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The focus of any wedding ceremony is always the bride. In tradition, the guests gasp while taking in her beauty as she walks down the aisle. Most wedding photographers also focus on this moment in time by devoting most of the wedding photography to her. While the pictures do serve to memorialize the bride’s emotions on this most important of days, the groom often provides a different form of emotion in these pictures.
The Tradition Of Photographing The Bride
Most wedding photographers focus their “pre-wedding” photography on the beautiful bride and her bridesmaids as they prepare for the ceremony. The way they take their time in creating the most perfect image for the day with their makeup, hair, and dresses lends an air of sophistication and refinement to a wedding album. While the beauty of these moments are alluring and refined, they are often lacking in the intense excitement the groom and his groomsmen bring to wedding photography.
A Party Atmosphere
Filled with nerves and emotions, the bride and groom usually handle the hours before a wedding ceremony in very different ways. Women tend toward the reserved, fussing on little details, holding back tears, and making sure everything is perfect. However, men tend toward excitement, even participating in a little high jinks and tomfoolery before the ceremony, encouraging more of a party atmosphere.
These moments of mischief provide wonderful wedding photography opportunities. Getting these extraordinary shots of the groom and his groomsmen before the ceremony will tell a totally different story than those of the bride and her bridesmaids in the wedding album. While both the bride and groom are nervous before their wedding, they usually express it in opposite ways.
Capturing photos of the groom allows wedding photographers to tell both sides of the story in pictures through contrasting pre-wedding photography. A teary eyed photograph of the bride hugging her mother before the wedding tells a much different story than the groom grinning ear to ear as he tosses a football with his buddies out on the church lawn before the wedding. However, both photographs tell a stunning story through wedding photography.
Capturing A Memorable Story
It is important to capture those moments of playfulness, emotion, and even fear through wedding photography, especially as they happen unpredictably. After all, once these moments have passed, they’re gone forever, but when captured by a wedding photographer, they tell the story forever.
The bond between a bride and her bridesmaids is different than between a groom and his groomsmen. By taking advantage of photojournalistic opportunities on both sides, you also capture that bond of friendship, resulting in a wedding album, not just about the relationship between the bride and groom, but that also shows the love the bride and groom have for their friends and family.
The job of a wedding photographer is to document a captivating love story through photography. The hours before a wedding offer insight into that love story plus a whole lot more. Wedding photographers in Chicago, or in any other city, who go beyond traditional wedding photography to also take a photojournalistic look at the groom will find surprising moments of charm, emotion, and joy between him and his groomsmen.
Setting up a wedding photography business is a rewarding career choice. A wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime occasion and the wedding photography business is therefore more recession-proof than many other business right now. And the job satisfaction you get when you produce images and memories that will be treasured for a lifetime is second to none.
So what are the traits of a good wedding photographer? They are many and various but one main one is their attention to detail. That is a skill anyone looking to become a wedding photographer should develop. It could start by becoming aware of the people around you and how they are dressed. This skill can be honed by improving your organizing skills, since as a wedding photographer, the person will need to be very organized.
Another characteristic of a successful wedding photography business is to educate yourself about weddings! There are many details that go along with planning the perfect day for a bride and groom. The wedding photographer’s task is to understand the vision that the bride and groom have for their big day, and capture as many of the details as possible.
So, begin reading as many books as possible on photographing a wedding. Talk to brides who have hired photographers for previous weddings and ask what they found the most difficult dealing with the photographer. Based on their difficulties, think of solutions to these for when your business in wedding photography starts.
A portfolio will be necessary for you to become a wedding photographer. This is one way of proving to the bride and groom that you are able to properly photograph the wedding day for them. Even before the wedding photography business is officially started, spend time helping family and friends photograph a wedding.
Take pictures of areas of the wedding and these pictures can go into your portfolio. For example, helping a cousin choose a wedding dress can result in pictures of her wearing different wedding dresses. Simple activities such as this can create a great portfolio.
When looking to start a wedding photography business, it is a good idea to spend time working as a wedding photography intern. If the person does not have any friends who are wedding photographers, they can contact well-known wedding photographers in his or her area and ask if they would like an intern. Most likely they would say yes.
Working as an intern will give someone the “hands-on” experience of seeing what it is to run a business as a wedding photographer. This is also a great way to pick up on tips that the wedding photography books do not tell you.
It is also a good idea to develop packages based on what you can offer. For example, a simple package could just be of photos arranging the cake, decorations, and flowers, while a full package can be photos of most of the wedding guests, with the limousine, and at the reception. These itemized packages will help the bride and groom choose and see exactly what they can expect for the price they are paying.
Organisation, education and experience are the keys to a successful wedding photography business together with talent, of course.
The invention of actions in Photoshop opened up a whole new arena for photographers wishing to improve the look of their work. They are particularly useful in Wedding Photography, where many images need to be edited in a short amount of time.
Actions can be accessed from the Actions panel in Photoshop, where you will find several default actions already there. In short, an action is a tool, which performs multiple repetitive tasks with the press of one button. For example, there are actions for creating soft filters, for turning Wedding Photographs to black and white images and for almost any other action you want to perform.
Many leading Photographers, as well as graphic designers have their own actions, which they have made and are available for sale. There are also millions of photoshop actions available for free on the internet. You can also make your own actions in photoshop, quickly and easily by pressing the record button before you perform a task and pressing the stop button afterwards. You can name this action whatever you like and use it every time you wish to perform that task, with the click of one button.
There are many different types of actions, but some more popular ones will cover different sharpening tools, resizing images, adding borders and giving the image a particular look, like old fashioned, sepia or modern. Some very popular action sets for sale include Totallyrad actions, and Kubota actions. Both of these are utilised by Wedding Photographers extensively to quickly put out the beautiful images that their clients seek.
Wedding is all about planning and re-planning things time and again. Sometimes, the entire process becomes tedious and you fail to put things back in place. In spite of all that, you also want your wedding to be a picture perfect event.
It is important to plan your wedding photography as well. You cannot afford to forget those specific shots that you’ve always wanted to include in your wedding album. The typical wedding photographs will always be there, the ones with your friends and family, posing for the day. But if you want to make your wedding album even more exciting, you need to build up some unique ideas that would linger on your mind even after years of your wedding.
You can try out different ideas for the big day. Here you go:
Capture the Big Shots
It is one of the most special moments of your life; a day for which you’ve been planning for so many months has finally arrived. A lot of preparations required. Tell your wedding photographer to capture all the moments of excitement. These shots could be anything behind-the scenes – your salon session, your dressing room, your parent’s house, your accessories and your anticipation and joy mingled with some unknown nervousness. These moments have some poignancy that needs to be captured. You can use black & white film for these photographs.
Although, you would wear it only once in your entire lifetime it deserves special treatment. The photographer should be able to capture your dress, the masterpiece, at its best. The works, the material and the elegance will be revealed when you hang the dress in bright day light.
The Emotional Moments
Weddings are emotional moments as well, both the couple and for their parents. The feeling is mixture of joy, sadness and immense pride for their son or daughter. They feel nostalgic as well remembering the childhood of the person who is going to get married now. These are the moments, the emotions to be cherished. Make sure that your photographer captures a shot of each of your parent while they are only focusing on you during the event.
The Moment of Togetherness
You would hardly get a chance to spend some time with your bride or groom to be, but if you two can manage to steal some time together, get that captured. And the moments after you are declared man and wife – it should be shot perfectly. You simply cannot miss these very first moments as the newly married couple.
Don’t Miss Out Your Friends
The one’s who have been with you all through your wedding as groomsmen and bridesmaid, how can you forget them? You definitely share a special bond with these friends, which need to be portrayed. All those goggles and bubbles of laughter, those whispers and hugs and all those exclamations must be shot carefully, to give your album the natural feel.
