All You Need To Know About The PTFE Ring Gasket

Gaskets are one of the basic elements for preventing the leakage, mist formation, and spray outs after the flange guards. They are installed at the flange joints, pipelines or valve joints, etc. to prevent the leakage of the harmful gasses and liquids from the gap between the joints. The gaskets are proven to seal the gap between the surfaces of the joints and provide better protection at an affordable price. They bear the high pressure of the high-temperature chemicals and have corrosion resistance properties. They are used in many industries like automotive, aerospace, chemical industries, electronics, military industries, pharmaceuticals and appliances.

The Types Of The Loads That A PTFE Ring Gasket Bear Are As Follows:-

The initial compressive load is the bolt load which pulls the gasket material into surface defects to form a strong seal.
The hydrostatic end force which tends to separate the surfaces of the flange joints when the arrangement is over pressurized.
The internal load pulling the part of the gasket exposed to inner force. It tends to blow the seal out of the joint.
The various metals and materials are used to make gaskets which can meet the demand of various industries. The range covers non-metallic, semi-metallic and metallic gaskets. The industries mostly install PTFE ring gaskets which are made up of a material and provide better performance in the operation.

This type of the gaskets used widely in the chemical industries and pharmaceuticals because it avails numerous benefits, besides acting as the protective seal for the leakage. It reduces friction to provide a rigid usability and avoid any of the damage or failures.

There Are Many Factors That Are Affecting The Performance Of The Gaskets:-

The Flange Load – The pressure on the two surfaces of flange joints churns the product and compresses the gasket to create an even tighter seal. The gaskets are enough tough to bear this load and the bolts of the joints should be tightened enough to create a perfect seal.

Temperature – The high temperature sometimes affects the efficiency of the product, but the gaskets are made of the high-grade material which is actually temperature resistant.

Fluid – The chemicals flowing through the pipelines is highly corrosive in nature and the liquids are harder to sell in comparison to the gas. The PTFE ring gaskets seal the liquid and prevent it from flowing outside. The product also prevents the contamination of the liquid.

Posted in homepage | Comments Off

Boosting Your Brain Power

The old theory that DNA could not be changed and that you would be stuck with what you were born with has now been disproved. Researchers found that your DNA actually changes continuously based on your experiences, emotions, and environment.

Our views of the brain have also altered in a similar way as our views of DNA. Science has now provided more and more evidence that your brain is malleable and adapts continuously in response to your lifestyle, physiology, and environment. This concept is called neuroplasticity or brain plasticity, meaning you are literally reforming your brain with each passing day. Your brain possesses the remarkable ability to reorganize pathways, create new connections, as well as neurons (nerve cells) throughout your entire lifetime.

For example, your brain has the ability to move functions from a damaged area to undamaged areas. It also has the ability to change its physical structure as a result of learning. When you acquire a new skill, the more you focus and practice it, the better you become. This is the result of new neural pathways that form in response to your learning efforts.

In the meantime, your brain also undergoes “synaptic pruning”, the elimination of pathways that you no longer use. This phenomenon even applies to emotional states. For instance, if you have a history of anxiety, your neural pathways will become wired for anxiety. However, if you develop tools to feel calm, relaxed, and peaceful, those anxiety pathways will be pruned away from lack of activity.

Consequently, you can see that your brain’s plasticity is highly affected by your way of life. The foods you eat, how much physical activity you have, your emotional states, and sleep patterns all have an influence over how your brain functions. Therefore, there is much that you can do to preserve or even boost your brain power. The following are key factors that will greatly affect your brain’s performance:

1. Link Between Gut Inflammation And Brain Inflammation

The fundamental mechanism that underlies chronic diseases, including the ones related to the brain like autism, Alzheimer’s, anxiety, depression, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s, is the process of inflammation. Current science is strongly supporting that this process of inflammation actually begins in the gastrointestinal tract, which subsequently spreads to affect the brain.

