Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Look Inside Demolition and Site Clearing

Over the years, contractors have been hired to tear down buildings and other structures in order to pave the way for a new building to be constructed on that vacant property. There are several common methods to demolish a building: manually, implosion and deconstruction.

The demolition process is a lot simpler for smaller buildings because all it requires is a pull through manual labor or mechanically through the means of large hydraulic equipment, such as bulldozers, excavators, cranes and elevated work platforms. For larger buildings, a wrecking ball is needed.

What was the largest building to be demolished in history? In 1967 and 1968, the 47-storey, 1908 Singer Building in New York City was torn down and replaced by One Liberty Plaza.

Demolition and site clearing involve extensive planning. It is imperative that a site plan is developed that provides details about all of the landscape elements that are to be removed, relocated or modified. The plan should also ideally include the location of dumpsters, site entrances and exits, construction limit lines, fences, staging areas and so on.

If any trees are to be removed from the site in question, information about it should be reviewed one year in advance. If any landscape plants and trees are going to remain on the property, they must be properly protected. This could be done through non-movable construction fence.

Any site materials that will be reused, such as topsoil, subsoil and gravel, must be specifically stated. When a site is being cleared for demolition, it is mandated that signs must be put up to help control and detour traffic. These signs should meet the specific requirements with respect to size, design, type and location. The contractor performing the site clearing and demolition services also holds the responsibility of clearing up and disposing off the debris according to the laws and ordinances of that particular region.

It is also the contractor's responsibility to ensure that adjacent sidewalks and streets are not damaged and if this occurs then the damage caused by the contractor will be repaired to its original condition by the contractor at his expense. It is also important to ensure that all utility services such as water, gas, electricity, steam and telephone are disconnected before the demolition begins.

It is imperative that these tasks are completed since no work can commence on a property before all utilities are disconnected. All storm and sanitary sewers must also be sealed before the demolition. Once demolition begins, the contractor should ensure that the process does not interfere with adjacent property and does not hinder people that are using the adjacent property or any free passage around the property that is being demolished.

To take a look at some of the most impressive demolition projects, one doesn't have to look any further than YouTube. There are numerous first-hand videos - or secondary video from news broadcasts - that depict these demolitions. Here is a video consisting of the best building demolitions so far this year.

What Is the Process of a Property Transaction Screening?

Property transaction screening helps to identify potential environmental concerns with a property. It is mainly used by parties who are interested in fulfilling the Small Business Association (SBA) environmental due diligence requirements and to ensure that a property is cleared for a real estate transaction. The goal is to determine whether a particular property has the potential for contamination. The assessment is generally conducted before a property is bought or sold and before a loan is issued against the property.

During the property transaction screening process, owners and the occupants of the property are interviewed. In addition, the property site is thoroughly inspected and government records and historical sources are reviewed. The interviews are based on questions from a transaction screen questionnaire and the directions for the site inspection are also provided in this questionnaire.

Any transaction screen would consist of a site inspection with digital photo documentation, underground tank agency record search and review and a report filled with recommendations and conclusions. These measures are specifically designed for residential properties, commercial establishments, such as offices and retail stores, and undeveloped land.

Fannie Mae actually published a snapshot about a decade ago of what a property transaction screening questionnaire would look like. Here is a brief look at some of the questions:

- Is the property or any adjoining property used for an industrial use?
- Is the property or any adjoining property used as a gasoline station, motor repair facility, commercial printing facility, dry cleaners, photo developing laboratory, junkyard or landfill, or as a waste treatment, storage, disposal, processing, or recycling facility?
- Are there currently, or to the best of your knowledge have there been previously, any flooring, drains, or walls located within the facility that are stained by substances other than water or are emitting foul odors?
- Does the property discharge wastewater on or adjacent to the property other than storm water into a sanitary sewer system?

The historical evaluation reveals how the property has been used in the past and whether oil or other hazardous materials have been stored or handled at the property in question. Information about whether the property is listed in the State or Federal Environment related database is also assessed. Any spills or releases or information about hazardous materials on nearby properties is also obtained. The property transaction screening process does not include soil or water sampling.

The information that is derived from this assessment indicates whether further inquiry is required or not. The primary purpose of transaction screen assessment is to assist clients in identifying potential environmental concerns. These could include the presence of any hazardous substances, petroleum products or possibility of release of these hazardous substances into the property area, the ground or the surface water.

The Environmental Property Transaction Screen Assessments are widely accepted and are essential to meet the ATSM 1528-06 requirements. This assessment also helps gives more credibility to a real estate property that is up for commercial transaction.

Cabinetry Businesses Innovating Industry After Economic Slump

Has the economic recovery slammed the door shut on the remodeling industry decline? Apparently so, but experts say that it must innovate in order to survive moving forward and move past the economic downturn.

Anyone who has followed the remodeling industry, specifically the cabinetry market, will realize that it has gone through a slump since the collapse of the housing bubble from 2006 to 2008. Although industry reports show cabinetry sales are on the rise again, the recession still hurt business overall.

Take for instance the case of Cardell Cabinetry, once considered one of the biggest manufacturing businesses in San Antonio for the past 10-plus years. It was reported that the three-decade-old company shut down its manufacturing facility in early September and laid off more than 900 employees.

Despite the difficult times for some businesses, the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association monthly Trend of Business Survey discovered cabinet sales for June of this year grew 16.2 percent, stock cabinet sales jumped 21.3 percent, semi-custom sales increased 11 percent and custom sales received a boost of nearly 20 percent.
As a response to the positive trends, some cabinetry enterprises are establishing new locations and creating jobs. In September, Smart Cabinetry confirmed it is relocating to a new location in Michiana and generating about 90 new jobs. It plans to construct a 200,000 square-foot building to service approximately 400 distributors across the United States.

Other companies are innovating their services; an aspect that sector professionals say is a must. Woodworking Network profiled Leedo Cabinetry's introduction of industry-leading technology that will certainly enhance customer service.

Last month, it launched a new program that provides real-time updates in the field. The custom software program was created by the company's IT department. As the workers on the job utilize tablets to insert the updates, customers located anywhere in the country can track the updates about their project(s).

"Five years ago, we realized that the same need exists from an installation standpoint. We recognized that the information deficit between field conditions and manufacturing was causing serious delays in job completions. It became a corporate priority to improve communication between installation services and project administration," reports Darryl Preen, Chief Information Officer of Leedo Cabinetry.

"The tablet we chose had to bring together the ease of use of our paper system and the intersection of the design systems with the order and manufacturing systems we use. We had many paper hand offs and data translations; building a platform that allows us to capture the data and distribute it throughout our business has had a measurable impact on our efficiency."

Preen noted that Leedo is projected to install 50,000 units, or close to 600,000 cabinets, this year and using the latest technology can allow the company to focus on the projects and their customers' needs rather than having their attention on administrative elements.

"Now that the data is instantly uploaded to our servers, we can monitor the install status of any given job on any given day and effectively engage all Leedo departments in getting units to a completed state; which is ultimately why we are all in this business," the Leedo CIO added.

The U.S. cabinetry market is now valued at nearly $7 billion. Can it keep up that momentum? If it can continue its competitive and innovative actions and the economy remains relatively healthy then most analysts say it can.

Latin America Infrastructure: A Market to Reckon With

These are the most exciting times for infrastructure in Latin America, the region has finally reached political stability and it has navigated the financial crisis and subsequent economic recession well and they are immersed in ambitious development programmes which require substantial investment capital.

This may sound already familiar, it is true that Latin America has been a promising market for most of the 20th century and then failed to deliver when politics got in the way. This time things are different, though.

The region has attracted a great deal of attention in the media, and all for good reasons. There are specialist in financial information providers who have valued Latin America as the region to invest in Infrastructure as one of the sectors to mobilise more investment and political risk. And here is why.

To begin with, there is an incipient middle class that craves stability and prosperity. The governments are now seriously committed to tackle the poverty and social inequalities which have dragged down their domestic economies and left them too exposed to foreign economic fluctuations.

The fall of the URSS and the end of the Cold War have changed the USA's foreign policy towards the region, the new rule of no direct intervention has allowed each country to find the solutions to their own problems and this has made each country stronger and more self-confident.

Power is no longer defined by the size of a country's arsenal, but by its economic might. USA now faces stiff competition as the world's first economy. The EU, even amid its worst economic crisis, is an important economic force which has invested in Latin America and has signed bilateral economic agreements to facilitate trade relations. China has finally broken its economic isolation to become one of the world's leading investors and trades. Not surprisingly he is looking at Latin America for business opportunities. Canada has the resources and expertise to exploit the regions mineral resources and it is one of the most active investors in Latin America.

