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A Second Home as a Mixed-Used Property

open house

 

Investing in Real Estate by purchasing a second home is one of the cleverest movements you can do at the current period. This is not because second homes are cheaper than the prime residencies but due to the fact that a vacation home can be a mixed – used property.

In this article you will find how a second home can be your favourite destination for your vacations and a profitable investment at the same time.

 

Your personal paradise

 

By purchasing a vacation home, like a villa in a Greek Ionian Island could be the ideal and lifetime solution for your vacations. The acquisition of a second home demands an important amount of money at first but finally it excuses you from the vacation expenses for as long as you desire. Also, it offers you the desired hospitality as it has all those characteristics that you choose for yourself and your beloved ones. Owning a vacation home means that you don’t have to make plans every year for your holidays, you don’t have to spend your money for residency in hotels, for eating out and for travel agencies. You can create your own private paradise, in the location you love most and with all the facilities that you want for your ideal holidays. Also, in this way you ensure a comfortable and always hospitable home for any time of the year. You don’t have to worry for making early reservations as your own home will always be at your disposal! Finally, by purchasing a second home you ensure a potential residency for the years of your retirement and it is often helpful to buy it when you are financially active in order to enjoy it in those late years without the anxiety for its cost.

 

A source of income

 

A vacation home can also work as an important source of income as you can rent it for long or shorter periods and use this money for your financial needs. Most people are not able to be away from their main home and away from work more than two months in a year. This means that a second home will be out of use for most of time and this gives you the opportunity to lease it for long periods or to rent it even per night or week. This is not something simple of course, but with the right strategy and with the right guidance of a professional you can ensure an important amount of money in this way. This means that even if you have used a loan for the purchase at first, you can use the money from the rent in order to pay it off. This is a unique possibility that a second home has to offer and you cannot find it in other investing movements in real estate.

 

Suppose that you buy a villa in Lefkada, which is a famous and picturesque island of Greece and it is also a wished destination of many wealthy Europeans during the half part of the year, from spring to autumn. It is as if you kill two birds with one stone. You have a lovely home in an idyllic place which fits exactly to your needs and taste and you can use it during your holiday and you can also rent it to other visitors of the island or even to a local resident for the time you are away. The only thing that you have to pay attention to, is the tenants that you will choose in order to ensure a good conciliation.

 

Conclusion

 

A second home is an ideal proposal for someone who wants to involve in Real Estate investments, as it is the only property that you can easily use it in two different ways. A vacation home provides you with an ideal residency for your holidays and also can be used as a property that you rent and you earn money.

What is a Real Estate Open House?

open house

For some, the real estate market is a completely new country with its own language and culture. People are not quite sure what a Real Estate Open House is. Certainly, if you have been invited to a holiday Open House, you remember a gigantic cocktail party at a neighbor’s house or a homey buffet where friends and family are all trying to talk and hold plastic plates piled with a concoction of edibles, at the same time.

Well, Real Estate Open Houses are quite different. They are held for the purpose of showing a house for sale to potential buyers. Sometimes there is food on hand but the purpose of this outing is not social conviviality, but business. Here are some types.

 

Category 1. The Open House for Realtors

 

Let’s say, you have selected a particular real estate agent and you want her to handle the sale of your house. If the agency belongs to a multiple listing organization (and most of them do) they will thereupon hold an open house for the other agents in the area. These may include agents from their own broker’s office and agents from other offices.

 

Your agent will ask you to get your house in ship-shape. That means she wants you to have everything cleaned (windows, carpets, etc.) and have all the clutter put out of the way. She will probably ask you to leave the house, and to take your dog, cat, and children with you. She may choose to provide some finger food and coffee for the prospective agents (and ask you to foot part of the bill) or not, according to the customs of the area.

