LDP Wine of the Week

September 29, 2011

 

Our Wine of the week is the award winning Kumkani – Cradle Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

This wine has a dense dark red colour. Fresh blackcurrant and ripe berry fruit on the nose. The palate is layered with ripe fruit and beautiful integrated oak flavours and a soft tannin structure.

 

Click here  for the full tasting notes

 


Managing your investment risks

September 28, 2011

Risk and investing are two sides of the same coin. You can’t avoid risk if you want the potential rewards of investing.

However, you can control the amount of risk you take and that begins with knowing your tolerance for risk.

Watch your risk tolerance or you’ll step out of your comfort zone and into a pile of trouble.

If you’ve ever been involved in any type of personal or professional growth counseling, you are probably familiar with the phrase “stepping outside your comfort zone.”

This is when you are encouraged to take a risk and try something that might seem challenging either emotionally or professionally.

Know Your Limits

While some risk-taking may lead to personal or professional growth (or not), it can be disaster in the market if you don’t know where your limits are.

Investing is all about taking risks; however, you know the risks are calculated relative to the potential payout. Every reasonable investor has a limit to their risk tolerance and the smart ones know where that limit is and don’t stray past it.

Bad things Happen

Several things can happen when investors stray past their risk tolerance level and they’re all bad. How do investors get themselves in trouble? Here are several ways:

  • They make a bad decision and refuse to admit they were wrong, so the problem just gets worse.
  • They invest more money than they can afford in a stock(s) that now don’t seem like such a good idea.
  • They bought on margin and shouldn’t have and now they can’t sleep.
  • They bought a stock that someone talked them into even thought they didn’t really understand the investment.

Whatever the reason when investors stray past their risk tolerance, they begin making decisions that are tainted by emotion, which are almost never good decisions.

How to Avoid this Mess

Investors can avoid these problems if they will simply know where their level of risk tolerance is. It is easy to find.

All you need to do is listen to that knot in your stomach to know if you are stepping over the line. Here are some practical tips:

  • Never invest in anything you don’t understand. If you don’t understand it, let it pass.
  • Make sure the money you invest is not needed to pay the mortgage. Investment funds come after you have covered the necessities.
  • If you are not completely comfortable with margin investing and fully understand the risks, don’t use it.
  • If you buy a stinker and it is always going to be a stinker, take a small loss rather than letting it become a big loss. There is no shame in making a mistake, but it is foolish to let it become a disaster.

Source: stocks.about.com


Guidelines and tips for business cash flow management

September 26, 2011

Cash flow is the lifeblood of small businesses.  Adequate cash ensures that the business can meet all its legal obligations. Here are ways your small business can increase cash reserves.

Poor financial management is one of the major causes of the failure of small businesses. Many small firms go out of business because of inadequate working capital and poor cash flow management.

Why is good cash flow management important? 

Cash flow is the lifeblood of small businesses. Cash comes from sales, collections of account receivables, and the sale of assets. On the other hand, cash flows out to meet all expenses and debt obligations of the business. The goal of good cash flow management is to have enough cash on hand when you need it. This is a simple concept, yet in practice, eludes even the biggest operations. So long as more money seems to be coming into the business than going out, many small business owners do not give cash management a second thought. And that leaves them vulnerable to all kinds of cash-flow dangers.

Learning good cash flow techniques ensures that the company always has enough cash to meet its legal obligations. Adequate cash helps obtain whatever funds are required from external sources at the right time, in the right form, and on the best possible terms. A shortage of cash flow could result in the loss of valuable trade discounts or, in extreme circumstances, financial embarrassment and bankruptcy.

Your business can increase cash reserves in a number of ways.

Collecting receivables. Many small businesses can improve their cash position simply by making certain that their billing, collections, and payables systems are operating as efficiently as possible. Small businesses do not have the luxury of large accounting and collection departments of big corporations. More so if you are a home-based entrepreneur working solo! First, get your customers to pay you as soon as possible! To the extent possible, adopt the business practice of requiring up-front deposits when making sales. However, if the account payment is a receivable, then make sure that you actively manage its collection by billing promptly, aggressively following-up on overdue invoices, and quickly collecting on overdue accounts. You stand to lose revenues if your collection policies are not aggressive. The longer your customer’s balance remains unpaid, the less likely it is that you will receive full payment.

