Discount Car Rental Deals – Tips For Finding The Best Rates Online

The start of the season has already been an excellent start for any search regarding discount car rental deals. As it would be simple to end up being stressed by the whole set of offer within the web-based business, follow this advice intended for simpler look up amongst providers.

For starters, you have to be aware of that you can find a couple of types of providers which are supplying discount car hire deals. In order to save you valuable time, it’s not a secret to expert renters the fact that major worldwide businesses cost more whereas broker agents that team up with them are certainly more low-priced and simpler to acquire large bargains from suppliers.

Therefore the broker agents have the ability to offer the equivalent vehicle class at a lower price. Focus on broker agents in search for the purpose of best offers. Next, there are particular nations which are normally less costly than others. Greece, Cyprus, Slovenia, Malta, Spain, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland as well as Turkey are among the most cost-effective rental car marketplaces throughout Europe.

At the same time Scandinavian regions tend to be famous for much higher starting fees in European union in default in comparison with previously discussed nations Renting a car in Norway, Sweden, Finland or Iceland will never be as cheep as renting a vehicle in Greece. Arranging beforehand is by no means too early.The second the holiday, business travel schedules are identified to you, reserve a vehicle straight away.

Using this method you will enjoy a couple of critical goals: find discount car rental deals effortlessly as last-minute booking and even you will have much more choices to select from in terms of vehicle class diversity.

Finest discount car rental deals in this year are incredibly excellent valued furthermore in Middle East locations together with several European popular area favored by British and Russian as well as German travelers. In order to find out more which places tend to be this year car rental deals supreme destinations check out car rental deals web page and check the rates.

In addition, iPhone and android phone owners can download an application developed to help you find the best car rental deals online. By having an application on your phone you have ability to check out the prices just when you need to without using computer and having an internet connection.

The Most Profitable Business Sectors in 2010

Entrepreneurs dream of and start businesses for a variety of reasons. Some hate the jobs they are in, while others dislike the politics of a big office environment. But most would agree that the lure of freedom and flexibility were huge motivating factors.

Regardless of the rationale behind their decision, one criterion is more critical than any other: They want to make money and support their families. While it is easy to get distracted by chasing customers, growing top line revenue and expanding premises, the simple business fundamentals – profit and cash flow – determine whether the entrepreneur’s dream will ultimately last or turn into a nightmare.

It is almost impossible to predict the success and financial health of a business by looking at the number of employees, the look/feel of the website, the size of the office or the resume of the owner. Most of us would assume that the only way to really know, is to get a copy of and read the financial statements. While this is a great idea and valuable exercise, there is also another, easy way to narrow down your choices. You could simply choose to start or buy one of the Top 10 Most Profitable businesses – i.e. a venture that statistically has the highest probability of being financially successful.

Sounds straightforward, doesn’t it? But how [exactly] do you find out which businesses are on the list?

It is not widely known in the marketplace, but there are in fact certain industry classifications which have a track record of high net profit margins and solid cash flow. There are also certain characteristics and financial metrics of these select businesses which exponentially enhance their profitability. So much so, that these particular businesses are 5 to 10 times more likely to survive and thrive.

1. Consultants, experts and speakers
This industry includes business advisors, authors, coaches, therapists, psychologists, authors and paid speakers. On average, these businesses enjoy high per hour rates, carry no debt or inventory and have very low fixed expenses. The number of professionals in this area is growing rapidly each year and they are consistently generating net profit margins of 25-35%. Not bad for a business that is borne out of one person’s expertise – the large majority of these businesses employ less than 3 people.

2. Accounting and financial services
While this industry may sound boring – bookkeeping, payroll, tax compliance, accounting advice and software, advisory services, financial/investment advice etc – these practitioners become a whole lot more interesting when they are standing on their wallets. These businesses tend to have the longest client relationships (as most people perceive a huge risk inherent with switching to a new provider) and thus the lowest churn rate and the lowest cost to acquire and retain clients. They enjoy profit of around 23-26%, have enormous pricing power and their services are seen as must-haves, not discretionary spends. By and large, they also tend to have low operating expenses per client and as a percentage of sales.

3. Legal specialists
Despite their reputation as sharks and bottom feeders, lawyers make excellent profit and cash flow (on average 20-24% net profit margin). Their success factors mirror those of their accounting and financial services colleagues. Most clients are attained through WOM and referrals (keeping marketing costs low) and they tend to stay with their advisor over the long term as there is a perceived risk/cost to switching attorneys. Lawyers are fantastic at generating repeat business and up sales. Some of the most profitable areas include DUI defence, criminal law, tax and estate planning and divorce law.

4. Dentists – general and specialists
Dentists have three key operating advantages – they are often able to treat multiple patients simultaneously, they enjoy high average dollar transactions (most of which is not covered by health care plans) and their operating costs are relatively low (when divided by the total number of patients serviced). Yearly maintenance services (cleaning and x-rays) produce high contribution margins and dentists do a great job of convincing us we need them regularly. On average, they spend more than any other health provider on follow ups and re-bookings. Fortunately, the cost of this direct marketing is much lower than the cost of acquiring new patients and produces returns of 18-22% for the practice.

5. Designers
No matter what they specialize in – structures, decor, your brand, high end clothing and accessories – these professionals have a flair for bringing in the money – in fact about 16-19% on the bottom line each year. These practitioners benefit greatly from high end pricing and relatively low variable product costs and operating margins. Their greatest assets are their customer lists and their time. The greatest risk for those who are not as successful in this area is productivity – either not understanding the time involved to complete a job or not charging market rates for their time.

