Eleven Key Attributes of a Good Property Manager

Property Management is a career profession. The industry allows for employment growth, continual learning experiences, and the opportunity to work with diverse people and income groups. The Property Manager can work either directly for an owner of real estate properties, or for a property management company, contracted by an owner or legal entity to care for the real estate over a specific period of time.

The Property manager has a fiduciary relationship with the management company and property owner. A fiduciary relationship is one that is based on a mutual trust and complete confidence in one another.

The Property Manager is provided an owner's real estate portfolio to manage to its "highest and best use" in exchange for an employment contract or salary. Real estate assignments for the property manager includes apartment buildings, condominiums, hotels, storage facilities, shopping centers, office buildings, government subsidized properties, rooming houses, abandoned buildings and plots of vacant land, to name a few.

I have managed almost all of the above types of properties for over twenty years. I have managed public and private housing, for non-profit organizations, for the federal government, and for private developers and real estate investors. I also owned my own property management company for eight years. I now teach, speak, and write about property management standards and techniques. Here are some crucial skills, which I know from first hand experience, must be accepted as required attributes and learned skills in order to be a good property manager.

1. Must Know and Stay Current on Local Ordinances and State Laws

Managers are required to perform their work according to the laws of the land. The government (city, state, and federal) dictates how real estate is to be managed, from requiring a real estate license (depending on the state), to the use of the real estate (such as rent control laws). From proper trash removal to how and where we must keep security deposits, the manager has to keep abreast of the many legal requirements of managing real estate. If a mistake is made or a task is forgotten, it could cost the owner his or her property, and / or a management company's reputation, loss of the account, or even the loss of real estate licenses.

2. Must Be Highly Ethical and Honest

Property Managers work on the Honor Code when they handle other people's money. By collecting rent, security deposits, laundry machine money et al, the property manager holds a fiduciary relationship with the property owner and / or management company. The owner entrusts the property with thousands of dollars each month, plus the value of the real estate itself. The manager is hired to perform at his or her highest level of integrity. On a daily basis, the property manager's good judgment and sense of what is right and wrong is called into play.

3. Must be Detail Oriented and Organized

Managers collect the rent daily, and must ensure that each rent is paid and posted to the tenants' account as received. Financial records detailing each and every rent transaction are kept, either by rent cards, or on the computer. Lease expirations and renewals, rent increase letters, and rent invoices must be mailed on time. lines for court appearances must be kept, and clients must receive their written monthly report of operations. A skilled property manager is able to multi-task, keep site files organized, and prioritize repairs and assignments.

4. Must Have Good Communication Skills

Managers must be able to communicate with people from all walks of life, cultures, ethnicities, and personalities. Managers must be able to articulate their cases in front of judges, talk to the owner, negotiate with vendors as well as speak appropriately with tenants, who are often frustrated, upset, or angry. A good manager must be able to stay calm, and communicate in a professional manner. Familiarity speaking in other languages ​​is always a plus.

5. Must have Good Computer Skills

Computer competency is a technical skill, like driving, typing, etc. The use of email, mail merge, and faxing through the computer is at the heart of property management today. This is especially true if the property is on one part of the city or state, and the home office is a distance away from the site. If a manager does not have a solid command of the computer and its basic programs, such as Microsoft Word and the spreadsheet Excel, you may be hard pressed to find an administrative position in this field.

6. Should Like Working with the Public

If everyone paid the rent on time by the fifth day of each month, the manager would not have rent collection work to do. If a property never had problems, such as toilet overflows, lost keys, or defective smoke detectors, a property manager would have little to do. Therefore, it is important that a manager enjoy dealing with people with problems. A manager should at least like helping tenants with dignity, and in a responsible manager. If you do not like being interrupted several times a day with a dilemma to solve, this type of job may not be for you.

7. Must Be Patient and Have a Sense of Humor

There is some pressure involved working with the public. There are days when nothing seems to go right, and if you happen to have a headache that day, it could be a long 9 to 5. A calm personality or a good sense of humor will take you a long way in property management. If you tend to be high-strung, anxious, or become angry or impatient while working with tight deadlines or with people with problems, you may want to re-consider taking on this profession.

8. Must Like to Read and Conduct Research

There are many types of leases, agreements, forms, and other legal documents that must be signed between tenants, the manager, government agencies, the site attorney, and / or the owner. Real estate and governmental regulations change; the manager must be willing to read up on them and stay current. Documentation must be read and checked before submitted to tenants, agencies, the owner, etc. If you do not like to read in order to keep up with the latest trends, legal and industry changes and terminology used, you will not be able to properly do your job.

9. Must Have a Strong Sense of Duty and Commitment

Ensuring that the tenants under your control are treated with respect, have heat and hot water, are not subjected to or committing illegal activities or disruptive behavior of their neighbors, are some of the managers' duties. Tenants depend on the manager's sense of obligation to the property and the families or professionals who live in it. The manager may not always have the funds to do everything all the time, but what can and should be done, such as keeping the building clean, and having a sense of urgency to get work completed in a timely manner.