Tightening credit requirements. If you think that you offer the best product or service relative to your competitor, you can obtain the best possible credit conditions. Be sure to tell your potential customers upfront your credit terms – before you provide your product or service. To improve your cash flow position, you can be more stringent in your credit and terms, requiring more customers to pay cash for their purchases. This will increase the cash on hand and reduce the bad-debt expense.

Taking out short-term loans: Loans from various financial institutions are often necessary for covering short-term cash-flow problems. Revolving credit lines and equity loans are types of credit used in this situation.

Increasing your sales. Increased sales would appear to increase cash flow. However, if large portions of your sales are made on credit, when sales increase, your accounts receivable increase, not your cash. Meanwhile, inventory is depleted and must be replaced. Because receivables usually will not be collected until 30 days after sales, a substantial increase in sales can quickly deplete your firm’s cash reserves.

Managing Your Payables. A key strategy in cash flow management is to aim to bring cash into the company as quickly as possible, then hold onto your cash as long as possible by managing your payables. That means, quite simply, take as long as you’re allowed-without incurring late fees or interest charges-to pay your company’s bills. Remember that a bad credit history can stifle your business, so you need to protect yours. Know which vendor you need to pay first. Better yet, negotiate with some of your vendors to extend to your business liberal payment terms.

Investing Your Spare Cash. If your cash flow has become stable and predictable, you can consider investing your excess cash. This is also applicable if you raise a large sum from angel investors or venture capitalists and you will not need to spend it all quickly. You can earn additional interest income, as well as have the necessary cash to dip into during tough times.

Source: powerhomebiz.com


LDP- Wine of the Week: Oldenburg Chardonnay 2010

September 21, 2011

LDP has its roots in the beautiful Cape Winelands, and here is our wine of the week.

Wine of the Week: Oldenburg Chardonnay 2010

The Chardonnay has a brilliant golden straw colour. Upfront notes of ripe tropical fruits such as melon, pineapple and orange citrus fruit are evident on the nose with hints of fresh baked bread and lightly toasted almonds.

The wine enters the mouth with full rich flavours of ripe fruit mirrored from the nose with a creamy mid palate and fresh citrus flavours giving a lingering finish. The acidity is perfectly balanced by sweet fruit and a touch of toasty oak

Source: oldenburgvineyards.com


Business Travel- Tips for Productivity

September 19, 2011

Business Travel can sometimes be frustrating as work-hours and productivity is reduced. Here are a few handy tips.

The best business travel tips for productivity are to pack gadgets that reduce transit between destinations and all of the office electronics necessary to conduct business from the road. Frequent business travellers know how difficult it can be to maintain productivity on the road. If you travel a lot, you need mobile capabilities that give you office functionality even from the road.

Get a Phone with Web and E-mail Capabilities

Probably the number one way to improve your productivity when travelling for business is to have a good phone with Web and email services. For added productivity and a mobile office all-in-one, consider a PDA phone.

PDA phones are the best choice if you do a lot of business travelling, as a PDA phone can send and receive emails, store contact phone numbers and information and even serve as an organizer for all your events and appointments. Popular PDA phones include the Apple iPhone, which also serves as an MP3 and multimedia player, the Moto Q by Motorola, and the traditional BlackBerry, one of the oldest names in PDA phones.

Bring Your Laptop

Opinion is mixed among business travellers whether or not to bring laptops. Some business travellers only bring laptops on long trips but not short ones, while others always bring them and a few business travellers never bring a laptop.

As great as PDA phones are, it can be annoying to try to type lengthy emails on them, and you may find yourself missing your laptop when replying to emails. Beyond that, though, your laptop contains important files that you might need to access at a moment’s notice while travelling. Now that some airlines are beginning to offer Wi-Fi access on flights, bringing the laptop along can increase productivity exponentially as you make use of the formerly -lost’ hours of the airline flight.

If you bring your laptop on business trips frequently, you should consider the size of your laptop. Many standard business laptops are -desktop replacement’ models, more focused on performance than size. Frequent business travellers benefit from smaller, more mobile laptops, which often come with a higher price tag due to the size.

If you’re shopping for a new laptop, look for something under six pounds and in the 11-inch screen-size range. These smaller laptops may require some adjustment for regular use, but you’ll be happy you got one when you’re juggling your laptop, a briefcase full of documents, your carry-on bag and your luggage through endless airport corridors.

