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Building The Right Team Behind You

This article aims to provide you with helpful information and useful guideline so you can get the right investment decision from the very start of your overseas property investment. We understand how hard it can be to invest in a foreign country and prevent you from going after the wrong properties and areas we advice to spend time upfront on creating the right strategy and make up a powerful team who will stay behind you and support your Interests:

Things To Consider Before Investing
Does An Investment Property Fit Your Financial Plan?

Investing in real estate can be a powerful wealth-building tool. It can also be a burden that drains away assets and monopolizes your time and effort. It's critical to be in control of your finances, have an overall plan, and believe that an investment property is the right strategy for you. Talk to a real estate expert, attorney and accountant about your particular situation and goals. Cultivate your relationships with these advisors. They'll serve you well through your investing career. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you start clarifying your goals:

O Do I expect the property to provide immediate income or long-term appreciation?

O What's the status of my retirement savings?

O Will liquidity be an issue for me?

O Will I be able to handle long-term ownership even with an unpredictable cash flow?

O Do I expect my investment property to provide me with income when I retire?

Setting Parameters

Should you invest in a penthouse or in a studio? A three-story house or development land?
The first time out, it's probably best to invest in something on the small side, keeping your strategy in mind at all stages would allow choosing the best unit!
Next decision: locale. City or country? Nearby or away from it all? Residential or resort? This would definitely depend on your strategy! Real estate experts suggest you start with what you want to achieve and the select area that can most likely achieve your goal. If you are after a whole year rental income then maybe a city location would give you the opportunity to achieve your goal, as well as some resort properties. Every strategy is unique because different investors have different personal and financial circumstances. A prime location in a basic rule in property investing but this does not always apply! There are rules in property investing that might not apply to your specific situation; The best option is to have a specialist advise you to avoid mistakes, especially if this is your first investment overseas.

An Expert Home Team

Makes A Big Difference

Building Your Team

Working with a team of experts can smooth your way to the right investment home, especially if you're considering a long-distance purchase. You started by talking to your tax adviser and attorney about the feasibility of making this purchase and about potential tax advantages. Now it's time to contact some other professionals:

Real Estate Consultants.
A solid relationship here can make all the difference, especially if you're considering locales that are farther than a car ride away. A consultant becomes your eyes, ears, and voice as they preview properties and locate homes that meet your criteria – possibly working online to send you listings. A good consultant can:

O Establish what you want in an investment property.

O Search resources for properties that match your needs.

O Tell you about appropriate properties.

O Provide valuable information on communities, comparable values ​​of neighboring homes, tax rates, rental amounts, and building code regulations.

O Arrange for digital photos or virtual tours to be sent via the Internet.

O Help you formulate an offer on the property you wish to purchase.

O Act as an interim between you and the seller, smoothing the negotiation process and negotiating a
Better price for you.

Mortgage Brokers – a broker is different from a mortgage lender. The broker does not make the loans, he or she has dozens of contacts with lenders and can tailor your financing package to your needs, whether a mortgage, a piggyback combination or hard money.

A Real Estate Attorney – This is all about asset protection; You do not want to amass your empire only to lose it to frivolous lawsuits. In certain states, attorneys rather than title companies do the closings, so you want your own on your team.

An Accountant – The accountant should know real estate and tax law. This is not just to get your taxes done at the end of the year; This is so you can strategize with someone who understands the impact of income taxes and capital gains on what you want to do.

Specialist on Emerging property markets will be able to help you create the right investment strategy and minimize the risk of your investment for maximum returns – http://www.sash-solutions.com

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Building On A Difficult Terrain

Adjusting the house to the landscape is the first task to be solved when building on difficult terrain. If your block of land has slopes up to 20% – it’s rather regular terrain. The difficulties start to appear on slopes that are steeper than that.

Main problems can be divided into 3 categories:

1) Some additional research to determine the danger of soil slipping down should be done

2) The foundations and plumbing will require some additional work

3) Some additional work to level the soil might be necessary

And of course any of above translates into additional expenses.

If the allotment is in a real danger of soil slip, for example the soil has a steep rocky slope underneath and gets lots of rainfall or has ground water – it makes no sense to build on it.

However, if that’s not the case, then building on steep slope might produce very interesting outcome. History has many examples of people, who had to deal with difficult conditions, created the most magnificent structures, some of which we can still see in these days. They include the Machu Picchu city in Peru, great castles of Europe, Svan’s watchtowers in high mountains of Georgia, and fort Metsada in Israel.

To make the idea of building on difficult terrain a reality, several things need to fall together:

1) The wish to build on this particular block of land and the ability to finance the process

2) A talented architect and engineer who can fit the house into the relief while making it secure, safe and sound

3) Qualified builders who can implement everything according to the plans

So what are the advantages of building on a slope? First, nothing compares to the panoramic view from your terrace. Also, it is possible to create several levels: the garage on the upper level, the bedrooms and living areas below and the back yard and garden on the lowest level. The best thing about this setting is that the road and the driveway – with all the noise and the dust – are left on top, while the house is located below. More of the house is now exposed to the sun light. The garden can have many picturesque features such as little terraces, steps, miniature walls, cozy spots.

The whole presence of the house is improved, as this unique facade is created. The interior of the house benefit from larger windows and various open staircases, they look “weightless” and mix in harmony with the nature.

Another issue to address is the soundness of the house built on a slope. In many ways it depends on the soil underneath the foundations. If the soil is mostly sand or mud, then it makes sense to create terraced foundations, made of concrete bands and retaining walls, anchored in the soil.