The eyes of the world are in Latin America: Brazil will be organizing the Soccer World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016. The Pacific Alliance aims to revitalise the regional trading purpose lost by Mercosur, which has become more a forum for political squabbles. Brazil, Peru and Chile are set to become the driving motors of the economic power of Latin America and to achieve this they require to develop their transport and energy sectors. The social inequalities and the development of a strong domestic economy can only be fostered by investing in education, housing, and health building schools, hospitals and better sanitary conditions.

Infrastructure is a most important sector albeit a very expensive one. Institutional Investors, Sovereign Wealth Funds, Funds of Funds, Pension Funds and private investors will do well to look at Latin America as a market with great potential as well as safe.

Constructors, developers, and project managers should also look at Latin America for new business ventures. There are projects in the pipeline to suit every company's capabilities, large and small.

Protective Processes To Protect Materials In Industrial Services

In order for the best materials out there to maintain the qualities that they have for longer use and for them to perform to their best ability. Vacuum heat treating and vacuum annealing are some of the processes that can be used to achieve those results. Many materials have to undergo some sort of heat treatment to bring the best to customers everywhere. That is why it is important to know what those processes are and how they work.

When materials react with atmospheric gases they can pose damage to everything out there. With heat treatments in vacuum these bad effects can be minimized or eliminated altogether. You should find out more about these processes if you want your vacuums to perform to the maximum and be safe to use in all kinds of conditions. High temperature stability is also important in all kinds of modern industries and you can achieve those goals if you use the right heat treating options on your products.

Another form of protecting expensive high quality materials is by cryogenic treatment which is the opposite of heat treatment because it takes place at very low temperatures, such as below -190 C. there are many advantages of this process such as longer life of parts treated, great thermal properties, minimized walk and creep, better flatness, less electrical resistance and minimized friction. Corrosion resistance is also improved thanks to the process so it is important to consider in industries where the stress on machinery parts is pretty high and something needs to be done about it.

Thermal barrier coatings such as ceramic coatings are often used in industries as well and are very important for everyone to use. These processes are usually applied to metallic surfaces of different types of gas turbines and different parts of the aero plane industry. In other industries these processes are used to protect the materials from heat loss which is very important very often. To avoid melting and to have temperature stability these processes need to be carried out by highly qualified professionals.

When you are choosing a company to perform black oxiding and other types of materials protection procedures for you you have to make sure you are choosing quality and cost efficiency. It is not enough to have knowledge in those areas, you should also look for people who are making the most of all the opportunities to help their customers and provide after services and consultations. Prevention is better than cure and if you protect your materials well you will be able to enjoy your materials for monger and be sure that they are used in the right manner and you can always make the most of them in the future.

Avoid Asbestos Forever

Asbestos used to be a building material that was utilized in construction for many years before it came to disuse because it was learnt that it is a big health hazard and can cause many diseases in people. That was a time when asbestos began to be viewed as a danger to people and began to be eliminated from buildings. It is no long is used in construction but unfortunately there are still many places where asbestos is present because many construction materials from 19602 to 1980s contained asbestos in them. That is why asbestos control and monitoring as well as asbestos removal are extremely important nowadays, just like years ago.

If you are beginning a remodeling, a reconstruction or moving into an area that you do not know anything about you need to make sure there is no asbestos in this house to be healthy and stay on the safe side. In order to find out where there is any asbestos there a qualified expert needs to get a sample of the materials used in the building and do a test on it. The test will help you know if there is any harmful materials in it and what percentage of asbestos is in it. This will help choose the right method of eliminating the asbestos out of the building and help you live in a safe healthy environment. If you have more than 1% asbestos in that test then the asbestos is regulated and official procedures may take place which you should learn more from professionals responsible for these kinds of cases.

Trying to remove asbestos on your own is a dangerous proposition and you should never do it unless you are a qualified expert in asbestos removal. There is scientific evidence that when asbestos is inhaled it can stay in the lungs forever, and cause different illnesses in the person. Of course a lot depends on how long you are exposed to asbestos and how much the concentration of the chemical is in the air, but it is better stay safe for longer and be able to live healthy life so if you have an suspicions it is best to lay them to rest as soon as possible.

You may also check for symptoms you have with a doctor to see if the asbestos present in the building has began to affect your health. If you look at how asbestos is removed and that all the specialists wear special costumes and masks you will see how dangerous it is and how much attention you should be paying to what you are doing in order to get the best results out of it. Good luck with it and we hope you are healthy.

Benefits of Industrial Painting

When you think of painting, most often, the first thing that comes to mind is a trip to your local hardware store, color samples, and cans of paint in your home. This is normal, and the most often performed use of paint. However, when considering industrial painting, the process isn't quite the same. When considering industrial paint, there are many things that the plant or facility manager needs to consider. Additionally, there are different paint formulas that will service different industries. So when selecting an industrial painter, it is necessary to make sure that he/she has the background and experience to make sure that he/she is selecting the preferred paint for your equipment.

If you have metal piping or tanks that need paint, then the painter has to keep in mind the chemical properties of the paint, to ensure that they won't react maliciously with the chemical properties of the metal. Additionally, there are performance properties that the painter must be cautious of: the durability of the paint, how flammable is the paint, and how well it will perform under high pressure.

But before any painting can begin, the industrial painter must take the necessary steps in cleaning the "substrate." The substrate is the surface that will be coated with the industrial paint. According to The North Carolina Division of Pollutant Protection, 80% of industrial paint application problems are a result of improper substrate cleansing. It may be difficult to fathom that a simple substrate issue could cause so many problems for industrial painters. But really, any leftover residue, dirt, or debris will have a negative or even disastrous effect on the paint's ability to bond with the substrate. And when painting's purpose is to coat and protect the equipment that it is covering, then this can leave a sour taste for the manufacturer.

When dealing with substrates, or surfaces, it is often the painter's responsibility to clean up old coats of paint that is beginning to fade or strip away. This can be problematic as not all of the old paint is ready to come off the industrial equipment. However, it needs to be removed, so that the industrial paint can have a secure bond with the equipment it is coating. Paint thinning is a common trade for industrial painters. But there isn't a universal paint thinner, as paints come with different purposes and chemical solutions. An industrial painter will need to be aware if the paint is an oil or alkyd based paint. If this is the case, a mineral spirit is often enough to break down the paint, allowing the industrial painter to properly cleanse the substrate.

After the substrate has been properly cleansed, it is now time for the application. Industrial painters use industrial paint sprayers. paint sprayers are the ideal method for applying industrial paint to industrial equipment. The industrial sprayers make a clean and seamless coat that typically only requires one application. The sprayer is very efficient, allowing the industrial painter to cover a large area in a short amount of time. Industrial paint isn't immune to modern technology, as paint sprayers are continuously evolving with better application sprayers, that can adjust in the rate of spray, the PSI, and the type and viscosity of paint used in the spray.

This is a brief over view of the benefits and thought process of an industrial painter. It's not as simple as heading to a hardware store for a brush and a can of paint. There are many options to consider, and it's a job that requires a lot of experience in order for the industrial paint application to be done correctly.

Restore Buildings To Their Original Glory Through Tuckpointing

These days, the methods and processes of how buildings are constructed are different as compared before. The good news is that the old and weathered structures can still be restored to their original beauty successfully. Those old-time brick and stone buildings may become more solid than the plaster and drywall structures present nowadays, however they also get eroded as time passes by. In fact, the architecture industry has provided a remedy for such eroded mortar.

With tuckpointing, buildings can have their mortar joints reinforced and repaired. This involves a process of removing the damaged mortar and then replacing it with a fresh application. But you must always remember that amateurs must not attempt to perform masonry restoration. Homeowners as well as building administrators must contact professionals with a high degree of skill, knowledge and experience in terms of masonry repair. In some places, climate has certainly required the services of these experts because of the many gray and damp days. And since heritage preservation is now becoming bigger, it is no wonder that tuckpointing is a growing industry all around the world.

Tuckpointing basically deals with deteriorated or cracked mortar. But this does not mean that a structure does not have to have historical importance for it to be a candidate for tuckpointing. Most of the time, the mortar is already missing, thus, you can obtain a great idea of how such condition compromises the integrity of a structure. The installer will remove the damaged mortar and then tucks in fresh pointing mortar into the cavity with a pointing tool. This job will likewise necessitate color-blending so that the fresh application will match with the rest of the mortar already in place. After the mortar has been properly tucked, the installer will now work on making the fresh application to match the existing one.

This may seem to be an easy job but it is not - it is actually a tedious and highly technical job. And because of this, it must be done by an expert. The main reason behind this is to disguise the fact that something has actually been freshly repaired. If the fresh tucks appears to be a recent addition, then the work is clearly poor.

