Poverty Alleviation – The Micro Finance Banking Approach

Micro Finance Banking is extension of standard banking facilities to those doing small scale businesses, those living in poverty and those inhabiting rural areas without demanding collateral.

In finance, collateral placement is a visible barrier inhibiting people from accessing funds from concerned institutions. This hinders the enterprising exploits of those living at poverty levels and small scale business people who in most cases do not have properties that can stand as collateral.

Micro Financing is the only available option for individuals at such level to kick start their business ideas.

It sounds out of place for the average financially educated to extend loans without collateral but for those at the bottom of the pyramid, the poor and semi poor, it is sine qua non. Grading their credit ratings and abilities will never be a herculean task as most of them live in the same community and are totally accessible. Most often, the women who form the fulcrum of the communities are best channels of fund distribution.

These people who obtained such small loans are eager to implement their business ideas and maintain their source of funding as there are lesser options available to them. In most cases, the loans demanded by these people are small in nature, thus they can easily repay its interest payments and that of the capital.

For individuals and institutions offering such services, it will be an added advantage if more education and counseling is offered to their respective clients to improve and fortify their financial knowledge.

Micro credits facilities aimed at empowering the poor especially the women and those domiciled in rural areas is pivotal to creation of small scale industries thereby jump-starting the economy while pulling the machinery of industrialization. When those living at poverty level are empowered, poverty is alleviated if not eradicated.

Those involved in provision of these brand of services do not operate like or compete with conventional banks. This is solely because they are totally at variance in their aim, objectives and modus oparandi.

Reasons To Have A Good Business Strategy

A business strategy is basically a documented plan mentioning how a company is setting out to reach to its business goals. Therefore, these strategies include different types of main principles, which outline the ways through which the companies can reach to their goals. For instance, the good business strategies define the ways to look at the expectations and requirements of clients, the ways to deal with the competitors and these also check the sustainability and the long-term growth of the companies.

A good business plan is also essential in guiding channels and resources, making decisions, defining directions and setting goals. Due to that reason, building strategic plans is well worth of the time. With the help of right strategies, businesses can meet with the opportunities and ongoing challenges.

There are actually many types of business strategies available, which can be used by both new and already established businesses to have healthy competition in the market. Most of the successful businesses generally have a history of functional and good strategies, which are set and followed strictly. Thus, it is necessary that once the strategies are drawn and enacted, the measures must be followed and put into that system.

Another big reason why having good strategies is necessary is that these offer the businesses the required time to get the sense about capabilities, how those are actually performing and whether the capabilities can actually help the businesses to grow.

Here are some other reasons why it is necessary to have good strategies for businesses:

A well defined strategy provides a guide on how a business is actually performing internally. Besides, this also defines how a company performs against the competition and the things that the company needs to stay relevant in the future.

A good business strategy is capable of creating a direction and a vision for the entire company. Actually, it is necessary for every person in a company to have some clear goals and to follow the mission or direction of the company. Good business strategies can offer these visions and can prevent the company people from losing sight of the aims of the companies.

The business strategies can also find the future opportunities and trends of the businesses. These can look at all the broader changes in the market like as social, political or technological changes and the consumer changes. Besides, these strategies can also develop the tactics so that the businesses can change and develop to suit to all the future changes.

So, it can be said that with good business strategies, the businesses can enjoy greater profits and brighter track records.

Train For Finance and Banking Online

Every business and organization that earns a profit has to think about their financial and banking needs. These aspects of a business need qualified individuals who understand monetary funds and how to manage those funds in a bank. Online accredited colleges and universities offer training in finance and banking that teach students how to work for an organization in this capacity.

Professionals use their knowledge by making suggestions to a business to help them grow financially. The professional’s job is to aid their client in sound financial decisions in order to help them use their resources to obtain monetary goals. A professional who understands banking is a strong asset to a business because they keep track of fund activity by making sure it is recorded and handled properly. Prospective students can learn how to perform these main duties through numerous online programs. Students can choose to study finance and banking in a combination program or choose a degree program specifically geared towards one.