6. Medical specialists and veterinary medicine
It pays to specialize. The medical profession is relatively recession -proof. No matter what, people and pets tend to get sick and we rarely opt to forgo seeking care and treatment. Surprisingly on the rise are highly discretionary services such as plastic surgery, Lasik eye surgery, lap band specialists, infertility treatment and hair restoration. These specialists are often able to charge outside of what is covered by public and private health care (earning profit of around 14-16%) and they earn much more than their general medicine counterparts.

7. Specialised health and alternative medicine
As with traditional medicine, it pays to specialize. Mental health, podiatry, chiropractic, naturopathy, acupuncture, physical therapists etc. enjoy profits of 13-15% due to high average dollar transactions, repeat visits, low cost of goods sold and low operating margins.

8. Eldercare and retirement services
As the average population continues to age, there is a growing strain on young families from both ends – the need to manage child care with a career AND the need to manage the transition of elderly parents into assisted living or full time care. As a result, placement services, retirement villages, aged care services etc. are growing and becoming more lucrative. Private services in particular can earn 12-14% before tax.

9. Insurance and mortgage brokers
These businesses often cost very little to start and operate and earn their money through 2 distinct streams – the upfront fee they earn for securing the deal and ongoing annual trailers (which can often grow to 80% of their total revenue). While recent changes in many jurisdictions have reduced or delayed their initial payments from banks and various institutions, the ongoing passive revenue streams make these profitable businesses at 11-14% on average. The perceived hassle of switching is high, thus most retain customers for long periods of time and promote/receive referrals regularly.

10. Online business, small deposit and lending institutions
The internet has made it possible for anyone to set up shop and sell goods or services online with little or no experience and low overheads. While there are many dud eBusinesses, the ones that are making money are doing it on a huge scale. The most profitable ones (selling services and membership continuity programs) are earning more than $0.20-0.30 cents on the dollar each year in net profit, but examples of these are few and far between. On average, the ones that sell products and/or services should enjoy 11-14% on the bottom line with no debtors, low inventory and a small investment in fixed assets. Specialised credit unions and private lenders are also enjoying profit margins of around 10-13% due to low overheads and a growing mistrust among consumers with the traditional banks.

From this list, we can draw several important conclusions. First professional services is a winner. Of the list above, 8 out of 10 business fall into the category of professional services. The core drivers of their profitability being steady demand for services(despite economic ups and downs), low overheads, high contribution margins and repeat business. Aside from law, specialized medicine, dentistry and accounting, many of these professions also enjoy relatively low barriers to entry.

More often than not, it pays to specialize. Businesses in niche areas are often able to set high prices, command high value sales with large contribution margins and generate both repeat and referral businesses. This lesson can also easily be extrapolated and applied out to traditionally difficult or low profit industries. Take for example, the restaurant business or general trades like welding or electrical services. By becoming highly specialized, these businesses can directly influence the success and viability of their enterprises.

And finally, size definitely matters. In the small to mid size sector, economies of scale in most industries kick in around $1m in revenue – and this is especially pronounced in industries that require an upfront investment in specialized fixed assets like medical equipment, manufacturing equipment and technology.

10 Benefits of Travel RN Nursing Jobs

People choose travel RN nursing jobs for a variety of reasons. Some like building a career as a travel nurse, as it lets them build unique and valuable skills. Others like the often lucrative pay opportunities. And of course there’s the wealth of destinations that those with travel RN nursing jobs can choose from. Travel RN nursing jobs are the launching pad to new adventures and new challenges. Here are the top 10 reasons that thousands of others have pursued travel RN jobs.

1. The chance to travel across the country – Want to see the United States? Whether you’ve dreamed of spending autumn in New England or winter in Southern California, travel RN jobs can help make it happen. Love the outdoors? Then you can take assignments near Colorado’s Rocky Mountains or by Washington’s scenic Puget Sound. Have you ever dreamed of hiking across the mesas of New Mexico? Want to relax along the shores of the Gulf Coast? You can do it all with a travel nursing career.

2. Great payment opportunities – Travel RN jobs are in demand. And that demand is only expected to grow. That means that travel nurses are often handsomely compensated. Typical pay rates range from $22 to $40 an hour, while experienced nurses can sometimes get specialized travel positions that pay even more.

3. Build your resume – Travel health jobs often place nurses alongside a range of experts in some of the world’s leading health care facilities, which gives traveling nurses the opportunity to learn new techniques and develop unique skills.

4. Choose your workplace – Some people prefer travel RN jobs and assignments at large, fast-paced health facilities. Some would rather prefer to work in a smaller community hospital. The great news is that travel nurses can experience them all while on assignment. There are always many choices available, and you can choose the RN nursing assignments that are right for you.

5. Greater control over your career – Ever feel like taking a month off? Everyone does from time to time. And for travel nurses, it’s much easier to take time off. Want a couple of weeks or a month off? You can do it between travel jobs. That also provides great opportunities for continuing education. With RN nursing assignments, it’s easy to schedule time off to take a class, or get an assignment near the country’s best nursing colleges.

6. Get bonuses – It’s not uncommon for travel RN nursing jobs to come with generous sign-on bonuses. Travel nurses can earn anywhere from $500 to $6,000 for simply signing on for a temporary assignment. And that’s in addition to pay rates that are often higher than the hourly rate for permanent nurse positions.

