Porter’s Five Forces Model And Internet Competition

According to Porter’s Five Forces Model, in my opinion, competition has increased overall as a result of the internet and e-Commerce. The internet and IT has made it possible to both focus on the top and bottom lines and market share is expanded and costs are cut. Many products and services exist just online, major companies have gone online to successfully augment the brick and mortar corporations, and the playing field is all the way to edges of cyberspace, wherever that is. We will further evaluate this stepping through all five forces.

Buyer power is higher when buyers have more choices. Businesses are forced to add value to their products and services to get loyalty. Many loyalty programs include excellent services that customers demand on-line. Customers want to solve their problems and many times they are more successful on-line than on-phone. Also, we see internet savvy businesses springing up offering more valuable goods and services at lower costs. Now with the advent of eBay, many people are assuming roles as drop shippers. Individuals can have a thriving business selling goods of larger companies without having to carry inventory.

Supplier power is higher when buyers have fewer choices from whom to buy. As mentioned earlier, drop shipping has increased the amount of suppliers available. All an individual has to do is form and agreement to sell products for the company. The company takes care of all the logistics. The same is true of associates programs that Amazon.com and Google.com offer. Associates allow a webmaster to earn money by recommending products from others. This increases supplier offerings.

Threat of substitute products or services is high when there are many product alternatives. This is different than having many suppliers. Examples of alternatives are exchanging brand names, substituting credit card capabilities, and looking at better values from cheaper sources. The internet allows this with the “global economy”. I can substitute my product by purchasing from companies overseas where labor, services and products are cheaper, but of comparable quality.

Threat of new entrants is high when it is easy for new competition to enter the market. Well, what have we been talking about? Now, small operations can open shop with less than $10.00 per month and make a lot of money. As inventive as people are, there are always opportunities to do improve a product or service or just create and sell something new. Recently, many new entrants have made even more money authoring Ebooks that tell others how to do what they did. Rivalry among competitors is high when competition is more intense within industries.

On-line book stores and catalog companies are an excellent example. Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com are very competitive. However, there are many also smaller niche affiliate bookstores that when combined take a great deal of market share. They offer even more competition. However, both major bookstores have used IT to create value for their customers. These values include associates programs, ease of payment and shipping and many, many others.

The internet offers avenues of competition to existing companies and opportunities for start ups. Now businesses can enter the market on-line with few barriers to entry. Porter’s Five Forces Model can help demonstrate the attractiveness of starting your on-line business. A business person should use the model to identify competition, make a plan, and implement the process.

How To Start Investing For Financial Independence, Part 1

Today, I am going to start a multi-part series about how to go from being a beginning investor to being "financially independent" in a steady and predictable way. At our website, we get tons of e-mails about how do I start, how do I start with little $ 's, etc., etc., etc. If you are asking this question, congratulations because you are ahead of most. All of us have been there at some point.

I must warn you …. What I am about to share here for free is what "gurus" across the nation charge thousands of dollars for in weekend seminars. The "secrets" disclosed are going to seem pretty simple because quite frankly, there are no secrets. The methods used here have been done for centuries and there is no real reason to complicate them. Let's apply these principles to see how fast someone might become financially independent without betting the farm.

Realize that everyone has wildly different starting points and different financial goals. For this series of articles, we assume that an individual has access to at least $ 15,000 liquid capital (or home equity) to start, is at least breaking even with their current income income expenses, and has decent credit to obtain financing. Note there yet? …. See the footnote below.

To start, what you need is to make your money grow while keeping your current income stream, and current expense level in place. I can not say this more plainly ….. To change your current financial path, you have to us your money and your time to grow additional income streams that increase wealth. There is many ways to do this but we are going to use investing in real estate as an example.

Now for beginners, here is the really bad news …… As an investor, you reap rewards by putting your money in HARMS WAY. You do everything in your power to minimize your risk but bottom line is that real investors make money by taking CONTROLLED risks. As investors get better, they learn how to make fantastic investment returns doing things that all their friends and relatives thing is crazy ….. However, they know exactly what risks are small in comparison to the potential Rewards.

One reason people really like real estate investing is leaseage; Ie, you can purchase an expensive property using 0-20% of your own money while financing the rest. So if you put 10% down for example, and then the property goes up by 20%, you have made a 200% return (ignoring expenses, taxes, etc. for simplicity). Of course this works in reverse … If the property drops by 20%, you have lost not only your original investment but have to come up with another 10% as well ….. Ouch!

For someone beginning, here is what I would suggest:
1) Look for an opportunity that will return at least 150% in 2 yrs or less;

2) Be mentally and financially prepared if the investment does not work out;

3) Have VERY good reasons why you do not think you will lose money …… You may not make as much as expected but you would rather not lose money at this stage.

4) Be patient. This single result should not either make or break you but it is crucial to a longer term plan.

In our Mastermind Group, we are bringing out a land project (see related article Land Investing that appears to meet these criteria (each investor has to decide for themselves.) So let's say the purchase price is $ 150,000, with 10% down and another $ 3,500 In closing costs. With good credit, then the financing obtained would make the land payments for 2 years while waiting for growth.

