Commercial Real Estate – What is the Present Status?

U.S. Real estate markets are not so-healthy as they were for decades. First the residential property sector was plagued by the foreclosure crisis and is yet to recover from the devastation. Arising out of the foreclosure crisis, there were many cyclic reactions in the financial market. The cash-crunch spread fast to other areas of financial activities – like auto loans; credit card purchases; hotel room occupancy; business revenues in shopping malls; renting office complexes and so on. Commercial new construction projects were either put off or abandoned totally, aggravating unemployment problem etc.The commercial real estate market is inevitably inter-related with all the above businesses. As such the depletion in business revenues is reflected in foreclosure of commercial properties also. How? For example, if a big hotel losses heavily on revenue by the non-occupancy of its rooms, ultimately financial commitments, including the mortgage repayments get hard-hit. The situation of default in mortgage repayment, consecutively for months, eventually leads to foreclosure and distress sale of the commercial property concerned. Needless to mention a distress sale will bring the market value of the property deep down.Which branch of commercial properties is most affected? We have come across news reports about the commercial foreclosures – particularly in the hotel sector – the affected hotels of luxury located in the tourist industry hot-spots of Las Vegas in Nevada, Florida, and California etc.What is strikingly different in residential foreclosures and commercial foreclosures is – when a residential property is foreclosed, the amount in loss of money is about few thousands of dollars, whereas in a commercial foreclosure, the amount involved runs into millions of dollars.It is for this reason, the lending institutions extending financial supports for commercial property projects are dragging their feet in coming forward to extend new loans. In the situations of default and foreclosure also, they are not rushing into the decision of foreclosure of the property immediately, but consider all possible alternative outlets and compromises with the borrowers.Obviously, rather than individuals, mostly institutions and LLCs are involved in commercial foreclosures and in dire situations of foreclosures, they tend to select the insolvency route, to escape foreclosures.In this context, it is pertinent to take into consideration what the experts in the Industry say about the present status of commercial property sector and foreclosures. While the predictions about the future of commercial real estate vary from person to person, there is unanimity among them about the density of the problem of commercial foreclosures, presently.According to James Lockhart, vice chair of WL Ross & Co. New York, there are a lot of distressed commercial properties facing foreclosures with small commercial banks as of date. The problem institutions holding commercial properties in their business have increased to 775, whereas there were only 50 of them, just a few years back.The impact of commercial foreclosures has led to closing of financial institutions in huge numbers. Of a total of 8,000 U.S. banks dealing in commercial property finances, already 250 have been closed; 1300 banks have been advised by the regulators, to reduce concentration of Commercial Real Estate property loans; and many of them are expecting closure or taken by stronger competitors.However, in the Real Estate industry circles, it is reported that in a “Sentiment Survey” conducted among 100 senior real estate personnel by the Real Estate Round Table, during the second quarter of this year, 82% of the participants expressed satisfaction that the commercial real estate market is better than last year.
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Business Growth Secret Revealed – Using a Marketing Calendar

Using a marketing calendar
Many business owners may not necessarily be doing their marketing planning this way or may choose to be doing this in a similar way. Either way, using a marketing calendar can be hugely successful strategy to grow your business through effective marketing.What is a marketing calendar?
A marketing calendar is a way to organize your marketing activity to specific dates or deadlines relevant to the target markets of your business;For example a florist could target mother’s day marketing and promotion. It may be a more general month target of for instance targeting Christmas shoppers in November. It can also be used to schedule information or promotion to clients who have been engaged to services for a specific period, such as an insurance company may wish to do certain marketing activities prior to renewal dates for instance.A marketing calendar can be a way of aiming at different key target markets throughout the year and aligning all the marketing efforts for greater impact in gaining your target markets.You may also notice trends at certain times of the year, which you may choose to attempt to exploit more fully in your marketing calendar planning. For instance a financial planner may see a spike in new year resolutions leading to more interest in wealth creation early in the new year.How to do a marketing calendar?