10. Should be Flexible-Minded

Property Management is a fluid profession, in that it follows economic, governmental, industry, and societal changes that impacts how a property is managed. Managers who still like the "good old days" of mistreating tenants and making rental applicants jump through unnecessary hoops to get an apartment (or the opposite, by not checking anything), will find him or herself out of touch, and maybe out of a job. The ability to accept changes of law, obey fair housing laws, have a positive, or at least a neutral, attitude about people who are different, and above all, to be open-minded, is a key element of a successful manager.

11. Must Be an Excellent Follow-Up Person

A manager can never assume that a repair or rent payment plan will happen on its own. Our mantra is: "Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up!" This is one of the most critical skills of a good property manager. The ability to multi-task, keeping several balls in the air without dropping any of them is challenging, and difficult at times. The ability to successfully multi-task is often rewarded both financially and in promotion decisions.

Prince2 Configuration Management and Change Control

I remember, many years ago, attending my first training course on Quality. Management could not get enough people to attend, so they bribed them with a free scientific calculator (back then worth about $ 200) – so I attended.

To be honest, I found it a whole lot more compelling than I expected.
After lunch on the second day, they had an expert talk about Configuration Management.

Well, she certainly knew her stuff – but I came away thinking that CM was a bit 'academic'.

How Wrong Can I Be? Configuration Management is BUSINESS CRITICAL!
I'm serious. Would you buy another auto from your dealer if they were not set up with the right tools to service your car?

How about if they fitted the wrong replacement parts? Or if the Manual had errors in it?

There's a famous story about the Space Shuttle incurring huge extra costs because European suppliers used the metric system and the USA used Imperial measurements. Tolerance errors built up and parts did not fit together properly.

Change Configuration Management would have stopped that from happening, and it would have helped to spot any such problems much earlier on.

Let's talk about change control within Prince2

Changes usually come in three categories:

Request For Change (RFC). This is usually a request from the customer or users asking for a change from what was originally requested.

It may be a change to the requirements, specification, acceptance criteria, or scope – or all or any re-work – or accept some form of price reduction.

The final category is a general one. reserved for any general issues, observations or concerns (for example, my design engineer has resigned!).

All the above may be seen as just different categories of an Issue.

So what is Configuration Management? Well it's basically an
internal service group with resources, tools, procedures and systems to control multiple versions of the products (deliverables) of projects.

Each product is termed an "Asset". The name for the combined set of these assets is called a configuration.

And the configuration of a projects end product is the sum of its parts.

So why should we care about using CM?

Changes to your project WILL happen – so prepare for it. I was talking about Change Management, which by the way, should be under the wings of CM.

So when changes occur, your project will end up with multiple versions of a product.

If you do not have appropriate tracking and knowledge of these versions, what was changed, and why it was changed, then your project is going to end up in turmoil.

Suppose you are a design engineer, and a colleague asked you for a copy of the specification document as they are about to design something from it.

What if you had changed the document in some way since it was agreed – maybe because you could see it was an improvement?

Your colleague now designs against this different spec to the spec that others are using – and his product does not work or fit with other designs of the same system. Chaos Reigns.

How about this. A client rings up and says they're using an old version of one of your products (because it's compatible with the rest of their system), and can you build some more for them as a special custom order please?

You say 'no problem' – you go to your design shop only to find that they've lost the drawings – worse, the designer retired last year.

You'd have the same problem if customers said it had a design fault, and could you fix it, or if a customer wanted a modification based on an old design.

And the same problems could exist if you run a 'service' corporation.

Are your staff using the right tools, procedures and guidelines?

Are they trained to provide that service?

Let me ask – does senior management have a set of business plans based on a set of strategic directions? And do different parts of the corporation base their operational plans on these documents?

Sheesh! I sure hope they are all using the correct versions of these things …

Okay, let's get back to your project, and how CM will help.

I hope I've convinced you that CM should be a permanent fixture in your organisation and not just set up by and during, a project (because the end products have got to be sustained during their whole life).

The person who provides the CM service is called the Configuration Librarian. Yeah, I know, it sounds kind of dated – but do not let that put you off. This role can also be called the Configuration Administrator.

Here's how they can help your project:

1. CM has a completed library of all items that have ever been produced in your organisation (including anything that has been 'bought-in' from a third party).

In modern times, these records will probably be held on a database of some sort. In the past they would have been held in hard copy form in a traditional filing system.

2. Each of these records will have information stating who has got what, where it is held, and why.

These records will also hold details of any changes made.

3. The library will also hold master copies of multiple baseline versions of products.

If you work for a small organisation and run small simple projects, then you would expect the way that CM is carried out to be small and simple too. As long as you have control of all versions of all of your products and services.