Now let's say after you did your analysis, looked at what had happened in the past, looked at why you thought more and more people would want this property, etc., you decide that you think this property will average 20% / Yr escalation over The next 2 years. MORE IMPORTANTLY, you decide that barring a major meltdown in the market, you think there is little chance that you can not at least break even after 2 years.

So if you end up being right about the growth, then you might net a tidy $ 43,000 (before taxes) or so after everything is considered. After long term capital gains at 15% let's say, then you just picked up about $ 36,000 of the "market's money". That is money that if you take a loss on the next investment will not be nearly as painful as if you lost your original money. When you combine this with your original investment amount, you now have around $ 55,000 of operating capital for step 2.

Realistically, you can not predict how much you will make from the investment. When I invest, I try to establish in my mind what is reasonable. Frequently, I have been surprised to the positive and made much more than expected. Sometimes I have made less. The key being put to yourself in a low risk situation where you have a strong reason to believe the market will go in your favor.

To accomplish this first step, let's look at what you really had to do:

1) Had to be willing to put $$ in harm's way;

2) Had to educate yourself enough to evaluate the risk and the opportunity;

3) Had to find the opportunity or be in a position to have the opportunity presented to them;

4) Had to act.

I would like to comment on the education side. As a former professor, I have seen very smart people spend 1,000's of hours and 10,000's of thousands of dollars educating themselves to "earn a living"; This is a great move in many cases. On the other side, I have seen very smart people who want investing to be a major source of income but will not spend any time or any money educating themselves.

To me, this is a recipe for disaster. By the time we finish this series, you will see that with a few simple steps, implemented over time, many people can easily produce more money than their regular job. Tomorrowmore, many people will put 100's of thousands of dollars at risk but know almost nothing about what they are doing. If you chose the path of making your investment dollars grow steadily with time, I hope this does not end up describing you.

** Footnote: If you are not yet at that level, here is what I suggest. First, read Michael Masterson's book called "Automatic Wealth". This is an excellent book on how to quickly change your financial position while staying employed. Next, I would read Van Tharp's new book called "Safe Paths To Financial Freedom". Van uses a very different thought process from many and so adds a great deal of rounding. Like anything else, you will not agree with everything written in these books but they provide some great thought processes. When you have some capital and are cash flow positive, they come back and revisit this article.

Employment Law, Part I

Just how serious is employment law to the small businessperson? Very serious and let me tell you a true story; A horror story, which will make you think about just how serious these issues can be. In San Antonio TX one of our wash trucks was driving down the road and a border Patrol Officer passed them. We run a company which does onsite washing; Http://www.CarwashGuys.com . Down the road they dropped over two trucks and were handcuffing Mexican illegal aliens from those company's work trucks. Our crew drve by on their way to work. They had just left the shop and had on board two workers who worked for Labor Ready Co, for a year and a half previously and were still employed from them from time to time. We had gotten extra workers and filled our service truck with workers who were temporaries to work for us since they needed extra help with the full schedule that day.

The border patrol officer was then done with the other companies' trucks and saw we had Hispanic labor in the back and folded over our truck after chasing it down the highway. Turns out Labor Ready had hired the illegals because theyave fake identification to them; I question the Labor Ready procedures. Labor Ready charges us $ 11.95 per hour for workers they pay $ 5.40 per hour. That is fine with us on those super busy days. So it's a deal and saves us from background checks for jobs that are not too serious like rinsing car lots. Well we found out that 4 of the five workers we had gotten from Labor Ready did not have green cards or US Identification of any type, so they cuffed them right on the highway and took them in. Good, we do not hire illegals anyway. But think about it we hired labor from a reputable nationwide company, a franchise called Labor Ready. They take care of all this stuff and charge us up the gazooo for the workers.

We know they are overcharging but for temporary extra labor for one day it is worth it. They told us there are certain questions that can not ask them when hiring, such as are you a US Citizen or where were you born or things like that. I can not believe we have laws in the banking industry called "Know your customer laws" yet in employment we have no "Know your employee laws". We have an unspoken do not ask the employee anything except when you can start and explain the type of work. We have laws in banking so we catch money launderers and those who are working hard to not pay taxes they owe.

So it is okay for the government to enforce those laws through private enterprise, but it is not okay for employers to ask questions to protect homeland security and save themselves from embarrassment. Of course in this case it is not a crime to hire someone who has given you false information, and we can not collect damages from a company who followed the employment laws? So what the hell do we do here? We want to help enforce the law as well, so do all true Americans. But we have so many laws in place that keep us from helping the situation.

Incidentally the workers who were handcuffed called us at 7 am morning two-days later and are ready to work and asked what time to meet. They were picked up at 9 am hand cuffed and stamped and exported that day. They were back in one day ready to work within 2 days. Some border patrol we have, what a complete joke; Protecting America, me ass? Why not implant a homing devise in these illegals and track them by satellite and find out the leaks in the system and plug them; Homeland Security or Homey Land of opportunity. You step up border patrol and catch these people and document on a board the number of deportees, yet they come the day back into the country. This is a true story you can call me for more information.