 

She will show agents around your house, and point out all the virtues. She will also have brochures or flyers on hand to give out to the prospective agents. These flyers will be based on the information you have provided as well as her own research of the area. Of course, she will have looked around your home and decided what the most salable features are. Does the house have an updated kitchen? Does it sport a fantastic view? Maybe you never made much of your outside deck, but once it is fitted out with pots of geraniums and some crisp new lounge chairs it will look like it came out of a magazine. And that’s the photo that will land up in the flyer or the online house tour.

 

The house will also be written up in the large multi-listing book where it will get a picture and a short write-up (about the size of 1/8 of a page or smaller.) This information will also go onto the database on the Internet usually under the name of the realty company and the general listing under www.Realtor.com (assuming the agency is a member of the National Association of Realtors.) All the pictures and brochures will go up online also. This makes it easy for agents in other parts of the country to send clients who are moving from their area to associated agencies in your town.

 

This Open House for local agents takes about an hour or two and the other agents leave with the promise that they will show your home to clients who they think it might interest. Some of course, come for the free lunch and the chance to network. But the main feature of the Realtor Open House is to give the local agents a chance to see the house first hand and to be able to talk about it to their clients in a knowledgeable way.

 

Category 2. The Public Open House

 

Here, the listing realtor sets up a time-usually a two or three hour period-for prospective buyers to look at the house. These are not clients brought in by other realtors; they are strangers who are attracted by an ad in the newspaper or a sign in the yard. (Potential customers brought in by other real estate agents usually make an appointment with your listing agent and have a chance to give the house a full look-see.)

 

Your agent will tell you to make the house spic and span, put personal items and jewelry away and then get the heck out of there. She will bring a stack of flyers to hand out and a guest book for house-seekers to sign. That way, even if she doesn’t sell your house, she has the names of potential clients for other houses she has in inventory.

 

Category 3: Your own Open House.

 

This is much the same, only this time you have to handle everything yourself. Of course the cleaning, and uncluttering was your job anyway. Since you don’t have an agent to help you, you might ask a friend to come in and decide how to re-align your furniture, and maybe remove a chair or two to the garage to increase the spaciousness of your rooms. Some people go so far as to hire interior decorators to “dress” the house for sale. There is a television program on House and Garden Channel which actually does “room makeovers” with the precise idea in mind of selling the home, not making the family more comfortable. There is also a book or two out on this subject.

 

However, for the average homeowner, it is simply a matter of getting the newspapers off the coffee table, re-arranging and neatening your kitchen pantry shelves (this is the time to throw out all those moldy oldies) wash the windows, clean the draperies (or even buy new cheap curtains to brighten up the place), add flowers and all that stuff. You will have already done major fix-ups such as painting, wallpapering and repairing the roof in the months before the Open House (unless you have decided to sell the house “as is”).

 

You should then print up about 30 Open House Flyers. Attached to each flyer put a spec sheet with all the exact room measurements, size of acreage, and other relevant data. Keep one of these flyers by the telephone so that when people call and ask questions about taxes, the square footage of your kitchen, the nearest public school and so forth, you have a ready answer. This flyer should have you name, address and telephone number (and/or e-mail address) on it so that potential buyers can contact you if and when they decide this might be the house for them.

5 Myths of Real Estate Investing

invest

 

Misconception #1: You must have money in order to make money in real estate.

Truth

This is most likely the biggest myth of all. Most of the time it does “take money to make money,” but not always so in real estate. There are many creative ways to get around this common misconception. All it takes to succeed in real estate is careful research and lots of planning. The first thing I would recommend is to start reading as many books on the subject as possible.

 

Misconception #2: Stay away from big deals when starting out because they are too risky, stick to the small deals instead.

 

Truth

When starting out many people feel most comfortable starting small but there have been plenty of stories of big deal success, all it takes again is lots of careful planning and make sure you do your research. Don’t shy away from the big deals if they happen to come your way, you never know that one deal might set you up for life financially!

 

Misconception #3: Anyone can get rich “flipping” their way to success.