Consider WiFi vs. Mobile Broadband

One of the biggest difficulties of bringing a laptop along for a business trip can be finding WiFi connectivity. Many hotels now offer WiFi or wired Internet access, but it’s always possible that you’ll find yourself in one that doesn’t. If that’s the case, you could spend hours hunting for a spot with WiFi. If you find yourself frequently traveling to destinations where it’s difficult to find WiFi access, consider getting mobile broadband.

All of the major cell phone providers offer wireless broadband devices in the form of USB modems, PCMICA modems or Bluetooth devices that enable your laptop to connect to the Internet through your cell phone provider. If you choose to get a mobile broadband device, be sure to get an unlimited data plan from the cell phone provider as it’s all too easy to go over the low monthly limits, and overage charges for Internet service are astronomical.

Don’t Forget the Chargers

This one seems obvious, but any frequent business traveller has a story about arriving at a destination without a cell phone or laptop cord, and then running around an unfamiliar city trying to find a replacement. Don’t put yourself in this position. The easiest way to ensure that you always have your chargers and cords is to buy a duplicate of every single cord you need, and leave it packed with your business travel gear. That way you’re not always scrambling to find cords at the last minute while packing, and if you leave those duplicate cords packed, you’ll never have to worry about forgetting one.

Keep in mind that if you’re travelling internationally, you may need a conversion kit for your electronics. Some international destinations use different voltages, so you’ll need a voltage transformer to keep the voltage difference from frying your delicate electronics. Other international destinations simply use different plug types, so you’ll just need an adaptor to convert your plug to the country standard. Know whether your international conversion kit is just an adaptor, or whether it converts voltage to safe levels for your electronics.

Travel with GPS

If you’re trying to navigate an unfamiliar city, a GPS unit will ensure that you’ll get to your meeting, even if you miss a turn. The GPS unit will recalculate your route and give you revised directions based on your current location, no matter where you are. A GPS unit is absolutely invaluable if you’re trying to navigate Boston, for example-a city notorious for twisted roads and poor street signage.

GPS units pack easily into your luggage and you can set them up in your rental car when you arrive at your destination and be ready to go. Some GPS units only offer mapping services, while more advanced GPS units include the option to download waypoints for local attractions and restaurants. To maximize GPS productivity, look for a GPS unit with a traffic receiver accessory to give you the most recent updates on your route.

Source: life123.com


The importance and techniques of effective business budgeting

September 15, 2011

Budgeting is such a crucial part of business management but the importance is sometimes overlooked by business manager.
Estimating and matching expenses to revenue (real or anticipated) is important because it helps small business owners to determine whether they have enough money to fund operations, expand the business and generate income for themselves. Without a budget or a plan, a business runs the risk of spending more money than it is taking in or, conversely, not spending enough money to grow the business and compete.
Budgeting Techniques
Every business owner tends to have a slightly different process, situation, or way of budgeting. However, there are some parameters found in nearly every budget that you can easily employ. For example, many business owners must make rent or mortgage payments. They also have utility bills, payroll expenses, cost of goods sold expenses ,interest and tax payments. The point is that every business owner should consider these items and any other costs specifically associated with his or her business when setting up shop or when taking over an existing business.
What To Do with Revenue
With a business that is already up and running, you can make assumptions of future revenue based on recent trends in the business. If the business is a start-up, you’ll have to make assumptions based on your geographic area, hours of operation and by researching other local businesses. Small business owners can often get a sense of what to expect by visiting other local businesses that are for sale and asking questions about weekly revenue and traffic patterns.

After you’ve researched this information, you should then match the business’s revenue with expenses. The goal is to figure out what an average weekly expense for overhead, utilities, labour, raw materials, etc. would look like. Based on this information, business owners may then be able to estimate or forecast whether they’ll have enough extra money to expand their business, or to tuck away some money into savings. On the flip side, owners may realize that in order to have three employees instead of two, the business will have to generate more in revenue each week.

Click here for six useful budgeting tips


LDP- Wine of the Week: Alto Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

September 13, 2011

LDP has its roots in Stellenbosch, the heart of the Cape Winelands, and here is our wine of the week.

Wine of the Week: Alto Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Plum red colour with cherries, violets, black olives, some dark chocolate and a hint of tobacco on the nose

This full-bodied, mouth-filling wine boasts flavours of cherries, tobacco and dark chocolate which are underpinned by a good tannic structure.

Source: alto.co.za