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The Difference Between Being Smart, Educated, and Intelligent

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I’ve always been intrigued by the subject of intelligence. As a child my mother would refer to me as “smart,” but I quickly noticed that all parents refer to their children as smart. In time I would discover that all children are not smart, just as all babies are not cute. If that were the case, we’d have a world full of beautiful, smart people – which we don’t.

Some of us are smart; but not as smart as we think, and others are smarter than they seem, which makes me wonder, how do we define smart? What makes one person smarter than another? When do “street smarts” matter more than “book smarts”? Can you be both smart and stupid? Is being smart more of a direct influence of genetics, or one’s environment?

Then there are the issues of education, intelligence and wisdom.

What does it mean to be highly educated? What’s the difference between being highly educated and highly intelligent? Does being highly educated automatically make you highly intelligent? Can one be highly intelligent without being highly educated? Do IQs really mean anything? What makes a person wise? Why is wisdom typically associated with old age?

My desire to seek answers to these questions inspired many hours of intense research which included the reading of 6 books, hundreds of research documents, and countless hours on the Internet; which pales in comparison to the lifetime of studies and research that pioneers in the fields of intelligence and education like Howard Gardner, Richard Sternberg, Linda S. Gottfredson, Thomas Sowell, Alfie Kohn, and Diane F. Halpern whose work is cited in this article.

My goal was simple: Amass, synthesize, and present data on what it means to be smart, educated and intelligent so that it can be understood and used by anyone for their benefit.

PRENATAL CARE

With this in mind, there was not a better (or more appropriate) place to start than at the very beginning of our existence: as a fetus in the womb.

There is mounting evidence that the consumption of food that’s high in iron both before and during pregnancy is critical to building the prenatal brain. Researchers have found a strong association between low iron levels during pregnancy and diminished IQ. Foods rich in iron include lima beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, seafoods, nuts, dried fruits, oatmeal, and fortified cereals.

Children with low iron status in utero (in the uterus) scored lower on every test and had significantly lower language ability, fine-motor skills, and tractability than children with higher prenatal iron levels. In essence, proper prenatal care is critical to the development of cognitive skills.

COGNITIVE SKILLS

Cognitive skills are the basic mental abilities we use to think, study, and learn. They include a wide variety of mental processes used to analyze sounds and images, recall information from memory, make associations between different pieces of information, and maintain concentration on particular tasks. They can be individually identified and measured. Cognitive skill strength and efficiency correlates directly with students’ ease of learning.

DRINKING, PREGNANCY, AND ITS INTELLECTUAL IMPACT

Drinking while pregnant is not smart. In fact, it’s downright stupid.

A study in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research has found that even light to moderate drinking – especially during the second trimester – is associated with lower IQs in offspring at 10 years of age. This result was especially pronounced among African-American rather than Caucasian offspring.

“IQ is a measure of the child’s ability to learn and to survive in his or her environment. It predicts the potential for success in school and in everyday life. Although a small but significant percentage of children are diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) each year, many more children are exposed to alcohol during pregnancy who do not meet criteria for FAS yet experience deficits in growth and cognitive function,” said Jennifer A. Willford, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Paul D. Connor, clinical director of the Fetal Alcohol and Drug Unit and assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington has this to say about the subject:

“There are a number of domains of cognitive functioning that can be impaired even in the face of a relatively normal IQ, including academic achievement (especially arithmetic), adaptive functioning, and executive functions (the ability to problem solve and learn from experiences). Deficits in intellectual, achievement, adaptive, and executive functioning could make it difficult to appropriately manage finances, function independently without assistance, and understand the consequences of – or react appropriately to – mistakes.”

This is a key finding which speaks directly to the (psychological) definition of intelligence which is addressed later in this article.

ULTRA SOUNDS

Studies have shown that the frequent exposure of the human fetus to ultrasound waves is associated with a decrease in newborn body weight, an increase in the frequency of left-handedness, and delayed speech.

Because ultrasound energy is a high-frequency mechanical vibration, researchers hypothesized that it might influence the migration of neurons in a developing fetus. Neurons in mammals multiply early in fetal development and then migrate to their final destinations. Any interference or disruption in the process could result in abnormal brain function.

Commercial companies (which do ultrasounds for “keepsake” purposes) are now creating more powerful ultrasound machines capable of providing popular 3D and 4D images. The procedure, however, lasts longer as they try to make 30-minute videos of the fetus in the uterus.