If the foundations are to be built on rocks, concrete piles are better. The necessary diameter of a pile for 2 -3 level house is 35 – 40 cm, the depth is 8 to 10 meters. A reinforcing cage is installed in the borehole, which is later filled with concrete. The maximal load is to be defined by the engineer. All of the above methods are intended for brick and concrete houses. The foundations are much simpler to make for lighter houses.

Steep slopes are not the only kind of difficult terrain. One of the world-famous masterpieces – Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Fallingwater” – is a house built on top of a cliff with a waterfall rushing underneath. Its multilevel terraces are floating above the waterfall in the air filled with freshness of a creek. Buildings that are so much in harmony with the nature around are usually well-planned and well-built ones.

Another example of such building is the famous Sydney Opera house – a caravel with wind-filled sails in the open ocean. However, the story of those sails has no happy ending: the author of the project that won a contest, architect Jorn Utzon, originally intended for the construction to look similar to wind-filled sails. Unfortunately, the calculations and the construction couldn’t be done according his project, which is why the current looks of the Opera House, is very different from the way it meant to be.

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Building a Custom Home in Austin, Texas: 7 Steps to Success

Austin, Texas is becoming one of the nation's most popular places to build a custom home. There's the culture, the lifestyle, the weather, and of course … the affordability.

When building a custom home in Austin – or anywhere else, for that matter – there are no hard and fast rules that apply across the board. The very nature of a custom home means it is different from others, so the building process often varies from home to home.

With that being said, there are certain steps you can follow to ensure your home building process is a smooth one:

1. Determine Your Budget

Having a custom home built may be the largest financial decision you ever make. So before you start talking to builders or looking at lots, you need to determine your budget.

Start by adding up your monthly expenses. Leave housing out of the equation for now – just focus on food, shopping, lifestyle, car payments, insurance, investments, etc. Compare these figures to your monthly income to see how much of a house you might realistically afford.

If you currently own a home, this calculation will be much easier. You simply have to ask yourself, "How much more could I comfortably pay each month for a larger mortgage?"

2. Determine Your Location

When choosing a location for your new home, start with the obvious questions. Is it close to work, school and shopping? Are there major roadways, railroads or other noise-producers nearby? What are the taxes like? How are the school systems? (Quality of schools is important whether or not you have children, because it affects your property values.)

Once you've answered the obvious questions, move on to the less-obvious ones: What kind of development is planned for the foreseeable future? Will that beautiful meadow across the street be a parking lot in two years? As of this writing, there's a lot of development and expansion happening in Austin, Texas, so be sure you get a long-range picture of your preferred location.

3. Make a List of Builders

Once you've decided what part of town you want to live in, you can begin making a list of builders who work in the area. You may start by using the search engines, or by visiting some of the online directories of home builders, such as Reals.com, AmericanBuilders.com, or BuildingOnline.com.

Once you have a list of some of the top builders in your chosen area, start your fact-finding mission. Request brochures, visit model homes, surf their websites. Do whatever you can to gather information on each builder's reputation, expertise, price range, floor plans and other important criteria.

4. Decide On a Builder

Choosing your custom home builder is a major step. But if you've completed the previous step and conducted some thorough research, you'll have a much easier decision to make.

Once you've established that a builder has a good reputation and a genuine commitment to your happiness, you need to ask the big question: "Does this build create the kind of home I can see myself in? " Take your time answering these questions and making your ultimate decision.

5. Choose Your Lot

Before you can start looking at floor plans for your new dream home, you need to choose a lot. Floor plans are often dependent on the lot you choose, so the lot usually has to be determined on first.

The reasons for these are sometimes obvious and other times not. Obviously, a longer home will require a longer lot. But there may be other considerations at work. For example, perhaps the developer wants to stagger one-story homes and two-story homes through the community for overall appeal.

These considerations will vary from builder to builder. For now, just realize that the floor plan will usually depend on the lot you choose. So remember to ask plenty of questions about this along the way.

6. Pick a Floor Plan

One of the great things about a custom home is that it's, well … custom. Sometimes a custom home builder will offer basic floor plans that you can modify as you wish. Other times, the floor plans are created "from scratch" in coordination with an architect. Either way, you have an opportunity to build a home around your present and future needs.

This step of the process will involve many questions. How much space do you need? How many rooms? One story or two? Any special features, like a wraparound deck? This can often be the most exciting part of the home building process, because it involves turning your vision into a reality.

7. Negotiate the Contract

Be sure to get a written contract signed by the builder and the architect / designer (if there's an architect involved). A contract for new home construction should describe the project in detail, and it should include a listing of all the features to be included in the home. Ask for a contract amendment if the project changes later on, and make sure you get all of your questions answered before signing.

* You may republish this article online as long as you keep the hyperlinks active.

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10 Crucial and Surprising Steps to Build Trust in a Relationship

1. Be predictable. When do seeds of suspicion emerge? When one begins to think, What's up? Why is he doing that? He's never done that before. That is so unlike him. He loses 30 pounds, buys a new wardrobe and comes home late from work. He changes his patterns. His behavior becomes unpredictable. You get the picture? Any movement away from predictable behavior can become suspect and trust can deteriorate. Focus on acting predictably if you need to build trust. Be consistent in what you do. This does not mean you must be boring. If there is a twinkle in your eye and a dose of spontaneity every so often, for goodness sakes be spontaneous and fun loving. But, be spontaneously consistent! Be true to who you have always been and be that consistently, whoever you tend to be!

