October 29, 2010

"Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights,
raising a person’s performance beyond its normal limitations." - Peter Drucker

8 Aspects To Look At When Deciding On A Forex Broker

Looking for a suitable Forex broker can be a difficult process. Whilst there is no shortage of brokers, choosing one from the many that are available can be a complex decision. Take a look at the following 8 points to ensure that the broker you choose is the one that is most suitable for your individual trading needs.

1. Make sure your potential broker has the currency pairs available that you would like to trade. You should confirm that the prospective broker offers, as a bare minimum, the seven major currencies: Australian Dollar (AUD), Canadian Dollar (CAD), Swiss Franc (CHF), Euro (EUR), British Pound (GBP), Japanese Yen (JPY), and US Dollar (USD). You may also want to confirm that your broker offers other currencies, too, in case you decide to try out advanced trading strategies in the future.

2. Look for a broker with low transaction costs. The costs of a transaction are calculated in pips. The lower the number of pips required per trade by the broker, the greater the profit that the trader makes. Comparing pip spreads of different brokers will reveal different transaction costs, for example, the bid/ask spread for EUR/USD is usually 3 pips, but if you can find 2 pips, that is better as you will receive a greater amount from the trade.

3. Find a Forex broker that has margin requirements that you are comfortable with. The lower the margin requirement (meaning the higher the leverage), the greater the potential for higher profits and losses. Low margin requirements may sound great and they are when your trades are good, but they can be detrimental when you are wrong. Be realistic about margins and remember that they swing both ways.

4. Try to find a broker with a favourable margin account interest rate. Most brokers pay interest on a traders margin account, which normally fluctuates with the prevailing national rates. If you decide to take an extended break from trading, the money in your margin account will accrue interest. Keep in mind that most brokers do not allow you to accrue interest unless your margin requirement is at least 2 percent (50:1).

5. Be sure to verify your brokers minimum trading size requirement. The size of one lot may differ from broker to broker, spanning 1,000, 10,000, and 100,000 units. A standard lot consists of 100,000 units, whilst a lot consisting of 10,000 units is called a mini and a lot consisting of 1,000 units is known as a micro lot. You may want a broker who offers micro or mini lots if you do not have a large amount of capital to invest initially.

6. Beware of rollover charges. The interest rate of the country of the base currency and the interest rates of the other country determine your rollover charges. The greater the interest rate differential between the two currencies in the currency pair, the greater the rollover charge will be. For instance, when trading GBP/USD, if the British pound has the greater interest differential with the US dollar, then the rollover charge for holding British pound positions would be the most expensive.

7. Make sure your prospective broker offers the proper trading hours. Most brokers align their hours of operation to coincide with the hours of operation of the global Forex market, which is 10.00pm GMT Sunday through to 9.00pm GMT Friday. If you find a broker that is not available 24 hours a day, 5.5 days a week, do not give them a second thought.

8. Finally, be sure to scrutinize a prospective brokers terms and conditions to be fully aware of all of the rules and potential fees that a specific broker may impose on a new trader. Finding the right broker is critical for becoming a successful Forex trader and it is not easy and requires some real work on your part. Do not pick the first one that looks good to you, as with time and research, you can find the perfect Forex broker for you.

A Guide To Email To SMS Messaging

Technology for business is forever moving on. Often this can prove to add more complexity to operations than might strictly seem necessary, but every so often it works very well. One such case is in the growing use of email to SMS messaging which can bring considerable savings in terms of efficiency and productivity. Here's how it works.

If your company makes use of a busy and mobile work force email to SMS messaging can be a quick and easy way to keep track of their movements and direct them to any locations you need. For example, you may be a firm with a substantial numbers of delivery staff constantly out in the field. In that case you can instantly notify them of any changes in their schedule. Alternatively you might be a company supplying sports coaches. They will spend the majority of their time out in the field and will not be readily contactable. With this simple system you can reach them at any time no matter where they are.

From an operational point of view email to SMS couldn't be easier to implement. You simply send an email as usual. The message arrives as a text on a phone and the reply will come directly to your inbox. It couldn't be more easy. In terms of special training all you need is a basic understanding of outlook and off you go.

The exact method of operation varies depending on different providers, but a typical one involves typing in the mobile number into the address bar followed by the email address of your service provider. For example 07715586163@textmonkeys.com.