The main stream magazine New Scientist reported the following: Ultrasound scans can stop cells from dividing and make them commit suicide. Routine scans, which have let doctors peek at fetuses and internal organs for the past 40 years, affect the normal cell cycle.

On the FDA website this information is posted about ultrasounds:

While ultrasound has been around for many years, expectant women and their families need to know that the long-term effects of repeated ultrasound exposures on the fetus are not fully known. In light of all that remains unknown, having a prenatal ultrasound for non-medical reasons is not a good idea.

NATURE VERSUS NURTURE…THE DEBATE CONTINUES

Now that you are aware of some of the known factors which determine, improve, and impact the intellectual development of a fetus, it’s time for conception. Once that baby is born, which will be more crucial in the development of its intellect: nature (genetics) or nurture (the environment)?

Apparently for centuries, scientists and psychologists have gone back and forth on this. I read many comprehensive studies and reports on this subject during the research phase of this article, and I believe that it’s time to put this debate to rest. Both nature and nurture are equally as important and must be fully observed in the intellectual development of all children. This shouldn’t be an either/or proposition.

A recent study shows that early intervention in the home and in the classroom can make a big difference for a child born into extreme poverty, according to Eric Turkheimer, a psychologist at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. The study concludes that while genetic makeup explains most of the differences in IQ for children in wealthier families, environment – and not genes – makes a bigger difference for minority children in low-income homes.

Specifically, what researchers call “heritability”- the degree to which genes influence IQ – was significantly lower for poor families. “Once you’re put into an adequate environment, your genes start to take over,” Mr. Turkheimer said, “but in poor environments genes don’t have that ability.”

But there are reports that contradict these findings…sort of.

Linda S. Gottfredson, a professor of educational studies at the University of Delaware, wrote in her article, The General Intelligence Factor that environments shared by siblings have little to do with IQ. Many people still mistakenly believe that social, psychological and economic differences among families create lasting and marked differences in IQ.

She found that behavioral geneticists refer to such environmental effects as “shared” because they are common to siblings who grow up together. Her reports states that the heritability of IQ rises with age; that is to say, the extent to which genetics accounts for differences in IQ among individuals increases as people get older.

In her article she also refers to studies comparing identical and fraternal twins, published in the past decade by a group led by Thomas J. Bouchard, Jr., of the University of Minnesota and other scholars, show that about 40 percent of IQ differences among preschoolers stems from genetic differences, but that heritability rises to 60 percent by adolescence and to 80 percent by late adulthood.

And this is perhaps the most interesting bit of information, and relevant to this section of my article:

With age, differences among individuals in their developed intelligence come to mirror more closely their genetic differences. It appears that the effects of environment on intelligence fade rather than grow with time.

Bouchard concludes that young children have the circumstances of their lives imposed on them by parents, schools and other agents of society, but as people get older they become more independent and tend to seek out the life niches that are most congenial to their genetic proclivities.

BREAST-FEEDING INCREASES INTELLIGENCE

Researchers from Christchurch School of Medicine in New Zealand studied over 1,000 children born between April and August 1977. During the period from birth to one year, they gathered information on how these children were fed.

The infants were then followed to age 18. Over the years, the researchers collected a range of cognitive and academic information on the children, including IQ, teacher ratings of school performance in reading and math, and results of standardized tests of reading comprehension, mathematics, and scholastic ability. The researchers also looked at the number of passing grades achieved in national School Certificate examinations taken at the end of the third year of high school.

The results indicated that the longer children had been breast-fed, the higher they scored on such tests.

TALKING TO YOUR CHILDREN MAKES A DIFFERENCE

Thomas Sowell, author of Race, IQ, Black Crime, and facts Liberals Ignore uncovered some fascinating information that every parent should take note of. He writes:

There is a strong case that black Americans suffer from a series of disadvantageous environments. Studies show time and again that before they go to school, black children are on average exposed to a smaller vocabulary than white children, in part due to socioeconomic factors.

While children from professional households typically exposed to a total of 2,150 different words each day, children from working class households are exposed to 1,250, and children from households on welfare a mere 620.

Yes, smart sounding children tend to come from educated, professional, two-parent environments where they pick-up valuable language skills and vocabulary from its smart sounding inhabitants.