7. The opportunity to travel with family or friends – It’s often easy to find great travel nurse assignments that you can sign on to with a friend. Traveling with friends makes exploring the United States even more exciting. And if you’d like to share accommodations with a friend, that’s often possible.

8. Get great housing at no cost – Most travel nursing jobs come with high quality and free housing that’s near your workplace. Some bonuses can include gyms, swimming pools and spas. Getting adequate furniture and other utilities will also be arranged by the travel nursing staffing agency. In other words, everything will be ready for you when you arrive to your assignment.

9. Meet new people and make new friends – Travel RN nursing jobs are the perfect opportunities to meet new people. It’s common for travel nurses to establish great relationships with people across the country. Thanks to online social networks and professional networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, it’s now easier than ever to connect with new people in new cities.

10. Have the ability to try out new locations before you move there – Thinking about relocating but not yet 100 percent sure it’s a good idea? Taking travel RN nursing jobs in a city you’re thinking of moving to is an ideal way to test out the area and decide if it’s right for you.

In other words, travel RN nursing jobs offer nurses freedom. You can choose where you want to work, when you want to work and what you’d like to do. With travel RN nursing jobs, you can take jobs that offer you the pay that you’re worth. It’s all in your hands. Maximize your earning potential. Gain valuable experience. And most importantly, have fun.

In many travel RN nursing job positions, you will have the opportunity to re-sign on to the job if you enjoyed the experience and want to stay. But the best thing about travel RN nursing jobs is that you’ll also get to say goodbye to the office politics and other hassles associated with permanent nursing positions.

Electric Cigarettes (cigarros electronicos)? An initial Line Reaction to Giving up Smoking

Electric cigarettes(cigarros electronicos) really are a first line reaction to giving up the demon tobacco weed and preventing the consumption of poisonous chemicals and pesticides that are by items from burning tobacco in cigarette(cigarette), pipes and cigars.

Electric cigarette(cigarro electronico) are determined by nicotine being breathed in in the small atomizer included in the electric cigarettes(elektronines cigaretes) however that’s in which the resemblance finishes when evaluating electric cigarettes(elektroniskas cigaretes) to regular tobacco filled cigarettes.

Preventing the deadly practice of smoking cigarette or tobacco items do not need to function as the agony it’s been for decades of people who smoke previously electric cigarettes(elektroniske cigaretter) enable people who smoke to create the difficult and somewhat harrowing transition from smoking regular tobacco items and also the debilitating unwanted effects and withdrawal signs and symptoms to some creation that brings about all of the pleasures of smoking with no Uncategorized dangers.

Traditional tobacco items are statistically accountable for over 400,000 deaths in the usa each year and never surprising really once the content of tobacco is analysed and also the results show some 5,000 chemicals and compounds are contained therein, including numerous chemicals for example arsenic, chemicals, ammonia & benzopyrene simply to title a couple of.

Electronic cigarettes(sigarette elettroniche) really are a socially acceptable option to smoking regular tobacco items because there’s no smoke produced therefore there’s no smoke smell hanging in mid-air, neither are non people who smoke around the immediate vicinity contaminated using the foul smell and acrid burning sensation to them, nor it is possible to danger from what’s generally known to as ?passive smoking.
Overall, electronic cigarettes(cigarette) really are a safe option to regular tobacco items in just as much that no deadly chemicals or compounds are made available to your body.

Electronic cigarettes(sigaretta elettronica) work by vaporizing a tiny bit of liquid nicotine which provides the enjoyable feeling acquired from smoking, but no hideous unwanted effects connected with smoking real tobacco items for example stained teeth, foul-smelling breath, emphysema, cancer from the lung area, throat and mouth and also at worst, a lengthy and agonized slow dying.

E-cigarette have numerous, several benefits for private wellness and health, but additionally they provide an excellent wealth advantage too.

The Government does not tax them out of the box the situation with real tobacco items, plus they are cheaper professional rata without ?no tax? benefit.

To learn more and also to discover which non tobacco electronic cigarettes (cigarro)or electric cigarettes is worth considering and also to break the deadly habit a person can have, start smelling more gratifying and restore your wellbeing.

Which Is More Cost-Effective, Cabs or Car Rentals?

Rent it or cab it?

People like the freedom of having their own vehicle to drive about in, at home or when they travel, and the tendency is to book a rental car when you are away. But freedom comes with a price and it depends where your travel destination is as to whether you’re best to rent a car or take a taxi.

Cheap ground transportation depends upon location, accessibility and extraneous expense factors, like gasoline costs and parking fees. Add to that the potential complexity of finding your way around a strange city, especially a large one, and you might change your mind about what freedom means.

A trip to, for example, New York City or Montreal, two North American cities with decent public transit systems, plenty of cabs, walkable areas in their cores, and very high parking fees, and you’ll realize that a taxi will almost inevitably surface as the cheapest mode of getting around.

But what if you want a day trip to the Laurentian Mountains or the antiques stores of Hudson? That’s the day to rent a car, or to find out if there is a luxury coach service to those destinations that returns the same day.

Car rentals are convenient, to be sure, but the costs add up quickly (don’t forget insurance and occasional peak-season added fees), unless your airline points cover all or most of the cost; even then, in large cities gasoline and parking is very costly, and that is not usually included in credit card or airline rewards perquisites.

