Dicey Market Poses Worries (And Opportunities) for Investors

These days more and more investor money is moving to the sidelines. The question is whether the money will sit there waiting for some sign of come-back in the stock market, or whether investors will turn to other types of investments such as funding real estate deals.

The stock market appears to be in for a long and bumpy ride. The market dive reflects concerns over the European credit crisis and the falling Euro, a disappointing May jobs report, new worries that interest rates will rise sooner than expected and concerns about the long term effects of the Gulf oil spill. In addition, the huge debt encumbered with the Stimulus Package and financial bailout has caused increasing pessimism about the recovery. Others are concerned that the rug will be pulled out of federal support prematurely before the economy can create jobs and provide credit on its own.

Pessimism on Wall Street presents unique opportunities for those looking for private funds for real estate investment to fund their deals. While the housing market is by no means out of the woods, there are signs of strength that could attract private investors into supporting well-researched real estate projects that have at least a couple of profitable exit strategies. Research on the apartment market, for example, shows that nearly all of the major real estate markets in the U.S. are in the buy stage of the market as these markets approach or reach their bottom price points. Few expect a fast turn-around, but most acknowledge there are great deals out there in both residential and commercial housing markets. Investors must make sure they buy right, do value-enhancing rehabs, and have identified other realistic value plays on the expense or income side so as to insure a fast return on investment. Document these types of benefits to your private investors and you will not lack for funds.

Trillions of dollars are just sitting there in under-performing retirement accounts. If you need money for your investing-and who doesn’t-start calling folks you know are getting concerned about their accounts now and suggest they find out about self-directed IRAs. Some of the companies that manage self-directed funds include Equity Trust, Sterling, Pensco, Entrust, Fiserv, and a handful of others you can check out by searching “self-directed IRA custodians” in Google. Once funds are rolled into self-directed accounts they are available for investing in real estate deals.

3 Steps to Manage Time for Your Direct Sales Business

Are you feeling bad to spend the required amount of time in your direct sales business? As a woman, we tend to be pulled in several directions. There is no way to go all around. Here are some ways to manage time to invest in your direct sales business.

1. Make a summary of tasks that don’t demand “you”. Along with the activity, note the method that you could delegate. Examples may very well be having a relative do that vacuuming, as well as cooking the meals. Maybe your own spouse may pay the bills. Look at everything you do in the week. That list is actually long, I am certain. If it is possible to assign them to other people, you can gain some time. Make sure that before you decide to assign that task, you obtain the agreement from the person. Convincing them to help you is step one. You shall be surprised seeing how happy others might be when given an opportunity to take a number of burdens from you.

2. Doing every task individually takes a lot more time than accomplishing it in bunches. Women are usually good from in batching assignments, so utilize that talent. If you’re driving into the market, find everything that can be done along the way home. Plan to perform them in the sequence so that you won’t need to do virtually any back administering. Efficiency is going to pay off.

3. Once you start your work, keep your focus on business, without any other disruptions. One strategy to allow yourself to begin this is to obtain other workout plans sketched out of their own time slots. Don’t think as if you’re ignoring your family. Just time this outside the hours you might have planned with regards to work. Same applies to other activities. Randomly accomplishing activities takes added time than compartmentalizing the same activities in a proper way.

One essential to protecting time is actually eliminating tasks which are unimportant. Everything doesn’t end up being done within a week. Make a summary of all the things you consider should be done in a specific week. This way, you will end up surprised at the amount of time that can easily open up for direct sales business.

Advertising and Marketing Budgets Now Need to Work Even Harder to Increase Response on Direct Mail

It seems to me that the UK is desperate to talk itself into recession. Newspapers know that bad news sells papers and so placards scream at us that profits are down, the credit crunch is here, High Street spending is down and so on. The more the media talks about it the more the public gets cold feet and we enter into a downward spiral. A classic example of how bad news is picked up by the public and so exaggerates the situation was a stunt pulled by former US talk show host, Johnny Carson. To illustrate just how easily we are talked into panic he announced on his show that there was going to be a shortage of toilet rolls. Within a couple of days supermarket shelves in the US were empty as people rushed out in a panic buying spree to ensure that they wouldn’t get caught short.

