Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Opportunity that took 22 years to develop

BFO Extract from Tom Mccarthy

3 keys to creating opportunities in your life? Although

1. Very rarely, will you generate your biggest opportunities on your own. My biggest opportunities have almost always come from referrals or introductions from other people who I have befriended or helped over the years.
2. Cultivate a big network of fascinating and successful people. Although I was very shy growing up, I have learned to love meeting people. I talk to people wherever I go. Not because I think that every person I meet is going to lead to some business opportunity, but because it’s fun! I have met presidents of countries, work with Fortune 50 CEO’s, famous athletes and entertainers, but I’ve also learned a lot from taxi drivers and hotel housekeepers. Be outgoing and friendly to everybody!
3. Stay in touch and add value to your network. Don’t look at your network as a vehicle for you to be more successful. No one wants to help someone who only thinks about themselves. You’ve got to get to know the people who are in your network better. Know what they are interested in, what their business is, what their family situation is. And then stay in touch and ad value. Help them get what they need. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but If you help enough other people get what they want then you will have more opportunities than you know what to do with.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Economic Recovery Gains Strength

The Economic Recovery Gains Strength
the ralton review Aug 09

The Australian share market was up strongly in August, marking the 6th consecutive month of positive returns for investors.
The rise in the domestic market was driven by better than expected results during reporting season, and a continuous stream of positive economic data both domestically and internationally.
We do not expect to see any significant downturn in the market from here given the flow of positive economic data and a rapid improvement in debt markets. The world is steadily regaining its "pre-Lehman Brothers" feel.
Australia also saw the finalisation of plans to commence the $50bn development of the Gorgon LNG project - a single project stimulus package expected to deliver significant economic benefits to the Australian economy for many decades to come.
The Gorgon project heads a massive pipeline of projects currently being considered for Australia (particularly in the mining and energy sectors) which will hopefully be a major driver of the Australian economy in the future.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Docklands on the move?

The following article is the latest newsletter from Maurice Dunlevy | September 10, 2009
Article from: The Australian

BILLIONAIRE property developer Lang Walker is dusting off plans for a Melbourne apartment tower that will form part of a new wave of residential development in the $5.5 billion Docklands.

The apartment building is earmarked for the Batman's Hill precinct, where Mr Walker's private Walker Corporation is in an $850 million joint venture with Malaysia's Kuok Group to build four commercial towers.

The Kuok Group originally intended to build four towers containing more than 1000 residential and serviced apartments, as well as offices and a five-star Shangri-La Hotel in a mixed-use development known as Village Docklands.

However, with only one apartment tower built when Mr Walker took the helm of the project in 2006 -- and some of Australia's largest companies then in the market for new office accommodation -- Village Docklands was dropped in favour of an all-commercial development in which four six-star Green Star office buildings were planned.

The rebadged 735 Collins Street project was shortlisted by ANZ and Commonwealth Bank for leased offices.

Newspaper publisher Herald and Weekly Times also shortlisted the complex, but none of the deals eventuated after ANZ decided to build its own Docklands riverfront building within the Lend Lease-controlled Victoria Harbour precinct.

The Commonwealth Bank stayed on at the Commonwealth Property Office Fund's 385 Bourke Street CBD office tower, as did HWT, which eventually signed again at the Dexus-controlled Southgate complex at Southbank.

For cashed-up Mr Walker, who received about $1bn from the 2006 sale of real estate assets to Mirvac Group, the proposed apartment tower will be one of several major developments undertaken by his Walker Corporation in Melbourne.

With its Kew Cottages residential development already well under way, Walker Corporation is almost certain to buy Amcor's Alphington Mill site in the city's inner-northeast for a masterplanned community.

Later this year Walker Corporation will also open the second stage of its $150m Point Cook Town Centre.

The group's Docklands tower is one of several planned for the once derelict waterfront area, amid state government forecasts that the precinct's population will almost treble in the next decade.

The population of almost 6500 is tipped to rise to 11,000 by 2015 and 17,000 by 2020.

About 3300 apartments have been built or are under construction since Andrew and Michael Buxton's MAB Corporation built the first Docklands tower at the NewQuay precinct in 1999.