2. Inform your significant other when you become "unpredictable." No one goes through life the same person. We all make shifts and changes. Frankly sometimes we may be fairly clueless about what is happening and where we are going. Those times may be very intense and we do some silly things or make some downright dumb decisions. Life can get very squirrelly and unpredictable. (I have a favorite phrase: Gold is refined through intense heat.) Growth in an individual, marriage or family often is accompanied by a little chaos. Welcome these shifts, for there is a part of you searching for something better / different / richer / deeper, but for heaven's sake, inform your partner of what you are experiencing. Say, "I really do not know what is going on in me right now, but I'm moving in a different direction. Be a little patient with me while I figure this out. I might do some silly things, but my intent Is not to harm you or scare you. Accept some of my wondering and wandering and please be there for me? I may need to run some of this by you every so often! "

3. Make sure your words match the message. Mean what you say and say what you mean. When your partner hears one thing in your words but your tone of voice, body language and facial expressions are really saying something else, you open the relationship to some crazy making days. Which message is she to believe? This can waste a tremendous amount of energy and she learns not to trust part of what you are saying. Here's a very simple but common example. You are getting ready to go to a formal dinner. Your wife comes to you and says, "How do I look?" (And she's wearing a dress you do not particularly like and her hair is dropped back in a way that turns you off.) Not to spoil the evening you enthusiastically say, "You look great." You do not really mean it and a part of her knows you really do not mean it. But, you leave it at that. This might not seem like a big deal – we all have done something similar – but if trust is shaky to begin with, it is even shakier now. Here's how to match the words with the nonverbal: "I think you are a beautiful person. I love you dearly and it will be wonderful to have you by my side tonight. As you say, you look into her eyes as you put her hands around her waist.) She's not worried so much with how she looks but she is looking for her hair. Know the evening is going to go just fine. You respond to the real message. You can take this one step further, if you like. At some point you might bring up her need for affirmation and talk about that. Anything you can say or do so that need is met. Trust is awareness of the intent beneath the obvious message and responding to that!

4. Believe the other person is competent. I hear this phrase very often: "But, I do not want to hurt him." A couple things are at play here. First, she may not have the skill of confronting the other with the truth in a way that brings reconciliation and understanding. She believes truth telling is destructive or entitles some sort of drama. Neither is true. The truth is never destructive and can be conveyed in loving ways. (With that said, what we believe to be the truth may indeed be a distorted perception that fits our personal needs.) Or, she may see the other person as a wimp; Someone she believes can not handle rigid personal confrontation. She does not trust that the other person has the internal strength or stamina or skills to be in a relationship of mutual respect and equality. The other person picks up on this mistrust and does what he does (feigns inadequacy and incompetence) to avoid the personal confrontation as well. A dance is acted out. Believe and know in your heart that the other person, somewhere and somehow, beneath the games, has the internal strength and capacity to handle anything. Such trust builds trust in the other person and begins to pervade the relationship. "Hey, she thinks I can handle this! Hmmmm, this is mighty good! I CAN engage her and be truly intimate!"

5. Be very very careful of keeping secrets. If he knows there is an elephant in the room and does not talk about it, the elephant takes up tremendous space in the relationship. It takes energy for him to walk around it. She may not see the elephant but knows he is bending his neck to look around something. She will be curious, mildly disturbed, have feelings but no words to wrap around them, might wonder if something is wrong with her or struggle with trusting her intuition (her intuition KNOWS an elephant is there.) And, when we can not trust The messages that come from within us, we find it very difficult to trust the messages of the other person. Secrets demand tremendous energy and erode trust. The relationship is doomed never to experience wall-banging intimacy. This is why extramarital affairs are so damaging. She is not so much concerned about him having sex with someone else as she is about the betrayal, lack of trust, the secrets and deception that are crazy making and energy draining. Now, please. I'm not saying that you sit your partner down and divulge the 23 secrets of your illicit past behaviors. If you have resolved those, ie forgiven yourself, understand those behaviors, learned from them and were able to use them to make the internal shifts necessary for your personal development, they do not qualify as an elephant. Hopefully, in the course of growing intelligence in your relationship you may want to share some of those events as you dispose to your partner where you were and where you are now. You do so without emotional charge. However, if a secret takes up room, ie still has an emotional charge and holds you back from demonstrating more and more of yourself in the growing stages of intelligence, you have a problem that needs to be addressed with your partner.

6. Let YOUR needs be known – loudly. Be a little – no, be a lot – self-centered. (Be self-centered, but not selfish!) Here's a problem I run into nearly every day. He is backing away (sometimes attached to work, another person, etc.). She feels the trust and intimidation eroding, is scared and wants to "win him back." So she begins an all out effort to "work on the marriage." She invites him to do so as well. He may reluctantly agree. She blasts full throttle ahead trying to "be nice" and meet every need he ever said he had. She's going to "fill his tank with goodies." Does not work. Her eyes are riveted on him. He feels "smothered" or maybe even resentful: "Why is she doing this NOW!" She's hopeful, but eventually that turns to resentment. Her underlining motive – if I meet his needs, he will feel good and meet mine – just does not work. It's perceived as manipulation, which it is. Of course, he does not say anything. After all, how do you get angry with someone who is so "nice and caring?" Trust disintegrates under a blanket of quiet niceties. Start with your eyes focused on YOU. What do YOU ​​need? Explore your personal need system. Dig beneath the surface. And then say to him: "I need … x, y and z. I would like to talk to you about them. I would like us to work out a way so my needs are met." He is empowered to say yes or no. Or, he may say, "What about my needs?" You respond, "I am very interested in hearing what is important to you, surely." Have you ever been around someone who stated clearly what they needed / wanted? Did not you respect that person? Because you knew where he stood, and therefore where you stood, did not that interaction move toward a trusting relationship?