A New Horizon
Walk together, hand in hand, on the aisle, looking towards the new horizon. Pictures like this looks classic and shows the new beginning.
Welcome Bride, This is a short piece about what to look for in a Wedding Photographer. It is the trend in the past year that more and more individuals are getting into “Photography”. Photography is our profession and we are in year 13 doing Weddings in the Naples, Fort Myers area. We are contacted through our Studio on a weekly basis from Brides that have made the wrong choice for a Wedding Service Provider.
Here are the basics for choosing a Wedding Photographer:
First and foremost is the most obvious! Ability. Make certain to critique the work of whomever you meet with, but here are a few less obvious decision makers and breakers.
1) Meet with your Photographer and talk about your Wedding day, within 10 minutes you will have 50% of the information that you need to make a decision about hiring them or not. If you cannot meet face to face, than spend some time on the phone with them.
2) Ask, Ask, Ask. Don’t feel bad about asking questions. A good service provider will want to talk your ear off if they are excited about what they do. We love to talk to Brides about Photography. It is our passion and it shows.
3) It is a good idea to book with a a Photographer that has a Studio in the are that your Wedding will be in. For the obvious reason, that it will be easier to meet with them and the not so obvious, you own a piece of that Studio as a booked client. It is a good feeling that Client should have knowing that the person that they hired has an established Photography Studio and that they will be in business when the Wedding comes around.
4) Most of what is left for you to make your decision should be left here. Make sure that your Photographer has a sense of humor. I feel that this is the single most important thing to consider when hiring a Photographer. A good minded and easy person can be a life saver during when things go a bit crazy. This person is often your link to bringing you down from the ledge and can often times be an important means to bringing that smile back to your face real quick!
If we can be of any assistance to you, please do not hesitate to email us or visit us online at: www.naplesvideography.com Have a great Wedding day! and remember a good Photographer doesn’t just take photos, he makes photos, much like an artist.
So you are finally there, ready to sign the dotted line, tying that bond between wedding photographer and couple, about to be married. Do you know what your wedding photography contract should include? Have you crossed all of your t’s, dotted your i’s, and made sure that you are getting exactly what you are paying for? Here are things to remember when reviewing your wedding photography contract.
Outline the Day’s Details
Make sure that your wedding photography contract is very specific about the details of your wedding day. It should include the exact length of time that the photographer will be there, if the photographer is coming alone, has a second photographer coming with, or is bringing an assistant. Making sure that the hourly commitment is crystal clear in the contract will make sure you have your wedding photographer there to cover ALL of your memories, and not one minute less.
Right Place, Right Time
If you know where you are getting married at the time of booking with your wedding photographer, make sure to include the specific details of when and where inside the contract. This way, the wedding photographer is clear about what venue the ceremony is taking place at, where the location of the reception is, and any in-between pit stops there might be during your day. Are you getting married outside, in a church, at the courthouse, or in mom and dad’s back yard? Make sure the wedding photography contract has the details, including addresses, telephone numbers, and a possible contact name and number for someone coordinating at the venue.
What Your Wedding Photography Package Includes
If any place at all, this is the place within the wedding photography contract where there should be NO questions or confusion! Be sure that the contract states exactly what is included in your agreement. This includes the length of time the wedding photographer is committed to, the number of people the photographer is bringing, how many final wedding photos you are expected to receive, the length of time it will take for you to receive your wedding pictures, and your rights as the bride and groom to republish and distribute your wedding pictures. Will there be a photographer logo on every picture? If you do not wish to have one, make sure this agreement is in the contract.
When To Pull Out Your Pocketbook
Most wedding photographers have a specific timeline for when they expect payment for their services. Some require a 50% deposit and the rest upon the date of the event. Some wedding photographers want the full payment up front. Others may set up a payment plan with you. Be sure you are aware of specific payment due dates in your wedding photography contract. Read the fine print. Some wedding photographers may book someone else for your wedding date if you do not pay on time.
In addition, because a wedding photographer is committing an entire day to shooting your wedding and your events, the photographer and his or her assistants will need to be fed! Most wedding photography contracts include an agreement of what a photographer is fed at your wedding. In most cases, there is time allotted for the photographer and assistants to eat during the wedding reception. They need to keep their energy up to shoot the most quality wedding pictures possible!
Must-Have Wedding Photos
If there are specific shots you want during your wedding day, throw them into the contract so that there is no confusion or misstep. Many photographers will work with you before your day to add the photos you want to the master shot list. However, it is always a good idea to cover your tracks and put these into the wedding photography contract as well, making sure you get your favorite photos.
Cover Your Bases
Know what will happen in case your wedding photographer has an emergency or becomes ill the time of your wedding. Will he or she hire someone else to shoot? Will he or she come shoot your wedding anyway? Who will be there to capture your memories? The wedding photography contract should have a clause in it stating the alternatives in case an emergency should arise.
Think It Over
Spend time carefully reading the wedding photography contract, discussing it with your fiancé, and making sure that you understand and accept each and every bit of what is on that paper. This will give you the reassurance you deserve when booking your wedding photographer, knowing that this person will be there to catch every tear, every laugh, every hug, and every kiss of your wedding day.
Wedding photography is on the top list of priorities when planning for the big day. Hiring a pro who runs a photography business to cover all of the jobs is the best idea you can have. In this article, you will be able to get some tips that you will find quite handy for wedding photography.
Write down the specific moments that you would like to get photographed on that day. Family and couple photos are predominant in most situations. Everyone wants to have a photo with the bride and the groom, and the photography services have to cover all the details and meet all expectations.
The family shooting part could be quite stressful. It’s great if you have a family photo coordinator to help with the group photography. Everyone can go back to the celebration if you round up the family and move from photo to photo. This kind of photography will take you to different locations, and the photographer, as well as the couple, need to have an idea about some of the positions for the shots. Run a test or two before the day and take some photos on the location.
Weather can raise challenges for the photography as well, and is the reason why a backup plan is necessary. The photographer has to bring enough blank memory cards, batteries for the camera and get the itinerary for that day. When it comes to meeting the clients’ needs, professional photography business needs planning.
Consider the style of the photography itself. Cover all of the details like the things the couple want recorded, the number of shots, their objectives and also the cost. A professional service will make use of at least two cameras, so that the shooting can be performed at either wide or short angles, depending on what is needed.
For big events that need highly complex photography, more photographers (as an example, people who run their own home business photography and the like) would need to work together to rise up to the expectations. Remember that preparation is always the key, and results can be really amazing if you know how to cover everything.
Wedding photography in every market is constantly in a state of flux and change. Both people and society evolve constantly, causing evolution in every part of our daily lives.
Weddings have become highly personalized affairs with couples competing to set their even apart from the ones that have come before.
Marriage photography in general must evolve to stay relevant and in line with the other elements in these unusual weddings. Presented here is a look at the latest trends in certain key markets around the country.
The main trend in California marriage photography is photojournalism. Photojournalistic wedding photography allows the marriage day to unfold naturally. Rather than playing an active role in posing shots, the photographer captures events as they happen.
This style of photography results in more candid and natural looking photographs. The major drawback to this style is that an inexperienced photojournalist may miss certain shots or fail to capture the shots well in the ambient light.
If you choose to go with the photojournalistic one, be certain that your photographer is experienced in this style.
The typical Seattle marriage photographer will blend the new trend of photojournalism with a more timeless traditional style. The Seattle trend seems to be creating a marriage album that highlights the best of all worlds, thus offering the most complete account of your special day.
Florida wedding photography has begun to move in the direction of candid photography, which is very similar to the photojournalistic one. The main difference between the candid and photojournalistic styles is that in photojournalism, the shots combine to create a dramatic storyline. Candid photography is more laid back in style, reflecting the general feel of a Florida marriage.