Your marketing calendar is a working document you can revise and update throughout the plan year. A marketing calendar should be simple. I recommend a simple spreadsheet matrix with months or dates with your key target market type described along with the key marketing efforts directed at that target market.Go back and review your target markets.
A good business should know exactly who or what kind of client or customers it would like. Remind yourself the types of target markets that you may be winning more, make more money from, have more competitive strengths in, more specialized in or even just downright enjoy more. The key is don’t be too broad or have too many. The more specific your target market is, the easier your marketing becomes and chance of marketing success.Review all of your marketing activity
If you haven’t already done so, go on and write down all your marketing efforts in detail and check on just how effective each marketing tool is for you. To state the obvious you should then consider putting more focus on the ones that work and eliminating the ones that don’t work. You could also try to match certain ones to the different target markets.Some examples of your marketing efforts maybe be:
• Signage• Social media• Websites• Referral partners• Business networking• Paid online marketing• Asking for referrals• Web blogging or SEO• newslettersWhat if this doesn’t apply to your type of business?
Perhaps your business is not at all dependent on the date or time of the year. If so, consider just having after care schedules to perhaps ask for referrals or cross sell you at a certain point after a sale.Where do I find the time to do this?Well often business owners do not get out of the business long enough to develop some systems to improve their businesses. If this is the case they are unlikely to get different results.So they need to look at ways to free up their time to devote in this area. This can be achieved by delegating or training staff to be more capable and giving the business owner more time to develop their business.Otherwise they may simply outsource their marketing and grow their business that way.Some other examples
• One business owner says he arranges a highly discounted sale of stock or wrongly sized materials. As well as clearing out stock, staying tidy, it brought in new people into his showroom and lead to sale of his real product too.• Use a regular say monthly newsletter of useful information or stock listing to your customer list. It will be a great way to keep you in mind of the customers. You may also be inviting them to buy or use your services at the perfect time they may be considering that very purchase at that time.• Curiously at times of elections spending can slump in economies. So you could factor this into your marketing calendar too.Here are some reasons why a marketing calendar will help your business grow
1. having a plan gets you to a destination. You will be efficient in knowing what to do at certain times of the year and can repeat these year in year out.2. Focusing on less gets you a better result. Improving your efficiency from your marketing tools will get you better results.3. More clients and customers come with more marketing activity. Thinking in this way and implementing a system to gain new clients will be effective in improving your sales.4. Improve your branding and reputation. Honestly, being consistent and having good marketing activity will make you appear to be an even more successful business therefore attracting more clients and customers.5. Become more productive. By working on your business you will learn how to outsource and delegate. This will also get your more profit or results with your time.6. Making more success in your business always improves your personal life balance. So having more profits may in turn means more holidays or more staff to help you better enjoy your non working life.

Writing for Children – Step-By-Step Through Educational Publishing

If you enjoy writing nonfiction and love to research topics in all sorts of different subject areas then educational publishing just might be right for you. Many educational publishers need writers. Surprisingly, though, these publishers generally don’t advertise that fact to writer’s magazines or market guides. So here’s how to get started in this active market.DEVELOP A FOCUSThere are basically two different areas of focus you can take in educational publishing. The first is on writing nonfiction (and some fiction, too) that will be used directly by children (sometimes with the help of a parent or teacher). This type of material includes reference books, early-readers, remedial readers, textbooks, educational games, workbooks, and even CDs.The second focus available in the educational market is creating and developing materials that will be used with children by parents, librarians, and teachers. These materials include everything from books of language arts activities designed to help teachers in the classroom, to books of bulletin board ideas and finger puppet patterns.It doesn’t really matter which focus you choose. There are dozens of opportunities available for writers who want to develop educational materials directly for kids, as well as opportunities for those writers who wish to develop materials for teachers and parents to use with kids.ASSESS YOUR SKILLS AND BACKGROUNDTo develop a focus in educational publishing you will need to assess your skills and background. If you have experience as a preschool or elementary school teacher or librarian, for example, there