The History of Online Shopping

The internet is a fantastic and useful tool. With a click of our mouse we can read today’s news, play an online game and if we wish shop to our hearts content. But when did it all start? What is the history of Online Shopping and what does it mean to shop online?

Online shopping is the process a customer takes to purchase a service or product over the internet. In other words a consumer may at his or her leisure buy from the comfort of their own home products from an online store. This concept was first demonstrated before the World Wide Web was in use with real time transaction processed from a domestic television! The technology used was called Videotext and was first demonstrated in 1979 by M. Aldrick who designed and installed systems in the UK. By 1990 T. Berners-Lee created the first WWW server and browser, and by 1995 Amazon expanded its online shopping experiences.

The history of Online Shopping is amazing. Gone are the days of waiting in traffic and working our way through overcrowded stores. All we need is a computer, bank account, debit or credit card and voila freedom! From books, to cosmetics, clothing and accessories to name a few, shopping online is the answer to the 21st century. Simply find the website that offers the objects of your desire, price and delivery terms and in a matter of a few days your purchase is at your door. The advantages and convenience are obviously predictable as we are offered a broader selection, competitive pricing and a greater access to information in regards to our purchase. Online stores are usually available on a 24 hour basis, and permit consumers to shop at their leisure without any traveling and outside regular business hours!

Another point to take into consideration is that when the internet was first conceived it was not with the ideal that it would change the way we shop. On the contrary the web was created as a tool for communicating, which in time let to the convenience of shopping virtually. The history of online shopping by itself symbolizes the change in our society and has by now become a service used by business and regular shopper all over the world.

Shopping online is easy, fun and secure and has for many taken the place of the Saturday afternoon window shopping at the mail. Still considered as a fairly recent phenomenon, online shopping has without a doubt made the life of countless consumers easier and more convenient. May it be for a home loan, buying car or ordering your weekly groceries, the web has forever changed our outlook on shopping.

The history of online shopping shows to all that a good idea, great presentation, and a desire to offer the best to your customers can make a dream come true. Now considered tried and true, it will be interesting in the next 20 years or so to see where the History on online shopping will take us!

Financial Strategies For Troubled Firms

There are strategies that troubled companies can use to save themselves from dire straits and regain their former financial success. These same sort of strategies are valuable for business owners and financial executives to understand how their firms can avoid financial turbulence and failure.

We must first realize that business failure or bankruptcy never happens overnight. Normally there is a gradual trend of financial deterioration that is sometimes exacerbated by industry troubles. No doubt in the current 2009-2010 environment the auto industry is a poster child for a troubled industry, as an example.

Naturally firms that are on the very precipice of failure or bankruptcy do not have many options or time left. It has to fix itself, or sink. No business owners or entrepreneurs want to face bankruptcy, liquidation, and other creditor issues.

Do financially failing firms survive because of a revival in products or their services, or have they in fact executed on improved financial management. This is a challenging questions, because the very financial problems that beset a firm hinder it in getting new sales, acquiring inventory, and regaining supplier credibility.

Also, lets be realistic, banks and other finance companies do not throw themselves at failing firms with financial offers of loans, lines of credit, etc. In fact what usually happens is that the company is forced to pledge some or all assets at much higher rates, sometimes simply accentuating the financial problems that were already there.

So what are the financial strategies that a firm can undertake to avoid financial failure when it has been losing sales, not generating profits, and generally traveling down a potential death spiral?

There are three or four solid strategies that can save the firm. The first is ‘ assets ‘. The second is liabilities and debt, and the third we will simply call ‘ maneuverering ‘.

Strategy 1:

Assets have value. They can be sold, re financed,, or pledged to secure new financing. This type of strategy works best when it works for all parties, the company and the lender, or the company and another firm. However lets be clear that this is somewhat of a one shot strategy. It either must work or it doesn’t. Asset maneuvers have 3 stages of success: assets can be used to get a new loan, assets can be sold, or they can, in somewhat of a worst case scenario, be liquidated.

Strategy 2:

On the other side of assets on the balance sheet is debt and equity. Debt can be structured properly to ensure the lender gets a reasonable reward, and the company is able to both repay and survive. There are too many types of debt to consider for the purposes of this article – suffice to say that creativity in debt is somewhat unlimited. A firm could issue debt, as an example, and repay only when the company is earning profits again.This would normally entail higher rates, but again, as we have stated, the transaction has to make sense both for customer and lender. A solid alternative solution is to simply re – structure existing debt at new rates and amortizations.

Alternatively to debt a company with promise can bring in new equity or ownership. This is somewhat more risk for all as dilution of ownership is usually significant when a company is failing and bring in new equity capital.

Strategy 3: A firm sometimes has to look to the outside for help. Since the owners and managers are often too close to the problem it is somewhat of a classic case of not seeing the forest for the trees. Outside consultants and industry experts can often bring a solution to the table. They have insights that management simply did not possess. These strategies include developing new sales and product strategies, bring in new management, or considering a strategic merger.