When does a rental car make sense? If you live in North America (and can’t drive across the Atlantic Ocean!) and are vacationing in Italy, for example, landing in Rome and taking a motorcar tour of Tuscany and other regions from there, your only other viable option is the train. Like anywhere else, gasoline in Europe is expensive, but you can’t take a full driving holiday in a taxi. But don’t forget, there are guided tours and some taxi drivers will gladly spend a day with you, exploring San Gimignano; they are often the best tour guides, full of information about their homeland. And driving in other countries can be a harrowing experience, especially if it involves driving on the opposite side of the road than you are accustomed to!

Plan your itinerary, do an accurate cost comparison and decide whether a taxi or car rental, or combination of the two, is the cheapest way to get around when you reach your destination. And don’t forget to ensure that your driver’s license is current, and if you need to, get an international license before you set off for your trip. Happy motoring!

Benefits of Travel Nursing

Want to see places, yet be on the job? Many careers offer that pleasure, but none like travel nursing jobs. It’s exciting to experience different cultures, and it is equally rewarding to know many kinds of people in travel nursing jobs. Think about it. Travel nursing jobs will not only offer you excellent money in addition to free housing and insurance, they will also let you see the entire country, experience different cultures, taste different cuisines, and above all meet new people. But there is another advantage. By opting for travel nursing jobs, you are adding to your unique experience of multiple nursing abilities.

A travel nursing job is a temporary requirement of the mobile health care provider who is able to attend contracted assignments for a health care facility. Normally, these assignments are for a term of 13 weeks, but may vary subject to terms of agreement. The travel nursing job differs from agency nursing whereby, in the case of the latter, the service provider is a local nurse whom hospitals contract mostly for single-shift assignments.

In view of shortages of experienced nursing staff, there is a good scope for travel nursing jobs. Since hospitals can hire experienced travel nurses, by so doing they can save on their resources that would have otherwise been spent for orientation of new nurses or extending matching employee benefits.

Though there is no dearth of travel nursing jobs, a prospective candidate will do well to do solid homework before joining the fray. Here are some pointers:

1. Before You Apply

You need minimum of one-year experience in nursing. Also, you must have nursing license for the states where you wish to practice. A new state license usually takes not less than 6 months for issuance. If you are licensed in a state that participates in the Nurse Licensure Compact agreement, the usual wait to obtain a new license may be waived.

2. Which Travel Company To Choose

This is an important step in finding a suitable travel nursing job. Be diligent and try to unearth as much information as you can. For example, if you can locate other travel nurses, do ask them pros and cons of a company’s service. Not all companies measure up to expectations. Does a company issue paychecks in time? Does it stand by you in emergency? Does it offer free housing and insurance? What is the standard of housing offered? Will you get travel reimbursement? For all these and much more extensive information, think of participating in various travel nurse forums.

3. After You Choose Travel Company

Now is the time to arrange all your papers and start applying. When your application is accepted by a company, you will be asked to select from among several travel nursing jobs. Use some time to research the hospitals of your choice by visiting their websites. After your confirmation, and once your profile matches with the requirements of a recruiting hospital, you will need to establish communication for a phone interview with a company representative. If your interview goes well, you may land the job.

4. What Next ?

Okay, you are now ready for your travel nursing job. But wait. Scan the contract papers thoroughly. Remember what is not written is not guaranteed. So, if there is something amiss in the contract papers, ask for it. Ensure that you perfectly know what is expected of you when you start your new assignment. If this is mandatory on your part, there are other pressing needs you must attend to. Gather information about the new place, its climate, the people, the facilities, where and what to eat, places to see, taxes and levies to think about and so on.

If you are a willing nurse eager to try out travel nursing jobs, an exciting career awaits you. You will get to work in top-ranking hospitals with cutting-edge technology and innovative practices. You will become a good manager of your finances and have more control on your career. But perhaps the most redeeming feature of travel nursing jobs is the incredible opportunity to visit many places and know many people. What could be better? Indeed!

Copyright 2006 Linda Raye

Avail Short Term Cash Advances With Limited Legal Formalities

The unpredictable market condition has made it almost necessary for people to resort to various kinds of loans. However, earlier availing debts was very difficult because of their long formalities and complex terms and conditions. In contrast to this, a number of easy finance possibilities have cropped up to help the people to meet their immediate emergency monetary needs. In this context, the short term cash advances caters the needs of the middle class people and allow them to meet their immediate expenses. What is most impressive about these finances is the fact that they are easily available and can be availed without long formalities or complex terms and conditions.

Today such loans have become very common because of the rise in uncertainty in life. A number of middle class as well as upper middle class people have started depending on such debts to prepare themselves for the unforeseen circumstances. Earlier, people had this misconception that resorting to bank borrowings could often turned out to be risky venture due to the pressure of repayments. But with the introduction of such short term cash advances, one can easily avail necessary finances for the emergency situations like medical needs, educational needs, paying off outstanding debts and many more.

One of the most striking feature of these finances is that they are unsecured in nature and do not require any pledge of security in the form of car, house or other property. This has actually proved very advantageous for the middle class people, who can now avail such debts in spite of not having enough property to be pledged as security. Hence, such financial sources have become more exposed to the people in UK.

Another plus point of these advances lies in the fact that these borrowings can be availed even by those who have low credit history. This means that even if you have defaulted payments for a couple of times in the past, then also you can avail finances from banks as and when required. Now, since these short term loans do not require any security pledging, therefore, they takes less processing time. These debts are getting very popular, as they offer easy repayment schemes which do not affect the savings of the people and reduce the pressure from the borrowers. However, in spite of having favourable terms and conditions these borrowings also involve certain criteria to be fulfilled by the users.

