Investing and Financing

Most of the businesses these days borrow money either in short terms or long terms basis. The majority of cash flow statements illustrate the increase and decrease of the earnings of the short term debt only. It does not report the total amount that either either borrowed or paid. On the other hand, when illustrating a long term debt, the total amount and the reimbursements of the long term debt must be indicated in the cash flow statement on a yearly basis. The figures on these cash flow statements are illustrated on gross not net figures.

Similar to businessmen, most of today's businesses must find a way to finance its acquisitions when the business' internal flow of cash is insufficient or is insufficient to provide financial support in order to for the business to grow. When we say financing, it usually means the funding of a business capital from debt and equity sources. And by borrowing money from financial institutions or banks, in order to loan money to the business, or by providing extra funds in the business. The tenure also includes the other side of the coin, meaning doing payments on the balance due and returning the principal to the owners. It also includes the monetary contributions by the company from the income to its owners.

In addition to that, another section of the statement of the monetary flow illustrates the ventures that the business has admitted during the annual report. New and additional ventures signify the growth of the production and distribution capacity of the business, as well as its improvements and improvements. Organizing long term assets or removing a key component of the business can create good or bad effects, depending on what is influencing the said actions.

Some companies will dispose some of its predetermined assets on a yearly basis upon reaching the limit of their usefulness because they will become more of a liability than an asset. These predetermined assets are either disposed or put on the market, or in most cases, traded for new predetermined assets. The assessment of the fixed assets or predetermined assets that is at the end of its usefulness is called the fixed assets' "salvage value". The profits of the fixed assets are accounted as a source of money in the "investing activities" segment of the statement of the business' monetary flow. The proceeds of these fixed assets are generally diminutive in quantity.

Market Research Companies – An Overview

Most large to big businesses have their own market research teams. These teams not only conduct research themselves, but most often outsource the requests to specialised companies. In the UK alone there are well over 250 market research companies, some operating in small niche markets. This article focusses on some of the most well known market research companies that operate across the globe.

ACNielsen

is a global marketing research firm and part of The Nielsen Company. One of ACNielsen’s best known creations is the Nielsen ratings, which measure television, radio and newspaper audiences in their respective media markets. Another market research tool is Homescan where sample members track and report all grocery and retail purchases, allowing purchasing patterns to be related to household demographics.

One of the most common used products is Retail Measurement, a tool that provides continuous tracking of product sales to consumers, based on information gathered at the retail point-of-sale (EPOS data)

Other well known ACN Businesses are BASES, Nielsen Consumer, Nielsen Business Media and Nielsen Online.

Forrester Research is an independent technology and market research company that provides its clients with advice about technology’s impact on business and consumers. It offers a variety of services including syndicated research on technology, quantitative market research on consumer technology adoption and business IT spending, research-based consulting and advisory services. On its website you can find a wide range of free research, options to be alerted on new conducted research as well as of the shelf surveys.

GfK SE is a worldwide market research organisation providing services in five business divisions: Custom Research, Retail and Technology, Consumer Tracking, Media and Healthcare. The Custom Research sector supplies information and consulting services for operational and strategic marketing decisions. Retailer POS data is the source for the Retail and Technology sector. The sector supplies clients with information and consulting services based on retail data from continuous surveys and analyses of sales of technical consumer goods and services in the retail sector. The Media Sector delivers information services on range, intensity and nature of media usage and acceptance. The data source for the Media sector stems from the media (point of media).

Ipsos MORI is the second largest survey research organisation in the UK. The organisation has a freely available archive of opinion polls and public attitude research from 1970 onwards, including trends on its UK website. Ipsos MORI’s Social Research Institute works extensively for UK government and public services, looking at public attitudes to key public services which formed a key part of the UK Government’s domestic agenda in 1997-2005. Social policy, and issues such as identity, social cohesion, physical capital and the impact of place on attitudes are all key themes of the Institute’s work. The company also specialises in Media, Loyalty and Marketing and Advertising Research.