MAB has since built another four towers, and last week unveiled plans for a $1bn residential project in NewQuay that involves about 1500 new homes.

Mirvac, which plans to launch its sixth residential tower next year, is already building low-rise riverfront homes on the southern side of the Yarra, while Lend Lease has plans for more residential towers at Victoria Harbour.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

the strangest secret in the world


why do only 5% achieve success!!

Success - = - "what you want to do"
what is the key:-

we become what we think about (buddha)(disraeli)(emerson)(william james) (george bernard shaw)

have goals - progressively realise to a worthy ideal.... plan... have a goal, have a destination

conformity is a disease - don't act as the 95%

Chinese buyers fuel top-end property boom

the AGe
September 19, 2009

NICK Johnstone is a man on a mission. Next week, the Brighton estate agent will fly to Shanghai with the aim of selling 30 of Melbourne's most expensive homes to Chinese buyers.

It will be the first time a Melbourne agency has attended the China International Luxury Property Show, but it is just one example of a phenomenon that has transformed Australia's residential market.

''Australia is the flavour of the month amongst the Chinese investors,'' Mr Johnstone, 41, said yesterday. ''They love property and there's plenty of money over there so they're good clients to have.''

While Chinese buyers have fuelled the top-end real estate revival, they are also courting controversy, with some local house hunters complaining they are being priced out by foreigners who have no intention of living in their new properties.

A few critics go further, arguing Chinese money is now putting upwards pressure on interest rates.

But you will not catch Mr Johnstone of J. P. Dixon complaining. He has made at least 40 per cent of sales this year to the Chinese. Other agents in the east and south-eastern suburbs have reported the same level of demand.

''We've had several buy properties sight unseen, just over the internet and phone.'' Mr Johnstone said. ''A lady from Shanghai, whose son goes to Wesley College, bought four houses in Brighton from us in two months, worth $20 million.

''They buy them to land bank, not to rent them out. The houses just sit vacant because they are after the capital growth.''

The floodgates opened on foreign investment in March when the Federal Government relaxed its rules on property ownership.

The changes made it easier for foreign companies and temporary residents, such as 12-month business visa holders, foreign students, and their parents, to invest.

Last month, Treasurer Wayne Swan announced a further relaxation of Australia's foreign investment screening to ''help boost Australia's growth''.

But the big spend-up is being fuelled by more than just Australian policy change.

Armadale entrepreneur Barry Jan, who runs property shopping tours from China to Australia, said the Communist Party had had an about-face on citizens investing their wealth overseas. ''People are investing now in case they can't get their money out later,'' he said.

Kew property adviser Monique Wakelin said many Chinese had come to see Australian property as a stable hedge against global economic tumult and the potential devaluation of the yuan.

''They are looking for avenues to protect at least part of their wealth, and A-grade Melbourne residential property fits the bill.'' The confluence of events has seen Chinese money inflating prices for top-end homes by at least 10 per cent in a matter of months, according to Boroondara agent James Connell from Marshall White.

''Chinese people have effectively kick-started our economy and underpinned all our housing values in inner Melbourne,'' he said.

Keen to cash in on the boom, Marshall White, J. P. Dixon and other big agencies such as Jellis Craig are hastily establishing connections with offshore accounts, lawyers and businessmen to funnel a stream of buyers into Melbourne.

Also in hot demand are Mandarin-speaking Melbourne real estate agents and property lawyers.

Meanwhile, Australia's largest developers - including Australand, Central Equity, Simonds, Becton - are setting up offices in China and Hong Kong to spruik off-the-plan developments.

And an industry of ''Australian property and migration'' exhibitions has burgeoned in the cities and mining towns, such as Taiyuan, attracting hundreds of people.

Yet all the evidence put forward about the property revolution is so far anecdotal because there is no measure being kept on the amount of investment by temporary residents in residential property.

The Government's March law change abolished mandatory reporting of such acquisitions in a bid to ''enhance flexibility in the market''.