are many educational publishers who might like to work with you.Do you speak fluent Spanish, in addition to English? Then you might be able to freelance for educational publishers that produce books for children who are learning English as a second language.Even if you don’t speak Spanish (or any other foreign language for that matter) and you’ve never been a librarian or a teacher, you can still break into children’s educational publishing. Many publishers don’t require authors to have a background in education. They simply want good writers who know how to thoroughly research a topic and write about it in a way that children will find interesting and easy to understand. An excellent way to test your researching skills will be to research different educational publishers. Find out which ones do hire writers without teaching experience, and which ones do hire writers to develop projects they create in house (more about this later).DEVELOP YOUR RESUME OR BIOOnce you develop a focus for the type of educational materials you want to create, you will need to let publishers know you’re available and what you have to offer. For this you will need a brief bio or a resume. A bio (short for biography) consists of a few sentences or paragraphs that describe your background and publishing experience. The back inside cover of most books (both fiction and nonfiction) usually includes a short bio of the author. Read the bios of a few of your favorite authors until you get the hang of how a bio should be written. You probably won’t have as much publishing experience as your favorite author, but you’ll still be able to come up with a sentence or two that describes your work as a writer and/or educator. It might be something as simple as, “Mary Roberts is a former third grade teacher with over 20 years of experience in the classroom. While she was teaching, Ms. Roberts developed a wide variety of activities to use with her students.”A resume is longer than a bio. It should include a list of your publishing credits, any writing related experience, and a list of your teaching experience (if applicable), as well as your education.In addition to a bio or resume, you’ll need to get good at writing cover letters. A cover letter simply introduces you to the publisher and explains that you are either looking for assignments with this publisher or you wish to submit your own ideas for publication. If you hope to submit your own ideas for publication, you’ll need to learn how to write a proposal or prospectus. Many publishers have guidelines for proposals at their website. In fact, some publishers even have a form you can complete online that will let you pitch your idea directly to an editor to see if there’s any interest in your idea before you go to all the work of developing a full proposal.Generally, a proposal should include an outline or a table of contents for the book you are proposing, an introduction or overview, and enough sample pages to give editors a clear idea of the book you are proposing, as well as your writing style. If you’re proposing a book with illustrations, yet you’re not an illustrator, don’t worry about the illustrations. Simple drawings that make your ideas clear will be sufficient. Usually the publisher has artists on staff, or will hire an outside artist, to illustrate your book if it is accepted for publication.STUDY THE MARKETSOnce you’ve developed a bio or resume, it’s time to start studying the markets. Skim through the pages of a current children’s book market guide to find listings for a wide array of educational book publishers that produce materials for children, parents, and educators. Many of these listings include the URL for each publisher’s website. Go to publishers’ websites that you are interested in writing for to see if manuscript submission guidelines, along with information about their current needs, are posted there. Search these websites carefully. Sometimes the manuscript submission guidelines are a bit difficult to find. Look under the “About Us” or “Contact Us” pages if you don’t see a link directly to submission guidelines. Once you get to the guidelines, study them carefully. Also, study the kinds of books and other materials this publisher publishes by looking through their online catalog or list of products.Also send off for publishers’ catalogs, then look through them to see how much space is allocated to each subject. If most of the space in a catalog is allocated to products about science, for example, then you will have a better chance of selling science related products to this publisher than you would materials for other subject areas.CONTACT PUBLISHERSOnce you’ve developed a bio and resume, and you’ve studied several educational publishers, you’ll need to contact the publishers that interest you. If you don’t have a manuscript you wish to submit, but would like to write for a particular educational publisher, send a cover letter asking if they hire writers to develop titles they create in house. Include your bio or resume, along with a few clips of articles you have published (if you have them) or some writing samples.As you gain writing experience and acquire more writing credits, chances are you will also develop more contact with other writers. Learn to network with these people to find out about additional opportunities with educational publishers.In the end, most educational publishers just want good writers and researchers. If that describes you, then educational publishing just might be what you’ve been looking for to get your writing career off the ground.