And here we are – doing it to ourselves as a nation. It’s incredible but it is unfortunately what we do in this country. I believe that we are naturally pessimistic – and guess what – that gets me down!

UK businesses start to look closely at their budgets and immediately assume that they can’t make money by increasing sales so they better start to make savings instead. By savings, I mean cuts.

Finance Directors start to operate on a basis of “safety first” at these times and will issue directives throughout the company for other directors and managers to suggest where savings can be made. The first area to be hit is quite often the budget which the finance directors find hardest to embrace – the advertising and marketing budget. The cuts will continue through training and customer services until eventually it comes down to staffing levels and “downsizing”, an expression from the late eighties has once again reared its ugly head – even though the man who invented the whole concept eventually admitted that he got the whole thing wrong.

This is not something that this article can change. It has always happened before, it will happen now and it will happen again. There is such a high degree of inevitability about it that you wouldn’t get odds at the bookies!

However, it is at times such as these, when the media and professional pessimists are determined to have their day that people in charge of steering the markets should try harder with whatever budgets they are left with. It becomes doubly important to make advertising and marketing efforts count for something and to make sure that sales messages hit home and work for the benefit of the company.

Even now, when times are supposedly getting harder, I am still inundated on a daily basis with the same instantly forgettable direct mail as I was when things were apparently booming. Whilst I agree that it is absolutely imperative to go out and get whatever business is out there but surely the way forward is to move towards better targeting and more persuasive direct mail. The emphasis must be changed from a system where sending loads of dross generates a trickle of business to one where a considered move towards better targeting and choosing interactive advertising and marketing pieces will generate improved response.

Having searched the internet for specific figures on typical response rates for direct mail I find that published figures vary from site to site but I can quote very specific examples from one particular company who supply interactive direct mail pieces. Here are snippets from its impressive list of testimonials:-

“We found Whitney Woods really extremely responsive and easy to deal with. Whilst working on one of our largest client accounts we were required to manage a direct mail campaign. Our client was so pleased with the success they sent the following feedback.”

“Thanks guys – just to let you know the feedback on the cube mailing is extremely good. We had anticipated a 1% response on customers signing up online. Our objective was to strive for 1.5 – 3 %, however, I think my faith in creative design is restored as we have current figures showing a 9.6% uptake on the offer with new accounts opened and being used on a regular basis.”

Gemma Garrad, Account Manager, Be Creative, Brighton

“The pop-up box produced by Whitney Woods is indeed a surprise. It has that certain factor that all companies strive for when trying to find the hook that keeps a name in someone’s memory. I know for a fact that customers old and new keep our boxes close at hand because of its uniqueness. Anything that stays on someone’s desk for longer than a day is indeed a marketing tool to be proud of.”

Andrew Bown-Copley, Director, Eagle Design Studio, Rotherham

“Pop up solutions are always well received and generally produce a much higher response from the recipient than other marketing mailers”

David Antrobus, Managing Director, David Antrobus Marketing Ltd, Altrincham

“I found Whitney Woods staff professional, friendly and responsive and most importantly they delivered to a very tight deadline. Their Pop-up cube and Zippalope was used as the invitation to the launch of the new Ramada Ireland hotel group in Dublin and Belfast. The invitation worked very well and received a lot of positive feedback from the invitees. Ramada International for the US were so impressed with the invitations they demonstrated them at a European conference in Germany.”

Stephen Broad, Account Director, Anderson Spratt Group, Belfast

“We were absolutely delighted with the customer reaction to the Cinderella designed ‘Jumpinjax’. They fulfilled all of the criteria of an excellent direct marketing tool – attention-grabbing and a fun way of conveying a very clear selling message that wouldn’t just simply end up in the bin. It’s major appeal was that we were confident that recipients would show the item to friends or work colleagues which immediately multiplied the number of people seeing the information about our show. The Box Office went crazy after the mailing and it increased our sales by 20% on the previous year.”

Tracey Shaw, Head of Sales & Marketing, Theatre Royal, Brighton

These are only a handful of examples but I think that they illustrate perfectly just how important it is in today’s economic climate that your advertising and marketing budget is made to work at its most successful level and for direct mail campaigns I believe that dimensional, interactive marketing is the way forward. Whitney Woods as a supplier of a very large range of interactive marketing products and pop up mailers and is very well placed to help to achieve the improvements in response rates.