Considerations to Make When Buying Children’s Clothes

Buying clothes for young children is not as straightforward as it first appears to be, and the challenges can often start before the child is even born. For instance, if you choose not to know the sex of your baby before they are born, buying clothes is complicated, you can buy neither boys clothes, nor girl’s clothes, but must buy unisex items. Then, once you have paid for all those starter-clothing packs, you will find that within the first month of birth, they have outgrown their new clothes… the challenges begin straightaway, and they continue for years to come.Young children outgrow their clothes every few weeks until the age of around two, where they continue to grow exceptionally fast, but not to the degree of their first couple of years. There are many other factors that increase the rate at which we buy children’s clothes, for example, clothes are easily stained or ripped, children are not the most careful of people, and it is fair to say that they do not look after their clothes, thus meaning that they will require more items than an adult will.There are some things that you can do to reduce the volume of clothes needed, however, such as buying clothes in darker colours, this way, they will not show stains as obviously. Never buy children’s clothes in white, unless it is absolutely necessary, you can always tell who the wise parents are simply by studying a group of schoolchildren, those who wear grey school shirts, as opposed to white, are generally that little bit savvier. To ensure that clothes are hardwearing, always buy them in materials that are hardwearing and durable – the higher the quality of the fabric, the less likely they are to be damaged.The current economic climate has ensured that financial worries are part of everyday life, and the expense of children’s clothes can be a burden on the family budget. Nonetheless, there are steps you can take to reduce costs. Bargain hunting is always essential in families with young children, and the ideal time to buy clothes is during the winter and summer sales. Plan ahead when shopping in the sales, for instance, if you know that in a few months time your child will require new school trousers, purchase them now in a larger size that they will have grown into when the time comes.For bargain hunters, the internet is also a fantastic place to buy clothes. Online retailers offer much better prices on their merchandise than bricks-and-mortar shops do. Many people believe that the lower prices online are indicative of lower-quality goods, but this is simply not the case. There are many reasons why online retailers can offer better prices, but it boils down to the fact that online shops are cheaper to run than offline shops, and these savings can be passed on to the customer. Online retailers pass on these savings, rather than pocketing them, because, by offering the best prices, they ensure that people are more likely to purchase from them.It is a win-win situation, they get more customers and thus more profit, and the customer gets a better price. Moreover, shopping for children’s clothes online means having a greater choice in styles, colour, and material – there are millions of clothes to choose from online, as oppose to the reduced number of clothing you will find in a shop.