What are the instigators behind gut inflammation? To the surprise of many, it is predominantly dietary -

The mistake of eating too many carbs resulting in chronic high blood sugar levels. Blood sugar elevation raises the binding of glucose to protein. This process, known as glycation profoundly increases the amount of inflammation in the body.
Opting for a low-fat diet, eating the wrong types of processed, rancid fats, or too few healthy fats.
Insufficient intake of antioxidants, which are mostly found in fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
Consuming too much foods loaded with irritants and toxins, such as chemicals, preservatives, pesticides, GMOs, and heavy metals.
Having undiagnosed sensitivity to gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley) and other foods such as dairy, eggs, and corn.
Candida yeast overgrowth, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), and intestinal parasites all trigger the immune response and lead to gut inflammation.
Inflammation is the body’s natural defense against something it believes to be potentially harmful. For instance, if you sprain your ankle, the body will sense some kind of stress going on. The natural response is to create swelling and pain to reduce movement and promote healing. These are the hallmarks of the inflammatory process; in small doses, it is not a negative thing.

It only turns bad when inflammation gets out of control and becomes chronic. Chronic inflammation is typically low-grade, silent, and produce no symptoms. When the body is constantly under assault, the inflammation response stays on and it spreads to every part of the body through the bloodstream. The brain is particularly susceptible as it is also connected to the gut via the vagus nerve.

Unchecked inflammation results in the production of a variety of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines which are toxic to the cells. The cytokines travel throughout the body causing oxidative stress, leading to a reduction of cellular function and even cellular destruction, and resulting in actual loss of function in the body. Studies using new imaging technology showed dramatic elevation of inflammatory cytokines in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients and individuals with other brain disorders. Hence, to prevent brain inflammation, the foremost is to maintain a healthy gut.

2. Foods That Feed The Gut And The Brain

The reason why inflammation is so rampant in western civilization is the modern diet. It is high in foods that provoke inflammation, such as refined flour, excess sugar, oxidized or rancid fats, trans fats, plus a wide range of chemicals and preservatives. And it is low in foods that reduce inflammation, like long-chain omega-3 fats, fermented foods, and fermentable fiber.

The following are some foods that are particularly beneficial to the gut and the brain:

Avocados
Beets
Blueberries
Bone broth (used for healing the gut lining damaged by inflammation)
Broccoli
Coconut oil (used as an alternative fuel for the brain, other than glucose)
Celery
Chocolate, dark only
Egg Yolks
Fermented foods (rich in beneficial bacteria to keep the gut healthy, e.g. kimchee, sauerkraut, pickled vegetables, yogurt, and fermented drinks like kefir and kombucha)
Fermentable fiber (used as food for the good gut bacteria, e.g. asparagus, artichokes, garlic, jicama leeks, and onions)
Olive oil, extra virgin
Green, leafy vegetables
Rosemary (anti-inflammatory)
Wild caught Alaskan salmon
Sardines
Turmeric (anti-inflammatory)
3. Exercise To Reduce Inflammation

While bouts of exercise tend to promote acute inflammation, when done regularly over the long term, it actually decreases chronic inflammation. The oxidative stress from the exercise forces your body to build up your antioxidant defenses. This is indicated in studies showing extended exercise programs help reduce inflammatory markers, such as insulin resistance (a risk factor for diabetes) and high sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (an indicator of cardiovascular disease).

However, some people tend to over exercise and it is extremely important to allow for sufficient recovery, especially when doing High Intensity Interval Training (repeated sprints interspersed by recovery). If you over-train, as in marathons, you may do more harm than good since your body needs to recuperate from the damage (acute inflammation) incurred during your workout.

The average American adult spends about 10 hours each day sitting. Research shows that this level of inactivity cannot even be counteracted with a 60-minute workout at the end of each day. So, what do you do if you have a desk job?

Know that the body needs near-continuous movement throughout the day. At the bare minimum, you should get out of the chair every 50 minutes or so and walk around.
One way to increase activity is to simply walk more. It is recommended that you aim for 7,000 to 10,000 steps a day. A fitness tracker will be a useful tool to help you meet your daily goal.
4. Lack Of Sleep Impairs Brain Function

Sleep deprivation is really bad for brain function. Many studies show that sleep loss impairs various cognitive functions and behavior, including arousal, attention, cognitive speed, memory, emotional intelligence, and decision making.