First of all, anyone who wishes to avail such finances must be a citizen of UK and must be minimum 18 years of age. Other than this, the borrowers must have a valid bank account so that the bank can transfer the loan amount directly to their account. The borrowers should also be working for at least a period of 6 months and should earn a handsome salary in order to avail such debts.

These short term cash advances with its favourable terms and conditions have come as saviours for those who cannot afford to avail long term loans because of the legal formalities and security pledging. Therefore, these finances have become highly popular among all class of people, especially the middle class, due to their liberal terms and conditions.

The Strategic Use of Information Technology

TEACHER: Hello, Student. What do you know about Information Technology (IT)?

STUDENT: Well, I know that most software is full of “bugs”! By the way, why are these errors in programs called “bugs”?

TEACHER: Computer “bugs” have been around since malfunctions in a 1945 Mark II were blamed (facetiously) on a moth trapped in a relay. Nowadays the term refers to programming flaws -commands that don’t accomplish the desired result. But I am sure you must know more about IT than the fact that programs have bugs!

STUDENT: Recently I read an interesting article written by John Diebold years ago. Allow me to quote from it:

“Information technology . . . is becoming increasingly the key to national economic well being, affecting virtually every industry and service. One would be hard-pressed to name a business that does not depend on the effective use of information: to design products and services, to track and respond to market demands, or to make well-informed decisions. Information technology will change the world more permanently and more profoundly than any technology so far seen in the history and will bring about a transformation of civilization to match.”

TEACHER: Interesting. There is no doubt that information technology is currently a major force with the potential to affect a range of organizations in fundamental ways.

The impact of information technology on business operations has been enormous and will increase substantially.

There is no doubt that a shift from an industrial economy to an information oriented service economy is under way; and no one knows when the process will slow down.

In essence, scale and the conventional dimensions of time, space, and mass will no longer be constraints on the products of the information age. Unlike the standardized product created for the mass market of the industrial age, the electronic delivery of banking services, for example, is scale-independent and intangible, provides instantaneous service, and is not bound by the physical location of the bank.

STUDENT: AmbaiU’s online courses are a good example! Students from all over the world can instantly access the courseware. The dramatic growth of the Internet’s WWW service has Uncategorizedly been an important factor in the growth of IT in general.

TEACHER: True indeed. Environmental trends like globalization and heightened international competition are speeding the movement toward increased IT use by corporations. The exigencies of worldwide coordination of operations and the need to react rapidly to global competitive threats have emphasized the importance of IT in the current business context. Dramatic technological developments in hardware, software, databases, and telecommunications have simultaneously pushed the utilization of IT further along.

STUDENT: So, is the sky the limit for IT?

TEACHER: Not exactly. At the same time, several factors are militating against the rapid deployment of IT. Among these are the still-slow development of appropriate software, long-standing difficulties in quantifying IT benefits (for justifying IT investment), issues of database integration, and the lack of standards (for the purposes of inter-organizational connectivity).

STUDENT: I also think that there was “over-investment” in IT in the last decade of the 20th. century and even at the beginning of the 21st. And what about IT and Strategic Management?

TEACHER. True, we are primarily concerned with the likely impact of information technologies on the practice of strategic management. The reason for adopting such a perspective reflects a fundamental belief that information technologies can potentially influence the core of a firms activities: Choices pertaining to products, markets, and technologies (the corporate strategy level), as well as competitive methods within each of the product-market segments (the business strategy level).

STUDENT: I assume this is why the role of information technology is becoming broader than that of the traditional Information Systems (IS) function, and is becoming a general management concern and challenge.

TEACHER: Good observation. We will consider three linkages that interconnect three important concepts -strategic management (SM), information technology (IT), and the management information systems (IS) function.

* Link 1: Management Information Systems with Information Technology

According to the traditional view, IS is a service function (just as accounting, human resources, or industrial relations) which is charged with the task of efficient data processing and administration of the management reporting and control systems. According to such views, systems are designed to cater to the informational requirements of different managerial roles and are identified using standard informational requirements assessment methodologies. In consequence, systems are evaluated using criteria such as timeliness, format quality, and reliability, reflecting the technical capability of the system. The implication is that the role of IT was conceived largely as the technical core of the MIS function.

Consequently, the important characteristics of this linkage were hardware and software support for the information architecture, and flexibility of design to support minor modifications in the information requirements or to respond to the fast-changing technical core of the system’s hardware.

The strategic planning level, by virtue of its unstructured nature of decision making, received minimal support from the traditional conceptualizations and role definitions of IS.

Link 2: Strategic Management with Information Systems

The description of Link 1 reflects a view that the charter of the IS function was derived directly from the informational resource assessment and had no explicit linkages with strategic choices at the corporate and business levels. This view was representative of the actual situation until the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the need to tailor the design of MIS to the requirements of the organizational strategic context gained currency. In 1968, McKinsey & Co. published a report titled Unlocking the Computer’s Profit Potential that called for a formal link between the design and implementation of MIS and the firms strategies and objectives. This publication urged managers to visualize the role of computers in business organizations as something beyond a data processing resource at the operational level of the organization and more as a mechanism that supports their strategy.

STUDENT: Even before that McKinsey report, William King proposed that the “IS-strategy set (composed of IS objectives, IS constraints, and IS design strategies) should be derived from the “organization’s strategy set” (composed of organizational mission, objectives, and strategies).