Students need to decide prior to enrolling in a degree program if they want to work for finance, banking, or both. This will help a student know if they need to find a combined degree program or find a specific degree program. A finance degree program will provide students with the knowledge to analyze and implement financial procedures in a managerial position. The minimum requirement for a career in the field is a bachelor degree. In a bachelor degree students can expect to complete the program in four years. Curriculum will include general education and degree specific education. The finance part of the program could include courses on risk management, corporate finance, statistical analysis, critical thinking, and more. Students will be able to understand the procedures and principles of financial markets and the distribution of funds in every sector of an organization.

A bachelor degree program in banking is a financial business degree with its focus on banking. The degree program prepares students to work in various careers inside a bank. Courses will center on teaching a student about the many areas of financial institutions. Specific courses may include corporate finance, banking law, international trade law, and global economy. Students will learn about all bank practices, credit, and lending. Career options will allow students to become credit analyzers, loan processing managers, and more. Gaining a degree in banking significantly increases an individual’s annual income within the industry.

A combined approach will prepare students by giving them a strong foundation in management, corporate finance, and the global market. Students will examine every area of the industry through courses that include investments, capital raising strategies, corporate operations, and mergers. A financial and managerial accounting course will teach students how to function as a manager and work with employees within the procedures of accounting. Students will explore topics like financial statements and cost analysis. A combined degree will allow students to work in all areas of both industries.

Whether a student decides on a specific or combined education approach, numerous career opportunities will be open to them. Online schooling in finance and banking will help students enter their desired career upon completion of an accredited program. Seek an online college or university today that offers the degree you need to start an exciting new career.

Your Cat’s Health and Well Being

If you haven’t had the pleasure of owning a pet cat before, you may not know that you can run into some cat health problems. Some can be prevented easily, while others begin genetically.

One of the most common problems with your cat’s health and well being is the terrible hairball. Cats keep themselves clean by cleaning their fur with their tongues. Loose hair is removed and swallowed. Sometimes, instead of passing through the cat’s digestive tract, the hair forms into a ball in the cat’s stomach. Cats with hairballs develop a hacking cough, gradually expelling the hairball. Hairball prevention is easy: groom your cat daily to help remove the loose hair. You can also get cat food that helps prevent hairballs. If you look at your local stores, you may also find cat treats that can help with this problem.

Urinary tract infections are another feline health problem. This infection happens more frequently in un-neutered male cats, though it is seen occasionally in females as well. If your cat has suddenly developed an aversion to his litter box, it could be due to a urinary tract infection. Another clue is that your cat’s urine will smell unusually strong if he has an infection. A trip to the veterinarian is the cure. He will also recommend cat foods that may help prevent the infection from coming back.

Cats are prone to several viruses as well that can be very dangerous to their health and well being: Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and Feline Leukemia Virus (FLV) are the most common.

FIP is a cousin to the Corona virus, and is a very serious condition as there is no known treatment. The problem lies in the test. Cats that test positive for FIP may not have it, since Corona virus gives the same result on the test. A vaccine for FIP does exist, but many veterinarians do not believe it is very effective. Fortunately, this disease is not as simple to contract as some of the others.

FIV, also known as cat AIDS, isn’t necessarily fatal. Some pet owners are afraid that they can catch HIV from an FIV-positive cat, but it is not possible.

FLV is easily preventable through vaccination if the cat has not been exposed to the virus yet. While FLV is not always immediately fatal, once this disease has been contracted, the cat usually does not live for long. If you have a pet with FLV, do not bring other cats into your household. It is contagious.

Many cats also become a host for worms. Hookworms, tapeworms and roundworms are the most common parasites that infect pet cats. Sometimes, they can also get heart worms. Symptoms that may indicate worms is weight loss, with the inability to gain it back; flea infestation; or white specks in the stool that looks like rice. If you notice any of these signs, take your cat to the vet for a test. Worms are easily gotten rid of with a few doses of worm medication. If left untreated, the cat can waste away and die.