Assessing the Quality of Steel to Ensure a Strong Home

Similar to a skeleton that gives a proper appearance to our body, steel gives the required structure to the building. It is, therefore, necessary to assess the quality of steel to ensure a strong and structured home. Steel is used in combination with concrete for construction of slabs, footings, lintels and stairs to provide high tensile strength for reinforcements. Read through to know about quality features of steel.

Types and grades of steel

For general construction purpose, two types of steel including the mild and deformed steel bars are used. The mild steel bars used in reinforced cement concrete structures are plain in surface and round in cross-section. Whereas the deformed ones have ribs or deformations on their surface. Sometimes, certain cracks may be formed in the reinforced cement concrete around mild steel bars. This is because the bars stretch and reduce the bond with concrete. The projected deformations of the deformed bars avoid this problem and improve the bond with concrete.

More commonly, steel bars of grades Fe 415 and Fe 500 are used for construction purposes. The number of the grade indicates the yield stress. Steel bars are available in different ranges of diameter from 6mm to 50mm. However, those having diameter from 6mm to 20mm are used for home construction.

Checking the quality of steel on site

The quality of steel used for reinforcement work is determined by its tensile strength, yield strength, weight and elongation. In addition, the chemical ingredients such as carbon, sulphur, manganese and phosphorous content affect the quality. Various laboratory tests are conducted to check the quality of steel before supplying. However, it is difficult to know all these things for average people. Therefore, ask your builder to ensure that they are tested before you purchase them. Good quality steel bars should be free from surface flaws and cracks. They should not have rough, jagged and imperfect edges.

A simple test called bend test conducted on site can assess the quality of steel. When you bend the steel rod to make an angle of 90 to 135 degrees and then bend it back straight, there should be no cracks on it. If the original shape is retained once it is straightened, you can ensure that it is of the best quality.

Things to consider while purchasing steel

Do not forget to check the following things when purchasing steel bars:

•Ensure the presence of the BIS certification mark.
•Get the details of the quality of steel.
•Purchase from the reputed manufacturers. Also, check for the trademark on every bar.
•Ensure that same sized rods are given without any errors.

Remember that a proper storage of steel bars on site is necessary. They must be kept in shade in dry conditions to prevent rusting. Ensure that they are not placed outside for more than one month. Wash them with cement slurry if they are exposed so. Clean the bars that are rusted before usage.

It is on your part to ensure that the best quality steel rods are used for grills, windows, reinforcement work and others. Remember, any deviations in the specifications of the steel may weaken the structure of your building.

Features And Functions Of Bucket Elevators

Bucket elevators are used for a wide range of purposes in construction sites, commercial, agricultural and mining sectors. This equipment is basically used to move bulk materials from one place to another effortlessly. There are several companies which manufacture different types of elevators and accessories.

Significant Features:

These elevators are generally used to move and handle materials in a large scale. These devices are similar to conveyor belts with buckets attached to it and it can be used to move the materials in a horizontal and vertical manner according to its designs. It is designed in a specific manner so that it can collect the materials quite easily from the ground. The buckets are designed in a manner so that the contents are seldom spilled out.


The vertical bucket elevators are among the most commonly used devices. It is the basic model in which the elevator moves and dumps the materials in the required space and then the empty bucket returns to the original position for refilling. These devices facilitate in better movement of goods and materials. As these devices are purely mechanical, it hardly requires any human intervention for efficient operation.

Today there are sophisticated elevator machines which can be used to load and unload materials at specific intervals. Most of these devices are safe to operate as it includes conveyor belts instead of chains. The rate of elevation depends on various factors such as design, speed and capacity of the buckets.

In addition to vertical elevators, there are various other types of devices which can be used to elevate materials easily. Modern elevating devices utilize plastic buckets and rubber belts.

Majority of these devices are designed to function continuously and consistently as frequent start and stop functions can cause damages and spills. It can also reduce the efficiency of the device in various ways. For simple and ample procedure, it is essential to operate these machines for specific period of time.

However, these devices also include emergency stop settings to shut down the device if there are problems. Modern devices are designed to turn off automatically as it is sensitive to blockages.

Bucket elevators include a wide range of beneficial features such as less maintenance, low driving power, high hoisting height, easy and smooth transportation of goods, bulk conveying capacity, different ranges of lifting, reliability and stability, wide usage in different industries and so forth.

It is essential to ensure that these elevators function appropriately so it should be maintained regularly. Cleaning the equipment is quite essential to ensure smooth operational functions. The parts of the equipment should be lubricated appropriately so that it performs optimally for a longer period of time. The buckets should also be checked periodically for cracks and it should be altered if it is damaged.

The chains or conveyor belts of these devices should also be checked and maintained regularly. The belts should be checked for wear and tear. It is important to add proper lubrication in these pulleys so that it functions smoothly.

Energy Deregulation - Are You Aware Of The Changes?

Energy Deregulation in the U.S. - Are you aware of the effects of Energy Deregulation?

With over 90% of American businesses paying more than necessary for their energy services, Energy Deregulation is a subject that EVERYONE should know about, because it is so direct, simple, and easy to lower their energy bills.

Most people do not know the details of the history of the Natural Gas and the Electric industries. Both have experienced the same kind of dramatic changes during the last 60 years which have happened in society, the environment, and technology. Energy Deregulation is the most recent, and most important, change in the Natural Gas and Electric industries.

Regulation of public utilities in the United States by the Federal and State Governments began in the 1930's. It encouraged the construction and safe operation of the transmission networks supporting these industries and resulted in a transcontinental pipeline network and electric grid supporting the entire country. The prices were low, and the industries experienced high growth dealing with the ever-increasing demand.

The advent and growth of the Energy Industries was very similar to other industries in the U.S. in the 19th century. Pioneering leaders encouraged local production to serve their communities. Many business leaders became elected officials, and the market was well-understood by these leaders. The industries grew dramatically when pipelines and power lines were built to deliver the Natural Gas and Electricity to other nearby communities, and, eventually, to other states.

Every time the industries changed, the Federal and State governments addressed the newly-created or altered marketplaces (Local, Intrastate, and Interstate). In order to prevent excessive charges to customers, the governments formed Public Utilities Commissions and Public Service Commissions, beginning with New York and Wisconsin in 1907. These regulatory bodies commissioned studies and consulted with experts to set reasonable rates which could be charged to consumers.

In the 1970's and '80's, the telecommunications, airline, and trucking industries were transformed from monopolies into deregulated, competitive industries with many more companies involved. Due to Energy Deregulation, today's rates for these services are lower than before deregulation, adjusted for inflation.

The deregulation of the electric and natural gas industries ONLY applies to the price of the underlying commodity. Transmission and Distribution are still performed by the local utilities, whose rates for those services are still regulated by Federal and State Tariffs.

When the FERC lifted the regulation of the price of the underlying commodity, the States began to decide how Energy Deregulation could take place, and which cities, towns, and geographical areas would have deregulated commodity prices. Not all areas could be included, because of geographical limitations.

There are currently 27 States with Energy Deregulation. Some have deregulated the price of Natural Gas, others have deregulated the price of electricity, and still others have complete Energy Deregulation of both industries. The local utility still delivers the Natural Gas or Electricity, no matter which marketer is chosen to supply the commodity.

The utility also continues to maintain the distribution system, respond to emergencies and read meters.

Throughout their turbulent histories, the U. S. Natural Gas and Electric industries have been pushed, pulled, and molded into their current forms. Originally intended to guide and control the building of infrastructure in populated areas, regulation had a positive and lasting effect. The companies involved in these industries built the infrastructure to serve the entire nation. They developed the markets throughout the country. They established practices that were reliable and safe, and many Energy Providers prospered.

With the growth of the largest companies into unwieldy conglomerations, monopolistic practices became a very real occurrence. In order to prevent the abuse of that situation, Federal and State regulatory bodies wrote the rules, guidelines, and practices for Energy Suppliers and Utility Companies to abide by. The U.S. Congress passed laws so these rules could be enforced. Both adverse and beneficial effects were experienced by all the businesses and government agencies involved, and,most recently, the changes made by Energy Deregulation have helped consumers and suppliers alike. Consumers are now becoming more educated in regard to the structure of the industry, and now they are taking advantage of the savings opportunities now available to them.

Joe Lowery is a rising star in lowering energy costs for American Business Owners. Having worked for over 30 years in his telecom career with Fortune 500 corporations, Joe is now helping American Business Owners lower their costs of doing business. Joe is on a quest to help business owners get the upper hand in dealing with their energy providers. The cost of natural gas and electricity continue to rise, and Joe's mission is to empower all American business owners by engaging an Energy Broker to negotiate on their behalf, at NO cost to the business owner. The business owner is represented by the broker, who obtains the best possible rates from all the Energy Marketers in the region - due to the Broker's large contracts, the business owner gets rates usually reserved for only the largest corporations. NOW, these rates are available to small and medium sized businesses, because of the representation of the broker.