Mr. Sowell continues: Black children are obviously not to blame for their poor socioeconomic status, but something beyond economic status is at work in black homes. Black people have not signed up for the “great mission” of the white middle class – the constant quest to stimulate intellectual growth and get their child into Harvard or Oxbridge.

Elsie Moore of Arizona State University, Phoenix, studied black children adopted by either black or white parents, all of whom were middle-class professionals. By the age of 7.5 years, those in black homes were 13 IQ points behind those being raised in the white homes.

ACCUMULATED ADVANTAGES

At this juncture in my research it dawned on me, and should be fairly obvious to you, that many children are predisposed to being smart, educated, and intelligent, simply by their exposure to the influential factors which determine them long before they start school.

An informed mother, proper prenatal care, educated, communicative parents, and a nurturing environment in which to live, all add up to accumulated advantages that formulate intellectual abilities. As you can see, some children have unfair advantages from the very beginning.

Malcolm Gladwell, author of top-selling book Outliers, wrote that “accumulated advantages” are made possible by arbitrary rules…and such unfair advantages are everywhere. “It is those who are successful who are most likely to be given the kinds of social opportunities that lead to further success,” he writes. “It’s the rich who get the biggest tax breaks. It’s the best students who get the best teaching and most attention.”

With that in mind, we turn our attention to education and intelligence.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE WELL EDUCATED?

Alfie Kohn, author of the book What Does It Mean To Be Well Educated? poses the question, does the phrase well educated refer to a quality of schooling you received, or something about you? Does it denote what you were taught? Or what you remember?

I contend that to be well educated is all in the application; the application and use of information. Information has to be used in order to become knowledge, and as we all have heard, knowledge is power.

Most people are aware of the floundering state of education in this country on some level. We tell our children that nothing is more important than getting a “good” education, and every year, due to government budget shortfalls, teachers are laid off, classes are condensed, schools are closed, and many educational programs – especially those which help the underprivileged – are cut.

The reality is, we don’t really value education. We value it as a business, an industry, political ammunition, and as an accepted form of discrimination, but not for what it was intended: a means of enriching one’s character and life through learning.

What we value as a society, are athletes and the entertainment they offer. The fact that a professional athlete makes more money in one season, than most teachers in any region will make in their careers, is abominable. There’s always money to build new sports stadiums, but not enough to give teachers a decent (and well-deserved) raise.

Ironically, the best teachers don’t go into the profession for money. They teach because it’s a calling. Most of them were influenced by a really good teacher as a student. With the mass exodus of teachers, many students are not able to cultivate the mentoring relationships that they once were able to because so many are leaving the profession – voluntarily and involuntarily – within an average of three years.

At the high school level, where I got my start, the emphasis is not on how to educate the students to prepare them for life, or even college (all high schools should be college-prep schools, right?), it was about preparing them to excel on their standardized tests. Then the controversial “exit” exams were implemented and literally, many high schools were transformed into testing centers. Learning has almost become secondary.

This mentality carries over into college, which of course there’s a test one must take in order to enroll (the SAT or ACT). This explains why so many college students are more concerned with completing a course, than learning from it. They are focused on getting “A’s” and degrees, instead of becoming degreed thinkers. The latter of which are in greater demand by employers and comprise the bulk of the self-employed. The “get-the-good-grade” mindset is directly attributable to the relentless and often unnecessary testing that our students are subjected to in schools.

Alfie Kohn advocates the “exhibition” of learning, in which students reveal their understanding by means of in-depth projects, portfolios of assignments, and other demonstrations.

He cites a model pioneered by Ted Sizer and Deborah Meier. Meier has emphasized the importance of students having five “habits of mind,” which are: the value of raising questions about evidence (“How do we know what we know?”), point of view, (“Whose perspective does this represent?”), connections (“How is this related to that?”), supposition (“How might things have been otherwise?”), and relevance (“Why is this important?”).

Kohn writes: It’s only the ability to raise and answer those questions that matters, though, but also the disposition to do so. For that matter, any set of intellectual objectives, any description of what it means to think deeply and critically, should be accompanied by a reference to one’s interest or intrinsic motivation to do such thinking…to be well-educated then, is to have the desire as well as the means to make sure that learning never ends…

HISTORY AND PURPOSE OF IQ

We’ve always wanted to measure intelligence. Ironically, when you look at some the first methods used to evaluate it in the 1800s, they were not, well, very intelligent. Tactics such as subjecting people to various forms of torture to see what their threshold for pain was (the longer you could withstand wincing, the more intelligent you were believed to be), or testing your ability to detect a high pitch sound that others could not hear.