TEACHER: You are a well read student, indeed!

STUDENT: You might remember that I come from an “IT family.” And I keep hearing a complaint from my IT relatives: while there is concern within the MIS discipline to ensure that MIS is designed in accordance with the strategic contexts of the firm, the link in the other direction, from the corporate strategic context to MIS, is still largely ignored.

TEACHER: True, but this is changing rapidly. Also, several authors have called attention to the possibility of exploiting information and information systems for strategic advantages. As William King noted in an editorial comment in the Management Information Systems Quarterly,— Information (and IS) has the potential to be a primary source of (competitive) advantage in the marketplace rather than merely as a resource to be efficiently managed or a service that is periodically turned on and off as needed.

STUDENT: Can we then assume that many see the link between strategic management and IS today as a bi-directional, mutually interconnected link, implying a strategic role for the IS function?

TEACHER: Certainly, and it was about time. In a transition towar
d a strategic role, the goals and tasks of the management information systems function undergo an important transformation. The systems are no longer viewed in terms of informational support for operational decisions, but rather in terms of the realization of the organization’s strategic objectives, especially the achievement of competitive superiority in the marketplace.

Information systems with a charter to achieve competitive superiority are called “strategic information systems” and differentiated from the more operationally focused MIS. Indeed, MIS has been traditionally concerned with the operational control systems for relatively structured decisions based on readily available, internal data. In contrast, strategic information systems are designed to support relatively unstructured decisions, especially those that are intricately tied to the activities of the market-place.

STUDENT: I hear that usually such decisions require a combination of internal and external data that: are neither well structured nor completely specified.

TEACHER: Exactly. Although a perfect demarcation between management information systems and strategic information systems cannot always be made, the conceptual distinction is important enough to be recognized just as the conceptual distinction between strategic and operational decisions.

Let me mention some examples of strategic information systems operating at real companies:

American Airlines : SABRE reservation System -installed in most travel agents for booking airline, hotel, and rental car reservations.

American Hospital Supply Co.: ASAP-order entry system-installed in over 4500 medical establishments to order supplies on-line. The system is internally interconnected to several supporting systems

Citicorp Extensive use of automated teller machines and global transaction network. Several systems that support their strategies for electronic banking services.

McKesson Corp. Economost -order entry system that supports customers with inventory control and analysis of sales.

United Airlines APOLLO-Travel agency reservation system with several augmented services installed in about 7700 agencies.

Student, can you think of specific strategic objectives any of these companies have achieved through IS?

STUDENT: Well, I am sure that SABRE provides American Airlines with critical operating data that can be used for strategic decisions; travel agents hooked on to SABRE are likely to book on American more than other airlines.

TEACHER: Yes, some much so that the US government has stepped in and put some limit’s on SABRE’s propensity to favor AA!

Strategic information systems achieve their objectives through several mechanisms, but two deserve special attention. These are: (1) the reconfiguration of the information flows within an organization to provide competitive advantages relative to competition, and/or (2) development of inter-organizational systems that extend beyond the traditional boundaries of a single focal organization.

STUDENT: Are these modes are mutually exclusive?

TEACHER: No, but we will discuss them independently.

Reconfiguration of Information Flows

Let us consider the case of an airline that uses timely data to increase its load factor -perhaps the single most critical factor for achieving success in the airline industry. By developing a strategic information system designed not only to continually collect data on flight bookings, but also to compare current sales against historical patterns, the airline can instruct its own ticketing agents (as well as travel agents) to modify the number of discount seats available on a particular flight depending on the current level of advance bookings.

STUDENT: By the same token, I guess that similar benefits can accrue to a hotel, where a key determinant of competitive performance is the occupancy ratio.

TEACHER: Correct. And the basic notion of timeliness of information can be extended from the context of the service sector to the manufacturing sector. Consider the case of an oil company which is able to communicate with its dealers directly and instantaneously as oil prices change to ensure minimum delay between the setting of prices in the headquarters and its realization at retail outlets.

STUDENT: But in these illustrations IT does not influence the fundamental strategic business choices.

TEACHER. Correct. However, the implementation of such decisions through organizational hierarchy and channels is facilitated through the use of IT, leading to improved strategic results.

Inter-organizational Systems Inter-organizational IT applications highlight the potential to achieve competitive success that extends beyond intra-organizational informational flows to the deploying and exploiting of information-based links with diverse actors in the marketplace.

STUDENT: Your are using rather complicated phrases today! In simple terms, what you mean is that an inter-organizational strategic information system is a system that extends beyond the boundaries of a single focal organization to link multiple organizations.

TEACHER: Glad to see that you understood! The potential todevelop such links (and the consequent benefits to achieve competitive advantage) is perhaps the single most important reason for the, increased attention to informational systems from a strategic management point of view.

The railroad industry, which has one of the highest levels of “penetration” of electronic data interchange (EDI) among all industries, displays several levels of inter-organizational systems use. And relatively new industries such as couriers (FedEx, UPS, etc.) are good examples too.

Let me also mention the McKesson Drug Company. The case of McKesson is frequently quoted as one of the most successful examples of business transformation using information technology capabilities. McKesson is a US national pharmaceutical distributor that receives close to 100 percent of its orders electronically from drugstores through its Economost systems. A customer orders by making a single pass through the store with a hand-held order entry device, keying in a product identifier or using a bar code scanner. Reorder quantities are indicated on shelf tags. When the complete order has been entered, it is transmitted to the data processing service.