The trend in Toronto marriage photography appears to be “creative candid” photography. This style is a sort of offshoot of both the laid back candid photography popular in Florida and the dramatic photojournalism of the California market.
Rather than simply sitting passively and letting the events unfold, the creative candid photographer works to set up good candid shots, but without the posing required by the timeless style.
No matter which market we talk about, one common thread binds them all. People are trying to get away from pictures that look posed. Couples want their shots to look as natural and as candid as possible.
Natural compositions in photos lend overall warmth to the marriage album, something that was lacking in wedding photography in earlier days.
The style of wedding photography that you choose should match the style of your special day. A traditional ceremony is best documented through traditional photography.
A relaxed destination ceremony calls for equally relaxed candid photography, while a creative themed marriage would be best matched by a dramatic photojournalistic approach.
Despite local trends, wedding photography in most markets have a number of photographers from which to choose, all of whom offer their own personalized approach.
Shop around carefully to find the photographer whose personal style best matches yours, then work together to design the perfect wedding photography package.
Wedding photography offers styles to choose from. Professional wedding photographers provide help for the bride and groom which wedding photography style they think would be appropriate for their taste. It is always time consuming and confusing for every bride and groom to decide on and pick a photographer with the precision in visual style, expertise, ethics and professionalism.
Professional wedding photographers employs the latest techniques in photography to keep up with the trend but one style doesn’t fit all. The best thing to do is to focus on how you would want the images captured to create a prized possession. Have a detailed discussion and bare what’s in your wish list to your photographer and come up with the best photography design appropriate and acceptable to you. These days’ photographers boast of and rely on their sophisticated digital cameras to get the best shots. Providing quick and easy reviewing of the photos and probably retakes if need be.
There are two types of wedding photography styles to choose from: traditional and photo journalistic. Most couples need to understand the difference and it will help in decision making as to what style they would want for their wedding mementos.
Traditional Wedding Photography
Traditional wedding photography captures pictures of course, the traditional way with traditional poses. This is when all family members from different generation are present and has to be in the pictures. From the side of the groom’s to the bride’s family plus the combination of family, friends and the entourage take turns posing with the bride and groom for posterity. Not as pretty as the photo journalistic style but for those who value family from one generation to the next typically go for this style. It is the style that dictates the setting.
Photo Journalistic Wedding Photography
This is a very trendy approach and is ideally chosen by young and hip couples. It is more like taking pictures for a magazine and is like telling a story as it unfolds, a story of how it all began laid out in order. Wedding photojournalism “is characterized by its candid, creative and natural results spanning serious to humorous scenes as your wedding photojournalist documents the moment as it naturally happens.” Photographer tries to take candid snapshots and capture best moments as well. This style usually devotes a day before the actual wedding to take photos of activities the bride and groom are into and captures images.
The most important decision in choosing a wedding photographer is to understand and identify what and how you want the images to come out. It would be helpful to allot more time when choosing and not regret on the decisions made. Remember, there is no way to fix the style of your photos once they are taken. It isn’t something that you can return and exchange. You and your groom need to make sure their style is in sync with yours. The outcome will be a lifetime keepsake so make sure to go for the best flowers to the food and the gardens. Your wedding pictures will be a lifelong keepsake, so the wedding photography must be top-notch.
A wedding photographer is not just any photographer who comes along to take some photographs; they should be able to connect in a friendly and confident manner, with the bride, groom, parents, grandparents and any children at the wedding and sometimes, the pet dog as well. The photographer should feel all the emotions and become a part of their day, by that I mean that they should understand the emotions of the people attending the wedding, after all, how else can the wedding photographer capture these emotions on camera, if they don’t feel and understand them.
The romance, excitement and the final realisation of months, maybe even years, of planning for this one day and it’s the wedding photographer’s job to capture these emotions in a realistic yet, beautiful way. The bride and groom will be nervous, the parents hoping everything runs as smoothly as they have planned for and the kids, trying not to look too bored with all the fuss around them. I often capture some great photographs of the kids at weddings. The photographs should reflect the events of the day in such a way that, looking back, when you’re an old married couple, it will seem like the wedding was only yesterday.
All the details need to be photographed, including the church or venue for the ceremony and of course, the reception. As a wedding photographer, I consider it a vital part of my work, to arrive early, get to know the layout of wedding venue, select the best positions and angles for the shots that I want to capture, during the ceremony and strive to produce incredible photos.
Unfortunately, there are still some people who will not allow the religious ceremony to be photographed which is another reason I like to arrive early, to give myself the opportunity to chat with the minister, priest or official who will be conducting the ceremony and if possible, gain a little compromise, in such cases. A good wedding photographer will be aware of all the areas to consider for every occasion. Your wedding will be unique and your wedding photographs should also be unique.
I chose to specialise in wedding photography, initially because I didn’t have a photography studio however, while I run a photography business, I also get so much personal enjoyment from photographing weddings, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
My approach to wedding photography is very relaxed; I prefer the wedding photojournalism approach, as most top wedding photographers do. My wedding portfolio is full of photographs of relaxed couples enjoying their wedding day and spending time with friends and family not, the photographer. These photographs are far more enjoyable to look at and also help to capture the wedding’s events as they unfold, naturally.
In short, wedding photography is very much a specialised area and wedding photography should always be left to the professional. Weddings can’t be re-photographed in a photography studio. The photographer who chooses to photograph weddings, had better know exactly what he or she is doing and be able to get it right, every time. It’s a huge responsibility and requires a responsible wedding photographer.
Family Office Conference
I often host clubs, committee meetings and speakers in my home. The standard refreshments in our community are bought or homemade cakes, soft drinks, bottled water, packaged “snack” foods, fruit, and nuts. I prefer not to buy the prepared foods both because of health and cost. There are almost always leftovers, and I don’t want the family to eat them.
I happen to love potato chips and will eat them when offered. But I always regret it, and find I don’t sleep well after indulging. I figure I’m not the only one who appreciates healthier options.
My other problem is that as much as I preach about planning, when I make my grocery list I usually forget I am hosting soon. So I get stuck either buying in a more expensive store or having to make do with what I have.
Necessity is the mother of invention so I’ve come up with options for refreshments from foods I usually have on hand.
Healthy suggestions for meeting refreshments:
- Homemade cake, cookies, or muffins.
- Popcorn. You can flavor it with grated cheese, hot pepper or other spices. Store raw kernels in the freezer. If you don’t have a popcorn maker, pop them in a saucepan with a cover. Avoid the microwave versions.
- Dried fruit including raisins.
- Sliced fresh fruit.
- Nuts or seeds. These can be kept in the freezer to have on hand.You can mix with dried fruit or chocolate chips if you life.
- Cut-up vegetables. Serve with soft cheese, salad dressing, or chumus.
Regular readers won’t be surprised to learn I don’t buy bottled mineral water. It’s bad for the environment, and its quality is not regulated to the same degree. I don’t filter tap water, either. Some people don’t like the taste but I am used to it and even prefer it to Brita-filtered water. And the minerals in tap water are good for you.
I particularly dislike buying and serving diet drinks. For a short meeting (as opposed to a meal) most will be left and I don’t want it in the house. I’ve been known to offer the remainder to guests who enjoy it.
If you do serve bottled drinks frequently, keep a supply on hand. They keep for months, if not longer.
In addition to, or instead of bottled drinks, you can serve:
- Tap water in a pitcher. Add slices of lemon or orange to make it more elegant.
- Fresh lemonade or orange juice. This requires squeezing a lot of fruit.
- Water flavored with a smaller amount of fresh juice. I see they even sell it that way now.
- Smoothies are a special treat. All you need is fresh or frozen fruit, ice cubes, and milk or yogurt.
- Coffee, tea, or cocoa.
