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US Stocks Are Expensive

Working from home meant we could vary snack and coffee breaks, change our desks or view, goof off, drink on the job, even spend the day in pajamas, and often meet to gossip or share ideas.

On the other hand, we bossed ourselves around, set impossible goals, and demanded longer hours than office jobs usually entail. It was the ultimate “flextime,” in that it depended on how flexible we felt each day, given deadlines, distractions, and workaholic crescendos.

But on Aristotle’s view, the lives of individual human beings are invariably linked together in a social context. In the Peri PoliV he speculated about the origins of the state, described and assessed the relative merits of various types of government, and listed the obligations of the individual citizen.

Aristotle made several efforts to explain how moral conduct contributes to the good life for human agents, including the Eqikh EudaimonhV and the Magna Moralia, but the most complete surviving statement of his views on morality occurs in the Eqikh Nikomacoi.Aristotle made several efforts to explain how moral conduct.

Working from home meant we could vary snack and coffee breaks, change our desks or view, goof off, drink on the job, even spend the day in pajamas, and often meet to gossip or share ideas. On the other hand, we bossed ourselves around, set impossible goals, and demanded longer hours than office jobs usually entail. It was the ultimate “flextime,” in that it depended on how flexible we felt each day, given deadlines, distractions, and workaholic crescendos.

Aristotle made several efforts to explain how moral conduct contributes to the good life for human agents, including the Eqikh EudaimonhV and the Magna Moralia, but the most complete surviving statement of his views on morality occurs in the Eqikh Nikomacoi.

USA
CANADA
JAPAN

US has been draining liquidity from global capitall markets - ETF net flows, USD mln

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Investment Update, Fourth Quarter 2016

Working from home meant we could vary snack and coffee breaks, change our desks or view, goof off, drink on the job, even spend the day in pajamas, and often meet to gossip or share ideas.

On the other hand, we bossed ourselves around, set impossible goals, and demanded longer hours than office jobs usually entail. It was the ultimate “flextime,” in that it depended on how flexible we felt each day, given deadlines, distractions, and workaholic crescendos.

But on Aristotle’s view, the lives of individual human beings are invariably linked together in a social context. In the Peri PoliV he speculated about the origins of the state, described and assessed the relative merits of various types of government, and listed the obligations of the individual citizen.

Aristotle made several efforts to explain how moral conduct contributes to the good life for human agents, including the Eqikh EudaimonhV and the Magna Moralia, but the most complete surviving statement of his views on morality occurs in the Eqikh Nikomacoi.

Working from home meant we could vary snack and coffee breaks, change our desks or view, goof off, drink on the job, even spend the day in pajamas, and often meet to gossip or share ideas. On the other hand, we bossed ourselves around, set impossible goals, and demanded longer hours than office jobs usually entail. It was the ultimate “flextime,” in that it depended on how flexible we felt each day, given deadlines, distractions, and workaholic crescendos.

Aristotle made several efforts to explain how moral conduct contributes to the good life for human agents, including the Eqikh EudaimonhV and the Magna Moralia, but the most complete surviving statement of his views on morality occurs in the Eqikh Nikomacoi.

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Four Big Mistakes Your Small Business Is Making

Digital marketing has become paramount in today's business landscape. If you're not reaching out to your audience online, then you're losing the lion's share in your market to your competitors who are marketing online.

Whether you're an established small business or a promising startup, there’s no excuse for not having a sustainable digital marketing strategy anymore. Even if you have a marketing plan in place, there’s really no guarantee that your plan works well until after you’ve seriously tested and tweaked everything.

If your digital marketing plan isn’t producing the incredible results you're expecting, it’s likely that your small business is making the following mistakes right now. Become aware of these issues, and make sure you’re not falling victim to these common mistakes.

1. Your strategy doesn’t resemble a “strategy” at all

Building a website or a Facebook page doesn’t qualify as a strategy in the strictest sense. What matters is how you use these online channels to achieve the goals you’ve set forth with your plan.

When it comes to building a business website, for instance, you need to find a way to use it as a platform to sell your products and services. Aside from creating landing pages for each salable item that you have, you need to find a way to attract an audience who will find interest in the things you’re selling. One way of doing this is to create compelling content that’s worth sharing. This is beneficial for long-term SEO purposes, as well as increasing overall visibility of your brand once your content gets shared on social media.

