Do School Holidays Affect Your Business?

The school holidays have arrived, Parliament is in recess until 5 September and London has wound down to slumber away the summer months. Or has it? Just how much effect do the summer holidays have on London businesses? Well, in truth, London is such a culturally rich and diverse city that the effects of holidays vary from business to business. However there are a few common themes such as:TransportWhilst Transport for London and the Mayor’s office are constantly working on schemes to reduce congestion caused by the school run, in term time our roads, buses and tubes are affected by school transport. In the school holidays this congestion is noticeably less on some routes. This means that businesses which rely on transport and deliveries may have to work to a different schedule in term and holiday time with the reduced travel time in the holidays resulting in cost savings.Pubs, restaurants & cafesPlaces to eat in London tend to be divided between those serving a local population and those catering for tourists or business people. Each of these sectors is affected differently by summer holidays. Those catering for business are most affected by holidays due to the combined affects of business people taking time off to be with children alongside a reduction in business meetings.Looking at places catering for tourists, there were 26.2 million staying visitors in London in 2010 with total London tourism receipts amounting to £11.2 billion. International visitors tended to stay for 6.1 days spending £593 whilst those visiting from within the UK stayed for 2.1 days spending £217. Overseas tourism tends to be slightly skewed to the summer with 29% staying in July & August and this taken alongside domestic tourists helps to take up some of the slack from Londoners moving out of the capital in the summer months.When it comes to local eateries these seem to be as much affected by the weather as the holidays. The Coffer Peach Business Tracker makes some interesting observations in its review of the Easter Holidays. Alongside the comment that “Our research across the year highlights the big positive effect that school holidays are having on trade, particularly with people staying in the UK” it notes that the weather also plays its part. Hot days tend to favour pubs or staying at home with a barbeque whilst wet days favour indoor attractions and visits to restaurants.Business servicesCompanies offering business services from printing to marketing, office fitments to consultancy tend to factor August into their business plans as a dead month. The combination of warmer weather and staff holidays leads to decisions being postponed or even not considered until September arrives. “Starting in September” and “I’ll get back to you in September” are common themes. Even networking tends to slow down with many business networks not bothering to hold August meetings.The “Back to School” effectSell children’s clothing or stationery and August can prove to be the busiest month of the year. Although pencils can be bought at any time the temptation to start a new school year with a fresh set is overwhelming. Trousers and skirts that just lasted the summer term need replacing and winter shoes are on the list in anticipation of bad weather to come. Even the major London department stores are in on the act with some already having unveiled their Christmas displays designed to attract the summer tourist.

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How to Sketch Fashion Croquis Quick and Easy

Learning how to sketch fashion croquis can be time consuming. First you have to draw everything perfectly; the head, the arms, body, legs, feet, hands, and even the face take time and dedicated practice to learn how to do correctly. And even though you might get close, as a fashion designer, you’re probably really picky and this makes it hard to settle for a mediocre drawing! The good news is that there are so many ways to get great croquis, you don’t have to work hard at drawing these if you want to.

When you start to learn how to draw croquis, the first thing to remember is that fashion croquis don’t look like regular people. Simply put, this means even if you draw the perfect proportions on the sketch, it still won’t be correct. This is because for fashion sketching, the long and lean figure looks more appealing. The measurement standard is 9 heads, meaning that the figure is the height of about 9 heads tall. Some even use a newer standard of 10 heads.

If you want to actually learn how to sketch fashion croquis by hand, there is a great book called “9 Heads” that you can get and it goes very in-depth about what exactly 9 heads means and how it relates to the real human body. But going about things in this way will lead you down a good but very long road as you become proficient in your new skill. On top of that you still need to get the “9 Heads” book to be able to get the in-depth understanding you need, which will cost you money. If you’re looking for a free option check out the internet.

The internet is a great place to learn how to sketch fashion illustrations because it gives you the flexibility and depth of a giant library. There are so many different places to get fashion croquis, from university websites to some designers who showcase their croquis freely. You can print these croquis and save them for quick sketching later on. But, alas, you can run into a couple problems using croquis from any place on the internet.

If you want to know how to sketch fashion croquis quickly and easily without all the problems, find some places that advertise free croquis. Looking for these types of fashion croquis specifically can keep you out of trouble just in case someone has copyrighted their work. For free fashion croquis and other essential fashion design information, check out the resource box.