One of the truisms that virtually everyone has heard is that ‘the rich get richer.’ Why is that? Well, in modern times one answer is that families of great wealth avail themselves of Family Office structures. So, what is a Family Office? It is a comprehensive team of professionals: the estate planning attorney, the tax attorney, the CPA, the financial planner, the investment adviser, the life insurance agent, the property and casualty insurance broker, and finally the family office administrator.
So what’s the big deal, you ask? Except for the family office administrator, don’t most people with reasonable assets and income employ all these professionals? Not really. Ask yourself: “When is the last time I got my estate planning attorney, tax attorney, CPA, financial planner, investment adviser, life insurance agent, and property and casualty insurance broker all together in the same room, working together on a comprehensive plan for me?” The answer for most people is “Never!” As a matter of fact, for most people, these professionals have never even spoken to each other, and most of the time, don’t even know each other’s names.
Why is this so important? Why could having all these professionals meeting on a regular basis be so important to you and your family? There are hundreds of questions that need to be answered every year. Here are a few of them:
1. Have you changed your will and trust since the birth, death or divorce of a child?
Probably not. Your lawyer doesn’t know about the changes, and you’re too busy.
2. Has your life insurance agent established the lowest-costing insurance available in the market this year, or simply used the company he has a contract with?
Most probably, he has a vested interest in selling and maintaining policies with his current company, not finding you the lowest cost among 1600 life insurance companies.
3. Has your CPA run a cost/benefit analysis on your life insurance policies?
Probably not. In a sample series of calls made in researching this article, I couldn’t locate even a single CPA who had ever received a request of this nature.
4. Has your property and casualty insurance been re-quoted every year to minimize the cost of coverage for your autos, homes, businesses, and everything else? Have these coverage been analyzed to make sure that the liability limits are sufficient to trigger your umbrella coverage?
Probably not. In fact, I was unable to find a single person who had ever had this done even once!
5. Has anyone ever held your investment advisory’s feet to the fire, asking him to justify his selection of investments based on the very best returns earned worldwide on those same investment classes?
Probably not. In fact, I was unable to locate a single investment adviser who could even name the top two or three money managers of portfolios similar to those they themselves used for their own clients!
6. Does your CPA allocate the time to actually provide significant tax advice each year, or does he simply prepare your tax return and determine the lowest tax bill after 12/31, when it’s impossible to make any changes to your financial structure?
Probably the latter.
You could probably ask yourself hundreds of questions like these, and would no doubt arrive at the same answers. This analysis is virtually never done. But going through this exercise, I’m sure you’ll conclude that while this is incredibly important, you would barely know where to start. Attending a family office conference can help you to learn more about the family office. You couldn’t imagine scheduling all these people into a meeting room and coordinating an all-day meeting watching your advisers justify to each other member of your team the decisions they have made on your behalf. I’m sure you would agree that even scheduling a meeting like this would trigger a flurry of activity by all of these professionals as they scrambled to analyze the actions they had recommended for you, especially when they realize that the rest of the members of your team are going to scrutinize their actions!
So why doesn’t everyone do this? It’s because they are missing a key member on their team. They are missing a family office administrator – a professional who is retained to take on the responsibility of organizing this annual comprehensive review. The very wealthy usually have this professional on their staff. But the ‘regular millionaire,’ the physician, the entrepreneur, and business owner don’t know where to turn. They can’t justify the cost of a high-level professional administrator, and wouldn’t be able to locate someone with the broad experience to take on this task, even if they could afford it.
So what can they do? They can retain a family office management firm; a company in the business of providing this service to hundreds of clients on a shared-cost basis.
1. One firm engages in comprehensive data-gathering: building a portfolio of every will, trust, business agreement, incorporation papers, insurance policies, and investments, along with detailed personal and corporate financial statements.
2. The portfolio is then transferred to the firm’s Planning Department where their CPAs and attorneys review everything and prepare a list of issues that need to be addressed.
3. Telephone conferences are then scheduled with each of the client’s advisors. The client’s attorney, CPA, etc. are provided an explanation of the new family office structure being put in place under the direction of the firm. Then a discussion is held on the issues raised by the Planning Department.
4. Over a period of several weeks or months, a series of comprehensive changes are arrived at, and an all-day meeting is scheduled with the client and all of his advisors. The new proposed plan is presented and over the course of the day, the client will make his decisions. There is never an issue of “I’d like to check this out with my attorney, CPA, Agent, Broker, etc.” because all of these people are sitting right in front of him.
5. The firm’s Client Services Department then takes over, supervising the implementation of all the agreed-on changes and additions.
What makes this procedure so efficacious is that it is an annual event, possibly even semi-annual for clients with a great deal of wealth or a lot of activity. And it enables the client to employ a team of high-end professionals at a cost that makes sense.
Once the family office is in place, another very important consideration is that most CPAs are simply tax preparers and only incorporate basic planning techniques, if any at all. Firms incorporate very advanced, IRS-compliant tax planning strategies that have been used for decades by wealthy families and their advisors, as well as major U.S. corporations, and have made them available to the ordinary millionaire. They work with their client’s CPA and investment people to educate them on these strategies. A typical plan might include the following objectives:
• To place assets in the most effective asset protection vehicles
• To provide a tax-efficient environment in which most investments, including real estate, securities, closely held stock, etc., can experience lower tax rates and sometimes no taxes at all.
• To provide business owners the ability to use Fortune 500-type strategies to reduce corporate taxation.
• To increase net worth and funds available for retirement through compliant tax planning and to minimize the taxation on these funds when they are withdrawn.
Whether you employ a professional family office administrator or do the work yourself, it is essential that all professionals, business people, and people with reasonable wealth conduct this annual exercise. Implementing the above mentioned advanced tax planning strategies and reducing various tax loads associated with one’s pre-tax income and after-tax investments can literally change the way you live and when you retire. There is probably no more important planning work you can do.
Have you always promised yourself that you would never take one of those working vacations like all of those other “crazies” that you’ve seen? Or, are you glad your kids chose a college so far away that you don’t have to see them or hear from them (accept for holidays of course… because how can you stop them from coming home for a good home-cooked meal)? If that describes you then you probably don’t want to read the rest.
But, if you are the kind, perhaps one of those “crazies like me”, that ends up taking a vacation only to find it’s actually more refreshing to be part of your office while on vacation, and/or the tempo of your heart paces more comfortably when you are able to touch your kids even a thousand miles away, then I am certainly happy to share this free insight into today’s way of keeping in touch today. It’s mainly a matter of keeping up with the fast pace of changing technology.
But, who can keep up with technology today?
What I’d like to do today, in this article, is take a quick glimpse into some of the technologies available today for us that find comfort by keeping in touch with our ‘important stuff’.
Three technologies we’re peeking at today are the virtual office, Wiki, and Weconferencing.
It’s so easy to look around and see the technology flying by so fast that… well, it runs on by and we didn’t even see it.
Technology has actually outgrown even the telephone. Not to say that it hasn’t incorporated the phone in its’ growth because it definitely has. But, today’s new technologies have gotten to the point where the phone is so much the lesser necessary evil that we’ve all come to rely on.
In this article, we are focusing on three major new innovations in the cyber-world today that, without doubt, are propelling the communications world into the future.
The three accelerating applications today are:
- o The Virtual Office;
- o Wiki; and
- o Webconferencing
With the virtual office you can use its many applications to set up a group calendar and address book, delegate tasks to other members of the group, broadcast family or company news and perhaps shoot out reminders concerning birthdays, meetings, etc.
You set up the virtual office and you decide who becomes a member and who doesn’t, what can and cannot be shared, and who can or cannot do the sharing.
A good way to try it and find out its’ benefits in your world is to start out with a basic version which can be obtained for free. That’s always a good thing, isn’t it?