When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going! How To Stand Out From The Crowd

Oh boy it is tough in the marketplace today, whether you are a freelancer, running a business or looking for a job. It can be all too easy to get stuck at these times. Repeated rejection, the need to stretch yourself way outside your comfort zone are all triggers that can lead you into negativity and procrastination - putting off the actions you know you need to take right now. It is fear that holds us back from the success we deserve. I know, I've been there!

So what is it you need to succeed when the going gets tough?

Firstly you need to stand out from the crowd. To do that you need to face your fears and take action. When the 'Tough Get Going' it is the action they take that leads to their success. Winners do what losers don't! So here are some action tips for you to consider:

    • Accept that rejection is part of moving forward - No-one likes rejection but winners accept it as part of the process. They do not take it personally; they look at what they can learn from it and move on to the next possible opportunity. Each rejection is a step closer to you landing a great opportunity.

    • Stop looking the world and life negativity - When you are looking at the negativity you are missing the positive opportunities that are definitely out there even if they are in short supply right now. Don't let negativity hold you back.

    • Stop the negativity and the moaning - We all do it but it only stops us succeeding. Prospective clients and employers pick up on negative vibes (it's like they have a sixth sense) and it definitely influences their decision. If you have to moan always end it with a positive action you can make to move forward.

    • Actively look for the positives and for opportunities - Every morning and every evening make a list in a journal or in your mind of all the positive things that are happening in your life. Can't think of any? Start with the fact that you woke up this morning and that you have your health. Count your blessings every day no matter how small.

    • Get into the habit of doing some positive self- talk - Script your day by thinking of all the positive things that will happen to you that day. Better still, play it all as a film in your head of everything going well. Make it as detailed as possible and do it every day. Check out and note how much more positive your day is when you do this. Add it to your 'Blessings List'.

    • Stop procrastinating - Identify what is stopping you from taking the action needed to move you forward. Decide what is in your circle of influence to change or action. Start taking action no matter how scary it is.

  • Identify the actions that will take you out of your comfort zone - these are the ones you procrastinate about the most. Winners know that this is where the learning is and also the success. Make these the first actions of the day - feel the fear and do it anyway.

Take action now! Stand out from the crowd and fulfil your potential.

Chrissie Webber is the manager of the University of South Wales, Graduate Business Incubator Centre, The Business Loft in Newport, South Wales. With over 30 years experience as an entrepreneur Chrissie also runs her management development and coaching business CD Consultancy & Training Group and Chrissie Designs Jewellery a wire work and wedding jewellery business.

She is a published author - Weight Loss life Gain - and an ardent blogger. Her passion is helping people grow and develop and find the work they were born to do.

Dispelling The Myths About Selling

Many years ago when I started my management training and coaching business, selling was the one thing I hated doing. The face to face selling was difficult enough but the worst part for me was picking up the phone and making an appointment. I did not help myself by procrastinating about this very important task and putting off the job of making those calls.

Eventually I decided to do some sales training. Here I was taught all the tricks of the trade from mirroring body language to 'getting past the dragon' (the PA or gate keeper for the busy person I wanted to speak to). I must have been doing something right as I was bringing in some work but not a lot for all my efforts, it has to be said. The most telling thing about this situation was that I still hated selling. Not good if you are running a business!

Then one day I reflected on the fact that using all the selling techniques I could was doing one thing - preventing me from being myself. Next I thought about my first career as a nurse and midwife and how I loved talking to people, finding out about them and their needs and then fulfilling those needs to make them happier and more comfortable. BINGO! The light bulbs went on, all at once, as I realised that first and foremost selling is about being yourself and building sound and trusting relationships with people.

That got me thinking about how easy and enjoyable it would be if I were to forget about what I was selling and just develop friendships with people. Being the kind of person who is fascinated by what work and businesses others are engaged in, I found this new approach so easy and enjoyable. I started to join networking groups and was soon developing an extensive database of contacts and friends.

Now don't forget this was way, way before email and social media (that's showing my age!) so picking up the phone and following up on meetings was vital. However, you still need to use this personal contact even in today's digital age. Phoning to talk to a new contact was still a problem area for me until an experienced telesales lady told me the secret - never try and sell on the phone ONLY get the appointment. That was definitely easier if I had met them at a recent event but I still needed a really good 'sound bite' to tell them very succinctly about my business. Creating a short snappy sentence that describes your business and unique selling point (USP) is the key. Yes I know this is easier said than done when it is your own business, so ask your friends and business contacts to help you come up with one. They will surprise you with their ideas and it is such fun to choose the right one for you.

When it comes to the actual meeting remember the 20:20 rule - your prospective customer talks 80% of the time and you talk only 20%. You are still building friendships not selling a product/service. Ask delving questions to find out more about their business and future needs in the area of your service/product. Listen carefully for any problems that they flag up that you may be able to help them solve. There really is no need to give them the full on sales patter. Make notes whilst they are talking and then later on show them the services/products you have that will help them. Fill the gaps of their needs and desires.

Remember People buy from People and mostly from people they like and trust.

Chrissie Webber is the manager of the University of South Wales, Graduate Business Incubator Centre, The Business Loft in Newport, South Wales. With over 30 years experience as an entrepreneur Chrissie also runs her management development and coaching business CD Consultancy & Training Group and Chrissie Designs Jewellery a wire work and wedding jewellery business.

She is a published author - Weight Loss life Gain - and an ardent blogger. Her passion is helping people grow and develop and find the work they were born to do.

Cloud-Based Solutions Are Ideal for Boomer Home-Based Businesses

When retiring or laid-off Baby Boomers launch a home-based business, one of their most important decisions is choosing what type of solutions to utilize.

Previously, the answer was clear - use resident software for performance and security. However, in the era of high-speed Internet connectivity, switching to cloud-based solutions offers many advantages:

  • Lower costs - no software licenses or equipment to purchase and maintain.

  • Instantly available - you do not have to install anything on your home computer.

  • Often available with no long-term contracts.

  • Accessible over the Internet from anywhere.

  • Secure access.

  • Free updates.

  • Satisfies the need for disaster preparedness - If you lose your hard disk or your house burns down, your critical business information is still available from any laptop!

  • Sometimes free for up to 2-3 users or basic functionality!!

Cloud-based solutions are those (e.g., accounting or customer relationship management) not resident on your home office computer, but which rather reside on a remote server and are accessible over the Internet. Typically, cloud-based solutions are less expensive and offer an easy means of quickly adding functionality. They are especially beneficial when you have partners, contractors or employees working at remote locations because databases and activities can be easily synched, ideas and projects improved through online collaboration, and sales/marketing management simplified.

For example, many home-based businesses use online QuickBooks or FreshBooks for accounting. Pricing is reasonable and partners can access and update information from any location. And having an easy accounting solution is critical for any small business, especially at tax time!

A plethora of cloud-based solutions exists for backing up critical business data and online collaboration. Two of the most popular are Google Docs and Dropbox. Residing online at distant servers which are backed up daily, they also provide the benefit of disaster preparedness should your home office suffer a burglary, fire, flood or earthquake.

Cloud-based solutions can also assist Boomers who have client-based home businesses. Consider DocuSign, for example, which facilitates secure online delivery and signatures for agreements. These services are professional, save a lot of time, and enhance customer relations.

Baby Boomers discover soon enough that achieving success with a home-based business requires time management. There is a hard way to get things done and the easy way. Leveraging cloud-based solutions is economical while also adding ease-of-use and functionality. Compared to resident desktop solutions, these online tools are hands-down winners!

In short, Baby Boomers starting or operating a home-based business can expedite their launch, cut costs, acquire professional functionality and make their operations run smoother by simply embracing cloud solutions. What's not to like?!

How To Market Your Way Out Of A Paper Bag! Marketing Means Action

Most people, from my experience, write a business plan and then file it away. These are the ones I am talking about here who are most likely not able to "market their way out of a paper bag!" They spend time properly researching the market and their competitors but have no focussed plan as to how to effectively use this information to their advantage. What a waste of time! It may have helped them achieve their objective of obtaining funding but a business plan is far more than that. It is should also be a PLAN OF ACTION. The action part should include marketing, social media and sales strategies.

Notice that here I have included social media. This is because in this day and age it should be included as an integral part of any marketing strategy. Along with any strategy there should be a detailed, schedule of actions with deadlines to help keep you on track as you project manage the implementation the development of business through your strategy.

