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Wednesday, 30 January 2013

How to Harness the Power of LinkedIn – INFOGRAPHIC



A presentation on the topic of how to cook a chocolate tart is  going to “bomb”at a cheese maker’s  convention.
How to Harness the Power of LinkedIn – INFOGRAPHIC
It will be the wrong audience for an interesting topic, but the cheesemakers didn’t pay $1,200 for a conference ticket to hear information about “Tarts”!
A paying participant at a car dealer expo will want to hear about horsepower and handbrakes and will either leave the hall or fall asleep if the speakers start talking about knitting and slipper making.
The art of successful communicating and engagement  involves selecting the right audience and providing them with information and content that resonates with their needs and wants.

Not all Social Networks are Equal.

When it comes down to sheer popularity Facebook is the social network that wins.
Facebook is also about “Identity” whether that is a personal profile or a “business brand” persona.
Twitter is about “Events” which could be the next plane crashing into the Hudson river or letting your audience know that your latest blog post is published…that is an event!
Google plus is “Core”  and is woven into the science of search as Google embeds it into every one of its web properties from Picasa to YouTube.
It cannot and should not be ignored by marketers as  social signals are now being measured and monitored by Google machines and is being woven into the DNA of search. Optimizing your online assets (blog and website)  for search engines is vital.
Different social networks will be need to be included in your social media marketing strategy depending on your goals, audience and tactics.

Don’t Ignore LinkedIn

If you want to communicate to a B2B audience and business professionals then LinkedIn with its 150 million members is a good place to play.
If you want to engage with the business leaders and executives then it is the first channel to turn to.

So What are the Engagement Levels  of LinkedIn?

Facebook and Tumblr have very high engagement levels but LinkedIn’s focus on the business community provides it with some serious online networking power.
  • 47.6% of users use LinkedIn 0-2 hours per week
  • 26% use it from 3 to 4 hours a week
  • 12.2 % use it for 5-6 hours per week (that is nearly 1,400 minutes per month)

What are the Top 3 Favorite Features of LinkedIn?

There are hundreds of thousands of “Groups” on the platform from retail to social media and marketing and much more you will find interests and topics on any business subject imaginable.
  1. Groups – 79.6%
  2. People searching – 70.6%
  3. People  you may know – 66.8%

How does LinkedIn Help?

LinkedIn is a great online network community that that can help you with a range of tasks
  • 76.9% of users say LinkedIn helped them research people and companies
  • 68.8% said that it helped reconnect with past business associates
  • 49.7% said it was good for building new network relationships with individuals who may influence potential customers
Credit:

by Jeff Bullas


Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Deal with your debt


Learn how to overcome the financial and emotional stress that debt can cause with valuable advice from Debt Expert Moeshfieka Botha.

After taking the first step and acknowledging you debt, you can look at doing the following:

1. Communicate directly with your creditors: 

Approach your creditors and explain your inability to meet your full monthly repayments. They will most likely ask you for a breakdown of your income and expenses. This should that reflect that you are not able to make your required repayments, most creditors will be prepared to lower the amount. They normally do this for  a period of 3 – 6 months. Though , trying to get hold of the correct person to speak to at the creditor call –centre – is very often, a mission impossible!

2. Consolidate your debt: 

Now this is easier said than done. Many people seeking one loan and one repayment for all their debt, often have impaired credit records because of a bad payment history – and therefore don’t qualify for  consolidated loan. It’s a vicious cycle!

3. Go and see a registered Debt Counsellor:


Debt Counsellors were put in place through the National Credit Act to help those who are over – indebted. And looking at the statistics – there are many who need help. A debt counsellor can negotiate with creditors on your behalf –and arrange for lower monthly repayments, longer terms and lower interest rates.

If you are under Debt Review – you also do not have to deal directly with your creditors. They have to deal with your debt counsellor. Debt Counsellors and the industry are regulated by the National Credit Regulator.

These are by far not your only options. But you have to start somewhere. You have to get out denial, take responsibility and start looking forward to a more debt – free existence.

Also, let’s stop the blame game. There are many reasons why people are unable to cope with their  mounting debt. Debt surely did not only come about by people wanting to keep up with the Jones’s!