And by incorporating Wiki in your virtual office you’ll have set up a web page that you allow (or disallow) members to write, format, edit, and link information and members with permissions can edit or revise the page.
As for webconferencing, there really is really nothing simpler than setting up your own video-conferencing stations. Assuming each member of the family or your office stations already have speakers or headsets all you need is hook up the internet (broadband), a microphone and a web cameras to the computers. Bingo, you’re in there.
With your microphone and web-cam you’ve certainly cut back on any reasons (excuses) for absenteeism at any family or office meetings.
Put three things together virtual office, Wiki, and web-conferencing, you’ll find that there is nothing that you as a group can’t do!
Already have the web-cam, speakers, and microphone? All you need for your family, workgroups and business teams to begin sharing and keeping in touch is a web-based collaboration tool.
Finding an appropriate outing to suit the whole family or a large group of friends is often quite difficult. With people of varying ages and tastes and abilities, it can certainly be a challenge finding an activity that will please everyone. But what can one do? Catching up with family and friends is so enjoyable. Luckily, there are some great options out there that everyone is sure to enjoy. Getting outdoors and enjoying what your city has to offer can be highly rewarding and very enjoyable.
Picnic in the Park
This is a fairly obvious choice for both family and/or friends but often it is easy to forget about the many beautiful parks that your city has to offer. If the weather is nice then meet for a picnic at any number of parks across the city. Be it a small local park or a larger city garden, it is such a relaxing way enjoy each other’s company and take some time to enjoy the beauty of nature. Get everyone to bring a dish of food for a simple, fresh picnic in the sun. Every age group will love a day out like this. This might seem like an odd choice for a corporate event but on a warm summers night, instead of Friday night drinks in the office, why don’t you consider a late picnic in the park, something different from the standard office or a bar will definitely be appreciated.
A Day at the Beach
This is such a popular activity. Try and organise this outing far in advance so that everyone knows when it is and can join in, often you might have to drive an hour or so to get to a really nice beach away from the city. Then you can relax and really enjoy yourselves in the sand and surf. Be prepared and pack all that you will need for the whole day, you might even like to make a weekend of it. The beauty of a day at the beach is that there are a range of relaxing and exciting activities that you can do in the one place. Whether it’s beach cricket, swimming in the waves, exploring rock pools, walking or relaxing with a book, everyone will enjoy this day together. This might be too hard to coordinate for a large corporate event but could be a great company initiative for team bonding with a ‘bring your family to the beach’ theme with lunch and transport provided. Employees are sure to like this unique idea.
This may be something you had not considered but you should definitely think about a day of go karting fun. Most large cities are likely to have two or three go karting facilities to choose from and some are more suited to large groups than others but what can be guaranteed is that everyone will love the excitement and the challenge of go karting.
Go karting adheres to strict safety rules and is enjoyed by all ages from young to old. Your track should provide you with all the required safety equipment such as jumpsuits and helmets. On a day with pleasant weather, an outdoor track s definitely preferable, often tracks will have viewing areas so that even if you aren’t racing, you can still watch the fun unfold.
A good track should have a range of different powered karts, slower ones for the kids and faster ones for adults seeking a bit more of a thrill. Your track should be big, wide and have a number of challenging S curves, sharp corners and long straights so you can go fast.
Go karting corporate events are becoming increasingly popular for the fun, excitement, team building and bonding that they encourage in workplaces. Go karting venues will often have catering available, kitchen facilities, or a cafe; the good ones should have a barbeque that you can hire so you can spend a good amount of time and bring your own food on the day. Some tracks even have night time racing and great value packages available to make your day cost efficient. This is a great option for your gatherings and something different to the norm.
Do some research and take the opportunity to get out of the city and enjoy the surrounding country. The more you look, the more you will find; country towns and regions have so much to offer and you are sure to find something to fill your day with. Getting away from the usual routine is a great way to share experiences and bond with family and friends and you should always try and get to know your state or country better.
A wine tasting day in the country is one of the more popular corporate event ideas. It offers a great chance to get out of the normal office environment as the combination of beautiful countryside, quality wine and time spent away from work is great for nurturing friendships rather than just ‘working relationships.’
Conference call services have plenty to offer you– there are conference call services for both business and personal needs. Business owners find that conference calling more than pays for itself in a very short number of calls, and people have many personal needs that can be easily taken care of through a conference call.
With the cost of travel going up all around us, it can seem impossible to effectively communicate like you want to for your business. Since that outreach is a necessity, it isn’t possible to just completely cut it out of your schedule. What you can do though is save a fortune by using conference call services instead of traveling far away for the meetings. This will allow you to stay connected with those you need to, and they won’t need to travel to you and you don’t need to travel to them.
Depending on the plan you have, there are many different phone lines that can call into your meeting. Many of them allow up to five while others can handle a significantly larger volume than that. You will need to compare plans in order to get a realistic idea of what all is offered. Those plans seem to continually change in order for the providers to keep up with the demands of the businesses. They also try to come up with better ways to get your business over their competitors.
Don’t underestimate the value of conference call services. In addition to saving you money there is the aspect of time. Most of us feel that we have more to do at work than time to accomplish it. By taking advantage of these types of services you will be able to stay on top of things with ease. You can be assured all of your communication networks are met. You can avoid limiting the growth of your business due to an entity that is thousands of miles from where you are.
Henry Kravis co-founded Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts & Co. and pioneered the buyout business in the 1970s. He has managed to stay at the top of his field for over three decades now.
Henry Kravis attended a prep school in Connecticut as a child and headed off to Claremont McKenna in California. Reportedly, Henry spent his freshman year without much focus. However, by his senior year, Henry Kravis managed to turn things around and earned a spot at Columbia Business School. He later ended up at Bear Stearns with thanks going to an intervening cousin, George Roberts, who worked at the firm. Jerome Kohlberg became a mentor to both men and taught them about leveraged buyouts (LBO), or “bootstrap acquisition.” Later all three men joined forces to found Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts & Co., an early pioneer in the LBO business.
One of the most notable contributions by Henry Kravis for KKR was a $31 billion hostile takeover of RJR Nabisco. This feat was later chronicled by John Helyar and Bryan Burrough in Barbarians At The Gate. This accomplishment transformed him into one of the most prominent financiers of his time. Nearly thirty decades after its original founding, KKR remains one of the top companies in private equity circles.
In 2006, Henry Kravis orchestrated a $33 billion dollar deal to acquire the country’s largest chain of hospitals, HCA and then further impressed his colleagues with a $45 billion dollar buyout of the energy company TXU combined with TPG and Goldman Sachs.
During the summer of 2007, the often frantic deal-making stance of KKR came to a quick halt. The failing credit market impeded future deals, as well as threatened to break deals that were in the process of being negotiated. The subsequent mortgage issues managed to delay his plans to take KKR public. Also damaged by the credit crisis was KKR Financial, an affiliated mortgage-related securities investment fund. In 2008, Kravis sold off Kohlberg, Kravis, and Roberts’ controlling stake in the company.
Henry Kravis retired in 1987, but his name is still embossed on his old office door. The third founding member of KKR, George Roberts, continues to work at the company, with his main base of operations being located in Menlo Park.
Henry Kravis has been the city’s most active philanthropist and has been a board member at Mount Sinai since 1981. In 1988, he donated $10 million dollars to Mount Sinai and has since contributed millions more, including a $15 million dollar contribution in 2002 to fund the hospital’s Valentin Fuster-led heart center. In 2006, Henry donated over $10 million dollars to the Columbia Business School and has underwritten a wing at the Metropolitan Museum, as well as two galleries at MoMA.