 

Truth

This approach has been compared to day trading in the stock market by some experts. With every transaction you take a risk with no guarantees of ever making a profit. Another thing to consider is if you are financing one hundred percent of the property cost, you will more than likely be paying a higher interest rate which means less profit for you. However, there are many good deals to be found which in the end can net you a nice profit even after paying a higher interest rate. Just make sure you do your homework first.

 

Misconception #4: You never have to be concerned when investing in real estate.

 

Truth

This statement is unfortunately far from the truth, especially now days. Just about everyone who invests money in one thing or another, be it real estate or stocks will be somewhat concerned about their investments. To help make confident investments and lessen the worry factor just make sure to use common sense and also do your homework before making a single move on a deal. A word of advice, don’t let worry keep you from going after potential opportunities.

 

Misconception #5: To make money in real estate takes a lot of time.

 

Truth

The truth is that some people do spend a lot of their time on real estate deals simply because this is all they do. One thing to keep in mind is that we all have the same 24 hours in our day, it is how each of us spends this time that will determine what we will individually accomplish in life. If you don’t think that you have the time it takes to invest in real estate then I challenge you to sit down and look closely at your schedule and how you are spending your time. Chance are you will find the extra time that you need. You could be giving up a fortune by just sleeping in an extra 30 minutes a day. That extra half an hour per day equals a full 15 hours per month!

Little-Known Real Estate Secret to Sell Your House Fast

real es

 

I recently saw a man wearing a “buy my home” sandwich board outside a local Internet café. He had photos of his house plastered on both sides of the board. As he handed flyers to passers-by, many of them stopped to view his walking billboard. It was one of the most clever real estate marketing strategies I have ever seen.

I have witnessed a lot of crazy ‘buy my home’ marketing schemes throughout my career as an investor. Recently, I boarded a charter bus and traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada. This wasn’t your typical gambling trip. Instead, it was a road show for investors and buyers to visit multiple homes for sale.

 

It’s rather surreal to pull up in the middle of a cul de sac and witness homeowners parading around in their front yard carrying picket signs and shouting, “Buy my home, buy my home.” These people work it too. They have their children manning lemonade stands and offering freshly baked cookies.

 

Homeowners are going to great lengths to sell their house fast. Some offer pairs of tickets to sporting events and concerts. Others are willing to leave their household furnishings, big screen TVs, and even their pets. As they say, desperate times call for desperate measures.

 

Are homeowners being forced to go to extremes in order to sell their house below market value? The answer depends on how desperate they are to sell their home.

 

Many sellers are willing to sell real estate under market value in order to obtain financial relief. Others have obtained short sale approval and need to sell their house fast or face foreclosure. Some sellers need to move immediately due to job transfers or aging parents who require additional care.

 

With the massive number of foreclosure houses many homeowners find they cannot sell their property. Between the housing slump, skyrocketing unemployment and credit crisis few people qualify for a mortgage loan. Those that do must possess a high FICO score and the financial means to produce a large down payment.

 

Every homeowner is painfully aware of the stiff competition in the real estate market. They realize they must either sell their house considerably under market value or possess valuable real estate that buyers are willing to pay full purchase price for.

 

One little known secret for selling a house fast is to seek out private real estate investors. Nearly every state has investor networks which can easily be found via the Internet or through realtors and real estate brokers.

 

Most private investors buy houses with cash. There is no need to enlist the services of a realtor; however, experts recommend hiring a real estate attorney to ensure legal documents and title transfers are properly executed. Selling house for cash expedites closing and saves both parties money in closing costs and escrow fees.

 

There is no need to walk around town advertising your home. Nor, should you have to endure a busload of people walking through your house. Instead, seek out credible real estate investors and leave the marketing antics to your neighbors.