Using brain imaging technology, like functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), scientists compared the brain of someone who was sleep-deprived to the brain of someone who had slept normally. They found reduced metabolism and blood flow in multiple brain regions which indicated impaired cognitive function and behavior.

Several nights of poor sleep or one night of no sleep will start to disrupt your hormonal balance. According to a study from Stanford University, your body’s ghrelin levels, which stimulate feelings of hunger, can jump nearly 15 percent. It also lowers your levels of leptin, a hormone that regulates energy balance, which explains why you tend to feel sluggish when you are sleep-deprived.

Your brain also struggles to curate and sort new memories. You are able to absorb new information but your brain has problems accessing that information and putting it to good use. You may feel distracted, while your reaction time plummets. This makes tasks like driving more difficult and dangerous.

A CDC survey shows that half of Americans (48%) do not get enough sleep. So if you want your brain to stay at tip-top shape, you need to place sleep high on your priority list. In the event that you just cannot get enough nocturnal sleep, a 30-minute nap at lunch time is still helpful although it cannot fully eliminate the negative consequences of sleep deprivation.

5. Vitamin D May Save Your Brain

Much has been learned about the health benefits of vitamin D over the past decade. While it has long been recognized that vitamin D supports strong and healthy bones, its role in brain-related disorders is becoming increasingly evident.

A new study that collaborated multiple highly respected institutions around the world found a profound correlation of low vitamin D level and increased risk of developing dementia. Even having a moderate deficiency of vitamin D was associated with a 53% increased risk of dementia. Those who were severely deficient had a 122% increased risk!

Many people are not aware that vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased inflammation. There are about 30,000 genes in the body, and vitamin D affects nearly 3,000 of them. Your brain has vitamin D receptors too. Therefore, unless you get 20 minutes of sun exposure daily (without using sunscreen on face, arms, and legs), you may want to consider supplementation.

Most people need around 5,000 I.U. a day to reach the optimal level of 50-70 ng/ml as determined by a blood test. If you supplement, opt for vitamin D3, which is the natural form, and take it with vitamin K2, with at least 100 mcg of menaquinone-7 (MK-7). The combination of D3 and K2 will make sure that calcium is deposited in the bones instead of the arteries.

6. Think Positive And Stimulate Your Brain

Stress and anxiety kill existing brain neurons and stop new neurons from being created. Research has shown that positive thinking speeds up the formation of cells and dramatically reduces stress and anxiety. Hence, catch yourself when your negative thoughts surface, discard them, and replace them with positive ones.

When you learn or do new things, new neural pathways are developed. As a result, you want to stimulate your brain on a continuous basis. Remember the phrase – use it or lose it?

Carol Chuang is a Certified Nutrition Specialist and a Metabolic Typing Advisor. She has a Masters degree in Nutrition and is the founder of CC Health Counseling, LLC. Her passion in life is to stay healthy and to help others become healthy. She believes that a key ingredient to optimal health is to eat a diet that is right for one’s specific body type. Eating organic or eating healthy is not enough to guarantee good health. The truth is that there is no one diet that is right for everyone. Our metabolisms are different, so should our diets. Carol specializes in Metabolic Typing, helping her clients find the right diet for their Metabolic Type.

Posted in homepage | Comments Off

Tips on How to Start a Home-Based Facial Business

Beauty is a very lucrative business. Every year, billions, even trillions of dollars are spent all over the world just on hair care, cosmetics, and skin care. This is the reason why it’s not surprising to see beauty based businesses popping up like mushrooms all over the place. Cosmetology, or anything that has to do with the beauty industry is probably one of the most popular professions at present. It provides a lot of opportunities for growth and profit which makes it one of the fastest growing careers. However, a lot of people get intimidated to put up their own beauty business because of the high capital cost that it requires. But don’t let that hinder you from starting your own business. If you don’t have enough funds yet to rent a commercial space for your business, having a home-based facial business is a great way to start your beauty career. Let me share to you some tips on how to start your very own home-based facial skin business.

1. Plan it out. Like any other business, you have to make a detailed business plan. A well written business plan will definitely play a big role on your business’ success.