Things have changed…or have they?

No discussion of intelligence or IQ can be complete without mention of Alfred Binet, a French psychologist who was responsible for laying the groundwork for IQ testing in 1904. His original intention was to devise a test that would diagnose learning disabilities of students in France. The test results were then used to prepare special programs to help students overcome their educational difficulties.

It was never intended to be used as an absolute measure of one’s intellectual capabilities.

According to Binet, intelligence could not be described as a single score. He said that the use of the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) as a definite statement of a child’s intellectual capability would be a serious mistake. In addition, Binet feared that IQ measurement would be used to condemn a child to a permanent “condition” of stupidity, thereby negatively affecting his or her education and livelihood.

The original interest was in the assessment of ‘mental age’ — the average level of intelligence for a person of a given age. His creation, the Binet-Simon test (originally called a “scale”), formed the archetype for future tests of intelligence.

H. H. Goddard, director of research at Vineland Training School in New Jersey, translated Binet’s work into English and advocated a more general application of the Simon-Binet test. Unlike Binet, Goddard considered intelligence a solitary, fixed and inborn entity that could be measured. With help of Lewis Terman of Stanford University, his final product, published in 1916 as the Stanford Revision of the Binet-Simon Scale of Intelligence (also known as the Stanford-Binet), became the standard intelligence test in the United States.

It’s important to note that the fallacy about IQ is that it is fixed and can not be changed. The fact is that IQ scores are known to fluctuate – both up and down during the course of one’s lifetime. It does not mean that you become more, or less intelligent, it merely means that you tested better on one day than another.

One more thing to know about IQ tests: They have been used for racist purposes since their importation into the U.S. Many of those who were involved in the importation and refinement of these tests believed that IQ was hereditary and are responsible for feeding the fallacy that it is a “fixed” trait.

Many immigrants were tested in the 1920s and failed these IQ tests miserably. As a result, many of them were denied entry into the U.S., or were forced to undergo sterilization for fear of populating America with “dumb” and “inferior” babies. If you recall, the tests were designed for white, middle class Americans. Who do you think would have the most difficulty passing them?

Lewis Terman developed the original notion of IQ and proposed this scale for classifying IQ scores:

000 – 070: Definite feeble-mindedness

070 – 079: Borderline deficiency

080 – 089: Dullness

090 – 109: Normal or average intelligence

110 – 119: Superior intelligence

115 – 124: Above average (e.g., university students)

125 – 134: Gifted (e.g., post-graduate students)

135 – 144: Highly gifted (e.g., intellectuals)

145 – 154: Genius (e.g., professors)

155 – 164: Genius (e.g., Nobel Prize winners)

165 – 179: High genius

180 – 200: Highest genius

200 – higher ?: Immeasurable genius

*Genius IQ is generally considered to begin around 140 to 145, representing only 25% of the population (1 in 400).

*Einstein was considered to “only” have an IQ of about 160.

DEFINING INTELLIGENCE

Diane F. Halpern, a psychologist and past-president of the American Psychological Association (APA), wrote in her essay contribution to Why Smart People Can Be So Stupid that in general, we recognize people as intelligent if they have some combination of these achievements (1) good grades in school; (2) a high level of education; (3) a responsible, complex job; (4) some other recognition of being intelligent, such as winning prestigious awards or earning a large salary; (5) the ability to read complex text with good comprehension; (6) solve difficult and novel problems.

Throughout my research and in the early phases of this article, I came across many definitions of the word intelligence. Some were long, some were short. Some I couldn’t even understand. The definition that is most prevalent is the one created by the APA which is: the ability to adapt to one’s environment, and learn from one’s mistakes.

How about that? There’s the word environment again. We just can’t seem to escape it. This adds deeper meaning to the saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” It means recognizing what’s going on in your environment, and having the intelligence adapt to it – and the people who occupy it – in order to survive and succeed within it.

There are also many different forms of intelligence. Most notably those created by Dr. Howard Gardner, professor of education at Harvard University.

Dr. Gardner believes (and I agree) that our schools and culture focus most of their attention on linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligence. We esteem the highly articulate or logical people of our culture. However, Dr. Gardner says that we should also place equal attention on individuals who show gifts in the other intelligences: the artists, architects, musicians, naturalists, designers, dancers, therapists, entrepreneurs, and others who enrich the world in which we live.