By increasing your website traffic from your target market, you should expect to convert a fraction of those into customers or clients. Not to mention, a strategy is never a one-and-done thing - you should commit to a strategy for a prolonged period to see the product of your labor come to fruition.

By coming up with sustainable tasks with your website that are focused towards a single goal and are implemented on a consistent basis, you now have a strategy that you can scale and improve so you can increase your conversion rate.

2. You don’t stand out from the rest of the pack

With the thousands, if not millions, of online businesses in your respective niches, you need to be special to make a lasting impression on your audience. If your business doesn't separate itself from your competitors, then you have a big problem.

The bulk of the issue can be attributed to your inability to identify a unique value proposition for your online business and clearly communicate it through your preferred channels. Does your company compete on price? Maybe your site has specialized knowledge on website builder comparisons or online marketing. To actually identify your value proposition, you need to learn how to do competitive research. This means taking a closer look at the online activities of your best competitors and see the good and the not-so-good things they’re doing.

By getting a better idea of their online habits and what they do to make their audience tick, you will have a greater understanding of what you must do to separate yourself from them.

Most of the data from competitor research is drawn from research tools like BuzzSumo, Ahrefs and others. Using either allows you to uncover the sites linking back to them and how they can do so, among other things. You can also analyze how each of their best-performing pages is constructed so you can replicate their technique and put a twist of your own. By interpreting the data correctly, you will be able to create content that resonates with your target market.

3. You don’t deliver what you promise

While I’ve touched on the importance of consistency, it deserves to be mentioned again. Business owners should be in it for the long haul, which means that their ventures are a marathon and not a sprint. It doesn't matter how fast you start - what is important is how you finish.

A component of consistency is setting out what you promised to your audience. If you can't comply with your self-imposed number of blog posts or newsletters in a week, then you risk losing the trust of your readers. The fact that you can't adhere to your rules is telling of your commitment, not to your business, but to your audience, your inability to comply to your word is indicative of how terrible your business is.

Internally at X3 Digital, to avoid losing the respect of our audience, my design agency makes sure that we practice consistency to temper audience expectation and keep people satisfied with our rate of production. Even if you feel understaffed and overworked, there are ways to work around these obstacles. You can always outsource smartly so you can delegate the menial tasks and focus on gauging the results. You can also look into marketing automation solutions so you can set pieces of your workflow into autopilot and put your mind at ease.

4. Your analytic data is lacking

At the very heart of digital marketing is one's ability to learn from mistakes. As a business owner, you need to learn how to take failures in stride and learn from them so you can apply them to your next campaign. However, tracking every move you make is another discipline in and of itself.

Private Party Band, a Florida-based corporate and wedding band, had been running new ad campaigns for their business, but had no KPIs or valuable analytics in place to track the success of their ad campaigns. This is an all-too-common mistake small businesses make when launching new set of ads for social media, starting a blog for your company or sending emails to your subscribers.

You need to find a way to measure the performances of each; this way, you can analyze the information into bite-sized data for you to review later on. From here, you can gauge which campaigns worked, which didn't and why. Understanding what makes for a successful campaign starts with setting up your tracking tools so you can keep learning and get better at promoting business online.

For starters, you need to learn how to use Google Analytics and align your website with your goals. While the tool covers lots of data to help your site succeed, you may need to other analytics tools that let you conduct A/B testing, micro-surveys and heat mapping to name a few.

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9 Resources to Get You Prepared for Tax Season

Don't let tax season overwhelm you. Utilize these nine resources to help you take the stress out of preparing your taxes for Uncle Sam.

April really is the cruelest month. But when British poet T.S. Eliot immortalized those famous words in his literary masterpiece "The Waste Land," he never could've known that they would end up ringing true for business owners and entrepreneurs living in 21st-century America.

Getting all of your receipts, financial documents and bank statements in order can be an arduous task. But there are solutions so that you can focus more on running your business and less on sifting through mountains of paperwork. Seeking outside help from a trusted accountant or bookkeeper is a great option, and technology has taken the grunt work out of organizing and preparing your own tax records -- making April not seem nearly as cruel as it used to be.