As a reliable Republican party donor, Henry Kravis actively raised money for both of President George Bush’s campaigns and played a part in organizing the Republican convention in New York in 2004. When 2007 arrived, Henry announces his official support for Senator John McCain and additionally signed on as New York state’s fundraising co-chair.
Henry Kravis has continuously kept up with his love of golf that began while in college. Quite often, Henry can be found out on the golf course hitting around a few balls. Over the years, Henry has amassed an impressive art collection – a collection including works by Renoir, Sisley, and Monet. Recently he has begun selling many of his impressionist paintings and is more inclined to purchase contemporary works.
Private equity is used to broadly group funds and investment companies that provide capital on a negotiated basis generally to private businesses and primarily in the form of equity (i.e. stock). This category of firms is a superset that includes venture capital, buyout-also called leveraged buyout (LBO)-mezzanine, and growth equity or expansion funds. The industry expertise, amount invested, transaction structure preference, and return expectations vary according to the mission of each.
Venture capital is one of the most misused financing terms, attempting to lump many perceived private investors into one category. In reality, very few companies receive funding from venture capitalists-not because they are not good companies, but primarily because they do not fit the funding model and objectives. One venture capitalist commented that his firm received hundreds of business plans a month, reviewed only a few of them, and invested in maybe one-and this was a large fund; this ratio of plan acceptance to plans submitted is common. Venture capital is primarily invested in young companies with significant growth potential. Industry focus is usually in technology or life sciences, though large investments have been made in recent years in certain types of service companies. Most venture investments fall into one of the following segments:
· Business Products and Services
· Computers and Peripherals
· Consumer Products and Services
· Financial Services
· Healthcare Services
· IT Services
· Media and Entertainment
· Medical Devices and Equipment
· Networking and Equipment
As venture capital funds have grown in size, the amount of capital to be deployed per deal has increased, driving their investments into later stages…and now overlapping investments more traditionally made by growth equity investors.
Like venture capital funds, growth equity funds are typically limited partnerships financed by institutional and high net worth investors. Each are minority investors (at least in concept); though in reality both make their investments in a form with terms and conditions that give them effective control of the portfolio company regardless of the percentage owned. As a percent of the total private equity universe, growth equity funds represent a small portion of the population.
The main difference between venture capital and growth equity investors is their risk profile and investment strategy. Unlike venture capital fund strategies, growth equity investors do not plan on portfolio companies to fail, so their return expectations per company can be more measured. Venture funds plan on failed investments and must off-set their losses with significant gains in their other investments. A result of this strategy, venture capitalists need each portfolio company to have the potential for an enterprise exit valuation of at least several hundred million dollars if the company succeeds. This return criterion significantly limits the companies that make it through the opportunity filter of venture capital funds.
Another significant difference between growth equity investors and venture capitalist is that they will invest in more traditional industry sectors like manufacturing, distribution and business services. Lastly, growth equity investors may consider transactions enabling some capital to be used to fund partner buyouts or some liquidity for existing shareholders; this is almost never the case with traditional venture capital.
The Leveraged Buy Out (LBO) or the “bootstrap buy out,” is a strategy on buying a business usually with significant assets, maximizing private investors monies. These strategies are frequently used with publicly held businesses; however similar strategies can be used to buy a small or medium sized business. Here are a few tricks on how to structure a small or medium sized business. This strategy will generally work for businesses with a purchase price of $10MM or less.
1. Choose a business with assets that are easily leveraged – Items that are easy to leverage include solid accounts receiveables, real estate, marketable inventories, certain types of automobiles, and certain types of furniture, fixtures and equipment. Assets that are harder to leverage include unproven or unmarketable intellectual property, accounts receiveables from bad or slow paying companies, bad debts owed to the company, and furniture fixtures and equipment that are hard to market (old computers, desks, chairs, and filing cabinets.) Remember that most assets can be leveraged but most savvy lenders will look for assets where the value can be recouped immediately. Do your homework to make sure these assets can be leveraged.
2. Set realistic expectations with investors – This is the area that will get you a great book of investors. Remember that most savvy investors will rigorously look at your business plan and model. Set very clear expectations with your investors, make them money, and they will continue to come back to you. If problems arise be very honest, hiding problems will create bigger obstacles in the future.
3. Forecast your financials – Regretfully business forecasting becomes a little more art than science. Forecasting your expenses, sales, and contingencies, is the number one reason that new business acquisitions fail. The seller will sell the great potential, the buyer will buy based on what they’ve been sold or believe to be true (not on past performance,) and consequently the acquisition may struggle and even fail. What happens if you only make 50%, 60%, 80%? Will you still be in business?
4. Never give up – Most acquistions falter because the new business buyer thinks that it’s all sunshine and roses. You have to have absolute determination to make the venture succeed.
5. Be creative – If you study many larger mergers you will see that the successful acquisitions almost always use some form of barter. The merger will include trade for advertisement, services, or raw materials. Remember cash is the one asset that is hard to replenish. Be creative in your process.
Private equity is a kind of equity investment in an asset that cannot be traded freely on the stock market. Private equity is of many kinds, including mezzanine capital, angel investing, leveraged buyout, venture capital etc.
Private Equity: How it Works
Private equity funds are set up as limited partnerships. These limited partnerships are controlled by private equity companies that are the general partner in the limited partnership. The private equity company encourages individuals and institutions to invest in the private equity fund. This way, the investors become limited partners, though the general partner controls the company management. When the general partner thinks that a particular investment is feasible, it asks the limited partner to invest the amount it guaranteed. The general partner chooses the investment portfolio of the partnership, while the limited partner provides funds for investing. The limited partner, or investor, in turn profits through sales, mergers, recapitalization or initial public offering.
Categories of Private Equity:
Private equity has many kinds of investments that fall under it, but the major ones include growth capital, angel investing, venture capital and leveraged buyout.
Advantages of Private Equity Funds:
1) Funds gotten through private equity are crucial for the growth of industry and the development of innovative products.
2) Private equity funds are used for expanding working capital.
3) Private equity funds are helpful when it comes to facilitating mergers and acquisitions.
4) Private equity funds make a company’s balance sheet stronger, and help it develop.
5) Private equity funds are a great way to obtain funds for small businesses and start-ups that have not been able to get loans or grants.
6) The general partner runs the company, so the investing partner, or the limited partner, cannot interfere in the management of the company.
Disadvantages of Private Equity Funds:
Apart from advantages, private equity funds have certain drawbacks.
1) Since private equity funds are not open to investment on the stock market, anybody who wants to sell stocks of a private equity fund finds it difficult to locate a buyer.
2) There are certain transfer limits on private equity.
3) Most individuals cannot afford the high investments required in a private equity.
Private equity funds are an excellent investment options for venture capitals and other organizations looking for long-term investment in projects that will bring in good returns. However, they are not open for public trading and not affordable to minor investors and individuals. Forming a private equity fund is a good option for small business owners who have not been able to source funds for their start-ups or long running business from any other source.
Leveraged Buyout (LBO) has been in the news recently which said that, Corus – an Anglo-Dutch company would be taken over by TATA – an Indian company.
Being a relatively new business concept for us, this Article aims to highlight what ‘LBO’ is all about, its advantages and disadvantages. It cannot be ruled out that, India Inc. may have to see take-overs in the form of LBOs, amidst Globalisation.
What does LBO actually mean technically?
Simply put – it is the purchase of a company by using a small investment and a large loan. The new owner would gain control with a small amount of invested capital because he or she is able to secure a large loan for the balance of the amount needed. A leveraged balance sheet has a small portion of equity capital and therefore a large portion of loan capital.
Leveraged Buyout – also called as ‘Highly-Leveraged Transaction (HLT)’ – occurs when a financial sponsor gains control of a majority of a target company’s equity through the use of borrowed money or debt.
