Monthly Archives: October 2012

Halloween Candy Sales to Support Businesses Throughout the U.S.

According to the Chicago Tribune, businesses expect this year’s Halloween candy sales to be higher than any other time in the last decade.

National Confectioners Association spokeswoman Susan Whiteside explains that while candy “is a luxury,” it is “a very affordable luxury.” This is especially true when “economic times are tough, the things that bring you a lot of happiness that don’t cost a lot of money tend to stay in your budget.”

Consumers will spend around $2.4 billion on candy for this Halloween, according to the association’s predictions. Overall candy sales for the year will pass $32 billion, as well.

Whiteside described the candy favorites, claiming that chocolates are the most popular choice of all the individually-wrapped, large-bagged candies. Still, premium prices for seasonal and holiday-themed treats will tighten the competition. These include the caramel apple Tootsie Rolls.

Halloween falls in the best season for candy-selling businesses. With no other major holidays nearby, Halloween products gets significant display time on store shelves. Some stores even begin devoting aisles for the theme in August. Another advantage for Halloween sales is the cooling weather- according to American Licorice, candies like chocolate are especially hard to carry and sell during the summer months, because it melts.

Michael Kelly, a spokesman for the store, said Halloween is “a nice driver. It’s nice to have the additional volume coming through our factories.”

 

New Member to Board of Directors for United Realty Partners

This month, United Realty Partners, formed in January 2012 by Eli Verschleiser and Jacob Frydman, appointed a new member to the board of directors. Leonard Toboroff, a member of the New York Bar and a practicing attorney since 1961, is currently the director of ENJEX Corp. He is also a director of NOVT Corporation, where he has been since April of 2006 and he has been the director of Asset Alliance Corp. since April 2011.

As Eli Verschleiser said in a recent press release,

“We are thrilled to have Lenny as a new member of our board. His vast corporate and investment experience will make him an important asset to our growing firm.”

Mr. Toboroff joins the board of directors at a time when United Realty Partners is expanding quickly. They recently created a new section called United Realty Capital Markets. Based in New York, the firm advises others about, and invests in, commercial real estate projects in key markets. They sponsor, through their affiliates, SEC-registered Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) that enable outside investors to participate in their firm’s investments.

Together, Eli Verschleiser and Jacob Frydman have invested in over $7 billion in commercial real estate transactions, including some of the most complex projects in the eastern United States.

University Innovations: Todd Meister and iInteract

Some of the best financial investments today aren’t only coming from top-tier investment firms or the stock market. Rather, one unusual place to keep a look out is at the university level. Many colleges today are on the cutting edge of communication technology. It’s no surprise, with the resources and brilliant minds that they have, that college campuses would be the hot spot for so much of the up-and-coming technological developments.

One recent development comes from the Ball State University with Senior IT Architect, Todd Meister. As the Assistant Director Academic Support at the University’s Computing Services department, Todd Meister is the main developer behind a product called iInteract.

iInteract is an application that allows teachers and students to engage in real-time classroom assessments directly from laptops, PDAs and internet-capable cell phones that students already possess.  This means that instructors will be able to create quizzes, offer student polls and provide other course content for students using the devices that the students already own; this mitigates the need to purchase pricey technology and equipment. Ball State University explains that new features are being rolled into the product including Flickr integration and video resources like YouTube.

Todd Meister and his team are also working on upgrades that will allow professors and students from other universities to use the application for their own classroom purposes. The product is still in the testing stages and Meister’s team is currently conducting usability research.  Certainly, this is one of the many technology products worth watching in the coming months.

 

 

Capital Group with Vladislav Doronin Unveils the OKO Project

okoOctober 16th was an exciting day for those interested in the work of the Capital Group with Vladislav Doronin. On this day, they unveiled the plans for their newest project. They convened at the Moscow International Business Center’s “Moscow City” to hear from the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Capital Group, Vladislav Doronin, about the company’s new project. There were over 400 people in attendance to hear about the new project, and the press started lining up two hours before the event.

The project, called the OKO Project, will be an 85-story residential high-rise and a 49-story office building. It will come from a single transparent “crystal” at the foundation of the complex, bursting up to dizzying heights.

As Vladimir Doronin explained

“I want to present to you our new, unique OKO Project, the second high-rise of the Capital Group Company in the MIBC’s “Moscow City. OKO is the embodiment of the experience and the long work of all of our partners . It is the result of our 20-year experience in the Moscow real estate market. I’m proud to have been a part of this far-reaching project.”

As Marat Khusnullin, the Deputy Mayor of Moscow for Urban Development and Construction, said, “I want to congratulate the Capital Group Company on the start of the OKO Project. The government of Moscow is extremely interested in this project being realized as quickly as possible. “

The Most Powerful Word in Business

In a recent article for Forbes.com, David K. Williams discussed the most powerful, important word in business. He explains that while many would guess “No”, the winner is really “Enough.”

The ability to recognize the ‘enough’ moment grants balance and therefore, success. Williams explains:

  1. Enough time.

“Do you find yourself not having enough time to handle your day-to-day operations, let alone to plan for the future? Many small business owners have this problem as their companies grow.”

The solution, he says, is heavy delegating.

2. Enough employees.

“This case has two sides. Startups eventually reach a point where they need to add employees to keep up with growth. On the other hand, many businesses find they’ve increased efficiency through automation and/or software that they don’t need as many workers as before.”

Make sure to take notice of worker productivity and critical processes.

3. Enough money.

“How much money does it take to run your company? Do you have ‘enough’ to make payroll, pay rent, and meet other expenses of doing business? This goes back to knowing how many employees you need and which operations are vital.”