If your cat likes to play outdoors, examine him frequently for ticks. If you find one on your cat and he has been moving more slowly than usual or acting lethargic or as if he is in pain, he may need to be tested for Lyme Disease. Your veterinarian can take care of this test and the treatment. Lyme Disease is given to both people and animals by ticks.

Your cat’s health and well being is very important if you want to have many happy years with him or her. Caring for your cat properly is easy with a few regular trips to the vet.

How To Sell A Business In Today’s Market

Rules for how to sell a business are different today than they were just a few years ago before the mortgage meltdown and economic crisis that followed. The difficulty of obtaining purchase money loans and greater buyer uncertainty because of the fragile state of the economy have made it necessary for owners of small and mid-sized businesses, if they want to sell successfully, to employ strategies that address current problems. Four important principles that help achieve a sale are:

1. Prepare the business more completely. Along with the mood of extreme buyer caution in this market, comes a lower threshold of tolerance for companies being sold that are not presented in the best possible way. That means a seller needs to assemble key documents–three years of financial information, copies of premises and equipment leases, and a list of capital assets included in the sale–before the business is offered to prospective buyers. It’s not a good idea to wait until a buyer is found and requests that material. By the time you get your act together, it may be too late.

Preparation also calls for making certain that business premises are clean so that it shows well, getting all equipment working correctly, and settling any unresolved lawsuits or customer complaints that might reflect negatively on the business.

2. Super preparation is also advised. In addition to getting the basics taken care of, entrepreneurs who know how to sell a business in this economic climate are going to the trouble of contacting local business banks, particularly the SBA-backed lending institutions, to get the business “pre-qualified” for a loan. If lenders say they are willing to lend money for purchase of your business by a qualified applicant, it speeds the SBA loan application process and helps to reinforce the value of the company being offered.

Another form of super-preparation involves drafting a marketing plan that, when shown to prospective buyers, provides a blueprint a new owner might follow to increase the revenues. And the company that comes with a marketing plan is more appealing, because it demonstrates the competence of
management–reflecting favorably on the viability of the business.

3. Be prepared to help finance the transaction. Several sellers in this market who initially wanted an all-cash deal, have discovered that a business not attracting much attention can quickly become more appealing to buyers if the seller is willing to carry back part of the purchase price. And the owner with few buyer prospects for a company offered with a small seller financing component, say 10%, is likely to find that increasing the size of the note–to 30% of the price for example–is how to sell a business that was not generating much interest. Seller financing can result in a sale to a qualified buyer–one who was not ready or not willing to invest the total purchase price plus the working capital needed to take over the business. Also, a seller’s willingness to help finance the deal can be the factor that persuades other lenders to participate. In most cases, for example, an application for purchase funds through an SBA loan program has little chance of being approved if the seller does not have “skin in the game.”

4. Incorporate an earn out agreement in the sale. This approach often is useful in bridging the gap when a buyer and seller have different estimates of what the business is worth. The basic idea of this strategy is for the initial sales price to be a figure below what is requested by a seller, who feels the business is improving and will soon be worth more. In return for the seller’s agreement with the lower price, the buyer agrees that the business can be re-valued upward, if it does generate higher revenues as predicted by the seller. This provision is founded on a deal with some seller financing, and the contract specifies that the buyer’s payments would be adjusted upward to correspond with the increased value.

Explore Asset And Sales Finance Solutions With Your Bank

If you’re starting up a business, it can be hard to grasp the terminology you need in order to speak to your bank about funds; when it comes to discussing asset and sales finance, for instance, things can get tricky. It is, firstly, important to know what asset and sales finance is: a service through which banks help businesses obtain a range of equipment, including plant and machinery, commercial vehicles, IT equipment, office furniture and cars. Essentially, sales financing will help you get quick access to cash, while asset financing will help fund business equipment.