In summary, anyone who has worked through several business cycles over a number of years knows that companies can in fact be saved. Some go on to be the new super stars of their respective industry. The company must clearly uncover what the problem is, and then adapt strategies, financial or otherwise, to fix those problems

Contract Of Employment Explained

Contract of employment like every other contract is an agreement between and employer and an employee which describes and states the condition of employment. It is always advisable for one to be sure of what the contract states before signing and accepting the contract as once signed it is binding on both parties. A well prepared contract of employment is a statement of the capacity in which the employee is employed, it covers and shows the name of the job, pay, allowances, hours of work, holidays, leave, pension arrangements, and should refer to the relevant company laws and policies as is applicable to the employee.

In a more refined way, a contract of employment is defined as an employment agreement voluntarily entered into by the employer and employee which stipulates and defines the conditions of employment. Most contracts of employment are in written form which makes it applicable and governed to the general law of contract. This then means that every contract of employment should be binding on both parties as well as valid. It then means that for the contract of employment to be binding just as I general law of contract, there should be an offer, an acceptance and a furnished consideration. In this case the offer is the written employment letter which is accepted by the employee and the consideration being the wage the employer is ready to pay the employee.

IMPORTANT FEATURES OF A CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT:

A well written contract of employment should include all of the following;

o Parties to the contract should be clearly stated: The name and contact address of the employee who is being employed should be clearly stated as well as the name and address of the employer.

o Date of employment should be clearly stated: The resumption date of the employment should be stated in the contract of employment. This will help in knowing when to start calculating the employee’s entitlements.

o Remuneration: The salary agreed on should be put down in writing. The scale or method of calculating the remuneration should also be put down in writing. Also the interval of payment should be written, either bi weekly or monthly depending on the policy of the firm.

o Terms and conditions of work relating to hours a day: The expected number of hours to be put in by the employee per day should be clearly stated in the contract of employment.

o Leave entitlements: The employees leave entitlement should be stated, number of days he is entitled to, his leave allowance, other types of leave he may be entitled to (sick leave, casual etc).

o Pension entitlements: The employee’s pension entitlements should be clearly stated if any.

o The job title: The title of the job being offered should be stated. The job tasks as well should be written.

o Confirmation: The number of months or years as the case may be the employee will serve successfully before his/her appointment will be confirmed should be stated.

o Disengagement: The number of days or months notice required by either of the parties before the contract will be terminated should be written as well.

After the contract of employment has been established, the employer and employer as well have duties to perform to keep to the terms of the contract. In the case of the employee, he has to keep to all of the following;

o Has to do his job personally: The employer was employed to work and carry out his duties by himself. It then means that by the terms of the contract, he has to do his job and duties by himself.

o Has to abide by the laws and policies of the firm: For every organization, there are laid down rules and regulations as well as policy guides that direct the affairs of the organization. The employee is bound by the contract of his employment to abide by the rules and regulations surrounding his employment contract. Disobedience to any of this may result to outright dismissal or termination of appointment.

o The employee should not by any means compete with his employer. He should not have any interest that will be against that of his employer.

o He is to conduct himself well and properly at all times. He should not be involved in any action that will be detrimental to the firm. He should come to work early and comport himself during office hours.

o He should be accountable to his employer on all assignments given to him during his period of employment.

o An employee should add value to his employer which is the main reason for his employment. He should be able to prove the skills he claimed to have prior to employment.

On the other hand the employer has some duties to perform for the employee to make sure that the contract of employment between them is sustained. The following are expected to be carried out by the employer;

o The employer is expected to pay the wages of the employee. As part of the employment contract, there is an amount that was agreed by both parties as wages for the employee. The employer is expected to pay such wages and as when due.

o He should provide the necessary and required tools to enable the employee carry out his duties effectively.

o The employer should also make sure that there is an enabling environment and good working conditions for the employee to perform his duties.

o The safety and safe working conditions should also be assured by the employer to avoid putting the employee at risk during his period of employment.

o The employee should be rewarded when he has performed well. He should also be motivated by the employer at all times. The employer should not see the employee as a slave, rather as a partner in progress, because without the employee, the employer will not succeed.

Lesson One – Investment Definition and Explanation

Investment is one of the fundamental concepts in finance. No financial discussion, website or blog is complete without clearing and explaning investment. I intend to write about investment in detail with reference to households and individuals, as a tutorial, starting from defining and explaining investment as a phenomenon and then slowly incorporating complex topics in further posts.

Definition of Investment

"Investment is the concept of putting 'surplus' money to things such as stocks, bonds, real estate, starting a new venture, buying a capital good etc. with a hope / forecast to have capital gains or continuous streams of positive net income from This employment of money. "

With reference to individuals, it is generally recommended to use surplus money for investments, as there is a very thin line between investing and speculating, so investment decisions should be made very wisely and with proper research and analysis. Investment always comes with a risk of losing the invested amount, and this loss would not be in the control of the investor then, it is always advisable to measure and research all risks involved.

Investment is a parallel concept to savings, where savings is done with an intent to cope with increasing inflation, Investment on the other hand is done with and intention to earn revenue streams or have capital gains from money invested, and it also generates employment and increases The production level of a country. Individuals save or invest their surplus money based on how much risk they are willing to take. More risk taking individuals prefer investing over savings.