What is certain is that in the past financial year before the change, foreign investment in Australian residential property increased by a third to $20.4 billion from the year before. Victoria attracted 21 per cent of that investment, according to the Foreign Investment Review Board's annual report released last month.

Australian Government support for export businesses

By Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC)

Any first foray into exports can seem daunting. One must set about preparing an export business plan, developing a marketing strategy, organising logistics and securing finance. While government support can be a key to export success, navigating through the myriad of government programs can be a challenge on its own.

The Australian Government’s three key export agencies, AusIndustry, Austrade and Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC) , offer valuable support, whether a business is new to the export game, building on early successes or an established global player.

AusIndustry, the Australian Government’s agency for supporting business innovation, can help on the export journey.

BSI assists companies identify which programmes are best for them and assists in maximising these grants.

If a company is in the early stages of growth, or a separate company has been set up to commercialise research, you could be eligible for financial assistance and business advice under AusIndustry’s Commercialising Emerging Technologies (COMET) program.

Another AusIndustry scheme, Tradex, can provide up-front exemption from customs duty and GST on eligible imported goods that are intended for export.

Austrade, the Australian Government’s trade and investment promotion agency, has programs designed to assist in developing the skills and knowledge to find and maximise export opportunities.

An Austrade Export Adviser can help determine the best way to obtain market research, link the company up with international partners, provide on-the-ground support when it is time to visit potential buyers and help develop a risk management plan.

Once an overseas market has been identified, an effective export marketing strategy is essential. Austrade can advise a business on how best to market its product or service internationally.

Austrade’s Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme encourages the growth of export markets by reimbursing up to 50% of expenses incurred on eligible export promotion or marketing activities above a threshold amount.

It’s also a good idea to talk to a bank at an early stage about the finance to support export plans. If the bank can’t provide all the necessary support, contact EFIC. As the Australian Government’s export credit agency, EFIC provides finance and insurance solutions to help Australian exporters overcome the financial barriers when growing their businesses overseas.

EFIC helps successful businesses to win, finance and protect export trade or overseas investments. Working directly with exporters or with their banks, EFIC provides loans, guarantees, bonds and insurance products which can be tailored to the needs of both large and small exporters.
16/09/2009 12:00 AM

for more information join the bsi network

New RandD Tax Credit Scheme

Friday 18 September 2009

Changes to the R&D Tax Credit scheme will come into effect in the 2010-11 income year. The scheme will replace the R&D Tax Concession with a tax credit system. Key changes include:

a 45 per cent refundable tax credit (the equivalent to a 150 per cent tax deduction) will be provided to small businesses with a turnover of less than $20 million per annum
a 40 per cent non-refundable tax credit (the equivalent of a 133 per cent tax deduction) will be provided to businesses with a turnover of $20 million or more per annum.

To find out more about the changes, visit the AusIndustry website. There are also business consultation sessions being held around Australia in the next few weeks. For more information and to register, visit the R&D Tax Credit Consultation page.

This information is brought to you by

call BSI on 02 92125505 to see how this may effect you

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Property hotspots in Australia

* Reporter: David Richardson
* Broadcast Date: September 18, 2009

From the beaches to the restaurant strips, the property market is on the move again and if you're looking this weekend, there are gems to be found - if you know what you're looking for.

Matthew Liddell from Australian Property Magazine has crunched the numbers to come up with the property hotspots across the country.

"I think the biggest trends in terms of driving property hot spots are new transport, new infrastructure, high migration rates and factors like that," Liddell said.

"Once it's identified as a hotspot, it's great if you can get in before the experts call a hotspot, but there's still value there."

Bronte in Sydney's eastern suburbs is one of the country's most exclusive beach areas but it's been battered in the past year, with some properties dropping half a million dollars. Bronte leads Liddell's list of hot Sydney properties.

Liddell also recommends Haberfield in the inner west and Oatlands in the city's west.

"You're looking for infrastructure that's going in. You're looking urban gentification and you're looking employment nodes around the area."

And if you're looking to buy as an investment, Bronte again gets the nod.

Melbourne's hotspots are old favourites like Carlton in the inner city, a diners delight with it's famous restaurant strip. Kew in the city's east has also seen huge drops but is expected to recover well into next year.