Many banks offer several cost-effective and expedient sales financing solutions; and with such solutions, businesses can find enough working capital to be able to operate. Two sales financing solutions are factoring and invoice discounting. With factoring (recourse and non-recourse),up to 95% of the value of approved invoices can be advanced within a given period of time with the balance being paid on receipt. And while invoice discounting (also recourse and non-recourse) functions in a similar way, there is a crucial difference between the two: in factoring, the client’s customers are made aware of the bank’s involvement with the business; in invoice discounting they are not.

Another method of sales financing used by many banks is stock finance; this allows you to release as much as 60% of the funds tied up in eligible stock through a completely flexible system. This will release finance that is usually not available for working capital needs.

Asset financing solutions will help you gain assets in an economical way, without eating into your cash reserves. As with sales financing, banks will often offer a range of asset finance solutions to its business customers. Hire Purchase, for example, can help you acquire the asset you need right away, but payments can be spread across the life of the asset in question. This may also allow you to keep the asset at the end of your term for a particular fee. Operating Lease asset finance will allow you to benefit from a particular asset, while the bank itself takes on the risk of losing its value; the rental and return conditions for the asset are fixed at the outset.

Business Strategy For Challenging Times

The importance of strategy to steer organizations during uncertain times in unchartered territories could not be overemphasized and the current crisis proves it. The role of business leaders is fundamental in strategy development and execution and key contributor to a successful strategy implementation.

Whilst one of the main roles of business leaders is to set and communicate vision, mission and strategic objectives, many fail in the execution process as they get sucked into the details of day to day tactics. With the “big-picture” view, the leadership is able to view the ever changing environment and decide on how the organization needs to respond and to steer the organization towards the longer-term objectives. Whilst the strategic vision remains the same, the route to reach the destination might follow different tactics and game plans.

The word strategy is attributed to the military as its origin was originally derived from the Greek word for “army”. It describes a plan of action developed to realize a specific goal, bearing in mind the difference between strategy and tactics. Tactics is generally concerned with the manner an engagement is conducted, whilst strategy deals with how various engagements are interconnected.

Strategy is all about clarity, and if the strategy is not simple, clear and well-understood, it will not be accomplished. It represents the organization’s main direction and prime focus and defines the way to get there. It can only be executed if everyone involved knows what is expected of them and their purpose is totally aligned with its direction.

In business, the term strategy is frequently badly and inconsistently defined. Business people involved in formulating the strategy understand it well, whilst the majority others do not, particularly if they are not engaged in its development or strategy is not communicated down to them. Others mix strategy with vision and tactics.

Strategy is a real differentiator, often seen as the secret for long-term success and one of the leadership characteristics. It unites the whole workforce, nurtures and develops opportunities and ensures endurance during crises or tough times.

Although strategy represents a solid and firm direction, it should not be built into stone. Instead, it should be adaptable to reflect changes in the environment, whether it is politically, economically, socially, technologically or legally related. Business leaders must have clear business goals and be flexible and brave to continuously recalibrate their strategy. When times are tough and visibility is not so clear, leaders must have the buoyancy to be pragmatic and adaptable, as in the mist of chaos comes huge opportunities.

Unsuccessful companies are those which do not embrace new ideas, broaden their thinking or are totally unaware of changes in their environment. Changing circumstances may necessitate a change in direction and stubbornness and fixed ideas can frequently be the enemy of business leaders.

Business strategy is all about developing a viable plan for sustained business growth, possibly diversifying into new markets or cross selling to existing customers. Adequately qualified senior executives tend to have clear views of what their business strategy means. Good strategies are not glossy documents produced to be stacked on shelves to collect dust, but rather to be communicated, executed and monitored.

Leaders are expected to champion and drive the process of strategy execution by putting the strategy into action; after all the strategy does not mean anything unless it is fully communicated throughout the organization.

The strategy can be viewed as the story of how a business plans to develop in the next few years; investments to make, markets to address, products to develop, territories to compete in, partnerships and alliances, etc. A good strategy is simple, clear, credible, motivating and reflects the distinctive features of the business. Whilst strategies may end up looking the same, the brands and the culture of the organizations will be different.