Next, I want to explain what services the CM Library can give to your project.

It is the project managers' responsibility to ensure that CM is being properly used by the project.

To help ensure this happens a CM Plan can be created.

Note. For a small and simple project, the plan may just be a list of points to discuss and agree with CM.

The Plan may form part of any quality planning or be included within the Project Plan.

Do what is sensible – but here are the areas that should be covered:

A short narrative explaining what configuration method to be used (or a simple reference to the 'usual' system.

What corporate standards will be used (or why they will be varied in some way).

Linkages to any other configuration management systems (or any tools) that will be used. An example may be a third party who is contributing products to the project.

How and where the products will be stored. Are they just documents?

Or are they other physical items – in which case will they be installed on the customer site, or stored elsewhere, such as a bonded storehouse.

How will filing be carried out, and what is the process
for secure retrieval?

What form of version control be used – explain how they
will be identified.

Who within the project and external to it will be
responsible for implementing configuration management?

The Configuration Librarian will provide the FIVE
following services to any given project:

1. Planning. Working with the project manager, to establish what level of detail is required (this is dependent upon the complexity of the total end-product configuration).

2. Identification. Agreeing what products will be under configuration control (for example, the Project Plan may not be included, as long as the project manager has a simple 'off-line' system for keeping it under their own version control).

3. Control. Procedures to 'freeze' baselines of products and bring them under control of the CM library.

Freezing means no changes are allowed to the product without the right level of authority (for example the project sponsor).

There is another point to be brought out here.

Take the development of a new mountain bike.

One person is designing the wheels, another is developing the frame, yet another, the gearing system.

As each goes through the many design versions the others need to make sure the entire configuration of the bike remains 'harmonized'.

The CM database will recognise such linkages and alert the team (via reports as described later in this article); of the relationships each product has to each other.

4. Status Accounting. This is the CM database for the recording and reporting of all products.

This goes back into history to the first version, and all the way up to the current version. This data can be given to the project manager at key points, such as an end stage review as accurate proof of the true status on all the projects products.

5. Verification. CM provides reviews and audits to ensure that the project team are using the correct versions of documents and other products during the project (and that they match the 'master' copies of such that are held in the library).

This should be seen as a service – not as 'the management police'!

Finally, there are two important reports that the project manager will use from the CM Librarian:

1. The Configuration Record. This is a record of all the information required about each product's status, and includes; the latest version number, who is creating the product, where the product is to be kept / stored, and what its status is.

2. Product Status Account. This is a report (usually requested by the project manager at key review points), and provides information about the state of all products within some defined time frame (for example "give me a report of all products and their status that have been created during the current project stage "

The PSA will, for each product within that time frame, contain data such as when each product was baseline and when any changes were approved.

Here is a short synopsis of key points within a Prince2 project when Configuration Management is used:

Planning Quality.

The Configuration Management Plan is created, prior to the
development of the Project Plan. The Project Manager to liaise with Configuration Librarian to discuss how the project will use / work with their Configuration Management (CM) System.

Setting Up Project Files

Takes information from the Project Plan, and adds project filing structure to the Configuration Management Plan. CM system may already have these facilities.

Authorising Work Package (WP) / giving work to the team

Update the Configuration Item Record to "under development" Configuration Librarian will do this.

Ensure the WP contains information regarding how version control will work for the developer, obtaining copies of products or product descriptions, submission the Configuration Librarian, and passing product status information.

Assessing Project Progress.

Capturing "actuals" and updating the status of products Configuration Item Record (CIR). Configuration Librarian can provide a Product Status Account (PSA) if needed.

Capturing and Examining Project Issues / Changes

Configuration Librarian could receive / document all Changes / Issues as well as maintain the Change / Issue Log.

Taking Corrective Action.

When any changes are to be made, the Configuration Librarian to make any products or their copies available, add new copies given out to the CIR, and update CIR for any status changes.

Receiving Completed Work Package (when the team have completed each product / deliverable)

Configuration Librarian to update the CIR to a status of 'completed'.

Product is now baselined if not already done.

As products / deliverables are completed Specialist Team to advise Configuration Librarian to update
CIR status of each product.

Completing a Work Package.

Configuration Librarian to handle the return of completed products (if appropriate), and to assist Project Assurance in confirming customer / user acceptance of products.

Regular Management Reports

Configuration Librarian with assistance of Project Assurance to confirm the CIR is same as actual status of products by carrying out a Configuration Audit.

Also check that version numbers are correct / updated.

Replanning as a result of change.

Configuration Librarian will provide a Product Status Account of products to be replaced / incomplete.

New CIR's created if needed.

Closing down a Project.

CIR checked for completeness, and used as an input to
Product Status Account – confirmation from customers configuration management records that all products are approved.

Refer to the Configuration Management Plan for how the products are to be handed over to those with support / operational responsibilities.