2. Learn before you earn. Before you even open your home business, you have to be armed with enough knowledge on what you will do. It would be best if you become a licensed aesthetician first prior to opening your business.

3. Once you’re all set, you can now register your business on your city or town. You need to have the necessary permits for your home-based business to operate.

4. Designate an area of your house to your business. It could be a spare room or a small space anywhere in your house. Once you’ve designated an area, you can now start to decorate it. Make your space appear like a professional spa. You can do that without spending a lot. Just choose your decors properly. Don’t forget to load up on aromatherapy candles and other spa essentials such as oils.

5. Invest in a skin care device. There are a lot of skin care devices available in the market today. Having your own skin care device could really help your business boost its popularity.

6. Market your business. There are many ways to market your home-based business. You can put up your business website so that people on your area and surrounding cities can find you. If you have the budget, you can also have some ads placed on your local paper and you can also give out flyers. It’s also best to have business cards ready so anytime a customer hops in, always give out a business card so that he or she can endorse your business to others.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

The Difference Between Industrial, Retail and Commercial Real Estate

Before we answer this question, it might be helpful to actually define each term first.

Retail and industrial are both considered ‘commercial real estate’ (as opposed to ‘residential real estate’). Commercial real estate refers to buildings or land intended to generate profit; industrial and retail are simply sub-categories of commercial real estate.

Firstly an industrial property is defined as a property used for the actual manufacturing of something, and can be considered either a factory or plant. This is usually zoned for light, medium or heavy industry. This includes things such as warehouses, garages and distribution centers etc.

Retail property is a commercially zoned property used solely for business purposes, the actual selling of the product, rather than its manufacture – retail stores, malls, shopping centers and shops all huddling nicely under the retail umbrella.

Generally, businesses that occupy commercial real estate often lease the space. An investor usually owns the building and collects rent from each business that operates there.

There are four primary types of commercial real estate leases, each requiring different levels of responsibility from the landlord and the tenant.

Single net lease – tenant is responsible for paying rent and property taxes.

Double net lease – tenant is responsible for paying rent, property taxes and insurance.

Triple net lease – tenant is responsible for paying rent, property taxes, insurance and maintenance.

Gross lease – tenant is responsible only for rent; the Landlord pays property taxes, insurance and maintenance.

If you find yourself considering Commercial property ownership, there are a few things that you would do well to keep in mind:

1) Attractive appearance – the last thing you need is a vacant commercial property in Sydney for any length of time. Think how prospective tenants think: what will their customers want to see?

2) Aesthetic entrance – first impressions count, simple, simple stuff. This is a great tool for putting your prospective clients in a great frame of mind… and their clients.

3) Natural Light – in especially high demand nowadays

4) Location – close to other offices, public amenities, transportation etc.

Since 1980, retail property has returned an average of 9%, though is currently returning around 6%. Industrial real estate tends to be the most volatile, and is currently returning around 7% (as opposed to its peak of around 12% during the 1990′s recession).

And obviously, no matter which form of commercial property you’re considering, read the lease carefully. Sounds like a silly thing to say, but you’d be very surprised at the issues that can become issues simply because things weren’t read properly!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Useful Travel Tips About Seasons And Weather in Langkawi

Langkawi has the same type of climate as Thailand. It is known as a tropical monsoon climate. It can sometimes also be labeled as a “tropical wet climate” although that’s not always the case year round. It’s paradise climate makes Langkawi a great place to visit, but it’s wise to learn about the different types of weather before booking that perfect vacation.

For those that are accustomed to the usual four seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter, Thailand may seem like a different planet! Its summers and winters may seem backward although It is usually warm all year round with temperatures ranging from an average of 27 degrees Celsius (81°F) during the coldest month of July to about 29 (81°F) during the hottest month of February.

With that said, rather than traditional seasons, Langkawi experiences only a wet season and a dry season. In terms of traveling, these are known as the low season and the high season respectively. This is because many tourists only prefer to visit during the dry season as to avoid the rain and possible monsoons.

Dry Season (high season):

November through March is the busiest time. During this time, Langkawi experiences the most traffic.

Following the heavy rains of the wet season, the plant life thrives creating beautiful sights.