Ron Lovett, Founder of Source Security (Halifax): Halifax Businessman Wins Olympic Entrepreneurial Gold

olympic

On February 12, when the Olympic Torch was lit and opening ceremonies were on their way, over one hundred Source Security protectors radiated across Surrey’s Holland Park, an Olympic Celebration site housing a 25,000 square foot entertainment tent and an Outdoor Concert Stage. The Halifax security company guaranteed protection to the tens of thousands of visitors, cultural performers, RCMP musical riders and big name musicians for the duration of the International Games.

Source Security and Vancouver Olympics

This was not Source’s first intimate connection with the Vancouver Olympics, as a band of mindful mediators and beefy brawn followed the entire Canadian lag of the Torch Relay, providing safety in caravan style. The success of winning the Surrey Celebration site contract came out of the company’s bid to supply security for the entire Olympic and Paralympic Games, a $122 million contract. Source Security’s proposal was purely strategic. “We always have punched high above the belt,” says Ron Lovett, founder, owner and president of the security company. He is very pleased they won the Surrey venue as their British Columbian offices had only been in the province for one year. “It shows that we have built a brand so quickly [out here],” he says.

Lovett’s Entrepreneurial Beginnings

So who is this man behind the ever-growing company now having offices in all four Atlantic provinces, BC and soon to be Ontario and Quebec? Like Bill Gates, Walt Disney and the gifted Google creators, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Ron Lovett started his company in his early twenties. After high school, like most grads, he was initially pressured by society, guidance councillors and public bus advertisements to attend university. He realized true education comes from experience, thus leaving undergrad life and embarking on a world-wide soul-searching voyage. From Thailand to Morocco, Australia to South Africa and travel through various European and South American countries, he had the chance to observe and learn from security companies that outsourced bodyguards to nightclubs and bars. He realized this was an open niche area for him to enter once he got back to his hometown of Halifax.

His entrepreneurial spirit was reawakened. He tapped into the past where he was a newspaper boy for three routes at a time and operated his own haircutting business in his mother’s attic for $5 a cut. At the age of 16, he decided one day he wanted to work for himself. “I had three goals: I wanted to own a business, own real estate and have investments.”

What it Takes to be a Successful Businessperson

His youthful dreams are now a reality; besides Source Security, he owns real estate, IT and construction companies. His curriculum vitae also includes being decorated with several prestigious entrepreneurial awards and he is now a member of the International Young Presidents Organization.

His successes have not come easy, however. He says that risk taking, when starting and operating a business, is not optional. “If you’re not up for risks, you may as well get a regular job,” he adds. It has taken a lot of sacrifice. When he first started, he would often work at a Halifax nightclub until five in the morning, sleep a couple of hours, and then wake up again to perform operational duties.

Source Security’s Growth and Connection to the Community

Now that Source Security has exploded exponentially from three employees to its present day 1,500, and providing security at KISS and Paul McCartney concerts, not to mention personal service to Bill Clinton and Tiger Woods, the company is thriving. But Lovett still remains connected to birthplace Halifax. Source Security has donated funds to several organizations in the community including local hospitals, the Micmac Friendship Centre, local sports teams and the Big Buddy Program. Lovett himself volunteers as a Big Brother to children in Spryfield and is also a foster parent.

When asked where he sees himself in the next five to ten years, Lovett replies: “My goal is for [Source Security] to be the top national security company and to have offices all across the country.” In Lovett’s world, dreams are not made of pipe. It’s just a question of by what month in 2015 will Source Security span the entire nation?

Serious Games: The World of Professional Gaming

Gaming

How do you define “game”? Usually, a game is considered something fun, something that is not of importance but which one choses to do for amusement. Therefore, if you wanted to stress the seriousness of something, you would exclaim: “This is not a game!”. A game is also something that is opposed to work, something you do as a pastime.

Games and Money

Enter money. If games develop a large numbers of followers, there is a profit to be made. We know this from sports, which attract a huge number of fans and therefor sponsors. This leads to professionalization, the game enters a new dimension and suddenly becomes much more than a game to a lot of people. It can now even become a valid career option, evidently opposing the above definition of a game.

