Deciding to Invest in a Hedge Fund

Business Accounting AdvisorsPerhaps you’ve got a rather large sum of money you’re seeking to invest. You’ve got many options available, but one favored by many high-level investors are hedge funds. Though hedge funds can provide a fantastic return, they aren’t easy to manage or even understand. The experience and talent of a great CPA firm or investor will be needed if you want to make the most of your hedge fund. This is far from a “set it and forget it” investment, and will require constant upkeep and management. In order to find success with hedge funds, you’ll need someone who has an expert understanding of investing, accounting, and financial markets. The term comes from the act of ‘hedging,’ a strategy with the goal of turning a profit regardless of the condition of the economic environment.

Hedge funds are dynamic and provide investors with many options when it comes to investment opportunities. Hedge funds however, don’t require the same level of transparency and reporting as mutual funds and other similar investments. The fund manager will be responsible for a yearly audit, but nothing really beyond that. While mutual funds require routine and detailed financial reporting, the audit is the only thing you’ll see regarding your hedge fund.

Now that you know the complexity of a hedge fund, you likely realize that the guidance of a talented accountant or investor is definitely required. Even still, it’s good to know a bit about hedging yourself, as it will make the yearly audit much easier to understand and evaluate. Hedge funds rely on two different types of investment positions, ‘long’ and ‘short.’ The most basic of the two is a ‘long position,’ which functions much like a normal investment. It simply involves investing in a stock that the investor believes is undervalued and waiting for it to increase. ‘Short positions’ are where things begin to get complicated however. This is what requires hedge fund managers to have a deep knowledge borrowing and repaying, as well as buying, selling, and then re-buying. It seems simple on the surface, but when it comes to stocks and securities it gets complex quickly. The hedge fund manager will use his or her expertise while investing in stocks that they anticipate dropping in value. It seems counter intuitive, and this is why it requires an expert’s touch. There are many CPA firms with people ready for just the task!

Ultimately a hedge fund seeks to provide an “absolute return.” That is, a return regardless of how the market looks at the time of the investment. It’s difficult for some people to understand how a profit can be made when the market is trending down, but it’s definitely possible. Experienced investors have a track record of success, but an investor still assumes a risk when it comes to a hedge fund. This risk will be much greater is one who is not experienced in hedge funds attempts to investor like a professional. The more experienced and knowledgeable about hedge funds the investor is, the greater the chance for success. It may seem simple as first, and you may readily understand that a ‘long position’ is used when an investor is confident the value of the stock will increase while a ‘short position’ is used when it’s strongly suspected the value will decrease, but if you’re not an expert you’ll need help.

To understand a little bit more about hedge funds, let’s look at one of the more common strategies.

Reviewing the 130-30 Hedge Fund Investment Strategy:

  1. First $100 is invested in a stock group believed to be undervalued. (Stocks that are worth more than their price)
  2. $30 of the worst-performing of these stocks is used as collateral on a $30 loan of stock believe to overvalued. (Worth LESS than its price)
  3. The $30 worth of loaned stock is sold right away, while the investor anticipates a price drop.
  4. If the drop occurs as planned, let’s say from $30 to $10, it is re-purchased for the lower price.
  5. The broker will then return the stock he or she has just purchased for $10, getting their $30 of collateral back, making a profit of $20.
  6. The $20 is re-invested into the best performing stocks.

Anyone considering investing in a hedge fund should learn as much as they can about them first. It’s a wise choice to speak with an experienced accountant, investors, or provider of any other financial services before deciding to invest in a hedge fund. Don’t forget that the interest is a valuable tool as well, with a plethora of information regarding hedge funds.

In years past, only big money investors with tons of excess cash were investing in hedge funds. They weren’t really accessible or available to “regular people.” This isn’t the case any more however, the economy has shifted and hedge funds are much more accessible than they once were. Remember however that very little information is required to be given to the investor regarding hedge funds, because they are private investments. This is different from mutual funds and other more common investments. These typically require quite a bit of information to be released about them, with frequent and detailed financial reports.

Since hedge funds typically only get one hedge fund audit per year, it’s extremely important. The SEC (Securities Exchange Commission) requires and oversees the audits. These audits are beneficial in order to ensure that they fund is being managed properly, and that financial statements are clear and accurate.

Before you leap into a hedge fund, be sure to examine all the implications and risks. When handled properly, they can be a fantastic investment opportunity.