The benefits of email to SMS are therefore clear and help promote the evolution of a more mobile work force. The application can be developed to extend far beyond existing methods. If an office wants to encourage flexiworking, it can help employees work from home. Alternatively, if they're out on the road, this is a simple way to stay in regular contact even when they have no ready access to email.

Sometimes technology can be overly complicated, but it can also be deceptively simple. Email to SMS is one example where the addition of a simple application can greatly improve productivity in a whole variety of different ways. By incorporating it into any business structure you can help make life just a tiny bit easier and as the advert states: every little helps.

How To Make Good Money With The Image Domination

communicate benefits to your target audience, than with a one in the row type of me too brand. One requirement, which the strong brand brings, is the requirement of brand building. It is natural, that the narrow brands are stronger than the general ones. That is the way how to make good money in the Internet.

1. You Have To Offer, What Your Target Group Wants.

When a newbie thinks how to make good money he starts to think products or how to build up the website. Unfortunately that is not the right end to start. A marketing planning should always start with the target group needs in the thoughts.

Another important thing in the planning are the competitors, because the venture must be able to stand out from the crowd. The ideal plan how to make good money online is to offer better products in the better way.

2. The Persuasion Power Is Important.

The power of persuasion is one of the most powerful strategies in the online marketing. You have to offer values or benefits by giving an unique information, which people wants to use in their own online marketing. And you have to do this in a way, that people feel that you are a specialist, a real expert, in your narrow area.

3.3. It Is Wise To Be Different.

The differentiation is one of the cornerstones in the brand marketing. Your offer must be different in a useful way. It is easy to be different, if no economical results are waited. It is a luck, that we internet marketers are private entrepreneurs, who run our small businesses. We just have to put our own personality into fire.

The more personal and unique your image is, the better you can stand out from the crowd and the better chances you have to make money at home. The key is not to offer unique products in this hyper competed circumstances, but to do it like an expert does. That is the way to build strong and long lasting brands.

4. Concentrate On The Content, Not On The Price Or Product Uniqueness.

I mean, that the software beats the hardware. Your own marketing style should be personal and unique to be able to build a strong brand image. That can be done through the content building, i.e. how your website or blog looks like and what benefits it offers and, of course, how it will do it.

When you will think simply, you will create a brand, that honestly can be unique. It is so simple, that you just have to be, what you are and to offer things on which you really believe, and everything will go all right! There is no secrets. The brand marketing is like your human relations. They work, if the other person can see, that you honestly want to be polite and helpful. It is the same story with the branded goods marketing online.

What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages With Internet Banking

simple terms Internet Banking means banking activity carried on between the clients and the banks online. Thus it is also known as online banking. This way of banking helps to insure you have a speedy and personal process of banking activities. This gives you the luxury of using banking services from your house, or even when you are traveling far away from your home.

Some banks provide you with a user name and password to enable you to log in and access your account. While others may allow you to set this information up yourself. You can leave instructions online for any transaction. These days, all important banks have this kind of online banking system. Despite its popularity this banking system is hazardous since there are security issues which can be disastrous to incautious people. If you do not log out or using the bank account in an insecure connection, someone can access your account and misuse it. As a precautionary measure you should keep on changing the password, as often as possible.

Though you have heard about this online banking system, you may be wary to use. You might have availed an online loan, but as far as committing money, you still feel comfortable to do it the way your grandfathers banked. Though this kind of banking is not going to bring a revolution in your monetary habits, it has obviated the time consuming processes of traditional ways so that you are able to handle financial issues efficiently.

By offering fully secured, functional systems, free of cost, banks are attracting people to use this mode of banking. Just not all are ready to give up the tellers window in the banks, or forget about the smiling bank manager. The virtual banks which exist only on the internet, can extend a great amount of services.

In fact the money saved on overhead costs is passed by some online banks as higher interest yields to your account, or lowering fees for services. Though these virtual banks can equal the traditional bankers in every respect, as far as ATMs are concerned they are at a disadvantage. Let us look at some advantages and disadvantages in this Banking.

The advantages include: convenience, available twenty four hours a day seven days a week, three hundred and sixty five days of the year. Even if you are away, and facing a fiscal problem, you can get it redressed through the internet from any part of the world. There is speed in doing online transactions, every branch works efficiently online, and is usually very effective. Some online banking services include, stock trading, quotes and rates alerting, portfolio management, and so on.