Carry out a Configuration Audit to check that all products are approved and complies with their CIR's.

During Project Planning.

The Configuration Item Record is created with reference to the Configuration Management Plan.

A simple numbering system for each product could be structured as: project name / type of product / product name / source / status / version number

So for example, if a project exists to create a new notebook PC, and a unique numbering system as above is used for the hard drive bought in from a 3rd party:

New Notebook Project / hardware / hard drive / external / in development / vA.2

Here is a detailed guide of the information needed in the
documents referred to in this article:

Configuration Management Plan.

– CM method to be used

– Links to other CM systems or tools

– Where and how products are to be stored

– Security arrangements for filing and retrieval

– Identification and numbering for

products / versions

– Who is responsible for CM

Configuration Item Record.

– Unique Project identifier

– The type of product (web, hardware, etc)

– Product Name

– The Latest version number

– A full Description of the product

– Life Cycle steps for product (ie.draft,

approved, in-service, etc)

– Who owns the product (User? Ops Manager? Etc)

– Who created the product?

– The date allocated to them

– The library or location where it is kept

– Product source (internal, external)

– Links to related products (physical, electrical,

etc)

– Status (where in the life-cycle is it?

– Copy-holders and potential users

– References to issues (if any) that caused change

to this product

– Any relevant correspondence

Product Status Account

– Project name

– Product type

– Product identifier

– Version number

– Product description – baseline date

– Product – baseline date

– List of related products

– Date copy of product was issued for a change

– Planned date for next baseline

– Planed date for next release

– Relevant notes (change pending / under review, etc)

Benefits of Hiring an Digital Marketing Agency for Promoting Your Business Online

Online business has hit an all-time high globally, as major and minor companies are creating their own websites and trying to cater to the Internet public. Marketing online is vastly different from offline marketing as the rules and regulations of attracting consumers differ hugely. This is where a digital marketing agency comes in and ensures that online marketing, from creation of websites to ensuring that they excel in search engine rankings, is available to clients as a whole package. Without the help of a digital marketing agency, it is not possible for companies to enter the online market and emerge successful.

The primary benefit of hiring a digital marketing agency is that these agencies are experienced and understand the online world of marketing. Since there are major differences between the online world and the offline world of marketing, gathering professional help for the better performance of a website is highly recommended. Digital marketing agencies have experts on their board who understand what a particular client website contains and how it can be marketed digitally. From keyword heavy content to social media marketing, all options are available and it is up to these agencies to implement these options as per their understanding.

Search engine optimization is the biggest benefit of hiring a digital marketing agency. Marketing online serves no purpose unless people regularly visit a company's website and go through its features and products. Competition in the online market today is mostly about securing high rankings in search engines. Securing high rankings in search engines automatically translates to popularity of the website as well as increase in consumer awareness. A digital marketing agency is well aware of all this and hence can be trusted with the responsibility to increase a website's search engine rankings. They know how to go about it and whether they should take a content related approach or publicize the site via social media, is up to them.

A digital marketing agency also understand that in today's age of flashy and tech-heavy websites, a company can never achieve the desired search engine rankings unless is website is up to the mark. A digital marketing agency also often acts as a web designing organization and designs the websites for its clients. It knows that depending on the content, how a website is to be designed so that what people are looking for in the site can be easily found. From the home page to the page dealing with the features of the company's products to the page about the history of the company, all are available on the website. It is up to the digital marketing agency to put together these pieces in a manner that will be appealing to regular and new visitors of the website.

Since constant presence on the social media is highly necessary for a company to be successful in online marketing today, an internet marketing company ensures that they are able to provide full social media marketing strategies. It is important not only to have Facebook or Twitter pages for companies but also ensure that those are active. Sharing regular links to the company's website and its new products, features and news are a must for every digital marketing agency. They also encourage active interaction between people and the company via social media pages. This helps the company understand their consumers and what the consumers look forward to from the company. Automatically, this gives the company a great chance to improve its search engine rankings.

For companies which are beginning their innings new in the online marketing world, it is highly beneficial to hire a digital marketing agency with proper experience. In that case, it is the company which will have all the experience and will be able to guide the client on how to improve search engine rankings. Clients can give the content and the layout of the website, but it is up to the digital marketing agency to make a site that will ensure that proper consumers are drawn to the site. Digital marketing agencies come across all sorts of clients and they know how the success of a website is achieved. So being dependent on them is actually beneficial for a company, especially the ones who have just begun.

Tweetplomacy and Thoughttweets: The Hallmarks of the Trump Presidency?

Presidential candidates have used media, and in more recent years, social media, to communicate and connect with their voters. After being elected, Presidents have continued to use various media to keep the people of the country informed of the administration's policies and notable actions and achievements.