Magic: The Gathering

But could this happen outside the world of sports? It can, and it does. Chess, for example, is considered to be a kind of sport by a lot of people, is a game that has professionals. And it was only the beginning. The card game Magic: The Gathering was not only voted one of the top five mind games by Mensa in 1994, it has been so successful that to promote it, a Pro Tour with several tournaments is held every year, each tournament paying $40,000 to the winner and the overall annual prize payout of the company being several million dollars. Other card games have since followed, for example the World of Warcraft adaption that paid its world champion $100,000. That is more than most working people make in a whole year and so top players use their hobby as a means to finance their studies instead of spending money on it.

Poker and Virtual Gaming

An even better known example is tournament poker. Players can make millions, and even on the lower levels it can support a comfortable living. Computer games, too, have attracted a huge following, not only creating a whole business branch for their design but also being played at tournaments that, especially in some Asian countries like Korea, are even broadcasted on TV and thus include the whole machinery of fans, sponsors and merchandising. In the new wave of mass online games, people pay real money to purchase virtual bonuses that other players have achieved. The high demand for virtual gold in the World of Warcraft online game has created a business called gold farming. Workers are paid to play and then the gained in-game currency is traded for hard dollars via the Internet. This industry is worth billions of dollars but is a serious health risk to the hired players, many of them underage Chinese who play for 12 hours or more every day.

Why Professional Gaming Is Good for Business

For gaming companies, it remains crucial to advertise their games and the best way to do that is by giving every player the hope of fame and fortune, to make them before everybody else believe that they are not just playing a game and wasting their time but in fact have the chance to turn their hobby into their occupation and to become a professional. To create stars and pay them to be just that means is the best promotion they can wish for.

Of course, not all players aim for such a goal. Some even feel that this takes the fun out of gaming and thus are opposed to any commercialization apart from making their game available for purchase. But in a society that values entertainment as high as ours, it should be of no surprise that there can no longer be any clear distinction between gaming for fun and gaming as a career.

What to Consider Before Starting a Small Business

small business

There are many reasons why people choose to start up their own small businesses. A self-owned business may mean the possibility of doing something enjoyable, of capitalizing on a great opportunity, of making a good income, or having a better work-life balance. But all the excitement and enthusiasm of the most well-intentioned entrepreneur can, and often does, lead to failure.

This may seem puzzling at first, but the truth is that the success of a new business usually boils down to having the right information at the right time and then knowing what to do with that information, and obviously the sooner this process starts, the better. For this reason, first-time entrepreneurs should be familiar with the basic steps of small business start-up before they start their ventures. That way, they can establish good habits right from the beginning.

So for anyone who is thinking of going the entrepreneurial route, the following is a brief, step-by-step guide to small business start-up. It covers some of the most important, yet often overlooked, aspects of starting a new venture:

Step 1: Know What Small Business Start up Resources are Available and How to Get Them

Thanks to the internet, most of the information a would-be entrepreneur will need to start a business is widely available, and best of all, it is usually free. Entrepreneurs can begin their search by checking out the following sites:

  • The Small Business Association- The SBA has a series of comprehensive articles, resources, programs (including several free online courses) posted on their website. Everything is designed to help small businesses start up and run effectively.
  • The National Foundation for Independent Business- The NFIB is an advocacy organization for small and independent businesses. Here entrepreneurs will find advice and resources for running a small business. Members receive discounts on many business products and services.
  • SCORE- This organization offers business advice, mentoring, courses, and other information.
  • SME Toolkit- This organization offers free software, business forms, interactive tools, training, information, and more to help small businesses.

Step 2: Deciding What Business to Start

Entrepreneurs should make sure that the venture they choose is in line with their experience, their available resources and time, their personality, and their income needs. There are several sites that provide assessment forms consisting of a series of questions and points of consideration to help people choose the most suitable business ideas. This site has a list of different assessment forms: breitlinks.com/careers/.