Due to the high influx of visitors, many of the prices are raised to compete with demand.

Wet Season (low season):

July to October is when the Langkawi tourism business slows

The rain varies in levels of intensity. Sometimes intense flooding is possible.

On many occasions, the rain doesn’t last long but is very strong

During this time, boat travel is not always available

For those looking to hire a Koh Lipe ferry to Langkawi, it may still be possible to do during the wet season as long as the travel plans are made to be flexible. However, traveling by ferry from Langkawi to Phuket or even hiring a Langkawi to Krabi ferry is not recommended during the wet season.

During the dry season, it’s extremely common to find a ferry between these popular travel destinations. In fact, it is the preferred way to travel as many places in and around Thailand are too small to have their own airport.

In either season, wet or dry, it is usually possible to hire a ferry to KohLipe to Langkawi and vice versa without any problem. They offer very competitive pricing and have experience in transporting tourists and locals alike from island to island. There are also speed boats available as well for those looking for a faster ride.

It is important to choose the time of year carefully to get the best experience in Langkawi. Of course it all depends on of the preferences of each and every traveler, but usually, a vacationer wouldn’t want to spend their getaway avoiding a flood! On the other hand, some may be adventurous and find exactly what they’re looking for no matter the weather!

Posted in homepage | Comments Off

Top 5 Types of Entertainment for Parties

When choosing the most memorable entertainment for parties, first take a look at what kind of party or event it is. Depending on the event, such as weddings, there are wedding entertainment ideas and for corporate events, there are corporate event ideas.

To make it simpler, you can divide the types of entertainment into a group. Remember, entertainment for parties and events can be considered an amusing type of activity from very passive to very interactive. For instance, group classifications are: children, group, public, private or corporate. You want to find the right entertainment for the specific group you would like to entertain for the event.

Here are some examples:

Public Entertainment

When you walk through the park or subway station in any big city, you can probably see a large range of public entertainers amusing the city’s bystanders and passers-by for any amount of money. There are all sorts of public entertainers from Jazz musicians, a violin soloist to mimes. Public entertainers flock to bigger cities because there are a large number of concentrated people in an area to hopefully make some kind of wage. On the other hand, once you make your nominal donation, you can enjoy the gifts these talented public entertainers have to offer.

Corporate Entertainment

Corporate entertainment is aimed specifically at corporate events, award ceremonies and product launches, and is usually private and by invite only. Corporate events can run the gambit scale-wise, from very intimate to thousands of people. Forcorporate event ideas, think about including live speakers or even consider booking live music for corporate picnics and charity functions.

Adult Entertainment

Adult Entertainment is not only referring to the sex industry but can involve entertainment that adults might enjoy, like live concerts, sports, theater and even other activities that might be also appealing and appropriate for kids such aswedding entertainment ideas.

Live Entertainment

Live entertainment can be broad-including all ages and encompassing many varieties of entertainment. For example, music concerts, arena sports, musical theater, plays, live talk shows and seminars-practically any other activity that are aimed to bring large groups of people together and be amused. They can be for wedding entertainment ideas to corporate event ideas.

Child Entertainment

Entertaining kids is a fine balance between mental stimulation and physical activities. That’s why clowns, magicians and puppets are usually the most popular, coupled with games and races. They can be quite enjoyable for adults as well. Live music is also a hit at children’s parties for both young and old alike.

So when considering what kind of entertainment for parties or events, it is simply a matter of matching up the type of entertainment, with the type of audience or group to suit their tastes! Drawing people together with live music is almost always a sure hit! Book your live music today. Call an entertainment professional to help you choose what type of band or DJ you’d like to feature at your party or event!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Smart Leadership in the 21st Century

Although we may claim that the world has gravitates from authoritarian rulership and that most countries in the world operate under a democratic ambience, but in certain parts of the world and over certain organisations preside some leaders who still lord over their followers without giving them a say at all in the affairs.

Every nation and society has its own leader, but what distinguishes the smart leaders in the world today from the bosses and the not-so-smart leaders? Consider the following traits.