Southbank is seen as the best investment area.

John Edwards from Residex advises to those searching for a property to spread their search.

"Our crystal ball tells us probably the most likely outcome is that Melbourne is going to perform better than all other places on the East coast," Edwards said.

"Those suburbs with a value around $350,000 to $500,000 are going to be the ones that do best over the next five years."
Queensland has ridden the crest of a property wave for years. But it's recovery from the recent falls is slower than the rest of the country, that points to hotspots.

Manly in Brisbane's east, right on the water, is already making up ground while Newstead in the inner city is also on the rise. But the heady property boom days may be over.

"In every city there are always the gems that we've been looking at but what we can say is you can't go to a place like Brisbane and say for certain that you are going to do very well. That's not likely to happen," Edwards said.

Just 7k's from the CBD, Carina is Brisbane's top investment suburb.

In Adelaide, a new tram line is pushing the property hotspots bringing suburbs closer to the city.

Peter Koulizos, known as the Property Professor, says Torrensville is a suburb to watch.

"Torrensville is only 3k's to the city in between the city and the sea. A lot of renovation happening in Torrensville that is of houses. So that's a good sign that people are willing to spend their money to upgrade their homes," Koulizos said.

Littlehampton in the Adelaide Hills is ear-marked as the best investment buy.

"I think it is a fantastic time to buy, not a good time to sell but a great time to buy. With interest rates so low. Vendors very willing to negotiate and discuss. I think it's a great time," Koulizos adds.

Koulizos warns not everyone will be able to get into the market this time around because banks are still nervous.

"If you have secure job or you and your partner have a secure job then you're laughing. If you've only moved into a new job recently or your job's not looking so good then you might struggle to get the loan."

There are other factors which will also influence real estate over the next few months. The future of the first home buyers grant is uncertain, interest rates expected to rise again before the end of the year, and the stimulus package and new construction across the country will also influence prices.

"If you do see that government funding and infrastructure is pouring into a suburb then you've got potential for something that is going to prosper in the future," Liddell said.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Australian Real Estate Hotspots Identified

Sydney, NSW (PRWEB) -- St.George Bank today released its commissioned National Hotspots property report, which identifies the suburbs that currently represent the best value real estate in Australia. The report has identified 24 property locations nationally that are likely to provide the strongest value for home buyers. Across the country, these suburbs have been chosen based on their location attributes, the value of housing in the area, the level of amenities in the suburb and the demographic mix. The locations identified should perform well and will suit both buyers looking to live in the home and investors seeking capital growth over the medium to long term.

The property hotspots chosen on a region-by-region basis are:

Sydney: Granville, Rockdale, Lidcombe, Riverwood, Waterloo

Brisbane: Keperra, Margate, Cannon Hill, Fairfield, Kedron

Melbourne: Chadstone, Ashburton, Brunswick, Flemington, Fawkner

Hobart: North Hobart

Canberra: Dickson

Perth: Bassendean, Thornlie

Thebarton, Glanville

Rapid Creek

Regional Australia:
Gulliver, Redan

The particular standout suburbs identified are: Granville (Sydney); Chadstone (Melbourne); Keperra (Brisbane); Bassendean (Perth); and Thebarton (Adelaide).


The global credit crisis is showing signs of thawing and Australia's economic prospects are improving. But economic conditions are still relatively fragile and so many people remain uncertain about where to invest their money. As a useful guide for its customers, St.George Bank commissioned, Australia's largest property analysis business, to undertake in-depth research to assess investment opportunities for both homeowners and property investors. To receive a free copy of the full research report register online at (

Commentary on the hotspots

Besa Deda, St.George Bank's Chief Economist said the Australian property market has proved resilient compared with the share market during the economic slowdown and over the last ten years. "The share market dropped by 54 percent from its peak in late 2007 to its trough in March 2009 while dwelling values recorded a decline of just fewer than 4.0 percent from their February 2008 peak to the bottom of the market in December 2008. Since December 2008, Australian median dwelling values have rebounded and, as at the end of June, they sit at their highest ever level of $471,818. The share market has also recovered from its trough but remains more than 30 percent off its peak."