Even before he assumed the Office of the President, Mr. Trump used tweets to convey what he thought about various events and issues. Such use of tweets can be appropriately labeled "tweetpolicy" when the contents of such tweets make reference to, for example, the current healthcare policy. Technically the tweets are not policy, but do provide clues regarding the direction that his policies will take.

When the contents of Mr. Trump's tweets include references to actions of other countries and its leaders, the correct term to use to refer to such tweets would be "tweetplomacy". Mr. Trump has used "tweetplomacy" to send signals to other countries.

It can also be argued that Mr. Trump has used Twitter.com to convey his thoughts throughout his campaign and after he won the Presidential elections. Because such thoughts were conveyed via tweets, they can be labeled "tweetthoughts" or "thoughtbytes." Politicians have for many years used sound bites to convey their ideas to their constituents.

Mr. Trump has used social media to convey his message to his constituents in the form of "thoughtbytes." I am not suggesting that the thoughts conveyed by Mr. Trump are either correct or wrong, I am just stating that he has conveyed his thoughts in the form of short tweets. It is up to the people to either accept or reject his thoughts.

Another set of tweets that Mr. Trump has sent were aimed at companies that were planning to start manufacturing facilities outside the United States. Because the contents of such tweets apparently made the companies change their plans, they can be labeled "armtwisttweets".

Yet another set of tweets can be called "slamtweets" or "tweetslams" because the contents of these tweets slammed what Mr. Trump's opponents were saying. A case in point is the tweet slamming the idea that Russian hackers were responsible for hacking the emails of one of the political parties.

Many people are worried and think that Mr. Trump's use of Twitter.com is inappropriate. However, it is possible that his use of tweets will make his Presidency more transparent than the administrations of his predecessors.

Past Presidents have used newspapers, radio, TV and the World Wide Web to communicate with people of the country. Twitter.com is a service or medium that allows people to communicate their thoughts, feelings and ideas and share them with anyone who has created an account at this social networking site. Why should a President not use it to share his thoughts and ideas with the citizens of the country?

Why Retail Businesses Fail Part 3: Do You Make This Mistake In Retail?

Lack of Understanding of Target Market

I visited Harrods for research for my books on store design and visual merchandise display. Harrods, for anyone reading this White Paper who might not know this, is the Mecca of retailing. Royalties, A-list celebrities and the 'who-is-who' from around the world fly into London just to shop at Harrods.

You can now imagine my anticipation when I visited Harrods. In my mind everything in Harrods was made of gold. I was disappointed, when I noticed a toy bus I had purchased for my son from ASDA, was also being sold in Harrods. It was exactly the same toy bus, in exactly the same packaging that it is sold in ASDA.

A question popped into my mind, why is it that exactly the same bus, probably manufactured in exactly the same factory in China, is sold in Harrods for twice the price that it is sold for in ASDA?

The answer is decisively simple – ASDA sells a 'toy bus', however, Harrods sells a 'classy toy bus'. There is a difference. This is marketing 101: people buy emotionally but justify their decision logically.
Customers who shop at Harrods do not shop there to buy Harrods' products; they shop at Harrods to buy 'elegance and class'. Harrods sells them class even if it is 'Made in China'.

How does Harrods pull this off? They achieve it with the combination of elegant store design and attractive visual merchandising displays. When you move from one department to the next in Harrods it is like moving from one store to another. Their ability to use their store design to create the illusion of differentiation is one of the keys to Harrods' success. Harrods understand their customers; they know what their customers desire so they design their store and display their products to satisfy the desire of their customers.

Marcus Buckingham, in his book "The First Thing You Need to Know", said when he interviewed Sir Terry Leahy, who transformed Tesco into a global brand, he asked him what was the key to Tesco's successful transformation. Sir Terry Leahy replied that it was asking and answering the simple question: Whom do we serve?

When Tesco figured out whom they were going to serve, they changed their store layout and products to serve their target market. As a result of this change; Tesco increased the number of checkout counters which reduced the amount of time customers spent queuing at the checkouts ultimately resulting in a dramatic increase in Tesco's footfall.

Wal-Mart serves the person who lives: pay check to pay check.

Body Shop serves the ethical consumer.

Waitrose and Holland & Barrett serve the consumer who wants to live longer.

Ann Summers took merchandise that were hidden in secret 'adult' shops; made them trendy and brought them to the High Street. They made a taboo subject acceptable to the mainstream.

If I was to take my significant other clothes shopping at John Lewis she would probably phone my mother to inform her that I was having a nervous breakdown. She would not want to be caught dead in John Lewis' outfit. She describes John Lewis' clothing department as a Bridget Jones museum where they store a collection of Bridget Jones costumes.

However, John Lewis continues to increase profit year after year because John Lewis understands their target market. Someone like my significant other might not want to be caught dead in John Lewis' outfit, but there are people in the UK, who love Bridget Jones' memorabilia, these people are John Lewis' target market, so John Lewis cater for them.