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How Product Development Companies Help You

When you offer something, whether it be a product or a service, to the public, it’s important that you properly develop whatever it is you’re offering.  This doesn’t just mean the actual concept and design (although, obviously, making sure that you properly design your product is extremely important), but it also includes managing the image and the branding of the product or service.  And that shouldn’t end at the launch date, it should continue.

However, for a lot of small businesses, especially smaller ones, such things are well outside the realm of their budget, and outside their realm of expertise.  Nevermind all the work and expense that goes into the analysis of a product and how it will be received, and getting a big enough sample size for those analyses for it to hold some sort of validity (you can’t take a test sample of forty people in your local area and pretend that it’s something that can be extrapolated to the rest of the nation.  It’s just not realistic), and then all the market testing.  Then you have to consider that there are a lot of steps to bringing a new product (or service) to market.

The first step, if a name had to be applied to it, is inception (no, not the movie.  That movie was awful), the origination of the idea.  For outside product development companies, this is when they’re going to be working hard to figure out the ins and outs of your business, ensuring that they know what you do and how you do it, and working with you to figure out deadlines for various portions of the product development process.  If you’ve hired a product development company to help you with marketing, this is around the time they start creating a website and inventing a digital footprint out in the vast internet for your company.

finding a product development companyThe second step is commonly referred to as ‘creation’.  In this step, your product development company is going to be deciding on an artistic direction for your product while you, hopefully, should be in the process of solidifying the design of your product (or service) and the way it’ll be offered to the clients.  You’ll also be beginning to craft the brand that you’ll be presenting to them once the product is properly launched.

Thirdly, we come to the construction step.  While you’re hard at work, slowly manufacturing your first run of the product you’re going to be offering, or constructing the needed framework in order to be able to offer the service you’ll be offering to the masses, the professional product development company you’ve hired will be busy crafting your marketing approaches, website, and any other advertising that you’ll be doing pre-launch.   Hard deadlines will be set, and will be met, especially if you’ve hired a company you can trust to do what you’re paying them to do.

Fourth, we come to execution, although it’s sometimes known as launch.  Professional product development companies live for this day, the day that the product launches and their marketing plans show their effectiveness (or, if you hired the wrong company, their lack thereof).  Another important portion of this step is making sure, after the product launch and the website launch, that you sit down, both internally and with your product development firm, and you look at what went well and what didn’t, and resolve any issues so the next product launch goes much more smoothly (or, if things went terribly, you may want to start shopping for a better company to work for, and my condolences to you if you’ve had this experience).

Now, at this point, a lot of people stop paying attention, move on to new projects and never look back, and that’s to their own detriment, because there is an important fifth stage.  That stage is evolution, and not only does it mean that the product itself needs to evolve with the times and with new technologies that may come out, but the support of that product must evolve as well.  You need to be up to date with the way that you’re advertising the product, as well as making sure that your website reflects the product as it currently exists.  This is time-consuming, and it isn’t a short-term project; if you think about it, as long as your product exists, it’ll have an image and a brand that will need to be professionally maintained.

So, if you’re new to the world of business, look for a professional product development company you trust, and hire them to help you maintain the marketing image of your products.  You’ll be glad you did when it pays off in increased sales.



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Learning About Web Design

Almost half of internet users claim that a website’s design is the number one factor in determining a business’ credibility. In other words, if you have a poorly designed website, many people are going to think poorly of your business. You may be the most expert firm in your field, but a poor website design will hold you back. Well-designed sites on the other hand, have the opposite effect. You can earn user’s trust and confidence by dedicating the time and investment towards a great website.

 Quality website development and design cannot be achieved overnight. You may quickly find that you do not have the time or experience necessary to build a successful website on your own. Fortunately, there are many professional development agencies willing and able to lend a hand. Even if you are hiring one of these firms, it’s wise to learn a bit about design and development yourself. It will help you give the agency you are working with a clear picture of what you expect. Additionally, having this knowledge can help you oversee the process.

experienced website development companyLet’s take a look at a few things to remember when it comes to design, as well as a few things to avoid:

Design Tips and Suggestions

  • Ensure that your website is responsive. It’s no longer necessary to design separate website for mobile and desktop devices, so long as responsive website design is employed. We are seeing more people shift to surfing the internet on mobile devices exclusively. At the same time, these mobile devices vary widely from size to layout. It’s imperative that your website displays properly no matter what. A responsive website works and displays properly on any device, regardless of screen size. If a user on a particular device can’t access your site (or any part of it) chances are they’ll leave with no intention of returning.
  • Cut down on clutter. A great way to increase your bounce rate, one metric you definitely want to keep low, is to have a website that reminds users of the GeoCities age web design. Obnoxious flash banners, pop up ads, and other intrusive design features need to be avoided at all costs. Expert web designers favor a simple, clean, and straightforward approach. When users arrive at well-designed websites, they want to stay. The longer you can keep users at your company’s website, the better off you’ll be. High bounce rates hurt your search engine ranking and ultimately make your website less visible. Keep it simple.
  • Focus on SEO. Search engine optimization is quite important to the success of your company’s website. The first result in a google search gets nearly 33% of the traffic, while the 10th result doesn’t even get 3%. Imagine what percentage of overall traffic a site that comes back on the 4th or 5th results PAGE. Pretty darn close to zero. An aggressive yet thoughtful SEO campaign can have a fantastic impact on your site’s search ranking. High organic search rankings can drive traffic much more than pay-per-click ends, giving companies a great ROI on SEO investments.
  • Keep content flowing. Rotating fresh content onto your website frequently is a necessity. Fortunately many design firms will handle content management on a retainer and keep things fresh for you. Of course you’ll want to check in on things and make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. Content needs to be high quality and relevant to your industry in order to draw users in. Websites that provide useful content for visitors at no cost often prove invaluable to users.

Things to Avoid

  • An explosive color scheme. Vibrant colors can often be abrasive and cause users to hit the back button almost right away. As we said earlier, simplicity is key. Ensure that the design team you’ve hired is experienced in choosing professional and elegant color schemes. Try and select colors that fit in well with your theme too. It’s easy to get carried away with color, but a good designer should be able to keep you grounded.
  • The use of stock images. Your company website needs to look and feel professional. Stock images do the opposite. They give websites a cheap and generic feel that pushes users away. Instead, have your designers make good use of professional photography. Original, high-quality photos can have an excellent impact on how your site is perceived. It may cost a bit more than stock images, but it’s well worth it.
  •  Failing to stay on top of the website. Too often, a firm or company will invest heavily on design and development but neglect upkeep and maintenance. Remember, content is king, and it needs to be kept fresh. There are also bound to be minor issues that pop up with your website that will need to be addressed. A plan for maintenance and content upkeep can easily address both of these issues. Reliable responsive website designers will generally offer these services at a reasonable rate after they complete your website launch.

Whether you’re just getting starting or you’re looking to revamp your company’s image, a well-designed website is a great place to begin. It will often be potential customers and clients first interaction with your firm, and by investing wisely you can ensure it’s not their last.

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Public Relations And You

When a lot of people hear the words ‘public relations’ it conjures a very particular picture to the mind.  For most people, myself included (and I know better, but hey, exposure is what exposure is and all that), it conjures an image of a celebrity who has done something wrong in the public eye, and is now having to apologize for it.  Maybe someone who, say, made disparaging comments about people of a certain race, or was caught being abusive to a crew member during the filming of a movie or show, or maybe someone who got caught being cruel on stage to the fans.  It also, to me, brings to mind the idea of someone saying that they’re going to rehab, but I blame punk music for that.

Of course, that isn’t all that public relations is about.  It isn’t necessarily something that is only for an individual, or even just for a person, but can be for products and corporate entities that make them as well.

Public relations, you see, isn’t just about protecting a person, but about protecting an image.  To be fair, it isn’t even so much about protecting an image, but rather, about projecting a positive image to the world using the most current methods and media.

For a lot of groups, that means that they’ll be using media advertisements, and any public relations firm that is worth doing business with will be well-versed in buying ad space.  This is a good thing, because ad space can be very expensive for a small business, especially a small business that hasn’t even ordered any before.  Ad space is available in a multitude of forms.  You can invest in older media, buying ad space in the oldest of media, the magazines and newspapers of our day, but in this day and age, you’re going to find that fewer and fewer people are reading magazines or newspapers, thus the reason that so many of them are going under.  There’s also radio and television, which are great ways to get the word out, but there’s always the question of not only expense involved with not just buying the ad space, but also with producing the actual advertisement and making it a quality ad, not something that people are going to see or hear and end up mocking for weeks to come.