Mintel International Group Ltd is a privately owned, London-based market research firm. Mintel databases, analysis, and forecasts are accessible only to subscribing clients and to students in participating university libraries. Some of its products are: Mintel Beauty Innovation (monitors mass media beauty introductions), Mintel Comperemedia (tracks direct mail and print advertising), Mintel Food & Drink (combines 5 products to deliver actionable market intelligence) and Mintel Menu Insights (tracks items on US restaurant menus). Mintel is mostly known for its reports, which are published online and contain consumer research and analysis.

SymphonyIRI Group (formerly Information Resources, Inc.) is a market research company which provides clients with consumer, shopper, and retail market intelligence and analysis focused on the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry. They offer services in the following areas: Market Content (Retail tracking data, convenience store tracking data and consumer panel-based data), Predictive Analytics (Decomposition of the drivers of current business trends and simulation of the effects of changes on future brand plans), Enterprise Performance Management Software (Tools to support faster analysis of market content) and Professional Services / Consulting.

WPP is is the world’s largest communications services group in terms of revenue. Kantar, based in London, was founded in 1993 as the Market Research, Information and Consultancy Division of WPP. It is a network of 13 specialist companies, including:

Research International specialises in qualitative and quantitative custom market research. It has experience in most major sectors, particularly consumer packaged goods, retail, new media, financial services, energy and utilities, technology, the postal sector and telecommunications.

Millward Brown provides qualitative, quantitative and consulting services with respect to brands, marketing communications, media and marketing effectiveness. Millward Brown works across a range of industries and categories, including brand strategy and experience, creative development and campaign evaluation, consumer needs and values, media planning and strategy, return on investment (ROI) and forecasting, and investment management, brand valuation and analytics through its MB Optimor unit. In the UK, Millward Brown currently compiles the Music and Video Charts on behalf of The Official Charts Company.

Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) is a leading market research and market information group with focus on the areas Automotive, Consumer, Finance, Political and Social, and Technology.

Do Alt and Title Attributes Help With SEO?

A highly talked about topic is the SEO world is, “Do Alt and Title Attributes Help with SEO?” Well to help shed a little light on this topic, I did some research and came up with a few good conclusions. I’m not suggesting these are 100% accurate but from my initial research they seem to be right on target. I welcome all other SEO experts to share their opinions on this topic by posting their comments – because as we all know, every little bit of information can help us all.

Well to start, I want to provide a brief introduction of each attribute to help you understand their “intended” purpose.

The alt attribute is, popularly and incorrectly referred to as an alt tag and is commonly misunderstood to provide a tool-tip for an image. Both of these are incorrect. First of all, the alt attribute is an attribute and not a tag. The alt attribute was always intended to provide alternative information about an element and is generally required for image and image maps and is not meant to be used to display a tool-tip. The alt attribute, can be used for the img, area, and input elements to help provide alternative information to users who cannot display that element in their browser. As an example, here is how you would define an alt attribute for an image: <img src=”imagepath.gif” alt=”this is our company logo”>. If the image is not displayed the text, “this is our company logo” will be displayed in the place of the image.

The title attribute, on the other hand, is meant to provide additional information about an element, which is displayed as a tool-tip by most graphical browsers. The title attribute can be used to describe any HTML element except for base, basefont, head, html, meta, param, script, and title.

An excellent use for the title attribute is to provide descriptive text within an anchor tag to let the users know where the link will direct them if they click on it. When the user places their mouse over the link, it will display a small tool-tip displaying the title text that you’ve provided. An example would be

So as you can see the alt and title attributes have different purposes but how do they affect SEO? This is the true question we all want to know and understand. Do they help with SEO or are they simply ignored by the search engines? I tested several different scenarios, all in Google, and after my research I’ve come to the following conclusions.

Alt attributes seem to be picked up by Google, whether or not there was a link within that element. Some SEO experts have mentioned that if there is no link, then the alt attribute would not be indexed… from my research I’ve found this to be false.

Going further, I noticed in one testing scenario, if there was an image with an alt attribute and a link to a completely other site, that other site was also indexed by Google when searching for the text within the alt attribute. It was difficult for me to verify this multiple times but I definitely verified it in one testing scenario.

I also took this one step further and analyzed my results with what Google Images was displaying. I immediately noticed that Google sometimes takes the alt attribute text and provides this text as the description for the image in Google Images, something that is very valuable to know and understand when doing SEO for your website.