Commenting on the results Ms Deda said: "Over the 12 months to June, all mainland Australian capital city median dwelling values have risen. While Adelaide has recorded the smallest growth at just 0.6 percent, Darwin values have jumped 7.0 percent. Other capital cities have also seen median house prices ( increase: Melbourne (6.5 percent); Sydney (5.9 percent); Perth (1.9 percent); and Brisbane (1.4 percent)," she said.

"According to the National Hotspots research, there has also been a substantial improvement in rental yields. Currently, national gross rental yields are at 4.4 percent for houses and 5.3 percent for units. Across mainland capital cities, the strongest rental yields for houses and units are found in Darwin, sitting at 6.4 percent and 6.0 percent, respectively. The lowest rental yields are found in Melbourne, recorded at 4.2 percent for houses and 4.8 percent for units.

"The Australian property market ( is certainly not homogeneous and across capital cities individual performances have shown significant variations. In each city there are areas that have been overlooked by property buyers, despite positive factors that actually make these locations attractive spots for home owner-occupiers or investors," Ms Deda said.

The 24 hotspot suburbs identified include an interesting mix of older demographic areas where the majority of dwellings are owner-occupied but have great potential for renovation, and younger demographic areas where the dwellings are dominated by apartments and offer good value for money.

In addition, just about all the hotspots are in close proximity to retail amenities and restaurants, are well serviced by public transport and, most importantly, are all discounted or underperforming for their current location when compared with nearby suburbs. As a result, they are expected to perform well.

"Savvy home buyers and investors should look outside the square and consider the areas which have not attracted the same level of attention as traditional blue-ribbon locations. For example, some of the suburbs identified in the National Hotspot research include light industrial areas which are expected to eventually transform into residential areas with amenities," Ms Deda said.

Factors underpinning potential growth in residential housing markets

Low mortgage rates, the boost to the first-home-buyers' grant, improved housing affordability, rising rental yields and relatively low vacancy rates have helped underpin a recovery in lending and sales for housing. Demographic factors are also underpinning the prospects for residential housing.

Population Growth

"There are important demographic fundamentals that shed a favourable light on the prospects for residential housing lending and prices over the medium to long term. Population growth nationally is running at its fastest pace in 40 years at a time when there is a national shortage of housing," said Ms Deda.

In raw terms, the population in Australia grew by 406,000 persons in the year to December 2008. Although overseas migration has been cut over this financial year, it remains above historic levels and may well be supplemented by the poor economic conditions abroad resulting in fewer people leaving Australia for foreign shores. The level of natural population increase has also climbed in recent times.

Fundamentally, an increasing population fuels demand for housing. Population growth has been running at this robust pace at a time when residential construction has been weak. The current undersupply of housing throughout Australia is estimated to sit anywhere between 20,000 and 80,000 per year. With fewer dwellings being built, the supply shortage continues to be exacerbated and is anticipated to increase over the next few years as the population grows further and the required amount of dwelling commencements needed to fill this shortage goes unfulfilled.

This imbalance between demand and supply has placed a floor under dwelling values and is likely to place upward pressure on dwelling prices over the medium to long term.

Overall, national demographics then are encouraging and favourable for a housing upswing in the medium term, particularly when combined with the current low interest rate environment.

Consumer Sentiment

Over the long term, consumer confidence levels have influenced housing sales volumes. This influence is not surprising given that the cost of the commitment to purchase property takes a level of confidence in the market. The Melbourne Institute-Westpac measure of consumer sentiment has risen in the last four consecutive months. It now sits well above the 100-point level that shows there are more consumers optimistic than pessimistic about the economic outlook.

Home Lending Up

Life was breathed into residential lending by significant cuts to interest rates and the government's first home buyers' boost. Housing finance commitments have witnessed a strong recovery, mainly in the owner-occupier segment. "The number of loans extended to owner occupiers has risen in nine of the last ten months and stood 25.7 percent higher than a year ago in July. The value of all loans retreated in June and July, but it follows six consecutive months of increases and annual growth remains buoyant at 24.3 percent," said Ms Deda.