7. State who YOU ​​are – loudly. It is very sad to see those in relationships of emotional investment hold back from letting the other person know who they really are. You build trust in a relationship by entrusting your SELF to the other person. This sounds easy but I find it difficult for most to pull off. Most of us have a difficult time declaring our SELF. For one thing, if you're like most of us, you have not given much thought to what it is that makes YOU really you. Do not you feel like you glide through life on autopilot, focusing on tasks, goals, accomplishments, problems and the external realities? Do not you tend to focus on those things out there or that person out there? You're concerned about what he is thinking, how he is responding to you, whether he likes you, but he will be an obstacle and where he will fit in your life? Your conversations may be pleasant but fairly privileged and bluntly, boringly inane. You converse about things / relationshipships / events out there. You are a link to share your thoughts, values, and impressions or take a stand. This does not destroy trust. But it does not create it either. And, if you do take a stand it may serve the purpose of protecting you or entrenching you as you react against someone. This more often than not creates trust barriers. Take some time to reflect on your standards. What are your standards for a relationship? What standards do you hold for yourself? What do you order your life around? What are the 4 top values ​​in your life? What are some themes that you live by? What are you known for? And then … begin giving significant people in your life know. They will respect you. They will know you more deeply. They will thank you for the opportunity to know you. They will see you as a person of character. They will trust you. They can count on you. They know exactly what is behind and within you.

8. Learn to say NO! Sometimes you need to say NO! Often it is cruel to say NO! Saying NO sets boundaries around you that protects you from being hurt or venturing into territory that will be destructive to your heart and soul. You draw a line. You stop tolerating that which drains energy and makes you less than YOU. You refuse to allow the destructive behaviors of others to destroy you. You build a moat around the core of your life. You do this by informing the other person of what they are doing. You request they stop. If they do not stop, you demand they stop. If they do not stop you walk away without a snide remark, eye-roll or comment. To some this looks harsh, but saying NO is RESPECTED. Fear is the basis of mistrust. If you fear that someone will hurt you and believe you have no recourse but to end that hurt, fear will prevail. How can you trust when you are in fear? Saying NO, protecting yourself, sends a message to the other person that you will not live in fear. This usually triggers a response of respect from the other person. After all, if you can protect yourself and refuse subjugation to that which is destructive, will not the other person come to trust you and see you as a person who just protects him / her from harm as well?

9. Charge Neutral. When your significant other expresses something strongly, charge neutral. Most of us are afraid of strong feelings or points of contention in a relationship. I commonly hear people respond by defending themselves (to a perceived attack), explaining themselves, counter-attacking, shutting down, or walking away. Of course, the relationship remains stuck in this quagmire of mistrust and fear. Rather than reacting and having your feelings flowing all over the place or shutting down, practice charging neutral. Communicate calmness, not only in your tone of voice but also in how you carry your body. Do not speak with a charge to your voice. Control your voice! Say what you must say, state the truth and do it directly and calmly. You can do this, once you master your fears. It will dramatically change the flow of the relationship. You will be able to point out something big, without making a big deal out of it. You will be in control of you. This not only feels great, but your partner trusts that you will not fly or fall apart. You will experience your personal power. This makes you very attractive. Do not people really trust someone who knows their personal power and how to use it for the welfare of themselves and others? Your partner will love the fact that she can trust you consistently to operate from your "quiet center," remain engaged, not back down and speak the truth with conviction and calmness.

10. Dig into the dirt. Relationships of emotional investment, by their nature, bringing trials, tribulations, fears, chaos, turmoil, change, stretching and growth. They become the grist from which your life is shaped and formed. Be fearless when faced with turmoil, upset, crisis, questions, and fears. When the time is right, seek them out. Move toward the frightening unknown. Dig into the dirt of your relationship and unforgettable the treasures. Do you really TRUST that this can happen? The purpose of your relationship is not to make you happy. Do you realize this? Happiness may be an income, but your other is given to you to move you to where you really want to be. Obstacles, trials and moments of pain are given as lessons on which you intentionally write the script of your life individually and together. Embrace the difficult. Trust that in this embracing you will find more of your true self. Trust that you are given the resources and capacity to face what you and your significant other are to face. Once you are able to believe and trust these ultimate means, trusting your significant other will be that much more easy.

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Getting Banner Advertising Traffic in Niche Markets – The Best Strategy For Building a Massive List

When it comes to getting a massive amount of visitors to your site with advertising in niche markets you are going to want to make sure you focus on building a massive newsletter list as well. In this article I want to show you exactly how to make this happen so you can increase your profits and have more success with this source online.

The Reason Why You Should Build A Massive List With Banner Advertising In Your Niche Market …

One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to getting more visitors to their site is the fact that they are only focused on driving more and more visitors to their site in the hopes that they will somehow make a massive profit.

You have to realize that if you know what you are doing with this source you can make a massive profit by driving traffic right to your sales page. But if you want to increase your profits and make even more money you are going to want to make sure you focus on making sure you drive those visitors to a landing page so you can get their name and email address.

If you do this you are going to be able to get a lot more visitors to your site and you are going to be able to build a relationship with the people that you have on your newsletter list. That means you are going to be able to sell them more expensive stuff.

If you work to build a relationship with them that means you are going to get to know them better and because of this you are going to be able to sell them stuff that is higher priced. So make sure you take this strategy seriously so you can massively increase your profits online.

Here Is How You Can Make This Happen …

First – Always make sure you drive your visitors from your banner ads to a landing page.

The reason that you are going to want to do this is because you need to make sure you get their names and email addresses right away. If you do this right away you are going to have a lot more success and you are going to make more money.