We asked nine entrepreneurs from YEC to share the resources they use to simplify things and help get their taxes in order.

 

Issuing 1099s was always a slow, costly process that required a CPA or advanced knowledge of Quickbooks. New online services such as Track1099 make processing your business' 1099s much easier. These services connect to your accounting program, pull the information from the appropriate recipients of 1099s and take care of all the communication with both the recipient and the IRS. Online and cheap. - Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

Mint is a great way to review your business transactions from the past year. It is a mobile finance app you can link to credit cards, bank accounts and investment funds. Mint will automatically tag and categorize purchases to help you identify donations, gifts and other tax-deductible expenses that you've incurred over the year. - Adelyn Zhou, TOPBOTS

Intuit recently launched a new offering called QuickBooks Self-Employed (QBSE), which is perfect for small businesses that aren't ready to jump into the full-service offering that most are used to seeing advertised. QBSE is great for independent contractors and freelancers as it allows a user to quickly and easily detangle expenses that might be intermingled across personal/business accounts. - Corey Eulas, Factorial Digital

We implemented Xero about two years ago, and it is a great cloud accounting solution with superb integration for other platforms so that you have Xero as the heart of your organization. There's also lots of customization possibilities due to their open API. We are still using a personal accounting firm, but remotely, we use Xero as a cloud accounting solution. - Philipp Mohr, Hashplay Inc

The best way to plan for taxes is not to leave everything until the last second. Hire a good bookkeeper and have them take care of your books year round. I'd recommend having them utilize a widely used system like Quickbooks Online, which will give you real-time access to your financials. This will allow you to focus on growing your business as opposed to spending more time on taxes. - Mitch Gordon, Go Overseas

I like Evernote because I can put all my files, notes and receipts in one place via a cloud-storage format. It just makes it easy when I'm on the go and can save and upload from anywhere. - John Rampton, Due

I absolutely love using QuickBooks Online to help keep me organized and my books reconciled for tax time. It has made my life so much easier, and I love their mobile app for ease of use while I'm traveling or on the go. I can actually run payroll off my smartphone -- how cool! - Rachel Beider, Massage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg

In addition to many of the other well-known tax software products out there, Google Sheets is definitely going to come in handy. Google Sheets is free to use and nearly identical to Excel -- with even more benefits. Access your data from anywhere and also share or convert to a different file type with the click of a button. - Zac Johnson, Blogger

Outsource your taxes. It’s not going to be expensive if you use an independent accountant that has your best interests at heart. You can make more money in the time (not to mention avoid the headaches) that you'll save yourself. - Thomas Smale, FE International

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Cutting Your Restaurant’s Operations Costs

Running a restaurant is expensive. You have operational costs that seem to only go up, regardless of your restaurant's success.

Running a restaurant is expensive. You have operational costs that seem to only go up, regardless of your restaurant's success. You can turn your hard-earned cash at the end of each day into more profit if you cut costs in a few areas without cutting into the quality of your food or service.

Look at your restaurant with the eye of an environmentalist. You may find areas in which you can save money and help the environment. For example, if you're using traditional incandescent lighting, you could switch out bulbs for fluorescent lighting.

You can also save on energy costs if you turn off equipment that isn't in use for an hour a day – you can save up to $400 per year on ovens, according to Shipley Energy. If you swap out your regular toilets in your restaurant with low-flow toilets, you can save up to $1,000 over a year, depending on the cost of water in your area.

Another benefit to going green, or greener, is that sustainability sells.

Customers who are environmentally conscious are more likely to spend money at a restaurant that shows how it's helping the cause.

You can also save on energy costs if you turn off equipment that isn't in use for an hour a day – you can save up to $400 per year on ovens, according to Shipley Energy. If you swap out your regular toilets in your restaurant with low-flow toilets, you can save up to $1,000 over a year, depending on the cost of water in your area.

Another benefit to going green, or greener, is that sustainability sells. Customers who are environmentally conscious are more likely to spend money at a restaurant that shows how it's helping the cause.

