Thanks to the likes of eBay, buying second hand or used goods has never been as popular (or easy)
as it is today. A lot of mainstream retailers are catching on to this now. You’ve been able to buy used books
on Amazon for a long time now, but even primarily off-line businesses are getting in on the act. My favourite
retailer, Ikea, have now set up a system to facilitate customers disposing of their second hand furniture.
At first glance, this seems counter-intuitive, but there is a logic to it. Having the option to buy used (and
cheaper) second hand furniture will draw more people to the company website, as well as improving customer
goodwill. And of course, sometimes a customer needs to dispose of an old piece of furniture before they’re able to
buy a new one.
Is there some way you could facilitate your customers disposing of the products they no longer need or want,
and if there is, would it help or hinder your business? It’s a question worth asking.
If you own property that stands empty for any time, perhaps a
buy-to-let or a holiday home, you will want to protect it against squatters. This is a useful new
Housing Minister Grant Shapps has launched this anti-squatters guide for homeowners, setting out various rights and
what to do if a property is taken over by squatters.
Pure FX, the currency exchange specialists, offer us an update on
currencies right now – ideal if you are buying or selling overseas or trading or spread-betting
“As expected the Bank of England (BoE) left interest rates unchanged at 0.5 per cent with no additional
quantitative easing (QE) at this month’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting. Many analysts thought that
further QE may have been announced. However, upbeat Q3 GDP, which showed growth at 0.8 per cent rather than the 0.4
per cent forecast, meant the MPC have left further QE on hold (for the moment). Immediately after the announcement,
sterling made gains against many currencies, boosted further by a Halifax housing report displaying a 1.8 per cent
Unlike the US where further QE will begin shortly, Mervyn King and the BoE will sit tight before entering any
further asset purchasing following signs of strength in the UK economy. UK services PMI increased to 53.2 coming in
above forecast and representing the highest figure since June and Purchasing Managers Index figures came in at 54.9
against an expectation of 53. A figure above 50 in both releases represents expansion whereas below 50 suggests
contraction in the sector. UK construction PMI was weaker than expected but generally speaking recent economic data
has been upbeat.
Earlier in October the pound dropped sharply against the euro following concern over the US recovery and a shift in
reserves from US dollars to euros by investors. A reluctance to hold US dollars has seen the euro gain significant
value and some analysts expect this trend to continue. On a positive note for the UK this will help keep sterling
lower against the euro in the short-term and make exports more attractive, thus aiding UK growth.”
We have a fuller update – on the various relationships between sterling, the euro and the US dollar – available on
request. Just email back to receive this.
If you have ever had a problem with an estate agent, or are
currently planning to buy or sell a UK property, you’ll want to read this:
This free report is from the Property Ombudsman and is the 2010 Interim Report. It's worth downloading and, at the
least, skimming so that you know what’s happening right now in the property market.
By my reckoning, this is the busiest week of the year for biz-opp
scammers. Judging by my email inbox, every single scam-artist is offering some sort of ‘opportunity’.
It’s a fairly heartless pitch really – they know that people are starting to think about Christmas more and more
and are looking for extra cash. And that’s the time when these rogues make their move.
So we’ve put together a short, step-by-step guide to spotting scams. If you get to the end of the guide and haven’t
spotted that the biz-opp offered to you is a scam, maybe, just maybe, you’re on to a winner. But play safe anyway –
send us the details if you wish and we’ll give you a second
Who’s Behind It?
You’ll probably feel more comfortable with a long-standing, here-to-stay firm than someone who is new and unknown
and working from a back bedroom. This means that they have an office which you could visit if you wish plus a
‘phone number, fax number and a website and an e-mail address you can use too. They have staff.
There should be some history there as well – find out what they’ve done before, who they have dealt with etc. Dig
around by searching for them on Google at www.google.com. If they’re a company, visit the Companies House web site
at www.companieshouse.gov.uk and check their affairs are all up-to-date with returns and accounts submitted on
time. Google for the directors and see what turns up.
Con-artists aren’t easy to contact. No-one has ever heard of them. Often, they are based overseas so that they are
outside of UK and European Law. They’re here-today, gone-tomorrow ventures that will disappear with your money.
Something not quite add up already? Back off.
What’s The Work?
To make money from a genuine business opportunity, you have to put in something to get something out of it. You’ll
usually need to put in some know-how, expertise, money and/or hard work. If all that goes in, you’ve a chance of
making money somewhere down the line.
Does this biz-opp tell you that? A con-artist won’t! They will say this is a big money opportunity – and will then
offer something outside of your sphere of knowledge. No-one expects to profit all that much from hand-stitching
teddy bears but buying into a fine wine cellar falls into that ‘maybe, just maybe’ category.
Con-artists also often offer something glamorous too - it’s designed to turn your head. They will make out this is
an easy-for-anyone opportunity. You won’t need previous knowledge or expertise of, say, the bloodstock industry.
You won’t need to work hard either Sounds familiar? Walk away.
What’s In It For Them?
Anyone offering a bona-fide business opportunity does so for a simple reason – they want to make money from it.
There is nothing wrong with that. If they’re going to do business with you, you’ll have to bring something to the
table that they haven’t got or cannot get more easily elsewhere. Otherwise, they have no reason to deal with
They also have to make something out of you. What you do has to add to their profits. There is nothing wrong with
that. Does this biz-opp tell you all this though? A con-artist will focus on the wonderful things that are in this
for you – the money, the lifestyle, etc.
You need to ask why they are doing this. You also need to ask yourself ‘Why me?” If the opportunity is so great,
why are they cutting you in – someone who is probably a complete stranger?
What’s The Risk-Reward Ratio?
A genuine business opportunity offers one of two reward-risk ratios. It may offer high rewards and high risks. If
you’re going to invest in a gold mining company in the jungle, the rewards for striking gold may be very high. But
the risk of not finding gold and you losing your money is equally high if not higher. That’s fair enough – most
sensible investors realise that with this you pay your money and you take your choice!
Alternatively, a bona-fide business opportunity may offer low rewards and low risks. If you are going to proof-read
books, for example, you know you’re not going to make your fortune overnight, but it should be relatively steady
and secure in its rewards over time.
The boss called one of his employees into the
"Rob," he said, "you've been with the company for a year now. You
started off in the mail room, one week later you were promoted to a sales position, and one month after that
you were promoted to district manager of the sales department. Just four short months later, you were
promoted to Sales Director. Now, it's time for me to retire, and I want you to take over the
What do you say to that?"
"Thanks,Dad," said the employee.