The recovery was initially driven by first home buyers ( and by households taking out a loan as an owner-occupier. But in recent months, upgrader demand has lifted. However, the value of loans for investment housing appears to be retreating again after recovering earlier in the year.


Rising unemployment is one of the risks to the housing market recovery. So far the unemployment rate has not climbed to the levels feared earlier this year and last year. Indeed, since the global credit crisis began, there has been net job creation in Australia.

"Greater labour market flexibility has meant employers have responded to softer economic conditions by reducing the hours worked by staff wherever possible rather than making lay offs. Further, in comparison to previous downturns, there are more dual income households and many home owners have enjoyed a build up in property values in their homes in recent years," Ms Deda concluded.

While such material is published with permission from, St.George Bank Limited accepts no responsibility for its accuracy or completeness. We recommend you seek independent advice before making a decision based on this information.


New R&D Tax Credit

Consulting with stakeholders

Today the Rudd Government will begin consultation with key stakeholders on the detailed design features of the new R&D Tax Credit.

Releasing the Research and Development Tax Incentive Consultation Paper, Treasurer Wayne Swan and Innovation Minister Kim Carr urged business and other stakeholders to make their voices heard on reforms to the scheme.

Mr Swan said: “The new R&D Tax Credit is the biggest reform to business innovation support for more than a decade. It will boost investment, support jobs and strengthen Australian companies so they can take full advantage of new opportunities as the economy recovers.

“From 1 July 2010, the Government will replace the complex and outdated R&D Tax Concession with a simplified R&D Tax Credit which cuts red tape and provides a better incentive for all businesses to invest in research and innovation,” he said.

Senator Carr said: “Under the new incentive system, eligibility criteria will be tightened to ensure the best return for the taxpayers’ investment.

“All businesses stand to benefit, in different ways, from the reformed scheme.

“The aim of the new Tax Credit is to provide more predictable, less complex support to business.

“The consultation paper works from the basic principle that the reformed scheme will provide more generous support for R&D to help build a more innovative economy.

“The paper also poses a range of questions to business about how the Government could approach certain aspects of the scheme’s design.

“The consultation paper delivers on the Government’s promise to involve business and other stakeholders in the development of the eligibility criteria for the new credit,” he said.

Stakeholders will have another opportunity to comment on draft legislation later this year.

Submissions are requested by Monday, 26 October 2009.

The consultation paper and further information about making a submission can be found on the Treasury website Public forums will also be held during September and October 2009. Further details are available on the AusIndustry website

Cromwell Group

An Interesting COmpany for strong returns

Cromwell Group

Agents upbeat about residential market

Agents upbeat about residential market
Thursday, 17 September 2009
real estate business

Real estate agents are upbeat about the outlook for the residential sector, the Australian Property Institute’s (API) latest survey has found.

According to the Australian Property Direction Survey, sentiment for the sector was up on the previous survey, conducted six months earlier, which reported a dramatic fall in sentiment.

The survey found that residential property was on the road to recovery and any upswing would continue to be felt well into 2011.

“Sydney and Melbourne are already seen as being on the upswing and will be joined by Brisbane in 2010,” API NSW president Richard Hecek said.

While the nation’s residential property market has remained resilient through the worst part of the downturn, thanks to low interest rates and government assistance, 70 per cent of the survey’s respondents said they expect the sub $500,000 category to suffer once the first home owners grant ends.

Moreover, the survey respondents felt as though any downturn in the sub $500,000 property sector would have an impact on the broader economy.

Good time to invest in Property?

Ozzie John gives his views of what to look for in residential property investing

Opportunities for buyers
Opportunities for buyers

Is it really a good time to buy?
Is it really a good time to buy?

do your homework, take into account future rate rises, take advice

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Five tips for business networking at breakfast

Fantastic advice by Kim Mcguinness

You have invested time and money to attend a breakfast function. It makes sense to leverage that investment by business networking. Here are five tips to help you make the most of the opportunity.