A recent study has shown that: 
26% of people who borrow money, do so for food.
16% do so for work and school transport.
7% do so for  school fees.
5% do so for electricity.

There is a very sad reality to this situation. Some people are  incurring  debt  -simply to SURVIVE . Most South Africans are struggling. Roger Brown, Chief Executive of national Debt Counselling firm Credit Matters says “We have seen a huge increase in the amount of people seeking help for their debt problems. The amount of enquiries we have received for January 2013 – is virtually double that of January 2012. Debt Counselling may not be the solution  to everyone’s  problems – but I strongly urge people to  at least view it as an option.”

Let’s stop feeling ashamed and demystify the topic. Let’s get talking about our debt. Only once we start openly debating, discussing and communicating on debt, will we realise that there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Only once we  put the  problem out there – will we  find more accessible  and appropriate solutions.


National Credit Regulator (NCR ): www.ncr.org.za – 0860 627 627
National Debt Mediation Association (NDMA ): www.ndma.org.za – 0861 11 6362
Debt Counselling: www.creditmatters.co.za –   086 111 6197
Debt Expert: Moeshfieka Botha – moeshfieka@generationb.co.za

Monday, 28 January 2013

The emotional side of debt


Living with debt can impact all aspects of your life. Debt Expert Moeshfieka Botha shows you how to deal with the emotional stress that you might be experiencing.

The South African Reserve Bank has left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 5%. The prime lending rate stays at 8.5%.So South Africans will enjoy lower interest rates for a while longer. But make NO mistake. We are in for a tough year ahead. Mostly because of our inability to manage our debt.

Debt is most often thought of in financial terms.  Yet, the emotional distress experienced in a bad financial situation, easily equals the financial distress.

There is so much guilt and shame associated with debt, that talking about it is practically taboo.

This is strange, when there are so many people whose lives are negatively affected by debt. According to statistics released by the National Credit Regulator – there are  19.69 million credit active consumers. Of this, 9.25 million have impaired credit records – this means that they either already have a judgement that has been taken against them – or they are more than 3 months in arrears with one or more accounts.

Now, if so many of us are living a debt nightmare – why are so few of us talking about it?

We’re scared , that's why.

We are intimidated by the jargon banks and creditors throw at us and we are petrified that there is no solution to our problem. And as is human nature – when fear sets in, we bring out the coping mechanism.

In the debt arena-  that means DENIAL. We simply pretend that we can cope. We stop opening envelopes from creditors and point blank refuse to acknowledge any registered mail. We somehow think that by the swish of a magic wand – it will all go away!

Reality check – it wont! 

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Procliviti: Leadership, Social Media and Cloud Computing


Procliviti Helping your business maximise its Brand exposure/visibility & connecting it to the World.


Procliviti is a Knowledge Agency specialising in Leadership, Social Media and Cloud Computing. There is a great need for leadership skills in the world today, and technology is a key component in the life of every leader.

Procliviti provides several Training and Strategic Consulting products to young adults, entrepreneurs, corporations, and not-for-profit organisations in South Africa and internationally.

Procliviti is raising the bar of leadership in a digital age, to inspire those with, and those without authority to become effective leaders. To know more about what Procliviti has to offer, view the video below.


Connect your business to the world.

Procliviti Video Profile 


Infographic - Capitec 2013 Pocket Watch

A Capitec infographic, titled 2013 Pocket Watch, shows that utility bills have skyrocketed and that petrol will cost you 35% more than what it did two years ago.

The information contained was compiled by Capitec and simply gives a snapshot of the current situation.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Tips for borrowing wisely to avoid financial hardship


As the New Year kicks off and economic conditions remain as tough as ever, borrow and manage your debt wisely to avoid becoming over-indebted.