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Real Estate Marketing Means Master Your Niche

When starting your real estate website you may start with the mindset that you will cover everything about real estate in your city. This is a big goal and if there are no true competitors in your area it may be one that you can easily achieve. When there is competition online you can quickly rise to the top of the search engines when you choose to dominate a niche. In fact choosing to dominate a smaller segment online will often get you more business.Choosing a Niche
The wonderful part about real estate is it allows you the opportunity to specialize. Many real estate agents are fearful of specialization, but in reality it will actually bring your more business. After all, you wouldn’t go to a Dr. who was a brain surgeon, foot doctor, and a dermatologist would you? No! You go to a Dr. who is a specialist because they can help you solve a specific problem because that is all they deal with on a daily basis.
Before you choose a niche, take the time to think about which aspect of real estate you are most passionate about. This may go against what others tell you in your office, but think deeply about what you really enjoy and you will be able to really dominate when you feel most strongly about a particular area of real estate.
Let your Real Estate Marketing Shine in a Niche
Dominating a niche means taking the time to absolutely master it. This may be the most difficult part because you may already be close to absolute mastery. The aspects that seem second nature to you are what people are looking for so you will have to dig deep and think back to a time before you knew anything about the niche.
For example, when you are in an area that has land, you probably know every aspect about how the land can be used, but in reality most people have no idea what they are doing when it comes to purchase raw land. For example:

Land Use – Write about the many uses of raw land in your area. There may be some parts that are good for farming and some that would be better for development. Write about the different uses of land in the many parts of your city.

Utilities – Some people are unaware that utilities and services may not have been provided to some parcels. Share the aspect that you can add value to a parcel by bringing utilities to it. Give them an idea of what that process is like and how you can make it easier.

Evaluation – Land has many different inspections that traditional homes and condos. Share with your visitors how soil or wells can be tested. Let them know that they may even want their land surveyed to verify the lot lines.
Remember you are the expert, so share that expertise online. What is obvious to you is not obvious to many. When you share your expertise and your passion it will come to life in your writing.Concentrating your writing efforts on a particular niche will not only help your visitors see that you are an expert; it will also help the search engines see that you are an expert. When you take the time to write 20+ pages, just about land then the search engines will identify you as a local expert and start sending traffic your way. It will take a bit of time, but it will be well worth your marketing efforts.

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Buying Life Insurance: 3 Quick Pitfalls to Avoid

It’s no secret that the majority of Canadians today don’t really understand the life insurance policies they own or the subject matter altogether. Life insurance is such a vital financial tool and important part to your financial planning that it is incumbent upon you to have a basic level of understanding.Here are 3 quick pitfalls that are important to be aware of.Incomplete Details In The ApplicationAll life insurance contracts have a two-year contestability clause which means the insurer can contest a submitted claim within two years of the application date if material information was not disclosed during the application process. If you have forgotten to note a relevant fact in your application pertinent to the claim it is possible that your claim could be denied. Fraudulent acts such as lying in the application would not only have a claim denied but possibly also have your policy rescinded entirely. It goes without saying that one should always be truthful when completing a life insurance contract or any insurance contract for that matter. A copy of the original application often makes a part of the policy and generally supersedes the policy itself. Having-said-that, each insured has a 10-day right to review their policy once they receive it. In that time period if you feel the policy is not up to the standard you thought it to be, you can return it to the company and all premiums paid would be refundedBuying The Right Term Coverage For Your SituationThis process should first start with a question: “What do I need the insurance for?” If your need is to cover a debt or liability then perhaps term is best however, if your need is more long-term such as for final expenses, then permanent or whole life would be a better fit. Once you have established your need you’ll then have to decide what type of coverage you want; term or permanent.Term contracts are the simplest to understand and the cheapest because there is an “end” to the policy; generally 5, 10, 15, 20 sometimes even up to 35 years. If the policy is renewable an increased premium will be required come the end of the term and this is often a big shock to the client’s bottom line. As an example: a 35 year old male, non-smoker with a 20-year term and 300k benefit may pay anywhere from $300 to $400 per year in premiums. When this policy renews at age 55 his new annual premium could go as high as $3,000 per year! Most people don’t understand this and come term end are devastated, generally unable to continue the policy. It is recommended that your term program have a convertibility clause so that you have the option of converting your term life into a permanent policy. You can exercise this right at any time within the term of the policy without evidence of insurability. Taking a term policy without a convertibility clause should only be done when making your purchase for something of a specified duration. Also, the short side to term life is that it does not accumulate any value within the policy whereas permanent/whole life does.Permanent/whole life is a very complex from of life insurance because it has both insurance and investment aspects to it. These policies are most beneficial because you have value built up in the policy and you are covered until death however, they are much more expensive than term insurance. An option that you can consider is a permanent policy with a specified term to pay it. Using our previous example, you could have a permanent policy that has a 20-pay term meaning you will make premium payments for the next 20 years and after that you will have your policy until death without ever making another payment towards it. It is very important to understand the variables along with your needs before you make your purchase.Buying Creditor Life Insurance vs. Personal Life InsuranceOne of the biggest misconceptions people have is that their creditor life insurance is true personal life insurance coverage and will protect their family in the event of their death. Far too often consumers purchase these products, generally found with their mortgage and credit cards, by simply putting a checkmark in a box during the application process agreeing to have the plan. It sounds like the responsible thing to do but many families are left in paralyzing situations come claim time. Creditor life insurance, such as mortgage life insurance, is designed to cover the remaining debt you have. Making timely mortgage payments is ultimately declining your remaining balance. Creditor life insurance also declines as your debt declines. Keep in mind that the lender is named as your beneficiary in your policy so consequently, upon death your remaining balance on your mortgage or credit card is paid to the lender, not your family. In a personal life insurance policy you choose the beneficiary and upon death the full benefit amount is paid to the beneficiary of your choice.Personal life insurance is a great asset to have for a large number of reasons. When you buy life insurance your buying peace of mind but, you must have your situation properly assessed and be sure that you are clear on exactly what it will do for your family.