The disadvantages may include start up difficulties, because banks insists on signing forms, providing identity proof, and a power of attorney, in case you want your spouse to look into your account. At times navigating on these sites is difficult. The major disadvantage, is in trusting online banking, as you wonder whether the transaction has gone through, whether you have pushed the button once or twice. In order to eliminate these concerns, a print out of your application can be done and you can mail it in. Especially if internet security is also a concern you may have.

Internet Banking is here to stay, along with many other great online features we now have at our disposal.

Executive Management Jobs

Management or Executive management is composed of a set of employees who are at the highest level of organizational management. They are in charge of overseeing the management of a company or corporation. These types of managers achieve a specific level of executive powers which is bestowed upon them by the board of directors. Executive managers report directly to the board of directors and in effect run these corporations on their behalf.

Executive managers, normally, will have specific functions that they themselves may carry out or more often than not delegate these responsibilities to adept subordinates. Some of these functions include some of the following.

An executive manager should be able to plan appropriately. He or she will decide before hand what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and who should do it. This will carefully establish a path from where the organization currently is to where it wishes to be. The planning function necessitates the creation of goals and arranging them in logical order. Executive managers will be essentail to both short-term and long-term planning.

An executive manager should be have the ability to organize efficiently. Organizing is composed of establishing responsibilities to be carried out, grouping responsibilities into departments or divisions, and defining organizational relationships. The objective is to achieve a coordinated effort among all the elements in any organization i.e. coordinating. In organizing these elements the executive considers the delegation of authority and responsibility and the level of control given to supervisors.

An executive manager should be able to deduce the required staff for the organization. This means he or she should be capable of filling job positions with the right people at the appropriate time. This includes identifying staffing needs, writing job descriptions, recruiting and screening people to fill the specific positions.

An executive manager should be able to direct the human resources of a company. Directing, or perhaps more accurately, commanding, is leading the employees in a way that accomplishes the objectives of the organization. This necessitates proper handling and distribution of resources and providing a substantial support system. An executive manager must subsequently have extraordinary interpersonal skills and the ability to motivate his or her employees. One of the pertinent issues in directing is to discover the correct balance between the needs of the staff needs and the requirements necessary to make profits.

An executive manager must be able to control all elements within the corporation. Controlling is essentially the function that assesses quality in all areas with the chief objective of identifying possible or realistic deviations from the organization's plan. In carrying out this function the executive manager makes certain that the company produces high-quality performance and no less than satisfactory results while maintaining an environment that is conducive to productive. Controlling involves the management of information, measurement of performance, and implementation of corrective actions.

An executive manager is expected to attain a certain level of education and experience. In most instances a person will have to pass through several ranks within an organization before being thought of for executive power. In most cases a prospective executive manager will need a number of years of experience in an administrative role and a proven track record of success that can be ascertained by his or her performance in a related role. In addition, it is now expected that an executive manager should achieve at least a mastery level of education by obtaining an executive MBA.

Warren Buffett's View On Success And Happiness

Starting up your own business? Running your own business? In collaborating with hundred's of business owners I know that every one of them had a vision.

When you have that vision or entrepreneurial seizure, you dream of creating a business to help you to a life of greater success and happiness. But, most of us do not have a clear idea of what success and happiness truly is for us.

Warren Buffett, the famous investor, and according to most sources, the second richest man in the United States, was meeting with graduate business students from Rice University in his offices in Omaha.

The students wanted to know how he defined business success. He gave them an answer they didn't expect and that several students found life-changing. He stated that unconditional love was more valuable than any amount of wealth.

Each year he hosts sessions with college students that are closed to the media. The students from Rice were not only impressed with his wisdom but found him down to earth. He was warm. He was affable. He was himself. Part of business success is being able to express yourself and be yourself in the business you choose.

Too often I have observed small business owners whose business suffers greatly because they have lost their ability to relate to others as a human being. They relate to others as it pertains to business and not much more.

One of the students asked Mr. Buffett about the correlation between wealth and happiness and how he has kept his billions from weighing him down.

He told them that success is getting what you want. And, that happiness is wanting what you get.

He elaborated some more by telling them to just be happy with what you have, and don't let it get to you.

