10 Issues to Consider When Investigating a Travel-Business Opportunity

When looking for the best possible travel business opportunity for you, make sure to investigate these 10 issues before you get started. With the explosion of the online travel businesses, it’s important to protect yourself even more than before.

1) What are the annual sales of the travel business you are investigating? If they won’t disclose their annual sales; that is the first sign to look elsewhere. Additionally, online travel agencies that have a very low annual sales volume are in danger of going out of business in this violent economy.

2) What is the size of the support staff? How many employees are available to help you and your clients with questions? Some of these companies are so small that they simply can afford to have support staff.

3) Is this company a card mill? A company that sells travel perks without actually selling travel is a card mill. If you are looking at a company that just sell “memberships” or “travel clubs” beware. They might be a card mill! Card mills are being targeted by the industry and may soon be out of business.

4) Is the company you are looking into publicly traded? A company that is publicly traded is regulated, regularly audited, and has their financial information easily available. This is just another way to check the validity of the travel business you are interested in.

5) Is the travel company you are checking out a leader or a follower? Is this company constantly adding new products and services or changing the travel experience or do they only react to others. Do you consider this company to be the Google or Microsoft of travel?

6) Is this travel business opportunity recognized in the Travel Weekly’s Power List? This is just another way to check the validity of this opportunity.

7) Does this travel business receive lots of publicity, either positive or negative? Most people do their research on the Internet, however you must realize not everything on the Internet is true or factual. Some companies utilize the practice of negative advertisement to attract new business. Mostly this practice is unethical and illegal. Take all of the information that you collect and make your own decision. If this company is the Microsoft of travel, I’m sure it will get a lot a publicity, good and bad that is not factual.

8) Is this travel business a member of the Direct Seller’s Agency (DSA)? DSA is the national trade association of the leading firms that manufacture and distribute goods and services sold directly to consumers. This is just another way to check the validity of this opportunity.

9) How long has this company been in the business of selling travel online? Many online travel companies are sprouting up all over the Internet quickly. As with any business, many fail within the first year because of the lack of capital and recognition within the industry. Travel is no different.

10) Does this company primarily sell travel or travel a secondary product? In my opinion, this is a major red flag. If your company’s main focus is not travel, why would you want to be involved with it? The travel section of this business can easily be discontinued and you would be stuck with selling diet supplements.

Be careful when checking out any travel business opportunity. Not all companies are created equal, regardless of price. The above tips will help you avoid making a mistake when choosing a travel company to work with. Travel is an amazing business, so starting out on the right foot will make it that much more enjoyable.

This article was brought to you by John Holcombe. John is a network marketing coach, trainer, and network marketer. John has learned the ultimate network marketing secret, the more you give, the more you receive. He lives it everyday.

Reasons for Adult Dating Business Success During Difficult Economic Times

Earning a regular high income from running adult dating sites during times when many people are experiencing reduced levels of net income, might not sound very feasible. Remarkably, it is actually proving to be one of the best performing types of Internet business during these hard times. There several reasons why that is the case.

Firstly, although it is an easy business for anyone to start up and therefore one that encourages competition, this is mainly from wannabes who are looking for a get rich quick without any effort scheme. They are generally, individuals who have little staying-power or idea of how to run and promote a business. Where a business is easy to set up and requires little investment, it will inevitably attract this kind of person to give it try. Most fall at the first hurdle.

Secondly, adult dating is still much less ‘socially acceptable’ than ‘mainstream’ dating. This helps to prevent competition saturation and also restrains interest in it to individuals and businesses that are already ‘adult industry friendly’. Whilst serious, corporate competition has in the past turned mainstream, online dating into a much less profitable enterprise; it tends to avoid being associated with any businesses that might be described as being part of the sex industry.

A third reason may well be a strange phenomenon of consumer behaviour that manifests itself in periods of economic difficulty. During such periods, many leisure industries do surprisingly well and consumer expenditure on their products and services seems to go against the common sense notion of declining personal spending power resulting in people cutting back on non-essentials. With specific regard to the sex industry some psychologists believe that it is the escapism element that drives consumers to spend more at times of economic hardship. In everyday terms it’s that, ‘we might as well enjoy ourselves whilst we can’ sentiment, temporarily relieving the stress caused by facing up to the ever-increasing utility bills, grocery costs and mortgage repayments. In this respect, sex can be like drugs, alcohol or gambling to many people.

There are not many business opportunities that have such potential for sustained profitability during times of economic downturn and the level of austerity we are facing at the moment. But not only is online adult dating flourishing, it also offers an easy-to-start business opportunity for individuals with no experience, no capital and no special skills or qualifications. The only requirements are to be reasonably computer literate, own a computer with broadband access, and to be prepared to work patiently and persistently for a considerable period of time before seeing the fruits of their labour.

If running an online adult dating business appeals to you, it is that last condition you need to consider most carefully. Starting up a site can be achieved in less than an hour by becoming an affiliate of one of the large adult dating networks and it is by far the best way to proceed. But getting yourself a state of the art, sophisticated site set up isn’t going to earn you any revenue. It’s what happens next that matters and it’s that which takes time. You will need to work persistently and imaginatively at promoting your business and your site for several months or possibly longer before you can expect to receive any meaningful income from it. If you are the sort of person who is prepared to do that, the eventual income from operating an adult dating site business can be very good, even in these financially difficult times.

It All Starts Here – A Review of the Automotive Starter Battery Market

Consolidation among the major battery manufacturers continues to shape the industry, particularly across Europe. Johann-Friedrich Dempwolff, Vice President Sales OEM/OES, VB Autobatterie GmbH, said: “If you look back to 1990, in Germany there were ten battery producers. In the UK there were at least five producers. In France there were several. In Italy there were over 50 very small businesses. All this has dramatically changed over the last decade. There are only a few strong players left in the marketplace.”