It is tempting to purchase things you might not otherwise be able to afford on credit, but debt can be a major drain on your finances and dent your long term financial goals.
Just because lenders may be willing to give you a loan, doesn’t mean you should take up the loan or the full amount offered. 
Before taking on credit make sure that you have enough money to cover your regular expenses, emergencies and future price increases. Taking all these factors into consideration can you afford the repayments on the money you borrow over the term of the loan in addition to what you already owe?
Important expenses to consider include household and car maintenance, school fees, transport, food and municipality bills. It is also important to set money aside or have insurance to cover emergencies like illness, death and retrenchment.  Draw up a budget to determine your regular expenses and income.  Under the National Credit Act (NCA), lenders are also required to do a thorough affordability assessment to ensure that you can afford to repay the debt. Make sure you honestly disclose all your expenses and are upfront about how much other debt you already have. You don’t want to get into a situation where your loan is possibly reckless and you lose your rights to claim reckless lending.
Be wary against borrowing money from some informal lenders that may not comply with the law, especially with regards to the interest they charge and their collection methods.  All lenders, whether registered or not are required to comply with the NCA and it is important for consumers to understand their rights and obligations. The retention of ID books, bank cards and pin numbers is outlawed and should be reported to the National Credit Regulator (NCR).
Consumers should also be aware of garnishee orders.  These allow the lender to deduct repayments directly from your salary after the obtaining of a court order by the credit provider.  In particular be aware of signing blank consent forms or any other document you do not understand.  Consumers can approach the NDMA for advice if they are not sure of what their rights or options are. 
It is also important to be proactive in handling any repayment problems.  Contact your lender or the NDMA (National Debt Mediation Association) as soon as you think you may not be able to make a payment, as you may be able to work out a solution.  If you fall behind on payments and you do not act early, you may also face late payment charges as well as collection and legal fees, which can add up to many times the amount you initially borrowed.
Tips for borrowing wisely:
Understand your rights and obligations: Know your rights and obligations as this will ensure that you make the right decisions. More importantly know your options and where to go in case problems arise.
Borrow within your means: Only borrow what you can afford and try as much as possible to borrow for essential things like a house, a car, small business, education etc.
Make your payments on time and in full: You may think missing a payment is not a big deal, but doing so without the lender’s permission will negatively impact your credit rating and you could pay more interest in the long run.
Understand how much interest you will pay: The amount of the loan and the time you take to repay the loan will have a big impact on how much you’ll spend over the life of the loan.  Make sure you understand how interest is calculated and what the loan will cost you after all other fees and charges are included. .
Be aware of all the fees:  Lenders can charge you a range of fees including up-front initiation, and monthly service fees.  Credit cards may charge annual fees and additional fees for certain transactions, so find out what costs you will be paying and factor this into your budget. If credit life insurance is included ensure that it is reasonable, that you have the policy document and you inderstand the claims conditions and procedure.
Shop around:  Credit costs money, so compare different interest rates from different lenders.  In addition to ensuring that the interest rate you are charged is legal; also check the terms of the loan and the period over which you will pay it back.
Read the small print: Don’t feel pressurised into signing a loan agreement without taking the time to understand the conditions.  It’s also your right to ask an independent person to explain the terms to you in the contract before you sign

Monday, 21 January 2013

3 Ways to Turn Your Knowledge into a Business


If there’s one thing that many people are learning right now, it’s that you can’t really rely on someone else for job security. Even though the recession has technically been over for a few years, job growth is still slow, and not everyone feels safe in their jobs.

1. Start a Blog on Your Topic of Expertise

2. Offer Your Services as a Consultant
3. Teach What You Know
Instead of relying on someone else to ensure that you have the income you need, considerdeveloping income diversity. One way to do this is to start a business.
Think about what you know. There are a number of ways that you can turn what you know into a business. You don’t need your side business to replace your day job immediately, or ever; some just keep their businesses as side ventures to build up their emergency fund or investments. No matter what your main goal is, capitalizing on what you know can be a good way to boost your income and prepare for the future.
Here are three ways to turn your knowledge into a business:
If you have particular knowledge about an area, you can start a web site or blog on that subject. One of the great things about starting a web site or blog is that the barriers to entry are relatively low. It doesn’t cost very much, and technology has made it easy for almost anyone to get started.
1. Consider a blog where you share your knowledge to help others. You can use ads to earn money, or join affiliate programs. As you work to build your base, and as your web site grows in popularity, you can begin to profit from the knowledge you share on your blog or web site.
2. Another option is to offer your services as a consultant. If you’re well-versed in a sought-after topic, others might pay you to provide insight.
Consultants can make pretty good money. You can also offer your services by teaching seminars. I know a financial planner who is paid to teach corporate workers about retirement benefits. Whether you turn your green thumb into a garden consulting business, or advise local businesses on how to run a successful social media campaign, it’s possible for you to earn money as a consultant.
3. You can also teach what you know for a fee. If you’re good at standardized tests, or know a lot about a specific subject area, you can hire yourself out as a tutor. 
Most of us know something of interest, and many of us can even be considered experts in a particular area. Think about how you can use your knowledge to earn a little extra money. You might be surprised at what others are willing to pay for.
Have you used your knowledge to start a side business? 