Fascinating! There is great depth in what he said. You are out there creating your own business. But are you successful in getting what you want? If the answer is yes, that is good. But, as we can see through Warren Buffett's eyes, success doesn't mean happiness. Happiness is, truly wanting what you get.

How often have you seen someone get what they say they want and they are still unhappy? I have seen that quite often. Mr. Buffett also offered one other piece of advice to the students. Surround yourself with people who love you, and to give love in return.

Yes, he gave some investment advice. But, the investment advice which had the greatest impact on the students had to do with others, love, success and happiness. Whether you are starting up your own business or running your own business take a moment to reflect on what success is for you and if you will be happy when you attain it.

After all, life isn't a practice session. If what you are doing isn't going to bring you the success you want or the happiness you desire then you should be doing something else. Just ask Warren Buffett.

How To Trade Currencies and Make Money Out Of It

Trading currencies or foreign exchange trading (also known as FX or forex) is one thing that you can do at the comforts of your own home and make good profit out of it. Unlike stock trading, the currency market does not have a physical market where you go and trade your currencies, and with the convenience of the internet, it can be a good homebased moneymaking opportunity.

If you are interested in this venture, the first question of how to trade currencies may pop up in your mind. The main idea on making profit in foreign exchange trading is to make money out of the differences in the values of the different currencies and you can do it by basically buying currencies when the currency value is low and selling them when the value goes up. You will then profit from the difference of the buying price and the selling price.

Just imagine traveling outside the country and exchanging your dollars with another currency. For illustration, if you exchanged your 100 dollars to 130 Euros today and in a matter of days, you exchange the same amount of 130 Euros into dollars and you get 120 dollars because of a fluctuation in the currency value, you had just made a 10-dollar gain on that latter exchange.

In foreign exchange, you have to take advantage of these differences. How little the difference may be, it can be a huge gain if you invest a good amount as well. In the forex market, investors buy currencies when the value is low and sell them again when the value is high. This is how to trade currencies and make profit out of it.

Because the currency values of the world are constantly changing, the forex market is also a very volatile one, which means you can get drastic price movements every now and then. This will either mean profit or loss in your part and if you want to make more profits than losses, it is important to be able to determine and predict a possible rise or fall of the price of the currency you are trading or currencies that you want to buy now and sell later. You can do this by conducting technical and fundamental analyses on the currency as well as the socio-political situation of the countries involved. By considering the factors that affect the currency values, you will most likely determine its trend and possible fluctuations.

You can do part of these analyses with the help of some trading tools, software or forex robot that will provide you information from different data you have inputted. This is also an easy way to generate price trends and charts that will help you decide when to buy and when to sell.

In trading online, you will need to get an online broker who will provide you with the trading platform, and you can then start with your trading. Keep in mind too that in forex, it is not just about learning how to trade currencies, but it is also about your attitude, your self-control and discipline in dealing with the risks and uncertainties that come along with this venture.

Understanding 4 Of The Most Basic Yet Necessary Forex Trading Phrases

people believe that trading on the foreign exchange market is either really easy or really complicated. Whilst it tends to lean towards the latter in general, it can be made a lot clearer by fully researching, learning and experiencing how Forex trading works.

If you are new to Forex, it is likely that a lot of the terminology will seem very confusing. These four phrases are some of the most used and understanding these first and foremost should give you a good, basic introduction into the market before starting to learn and understand it in greater detail.

1. Broker. A Forex broker is someone who basically carries out your trading for you. They act as the middle man between the end user and the foreign exchange market and remove all of the complicated processes that most individual Forex traders would not know existed.

Of course, brokers do not work for free and whilst they charge a fee, it is not often in the form of a monthly or annual one, but as part of any trades that you make. This means that you can effectively incorporate this into your statistics and planning, meaning that there are no unwanted or unexpected fees coming out of what you thought was pure profit.

2. Platform. Sometimes called software or programs, a Forex platform is what displays all of the live foreign exchange data. If the broker was the connection between the end user and the market, the platform is the connection between the end user and the broker.

The most popular platform currently is Meta Trader 4 and it is used by a substantial amount of brokers. Not the only platform available to utilize, Meta Trader 4 is considered by many to be the best as it offers a variety of different options, from easy customization to a simple and straightforward user interface.