Second – You have to make sure you are focused on creating different landing pages for the different sites that you are running your ads on.

If you do this you will increase your conversion rate as you are going to become a lot more relevant and you will be able to make more money as well.

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Ten Commitments for Building High Performance Teams

High performance is very critical to the survival of any organisation or individual. And when we talk about organisational performance, teams (human beings) are catalysts for its realisation. I have decided to review this text entitled “Ten Commitments for Building High Performance Teams” as a guide on how to achieve organisational performance through effective teams. It is written by Dr. Tom Massey, a corporate leadership trainer and coach with about 20-year experience in optimising individual and organisational performance.

Team performance, according to Massey, is only as strong as the collective performance of members. This consultant says when committed, collaborative individuals with complementary skills work together, a synergistic effect takes place because total performance is greater than the sum of the individual parts. Massey adds that in other words, one-plus-one no longer equals two; instead, it equals three or even more in a high performance team environment.

He says the ten commitments outlined in this text will help you get the right people in the right positions to develop a focused, values-driven, high performing team. The author advises you to learn how to get every member to take personal ownership of your team’s success by creating shared purpose, values and strategic goals.

Massey says through this text, you will be able to gain insights into how to set up profit-sharing, establish work standards and correct performance problems in addition to creating a learning organisation that is able to adapt to the challenges of the next century.

He adds that through this text, you will be better informed on how to build a team environment where people have fun and play to win. Massey submits that you will also be able to build a team environment with increased employee retention, job satisfaction, commitment and productivity that will propel your team to championship performance.

This text is segmented into ten chapters. Chapter one is entitled “Commit to getting the right people ‘on the bus’ “. According to the author, when you have the right people on the bus, with the right skills and a high-level commitment, regardless of whether you are a business manager or coach of a sports team, you will be successful. Massey says the first thing to start when picking the right people for your team is to develop job descriptions based on factors of success for each position.

“Great coaches and managers develop every position as if it is the most important position on the team, and it is. Remember the adage: A chain is only as strong as its weakest link,” he submits.

Massey educates that factors of success may be defined as the skills and behaviour needed to perform a job successfully within the culture operated by the team. He explains that these factors include more than simply the skills requirements. Skills requirements are essential characteristics or experiences team members must have in order to qualify for their respective positions, asserts Massey. He adds that however, there are other behavioural standards required to ensure team success.

Massey educates that when defining a position, you should first determine what the major purpose of that job is and how it fits into the overall purpose of the team. The author explains that each team member must see his or her position as a personal mission that contributes to the team’s success.

He says according to the results of a recent national study involving over 20, 000 employees in diverse industries, only 37 per cent of employees said they had a clear understanding of what their team or organisation was trying to accomplish and why; only 20 per cent were passionate about their team’s goals; and only 20 per cent said they had a clear ‘line of sight’ between their jobs and their team’s goals.

Massey stresses that in order to ensure that team members understand how their jobs contribute to the overall success of the team or organisation, they must know the purpose of the jobs, the reward of a job well done, etc.

Chapter two is entitled “Commit to greeting everyone ‘on the same page'”. According to the author here, established rules provide structure and people know what is expected of them and how they will engage one another in day-to-day interactions.

Massey says conflicts commonly arise in teams because of failed expectations caused by assumptions of one or more people. These assumptions often result from implicit agreements or standards of behaviour that have not been clarified because people do not understand the rules of engagement, expatiates Massey.

He discusses the issue of creating a team charter and says a team charter is a written document used to define the team’s purpose/vision, values and goals. Massey adds that the charter will also assist you to serve as a contract between the team and the organisation it represents.

In his words, “Charters may be developed by top management, then presented to team members, or teams can create their own charters and present them to top management. Regardless of who creates the charter, it is absolutely imperative that top management give their full endorsement to provide the team the direction and authority it needs to succeed.”

Additionally, Massey looks at the issues of developing a purpose statement; identifying team values and ground rules; developing Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-driven (SMART) strategic goals, etc.

In chapters three to six, the author analytically X-rays concepts such as committing to creating a learning environment; committing to sharing the profits and losses; committing to turning around poor performance; and committing to dancing with ‘those who brought you’.

Chapter seven is based on the subject matter of committing to win. According to Massey, if you want your team to reach levels of high performance, you must transform those moments of fear and uncertainty into opportunities for ordinary people to achieve extraordinary results.

He says the late John Wooden, hall-of-fame coaching legend once told his UCLA basketball team thus: “Men, the team that makes the most mistakes tonight will win the game!” Massey adds that Wooden encouraged his players to take risks and make more mistakes because he knew that you miss 100 per cent of the shots you never take.

According to Massey, never give naysayers a foothold in your team by allowing them to perpetuate a story of negativity. He says the story heard is the story told. Massey advises you to tell a different story, one that perpetuates a ‘play to win’ mindset that will allow you to create anything you want. Playing to win requires a commitment that even if you fail, you will never give up and never let your goals and dreams die, explains the author.

The author restates that playing to win means moving forwards regardless of what happens. “And that’s made possible when people don’t take mistakes personally,” he adds.

In chapters eight to ten, Massey discusses concepts such as committing to growing through adversity; committing to having fun; and committing to playing large.

Style-wise, this text is okay. Apart from the simplicity of the language, the mode of presentation is logical and highly didactic. What’s more, Massey employs classical allusions, starting every chapter with a quote from a legendary figure, just to achieve conceptual reinforcement and ensure easy understanding on readers’ part.

He adds “Practical Application” segment at the end of each chapter where additional tips are offered, to ensure practical involvement of readers.