The real test to establish whether a strategy is good or not can be seen during difficult times e.g. the current global credit crunch, as business leaders are tempted under such conditions to lose their sense of direction and seek ways to cut costs and maintain margins. The leadership’s thinking should be focused mainly on the strategy and nothing else. Companies are encouraged to continually health-check their strategy against various potential scenarios.

During changes in the working environment or tough times, the leadership should review their business strategy to assess whether it is still prudent and acceptable to adopt a more flexible approach to the execution process, for example accelerate making an investment or divesting an existing business segment. Business leaders should continuously be working on the company’s strategy, since the business environment is changing all the time with lots of threats and lots of emerging opportunities. Therefore, business leaders need to be regularly monitoring their business environment and taking a view of where the market is headed and to conduct fitness-check of their strategy.

Business strategies succeed only when they are well-developed and formulated, well communicated to the whole workforce, business functions are aligned to the corporate strategic objectives, incentives are aligned with individuals’ performance, and most importantly when the leadership is involved in the strategy formulation and execution process.

Occupational Health – What Is the BIG Picture of OH?

The rapid development of workplace health protective and preventive services has been driven by government strategies and recommendations, as well as by the European Union legislation in the areas of health and safety at work and by the European Commission programme in public health. This was also largely due to the new demands and expectations from employers, employees and their representative bodies as they recognize the economic, social and health benefits achieved by providing these services at the workplace, thus providing the available knowledge and evidence necessary for the continuous improvement of workplace health management. Comprehensive workplace health management is a process involving all stakeholders inside and outside any business. It aims at empowering them to take control over their own health and their family’s health considering environmental, lifestyle, occupational and social health determinants and quality of health care. It is based on health promotion principles and it creates a great challenge to health, environment and safety professionals providing services, advice, information and education to social partners at work. It involves also taking care of considerable socioeconomic interest of all involved stakeholders. It has been shown in several instances that the business utilizing a well managed research based occupational health service can gain a competitive advantage by:

Protecting human health against health and safety hazards occurring in the work environment.
Promoting human health workplaces for all ages and healthy aging by appropriate work culture, work organization and support to social cohesion.
Promoting mental health, healthy lifestyle and preventing major non-communicable diseases using specific workplace health policies and management tools.
Maintaining work ability thus also employability throughout working life.
Reducing health care costs caused by employees’ and employers’ injuries, diseases, illnesses and premature retirement resulting from or influenced by occupational, environmental, life style and social health determinants
Using resources effectively, protecting the natural environment and creating a health supportive environment.
Improving social communication and literacy on health, environment and ethics.

This article series describes the author’s observations of various roles undertaken by the occupational health nurse. Whilst recognizing the wide variation that exists in occupational health nursing practice between different industrial and blue collar environments this series reflects the standards that have already been achieved where occupational health nursing is at its most advanced. However it has to be recognized that the level of education, professional skills and the exiting national legislation determines what role can be actually undertaken by occupational health nurses. Even more important is to remember that no one professional out of the exiting workplace health professions is now capable to meeting all health needs of the working population. A multi-disciplinary approach is needed to effectively manage the growing workplace health and safety demands in business today.

The workplace health services use the skills of many professionals such as specialist occupational physicians, safety engineers, occupational hygienists, occupational health nurses, ergonomists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, laboratory technicians, psychologists and other specialists. The role and tasks actually performed for the companies by representatives of different health and safety professions vary greatly depending upon legislative needs, scope of the workplace health concept perceived by directors, enforcement practice, the level of their education, position in the occupational health infrastructure, actions undertaken by insurance institutions and many other factors. Occupational health nurses are the largest single group of health professionals involved in delivering health services at the workplace and have the most important role to play in the workplace health management. They are at the frontline in helping to protect and promote the health of the nations working population.