3. Currency Pairs. These are what traders are actually trading. Rather than simply buying or selling one type of currency, you actually trade in pairs. According to the Bank for International Settlements, there are considered to be 7 popular currencies, with the main currency pairs that are traded being a combination of these 7. For example, USD/EUR, the trading of the United States Dollar and the Euro, is one of the most popular currency pairs, with the USD alone accounting for almost an 87 percent daily share of the market in April 2007, according again to the Bank for International Settlements.

4. Currency Traders. Although it may not seem like it, personal traders on the foreign exchange market actually only make up a relatively small percentage of all of those involved and whilst they are still considered to be currency traders, it is the much larger companies - some of whom you may not be aware traded Forex - that are the main players.

For example, a Euromoney FX survey in May 2009 found that Deutsche Bank was the most active of all currency traders, with a market share of 20.96 percent. Compared to BNP Paribas in tenth place, who had a somewhat mere 2.26 percent in comparison, the extent of Deutsche Bank's dominance in the market is huge and shows just how small of a market share individual traders have.

Knowledge Is Power When Trading For A Living

amount of assets needed to enter the trading business is $100, 000. For individuals with assets less than that amount, the profits from year to year will have to be sizable enough to support you. Starting a business with few assets may tempt you to take high risks that will be a big mistake. Look at the annual cost of running your business, if you profits are not more than 20 percent or 20 percent cannot be lived off of, then hold off until you increase your assets. It is not going to be cheap trading for a living.

Showing a dependable return in conjunction with outstanding money management skills makes it possible for you to trade small and still land a position with a trading firm. Providing them proof of your skills will help them to decide to loan you the capital that you need to get started. No matter how much you love the market, doors will close in your because nothing replaces working knowledge and skills.

Gain knowledge from trading in unreliable market environment and market phases prior to quitting your job. Would you want an individual in charge of trades for your account, which has little knowledge of the market? No, you would not want that. Create encouraging portfolio of earnings and risk management prior to approaching this as a full-time job. During the practice, you can learn from your mistakes.

Expect to struggle through the first year of being in business. A reasonable amount of your profits will go towards software, equipment and commission. Give yourself room to breathe during this time by having enough saved up to support you for that year if not longer. If you are married, the income from your spouse will come in handy. These are important in order to alleviate stress and allow you to give your business the full attention needed instead of being distracted by bills.

Now that you are an entrepreneur, the rules that pertain to businesses will pertain to yours. Be familiar with the market. Create a rock-solid strategy. Maintain a positive mindset and work ethic and be resourceful to achieve your objective.

When starting your own business there are tips for you to remember.

Take on classmates, friends or family to start up your business. This is a team sport. The superiority of your team and bond with teammates will play a big role in your businesses success. Because of connections and funding, at some point, a venture capitalist may go in with you. Be sure to network with others to develop new ideas, share information and for support. Most of this is provided by professional firms in the form of experienced traders and risk managers. The support of your spouse will be needed.

Long working hours is part of the business. Motivation and love of the market will drive you to put these hours in and get your product out there. You will fail if you try to set work hours. In this business, your job is never finished.

Falling short on funding and hitting a wall are all part of business. Be tough and you will make it through like others have.

Remaining strong while dealing with adversity, being hard-working, passionate, a visionary and collaborative are required traits to be a successful entrepreneur.

When you think you are ready to move to the next level of venture capitalist, ask yourself some questions first. Would you provide funding to you? Can you develop a creative strategy in the market and make it happen regardless of the obstacles you may encounter? Are you simply trying to leave the 9 to 5 or do you really have the traits listed above?

Finding a Repository of Business Knowledge

businessman in the world looks for, and out of all those that exist, one of them is finding a repository for various business knowledge. There are sites that cater to trading only, while some serve Internet marketers exclusively, but are there resources that combine several disciplines for the multitasking businessman?

Of course there are, and they are easily accessible if you know how. But out of all the sites that seem helpful, which among them are truly legitimate? Well, though I can't answer that, surely you can. How can you know? There are ways on how to find the best resource for business matters, and most of them are rooted out of common sense. Let me give you a few pointers on how to discover the best business resource.