Typically, the loan capital is borrowed through a combination of prepayable bank facilities and/or public or privately placed bonds, which may be classified as high-yield debt, also called junk bonds. Often, the debt will appear on the acquired company’s balance sheet and the acquired company’s free cash flow will be used to repay the debt.
A leveraged buyout is essentially a strategy involving the acquisition of another company using a significant amount of borrowed money (bonds or loans) to meet the cost of acquisition. Often, the assets of the company being acquired are used as collateral for the loans in addition to the assets of the acquiring company. The purpose of leveraged buyouts is to allow companies to make large acquisitions without having to commit a lot of capital. In an LBO, there is usually a ratio of 70% debt to 30% equity. LBOs today focus more on growth and complicated financial engineering to achieve their returns.
What is believed to be the first leveraged buyout in business history is through the acquisition of Orkin Exterminating Company in 1964. However, the first LBO may have been the purchase by McLean Industries, Inc. of Waterman Steamship Corporation in May 1955.
The Theory of the Leveraged Buyout:
While every leveraged buyout is unique with respect to its specific capital structure, the one common element of a leveraged buyout is the use of financial leverage to complete the acquisition of a target company. In an LBO, the private equity firm acquiring the target company will finance the acquisition with a combination of debt and equity, much like an individual buying a rental house with a mortgage .Just as a mortgage is secured by the value of the house being purchased, some portion of the debt incurred in an LBO is secured by the assets of the acquired business. The bought-out business generates cash flows that are used to service the debt incurred in its buyout, just as the rental income from the house is used to pay down the mortgage. In essence, an asset acquired using leverage helps pay for itself.
In a successful LBO, equity holders often receive very high returns because the debt holders are predominantly locked into a fixed return, while the equity holders receive all the benefits from any capital gains. Thus, financial buyers invest in highly leveraged companies seeking to generate large equity returns. An LBO fund will typically try to realize a return on an LBO within three to five years. Typical exit strategies include an outright sale of the company, a public offering or a recapitalization.
Exit Strategy Comments
Sale: Often the equity holders will seek an outright sale to a strategic buyer, or even another financial buyer Initial Public Offering. While an IPO is not likely to result in the sale of the entire entity, it does allow the buyer to realize a gain on its investment Recapitalization: The equity holders may recapitalize by re-leveraging the entity, replacing equity with more debt, in order to extract cash from the company.
LBO Candidate Criteria
Given the proportion of debt used in financing a transaction, a financial buyer’s interest in an LBO candidate depends on the existence of, or the opportunity to improve upon, a number of factors. Specific criteria for a good LBO candidate include:
o Steady and predictable cash flow
o Divestible assets
o Clean balance sheet with little debt
o Strong management team
o Strong, defensible market position
o Viable exit strategy
o Limited working capital requirements
o Synergy opportunities
o Minimal future capital requirements
o Potential for expense reduction
o Heavy asset base for loan collateral
Criticism of LBOs
Critics of leveraged buyouts argue that these transactions harm the long-term competitiveness of firms involved. First, these firms are unlikely to have replaced operating assets since their cash flow must be devoted to servicing the LBO-related debt. Thus, the property, plant and equipment of LBO firms are likely to have aged considerably during the time when the firm is privately held. In addition, expenditures for repair and maintenance may have been curtailed as well. Finally, it is possible that research and development expenditures have also been controlled. As a result, the future growth prospects of these firms may be significantly reduced.
Others argue that LBO transactions have a negative impact on the stakeholders of the firm. In many cases, LBOs lead to downsizing of operations, and employees may lose their jobs. In addition, some of the transactions have negative effects on the communities in which the firms are located.
Much of the controversy regarding LBOs has resulted from the concern that senior executives negotiating the sale of the company to themselves are engaged in self-dealing. On one hand, the managers have a fiduciary duty to their shareholders to sell the company at the highest possible price. On the other hand, they have an incentive to minimize what they pay for the shares. Accordingly, it has been suggested that management takes advantage of superior information about a firm’s intrinsic value. The evidence, however, indicates that the premiums paid in leveraged buyouts compare favorably with those in inter-firm mergers that are characterized by arm’s-length negotiations between the buyer and seller.
Advantages and Disadvantages
A successful LBO can provide a small business with a number of advantages. For one thing, it can increase management commitment and effort because they have greater equity stake in the company. In a publicly traded company, managers typically own only a small percentage of the common shares, and therefore can participate in only a small fraction of the gains resulting from improved managerial performance. After an LBO, however, executives can realize substantial financial gains from enhanced performance.
This improvement in financial incentives for the firm’s managers should result in greater effort on the part of management. Similarly, when employees are involved in an LBO, their increased stake in the company’s success tends to improve their productivity and loyalty. Another potential advantage is that LBOs can often act to revitalize a mature company. In addition, by increasing the company’s capitalization, an LBO may enable it to improve its market position.
Successful LBOs also tend to create value for a variety of parties. For example, empirical studies indicate that the firms’ shareholders can earn large positive abnormal returns from leveraged buyouts. Similarly, the post-buyout investors in these transactions often earn large excess returns over the period from the buyout completion date to the date of an initial public offering or resale.
Not all LBOs are successful, however, so there are also some potential disadvantages to consider. If the company’s cash flow and the sale of assets are insufficient to meet the interest payments arising from its high levels of debt, the LBO is likely to fail and the company may go bankrupt. Attempting an LBO can be particularly dangerous for companies that are vulnerable to industry competition or volatility in the overall economy. If the company does fail following an LBO, this can cause significant problems for employees and suppliers, as lenders are usually in a better position to collect their money. Another disadvantage is that paying high interest rates on LBO debt can damage a company’s credit rating. Finally, it is possible that management may propose an LBO only for short-term personal profit.
A common question asked in the website building industry is: What is SEO? Well, SEO meaning, Search Engine Optimization, is the art (and really the science) of publishing and marketing web-based content in a way that brings significant profitability and targeted traffic to your website. Think of SEO as a method of optimizing how you set up the title, description, and keywords on your site. SEO is vital not only because it brings a great deal of visitors to your website, but also because it helps to boost your return on investment if harnessed correctly. It is an inexpensive way to help your website get more page views by creating Web pages that rank highly in search engine results. The bottom line is that investing in SEO, whether through time or money, can have an extraordinary rate of return.
In addition to making content available on search engines, SEO can also help boost rankings so that content that has been found will be placed where searchers will more readily see it. The average person is not willing to dig deeply for the information they seek, so your site needs to be as high up on the search engine list as possible. What is critical to the whole process of SEO is keyword research. Another important and frequently ignored idea in SEO is building a site that deserves top rankings on a search engine. Good search engine optimizing combines design, user friendliness, and content. While SEO is not too difficult a science, experts apply meticulous logic in order to reverse-engineer the so-called “black box” otherwise known as the search engines’ algorithms in order to identify, quantify, and qualify the hundreds of factors that play a part in search engine ranking. Patience, along with a great deal of skill and knowledge are virtues that should be used when creating optimal SEO.
In your quest to answer the question: What is SEO? be wary (and cautious) of search engine optimizers that claim to guarantee rankings, claim a “special relationship” with Google or any other top search engines, or advertise that they have a “priority submit” association with Google. SEO practitioners can legitimately help themselves by making sure that their websites are more relevant by making the pertinent information clear and easy to access. So often, optimizers merely use spamming techniques to artificially inflate the perceived relevancy of their inferior sites. However, throughout their continued evolution, the major search engines have become well aware of that technique. If done well, SEO is a part of each and every online marketing act, resulting in the improved visibility of the site. In the end, the art of SEO should make a site worthy of a higher ranking, and not simply push it beyond what it’s worth. Basic SEO techniques will get your site to where it belongs in the search engine rankings, but aggressive SEO can place you much higher in the rankings than your site would ordinarily be from using simple so-so techniques.