Step 3: Seek Out Professional Guidance or Mentoring

At various points throughout the start-up process, the budding entrepreneur is going to need the advice and assistance of several different professionals. Examples include: an attorney to offer advice on all the legal matters pertaining to the ownership and management of a small business; an accountant to assist in the area of small business finance and tax management; and finally some kind of business consultant to offer advice in areas, such as business management, human resource management, and IT.

Step 4: Choosing the Appropriate Business Structure for a Small Business

Unless one is buying a per-existing business or franchise, one needs to decide what will be the corporate structure of the business. Will it be a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a corporation? The decision will define several important things: tax status, who has ownership in the business, and what the extent of the owner’s personal liability is should the business go into debt or close down.

Step 5: Time to Create a Business Plan

Writing a good business plan is one of the most important steps in the process of small business start-up. A business plan is basically a written outline of all the aspects of the business including the proposed product or service, the target market, and the economic potential of the venture. Having this information on hand can help entrepreneurs to stay focused on their business goals, and it will make it easier to pinpoint any potential pitfalls in their plan. Finally, this document is often used when approaching banks, commercial lenders, and investors for financing.

Step 6: New Ventures Need Start up Financing

It is obvious that the best ideas will go nowhere without some initial capital investment. This start-up financing (also called seed capital) should cover the preliminary expenses including: market research and product or concept development, legal fees, and any necessary equipment and supplies- anything that is needed to get the business up and running. Aside from standard bank or commercial business loans, seed capital can come from SBA-backed micro loans, governmental grants and assistance programs, peer-to-peer lending, and in some cases, venture capital or angel investment.

Step 7: Make Sure that the Business is Registered and Legal

This step is quite broad and beyond the scope of this article. In short, entrepreneurs should make sure to get a tax ID number for their business and register the organization with their local chamber of commerce. They also need to be educated (or seek advice) about any appropriate zoning laws or licensing fees.

When to Switch From a Variable Mortgage to a Fixed Rate Deal

The following is a guest post from Nigerian real estate developer Michael Chudi Ejekam.

The cost effectiveness of most mortgage deals is dependent on market interest rates. Those that currently have a variable rate deal may be wondering when or if it will be better to switch to a fixed interest option. Homeowners coming to the end of a deal and those looking to switch to try and save money may want to consider the pros and cons of fixed or variable mortgage products.

How Market Conditions and Interest Rates Affect Variable and Fixed Mortgages

Each type of mortgage deal comes with a potential cost benefit. But, this benefit is not guaranteed. Choosing the right deals at the right time could save homeowners money. Making the wrong decision could see them paying more than they technically need to.

For example, variable rate mortgage deals give the best cost benefits when interest rates are dropping or are at a low point. These products will have repayments that rise or fall depending on market conditions. In a decreasing or low rate scenario, payments go down. As soon as interest rates start to go up, then this kind of deal becomes more expensive.

Fixed rate deals work in a different way. Here, the homeowner is given a guaranteed fixed repayment for a period of time and market conditions have no effect. So, if interest rates go up, then the mortgage holder will potentially be saving money as their repayments will not rise. But, if rates drop significantly, then they could be paying more than if they had a variable product.

When is the Best Time to Switch From a Variable to a Fixed Rate Mortgage?

Although it is possible to anticipate what might happen to market interest rates, it may not be possible to guarantee accuracy. Some consumers will look to fix a deal when rates look likely to rise. This may work if they are particularly low (i.e. there is nowhere to go but up) or if market conditions make interest rate increases likely.

The best time to switch to a fixed rate deal from a variable product will happen at a point where switching saves people money (i.e. when their fixed rate payment is less than their variable payment would be). It can, however, be hard to get the timing exactly right.

Some that move early may end up paying more on a fixed rate deal ahead of market rises actually taking place. Those that move later when rates start to rise may find that the costs of their fix are not as good as they were in the past.