Williams suggests implementing a compensation plan.

4. Enough growth.

“Do your best to be prepared for changing conditions. Too much growth can be just as damaging as stagnant growth. A sudden jump in demand could leave your customers with a bad impression if you are ill-equipped to respond to their needs.”

“Aim for the sweetest spot of healthy growth,” Williams says. “Consider the pros and cons of growth that would require an influx of debt or equity cash.”

5. Enough inventory.

“If you carry goods or supplies, measure your inventory turnover ratio to see how many times you sell your average inventory in a given year… Find the optimum ratio for you, and stick to it.”

 

Bank of America Optimistic as House Prices Rise

Before the financial crisis, mortgages kept banking thriving. Once the crisis hit, however, earnings fell dramatically. Mortgage lending today is a completely different game.

According to Boston.com:

“Bank of America, the country’s second-biggest bank, reported Wednesday that mortgage originations jumped over a year ago- up 18 percent to $21 billion. But the mortgage unit still lost money as the bank worked through problem mortgages issued before the crisis.

“It’s the latest sign that five years after the housing bubble burst, mortgages remain thorny for the banking industry. They still drive revenue, but banks are getting hit with expensive reminders of the risky mortgage lending of last decade, in the form of lawsuits, foreclosures and regulatory headaches.”

Bruce Thompson, Bank of America’s chief financial officer, mirrored recent statements from JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, saying:

“I think we’ve clearly begun to turn the corner.”

Home prices are indeed rising slowly but consistently. The recovery is fragile, though, of course. Thompson said he’d remain “a little bit cautious because there are headwinds out there.”

The Business Advantages of Writing a Book

Around 11,000 business books are published every year in the U.S., according to 800CEOREAD CEO Jack Covert.

In a recent article for Forbes.com, Erika Anderson discussed the business-related advantages of writing a good book. First, she defines a good book as one that is grammatically correct, understandable, engaging, and that contains ‘clearly stated, useful ideas.’

A book like this “can be hugely helpful to you and your business,” she wrote.

How?

“In 2006, Mike Schultz, principal of the Wellesley Hills Group, of Framingham, Mass. Decided to find out. His firm, a marketing consultancy for professional service providers, released the results of a survey of 200 business-book authors. They called it The Business Impact of Writing a Book. In an article in BusinessWeek that same year, Schulz said ‘The vast majority of the authors we surveyed- 96%- said they did realize a significant positive impact on their businesses from writing a book and would recommend the practice,’” Anderson explained.

Schultz added that although many book sales don’t generate great revenues, there are many indirect benefits, such as “generating more leads, closing more deals, charging higher fees, and getting better speaking engagements.”

Christine Lagarde Calls for Immediate Action

Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, recently called for additional action as Europe continues to grapple with debt and the U.S. struggles with an impending fiscal crisis. Lagarde claimed that the world economy is faring worse than even the more pessimistic expectations.

Though the European Central Bank and European governments have taken several steps to ensure security, Lagarde stated that “more needs to happen, and faster.”

Just recently the IMF lowered its global growth predictions to 3.3%, down from an already low 3.5%. It has since warned that reality may fall short even of this low forecast if the United States and Europe are unable to improve on the situation.

“We are not expecting a very, very strong recovery. The recovery continues, but it continues more slowly than we had expected earlier this year,” Lagarde said. The slowdown is having a “ripple effect on emerging markets, and in particular in Asia.”

Political tensions have also impacted economies throughout Asia, and Lagarde stressed the importance of a quick resolution for the good of global growth.

“We hope that differences, however longstanding, can be resolved harmoniously and expeditiously so that from an economic point of view cooperation can continue… since we are all very closely interconnected,” she said.

Three New Partners Named at Anchin, Block & Anchin

As of October 1, 2012, Anchin, Block & Anchin LLP has welcomed three additional partners. These partners include Anthony Bracco, Jared Feldman and Michael Mazzola, bringing the total list of partners and principals at Anchin to 53.

Anchin Block has been recognized as one of the “best of the best” for accounting firms in the United States. They have won awards as the best place to work in New York City and New York State and have been recognized as a Best Accounting Firm to Work For across the country.

Anthony Bracco will now be an Anchin, Block & Anchin partner in the Litigation, Forensics and Valuation Services Group. Anthony brings over 13 years of experience to Anchin and he is qualified as an expert in the New York State Supreme Court and the Delaware Court of Chancery.

Jared Feldman is a member of Anchin Block’s Family Office/High Net Worth Services Group. He is a certified CPA and is an NASD registered representative of Anchin Capital Advisors LLC. Jared brings more than 15 years of experience to his job as an accounting and audit partner.

Michael Mazzola has worked at Anchin since graduating from Binghamton University in 1997. He is a partner specializing in audit and tax services in Anchin’s Financial Services Group.

IMF Projects Slowest Growth Since Recession

The International Monetary Fund projects slow global growth as the euro zone’s situation worsens and other economies remain threatened. It states that the world economy will grow a total of 3.3% this year. This is the slowest since the recession in 2009.

“A key issue is whether the global economy is just hitting another bout of turbulence in what was always expected to be a slow and bumpy recovery or whether the current slowdown has a more lasting component,” the IMF said in the World Economic Outlook Report. “The answer depends on whether European and U.S. policy makers deal proactively with their major short-term economic challenges.”

Though the IMF works to encourage confidence and security, economies across the globe remain uncertain as the European crisis deepens.

This week, the 188 members of the IMF are meeting in Tokyo.

The IMF added: “Confidence in the global financial system remains exceptionally fragile. Banking lending has remained sluggish across advanced economies.”