However, the phrase “High Performance” in the title needs to take a hyphen (“High- Performance”) so that it becomes a compound modifier to the noun “Teams”. Also the uncountable noun “Behaviour” is pluralised in chapter two.

Generally, Massey’s intellectual efforts in this text are commendable. If you want your organisation to surpass previous achievements by building highly-effective teams, then this text is a must-read and the tips must-apply for you.

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Building Your First Website? – Some Things to Consider

If you have, or have had, a website on one of the free hosting services you are aware of the limitations. Your choices of layout are limited to the templates provided and you are allowed only so much space. Your URL is not distinctively yours and, very likely, there are ads put there by your provider. So now you are thinking of starting a website under your own domain name so that you can personalize it to suit yourself. If you are planning to do business on the web it is crucial to have your own domain name and unique look.

Stop. If you are going to do it yourself, rather than hire someone to do it for you and you have little or no experience, there are a few things you need to know and some planning you need to do first. Sure, you could just charge ahead learning as you go (and there will still be some of that) but things will go a lot more smoothly if you take an honest inventory of your knowledge and skills as they apply to the planned content and format of Your site.

Basic Computer Skills

Anyone who uses a computer is familiar with the way folders and files are organized. Casual or recreational users usually do not take advantage of this structure to keep their own files organized but you should definitely do this with your pages. As you develop your site (and especially when you are ready to upload to your host) a well organized structure will reduce the amount of effort required to find, link to and upload pages.

A strategy many find useful is to build the entire site on their local file system so that it can be thoroughly tested prior to launch. This is a simple matter of creating a folder to serve as the root or top level of your site and subfolders as necessary to organize the content. For example, you might make a folder called mysite to serve as the root and a subdirectory called images to hold all the graphics you will use on your pages. One big advantage of this strategy is the ability to use your computer's file manager to determine the storage space required for your site. This will help you in choosing a hosting plan that has enough but not way too much allocated file space.

It is advisable to use relative path names for all internal links of your site as in./images/picture1.jpg or ../adobefiles / helpfile.pdf so that they will not need changing when you upload to your host. The single dot is shorthand for the current directory (the one where the page that contains the link is located). The double dot representations directory one level up.

As you build your pages and links you can test them by double clicking on the index.html (the default first page of a site) in your file manager which will start your browser and display your page. You can name this first page anything you like provided you use the.html or.htm extension and specify this name in the ultimate URL of your site but that will require visitors to type something like www.mydomain.com/firstpagename.html to get To your site or you will have to do a redirect to it from your top level. If you leave the default name they can just type in the domain address and it will automatically load. At launch time the entire site can be uploaded via an FTP client (file transfer protocol) and be 'live' in minutes.

You will need to be comfortable with and know how to find your way around the web. Also, you definitely need to know how to download and install software as well as how to use an FTP client to upload and download files and directories. FTP client software is not something that most of us use in routine computer use so you may need to just learn this when the time comes to attempt your first upload. One good (and free) FTP client is FileZilla. You will also need to know a little HTML as that is what makes the web work.

HTML

Most people these days use some form of WYSIWYG editor (what you see is what you get) for most of their page development. Many, if not most, hosting services provide a simple one similar to what you may be accredited to on the free services. To break free of the lookalikes, though, you should acquire and learn to use one of the more general purpose editors. A very good one is SeaMonkey from Mozilla and it is free for the downloading. It also works directly in HTML so that you do not have to convert from the editor's native format to HTML before uploading. SeaMonkey is actually a 'Browser Suite' and includes a browser, a WYSIWYG editor and a viewer / editor for the HTML text file. However, some basic knowledge of HTML and a text editor like the one in SeaMonkey or even Windows Notepad will allow you to tweak things if necessary.

How much HTML should you know? Well, you should certainly know how to define a link so that you can link your pages and how to insert images. You should also know some of the text formatting tags for bolding etc. And how to specify text and background colors in hexadecimal (there are pages on the web with charts of colors and their hex equivalents). Metatags are another thing you should be familiar with. There are many books and online tutorials where you can learn about HTML.

Hosting

In order for your site to be visible on the web, you will need a domain name (your URL) and a host. Your host will be providing the space to store the necessary files and web access to those files so that browsers can find and display them. Most hosting services provide a convenient interface for you to access your pages for maintenance, etc. And most will also register and host your domain name.

You will want to consider two main things when picking your plan; Storage space and file transfer limits. All the other stuff is nice and some of it is important but these two are critical. Your storage requirements are pretty easy to estimate as stated above. Your file transfer requirement is not so easy because it depends on how many visitors come to your site and how much they look at. One "rule of thumb" says to buy a minimum of five gigabytes or ten times your actual storage usage whichever is larger.

In Conclusion

Designing and building your own website from scratch can actually be enjoyable. So brush up on your skills and get to work. Share your hobby with the world or put your business on the web. There is a lot of satisfaction in doing it yourself. Most of all have fun with it.

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How To Start An Email Newsletter

Here are the goals:

You regularly send out relevant and anticipated email newsletters to your ever-growing list. You have a form on your website that asks people to sign up for your email newsletter. When someone signs up, they give you their name and email address and they receive a few automatic and customized emails that you previously crafted while they wait for their first newsletter edition. You have a database that stores each person’s email address and you have a way to send out regular emails to them all, including beautiful HTML newsletters (e-zines). You watch the list grow over time and watch readers turn into customers.

Here are the benefits:

oYou are continually building a list of loyal readers that grows over time

oYour readers spread the word that your organization is helpful, knowledgeable and experienced.

oYour readers are regularly reminded of your organization’s continued existence, growth and relevance.

oSome loyal readers will turn into loyal paying customers.

oYou learn more about your customers and site visitors by asking them to communicate with you through the newsletter.

oYou generate a new income stream by selling advertisement space.

oYou’ll have a regular source of fresh and original content to add to your website which will help search engine rankings.

