Archive for November, 2014

The U.S. stock market may resemble a roller coaster ride with its ups and downs and fast-paced changes, but because of the potential returns many investors are still drawn to the market and pin their financial hopes on publicly traded companies that just might let them hit the big payday later on. With the stock market also recovering from the slowdown of the last few years, first-timers are being urged to throw their hat in the ring and invest right away.

For the newcomers, and even for some of the more experienced, the question of whether to get stocks or mutual funds always comes up. You are bound to get either slightly different explanations or completely opposite viewpoints on which type to invest your hard-earned money in. Truth is, both individual stocks and mutual funds have their pros and cons, and both can also be ideal financial investments for anyone who understands their differences and maximizes them to his or her advantage. In fact, you can also build a portfolio with a mix of stocks and mutual funds for more diversity.

Individual stocks require hands-on management

When you opt for individual company stocks, you have the freedom to buy how much you want, at what prices, and how to diversify your portfolio. With the liberties of stock purchases come responsibilities as well, which means monitoring the movements and coming up with solutions for minimizing risks, balancing your portfolio, or watching current financial trends in order to make the right decisions regarding your investment.

If you invest in individual stocks, you do have to have a working knowledge of the financial terminologies and trends and understand fully the procedures. You will also need to look at the company’s records, particularly earnings reports, interest rates, commodity prices, etc. Individual stock purchases and investments are ideal for those who already have some experience with the ins and outs of the stock market, and those who have the time and resources necessary to properly manage the investment.

Mutual funds are managed for you

In mutual funds, different stocks are combined into one portfolio, in smaller units and with generally smaller returns or dividends compared to the more high-risk game of individual stocks. A professional fund manager usually handles the mutual fund for the investor, and the manager is in charge of the decision-making, including which stocks or equities to invest in. The investor does not need to worry about record-keeping, corresponding tax forms, or monitoring the fund constantly. The mutual fund and the assigned professional manager takes care of it for the investor.

Mutual funds are great options if you are just getting your feet wet in the water of the stock market, and are not familiar yet with the terminologies and the intricacies of investing in the stock market. The downside is that mutual funds also have smaller return percentages, although because of the smaller risk involved in a portfolio of small equities and diversified industries or markets, mutual funds are also more resilient to market upheavals.


If you are a business owner or entrepreneur recently starting to make your mark in your industry, you may have heard peers or colleagues talk about business development consultants and how they can potentially help you in further enhancing the effect and reach of your enterprise. But you may be asking yourself if you really still need the services of a business development consulting firm. You may want to be cautious of the perspective that if you are in an industry or line of business that you are quite knowledgeable about and have much experience in, you will no longer require the expertise of a consultant, or any other assistance for that matter.

What business development consultants do is very similar to coaching. In sports, coaches study the bigger picture, looking at a perspective that goes beyond just winning a ballgame to actually achieving something for the team as a whole. Business consultants may not necessarily be considered as experts or specialists in the specific industry or trade that you are involved in, but what they do excel at is making your business more in line with your market, and achieving potential and reaching goals through systematic procedures.

Using various methodologies in marketing, communication, and business strategies, a consultant can help make your enterprise more relevant and reach your target clientele. Brand marketing, for instance, is one common task that business development consultants often perform for their clients. Branding is a key factor in an advertising-intensive and highly-competitive market. The right branding strategies and techniques can make your business stand out, and the business consultant uses market research, trends, and surveys to come up with a strategy that can place your company’s branding message at the forefront of the communication sphere.

Marketing is another key service of most business consulting firms. A lot of entrepreneurs are highly-skilled in their specific trade or craft, but not as knoweledgeable when it comes to marketing the product to their target audience. Marketing techniques are very highly-organized and scientific in their approach, and need the planning and implementation of qualified and competent consultants, online publisher, or marketing experts to be successful especially at the beginning as your business tries to establish a niche or following.

When you partner with a reliable and highly qualified business development consultant, they can bring their expertise and fill in the gaps where you need assistance the most, pointing out aspects of your enterprise that require improvement or reinforcement in order to maximize available resources and increase impact. Also, they can help you in enhancing procedures that are already in place, raising the standard of excellence and the quality of your workforce.

Business development consultants can assist you greatly in laying the foundation for your new business endeavor, and they bring valuable lessons to the table that you may be able to use in this new undertaking. Do not be afraid to venture out of your comfort zone and get professional advice from consultants; after all, you stand to gain when you are always open to learning.