Another great thing about hiring a pr agency is that they buy a lot of advertising space.  Far more ad space, in fact, then you’ll find yourself ordering for your own company.  Why is this important or relevant?  Well, the pr agency that you hire will be able to buy ad space at a discounted rate, because they’re buying more of it, and because they have leverage due to this.  If you’re coming to buy ad space and you’re only buying a few slots here and there at cheap prices, you’re not business that they can’t live without, and because of this, you have no leverage when it comes to bargaining for the price of the ad space.  However, your pr agency will be buying in bulk, and will be buying in bulk regularly, meaning that if they say something like ‘No, that price is no good, but that’s fine if you can’t do any better, I’ll take my business elsewhere’, they’re likely to actually listen, and probably even capitulate a bit on the price.

public relations companyA public relations firm can also help you to manage your online presence, which, as anyone can tell you who was born since the internet first came into wide use, having representation on the internet is important.  It’s not enough, though, to just have a website, although this is a very important step for any modern business.  You also need to have some presence on the major social media networks.

This internet presence serves to do a few things for your business.  The most important thing it does, though, is gives your customers a place to come and feel like they’re connected to the business and what’s going on with your various products, as well as giving your small company a place to advertise your product, rent free (or almost rent free) to people while also providing them a place to come and investigate what you’re selling for themselves.

So, if you need help managing the image of your small business, consider hiring yourself the help of a public relations agency.  You’ll be happy to have the help that you need with managing your image when your business is booming because of it.

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What A Product Development Firm Can Do For You

If you run a small business, you’re sure to be well aware that you need to spend time and money in order to grow your business and expand.  You must always be moving in one direction or another, whether this means expanding your premises, expanding your staff, or expanding your product lines.

Product lines are essential for a business that does anything in fabrication.  They’re so essential, in fact, that many stores now offer their own product lines in competition with the others that they sell in the store, which is a truly interesting development, as they’ve stayed out of that kind of business, for the most part, in the past.

understanding the process of product developmentHowever, for your small business, coming out with new products can be a life or death situation.  The process of product development is a very daunting one, and one that costs a lot.  I don’t just mean that it costs a lot to come up with a new product, speaking of money, but it costs a lot in terms of man hours, hours that are being spent working on the new product to the detriment of other things that may need doing as well.  Then there’s the fact that you’re pumping a lot of money into the product development, and you can see how daunting a task the whole thing can be.

The process of product development can destroy a company without proper planning and a proper understanding of what needs doing.  A company needs to not only be able to afford the money they’re going to be spending on the process, but also be able to survive without the money while it’s rolling back in, which can be a timely thing.  Without a good amount of profit from a new product or product line, you’re going to find yourself without a lot of capital, and in some cases, you can find yourself without the capital that you need to survive and continue to run a business, which can mean bankruptcy and the end of your business.

You can avoid this pitfall with proper product development, but for most small businesses, you don’t have the marketing team on hand that you’ll need for real product development on a meaningful level.  Hiring and keeping one employee dedicated to marketing is expensive enough, but having the entire team that you’ll likely need is just cost prohibitive for many businesses.  What are you to do, then, to get the expertise you need to ensure that your new product sells well?  You hire a product development company.

What can they do for you, you may be asking.  Well, they can help you with the marketing aspects of your new product, which, as I’ve mentioned before, is something that is likely to be very important if you want to make some money with your new product instead of suffering the collapse of your business. A product development firm is well equipped to help you make money, and make themselves a bit as well.

So, let us pretend, for the sake of informing you of how they help you, that you’ve brewed a beer, as a business.  It’s an amazing beer, but one that you’re only going to brew three thousand bottles of, and so you’ll be charging twenty dollars a bottle for it.  Who do you think your market is?

No, your market isn’t simply ‘beer drinkers’.  Consider this; one of every two beers sold in America is a cheap, tasteless beer, suggesting that the only reason people buy it is to get inebriated quickly and cheaply.  So, you don’t want to try to appeal to the people just trying to get inebriated cheaply and quickly, it’s not something your product is going to be able to offer to them at the cost of twenty bucks a bottle.  Your product development firm, though, will look at the beer market as it exists today, and will notice that there are people who consider buying a beer to be an adventure, and experience, and that these people are likely to spend more money for a very tasty, or unusual, beer, both of which your hypothetical product is.  They’ll advise you, then, how to reach these people, most likely hipsters, and how to get their money.

So, if you’re looking at producing a new product, hire a product development firm (if you’re looking to produce a new beer, hire me. I will taste test it for you for free).  They can assist you in ensuring you market it well, and that means more money for you, leading into new projects, and the cycle continues from there.


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