 

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Mobile Wallet Guide: Android Pay vs. Apple Pay vs. Samsung Pay

Paper money is so 2015. Just pull out your phone and click to pay. But which one should you use?

You no longer need to carry a bulky wallet filled with numerous credit cards or cash. With a mobile wallet, you simply use your smartphone to pay for your transactions. Most electronic wallets are free and to begin, you just download the app on your smartphone. Many of these apps, such as Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay, are becoming increasingly popular and compatible with many card readers, credit cards and banks.

Android Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay are some of the most common mobile wallets available. Aside from the differences in mobile platforms, there are many advantages and limitations to each option.

android-pay-logo

With Android Pay, you can add most credit, debit and gift cards to the application. You can also store all your loyalty cards within the application as well, helping you maintain reward points. With Android Pay you don’t need to open the actual application when making a transaction. Android Pay uses near field communication technology (NFC). This allows you to transmit all your credit card information between your phone and the card reader. If the store has a newer card reader and accepts this mobile wallet, you can simply hold your phone to the card reader, while the phone is open. There is no fingerprint authentication required with this application.

Security is always a concern when it comes to your financial information. Instead of using your actual credit card number and other personal information when you use Android Pay, this application uses a virtual account number, ensuring that all your personal information is secured on your phone. And if your phone is lost or stolen, you can easily lock the phone, create a new password or completely wipe all financial information until the phone is recovered again.

apple-pay-logo

Android Pay and Apple Pay have many similarities. For example, when using Apple Pay, you also hold your phone unlocked to the card reader. However, Apple Pay requires fingerprint authentication for the transaction to be complete. You can pay with either your smartphone or with an Apple Watch. You can make in-app purchases as well as payments online using this mobile wallet. Apple Pay is also compatible with most credit cards and U.S. banks.

When you make a purchase using Apple Pay, your receipts are kept in your mobile wallet but the transaction information is not stored elsewhere. Like Android Pay, your credit card information is not used for the transaction. Instead, a specific number is used, eliminating the chance of stolen credit cards and fraud.

samsung-pay-logo

Samsung Pay is much more limited than Android Pay and Apple Pay. This electronic wallet is only available on the newest Samsung Galaxy phones, Galaxy S6 Edge+, Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 active and Galaxy S2 and S3.

When you use this electronic wallet, you can add any qualifying Visa, MasterCard or American Express credit cards. Additionally, more than 650 banks and credit unions support Samsung Pay. You can also add gift cards and loyalty cards, helping you more easily manage and use them. If a card has a barcode located on it, it can be stored on the electronic wallet.

When you pay using Samsung Pay, you access the card you wish to use on the app, validate your purchase and place your phone near the card reader. You can also pay for online purchases when on your phone by using Samsung Pay and verify the purchase with your fingerprint.

One advantage to Samsung Pay is it works with most card readers. It uses both NFC technology and magnetic secure transmission (MST) technology. MST technology emits a magnetic signal that acts like magnetic strip that you find on most credit cards. This allows you to use this electronic wallet at more terminals than similar applications.

When it comes to the security of Samsung Pay, numerous security measures are in place. You must verify every purchase with your fingerprint or by entering a pin number. Additionally, your credit card number is never used for transactions, instead a random set of number is used. If you fear storing all your credit card information on your phone, all account information is encrypted and stored in a data vault.

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How to Find the Best Bank for Your Business

Business banking isn't a hot topic -- but having a good bank is crucial to your business's success.

Small business banking is a topic that sometimes gets short shrift. With interest rates only just beginning to rise and business services at big banks closely resembling one another, small business media coverage tends to focus on more interesting topics such as technology, operations and company culture.

Because the banking news is static, it's easy to forget how critical banks really are in the day-to-day of a small business. However, trying to differentiate competing banks is a difficult task. National banks tend to match one another too closely in the pricing and structure of their small business products, while local banks vary too widely based on local conditions. Still, there are a number of basic qualities that make a bank the ideal choice for a small business:

Banks are the main source of funding for many entrepreneurs, providing loans and credit products suited to many different needs. A bank that is serious about pursuing relationships with small businesses will offer financing options for every stage of a small business's development.