First off, do a search. A simple search using Google or Yahoo should do the trick. And once you have access to several of these sites, try to browse around them one by one. The first thing you should take note is the ease of use. If during the course of your browsing you get bored, move on to the next. Something that bores you shouldn't last longer than a couple of minutes. When you find a site that seems okay, take a look at the content. Make sure that they address the issues that you want addressed and they offer knowledge that you'd otherwise not know about. Take for example, if you are a trader, you find comprehensive explanations on how trading risk management is done, or how trading money management should be accomplished. If you are an Internet marketer, does that same site offer tips and tricks about Internet marketing for you? Like how to build a site in the first place, and basically how to make a profit using Internet marketing as your medium? Or maybe how to do SEO campaigns on your site, or as a business in and of itself?

Those are just two examples of course, but the bottom line is, as you look closer at whatever site you choose, you get to learn various stuff about various disciplines in marketing. Much like a smorgasbord of business knowledge, that are not only useful, but effective as well.

So to recap, what you should do is find a good site that is easily navigated, does not make you bored, offer you knowledge about the business you want and the business you might get into, and give proof of the success of their word. A handful I know, but well worth the effort...

Knowledge Management Strategy: Beyond Change Management

Knowledge Management (KM) is a relatively young concept, having been introduced less than 30 years ago. For many business management practitioners, KM is evolving into a proven strategy for their organizational success. But there are still many leaders out there that are struggling to understand the power of KM.

In order to clarify this ongoing struggle, it's important to define what KM means in today's business setting. An extremely important question is: What is Knowledge Management and how can it help my organization?

There are many definitions for knowledge management, including Wikipedia's that states KM comprises of a range of practices used in an organization to identify, create, represent, distribute and enable adoption of insights and experiences. I'm partial to a definition I found in a thesis paper written by Dr. Michael Kull that simply defines KM as a business model for which companies can move from an industrial age of running a business into the information age. I don't know which one of Dr Kull's interviewees stated this definition, but for me, it sums up my feelings on how KM is changing the way businesses ought to be run today and into the future.

KM is a relatively new model and has only been around since the mid 1980s. There have been may pioneers who have written and spoken about KM, and Peter Drucker,a business management expert and author, has been on of the most influential and prolific thinkers about the KM movement.

The pioneers describe KM as having three phases from its inception. The approximate phase dates reflect the first phase occurring from 1985 to 1994. This phase was centered on collaboration and information sharing. The second phase, from 1994 to 2002, centered on information management and software advancements. The third phase, from 2002 to the present, centers knowledge innovation and the management of intellectual capital and intellectual assets as the primary business strategy.

Phase three will continue to impact how leaders conduct business processes such as customer management, marketing management, information management and performance management. For example, with the advancement of Web 2.0 technologies, workers are able to communicate and share in multiple formats like the popular social media sites or in company blogs, wikis or private web portals known as intranets.

The KM movement is shifting from the old school process of team meetings and water cooler discussions to the online world of instant messaging, emails, twitter (a micro blogging platform), Facebook and online virtual meetings. It is a larger model than just implementing change management initiatives seen during the total quality movement and six sigma days.

As workers and business processes continue to evolve with these technology enablers,leaders are being challenged to re-tool how they lead knowledge workers. The old management process of building organization charts in a hierarchy fashion is being enveloped by empowered workers who don't want to be controlled, but rather allowed to be innovative and creative to build customer value.

The 20th century business leadership curriculum is in conflict with how 21st century workers expect to be lead. KM is at the heart of this leadership evolution being witnessed today. KM as a management strategy is definitely gaining traction and is here to stay...

October 23, 2010

Taking the lead

Peter Grauer, the Chairman and CEO of Bloomberg, is a man with a mantra and he repeats it every chance he gets: “We have an aspiration at Bloomberg to become the most influential news organisation in the world.” A glance at the statistics behind the media empire started in 1981 by the eponymous Michael Bloomberg (who, on becoming the 108th Mayor of the City of New York on January 1, 2002, left the running of his company to long-time friend and associate Grauer), shows that the global media company is nearly at the goal line: 287,000 subscribers in 140 countries, accessing between 5,000 & 7,000 news stories a day, as well as data and analytics created by 11,519 employees globally (as of April, 2010). Grauer estimates the company’s proprietary terminal business alone generated revenue in excess of $5.5 billion last year, with a compound growth rate greater than 12 per cent per annum.