Real Estate Brokerage Is Changing to a Virtual Brokerage Model

Real estate offices are closing all over the country. Real estate agents are hanging up their licenses in every state. The traditional bricks-and-mortar real estate brokerage is hemorrhaging, and all that keeps this archaic business model alive is consolidations. As offices close, some agents quit, but the survivors move their licenses to another sinking ship, a ship that looks just like the last one and often with the exact same name on the bow.A large franchise office closes it’s doors, no longer able to keep the lights on after more than a year of operating in the red. The agents are worried sick, not knowing what they will do, until their savior walks in the door.A broker from a large bricks-and-mortar across town with the same franchise offers to take all the agents in with the exact same contract terms: each agent pays $600 per month and keeps 100% of their commissions. The agents sigh in relief and quickly sign the new contracts like sheep to the slaughter.Since the broker can’t generate enough leads for the agents, and since the agents aren’t selling enough to make the broker enough money on commission splits, any kind of split wouldn’t make sense for the broker today. A sharp broker will charge each agent a monthly fee. He laughs all the way to the bank, because with 60 agents paying $600 per month, he’s making $36,000 a month just for living.Three years ago I sat across the desk from a franchise broker who looked at me and said, “Well, we’re feeding the business every month. You have to do that when times are tough. But we’ve been through tough times before, and we always come out okay.” I remember thinking to myself that was a silly thing to say coming from a man who told me he had no business plan, no budget for marketing, and no written vision for the future of his business. Unfortunately, that same broker just issued a press release that he is permanently closing the doors of his bricks-and-mortar and will be hanging his license with another bricks-and-mortar. Another consolidation.This broker is merely jumping from one sinking ship to one that hasn’t sunk yet. The new ship has plenty of leaks, and it may take a while for folks on the Titanic to wake up. Bricks-and-mortar real estate brokerages that stubbornly refuse to bridge the gap to an entirely new business model will die a slow and painful death. It’s one thing for brokers to ride their own ship down, but it is quite another thing altogether for those brokers to sell tickets to real estate agents with promises they can’t keep.The most unfortunate thing about all of this is that the agents who think they are doing what it takes to survive are only re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Many of them truly do not know or comprehend how precarious their fate is. Many of them do have an uncomfortable feeling, and they know something is wrong with their business model. Just like so many of the passengers on the Titanic near the end who smiled and kept saying, “Don’t worry, everything always works out alright,” traditional agents continue to greet people with a smile and wait for the phone to ring. But the ship is tilting, and they are at risk. They just don’t know what to do.This is the great dilemma of being stuck. It is the classic inability to think outside of oneself. Traditional brokers and agents who have operated within a traditional brokerage model for many years struggle to think in entirely new ways. What makes this especially difficult for so many is their discomfort with technology and the Internet. Some simply refuse to learn the technologies. I know of a top producer who refuses to adapt, and he sincerely believes he can delegate many of the responsibilities to his assistant. Few assistants are going to spend night and day learning and adapting for a boss, and if they do and leave someday, where does that leave the agent? Even successfully delegating leaves serious challenges in bridging the gap, which I will share later.There’s been a huge change, but not all agents and brokers recognize what is happening. Most do not comprehend that they are in the middle of a major earthquake. Therefore, they continue to do what they always have done. Underlying all these changes is something very big that traditional brokers are missing. Just as it is powerful forces that move tectonic plates deep below the earth’s surface, we are experiencing powerful forces causing an earthquake in the real estate world. As with so much in life, what we see on the surface is merely a symptom of a deeper and much more significant movement that is actually the driving force. It is this driving force that many brokers and agents have not recognized.Here is the first tectonic force that is at the root of all these changes effecting the real estate industry: a change in consumer behavior. Granted, it’s a huge change in consumer behavior. It’s so big with so many implications, most people don’t comprehend it.The full description of these changes in consumer behavior would be quite long, but here is a brief summary in the context of the real estate business. Consumers are no longer willing to be sold with obnoxious advertising and told what to buy and when to buy it. Consumers are sick and tired of interruption advertising, of billboards, of high pressure salesmen, of telemarketing, and of misrepresentations and boldfaced lies. Consumers have had it with professional conflicts of interest. They’re fed up with only getting partial information upon which to base their most important decisions. Consumers want and demand freedom to control their own destiny. They don’t like being controlled. They don’t like being manipulated.The second tectonic force effecting such dramatic changes in the real estate industry is powerful in its own right, but also acts as a catalyst for the changes in consumer behavior.The catalyst that has empowered consumers and is forcing these changes that are the death knell of traditional real estate brokerage is… advances in technology.The traditional brokerage business model has been totally unequipped to deal with these tectonic shifts. The impact of the real estate recession has accelerated this process to be sure, but only in time. Had it not been for this recession, the impact of these changes in consumer behavior would have taken longer, but the impact would ultimately be the same. The recession has acted like a diversion, however, distracting real estate agents from the real cause of their doom.I’m reminded of the newspaper salesman who tried to sell me expensive print advertising recently. I ask him, “Why would I advertise in the newspaper when it hasn’t sold any of my real estate listings in the past year? Help me out. Why should I advertise in your paper?” His response while soft-spoken and polite, was of the same mindset as many real estate brokers today, “Well, you don’t want to be left out when your competition is advertising, do you?” In response to my blank stare, he pleaded, “When business is slow, it’s not the time to stop advertising. It’s the time to advertise more than ever!” That’s when I could no longer contain myself, and I broke out laughing. We used that line in sales 30 years ago. Are they still using that line? Yes, they are.Apparently, that kind of sales pitch still works with many real estate agents and brokers, because like flies bouncing off the plate glass windows in a futile effort to escape from bondage, many agents are still doing what they admit doesn’t work very well anymore. Whatever we were doing that was not working before must be done twice as fast now. If the ship you are on is sinking, be quick about your business and jump on another ship just like the last one. Such behavior is insanity and a ticket to failure.More real estate brokers have filed for bankruptcy protection in the past two years than at any time in U.S. History. And the earthquake has not ended as many bricks-and-mortar brokers are on the verge of closing their doors soon.It is the early adopters of new business models and new technologies who will be the millionaire real estate agents in the years to come. Because time is truncated with the accelerating pace of the growth of technology and the use of the Internet, those who pause too long to think about doing something will be left so far behind, they may never catch up. Think of a space ship going into warp speed. Those who missed the flight will find themselves light years behind their colleagues. This is how it will be for traditional real estate agents who insist on staying behind.
There is an answer, and it means embracing technology, new marketing methods, new tools to reach clients, and mastering the Internet as a powerful medium.Chuck writes about real estate and marketing for agents and brokers at