Friday, 18 January 2013

Choosing a Financial Planner




My wife and I are beginning to plan for our future. Part of this planning includes allocating our finances in the best possible way to meet our future goals. Up to this point, I have been handling most of the finances, but we are now considering meeting with a financial planner to get professional help. This is a common decision made by young couples, but where do we start?
How do we choose the right financial planner?
When choosing a financial planner, the first thing you should do is consider what their clients think of them. Do you have friends or colleagues that have used the same person? What do they say about their services? Recommendations give you a glimpse of what you can expect from a planner. If you hear concerns that you aren’t sure you want to deal with, move on and find someone else.
A Certified Financial Planner (CFP) gains instant credibility. This means they have taken classes and passed tests, giving them advanced knowledge in the area of finances. If they are not certified, it means they have not met specific requirements set by the state. Stay away from uncertified planners; ask planners what their certifications are, and research what it took to obtain those qualifications.
How long a planner has been in business is a good indicator of competence. Of course, everyone started somewhere, but those with years of experience have been through the ups and downs of financial planning. Quality practice leads to quality skills in important areas.
This is one of the most important factors in your decision. Financial planners can use a number of different structures to determine what you pay for their services. Understanding these structures is important in your search.
Typically the most expensive form of payment is fee-only. In this structure, the planner bills you for certain services and/or by the hour. This can get expensive, but ensures that the planner is working in your best interests. Their incentives are aligned with yours in this structure.
Those who work on commission get paid on the products you purchase. This means that they may lead you toward a mutual fund or insurance package that makes them more money, but might not be best for you. If you are planning on finding someone who uses this form of payment, you need to make sure they have your best interests at heart. Commission-based planners may also get paid a percentage of your assets each year. This is typically under 2.5%.
Some planners use a combination of pay structures. This may include a flat fee for the initial consultation, followed by a commission-based fee. The commission fee could be based upon products purchased, assets managed, or both.
Understanding how a planner is paid is extremely important. Don’t be bashful when asking them how they are paid and what their incentives are. If they are motivated by reasons you are uncomfortable with, you should avoid them.
Trust and full disclosure with your financial planner are important on both sides. You need to know their background and how they are viewed by their clients. Their certifications and experience will give you a good idea of how knowledgeable they are. Lastly, knowing and understanding their pay structure is the best indicator of their incentives.
Have you had experience choosing a financial planner? What was the most important factor in your decision?

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

A USB-SIZED PC THAT GIVES ACCESS TO CLOUD BASED APPS




It amazes me when ideas you've once envisioned years ago in your head actually come to fruition. We can always expect radical 'disruptive' changes in technology that help us change the way we work ever more effectively & efficiently.
Years ago I, like many, envisioned that in the years to come, Desktop computers would soon fall away and become a thing of the past, just like how Walk-mans, Beta & VHS video machines slowly & inevitably became obsolete. New technologies like USB’s with built in operating systems, very little processing power & storage will be designed to solely to connect to powerful apps on the web & eliminate the need for the desktop PC.
Cloud computing solutions like Google Apps etc will soon become an essential new way and standard that individuals and businesses will work and operate. Can you imagine NO licencing fees for software! Imagine the huge benefit in cost savings in hardware, software as well as saving office space!
Dell Computers are doing just that, they’ve just announced that they working on a project called “Ophelia” that is “a complete, self-contained PC” that also happens to be as big as a USB thumb drive. 
But the killer feature of Ophelia is that it uses “virtual instances of operating systems running in the cloud” to give users access to “Windows, Mac OS, Google’s Chrome OS, Dell’s custom cloud solutions, Citrix cloud software, and even Google’s Chrome OS.” If you plug Ophelia into a flat-panel television, it will connect to the nearest Wi-Fi network and give you access to any type of operating system or app that is running virtually somewhere in the cloud. Users will slowly move away from Windows-based applications and toward Google Apps. Dell’s Ophelia would give users a wide choice of cloud-based apps from several different providers.