When Entrepreneurs Become Job Seekers

job seekers

We all know how tough the job market really is.

As if the competition from fellow grads and the recently terminated isn’t enough, here comes the competition from another, not so often talked about pool of job seekers – entrepreneurs.

Many small business owners are coming back into the job market and having a hard time connecting. Since the beginning of this year, I have probably talked to at least 10 entrepreneurs, who have had to seek out other employment to either keep their own businesses going, or closed their businesses all together.

Two of these entrepreneurs were in the construction business. One owned a painting company and the other a small general contracting company. Both have had to lay off workers and became job seekers themselves. One owner of an adult day care facility is considering selling his building, at a loss no less, and operating his business from his home, where his 19-year old can help with clients as he seeks on a night job. Another, a property manager, is unable to find renters and need to now himself find a job to augment his investment property mortgage payments. These are a few. There are others and don’t think this phenomenon is limited to sole proprietors either.

There is a lot of support out there for the unemployed who want to start a business, but not much for the entrepreneur who has to become a job seeker.

Here are some of the tips that I have been sharing with the entrepreneur who has to go back to working for someone else:

  1. Sell your skills as a team player. Many successful entrepreneurs are “take-charge”, mavericks who have been used to making all the decisions. Some employers might say they like that in a candidate, but it really is about balance.
  2. Show your willingness to learn new things…quickly. As an entrepreneur, you may have become a master in a specific niche. Now that you are looking, you may find that your niche, although good for your business, doesn’t have wide demand.
  3. Look for opportunity and potential. You may not be able to make the same starting out, as you were when your business was up and running. Instead of looking at just the wages, consider the peace of mind for you and your family as well as benefits like health insurance and retirement accounts.
  4. Talk with your vendors and suppliers. They may be able to help or certainly make recommendations. Network also with others in your professional groups such as your union. You may be able to collaborate on jobs.
  5. Brush up on your job search strategy and skills. Get a resume together and become familiar with searching for jobs online or networking your way into a job. You networked to land clients before, you will now have to do the same to land a job. Only problem is that you may not have a marketing department to do it for you. Look for free job search resources. I actually met three entrepreneurs at a job search workshop I volunteered to do at my local library about 4 months ago. They were preparing for job search because their revenues were in the tank or heading there. One I am happy to say has landed a great opportunity in sales with a vendor. Two are still looking. Use free resume samples from here!
  6. Use headhunters. Entrepreneurs are independent thinkers. No question about that. However, they may have to rely on the expertise of others in this situation.
  7. Put yourself in the employer’s shoes. Would you hire you? Remember what you looked for in an employee and think about the best way to sell that to potential employers. One of the things you thought about was – “will this employee stay?” Your new potential employer is thinking the same thing. What happens once his/her business picks up? Will I lose them as an employee? This is what the employer is thinking and so you have to prepare an answer.

No question that this is a difficult time to find a job. If you have been used to doing the hiring, but now have to be doing the looking, it could be a real challenge.

Your problem solving skills as an entrepreneur will serve you now better than ever. Stay focused yet flexible!

ICTs Proved Vital for Economic Development: How ICTs are Helping Business Growth Among Women in Africa

ICT

A project in Uganda has shown that ICTs can greatly contribute to the economic empowerment of women though increasing access to relevant information.

Evaluations for the CEEWA-Uganda ICTs Project show that most business women who were trained and helped to utilize ICTs like mobile phones, radio, computers (internet), photocopying, television were able to register marked business growth after starting to utilize these ICTs as tools to improve their businesses.

The project was implemented by CEEWA-Uganda (Council for Economic Empowerment for Women of Africa-Uganda Chapter), an NGO committed to the economic empowerment of women in Africa.

Baseline for ICTs Role in Business

Under its Women and Entrepreneurship Development program, CEEWA-Uganda in 1999 commissioned a survey to find out the information needs of women entrepreneurs in business information and entrepreneurship skills.