The most successful retailers understand their target market and show their understanding of their target market through their store design and visual merchandising displays.

The retailers that go bust fail to understand this basic marketing concept.

Most book retailers are struggling because they are still using the 1960's business model in the Amazon era. Borders failed because it did not develop its internet business properly and it invested heavily in compact discs when music was going digital. WH Smith only makes money from its airport and train station sales. The rest of its stores are struggling. Waterstone's is also on a downward trend. Sales are down and customer footfall is in steep decline.

Why are bookshops under threat? Amazon! They will all shout. Of course Amazon is the cause because Amazon understands their market better than them. Since it seems Amazon is not going away anytime soon, are all book stores going to close down?

Will WH Smith and Waterstone's close down? Or will they rise to the challenge and modernise their stores? Instead of complaining about Amazon, they need to redefine their target market and redesign their stores to attract their target customers.

On Christmas Eve, I had not done my grocery shopping and was dreading the prospect of entering a supermarket, knowing how packed they were going to be. But as I drove passed my local Lidl store, I noticed it was empty. I rushed in and completed my shopping. As I drove back home a question came to mind; why is it, that even on this day when most supermarkets are typically jam packed to capacity, was Lidl empty?

The answer, in my opinion, is that Lidl does not have a target market. One of their biggest sins was making the decision to force customers to pay for carrier bags. Marks & Spencer can afford to do that because they appeal to a different class of customer.

In Tesco and ASDA, customers who are environmentally conscious have the option of paying for shopping bags. However, those who do not want to pay for carrier bags also have the option of getting free ones.
This is because Tesco and ASDA understand their customers. Lidl's senior management, on the other hand, believed that having implemented a similar strategy in Europe, can introduce the same in the UK. If the Brits do not like it, tough! Well, the Brits are showing their displeasure with their feet.

I have tried to demonstrate with the above examples, that success or failure in retail is the result of the strategies every retailer adopts. Those retailers who understand their target market and cater to them will continue to move from success to greater success, while those who roll the dice and hope that customers show up are the ones who will struggle or go into administration.

I hate to be the one breaking this type of news to the retail industry I guess someone will have to do it: the internet is not going away. This means that retailers are not only competing with one another, they are also competing with factory owners in China whose name they have never heard. Shoppers are now ordering directly from warehouses and distributors, for example an individual can log on to eBay and order a pallet load of goods.

Here is the good news: the majority of people still prefer to shop from physical retail outlets. The question is how does an individual retailer ensure that shoppers are attracted to their store? It can be done by adopting the concept of the "Blue Ocean" strategy.

Adopting the "Blue Ocean" strategy is the only salvation for book, DVD, music and furniture retailers. What is "Blue Ocean" strategy? "Blue Ocean" strategy "is the simultaneous pursuit of differentiation and low cost" which results in the creation of a new market space making the competition irrelevant.

The concept of "Blue Ocean" is practiced by the most successful business organisations whilst struggling businesses pursue what is described as the "Red Ocean" strategy. "Red Ocean" strategy is fighting to compete in the existing market place.

The "Red Ocean" strategy is adopted by many of the book, DVD, music and furniture retailers. They are trying to compete against the internet and it is just not possible. A brick and mortar store can never go head to head with the internet and win. It can never be cheaper that the internet.

However what they need to do in order to drive customer traffic to their stores is become innovative and creative. For example a book store could arrange periodic book signings; of course authors want to sell their books so it is a win-win situation for all parties concerned.

In order for the book signings to be a successful marketing platform for the book stores it would be advisable for retailers to work in collaboration with the publishers from the onset in order for the book signings to be better promoted.

Promotion of the book signings could take various formats such as making effective use of social media sites, local press and captivating signage in and outside the store.

Another idea could be to arrange book clubs for various genres of books this would entice a variety of customers in to the store, these book clubs would also need promoting in a similar way as described for the book signings promotion.

The trick is to be innovative.

Richer Sounds is a classic case of a retailer that has adopted the "Blue Ocean" strategy. They understand that people still prefer to interact with other people. So whilst other electronic retailers focus on price, they focus on excellent customer service and staff product knowledge. Their "Blue Ocean" is excellent customer service and superior product knowledge.

For book, DVD or music retailers to compete in Amazon country, they need a "Blue Ocean" strategy that goes beyond price discount. They need soul. They need understanding of the perception of their target market.

• What do they want?
• What are their hopes and fears?
• What is their perception?

I can order a book or DVD from Amazon and receive it the following day. I can download music instantaneously from iTunes. There are millions of me in the world. What kind of "Blue Ocean" strategy can WH Smith or HMV devise to get me away from my laptop? It takes me half an hour to drive to the town centre, pay for parking, spend another half an hour in WH Smith or HMV and another half an hour to drive back home.

The 64 million dollar question is: What can WH Smith or HMV do to make it worth my while?