We have half a notice to go to the border patrol and give them free truck wash every morning and ask them to run the workers records and remove them from the crew. Sometimes the yellow truck will be known for not hiring illegals. A few weeks of that and every one who comes to work for us from Ready Labor will know it. Is this what we have to do to plug the system? Can not the border patrol guys figure it out; Then we will? If you can not enforce our borders then open them. But do not lie to the small businesses of America that somehow we are protected at our borders. We are not. This is a sham. Did not the Jordan Commission spend years putting together a plan only to have it never implemented? Why did we waste or breath? This is pure politics, not reality; Another of Smoot's points in his book "The Business Side of Government." One of the workers asked to work for us again and he wanted to borrow the twenty dollars he spent for the bus ride from Laredo to San Antonio. Even the illegals think this is a joke. We told him he could not work for us anymore. He did not understand why, because other businesses would have I guess that is why he was dumfounded when we told him to get lost. We called the border Patrol and they said they could not pick him up unless we knew for sure he was illegal. We said well you picked him up yesterday is he suddenly legal now? Can you prove it? No, all we can prove is your system does not work and that Labor Ready is doing an injustice to its customers, stocksholders and this country by not enforcing the laws of our land; The same laws, which have provided economic wealth to them over the years. Are they doing this all over the country? Yes.

The manager of Labor Ready said they did not like the laws either, but they needed to make a living and the companies need workers. So does this mean that Labor Ready who has offices all over Texas never disclosed this to their stockholders or customers? Yes it does, which is a gray area at least and a violation of disclosure law at best. The truth here is that no one cares. We make rules to appease the masses who vote for these things and tell the people we are saving them from terrorists. What about terrorists who are dark skinned and speak Spanish? What if a Middle Eastern spoke Spanish and was a terrorist and told the others he snuck over the border with he was from Argentina, they would not know either. And the business owner would hire them through a temp agency, who was making money off the business owner pointing to employment laws and said, well they had fake paperwork not my fault. Maybe it is not the border patrol's fault but shunning responsibility does not save us from the next attack.

Either we are worried about the next attack or we are not. I want someone to call me from the INS or Border Patrol to discuss this and I want a satisfactory answer or we will take this true story and document it and send it to the media one day before we send it to all the Congressmen and Senators. If we are not worried about terrorists then tell us. If we are, then fix the leaks. Why does it take 10 years to fix problems, when international terrorist groups only wait 3-5 years between acts? Good question worth answering and with all the BS and rhetoric we are seeing opposition from the Hispanic Chambers of Commerce and Hispanic Politicians. With 65% of the population of San Antonio Hispanic who do not want these laws at all, then extend the Mexican Border to include San Antonio TX as a free zone. Why not make it all of Texas and we can then defend the borders of Texas, which can be a free zone with Mexico.

If you are just going to give it lip service and not fix the leaks of illegals then open the borders and forget it. This is pathetic. We know how to enforce the barriers and we give out fines to businesses who do not complain, yet allow free entry by anyone who can walk. I am surprised we have not made ADA mandated border crossings for those in wheel chairs or are asthmatically challenged. Put in 1 foot per 1 inch inclines over the Rio Grande for those in wheel chairs and then nice sidewalks all the way to Washington DC so they can have a baby and run for Congress or become a radical speech writer and proponent of mass demonstrations and guns . You think I am kidding do not you. I am serious all this is so fake and such a ridiculous waste of breath and tax payers money.

End of Employment Law, Part I

Bassett Furniture and Shopping

Bassett furniture store is the preferred furniture showroom by people of the United States. They manufacture furniture in a stylish and attractive manner. The store offers high quality furniture with creative decoration designs. This is the major reason behind success of the company over 100 years. The experts that work for this company have good knowledge about the furniture designs and manufacturing processes.

Bassett Shopping:

Shopping in Bassett is much interesting. The artwork provided in Bassett furniture makes a person feel that he should buy all the furniture to give his home a complete pleasant look. The other accessories like rugs, lamps and mirrors are offered at affordable rates. The furniture that is needed for a kitchen, hall or bedroom is available as packages.

For E.g. If you plan to get the bed room furniture package, you will be provided with beds, night stands, dressing tables, mattresses etc.

Bassett Service:

High Quality and immediate service responses are provided by the employees of Bassett. Quicker delivery procedures are followed when furniture is ordered. Since the company has got professional design consultants with good experiences, they suggest many unique and new designs that makes your home look modern and stylish.

The main objective of Bassett furniture is to make the customer feel satisfied with the furniture quality as well as the furniture price. It is not an easy job for a company to succeed in the furniture business for 100 years, if quality services were not offered. The company has been expanded with 130 branches in Unites States. Bassett has proved to be one among the best stores that offers excellent furnishings at affordable prices.