There are two distinct, but equally important aspects of starting an email newsletter that need to be addressed for you to accomplish the goals and gain the benefits listed above. First, you need the infrastructure and functionality to make all this happen, such as a database, an HTML form, a method for sending out emails in quantity and so forth. Second, you need the content that will be in each newsletter. This article will explain how to do both.

The Needed Infrastructure & Functionality for an Email Newsletter

Does getting the infrastructure sound difficult? Does it sound like you have to know a lot about programming? Neither is true. This wheel doesn’t need to be re-invented.

There are a number of websites that offer paid services that provide the entire infrastructure for you. The cost is a fraction of the cost of developing the infrastructure yourself. Two good examples of this type of service are Constant Contact and Aweber. I prefer Aweber and find its interface intuitive and easy to use. I use Aweber for our company email newsletter and suggest it to all our clients.

Using a browser I can log into my Aweber account and create text or HTML email auto-responder messages for people to receive when they visit our site or sign up for our e-zine. I can create a simple HTML form that asks for people’s name and email as well. In fact, the html code for the form is created for me and all I have to do is cut and paste it into my site. No programming needed.

Each person’s information is stored in a database on Aweber’s servers. I can manage my leads list in my browser and sort by different ways. It also allows me to see how many of my auto-responders have been sent already. And every email that we send out has a personalized first name greeting.

There is a place in Aweber where I can manage my messages, whether they are regular emails to part of the list or a newsletter that’s sent to the entire list. And there is a place where I can enter my messages, edit them, check to see if they will trip any sp@m filters, I can test the messages by sending them to my own email address first, and finally I can send them all out at once with one simple click.

The Needed Quality Content for an Email Newsletter

It’s not good enough to just have the infrastructure and functionality. You need content that makes people want to accept and read your newsletters over and over again.

Your newsletter ought to be related to your website and organization. Every person and organization has valuable and unique knowledge and experience to offer others. And you’d be surprised at how many people want your unique knowledge. Sharing this knowledge and experience with your existing and potential customers is what the Web is all about. People use the Web for getting information. So make your newsletters about various aspects of your business or organization, and make them educational, so that your readers come away with more useful information than they had before.

So if you’re a Web design firm, write about Web design in your newsletters. If you’re a small local bookstore, write about how to become an author, or how to start a local bookstore. If you’re a financial advisor, write about how people can make sound investments. If you’re a furniture builder and seller, write about how to fix up old pieces of furniture on your own.

Newsletters that are just extended advertisements don’t cut it. If your newsletter only has announcements of new or improved products or services, or specials that you’re running, then you’re missing the boat completely. There is so much more you can offer.

Creating newsletters that contain useful, relevant and anticipated information for your readers is what to aspire to. You want to give away ideas and concepts for free that can be used to help improve some aspect of your reader’s lives. You obviously don’t want to give away the whole farm since a lot of your expertise is what you charge for in the first place. But giving some information away for free is a win-win.

Most often, your readers don’t care about you or your company or your specific products or deals, they only care about what you can do for them. If they take the time to open your email newsletter and read it, it better provide them with some real value or they won’t bother again and your list will not grow, but eventually wither away into oblivion.

In return for providing useful, original content, you develop a constantly growing list of loyal readers who will spread the word that you are an authority in your field. Your readers may eventually buy from you if they haven’t already. And you can use your list to occasionally sell your products or services, but do this very sparingly. You can use the newsletter for selling advertisement space, but again, use sparingly. Finally, you can use your list to learn more about your customers and site visitors. You can ask the people on your list to fill out an online survey, but be sure to offer them an incentive for their time.

If you don’t know any programming or HTML but want to send out a regular newsletter, you can use Aweber to create text-only messages. If you want to send out professional HTML email newsletters, then either learn HTML and design (which is obviously time-consuming, but certainly possible), or hire a Web firm to do it for you. I would also suggest hiring a firm to help you with writing the content as well if you’re not comfortable with writing.

But as you can see, you don’t need much to get an email newsletter going. If you can regularly create quality content, just sign up for an online service like Aweber and away you go. An internal customer email list is a very valuable asset for any organization. Handle it with loving care. Never sell or rent your list to anyone, try to offer value in your writing, and don’t overuse it as an advertisement medium.

Good luck and happy e-zining!

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How To – Building a Real Estate Website – Part 1

As more and more people use the Internet to research, buy and sell homes it is getting extremely important as a real estate investor to have a web presence. This can be a daunting task for many, but it does not have to be. You can hire out the job to professionals for upwards of $ 5000 or even find a rent-a-coder and pay them a few hundred. Why would you do this? When it's so easy to create your own page quickly and cheaply!

In Part 1 of this article series I'm going to describe the parts that you need in order to develop your own professional looking web-page. Lets get started.

Web Hosting Service – 1 and 1 Hosting – $ 5.00

The web hosting service provider is where all your files and webpages will be stored and served to the public. There are TONS of options out there for you and you could get dizzy trying to decide which one is best for you. That is why I'm going to just recommend one and it's the one I use. 1 and 1. This could not be cheaper! I pay $ 5 a month (they are actually running a special right now for $ 2.49 / mo). The plan you want is the 1 and 1 Home Package . It provides everything you will need and I'll get into it in another article.