The reason for having a detailed strategy and action plan is to ensure that all your efforts to promote your business and gain sales are focussed and targeted in the areas that will gain you the highest potential. However, a word of warning:

Marketing Is The Prelude To Selling. A sales strategy is also required even if your business is done totally online (online shops are notably more difficult to get off the ground and gain sales than retail shops)

So what should you include in this Marketing Action Plan?

  • Brand image and logo development and design - only one image and logo or you confuse your brand image. Use colour or design to differentiate different parts of the business if required.

  • The design and production of marketing material - business cards, brochures etc.

  • The design and development of your web site - with potential for interaction and sales/bookings where ever possible and applicable.

  • An action plan of events - launch party etc., to promote the business (if required).

  • An action plan of publicity - press releases and a list of media contacts you have made to ensure a better chance of getting free publicity.

  • A contents schedule and action plan for each of your social media platforms - this should include a plan of how you post, share and comment and how often as well as how you will use analytics to assess the effectiveness of your strategy and make changes to improve it.

  • A sales strategy both for online and offline sales - without this all the marketing actions are wasted.

In the same way that you review your business turnover and finances against your cash flow projections, as a means of keeping on course and making necessary adjustments, a month by month analysis of the marketing, social media and sales actions help reduce risk and enhance business growth.

Chrissie Webber is the manager of the University of South Wales, Graduate Business Incubator Centre, The Business Loft in Newport, South Wales. The Loft offers office and co-working space for start-up businesses and support such as training, mentoring and networking for business growth.

With over 30 years experience as an entrepreneur Chrissie also runs her management development and coaching business CD Consultancy & Training Group and Chrissie Designs Jewellery a wire work and wedding jewellery business.

What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Professional Electrician

Are the lights flickering on and off? Is the electrical outlet causing you to miss a part of your favorite television show? How come you can't operate several of your appliances in a certain area of the kitchen? Well, it may be due to the electrical functions of your home.

Is it finally time to schedule an appointment with an electrician or to grab your tools and do it yourself? Since performing electrical work can be rather dangerous work, especially for those who are unable to safely complete the work involved and resolve the problem. When in doubt, always call up a professional, skilled electrician or electrical contractor to remedy the issue.

There are a wide variety of benefits to hiring a certified electrician to fix some of the matters you are experiencing in your home. By not doing so, you risk causing even more damage in the end, despite your self-proclaimed tool man (or woman) status.
Here are some of the benefits of hiring an electrician:

Cost savings
Imagine this, if you will: you're starting to rummage around through the wires in an electrical socket, but suddenly there is a brief spark and now nothing seems to work. What could have been a minor adjustment will now turn out to be a huge bill when the electrician arrives at your home.

In this economy, we all want to save a few bucks, but when it comes to something as serious as electricity in your home and you're not astute in the topic, it's always best to request an electrician to come to your home. It'll save you a lot more dollars in the end.

Get the job done
Aside from you making matters worse, an electrician can come and get the job done and less likely to be negligent. This means that not only will an electrician fix the problem, but they won't leave wiring hanging that could lead to a fire or won't perform a mediocre job.

In the event that you hired an unlicensed electrician or you tried to fix the problem yourself and it led to significant damage, your household insurance provider may not cover the costs and could hold you responsible for the bill. To save even more money and avoid disaster, a professional electrician is the best solution.

When an electrician comes to the house, he usually charges by the hour or provides a set fee (if it's very simple they might not even charge the homeowner). In a lot of cases, the certified and licensed electrician will simply rework the wiring or fix something and it's done. Instead of spending hours doing research and then repairing it yourself, an electrician can come and solve it in half an hour.

Safety is the most important thing in this whole conversation. You or an unlicensed electrician may not take the necessary precautions that an experienced electrician might take. Also, as the electrician performs the repair, he or she is more likely to complete the job in a safe manner. When the task is completed, you can have the confidence and reassurance that your home is now safe and the electricity is fully operational.

Three Relationship Tips for Small Business

We all know that most small businesses don't make it past four years. So you have started your business and not gone bust! Well done.

But after survival phase, you need to find a way to manage growth of your business. Growth is more likely to follow relationships, than sales. So here are three relationship tips that are worth thinking about:

    1. Customers. Build relationships with your customers, even if they are not your biggest ones. This takes time, but need not be expensive. You don't need to take them out to lunch, or send little gifts with your business name on. A quick unexpected phone call, a personalised email, or some timely information can be very effective. Be clear that you want a business relationship. Always talk about them first, ask a question, try and find out at least one thing you did not know before and don't be afraid to ask directly for a referral. But most importantly, know their history! Make sure you know what business you have previously done with them, how long they have been a customer, keep phone notes, emails and other communications handy and part of your customer records. If you can demonstrate that you know your clients, they will respect you for it. It is clear that if people respect you, they will remember you and refer you.


    1. Your team. Your team are both your frontline brand and the key to efficiency! It is much harder to find and develop good staff, than it is to keep the good staff you already have. So how do you develop good relationships with your staff? Empathy, good humour and patience are probably most important. Remember that everyone is not like you (probably a good thing), and learn to appreciate and leverage the relative strengths in your team members. But equally important is to stay organised and clear in your communications. Most people don't mind being asked to do things at work, as long as the process and instruction is clear and the outcome is recognised. Setting up simple workflow will help to keep people organised. Providing all team members with clear instructions, and a simple interface to report on outcomes will help keep everyone happy and will also help you manage those situations where things don't go according to plan!


  1. Yourself and your family. Running a business is hard work and almost always eats into your personal time. This is normal and acceptable, as long as you love being in business in the first place. But always remember why you have gone into business and what you want in your life when you have sold the business or retired. Ultimately your business should work for you, not the other way around. If you do not have good systems in place that automate your workflow, keep your records in place and keep finances under control, then you will waste a lot of time chasing your tail. Typically this is the time that eats into your personal life. So if you care about yourself, support yourself with systems that free up your time.

Why Quality Content Is So Important To Your Business

In the days of old marketing was not as social as it is today. You could simply have a good sales pitch and an awesome product and you were set! Not today. In today's market even really good products and services that are needed by consumers can go under noticed and under sold simply because they lack content marketing strategies. This is an area no business owner or professional can afford to ignore.

What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a strategic marketing technique that includes creating and distributing relevant and valuable written content in order to attract and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience - with the objective of driving sales.

Purpose of content marketing
Content marketing is done with the ultimate goal of driving customer action BUT more importantly it is done to build a relationship with your target audience. This is your 'give back' to those who give to you--your customers! This is your way of assisting them and helping them to solve problems and make informed decisions. It is a way to share your expertise with those who need it most. The essence of this content strategy is believing that if we, as business owners and professionals, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty. The days of taking from consumers and not giving back are long gone! And as businesses... why shouldn't we provide optimum value to our customers in every way we can!

Why is content marketing so important?
Smart marketers understand that traditional marketing is becoming less and less effective by the minute. In today's society consumers have technologies available to them that allow them to use a DVR to bypass advertisements on television. They have YouTube videos to explain the latest news rendering the need for magazines useless and they surf the internet so well that they can retain online information without banners or buttons. It is clear that content marketing is vastly important and any professional or business owner that does not understand this is sure to suffer for it.

How do you use content marketing?
Content marketing is a part of all of your marketing tactics, not a separate entity. You should ALWAYS provide relevant, informative content across all forums.

Social Media Marketing: Social media marketing strategies actually come AFTER content marketing strategies.

Inbound Marketing: The better your content the more inbound traffic and leads you obtain.

SEO: Search engines have ways of rewarding quality, consistent content with higher rankings.

PPC: PPC does not work well without quality content behind it.

PR: The most successful PR strategies focus less on their businesses and more on the concerns of their readers.

Content Strategy: It is more effective to have quality content that is well guided and intentional.

Which businesses should use content marketing strategies?
Virtually any and all businesses can use a content strategy and benefit greatly from it. A hair salon can give great tips on hair care. A car dealership can provide informative content on how to detail your car at home. A plumber can provide content on things that can damage your pipes or make the last longer. A day care center can provide parents with information on proper nutrition for children and the list goes on and on!

Use Of Plastic Crates And Its Significant Benefits

Plastic is one of the most versatile products that are used for a wide variety of purposes. It has literally altered the purpose of storage, transportation and display items. In the earlier days, wooden crates were used for storage and transportation purposes. But due to various shortcomings, wood can seldom be used for transportation.

Plastic crates include various beneficial features and therefore it is widely used for a range of purposes. Moreover, it is easy to buy different types of crates from online stores at affordable price rates.

Some Important Benefits:

Eco-Friendly: One of the major benefits of using these crates is that it is environment friendly and it can be recycled.

Light in Weight: These crates are light in weight and therefore it can be used for shipping and transportation purposes. Bottles, containers and food items can be easily transported using these crates.