The first trait of the smart leader in the 21st Century is that the leader has to EVOLVE. He should keep up with the times, with the latest techniques and updated information. Knowledge is power and the knowledgeable leader is not one that can be easily deceived or pushed about. The societies that use the most advanced methods in everyday life are the ones that lead the pack in today’s world.

In addition, the SMART leader is:

S- Simple/Straightforward: The good leader has to mean what he says, and say what he means. He must not be deceitful. His followers must be able to trust him and take his word for it in every circumstance. What he does not intend to do, he should determine not to say it. Also, the smart leader in this century must be a man of simple ways, words and lifestyle.
Gone are the days when leaders were marked by 100-foot billowy robes, with twenty servants carrying the clothes from behind. This can be tolerated from a bride in a wedding ceremony, but not from the world-class 21st Century leader. He should not live a complicated lifestyle or be unnecessarily extravagant. Simplicity does it these days.

M- Malleable: As mentioned earlier, the smart leader must be malleable, not rigid. He must be able to bend his views when it is necessary. He should be able to lower his standards when it is necessary.
Compromising your views at certain times is not a trait of the weak, but that of the intelligent. He should not insist on the status quo, or cling to ideas just because “that’s the norm here!” The norm is usually dumb. He must have a teachable heart that can learn new information at every opportunity. He must be malleable enough to learn from both young and old, rich and poor, male and female-anybody.

A- Accountable: Aha! Did the smart leader expect I won’t add this? It is inescapable for the smart leader to be accountable for all the human and other resources committed to his care. He must not be corrupt. Every penny in his administration must be accounted for. He must guard his citizens and his domain with the same intensity as well.

R- Resourceful: The leader must also be one with a limitless river of ideas constantly flowing for the betterment of his organisation. He must be very creative and actually SMART. As in, really intelligent. If a dumb leader is put over a domain, he will mismanage and diminish it. The leader must be able to multiply the little he has been committed with, and multiply it. He must commit to being constantly trained in order to further equip his intellectual arsenal.

T- Technology Literate: Finally, in this Internet Age, many wars are won or lost on social media. The smart leader in the 21st Century must be one who is very much versed in at least some high-tech devices. He must not be an illiterate with the computer or with the internet. He must make it a point of duty to learn the use of one new technological gadget every six months. That will set him apart and make him the man/woman to beat by the other leaders. He will find out pretty soon that he is a trail blazer in leadership. It does not matter whether he is presiding over a family or over an entire nation, such person will be a trail blazer.

Emmanuel Sokefun is a freelance article writer, in addition to being a novelist, poet, hymnist, songwriter and a lover of the academia.

Posted in homepage | Comments Off

The Importance of Automotive Filter Changes

Humans require clean, easy-to-breath air in order to live. And just like humans, vehicles also need to be able to “breathe” clean air in order to survive. While human lungs make it possible to breathe, a vehicle’s air filters do just the same. But after some time, they begin to accumulate mass amounts of dirt, debris, and other airborne particles, which eventually decreases their quality and function. For this reason, it is critical to have your vehicle’s engine and cabin air filters inspected and changed on a routine basis to promote safe and efficient driving. Continue reading to learn more about the importance of routine automotive filter changes.

Air Filters

Keep in mind that your car’s air filters are your first line of defense against irritating and obstructive airborne contaminants. Dirt, dust, pollen, mold spores, exhaust gases, bacteria, and more are examples of airborne contaminants that have the ability to negatively affect the quality and performance of your engine and vehicle as a whole. And according to Community Car Care, there is a 1 in 5 chance that YOUR car needs an air filter change right now! Many drivers are guilty of overlooking this small but highly-necessary scheduled maintenance.

Engine Damage

The long list of airborne contaminants can have a powerful impact on your vehicle’s engine, and in a very negative way. Everything from pistons, cylinders, and cylinder walls, to piston rings and bearings, are just a few areas of a car engine that can begin to lose performance value from clogged or dirty air filters. Over time, neglecting to change them can lead to serious engine malfunctions and breakdowns, which means frustrating, costly repairs.