Despite this terminal-based revenue bulwark, the economic lurch that started in 2007 did not leave Bloomberg unscathed. After all, their main customers are the big investment banks for whom market-related information is valued by the nanosecond, and priced accordingly. “The trough for us occurred in July of 2009. We were down just over 11,000 subscribers -- roughly 3.4 per cent,” Grauer says. (Lehman Brothers alone is said to have had 3,500 terminals.) But the business seems to have merely touched bottom before heading back up. “We had positive terminal growth beginning in August of last year and have had positive terminal growth ever since,” he avers. That’s as opposed to sales growth which, he says, can only be tallied one month after installation: it takes some time for a terminal to be installed and for Bloomberg to start getting paid.

While the number of Bloomberg terminals on customer desks declined during the downturn, the revenue numbers held because Bloomberg did not slash prices. “We finished 2009, although down 2.4 per cent in units; because of our ‘pricing discipline’ we were actually up 2.5 per cent in revenue (year-on-year) … As of the second quarter of this year, we will exceed our record performance, which occurred at the end of 2008,” Grauer told INSEAD Knowledge during a recent visit to the school’s Europe campus in Fontainebleau.

Grauer took advantage of the downturn to bring Bloomberg closer to its stated global goal of world news domination. Instead of cutting back, he beefed up the workforce. “We added almost a thousand people in 2009; we’ve added in excess of 600 people this year. We continue to innovate: we introduced over 2,000 new functions on our terminals last year, and we’ve actually picked up market share,” he claims.

This year, they also picked up BusinessWeek from McGraw-Hill at what Grauer calls an “attractive price,” (reported to be some five million dollars in cash) pointing out that “in negotiations the buyer and the seller have to come to a meeting of the minds to get the transaction done … we have made a long-term commitment to what is now called Bloomberg BusinessWeek -- putting our name on it for us is a major brand statement -- and we are fortunate enough in that we have quite extensive financial resources to really make this thing work.”

The BusinessWeek acquisition -- as well as a parallel purchase of renewable energy/carbon-focused and London-based “New Energy Finance” -- is a bit out of character for Bloomberg, which has grown organically since its inception. But these two deals, with the stroke of a pen, simultaneously broadened Bloomberg’s reach to a new news audience and deepened its offerings to the hard-core financial markets.

With 900,000-plus subscribers and some 4.1 million readers, ‘BusinessWeek opened a new market for us,” Grauer explains. “Business people outside of financial services, government leaders outside of the financial side of government … we felt this would be a natural progression for us in our aspiration to become the most influential source of news for the business and financial community. And we hope we’ll be able to sell a lot of the other Bloomberg products to those consumers as well.”

As for New Energy Finance and its renewable energy-carbon focus, “we believe the carbon markets today are where the fixed-income markets were in the 1980s, and, from a platform point of view, having that kind of information (news data, analytics) on the Bloomberg professional services terminal is a real jump-start for us to become – we hope – the dominant provider of information to that space,” he states.

Providing that means turning huge amounts of data into useful information for a variety of audiences through the application of analytics and news is what Grauer calls one of the company’s core strengths. It requires a certain kind of workforce: journalists who are demonic in their pursuit of news and information, terrified of not being first.

“I use the phrase frequently to my colleagues that the people who come to work every day don’t think they’re as good as they are,” says Grauer. “We operate in what I call an environment of ‘constructive paranoia’ and I hope we haven’t changed that … it’s been one of the hallmarks of Bloomberg since the beginning.” This paranoia is rewarded with pay considered robust for the industry, even during the downturn. “Our incentive compensation programme was in 2009 … Well, people would have suffered. But we made that up to them last year and basically filled the gap based on expected compensation levels at the end of 2008,” claims Grauer.

Bloomberg itself is catching up to those levels on the customer and revenue side. “We were lucky to have about 20 markets around the world that grew during this (downturn) period,” says Grauer. “Places like Israel, Brazil, China, Russia, some of the Eastern European countries; we had very good results in Scandinavia, for example, and our business in France was up four per cent last year,” he adds.

Their customer base is changing to reflect the new reality of public-private partnerships in the capitalist business world. “We are seeing a great deal of interest among government agencies, central bankers, regulators, ministries of finance – who obviously see the need for real-time financial information and subscribe to our product as a result of that,” Grauer claims.