Easy to Manufacture: It is also quite easy to manufacture these materials as it requires less energy compared to the process of manufacturing paper.

Easy to Clean And Maintain: Another important benefit of using these crates is that it is quite easy to clean and maintain effortlessly.

Less Labor And Storage Cost: It also involves less labor and storage costs compared to the other types of materials. It can be attractively stored and displayed on the floors to increase sales.

Durability: It has a longer shelf life compared to wood and paper storage items. It is therefore quite cost-effective compared to wooden counterparts.

Odorless: As it seldom retains contaminants and dust particles, it remains clean and odorless for a long period of time. It is therefore considered to be an ideal material to store and transport all types of materials such as chemicals, food, diary products, meat products, poultry, fish and so forth.

Easy to Transport: As it is light in weight, it can be used for transportation quite easily. It also helps to save fuel as it can be moved easily.

Tensile: It is also known to be stronger than the wooden crates and it has the capacity to hold more materials.

Anti-Corrosive: As plastic material is anti-corrosive, it can be used to transport metals and other products which tend to become corrosive. As these crates seldom corrode, it is easier to clean and maintain even if it becomes wet.

Today plastic crates can be bought easily from online stores as there are a huge range of materials made available through various online stores at reasonable price rates.

Plastic crates can be bought in different sizes, styles and designs to suit different requirements and purposes. There are crates in different colors too which can be chosen accordingly. There are products with legs which facilitate easy storage and use.

Apart from these varieties, there are crates which are molded specifically to store vegetables, fruits, milk packets and so forth. Most of the reputed manufacturers also offer customized products to buyers at affordable price rates. These crates can be custom ordered in various sizes and shapes to suit different requirements.

Storage In Cloud for Small Business

Whether you are a large business or an individual, you may be interested in the benefits that cloud storage can provide. This is a progressive technological development that may interest a few people out there. If you would like to make sure your documents are stored safely, you will need to consider cloud techniques. This is because they offer some top rate security and can prevent other people from gaining access to your private information. This is why there are some files that really must be stored in the cloud if you want to support data security.

One example of this is employee driver's license information. Many businesses may be required to collect this information on their employees for a number of reasons. If they will be driving on the job, employers will need to verify that they have active licenses. This can also be a good way to make sure that employees are actually who they say they are during the hiring process. But if you want to keep this information in your records, think about how you can store it if possible. Think about checking out how you can use content focused software to further streamline the way you store this data. One that can offer a useful content curation lens that can quickly search for employee information like this.

You might also need to think about whether you can keep up tax records through these different cloud storage locations. This is important for businesses that need to make sure that they are keeping accurate records over time. You may need to have financial professionals take a look at these records for regular reviews. Think about looking for a visual search option that can help people find the right records that they need to look through. You don't want to lose valuable records like these, so make sure you are well equipped to store them properly.

Many businesses may also need to gather confidential data from their customers. If you manage a tax preparation company, you may have to get regular access to the financial information of your clients. You will need to find a content management system that will help you store these files in a cloud system, helping you analyze the data that you have stored. This could be perfect if you need to look through encrypted financial data that you want to keep secure, but don't want to leave unorganized.

Finally, you will also need to find the right cloud storage space that will be able to host medical records. These records often need the strictest levels of confidentiality, which is very important for some people out there. If you have wanted to store employee or consumer health records, think about linking up with a document search function. This can give approved people the ability to conduct a visual search of health records you have safely stored in the cloud. This is a surprisingly helpful tool if you need to store these records in cloud space.

Why You Need DTP With Document Translation Services

If you've recently requested estimates from companies offering document translation services, you may have noticed a price for "DTP". So what does it mean?

DTP, or desktop publishing, is a fairly broad term that refers to creating documents with pleasing layouts on a computer. When it comes to translation, DTP means adjusting the format of the document to ensure that it looks neat and matches the original work's format. Some agencies may refer to it as typesetting or even layout.

Why DTP is Important

Document translation services will explain to you that the length of a translated text differs from the length of the original. It can land up being shorter or longer, depending on the combination of languages which means the layout doesn't match the original perfectly. The layout issues can either be minor or major - if a paragraph becomes longer in a Word document, for example, so the entire document lengthens. This isn't a big deal usually, but should the translated text in an image extend beyond its original boundaries and thus becomes illegible then there is a problem that needs solving!

The document translation services process typically included post-DTP proofreading. This allows the team the chance to see the work in its final form (they're not usually able to see the layout during translation). They can then spot any problems.

DTP and Microsoft Word...

This is the simplest of DTP routes. In fact, clients might even wonder if the daunting phrase "DTP" is even at all necessary for a simple Word document. That's why many vendors offer DTP as a separate service. That way, if you don't want to pay for layout and prefer to do it yourself, the chosen document translation services will simply deliver a raw, unformatted file.

Microsoft Powerpoint

Powerpoint files are a little more challenging than Word files for layout. This is due to the fact that there is no flow of text between pages and therefore Powerpoint files aren't that well suited for text expansion. When the translation turns out to be longer than the original copy, it expands past boundaries and displays incorrectly.

Images are another common problem. A Powerpoint file typically contains text in images that cannot be edited. This is where document translation services come in handy. They can extract the text from the images for the translation team to work on and then insert it back into the image.

The Proofreading Phase

This is usually an optional step in the DTP process. Ideally, though, all files should go through a proofreading process, even if it's just a quick review. In fact, this is crucial with the more complex files. With Powerpoint and Word documents, a reviewer who has worked on the translation will suffice. With more complex formats, though, a specialist may be required to export the document to PDF to go over and add notes or implement changes.

Both DTP and the post-proofreading services are separate from the translation process and that's why they are quoted as a separate rate. That way, if you think you can format a text yourself, you can skip that phase.

7 Good Reasons Why You Should Invest in Cambodia

The government of Cambodia has addressed many problems that once threatened the country's economy including the reimbursement of value added taxes for export products, bank licensing requirements, and tax holiday extension for the garment industry among several others. If you are planning to establish a business that will ensure you of high returns, then Cambodia may just be a feasible option.

1. Promising Investment Opportunities

In the years 2000 up to 2002, Cambodia's construction and infrastructure sectors improved greatly by 83 percent, and these industries continue to thrive annually. In fact, irrigation systems, hotels, housing, and roads are largely in demand. There are also Build-Operate-Transfer projects that the government has approved to improve airports in the country, and the telecommunication network is constantly being upgraded to match up to international standards. With numerous projects that are planned for this country, investors can choose from various business opportunities that offer significant profits in the future.

2. Competent and Cheap Work Force

About 200,000 individuals each year enter the labor force as they reach the legal working age in the country. While it is a fact that Cambodians have lower levels of education, as compared to individuals in neighboring nations such as Vietnam and Thailand, the work force is a strongly-motivated, dedicated and hardworking one. Cambodia's Angkor Complex, for instance, is a proof that the Khmer people possess a great deal of patience and excellent skills in the labor industry. Moreover, labor fees are significantly low in Cambodia than in other Asian countries. In the garment industry, the minimum wage is $45 monthly, which means business owners can save more money without sacrificing the quality of their projects.

3. Less Restrictions in the Labor Market

Based on the Index of Economic Freedom by the United States, Cambodia takes the 35th place when it comes to countries with an open economy, The study was conducted in 2003, and it included 170 countries throughout the world. In terms of economic freedom, Cambodia is on par with Japan, and it is quite ahead of other Asian nations such as Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia. Although Cambodia may not be free from problems that are related to politics and government policies, the nation welcomes foreign investors because of the country's high market-friendliness factor.

4. Significant Assets

One of the many areas that Cambodia plans to attract foreign investors is tourism. The country features a remarkable cultural asset in its historical temples in the Angkor Complex, and Cambodia expects to reach about a million tourists in the coming years because of its impressive tourist sites. Another important asset that Cambodia possess is the labor force. Although these workers may be poorly-trained, this is a problem that can be resolved easily since they are willing to be trained and hardworking. Foreign investors will also appreciate the fact that labor costs are quite low, unlike in other Asian nations including Thailand and Vietnam.

5. Abundant Natural Resources

Cambodia has a fertile land that possesses a wealth of agricultural commodities. Moreover, there are numerous mineral deposits that are left untapped, as well as off-shore gas and oil reserves. Lastly, there is a great potential that the country offers for those who are willing to invest in livestock farming and aquaculture.

6. Good Location

The country has a strategic location, as it is in the central portion of the Greater Mekong Subregion, which offers vast potentials for Cambodia's economic growth. Furthermore, this good location offers a quick access to notable world markets via trade preferences. It is also worth noting that this Asian nation is situated between two countries with more developed and more established economies, and this can lead to economic spillover. The country also ensures easy access to sea trade as it is alongside the Gulf of Thailand.