The easiest way to determine which local banks are active supporters of small businesses is to speak with their bankers in person. Brick-and-mortar banks have a significant advantage over online banks or lenders in this respect. If you're interested in banks that participate in government-backed financing, the Small Business Administration also provides information on the most active SBA 7(a) lenders through its online resources. One example of a highly active small business lender is Wells Fargo, which has $459 million in outstanding SBA loans as of January 2017.

However, smaller banks tend to offer better service than national banks like Wells Fargo because they're able to concentrate more of their attention and resources in their immediate neighborhoods. Though they may not have as much capital available, you'll find that local banks tend to be more flexible and accommodating towards your business's specific circumstances. While online lending has made great strides in recent years, your best chances of getting a competitive loan rate are still with your local banks.

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Why Tech Should Behave More Like Finance

Tech executives in particular should take a page from top financiers on how to build efficient, competitive, and successful companies.

The financial industry often gets a bad rap, thanks in part to world-shattering events like the 2008 recession. It’s tough for an industry to appear on the up-and-up when a few legacy companies upend the global financial system.

But not all finance organizations are Lehman Brothers or Bear Stearns — in fact, most of them aren’t. The most pure markets in finance are incredibly sophisticated and arguably result in the most level playing fields of any industry. This is largely due to the fact that legislation forces transparency, so the sector must be vigilant about plugging holes and rooting out corruption.

Leaders in other fields can learn a great deal from studying leading finance companies. Unlike tech companies, which maintain relatively friendly relationships with competitors, finance is a dog-eat-dog world. Finance companies refuse to permit bloat and inefficiencies because they can’t afford such distractions when billion-dollar decisions are on the line.

Finance’s Finer Points

Not all business leaders desire a house in the Hamptons and a private yacht, nor do they thrive on the fast-paced, 24/7 work ethic that finance demands. But founders and executives of all stripes could stand to cultivate some of finance leaders’ most effective qualities.

Here’s what distinguishes the leaders — and winners — in this industry:

They take management seriously.

Major finance corporations conduct extensive management trainings that yield standardized processes and well-trained leaders. Executives in the tech industry would benefit from more intensive training, for ourselves and our staff members, before diving into or doling out management positions.

They recruit talent aggressively.

Finance companies know how to entice the brightest analytical minds, and they hook them before they’ve even started their careers. Much like talent scouts pursue college athletes for the big leagues, top finance organizations operate strong recruitment programs. They visit the best universities in the country, promoting their grade-A internship opportunities to promising would-be investors.

They’re data-driven.

Finance professionals rely on high-level, high-quality data information to stay on their competitors’ trails. Minute alpha advantages make the difference in billions of dollars in profit, which is why you see finance companies using predictive tools that are years ahead of those in any other industry.

Finance is a zero-sum game.

Professionals in this field either win big or lose big, and they’re keenly aware of what’s at stake. That mindset creates a hyper-focused approach to delivering results.

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How to Get Elite Status on Business Flights

There are a few simple ways to greatly improve your next business trip, and one is gaining elite status.

If you want to get the most out of your business trips, elite status perks significantly improve your traveling experience and, consequently, your productivity. While perks vary from airline to airline, they often include a faster line to your security checkpoint, complimentary access to airport lounges, priority boarding and more comfortable seating. You can also save money with free checked bags, in-flight Wi-Fi and meals.

How can you score those coveted elite status perks? You have a few options available.

Flying enough with one airline to reach an elite status tier is the simple way. If you’re traveling weekly or going on cross-country trips often, this method actually isn’t that difficult. For example, you could reach American Airline’s Platinum tier by traveling 50,000 miles or 60 segments annually.

Taking a status challenge accelerates the process. You pay a small fee to the airline, and then you can earn your way into elite status tiers by traveling a certain mile minimum within the challenge period. American Airlines charges a $200 fee to challenge for its Platinum tier, and you then have 90 days to travel at least 12,500 miles.

The problem with this method is that booking all those flights gets expensive, especially considering you only earn elite-qualifying miles (EQMs) when you pay with cash, not reward points or frequent flyer miles. Shooting for those elite status tiers may be worth it if you travel often or have a few trips coming up and can take a status challenge. Otherwise, it’s not the best option from a value perspective.