If you have spent any time on the computer, have looked into making money online or have a website you have certainly heard the term SEO. What is it? Why is it such a big deal? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is crucial in the internet marketing world.
Using SEO correctly can help your site to reach the top of the Google, Yahoo and Bing search pages! SEO can also increase your traffic enormously! As these two goals are paramount to having a successful internet business, you can certainly see why there is so much buzz about SEO.
The meat behind SEO is called keywords. Keywords are the terms or phrases you use to describe your product or service, but they must also be words that the average internet user would use to search for your product or service. Many people make the mistake of being too vague when choosing keywords. For example if you are selling Guitar Strings you wouldn’t want to use simply the word Guitar as your keyword. You would want to get specific and use Guitar Strings as your keyword phrase.
Once you decide on your keywords, you want to use them not only in your website address, for example: Thebestguitarstings (not a real address, just an example), but also in your titles, and in the body of your website (articles).
Search engines seek out sites that give valuable information and are consistent with their idea or keyword. So if your keyword is Guitars and your site is all about music, the search engine won’t rank you very high. On the other hand if your keyword is guitar strings and your site is all about specific types and styles and makes and strengths of guitar strings the search engines will rank you much higher. Consistency and using keywords that apply to your idea are key! SEO can make or break your site, use it wisely!
You’ve probably heard of the popular social bookmarking sites like Digg and Reddit. These are examples of social bookmarking sites where users can share links to their favorite content from around the web.
You may have also heard how some people are increasing their rankings with the use of bookmarks. So what is social bookmarking in SEO?
The Spammy Way to Use Bookmarks for SEO
Sadly, the popular and most discussed way of utilizing bookmarks for SEO is very spammy. The strategy is quite simple, make as many social bookmarks on as many different bookmarking sites as you can. That’s it really.
The theory behind it is that a bookmark is a link, and links help your site rank higher. However, one social bookmarking carries very little value in the eyes of the search engines. The obvious solution is to submit tons and tons of them.
Commonly, spam link builders will create a few web properties on sites like Blogger and Squidoo and then link to them with hundreds of bookmarks. Usually, there are hundreds of article submission involved as well in this link building process, each of which also gets bookmarked.
In the end, you have tons of very low value links built in the hopes that added together they will amount to something.
I don’t recommend using bookmarks like this.
The Right Way to Use Bookmarks for SEO
The right way to use bookmarks is harder in some ways, but much easier in others. It’s also mind-blowingly simple. You ready?
Create a piece of quality content and bookmark it on a handful of sites. That’s it. Now let me explain why this works and isn’t just the lazy way to bookmark.
Let’s recall what social bookmarking sites are really for. They’re for sharing great content with other people on the web. This is the reason people visit them and vote on content, comment on it, and share it with others.
The most important piece of the puzzle is the content itself. If you have taken the time to create something awesome, which can simply be a killer blog post, then you stand a really good chance of attracting lots of traffic from every bookmarking site you submit to.
Now how does this help with your SEO? Your average web user will simply share a link on Facebook or a bookmarking site, but those with a web presence may opt to mention it in a forum or even in a blog post. This is how you end up getting quality backlinks from honest social bookmarking submission.
To run through the cycle:
- Create something awesome
- Share it on bookmarking sites
- Sit back and get natural links
The best part about it is you hardly spent anytime making bookmarks or doing anything besides making your site more awesome by creating some fresh new content.
And that’s how social bookmarking should be used for SEO.
Off page SEO is all about the SEO techniques you can use to lift your search engine rankings once your content has been published.
To have your content rank well you need to create back links to your content, preferably from high page ranking sites. There is back linking software available to create thousands of back links but Google in particular is on to this method and can penalize you heavily by dropping your content to lower pages on the search engines. It really isn’t work the risk so in this article I will outline some simple off page SEO techniques that you can implement yourself to create some vital back links to your content.
Make sure you have installed the plugins below onto your Word press Blog
- All-In-One-SEO. This asks you to include a title, description and tags to help optimize your page for the search engines
- Digg Digg. Once installed it will ask you to select which social media icons you would like to have shown above your posts. These make it easy for visitors to your site to share your posts through the social media sites..
- XML Site map. Once installed this plug in is left alone and used by the search engine spiders to make it easier to crawl your site and update their results.
Use the Following off page SEO techniques to get crucial back links to your content from high page ranking sites.
- Join Only-wire.com. By signing up to Only-wire you are able to post your content out to around 30 different high ranking social media sites automatically. This will give you a ton of back links and is well worth the effort of setting up your accounts to the 30 or so sites that they use to syndicate content with. There are 2 options a free membership which gives you up to 300 free submissions per month and a paid option which is around $25.00 per month and gives you around 2,500 submissions per month. Once you start generating a lot of content and syndicating content with others your will want the paid option.
- Join 50 Facebook groups and post links to your content regularly. Facebook is a very high authority site so you get great back links to your content by posting your links here. Be careful not to spam by blatantly just posting links, make sure you leave comments on others links and participate in discussions as well.
- Join A Content Syndication Tribe. A great off page SEO technique is to join a content syndication tribe. Once a member you will want to build up a following of other members who will agree to share your content if you share theirs. This can be a very powerful technique as most of the syndication can be done on autopilot. There are 2 options the free option means you have to manually go in and syndicate yours and other content, where as the paid option can be set up to work on auto pilot.
I personally use all of the above off page SEO techniques and am now seeing the results of my labors with page 1 Google search engine rankings, so these techniques when implemented consistently will give you the vital back links you need to get your content ranked highly on the search engines.
Buzz words come and go, but some are here to stay! Take for example, SMM, SEM, and SEO. Are they just a jumble of confusing letters, or are they important? What do these terms actually mean, and why does that matter to the business owner?
· SMM is short for “social media marketing” and is has to do with the promotion and engagement with fans on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc.
· SEO, “search engine optimization,” directs traffic to your website through specific strategies on your website meant to get a higher ranking on user searches through portals such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing.
· SEM is an acronym for “search engine marketing” and it has to do with getting website traffic to your site through combinations of SEO, as well as with paid advertising efforts. This term is the more broad term, and it includes SEO, but it is more than SEO alone.
Why should you care?
1. Most online marketing companies specialize in one area over another. Know what your goals are before you engage a marketing company to help you so that you engage the right kind of help.
2. Take into consideration that the definitions above are very generalized but there is a major distinction between SMM and SEO/SEM. The first (SMM) focuses on interactions and relationship building, and the second two (SEO/SEM) focus on driving traffic to a website. There is a big difference in the focus. You may need both aspects, but give serious consideration to your goals here.
3. If you skew towards or include SMM, then you need to remember that time and energy will need to be spent on regular, fresh content. Whether you create all of your posts and conversations yourself, or whether you outsource this task, there will need to be daily attention to this effort on your social media platforms. Social media managers tend to be cheaper to hire than SEM/SEO companies, but the return on SMM may seem less profitable because it always takes more time to build relationships, and relationship building does not always translate into immediate sales.
4. If you skew towards or include SEM/SEO, remember that algorithms on how search engine results are acquired change regularly – almost daily. That means you should expect this to be an ongoing commitment, not a one-time fix. To be found on the first page of Google, for instance, is a daily battle. It’s not about relationships or conversations. It’s about links, relentless key word research, updates and adjustments. Payoffs tend to be higher for driving traffic to your website, but that adds an expectation that your website will be continually updated and monitored for the best results.
5. Finally, no matter where you place your emphasis, sales are a result of how engaging you are as a company or a product. Marketing of any kind can only produce visibility and build a reputation. Ultimately, sales come from the customer service, quality of products, and need you fill for your customers. SEM, SEO, and SMM can only assist you in being accountable and getting found. The rest is up to you!