7. Stable Politics

Cambodia engages in developing investment relationships and trade opportunities to other governments around the world, and it has maintained positive relationships with other nations. Most of the country's key ministers have been serving the government for decades, and the country's prime minister has been in the office since 1985. Hence, this leads to political stability and chances for economic growth, as Cambodia maintains a good reputation from other nations.

Grow Your Business Fast By Hiring a Business Coach

Majority of small business owners and fast growing companies have one thing in common; they have all, at some point at least, hired an executive business consultant to help them achieve their business objectives. Also known as a business coach, these professionals have one job: helping you come up with a strategy for achieving your business objectives and providing executive coaching services to help you carry the strategy to completion. If you're a business executive or owner, you might be thinking to yourself, "I can create a plan and execute it." However, you also need to ask yourself why so many successful companies and executives hire an executive business consultant. Let's take a look at some of the reasons.

For many business owners, their core competency may not be in the business or marketing side. They started the business because they had an idea of a great product or service that they could deliver. You're a quality contractor, an excellent lawyer, a brilliant doctor or a talented IT consultant and your training, skills and gifts are in your field of study. However, typical technical training does not include training in marketing services and it certainly does not train one on running a business. To develop strategic business development plans that are effective, new business owners hire a business coach to help them attract steady flow of new customers and clients faster and easier.

A strategy execution consultant will help you achieve your business goals easier and faster. The fact is that when you are working hard in managing your business, it is not easy to see the entire forest when you are between the trees. Hiring an executive business consultant makes it possible for you to strategize with a professional who has the 40,000 foot high view your business. You need not to use the typically painful trial and error approach with which you may end up wasting years trying to maneuver your business growth based on your minimal experience. Fast growing companies hire a business coach because business consulting services help them work smarter and to save them unnecessary stress and pain, in addition to helping them grow their businesses easier and faster.

The other reason why fast growing businesses hire business consulting services is that as a business owner, you don't have anyone else to talk to about your decisions. If you are the President and business owner, you have numerous important decisions to make every week but you may not have anyone to share out ideas with. It is rather lonely at the top, but this does not have to be your story. This is the reason why so many leaders of fast growing companies choose to hire a small business coach or a bottom line coach. When growing your business, there's a lot at stake and you not only need a sounding board, but also a feedback from an expert.

While being your own boss has its advantages, it also comes at a price. You need an executive coach to help you get out of your own way.

Relationships And The Trucking Lifestyle: What They Don't Teach You In Trucking School

When you first get into trucking school, especially if you don't come from a trucking family, you may be under the mistaken notion that trucking is a job, a career or a profession. You may see it as a nine to five job if you are considering only doing short hauls, or you may be a bit more realistic and see it as a few days a week away from home. However, the vast majority of new drivers still see it as a job with set hours, time for the family, and a very understanding boss that will grant you days off and time off as you schedule and request.

While these trucking jobs do exist, they are few and far between. This is usually pretty clear after about the first week after talking with other drivers in the class that have worked in the industry or grew up with family members in the industry. At this time you have heard about the days on the road, thinking you are returning home only to be booked another load going the opposite direction, or having your days off cancelled because there was work to do. You may have also heard about having to work in different states to find loads or to travel where the oilfield, natural gas, construction or industrial employers needed truckers on a more regular basis.

You are beginning to realize that trucking is not a job or a career; it is a way of life. It is a 24/7 job where, in most cases, you have to be ready to take on a load, bobtail back to pick up a load or head out across the country when you just want a few nights in your own house with your family. Of course, there are those select jobs that allow you to do all that, but those are usually already taken by more experienced drivers with company seniority or those that are driving as owner-operators that do their own scheduling. Even this last group typically has to work when work is available since there will be days and weeks where business is slow and loads are few and far between.

This can be really rough on the trucker, especially if they have a spouse and children at home. It doesn't matter if you are Mom or Dad or what age your kids are, being always from them, as well as your spouse and the comforts of home, can be a hard reality of the life.

However, it is not just difficult for the person on the road behind the wheel. It is also difficult for the spouse that often feels like a single parent raising the kids on his or her own. Not only do they have to deal with the house, the kids and the day-to-day grind but they also only have your support only from a distance. They may not understand why you were supposed to be back home in Houston on Thursday but are calling to say you have to go to Montana and won't be back for another week. Promises get broken, feelings get hurt, and relationships often fall apart.

Communication Is Critical

Keeping in touch with your spouse or partner and your kids while on the road has never been easier than it is today. With cell phones, internet, portable Wi-Fi hotspots and text messaging and email you can stay in touch much more than even just a few years ago.

Skype, FaceTime and social media sites like Facebook allow you to stay in touch and up to date with your family and friends. This type of communication helps to make the distances feel shorter and the time spent apart less stressful. It is much more personal than just a phone call every now and then.

It is still important to make the most of your time at home to be with your spouse and family. If you kids have a special event at school or if it is your anniversary or another special date, talk to your dispatcher as far in advance as possible and see what can be arranged. Most of these people understand that parents need to be in their children's lives and spouses and partners need to spend time together, so just be open and let them know why you are making the request for time off or time not on call.

It is also important to recognize the spouse that is staying at home for their role in the family. It is easy to come home and just think about getting in some rest and relaxation, but to your spouse it may seem like you don't care or aren't interested in doing things that they like. Going on a date night or spending the day with the kids to give them some free time is a great way to show them how much you appreciate all they do.

Talking with your spouse, partner or children about the trucking lifestyle and your thoughts about them while you are away helps clear up any confusion or misunderstanding. It will also give them a better idea of what you experience in your daily driving routine and how much you miss them when you out on the road.

Portable Exercise Equipment For The Road

While you are on the road you don't have to give up your workout routine nor do you have to resort to simply walking or jogging to get in your daily 30 minutes of exercise. There are many different options when it comes to compact, lightweight workout devices that will help you to stay committed to fitness and health while not taking up your entire cab and sleeper.

There are obviously different qualities of portable equipment. Surprisingly, the actual price of the equipment is often not an indicator of how effective, efficient or helpful the specific device actually is. A lot of the stuff that you see advertised on late night commercials for low prices is relatively useful and durable, but it may not be up to the wear and tear of being constantly moved and used on a daily basis.

Most of the best types of portable workout systems use resistance types of methods for strength training and stretching. This means that while the equipment is lightweight it is designed to use your own body weight as the actual lift or pull. You should also consider equipment that offers strength or core training for more than one body part. You don't want to have equipment for your legs, abdomen and upper body if you can find one device that has multiple functions and uses.

Equipment that has you standing, rather than sitting, is another factor to consider. When you are standing to workout you are burning more calories just by the position of your body. As your core muscles, the large muscle groups of the body, move to keep you in balance you add to the overall workout. The same is not true if you are lying down or in the sitting position when working out. While this won't add to your calorie burning potential by huge numbers, it will add up over time. You will also find that your balance and core muscles become stronger, helping to prevent injuries to your legs and back.

Below are a few easy to travel with exercise equipment options. You don't have to have them all; you can pick and choose which options work best based on your fitness needs. Remember that one of the best exercises for cardiovascular health and fitness is still a brisk 15-30 minute walk or light jog and, other than a good pair of athletic shoes, there is no additional equipment needed for this activity.


While these are range in weight and are a bit bulky, they are a great all round strength training piece of equipment. They come in a range of different styles and designs but are basically a large round weight with a flat bottom which has a rounded handle, like an old fashioned kettle handle, out of the top. These can be used for all upper and lower body types of strength training.

Generally you will need one light and one heavier kettlebell, but this will depend on your current strength training program. There are also adjustable options that allow you to add weights to one kettlebell to adjust the weight.

Resistance Bands

These are basically longer, very thick elastic bands with two handles, one on each end. The bands can come with a variety of different handles and end straps that just clip on to the end for different types of exercises. Basically they look a lot like thicker bungee cords until the handles or end straps are attached.

The bands are designed to provide different amounts of resistance from light resistances of five or six pounds to over 20 pounds. These are great for both upper and lower body workouts and are essential for abdominal workouts and toning.

Mini-Trampolines Or Rebounders

Look for a folding model that will slip in against any wall or behind your seat. These are smaller, lower trampolines that allow you to run in place without having to find a jogging trail. These trampolines are a great option for individuals that find that high impact activities such as running or jogging cause joint or back pain.

You do have to be careful when using a Rebounder and take is slow until you get the feel for the device and improve your balance. Remember you aren't jumping for height; you are using these for running in place or jumping at low levels on the spot.