1. Be enthusiastic
Call the organiser in advance and offer your services on the day. Maybe you could help with the registration desk, handing out flyers or setting up for the event. Whatever you do, the organiser will be extremely grateful and will remember you. Don’t forget that the organiser is the key contact within the network. Further, you will have the opportunity to meet others involved with the event and also be the first guest to arrive!

If you can’t help at the event then make sure you arrive early and awake. If that requires a couple of coffees and a run around the block before you arrive then do it. Don’t bother attending the event if you are unhappy about being there at an early hour! If you are alert, awake and excited about the event and the company around you then you will genuinely have a good time, will attract great people and your business networking will be effective. Who would you rather meet – a bright, happy and inspiring person with a smile on their face or a gloomy, dreary person propping up the furniture?

2. Be real
Everyone knows the avid “networker” who rushes from person to person at an event blindly shoving cards into the hands of terrified guests. They have hardly had the time to utter “Hi, my name is Joe, here is my card” before they are on to the next victim! A true master networker is interested in the person they meet, not what the person can do for them or buy from them. It is only when you understand the person you are speaking to and where they fit in their world that the business networking opportunities between the two of you manifest.

It is much better to make two or three quality contacts than collect twenty business cards and follow up later. For starters, the “cards” you follow up with will be too busy to give you the time of day, won’t remember who you are and will throw anything you send them straight in the bin. On the other hand if you are genuinely interested in meeting the person you are speaking to, and interested in hearing what they have to say then the relationship stands a much greater chance.

A note of warning here – genuine interest is never contrived. If you really don’t like meeting people you have two choices – either don’t network or start training yourself by trying to see something positive in every person. Truly listen to people and their stories, you will be amazed how interesting they can be when given the chance to shine!

3. Maximise your business networking opportunities
Where are the business networking opportunities at the event you are attending? Most breakfast events have different “stages” where it is appropriate to move on and meet some different people. For each stage you can spend a good 20 minutes or so getting to know someone and have time to arrange a future coffee and then politely move on to the next stage. For example, pre-event coffee in the foyer where you can speak to various guests or seated at the breakfast table where you can meet an entire table of inspiring new people.

Listen, listen and then listen some more! Treat everyone you meet with respect and integrity. Listen to the conversation and focus completely on that person. You may think that the person you are speaking with is not appropriate for your business and cannot give you anything, but who knows who that person will meet in the coming months, or who they are married to, related to, or work with? Every contact is valuable and should be treated as such. At the very least you may unearth a great person who is wonderful company!

4. Follow up
All too often we go to a business networking event, meet great people, collect lots of cards and store them neatly in a drawer to gather dust. Organise your existing and new contacts and get in touch with the people you meet who you genuinely like and who inspire you. Don’t bother trying to create a fake friendship with someone who rubs you up the wrong way – it really does no-one any favours. Invite your contact to coffee to discuss how you can help each other or invite them to another business networking event.

5. Keep track via a system
Unless you have a failsafe memory, it is beneficial to have a system for keeping track of where and when you met people as well as a record of conversations and follow up between you. There are many database software programs available which allow you to track all relevant information and comments – try Act!, Access or Filemaker Pro. You can track where you met each person and use this information to look up your contacts and refresh your memory before you go to the next business networking event. If you have been especially diligent about recording details in a comments field, you can make a powerful impression by picking up on conversations where you left off! An organised database is also invaluable when referring your contacts to each other – which everyone appreciates.

Business networking is essential for personal growth, business contacts and referrals – not to mention sanity in an increasingly busy world. Treat business networking as an essential part of your business strategy and not just something you do on the side, if you have time. Choose a couple of networks and, for the greatest benefit, get involved as much as you can. Attend events with a positive attitude and keep an open mind about everyone you meet. Finally, follow your instincts and if someone doesn’t feel right just move on without needing to discuss your reasons with anyone else. Remember, what goes around comes around.

Good luck and happy networking!

Kim McGuinness is founder of Network Central and the Businesswomen’s Breakfast Series. She is also co-author of Network or Perish. Network Central provides networking and support for businesspeople in most areas of their busy lives.