McKesson clearly achieved operational efficiency benefits to improve its profitability. Although the company apparently did not gain share relative to its major distributor competition, it achieved significant strategic benefits in sales and market share gains relative to its larger competition. The system also achieved “increased tying of the customer to McKesson” which is a substantial strategic advantage. Moreover, McKesson offers a number of other services based on the data it obtains from the order entry system.

The company also provides other firms in the health care business with specialized strategic systems. The following announcement is a good example:

In May 2003, McKesson Corporation announced that LibertyHealth in Jersey City, N.J., signed an eight-year, $47 million agreement for products and services designed to transform the use of clinical information to support patient care in its three-hospital system. LibertyHealth contracted for McKesson’s Horizon Clinicals(TM) suite (of programs) to enhance patient safety, reduce medication errors and increase patient referrals by providing physicians and other caregivers with better access to information.

“We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reinvent the use of IT to support patient care and enhance quality as we open our new hospital,” said Dr. Jonathan Metsch, LibertyHealth’s president and chief executive officer. “To create the best environment of care, it’s a given that we must provide the latest medical equipment. But, just as importantly, we must provide the most advanced clinical IT solutions to support our 900 doctors and nurses as they provide healthcare for this community of 600,000 people. That’s why we’ve
partnered with McKesson — we get superb, advanced clinical applications.”

Link 3: Strategic Management with Information Technology

Over the last years, several new and powerful forces in the technological and market environment compel one to recognize the link between strategic management and information technology in terms of the fundamental role played by IT in influencing the formulation of a firm’s strategy rather than merely supporting its implementation.

The potential for innovative modes of competing as well as new products and services made possible through IT provides managers with an entirely different spectrum of opportunities and threats. Given the general explosion of computing power and communications capabilities (integrated voice and data, the Internet), several new business applications can be (and have been) developed in those areas that directly enhance efficiency and effectiveness in the market-place.

Example: Merrill Lynch Merrill Lynch’s strategy demonstrates the potential offered by information technologies to develop superior substitute products (or services) as well as altering the definition and domain of business operations. The introduction of Cash Management Account (CMA) by Merrill Lynch represented a revolution in terms of redefining the concept of financial services in a marketplace that was dominated by the traditional banking institutions. The new business concept was built around integrating diverse financial instruments under one common umbrella such that the individual investor is able to enjoy the convenience of moving money across them as well as benefit from the “float” that the banks traditionally enjoyed. This account permitted the integration of four basic services to investors: (1) automatic investment of cash and dividends in a money market account, (2) credit through a standard margin account, (3) cash withdrawal by check or debit card, and (4) investment advice in managing and diversifying the account.

The strategy could not be implemented without the use of information technology, for it requires daily swaps across different accounts to post the credit card charges, checks, securities, and deposits, as well as to develop a daily updated credit limit for each account holder. This complex data processing operation is not incidental to the business concept but is fundamental to its conceptualization and operation. The importance of IT in this strategy is perhaps best emphasized by the fact that Merrill Lynch obtained a patent for the cash management account system. The annual fees generated by this product for Merrill Lynch were quite substantial.

Although several variations (circurnventing the patent protection) of this basic concept have appeared in recent years, none has so far matched the success of Merrill Lynch’s product.

Other firms which have utilized IT to break down traditional industry borders in the services sector include Sears, now an integrated financial services provider; Citicorp, now an investment and realty firm as well as a bank; and American Express, always strong in the travel business, now making a play in international banking, insurance, and securities, in addition, to becoming a financial and information supermarket. Indeed, the entire industry is being transformed due to parallel but related forces: deregulation and technology.

Legal Requirements For Internet Marketing

What is required to do business on-line? How complex is it to start and run an Internet business opportunity?

Unfortunately, the answer is that it depends. An on-line retail business can have complicated legal requirements associated with it like licensing, sales tax collection and reporting regulations.

On the other hand an Internet marketing business can be a very simple and direct path to follow to own a web based entrepreneurial activity.

For the purposes of this article, let’s examine the world of affiliate marketing since it can produce an income stream with minimal up front costs and very little regulation.

Representing the products of others requires no stock, no shipping, no sales tax issues and no reporting requirements.

Products are offered and sold through independent entities like Click Bank where any affiliate marketer can register, pick products to market and collect commissions.

Under such circumstances, the producer is responsible for product shipping and the Click Bank like operation processes the sale for the customer as well as sends out the commission to the marketer along with the profit to the producer.

The Click Banks keep all of the necessary records of the transactions, issue the checks or wires and provide the year end reporting for tax purposes. In other words, much of the busy work required of any small business person is supplied basically free of charge to the marketer. Hard to beat that kind of deal.

At the end of the day, there is not much required of the business person who operates as the affiliate marketer. However, there is some wisdom in doing the following.

To be in business, be a business. Form an entity of some type. You can choose to be a Sole Proprietor or even a Corporation. The details of such choices are not to be addressed here but it is easy enough to research the pros and cons of each as well as get advice from professionals like a CPA.

Entity formation has a lot to do with paying state and federal income taxes which, as we all know, are legally unavoidable. When registering with the Click Bank type operations a marketer is required to supply either their social security number or the tax ID number of their company. There is no escaping the long arm of the tax man since income will be reported for you.

Beyond that there is little else the law requires other than the possibility of a business license that your local government might want. That can easily be checked out by a call to your local Chamber of Commerce.