In all of my testing scenarios, the title attribute do not seem to be picked up by Google and adding a link to that element did not seem to affect this result at all. If you really think about it, this makes complete sense. Since you can place title attributes in almost every element of a website, it would be very easy for a user to affect the search engines by keyword stuffing throughout their web pages, something that Google and the other major players do not want, hence why title attributes do not help with SEO.

In my opinion, you should use the title attribute to help with your user’s experience and not with SEO. Since tool-tips provide more useful information to the user about images, links, fields and much more, you will help your users to understand what is happening around the web page.

So from my testing I’ve determined that a title attribute is meant to provide tool-tips to the user for user experience, whereas the alt attribute is helpful in terms of providing alternative information to the user when their browser cannot display an image or input element and helping to increase the SEO of a website. My recommendation is to pay close attention to when, where and how you are using your alt attributes. If they help with SEO, then you should pay close attention to what you are adding.

When adding images always be sure to add an alt attribute to the code of each image. If you do not have one, then just specify a blank one, such as alt=”". Also, be sure to add alternative text that is relevant to that image, the content on that page and be sure not to specify an alt attribute greater than 100 characters in length, as this may be perceived as spamming.

I hope you find my brief overview on the topic of, “Do Alt and Title Attributes Help with SEO?” to be beneficial for you and your business. I’m sure one could dive deep into this topic, spending weeks determining the differences between how Google, Yahoo! and the other major search engines handle title and alt attributes with regards to SEO for a website.

I welcome all comments and/or feedback.

Sports Betting Systems – Increase Your Odds

No matter what type of gambling you like to engage in, common sense says that developing a system will increase your odds of gaining a return on your wager. This theory holds true for most people interested in sports betting; sticking to a certain set of practices will in the end help you realize gains over the long term, rather than losses.

Before we start talking about some sports betting systems, it is important to note that this logic is only partially true. In fact, a betting system can at best help you to reduce your losses over the long term while gambling on sports; the best possible realistic exit for any system is an even split of wins and losses over the long haul.

The reason for this comes down to the professionals, by which we mean the professionals who really DO make a huge profit month in and month out, through history, in sports betting. Those professionals, of course, are the bookmakers.

Using statistical analysis, bookmakers can always determine which betting systems are currently being used by bettors, and they always adjust the odds accordingly. They may make a home game split a poor value bet in order to compensate, or begin to adjust the lines. Whatever the measures, you can bet that the sports books have thought up ways to counter systems.

With that said, there are systems that can be used to increase your chances of profit over the long term in sports betting, but they really have to do with personal control and strategies when betting. The good thing about this approach is that you can use it on any given sport, so it applies universally. Let's take a look at some money wise ways to approach your sports betting strategy.

o Establish a bankroll: Before the beginning of the season, the playoffs, or whatever event you wish to wager on, you have to establish a bankroll. This bankroll will be based on the money you feel you can LOSE during the course of the betting season. Once you lose that money, it is very important that you stop betting or you will find yourself in a lot of trouble, very quickly.

o Do not chase bad bets. One of the biggest temptations for those engaging in sports betting is to try to make up money they lost while wagering on certain games. This is almost always a recipe for disaster. If you lose all your games on betting on weekend NFL games, do not try to make up for it with a bet on Monday night!

Those are the important foundations for any sports betting strategy, and they will help mitigate your losses on any losing season.

Now, let's take a look at some strategies to apply to your general sports betting endeavors.

o Research! In order to make a good bet (meaning, a bet that has the best chance of winning), you need to know all you can about the game in question. That means doing a lot of research. Know who is playing what position, their health and mental status, the record of the teams against each other, other records, even who the officials are. Good research is your most effective tool when it comes to placing a good bet.

o Watch out for tired teams! In a lot of sports, teams play back to back games. If they are playing a fresh team, this can factor into their ability to play. It does not always work, but most times a team playing its second game in two nights will have a reduced chance of winning.

o Betting series: This strategy really only applies to baseball betting, where teams may play three or more games against each other in a row. In these cases it is usually possible to predict which team will come out with the most wins in the series, and that's an easier call than game to game.

Of course, for all those strategies, you have to keep in mind that the bookmakers are just as aware of the factors as you are. They will adjust the odds accordingly, which is something else you have to be aware of.