your life. Next to each item, rank them in order of importance using numbers 1 through 10. The purpose of this exercise is to help you see the things you consider the most and least important and to provide you with a visual of why you need to save. Some examples of things that a person might put on their list include new home, car, special trip, artwork, starting a business, or pay off debts.

''Heart'' month...

How does it feel sleeping or laying down on a “bed of roses”?

        Whether it’s the movie, the Bon Jovi song or the Aussie’s drama series, aren’t you perplexed by the way it sounds?

        It is actually an expression first used by the great poet Christopher Marlowe in one of his great masterpieces, A Passionate Shepherd to his Love in 1599.  The actual lines that accounted it were:

“…And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;…”

        It is a universal idea that the flower rose is the most, if not regarded as the most   beautiful flower of all.  Further, a rose or a bouquet of those given to a woman or to someone connotes love and affection as they are naturally soft and fragrant.  A warm feeling of contentment and easiness are some of the additional feelings that one gets when given or adorned by roses.

        Marlowe’s idea of having a bed of roses would simply mean putting or placing yourself or someone on a condition that is easy and peaceful.  Laying down on them would further bring contentment and a blissful life.

        Applying this to reality, this poetic expression is commonly given or stated by advisers, counselors and those people who have “been-there-done-that” situations.  They often describe a human beings’ life as not always a “bed of roses” which means life is not always that perfect, complete and easily the way we thought of it to be.  The expression tends to be more of an ideal thing in nature.

        The only thing the poet did not notice was the thorns on the stems of those roses.  He should then clarified it as laying down on a bed of “unstemmed” roses.  The person who’ll do it might get easily a free acupuncture treatment…Ouch!

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 4:21-30. 

He said to them, "Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing."

And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, "Isn't this the son of Joseph?" 

He said to them, "Surely you will quote me this proverb, 'Physician, cure yourself,' and say, 'Do here in your native place the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.'"

And he said, "Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place. Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the sky was closed for three and a half years and a severe famine spread over the entire land.

It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon. Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian." 

When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury.    They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong.  But he passed through the midst of them and went away.