Let me give them a clue, I could order my groceries online, however, I choose to go to the supermarket. What is the difference? That is for book, DVD, electronic and furniture retailers to find out. They probably need to visit Starbucks it might just hold the keys to unlocking their creativity.

The only point of differentiation that most retailers know is price reduction. Price reduction is not a business strategy, it is a death wish.

What Are High Security Locks?

I have discussed high security keys and locks in the past, but what makes a lock and key high security? A lot of manufacturers consider at least some of the locks they manufacture high security. So how do you know that you are getting what you pay for? Because you will pay far more for one of these locks than a regular lock that you can buy at your local big box store.

Here are some of the things to look for in a high security lock:

  • The locks and keys will be precision made, usually with a CNC machine rather than die casting
  • They are usually made out of brass or steel
  • If brass, they will have hardened steel pins embedded into the lock face for drill protection
  • The keyway and key should be protected with US and foreign patents
  • The key blanks should be restricted to Service Centers and Locksmiths that are under contract to the manufacturer for the purpose of key control

The above list is not all inclusive but meant to provide the major points. There are a few items that I will explain further in an effort to give definition to some of the words used above that may not be familiar to all.

Keyway: In the simplest form, a keyway is a design on a key such as key cuts, spacing and angles and the matching design that is manufactured into the lock cylinder. Some manufacturers use a combination of cuts, spacing and angles along with grooves cut into one or both sides of the key. These side grooves will match the grooves in the lock. When applying for a patent these are the items that are usually patented.

Key Control: This is the ability to control not only the key blanks but also the cut keys. To demonstrate this let's assume that the manufacturer sends 10 key blanks to one of their Service Centers. That service center cuts 10 key blanks to a secure code for one of their customers. That customer receives the 10 cut keys and records to whom they give them to. Throughout this process the keys can be accounted for all the way to the end user.

All of this comes at a price that will be at least 50% higher than a standard lock used for the same purpose. This goes back to that same question; what are you trying to protect and how much is that worth to you.

Manufactured Homes 101 – The Things You Need to Know!

Everyone has dreamed of owning their dream house. A place they can call your own. It's a place of sanctuary to shelter you and your family. Manufactured homes have always been a good option. Putting your money into it is worth while, although, a lot of people are still unsure whether to purchase one.

Factory built houses come in all shapes and sizes. They come in various floorings and fashion that it is easy to find one that will suit your taste. Aside from being way cheaper than houses constructed right on the location, these homes also give you a chance to design your home. Ranging from $ 20,000 – $ 100,000, they are ready for transfer to any location you'd want your house to be set.

A Factory Built Home: What is it ?

Also known as a prefabricated house, manufactured homes are units of houses constructed in a huge factory. After purchasing, it is then dragged to the site where it can be put ready for transfer to another location or mounted on the ground through masonry groundwork.

Prefabricated homes are constructed upon certain set of codes which administers mobility, fire safety, effectiveness, style and sturdiness. All of these sets of guidelines are closely monitored by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The same set of guidelines also manages the electrical, heating and plumbing systems.

The Basics About Prefabricated Homes

Here are some of the things that you need to know about manufactured or prefabricated homes.

  • They are houses built in large factories.
  • After they are constructed from the factories, they are wheeled to the chosen site for the house. It is done by transporting the whole house one portion after the other.
  • Prefabricated home cost less than the houses constructed right on the site.
  • They are used to be regarded as mobile or trailer houses. They come in many designs.
  • They are constructed under the guidelines set by the HUD or the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
  • After transferring the house's portions in the site, they are put into pieces.
  • Its market value depreciates as time goes by.

The So, now That you have the basic knowledge about what a factory built home is, the I Signature guess you can up your facility clear by mind and start weighing things. Buying a house is really a good investment of your hard-earned money and considering the given details about prefabricated homes, counting it as an option is not a bad idea after all.

The Effects of Computer Technology on Our Everyday Lives

These days, the computer technology industry is rapidly growing and changing. Along with that growth and change of computer technology are the people who almost instantly adapt to the changes.

Computer technology has made our lives a lot easier and convenient. For instance our banking needs. Years ago, people had to manually file the important data of their customers; now they just use the computer to find these data. In just one click, they would instantly find the name of the customer, the birth date, the address, e-mail address, phone numbers and etcetera. As for the clients of these banks, they can also easily get a quick look at their account balances through logging in to the bank website; in addition to that a lot of people are able to apply for a loan with the use of the computer.

Because of the birth of computer technology, we now have credit cards or what others call plastic money, which are very useful especially when we do not have cash on hand or when you are ordering a certain product through the internet. It's amazing how computer technology has changed so much our way of living. Nowadays, purchasing products such as cellular phones, bags, household utensils, and clothes or even paying the bills can be effortlessly done at the comfort of your own home.