Cabin Filters

If you like to have clean, breathable interior air that smells good, you need to change your air filters on a routine basis. Once they start to become clogged, they begin to slowly lose their ability to do their job. So once they are entirely clogged, you can suffer some mild but irritating consequences, such as musty smells, sore throat, coughing, itchy eyes, tightening of the chest, and more. Changing them regularly keeps the interior environment of your car fresh and easy to breath.

Schedule

Refer to your vehicle’s owners’ manual for the manufacturer recommendations on factory scheduled maintenance. The general rule of thumb is to have your air filters inspected and changed every time you take your car in for an oil change. In fact, it is often a part of oil change packages. This should be every 3,000 miles or so. Talk to your mechanic for professional advice.

Posted in homepage, Uncategorized | Comments Off

Financial Mistakes Business Owners Make and How to Avoid Them

Cash is the lifeblood of a business. No business owner wants to see their business struggling because of lack of funds or in debt due to mismanaged finances. What they want to see is a regular flow of profit but this is easier said than done.

With many years of experience as chartered accountants and business experts, we’ve seen many financial mistakes that business owners make. Here are some of the most common mistakes and how to avoid them:

Not having a business plan including clear financial goals

Business planning is very important. If you want to be successful in your business, you need a roadmap. It is also important to set clear goals and targets. In particular, you need to have financial goals that will help you measure how well your business is doing. Furthermore, your financial goal should be clear and realistic. Goals should be phased – weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly. You also need to involve your whole organisation in your business strategy. Give your team goals to aim for.

With these plans and goals in place, you will have a clear view of how your business is performing which will eventually help you make important financial and growth-management decisions.

Not keeping proper financial records

This is one of the most common mistakes of business owners and also the most crucial. Most business owners are so busy focusing on managing their business that they neglect the importance of financial record keeping. If you don’t have time to update your financial records, hire an expert to do it for you, such as a Chartered Accountant. They can set you up with proper systems and help process your transactions accurately.

Combining business capital and personal finances

Some business owners, especially those who are struggling with their business capital or finances tend to merge their personal savings with the business. Business owners should avoid doing this, as it will only make it more difficult to track how much money the business is making. Also, it complicates IRD and tax obligations.

Starting too big

Starting a business can be overwhelming. You put everything in that you have before you actually start. You may rent an office or other space and hire employees thinking about the future. You want to start big. But you have to understand that starting big doesn’t necessarily ensure your future success. It may put undue pressure on you and your business. The best thing to do is to start small and once your business becomes financially stable, you may then consider expanding. Make sure that your expansion can be justified by your profits.

Not having an expert to assist you with your finances

Accounting, bookkeeping and tax compliance – these are just some of the financial responsibilities that you need to take care of when you start a business. These are critical and timely business processes. But some business owners are so busy managing their business that they often neglect these. You don’t have to stress yourself in thinking and doing everything. You can hire experts to do it for you.

Some business owners are hesitant to hire experts to do these things for them and only realise they need help when it is too late. So hire a trusted Chartered Accountant to help you with your finances so you can focus on your business, as well as having more time to relax.

These are just some of the common financial mistakes that business owners make. Make sure to avoid these financial horrors to ensure the success of your venture.

Posted in homepage | Comments Off

Online Shopping for housewarming and weddings in Lebanon and Middle East Where does it stand today?

Why is Lebanese e-commerce so dormant?

The retail sector has evolved drastically over the past decade. Buyers are no longer limited by the physical presence of inventory, nor are they forced to vent into their overheated cars, get stuck in hours of traffic, only to find out that the overcrowded shopping center has run out of their favorite item.

E-commerce has allowed users to purchase anything they would like with the click of a few buttons and a couple of days of delivery time. Lebanon, with its increasing internet and credit card penetration, as well as its tech-savvy and trendy shoppers should be one of the region's first e-commerce adopters! Neverheless, Lebanon still relies very heavy on bricks-and-mortar shopping, while online shopping is only given a second (third, fourth, or fifth) thought! So why has e-commerce in Lebanon and the Middle East lagged behind the rest of the world? Below are the three major reasons why Lebanese e-commerce has been struggling to catch up:

1. Lack of viable payment portals:

The country has two reliably out-dated payment portals that do not integrate with the websites. As such, customers are directed to external links and forced to re-enter their credit card data for every purchase. This is highly impractical and reduces the ease of second purchases.