Has property reached a bottom

great article by Karen Anderson

Interest rates are currently at a 49 year low and real estate agents are reporting higher and higher levels of enquiry. Buying activity has also been reported to be on the increase so the question to be asked is, “Is this the right time to be re-entering the property market?”

Well, with First Home Buyer activity starting to slow due to the government’s additional First Home Owner Grant about to expire, I think now is the time for investors to re-enter the market. Yes, we will need to be cautious as there is still some economic uncertainty but the worst is definitely behind us, as can be seen in the renewed strengths of the global and local share markets.

NSW has seen one of the longest property price stagnations in history so there are definitely some bargains to be had, although investing in property is a long term strategy. In South East Queensland, the strong population growth will eventually give rise to a shortage of supply as available properties are snapped up. As we know, anywhere where there is a shortage of supply and excess of demand, prices must rise.

Yes, there is currently an oversupply of rentals but if you are looking at the long term and current property trends, it is quite likely that this oversupply will be filled very quickly. So now could be the time to snap some great bargains with the mindset of investing for the future.

My belief is that there has never been a better time to invest in property – the four factors of the strengthening economy, massive government infrastructure spending, record low interest rates and improving market confidence I believe will form a perfect storm and we will see property prices start to rise once again. I am looking forward to scouting some great bargains right now and you might want to consider the same. Remember, as always, when investing in property, make sure you get some good advice and buy the right property for you – the one that makes sense for your current financial position and your long term goals.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Can I borrow $5?

A woman came home from work late, tired and irritated, to find her
5-year old son waiting for her at the door.

SON: 'Mummy, may I ask you a question?'
MUM: 'Yeah sure, what it is?' replied the woman.
SON: 'Mummy, how much do you make an hour?'
MUM: 'That's none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?' the woman said angrily.
SON: 'I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?'
MUM: 'If you must know, I make $20 an hour.'
SON: 'Oh,' the little boy replied, with his head down.
SON: "Mummy, may I please borrow $5?"
The mother was furious, 'If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so selfish. I don't work hard everyday for such childish frivolities.'
The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door..
The woman sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy's questions. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money?
After about an hour or so, the woman had calmed down , and started to think:
Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $5 and he really didn't ask for money very often.The woman went to the door of the little boy's room and opened the door.
'Are you asleep, son?' She asked.
'No Mummy, I'm awake,' replied the boy.
'I've been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier' said the woman. 'It's been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here's the $5 you asked for.'
The little boy sat straight up, smiling. 'Oh, thank you Mummy!' he yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills.
The woman saw that the boy already had money, started to get angry again.
The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his mother.
'Why do you want more money if you already have some?' the mother grumbled.
'Because I didn't have enough, but now I do,' the little boy replied.
'Mummy, I have $20 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow.

I would like to have dinner with you.'
The mother was crushed. She put his arms around her little son, and she begged for his forgiveness.
It's just a short reminder to all of you working so hard in life. We should not let time slip through our fingers without having spent some time with those
who really matter to us, those close to our hearts. Do remember to share that $20 worth of your time with someone you love.
If we die tomorrow, the company that we are working for could easily replace us in a matter of hours. But the family & friends we leave behind will feel the loss for the rest of their lives.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Equity Markets following the Cycle of Market Emotions

There has been the long awaited “bounce” after the 2 year lag As at the end of August, the Australian S&P/ASX300 Accumulation Index has bounced over 40% since the March 2009 low of Despondency and Depression (The bottom of the Cycle).

At the low, valuations were attractive to allow the savvy investors to take advantage of the carnage.

As the rally progresses, we seem to be in the “Cycle of Hope” . It is these “late” joiners, rather than cheap valuations, that will keep the rally going.

So, does this mean that it is too late to join the party?

History shows that after the lift-off phase (from Depression to Hope to Relief , good returns can still be had – we need to go through the Cycle of “Optimism” “Excitement” “Thrill” and “Euphoria”

Assuming it takes four years to reach our previous high from current levels, Australian shares could return around 15% to 16% pa. However, if it takes six years to reach previous highs from current levels, returns are more likely to be around 7.5% to 8.5% pa – still good returns!!