Tuesday, 15 January 2013

THE POWER OF INFLATION: OUR WORST ENEMY


FOOD FOR THOUGHT: In 2002, When Steers introduced for the King Steer Burger,it cost R11.50 back then.



Today, it costs R39.90 for the same burger. The price is up 250% in ten years, a compounded annual increase of 13.3%, or 250% in total!The price of petrol in January 2002 was R3.61 per litre in Gauteng. Today, a litre of petrol costs nearly R12. This amounts to an increase of 230% in ten years, or compounded annual increases of nearly 13%.

In 2002 you could buy a King Steer Burger and a litre of petrol in exchange for R15. Today, you could only just get a litre of petrol, and 7.5% of a King Steer Burger, maybe one bite. You couldn’t even afford to buy half a King Steer burger today with R15.

In real terms, the poorest South Africans are getting poorer as their salaries cannot keep up to this kind of price inflation.Had South Africans used gold as a medium of exchange, the story is different.In exchange for an ounce of gold you could get 290 King Steer Burgers in 2002. Today, you can buy 331 King Steer Burgers for the same ounce.Likewise, you could buy 925 litres of petrol in 2002 for an ounce of gold. Today, you can buy 1100 litres.It is the declining value of the rand, because the Reserve Bank creates too much inflation, that the price of everything is going up. Unless the Reserve Bank stops the printing, prices are set to spiral out of control in coming decades. 

Salman Khan, the man behind the Khan Academy who wants to teach the world




English: Salman Khan, famous for the Khan Acad...
Salman Khan, famous for the Khan Academy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Khan Academy (www.khanacademy.org) is an organization on a mission. They're a not-for-profit with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education for anyone anywhere. 
Personally I'm a big fan & advocate of the Khan Academy for FREE education. The videos on the site are enriching and best of all its ALL FREE! All of the site's resources are available to anyone. It doesn't matter if you are a student, teacher, home-schooler, principal, adult returning to the classroom after 20 years, The Khan Academy's materials and resources are available to you completely free of chargeStudents can make use of their extensive video library, interactive challenges, and assessments from any computer with access to the web.
The world’s richest man,Carlos Slim Helu ofMexico, is now publicly supporting Salman Khan and his nonprofit educational website, Khan Academy, according to Twitter messages from Slim’s son-in-law, Arturo Elias and a press release issued by the Carlos Slim Foundation on Monday.
At a press conference in Mexico on Monday, Salman Khan and Carlos Slim announced they had signed an agreement of cooperation to allow students, teachers, researchers and others in Mexico to get access to education and training courses.




The alliance between the two groups sets out a goal of having 1,000 Khan Academy videos translated into Spanish by April this year. Slim’s foundation also pledged to invest more than $300 million over the next three years into programs that improve the development of “human capital.”
Carlos Slim has a particular view on charitable giving. He has not signed the Bill Gates- and Warren Buffett-backed Giving Pledge and he has been critical of charitable efforts to cure poverty. His preference is to give people tools they can use to support themselves. Thus his Slim Foundation has supported education and use of technology.  Khan Academy, which blends both of those things, is therefore a good fit in Slim’s definition of useful philanthropy.
Slim joined the ranks of Forbes list of the world’s biggest givers in 2011. He has given $4 billion to his Carlos Slim Foundation, which focuses on education and health care.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Score Your Next Job With LinkedIn Premium