Purchasing Options for Web Hosting – Resellers and Cloud

If you are still looking to rent hosting resources rather than invest in your own in-house IT to get your website up and running there are further channels which can provide alternatives to buying physical service space directly from a hosting provider and which have particular appeal to smaller scale clients.ResellersFor those still looking to rent server space there is the additional option of using a hosting reseller rather than buying directly from the hosting provider. A reseller will buy up hosting resource, disk space and bandwidth wholesale and then sell on hosting packages to individual clients by dividing up these resources. They can add a layer of support to their offering if they are specialist resellers and some will include their own branded control panels to allow clients to configure their hosting platforms.There are specialist reseller companies in the market, but there are also many organisations that either sell hosting as an add-on to another service, such as digital media companies who build or maintain web sites, or that need to buy their own hosting resource and find it economical to buy wholesale and then resell the excess that they don’t use to counterbalance their own costs.The hosting packages on offer from resellers can incorporate both shared or dedicated hosting platforms as resellers can either sell on a certain amount of shared disk space or complete individual servers. The most common reseller packages, however, involve shared hosting and in particular Virtual Private Servers (VPS) where the shared servers use virtual partitions to create distinct operating environments.Reseller packages can be particularly beneficial for clients that do not have the expertise or resource to work with their underlying service provider in maintaining their platform. They can, depending on the package, have no need to be involved, direct or indirectly, in maintaining any of the hardware and infrastructure themselves. The reseller can effectively act as a conduit between the client and the service provider, either working alongside them to resolve any issues that crop up on behalf of the client, or acting as a middle man with whom the client may find easier to deal than the underlying service provider, especially if the client isn’t overly confident with their own technical awareness. For those who do get more involved, the packaging of reseller hosting can be less esoteric and easier for private and small business users to understand making use, for example, of simple control panel interfaces for configuration changes.In addition, the reseller-support dynamic works well where the reseller is involved in other elements of a client’s digital package, such as the aforementioned digital agency who would build and maintain a site and then liaise with the hosting provider to manage the hosting of the site as part of a more holistic and joined up approach.The twin drawbacks of reseller hosting, however, are that it can introduce an added layer of cost and, for those who do have the technical awareness, the middle man is simply another level of communication when support is required. Instead, tech savvy clients in particular, may prefer to deal directly with service provider to resolve issues more expeditiously.Cloud HostingA newer alternative to the more traditional idea of renting a portion of a server is the idea of renting space within a cloud of hosting resource. This service relies on the hosting provider pooling the physical resources they have – disk space, bandwidth etc – and offering consumers a virtualized platform within this virtualized pool of computing resource on which to host their site. The consumer does not rent space on, or the entirety of, a single physical server therefore, and instead their site will in reality be drawing resource from a network of multiple physical servers. The environments in which their hosting platforms exist will be distinct in a virtual sense rather than a physical one, by employing virtual partitions (similar to VPS). Consumers can even go one step further and rent an entire network of virtual servers to form a Virtual Data Center (VDC) to satisfy any of their web hosting or broader business hosting needs.Cloud hosting sits within the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) band of cloud services and its dynamics mean that hosting resource is sold more like a utility which can be tapped into as and when it is needed. The virtualized hosting platforms can be scaled to suit the demand for resources because they are freed of physical constraints and the consumer need only pay for the resource that they need as and when they use it; negating the wasted capacity that could otherwise result from either in-house hosting or rented disk space (especially dedicated servers). What’s more, the economies of scale that the hosting provider generates by running large scale data center resources can be passed down to the consumer meaning that cloud hosting can also be a cost effective way for the consumer to access the particular levels of resource that they need.Whatever your budget, the technical demands of your website, your expertise and your expectations there is likely to be a hosting option on the market that suits. Ultimately, hosting packages will vary from one provider to the next but it is still important to be aware of the different routes that you can go down and the options you’ll find when you get there.