Thus affiliate marketing can get you into business for very little up front expense and can begin generating income almost immediately. More significantly, as you become a better marketer and expand the number of products you represent, that income stream can grow exponentially.

Because the trend in business start ups is increasingly toward doing business on-line, it would seem that the smart and easy way to launch would be with affiliate marketing. It represents the classic low risk, high reward business model that most every business person seeks.

Beyond that, it is the kind of business that can be started in one’s spare time so that current income sources can remain undisturbed, at least in the short run. Should the affiliate marketing business grow to the point of providing a sustainable income, it can than become a full time focus.

With little legal red tape to deal with and not much investment required, affiliate marketing provides the first and arguably the most important step into the world of doing business on the Internet. The link below is provided to showcase one such first step opportunity. You are invited to take the time to review the world of being an affiliate marketer.

After all, it might just be a glimpse into the future of your own on-line business.

First Date Clothing Suggestions For Men

Dressing smartly and suitably for a date is an area which some men unfortunately overlook and feel they don’t need to make an effort dressing for a date. This is the first mistake a man can make when going on a date. Having said that, not all men overlook this area; there are some men who spend hours getting ready for a date but wouldn’t admit it. Wherever you decide to go on a date, regardless of the class, it is vital that you appear to have made an effort and turn up looking your best wearing a freshly washed and ironed outfit.

First impressions can make or break a date, so the importance of looking smart cannot be underestimated. Along with being washed and ironed, clothes must fit properly, be stain free, be hole free, not too tight, not too baggy, not garish and not old and faded. It is also important that the outfit you choose to wear on a date is suitable for the date location plus matches your age. Dressing older or younger than your actual age will only make you stand out. By dressing too young you may appear like you are trying to recapture your youth resulting in your date believing you have other personal issues going on. Alternatively dressing too old could be off putting for your date. You want your date to look at you and feel happy to be on a date with you, not to wonder what they have got themselves into.

The easiest date to dress for is a casual date. This may include going for a drink in a bar, going out for fast food or a visit to the cinema. For any casual date, it is perfectly acceptable to wear jeans. It does not mean that you can dress down or wear jeans that have seen better days. Jeans should be in good condition and have a perfect fit, especially around the bottom area, which is where most women tend to have a good look at. You can choose between a variety of tops to accompany jeans, such as a t-shirt, a poloshirt, a casual shirt or a sweater. Poloshirts are ideal if you have a good physique and you wish to show it off. If the weather is cold, then a casual jacket is suitable. If you decide to wear a t-shirt, it is best to avoid garish colours and stay away from novelty t-shirts, at least for the first date anyway. If you decide to tuck your top into your trousers, remember to wear a belt to add a finishing touch to your look.

You can get away with wearing jeans on a casual date, but if you are going on a classy date, then they are not appropriate. A more formal look is required for a classy date, such as a visit to the theatre or a meal at a fancy restaurant. It’s a good idea to own a suit, ideally in a dark colour such as charcoal grey or navy, as you can create a number of different looks using just one suit. You can wear a variety of different shirts and ties with a suit or you can change your look entirely by wearing the suit trousers with a casual shirt, or even wear the suit jacket over a casual outfit to create another great look. If you choose to wear casual attire on a classy date then all you will achieve is showing your date that you couldn’t be bothered to make an effort, plus you will stand out especially if your date is wearing a stylish dress. Once you have chosen your outfit, don’t ruin the look by wearing inappropriate shoes. Formal footwear should be worn when going on a formal date. Trainers, sandals, pumps and boots are not appropriate. Formal shoes must be clean, match the outfit and comfortable to wear. If you are wearing a belt with your trousers, then ideally your shoes should be the same colour as the belt. Footwear is an area that women tend to notice, so great footwear can leave a great lasting impression on your date.

An active date, such as playing a game of tennis, or going walking together, requires a different look. It is necessary to wear sports gear and not forgetting supportive footwear. Clean modern jogging bottoms or shorts are appropriate, just as long as shorts aren’t too small and tight and jogging bottoms aren’t baggy at the knees. A t-shirt, long or short sleeved is suitable and if the weather is cold, then a sports jacket or a sweatshirt can be worn. Dressing for a sporty date is not a time to put fashion before comfort. You need to dress in clothes that won’t restrict your movement plus feel comfortable to wear; remembering to check that they are clean before you put them on, including your footwear.

If your date has arranged the date and you don’t know where you are going, then you need to wear an outfit that is suitable for a range of date locations. A good suggestion is a pair of smart trousers accompanied with a fashionable shirt and a stylish jacket. A stylish jacket, such as a suit jacket will be appropriate if your date has booked a table at a fancy restaurant, and a fashionable shirt is sufficient for any casual date and even a slightly classier date. There is no need to wear a tie, but if you prefer, you could always conceal a tie in your jacket pocket in case you find yourself going to an upmarket venue. If you feel overdressed, you can remove the suit jacket to reveal your casual shirt. It is always better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed, which will show that you have made an effort.

Along with clean, ironed, fresh smelling and well fitted clothes, it is a good idea to turn up for a date clean shaven, showered and smelling great. Smelling good is very attractive to women, just don’t overdo the aftershave or body spray. Don’t leave your decision making to the last minute. Think in advance about what you wish to wear and take your time getting ready. The last thing you want is to turn up for a date feeling flustered and worried because you forgot to shave or put on deodorant. Planning your outfit in advance and looking like you have made an effort are the two main keys to dressing well for a first date.