In addition to the out-dated nature of the payment portals, they command a monopoly on the market and charge exorbitant fees: $ 350- $ 500 initiation fee, 3.5-4.0% transaction fees, as well as $ 35- $ 50 / month "maintenance" costs .

Furthermore, the lack of Paypal and other online payment portals in Lebanon creates an incentive challenge for e-commerce businesses.

"Ease of payment" is ranked as one of the highest conversion factors for e-commerce businesses. Lebanon provides dismal options, and then online businesses struggle to provide dynamic options such as one-click purchasing and Paypal.

2- Lack of practical online shopping:

Most new e-commerce businesses in the Middle East have been set up to cater to the "trendy" and "hip" crowd. They offer flash sales of highly priced designer items, indexing of exclusive local boutique designers, or niche gift items that cater to niche consumers. Furthermore, the "old guard" of e-commerce in Lebanon provide the typical online gift selections flowers, chocolates, teddy bears, and other "one-off" emotional gifts.

With the exception of very few sites, most Lebanese websites have a very basic design with little attention to practicality and detail. Menus pop-up in impractical ways, data entry is challenging, and most products are not searchable.

Examples of these "old-guard" websites are:

Exotica flowers: This site charges high shipping costs, overcharges for its bouquets, and tends to deliver smaller and cheaper bouquets than it promises online (it's happened to me on multiple occasions!). Furthermore, they only deliver flowers! They are one of the highest ranking e-commerce sites in Lebanon at 1.3M globally (www.alexa.com). They also take credit for adopting the online delivery system early, although they have not felt the need to improve due to lack of a sizable competitor.

Buy Lebanese: Colors, fonts, sizes, photos, and boxes are not user-friendly. Neverheless, they rank pretty high on Alexa.com: 2.5M globally. This group takes credit for being one of the early adopters of e-commerce in Lebanon! Hat-tip to their foresight!

961 gifts: not sure about the website name, the design looks basic, but menu items are clear. Their product strategy is broadly based on flowers, perfumes, cosmetics, and brandless accessories – 4.2M global ranking

Examples of the newer "niche consumer" sites are:

Lebelik, Eezmeez, Marka VIP

Some of the newer websites have focused on great design and have achieved relative success in the hip and young markets. Nearheless, away from Marka VIP which is based in Dubai, none have managed to truly achieve a sufficiently large market.

3. Purchasing power is in the expat community

Businesses that focus on the local online purchasing power will struggle in the short term. Hopefully this will change as Lebanon progresses ( hopefully) . However, until then, the buying power for Lebanese e-commerce sites will be coming from Lebanon's expat community seeking to provide gifts to their families and loved ones in Lebanon. This creates a rather challenging market for e-commerce businesses. How do you target your Diaspora? Who is your target consumer? Is the market over-fitted with one-time gifts such as chocolates, flowers, and niche designer items?

How to fill the gap

As such we identified the need for the establishment of a practical well-priced website that provides customers practical and quality options for gifts or personal use. The reasons I believe that such a model will overcome the sector's challenges are:

A- The payment portal technology will inevitably improve, along with the market's trust of online payment

B- The market is arranged with one-off gift items that typically fall under the flowers, chocolates, and traditional gift items. Therefore, competition is minimal

C- The market has seen high quality designer boutiques pop up online, but these only cater to a niche market segmentation. Highlighting the fact that the adoption of online purchases is on the rise

D- There is no website that provides practical useful household gifts with high quality branded items

In summary, there is a gap in well-priced high-quality branded items online in the Middle East and Lebanon. There is a gap in websites that provide quality household items such as Riedel, Nambe, Pip Studio, Bodum, Greenpan, Images D'Orient, Voluspa, as well as many other global brands. Rather than sending flowers, chocolates or highly-priced niche products, the consumer would not want to have an online option for:

A- Housewarming gifts to Lebanon

B- Wedding registries in Lebanon

C- Wedding gifts to Lebanon

D- Lebanese gifts that do not involve cheap chinese products, high-priced niche items, or flowers and chocolates!

Thanks!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off