With the use of the computer a lot of students especially those with unfortunate disabilities or severe illnesses are able to enroll to different schools through home schooling. Students are even able to take their examination tests or check out their grades by the use of the computer.

As far I know computer technology has helped a lot of businesses to better serve the community. But the computers have not only helped us in the business industry; it also has an effect on our communication systems. Long before the computers were born, writing letters were the main source of communication, which would be such a hassle most especially to those people who lived in far away places; plus telephones were quite expensive so people would pretty much prefer writing to their loved ones. And for that reason, people who are far away from civilization would really have a hard time communicating with others. Now, we have e-mails, and live chat, or even voicemails. We now already have video calling in which we would be able to see the person that we are talking to. This would be really great for people who have loved ones that are away from home. Getting in touch with one another is now a piece of cake.

Computer technology has changed our lives for the better. Without it, we would still be living in the pre historic times.

Digital Marketing, a Must Today

The key purpose is to sponsor brands through various types of digital media. When one talks about digital marketing, it pretty much extends beyond just internet marketing! In fact, is also takes into account mediums that do not oblige the use of the internet. That comprises cell phones, social media marketing, search engine optimisation, search engine marketing, as well as any other type of digital media.

Most professionals consider that 'digital' is not as simple as it seems. A prerequisite is that an entirely novel approach to promotion and a novel understanding of customer behaviour is required. For instance, it requires companies to examine and compute the worth of tweets on Twitter, downloads of apps on mobile devices and the worth of likes on Facebook.

Here are few of the Digital Marketing Companies in Noida

1. Digitalabs

Digitalabs is a digital marketing agency that endorses the fact that the digital world is continually evolving. They pretty much aim for the same. The company was established in 2010. At Digitalabs, the management gives precedence to performance and not simply the age. They are working with the top national and international brands. Approach them if you believe in constantly evolving with the digital world!

2. Digital360

This Digital Marketing Company, as its name suggests, has a whole solution for any and every digital branding purpose. They make certain to supply the client best branding solution with all needed support and assistance. They develop the digital marketing solution customised, keeping the need of the client in mind. Packages offered meet both the budget and need of the client. They also understand the rising competition of online branding and for the same; they present a range of online branding solutions that will totally help to attract potential customers. With this, the ultimate objective of increasing the business can be easily met! Contact them if online branding is what you want!

3. Blue Digital

Blue Digital is a digital marketing agency. They have an excellent team of trained professionals and are very good at what they do. They survey the latest technologies and are always up for any challenges posed to them. If you are looking for a digital marketing firm that can present you a comprehensive package in terms of design, development as well as marketing, go for them. Blue Digital is one firm that has always stood in the time frame and provided excellent solutions every time. They are very professional and quick with their execution. Some of their specialities are Content Writing applications like CRM systems, Pay Per Click Management, Brand Reputation Management and any complexities to aid their clients worldwide.

5 Most Popular Types of Industrial Equipment

There are many forms of industrial equipment used in the workplace. Industrial equipment is usually large and made of materials such as steel and titanium for optimal strength. These machines are often needed to lift and move materials which may possibly weigh thousands of pounds.

A piece of industrial equipment which is not in working order should never be used for any reason. All equipment is inspected at the beginning of everyday to ensure they are in the best condition for workers.

By now, there are a million pieces of industrial equipment racing through your head but the question is, which ones are the most popular and most crucial to the industrial field? Below you will find five types of industrial equipment which are known to be the masters of all machines in the industrial workplace:

1. Bulldozers – Bulldozers are massive machines which are used mostly in the construction and mining industries. Bulldozers have the ability to lift and move vast amounts of dirt and other debris from one place to another. Bulldozers can operate in many conditions including snow, hail and rain. These pieces of equipment are generally used to dig up the ground and provide room for building houses or other types of buildings.

2. Cranes – Cranes are generally used to transport hard, heavy items from one place to another. The arm of the crane is used to swing the object from one place to another and the arm can be adjusted according to how far the materials need to go. Unlike bulldozers, cranes have the ability to transport objects over uneven levels of ground.

3. Excavators – Excavators are engineering vehicles which consist of backhoes and cabs. They are mainly used in the digging of trenches, foundations and holes. They can also be used to destroy objects which are no longer needed for any reason and in which case need to be compressed and condensed.

4. Fork Lifts – Forklifts are warehouse vehicles which are used to lift, hoist and transport extremely heavy items from one place to another. Forklifts are known to be indispensable pieces of equipment in many industrial workplaces.

5. Compressors – Most of the pieces of equipment listed above are used for construction purposes, however compressors are generally used in more of a factory-type setting. Compressors are used to provide high pressures of air or other forms of gases. These devices can be regulated in order to maintain the desired amount of pressure in the tank.

There are many other forms of industrial equipment. Each piece of equipment is designed to perform a specific task which contributes to the overall success in this field of work. Without these forms of equipment many industrial areas would not exist.