But while Bloomberg’s business may be back to booming, the outlook he holds for the world economy is not. “I think it’s going to be longer than any one of us anticipates,” he says, speaking of the timing for the long-awaited recovery. “I think it’s going to take the US … a while to get out of this. The US consumer continues to be wounded; the high unemployment rate is not being changed materially. I think overall we’re in for a period of slow growth – in the US between 1.75 and 2.25 per cent ... I think we are back to a period where people aren’t going to expand unless they feel they have the financial flexibility to do it.”

For Bloomberg, financial flexibility is something that comes at the corporate level from being privately-held, basically by Michael Bloomberg himself. “I don’t know if we would have taken the same decisions for 2009 which we did in late 2008, our planning process, and the same thing in 2009 for 2010 if we were a public company” opines Grauer. “We tend to talk about things in decades as opposed to one-, three-, or five-year increments; we are able to invest in things that won’t begin to pay out for three, five, or seven years. My feeling is that we will always be a private company, certainly as long as I’m lucky enough to run the firm.”

With Michael Bloomberg in his third term as Mayor of New York and considered to have even higher political aspirations, this could be a long time.

Communicating your way to the top

Good communication skills outrank other core business competencies as the number one skill for corporate recruiters looking to hire MBA graduates. That rather surprising conclusion comes not from communications specialists, but from an organisation that has all the relevant data at its fingertips, The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), which runs GMAT testing for MBA applicants.

Every year GMAC carries out the Corporate Recruiters Survey in which the companies, which hire from INSEAD and other leading business schools, state what they are looking for in MBA hires. The survey is published in May and for 2009 communication skills are in pole position.

It is interesting to note that this is no one-off. Communication skills have been consistently ranked in the top three in the last few years and this is not the first year they have been the number one requirement.

The 2009 results came as a pleasant surprise to Steve Knight , a business communications specialist and adjunct professor at INSEAD.

“I was holding my breath when the survey came out. If I was a betting man, which I’m not, I probably would have put my money on (the ranking of communication skills) going down this year because of the economic crisis … It’s changed phenomenally in the last five to six years – off the radar to number one,” says Knight who teaches an MBA course elective called ‘The art of communication’.

The former BBC TV and Discovery Channel broadcaster points out though that good communication skills -- while crucial -- are not the end game.

“You absolutely have to have style and substance, but I think what we’re looking at now is, if you’ve got the double whammy of style, substance and content, and you can deliver it, then you’ve got the winning ticket.”

“You only have to look right now in politics at (US President) Obama and you see that he’s got the style, the content behind him, he’s got the substance; but he has also got this amazing ability to communicate and be all-encompassing and all-inclusive as the speech he recently delivered in Cairo shows.”

On why communication is held in such high regard by recruiters, Knight says it’s because people today expect to be communicated with on a regular basis and, as communication has been greatly facilitated by technology, expectations are higher.

He adds that communication cuts across all levels. “We don’t expect our leaders to be sitting in ivory towers anymore looking over us and we just obey every single word – and that’s changing right across the world. We question, we put (them) on the spot, we want to know why people are doing something, why they’re telling us to do this.”

“Employees are questioning CEOs etc, and quite rightly. So everyone has to be more open and honest and transparent, and be able to communicate with confidence, style and passion to inspire people; because if they don’t, they’re not going to be up there very long.”

One of the tools of communicating is the ever-popular presentation. However, as commonplace as they may be, Knight says few have perfected the art of delivering a memorable and effective presentation.

He has a few pointers to offer: first, assess the audience, preferably weeks ahead of the event. Find out who your audience is and what they will be expecting from you. Then you can fine-tune your presentation to make sure you hit the right notes.

“The biggest mistake is that people often don’t assess their audience. They just go around the country or the continent and deliver the same presentation to different udiences: engineers, call-centre staff, executive directors.”

Knight attributes good stage presence as another clincher to an effective presentation. This encompasses knowing exactly how to command attention from the audience through body language, eye contact, and moving around the stage instead of standing behind the lectern.

One thing he cautions to avoid is what he calls ‘death by PowerPoint’, basically using a standardised deck of slides, irrespective of context and audience.

“It’s the dog walking you, rather than you walking the dog. Your story has got to come first, then you produce your slides to support your story, not the other way round. The slides need to be clear and concise – they’ve got to be short and simple, and they’ve got to be visually interesting and entertaining.”