The role of the occupational health nurse in workplace health management is a new and exciting concept that is designed to improve the management of health and health related problems in the workplace. Specialist occupational health nurses can play a major role in protecting and improving the health of the working population as part of this strategy. Occupational health nurses can also make a major contribution to the sustainable development, improved competitiveness, job security and increased profitability of businesses and communities by addressing those factors which are related to the health of the working population. By helping to reduce ill health occupational health nurses can contribute to the increased profitability and performance of organizations and reduce health care costs. Occupational health nurses can also help to reduce the externalization of costs onto the taxpayer, by preventing disability and social exclusion, and by improving rehabilitation services at work. By protecting and promoting the health of the working population, and by promoting social inclusion, occupational health nurses can also make a significant contribution towards building a caring social ethos within the UK. This article provides guidance to employers and employees on establishing workplace health management systems within their own organizations. On how to determine and develop the role and functions of the occupational health nursing specialist within each enterprise and where to go for additional help and advice in relation to occupational health nursing.

Changing nature of working life and the new challenges

The world of work has undergone enormous change in the last hundred years. To a large extent the very heavy, dirty and dangerous industries have gone, and the burden of disease, which came with them, in most European countries, has declined. However, the new working environments and conditions of work that have replaced them have given rise to new and different concerns about the health of the working population. Exposure to physical, chemical, biological and psychosocial risk factors at work are now much more clearly linked to health outcomes in the mind of the general public. Expectations of society in regard to health at work have also changed, with increasing demands for better standards of protection at work and for the improvement of the quality of working life. Employers are also recognizing that health-related issues, such as sickness absence, litigation and compensation costs, increasing insurance premiums, are expensive; ignoring them can lead to serious economic consequences. The best employers’ emphasize the important message that good health is good business, and that much can be achieved in this field simply by introducing good management practices.

The Need for Workplace Management

There are approximately 400 million people who work in the EU Member States. The majority of whom spend more than one half of their waking life at work. However, fatal accidents at work are still common. The standardized incident rates per 100,000 workers in the European Union show that the fatal accident rate varies between 1.6 in the UK to 13.9 in Spain, with Austria, Greece, France, Italy and Portugal all above 5.0%. In the entire European region there are approximately 200 to 7500 non-fatal accidents per 100,000 employees per year, of which around 10% are severe leading to over 60 days absence from work, and up to 5%, per year, lead to permanent disability. It has been estimated that the total cost to society of work related injuries and ill health in the European Union is between 185 billion and 270 billion ECU per year, which represents between 2.6% to 3.8% of Gross National Product (GNP) in member states. The cost of workplace accidents and ill health, in both financial and human terms, remains an enormous, largely unrecognized burden in UK. The majority of those accidents and diseases could have been prevented if appropriate action had been taken at the workplace. Many responsible employers have consistently demonstrated that by paying attention to these issues this type of harm and the subsequent costs can be avoided, to the benefit of everyone concerned. Increasing concern is the growing awareness of occupational stress. Up to 42% of workers in a recent survey complained about the high pace of work. Job insecurity, fear of unemployment, lack of a regular salary and the potential loss of work ability are all additional sources of stress, even for those in employment.

The wide ranging social and health effects of occupational stress on the health of the working population are well documented, for example 23% of workers surveyed claimed that they had been absent from work for work related health reasons in the previous twelve months. The resulting cost of sickness absence in United Kingdom is considered to be substantial. In the UK 177 million working days were lost in 1994 as a result of sickness absence; this has been assessed at over 11 billion in lost productivity. HSE statistics are encouraging given in 2009; only 29.3 million days were lost overall, 24.6 million due to work-related ill health and 4.7 million due to workplace injury. Much of this burden of ill health and the resulting sickness absence is caused, or is made worse by working conditions. Even where ill health is not directly caused by work, but by other non-occupational factors such as smoking, lifestyle, diet etc. Interventions designed to improve the health of the working population, delivered at the workplace, may help to reduce still further the burden of ill health. At present the socioeconomic impact of environmental pollution caused by industrial processes on the working population is uncertain, but it is likely to contribute further to the burden of ill health in some communities.