The survey revealed that women entrepreneurs at the grassroots (entrepreneurs in small-and medium-size businesses)—lacked information on credit facilities, credit and savings management and ways of improving their products and services. Samuel Sefunka, the Program Offier of CEEWA-Uganda says this was in addition to the businesswoemn not always knowing market prices, costing and pricing.

Speaking in an interview, Senfuka says the baseline study found that the women entrepreneurs also lacked computer and writing skills. “Many of the respondents expressed desire for training in enterprise development. It was from this survey that CEEWA-Uganda developed the ICTs Project,” Senfuka says.

With support from International Development Research Centre- IDRC, (1999-2001), CEEWA-Uganda was able to mobilize economically active rural and peri urban women entrepreneurs and pilot test the Project in three districts of Mpigi, Wakiso and Kampala in central Uganda.

Business Information and Skills Website

Under the ICTs project, CEEWA-Uganda designed a database driven website with information on best practices in agriculture, business skills, market prices, trade related issues, finance support institutions and women network groups. CEEWA-Uganda also developed training manuals on ICTs use in furthering of businesses.

“The Humanistic Institute for Cooperation with Developing Countries (Hivos) came in to support CEEWA – Uganda to continue implementing the ICT project, now in six project sites/districts extending to eastern Uganda in Budondo Sub-County, Jinja district and Bulamagi sub county Iganga district as well as Mukono district,” Senfuka says.

ICTs Benefits to Business Women

According to the review of the CEEWA-Uganda ICTs project, beneficiaries realized a lot of achievements, especially being able to order for and sell goods on phone; getting market prices from sms, radio and internet; being able to pay or contribute to school fees for their children, increased power to negotiate and better business relations.

Teo Kamya of Sango parish, in Mpigi district, central Uganda is one of the beneficiaries of the project. “I also learned to use a mobile phone to send text messages to look for markets and new products,” Sango says in an interview.

“I had been selling milk but couldn’t tell how I was spending the money until CEEWA-Uganda trained us in book keeping and best practices in animal rearing. I have bought an incubator that breeds 120 chicken at ago which I sell at sh700 each. In addition, I have got a heifer cow that produces 15 liters of milk a day,” Sango adds.

Challenges of Women Entrepreneurs

Despite the good achievement, the evaluation of the ICTs project did raise a number of challenges women entrepreneurs are facing, which challenges must be addressed if entrepreneurs are to enjoy full benefits that ICTs bring to businesses.

Edith Mwanje, the Chairperson of CEEWA-Uganda says that their evaluation of the project noted that apart from the multiple gender roles of women beneficiaries that constrains their time, women are not able to maximize the benefits of ICTs use because of limited access to ICTs, which is mainly due to infrastructure problems such as unavailability of connectivity, power supply, long distance to centers, high cost of ICTs and maintenance of the ICTs.

“High illiteracy levels among the beneficiaries also hinder maximum use of the ICTs. Stakeholders also need to address the high levels of poverty and relevancy of ICTs to small size of Small Micro Enterprises,” Mwanje says.

Increasing ICTs Role in Women’s Empowerment

Senfuka and Mwanje believe that these challenges are better addressed in the framework of improving the Uganda National ICT Policy. The Government of Uganda in 2002 put in place an ICT policy to guide the government’s role of supporting the access of relevant ICTs in all parts of the country.

“The ICT Policy needs to be gender sensitive by ensuring most women at the grassroots can access ICT services. It is not enough to have an ICT center in the town when most women do not have transport to go there. The access of ICTS needs to also be supported by reliability of ICTs so that women really save time,” Mwanje says.

 

The government of Uganda has been laying a fiber optic cable in different parts of the country. Uganda together with her East Africa Community partners (Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi) are also working together to connect to the Under Sea Fiber Optic Cable that is expected to greatly reduce internet connection and related costs, and thus improve access to most ICTs and reliability of ICTs for most Ugandans.