“The result of tighter environmental requirements, together with other legislation, has been the closure of plants in Western Europe and a move to the Far East, particularly China, and to super-plants,” said Lucas Batteries’ David Haseler. “We have recently announced the closure of our Birmingham [UK] factory for manufacturing, and will be sourcing from companies in Asia. Our advantage is that these are company-owned plants which will allow us to maintain a close control over supply and quality.”

Today, four valve regulated lead-acid battery manufacturers – of which three are American — have emerged as global players: Johnson Controls, Delphi, Exide Technologies and Yuasa. These four companies collectively control 55% of the global market. Johnson Controls recently signaled its intention to buy Delphi’s global battery business for $212.5 million. Yuasa recently merged with Japan Storage Battery, forming GS Yuasa Corp. Yuasa holds an 8% share of the global lead storage battery market while Japan Storage Battery has a 6% share. Their combined market share of 14% ranks them in third place in the global market.

The flood of imported batteries from tiger economies (such as China, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia) is also posing a serious challenge to European manufacturers. That has become a double-whammy for UK-based supplies since the imported units are especially cheap due to the weak dollar. Perversely, the Asian manufacturers have driven up the cost of lead because their consumption of it is so high. The price of oil is also driving up the cost of polypropylene used in battery manufacture.

Technically speaking, the starter battery market has moved completely to calcium-calcium technology, and the change is now almost complete in the aftermarket, certainly in developed countries. Lucas Batteries’ Haseler said: “There is a fast-growing requirement for sealed [non-accessible] lids with re-condensing features in the OE market, and this changeover should be complete within a few years. This reflects the trend in the automotive industry for sealed units. This is being closely followed by the requirement for a ‘tip-tilt’ lid, that is, a lid that will not allow any acid to leak out of the battery for at least 30 minutes with the battery at any angle. If the battery is still being charged, this time reduces to two minutes. This is achieved by a more complex labyrinth within the lid. This trend originated in Germany. The aftermarket can be expected to follow within a year or so. Sealed and tip-tilt lids are a consequence of the trend for greater safety and, in particular, the need to prevent access to the acid within a battery. Following the unsuccessful launch of VRLA [valve regulated lead acid batteries] into the OE market a few years ago, a second wave is now underway in companies such as Daimler-Chrysler and Citroen with its recently-launched C3. The Citroen C3 is the first of the long-heralded stop-start cars, in which the engine stops whenever the car stops, leaving the battery to power all the electrical system. This regime will increase the cycling loads on the battery, a demand which VRLA technology is best suited to supply. The drive for fewer emissions, associated with the need for better fuel-consumption, has clearly resulted in the move to stop-start cars.”

Austria’s Banner GmbH also sees the battery business moving toward calcium-calcium technology, particularly for cars introduced from 1997 onwards. Andreas Sperl, marketing manager, Banner GmbH, said: “These vehicles typically require modern charge management, higher voltage and maintenance free batteries. Given that batteries are often situated in places where the driver cannot see it — let alone the brand name — the battery must be maintenance free, leak proof and spill proof.”

On the aftermarket side of the automotive starter battery business, the market is shaped by a number of factors. “The car parc is increasing,” added Dempwolffe. “Secondly, the product is improving so the life of product is longer. And the electrical systems – which in the end determines the life of the battery – if you have a good charging system in your car, then this extends the life of the battery. On the other hand, the power consumption is increasing which is minimising the battery life. But overall, we see that the battery is extending its life and the market is stable and slightly shrinking. This of course is another challenge, especially for smaller producers. We believe that there is a slight shrinkage of the market year-on-year.”

According to industry sources, an OE vehicle starter battery for a passenger car should last around six years. That’s up from three or four years in the early 1990s. The useful life of a replacement battery may be a little less, perhaps around five years. For a commercial vehicle and motorcycle, manufacturers estimate the useful life of a battery is three or four years,

“Due to Europe’s congested cities, a lot of cars are now traveling in stop and go traffic, adding wear on the battery,” added Sperl. “The sheer heat generated under the bonnet due to an overcrowded engine compartment and the fact that batteries are located close to the engine block means that batteries are just as likely to fail in the summer as in the winter. Ten years ago, we would have said our battery aftermarket business was seasonal. But now it’s an all year round business.”

The power of brands appears to be diminishing in Europe, depending on the target segment. As far as the UK is concerned, that may relate to the fact that all the major battery manufacturers no longer produce batteries in Britain, as Paul Matarewicz, Managing Director for Varta Automotive Batterie, said: “It was driven by people who actually made batteries in the UK. As they have shut down and pulled out, they have been replaced by imported products from the Far East, South Africa and Brazil. These products are coming in without a label on and therefore you get a huge number of no-name products flooding the UK market. In the early 1990s, the UK aftermarket was about 60% branded. If you go back to the early 1980s, it was more like 90% branded. So there has been a very steady decline in brand.”

Another major issue facing the industry is the escalating price of lead. Given that lead typically accounts for 40% of manufacturing costs, any severe oscillations in price can have serious consequences. But producers can’t chop and change their strategy every time the price of lead moves. While some producers use an array of measures to manage price movements such as hedging and improving their spent battery collection rates, surely the key is to negotiate with the OEMs to assist them in absorbing the lead price increases. Put simply, battery producers can’t absorb a 100% increase in price in 40% of raw material costs. Otherwise, we shall see yet more consolidation ahead.

Although lead-acid starter batteries may not appear to have changed over the last four decades, internally, technological advances have been made to ensure that they keep up with modern demands. Lead-acid batteries will continue to start cars for many years, but the search continues for lighter, more efficient and cleaner replacements.