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Insurance Claims in North Carolina

Most people in North Carolina have some sort of insurance. By law, persons operating vehicles are required to have liability coverage. The owners of the cars might also have collision coverage. Most homeowners have homeowner’s insurance, and many renters have renter’s insurance. Many people also have health coverage, whether provided by their employer or purchased directly by the individual. Businesses often have a general liability policy. These and other policies give rise to numerous claims and numerous insurance disputes every year in North Carolina.Governmental supervision: Insurers are subject to oversight by the North Carolina Department of Insurance (“DOI”). A consumer (or “inured”) can file a complaint against an insurer with the DOI. The DOI is not likely, however, to become heavily involved in a routine dispute between an insured and the insurer. Many statutes (within Chapter 58) regulate the insurance companies, as well as regulations promulgated by the N.C. DOI.Terms of coverage: The scope of coverage afforded under an insurance policy is determined primarily by the terms of the policy, and also by the applicable North Carolina General Statutes and any regulations by the DOI. When disputes are litigated in the courts, any precedential cases will also affect the interpretation of the policy. Health (and other) policies subject to ERISA may be subject to federal law, which preempts state law.Duties during claims handling process: Policies typically have provisions that give various rights to the insurer in the claims-handling process. The insured often must submit a “proof of loss” form, in which the loss is described to the insurer. The insured often must produce documents, and must submit to an “examination under oath,” at which the insurer’s lawyer can ask questions of the insured to investigate the claim. If the insured fails to comply with these provisions, then he can lose coverage. (Duties of the insurer are addressed below, in connection with the insurer’s potential liability for bad faith and treble damages.)Resolution of the claim outside court proceedings: Some aspects of the insurance claim might be subject to arbitration or appraisal (rather than court action). For example, the standard fire insurance policy in North Carolina, governed by statute, provides that the parties can use an appraisal process to value property (N.C. General Statute 58-44-16). A standard underinsured motorist policy in North Carolina contains a provision which allows the insured to demand arbitration.Resolution of the claim in a court proceeding: Where, however, the insurer and the insured cannot agree on coverage, and the dispute is not subject to arbitration or appraisal, they might have to take their dispute to court. The insured can file a lawsuit for breach of contract, and the insurer can file a suit for declaratory relief. In North Carolina, such suits are often filed in Superior Court in state court. They can also be filed in (or removed to) federal court if diversity jurisdiction is met. (There have, however, been a couple of decisions in our Circuit rejecting such disputes on the abstention doctrine.)Punitive Damages: In addition to seeking to recover the amount due under the insurance policy, the insured can also pursue a claim for “punitive” damages if the insurer denied the claim in “bad faith.” Punitive damages in this state are governed by statute, and also by case law addressing this claim. According to one case, the insurer is not liable for punitive damages if its position is “neither strained nor fanciful.” Punitive damages are capped by statute in North Carolina, to the greater of $250,000 or three times the actual damages (whichever is greater).Treble damages for Unfair Conduct: The policyholder can also assert a claim to recover “treble” (i.e. tripled) damages where the carrier’s conduct is unfair or deceptive. Such a claim is often based on the insurer’s violation of a provision in the statutes mandating that insurers handle a claim in various ways, including that they conduct a reasonable investigation, promptly investigate the claim, and provide an explanation of the denial to the policyholder. (N.C. Gen. Stat. 58 63 15.)Coverage disputes in North Carolina can quickly become very complicated, and the policyholder and often the insurer may need the services of an attorney experienced in insurance matters.

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