Is your new year's resolution to get out of your dead-end job, or to find a job in the first place? There are myriad tools and tricks of the trade to help you score a gig, but perhaps none is better than LinkedIn. The site boasted the best revenue growth of any tech company in early 2012, and nearly hit 200 million members, proving to be a professional networking powerhouse.
The site is free, but if you're gung-ho about job seeking in 2013, you might consider investing in one of the site's premium subscriptions — LinkedIn offers several different tiers of premium accounts for job seekers and businesses alike, but the Job Seeker account provides everything you'd need during the job hunt. With this account, you can see a complete list of everyone who views your LinkedIn profile, and you can send "InMail" to five people outside your network each month, which is a great way to reach out to recruiters.
Another great perk of the LinkedIn Job Seeker account is that the you'll end up being featured higher in the search part of the site, upping the odds that your profile will be seen. The Job Seeker option is $24.95 each month, which isn't a bad rate for a high-tech headhunter.
Now, if you are going to pony up for a premium account, you ought to make sure you're making the most of the experience. Be sure to update your resume, avoiding irrelevant details and trite buzzwords — recruiters are strapped for time and see dozens of resumes each day, so get to the point and put your best foot forward. Also, since LinkedIn is a professional network, be sure to keep your profile, well, professional — LinkedIn is not Facebook, after all.
Once your profile is up-to-date, explore LinkedIn Groups, which offer networking for specific demographic groups — whether it's the alumni of a university, a fraternity or an old employer — and professions. Groups are a great way to discovering people in your industry, especially ones who went to the same college as you or with whom you share mutual friends — they'll be more inclined to help you when you're not just another face in the crowd. You'll also see a steady stream of interesting articles about new developments in the space, and you'll get involved in conversations that demonstrate your thought leadership about relevant issues. These discussions are an excellent way to make a solid first impression on a fellow group member, who could very well become your next boss.
Of course, once you come across someone who seems like an interesting professional connection, you may be wondering how to tactfully ask them about potential opportunities. 

Friday, 4 January 2013

Want to save money on your car insurance?



I found this post by Kevin Mzanzi very useful, please retweet or share with your friends and loved ones if you find it useful.

I can guarantee that 90% of people reading this article pay too much for their motor car insurance. Just because you have received the best insurance quote when you signed the contract does not mean you pay the least. Insurance is a must to protect yourself against the unexpected, however, you should not be paying any more than you have to. Let me explain why:
Let’s say you bought a beautiful, brand-new BMW for R250,000 six years ago and you pay car insurance premiums of R400 per month. Everything is great, you pay your car off in 3 years and your car runs perfectly, until yesterday, that is.
While leaving your car door open, chasing after an wayward shopping cart at the mall, an unlicenced driver bumps into your car and rips your driver’s side door off. “It’s an Act of God!”, the driver exclaims, but this certainly does nothing to calm you down about the damage to your baby…
The assessor comes to look at your car and estimates the damages at R40,000 to repair. She decides to write off your car and gives you the value of the car, R50,000 as a settlement. (Insurance companies generally write-off a vehicle when the cost of repair is above 70% of the value of the car).
You are a little bothered that you don’t have your BMW anymore, but: that’s what insurance is for, right?
“Yay! I get a new car!”, you say. You trot off to the nearest car dealership to look at some stylish cars. You proudly show the Salesman your generous insurance payout cheque. He looks at the cheque, scratches his head and then points you to the Used 1998 Corrolla in the back….
Certainly does not compare to your BMW, right?
What happened here?
Two things:
Firstly:
Every year, your car loses value through normal depreciation. (It is often said that the moment you drive your new car off the lot, you lose 30% of it’s value right away.) Depending on the terms and conditions in the insurance contract, the insurance company will pay you either the Market value, Retail value or Trade value.  The Retail value is what you would pay to buy an identical vehicle, the Trade value is the amount you would get if you traded the car in to buy another car (before the accident) and the Market Value is the average between the Retail- and Trade Value. Most insurers pay on the Market Value.
The Market Value paid out will not get you the same quality car as you had before.
Secondly:
The value of your car dropped through normal depreciation, but you have been paying insurance premiums, calculated on the R250,000 value for the last 6 years. This means that you have been paying the premiums on a new car for 6 years, but when there is an accident, you only get the value of the used car.
The moral of the story?
* Make room in your Emergency Fund to pay for the difference between the settlement you will receive from the insurance company and the type of car you would like to replace it with.
* Call your Broker or Insurance company at least twice a year to have your premiums adjusted down, to take into account the adjusted value or your vehicle. (Yes, they do this if you ask!)
* If you are really cunning, you can pay all the money that you save on your premiums into the Emergency fund,  to pay for your insurance excess or to fund the shortfall to get a new car.

Happy Saving!

Warren Buffett Quotes

Leadership Quote of the Day