Domain Name – GoDaddy.com – $ 9.99

The domain name is the webpage address your visitors will type into the address bar. For example my domain name is StrugglingInvestor.com. Are you wondering what the "www" is that you always have to type in? That is the Sub-Domain name. By default a "www" is created for your domain, but as you get more advanced you can create subdomains yourself like, homes.StugglingInvestor.com. It can be a great way to organize your site. Ok, back on topic … Godaddy is the domain registrar I use. There are TONS out there and prices vary greatly but I like the way GoDaddy handles it and there is always a coupon out there to make the price cheaper (you can usually get 25% knock off by searching Google for "Godaddy Coupons").

Now the reason why I do not use 1 and 1 to registar my domain (which you can) is that having one central location for all my domains (godaddy) allows me to point my domain names to different Web Hosting Providers (1 and 1 or Wherever). Not only that but most importantly if you were to register your domain with 1 and 1 you may have difficulty if you ever decided to switch Web Hosting Services. With GoDaddy all you do is redirect your domain. It's also good to have all your domains organized in one easy spot.

Note: Godaddy also offers webhosting, but I do not like it very much.

Development Software – WordPress – Free

This is by far the best way to get a professional looking website up and running in a matter of hours. Many of you might know wordpress as a blogging site, but they also offer a free software that you upload to your site and it gives you all the tools you'll need to develop a quick and easy web-page. My site is 100% developed in wordpress! It's not just for blogs baby! (In my best Costanza voice) I will have a separate tutorial on setting up wordpress as well as using it in a later article.

WordPress Theme – Studio Press Theme – Agent Theme – $ 75

If I had a gun to my head I would say the theme is not that important and you could get by without it. Heck though, why do you want to just get by? Having a professional looking theme makes life so much easier. I use the Agent Theme from Studio Press and love it. It is rather expensive, so you can find some rather good free themes like the Arras Theme. You will get better support and quicker updates from a paid theme provider.

FTP Client – Filezilla – Free

For those that have never used an FTP client before, it's really simple. FTP stands for File Transfer Protocal, aka, a program that helps transfer files from your computer to the web hosting server. You will not be using this much, but comes in handy if you ever want to upload tons of pictures at once. Good to have it and FileZilla is the best and it's free so you can not be that with a stick.

Image Editing Software – Paint.net – Free

You will ever need to create icons or modify an image here and there and MS Paint is just not gonna cut it. If you have Photoshop or Fireworks or another editor like that, use it. I have them on my home computer but for work I found this great free softward called Paint.net that is awesome! If you are a graphic designer you might find it limiting, but for a hacker like myself it is perfect! Go get it!

Finally ….

That's actually it. You do not really need more then that. The above tools will give you an outstanding framework for your content. Go get all these items and I'll be continuing this How To Series on monday with Signing up for a 1 and 1 account, creating a domain name and pointing the domain. It's a lot easier then it sounds!

Hope that helped …

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Team Building Blunders

Is the culture of team building in corporate America causing
Unseen damage to corporate growth and efficiency? One of
The greatest concepts in today's corporate America has been
The emphasis on team building, but could it now be causing a
Rusting of the individual drive, effort and creativity that is also
Important to the free enterprise system?

As a consultant and corporate officer I've always been a
Proponent of the team concept. The value and contribution of a
Well-developed team is not at issue. What I've become concerned
About what is, potentially, a mutation of the team culture.

I've seen some organizations where the emphasis on teams
Was so strong that an imbalance in the creative development
Of some employees was sacrificed for the benefit of "team
Think. "This group think mentality, while very effective in
Some areas, when over emphasized, can stifle that vital
Element necessary to furthering corporate goals. Some
Companies have mistakenly used the concept of team-
Building before they were adequately trained, confusing it
With employee-participation.

For managers, the key question to ask yourself and explore with
Your leaders is this; Are we sacrificing creativity and individual
Merit in the way we promote team effort? If so, trying a more
Balanced approach may be the answer. Stressing individual
Assignments on some projects or using teams for only special
Projects, at least temporarily, may help your staff to become
More self-reliant and more creative.

My purpose here is to suggest that you take another look at how
Your organization manages teams, not whether the concept
Works. How can you and your people be even more productive?
Are you too focused on one method? If you work alone, as an
Entrepreneur with a 30 second hallway commute to your office
Daily, you may be wishing that you had a team to work with, at
Least at times. However the odds are, that by necessity, you are
More innovative than your corporate brethren. How both sides
Can improve on this will be a subject in the next Justin Times.

COMMUNICATIONS TIP

What do your e-mails look like? I mean the format, especially in initial business
Communications. Recently I saw an e-mail from an experienced
Businessperson who has also been a professional writer and editor. It was
Written in all lower case, no formatting with very long paragraphs. It was not
Only difficult to read, it looked unprofessional.

E-mails to friends and known associates is one thing. How we
Present to the world is another.

NETWORKING TIP

Have you ever attended a business networking event or been a
Member of a weekly networking group? If so, you may have
Noticed that there is either a high drop out rate or that many in the
Group do not seen to do well through the contacts they are making.
Why not?

The next time you're at one of these events, observe and you'll
Usually find some people who look like a cat about to pounce,
Waiting for the person talking to finish so that they can say what
They want to say. This person is usually clueless to other's needs
Egypt concerns, and it shows. People naturally sense this and will
React accordingly.

In any networking affiliation, either personal, group meetings or
Through the Internet, be a supporter, a buyer, or provide some-
Thing of value through advice, links or introductions to someone
Else who you may know who might be able to help the other
Person in the group. Listen closely without thinking about what
You are going to say next.

If you are one of the few supporters, and not many will do this,
Others will want to know more about you. This, absolutely is the
Key to your successful networking experiences.

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