Folding Bikes

While these are a bit larger and take up more space than the other equipment mentioned, they are a good idea. These bikes are usually right around two hundred dollars but, with a little care, they will last a lifetime. When folded most models are going to be less than 12 by 30 by 25 inches and they tend to weigh in at about 25 pounds.

These bikes are designed for street riding or riding on fairly level surfaces. The bike is a great option for getting out and seeing the area and is a good alternative to jogging or walking for the cardio part of your workout.

Regardless of what type of exercise you do, getting in at least 30 minutes of cardio and strength training every day will help you stay fit on the road. It will also help you sleep better and stay alert, something that is important in this high demand profession.

Taking Your Kids On The Road

For many truckers it is difficult to work on the road and also have time to spend with your kids. One option that may be worthy of consideration is to take the kids on a shorter road trip with you so you can spend time together and see a bit of the country.

Most kids are naturally very interested in what Mommy or Daddy do for a living and riding along on a road trip may be the highlight of their summer or school holiday long weekend. Of course, you do have to keep several things in mind when deciding if this is the right type of activity for both you and your kids.

The following points can be used to help you determine first if this is a good option and then what you need to consider for the kids safety, comfort and contentment on the journey.

1. How young is too young?

This is really a practical consideration that you need to think through, with your spouse or partner, before even talking to the kids. General the kids need to be old enough to sit for several hours at a time without becoming really antsy and irritated. They should also be old enough to sit securely in the truck seat with the safety belt securely in place. For younger children a booster seat may be required to ensure that they are safely and properly in the vehicle.

Children in their elementary school years will enjoy shorter travels while those that are middle and high school are often game for longer trips. Usually children under school age will be comfortable in the truck if the other parent, or another adult they trust, is around to keep them entertained and occupied.

2. What does my spouse or partner think?

It is really important that both parents are on board with this decision. This is true for both married or living together parents as well as those that are separated or divorced. If one parent is not in agreement it may be important to spend time talking about the issue and sharing ideas rather than to simply take the child and create friction or future problems in the relationship.

3. What do my kids want?

While Mom and/or Dad may think a summer on the road traveling to new places is a great idea, kids may have a completely different preference and agenda. This becomes more problematic as the kids get older and want to spend their summer with friends and doing activities in their home community.

It is important to find out from your child if he or she is interested in coming with you. This question should be posed without trying to guilt the child into saying they want to go. Often leaving the door open by saying, "If you want to come with me in the truck, let me know and we will organize a trip you will enjoy" is a much better option than simply assuming the child will want to go.

4. What is company policy?

If you are an owner-operator you can set your own policy regarding kids riding along. However, if you work for a company it is a good idea to verify with a manager that the kids can ride in the truck. If there is not a written policy in place you may want to ask for written consent for the child to travel in the company truck. This will prevent any misunderstanding or miscommunication and will also support your actions if someone ever questions that the children were along.

5. How long of a trip for the first time?

As a parent you know your child better than anyone else. Generally the younger the child the shorter the first trip should be to ensure that if there is a problem or if the child is not enjoying the trip it isn't a lengthy time they are away from home. Some kids will travel happily for days with Mom or Dad while others may become bored in the first few hours on the road. Remember, even though you are spending your time with your kids you are still at work and have schedules to follow and loads to pick up and deliver.

Once you have determined that the trip is on, you then have some advanced work to do. To make the first trip a success for both the parent and the child be sure to consider the following:

• Talk to the child about the rules for riding in the truck. This could include things like wearing the seatbelt at all times, remaining in the cab when the truck is at the dock or when picking up or dropping of a load, or getting assistance in getting in and out of the truck for younger kids.

• Talk about the fact that Mom or Dad is at work and, while there will be times to look around and see the sights, during the days or nights you will be driving and your attention will have to be on the road.

• Take some games, electronic devices, books or activities that the child can do in the truck to minimize the risk of boredom and irritability.

• Schedule your route to make frequent stops where the child can get out and run, spend some time out of the truck and interact with you when you aren't focused on the road.

• Try to plan the route to stop in areas of interest to a child. This could include a park, a museum, an attraction or something of interest to the child.

• Check to make sure all places you have to enter with your truck allow children in the vehicle. Liability issues have led many companies to have very strict policies about who can even be in the cab let alone outside of the vehicle on their premises.

• Have a contingency plan where the other parent can come and meet you should the child become bored, ill or simply not want to travel with you.

Taking kids on the road can be a wonderful experience for all involved. However, you do need to plan in advance and take into considerations several factors to make this a memorable time for your child.

What to Look Forward to With Corporate Apartments

Corporate apartments can provide you a significant number of features. When you are in town for a week, a month, or even longer, being comfortable is of the utmost importance. You can move into a fully furnished apartment, making it easy for you to settle in and pretend as though you were at home.


One of the most important aspects of corporate apartments is that they are fully functional. There isn't a single room within the apartment that isn't just like what you would have at home. This includes a full kitchen, a bathroom, a living room, a dining room, and an actual bedroom. By having an actual room for each place, you will have more room to spread out and be more comfortable.

Within each of the rooms, they are stocked with all of the things that you would need. This includes sheets in the bedroom, towels in the bathroom, and pots and pans in the kitchen. Once you move in to the corporate apartments, you do not need to supply a single thing. Everything is inside of it, making it easy to move in and get situated instantly.


Corporate apartments are known for being affordable. Whether you are in the apartment because of a work assignment or because you are relocating, you have the ability to save a significant amount of money. You will be able to choose the lease term that works best for you - weekly, monthly, or even quarterly.

Because of the corporate apartment being fully functional, you also save money on food, entertainment, and much more. You won't have to spend your money at a laundromat because there is a washer and dryer inside. With a fully functional kitchen, you have the ability to cook your own food instead of dining out each and every night. There's also cable TV and Wi-Fi, allowing you to watch movies, your favorite TV shows, and surf the Internet.

Conveniently Located

Corporate apartments can be located within the heart of the city. This allows you to be close to everything you need - work, great restaurants, parks, and much more. By being close to everything, you won't have to worry about a significant amount of travel. If you don't have a rental car, you will likely be able to walk everywhere you need - or take advantage of public transportation.

Just as the locals live in apartments in the city, you can find apartment buildings featuring corporate apartments to choose from. This allows you to live near where you work. Regardless of where you work, you will be able to find apartments nearby. This makes it more convenient to get to and from work each day without sitting in a significant amount of traffic.

You may not always get to specify where you work and what city you are sent to, but you do have the option of where you can live for the time that you are in the city. Corporate apartments can provide you with a significant number of features so that you enjoy yourself a little more.

Executive Lodging provides a luxurious twist on temporary housing. We'll help you choose the right temporary housing solution for your needs from a selection of furnished apartments, condominiums, private homes, executive apartments, serviced flats, short term rentals or high-rise units in Houston, Texas and the surrounding areas.

Corporate Apartments: The Better Alternative to Hotels

Whenever you stay in a city for longer than a week, you have a better alternative to hotels. Corporate apartments provide you with more space, more features, and generally more amenities. A hotel is fine for a night or two, but after a while, you begin to feel cramped and homesick. It's almost impossible to feel homesick in an apartment because you are surrounded by many of the same features as your actual home.

A Real Bedroom

When you stay in a hotel room, everything is located off of the bedroom. You walk into the room and you can see your bed, the bathroom, and the "office" all at the same time. There is hardly any privacy and there is no room for socializing - unless you want everyone sitting on your bed - which you probably don't.

By staying in corporate apartments, you have a real bedroom. Depending upon the floor plan of the apartment, you may even have multiple bedrooms. This makes it easier to get a good night's sleep, have some privacy, and even do some entertaining. If you have a two or three bedroom apartment, you can have multiple coworkers staying in the same apartment as you or you can invite your family to come up and visit for a few days or stay with you indefinitely while you are in town.

Real Food Every Day

When you stay in a hotel room, you have no choice but to eat out. It's your choice whether you want to eat in fast food restaurants or in sit-down restaurants, but the premises the same - you are eating out. The reason is because you have no way of preparing food within your hotel room. If you're lucky, you have a coffee maker and a microwave - but that's about it.

With corporate apartments, you have a full kitchen loaded with a refrigerator, a microwave, a stove/oven, as well as pots and pans. This allows you to go grocery shopping and stock your kitchen with all of your favorite foods. Whether you are a gourmet chef microwave kind of person, you will be able to eat much better than what you were eating at a hotel.

It's important to be comfortable wherever you are. Especially when you are in town for longer than a week, being comfortable is critical. You want to be productive at work and you want to get a good night's sleep - and this is only going to be possible if you are comfortable in your surroundings when you get home each night. Being cramped and being homesick is no way to go through life week after week. You may not be able to leave the city you are in because of work commitments - and this means that you have to focus on where you will be staying.