He felt that the traditional notion of intelligence, based on IQ testing, was far too limited and created the Theories Of Multiple Intelligences in 1983 to account for a broader range of human potential in children and adults.

These intelligences are:

Linguistic intelligence (“word smart”)

Logical-mathematical intelligence (“number/reasoning smart”)

Spatial intelligence (“picture smart”)

Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence (“body smart”)

Musical intelligence (“music smart”)

Interpersonal intelligence (“people smart”)

Intrapersonal intelligence (“self smart”)

Naturalist intelligence (“nature smart”)

Not associated with Dr. Gardner, but equally respected are:

FLUID & CRYSTALLIZED INTELLIGENCE

According to About.com, Psychologist Raymond Cattell first proposed the concepts of fluid and crystallized intelligence and further developed the theory with John Horn. The Cattell-Horn theory of fluid and crystallized intelligence suggests that intelligence is composed of a number of different abilities that interact and work together to produce overall individual intelligence.

Cattell defined fluid intelligence as “…the ability to perceive relationships independent of previous specific practice or instruction concerning those relationships.” Fluid intelligence is the ability to think and reason abstractly and solve problems. This ability is considered independent of learning, experience, and education. Examples of the use of fluid intelligence include solving puzzles and coming up with problem solving strategies.

Crystallized intelligence is learning from past experiences and learning. Situations that require crystallized intelligence include reading comprehension and vocabulary exams. This type of intelligence is based upon facts and rooted in experiences. This type of intelligence becomes stronger as we age and accumulate new knowledge and understanding.

Both types of intelligence increase throughout childhood and adolescence. Fluid intelligence peaks in adolescence and begins to decline progressively beginning around age 30 or 40. Crystallized intelligence continues to grow throughout adulthood.

SUCCESSFUL INTELLIGENCE

Then there’s Successful Intelligence, which is authored by intelligence psychologist and Yale professor, Robert J. Sternberg, who believes that the whole concept of relating IQ to life achievement is misguided, because he believes that IQ is a pretty miserable predictor of life achievement.

His Successful Intelligence theory focuses on 3 types of intelligence which are combined to contribute to one’s overall success: Analytical Intelligence; mental steps or components used to solve problems; Creative Intelligence: the use of experience in ways that foster insight (creativity/divergent thinking); and Practical Intelligence: the ability to read and adapt to the contexts of everyday life.

With regard to environment, Mr. Sternberg writes in his book Successful Intelligence: Successfully intelligent people realize that the environment in which they find themselves may or may not be able to make the most of their talents. They actively seek an environment where they can not only do successful work, but make a difference. They create opportunities rather than let opportunities be limited by circumstances in which they happen to find themselves.

As an educator, I subscribe to Mr. Sternberg’s Successful Intelligence approach to teaching. It has proven to be a highly effective tool and mindset for my college students. Using Successful Intelligence as the backbone of my context-driven curriculum really inspires students to see how education makes their life goals more attainable, and motivates them to further develop their expertise. Mr. Sternberg believes that the major factor in achieving expertise is purposeful engagement.

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE

In his best-selling 1995 book, Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman reported that research shows that conventional measures of intelligence – IQ – only account for 20% of a person’s success in life. For example, research on IQ and education shows that high IQ predicts 10 to 25% of grades in college. The percentage will vary depending on how we define success. Nonetheless, Goleman’s assertion begs the question: What accounts for the other 80%?

You guessed it…Emotional Intelligence. What exactly is emotional intelligence? Emotional intelligence (also called EQ or EI) refers to the ability to perceive, control, and evaluate emotions. Many corporations now have mandatory EQ training for their managers in an effort to improve employee

relations and increase productivity.

TACIT KNOWLEDGE aka “STREET SMARTS”

You’ve heard the phrase, “Experience is the greatest teacher…”

In psychology circles knowledge gained from everyday experience is called tacit knowledge. The colloquial term is “street smarts,” which implies that formal, classroom instruction (aka “book smarts”) has nothing to do with it. The individual is not directly instructed as to what he or she should learn, but rather must extract the important lesson from the experience even when learning is not the primary objective.

Tacit knowledge is closely related to common sense, which is sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts. As you know, common sense is not all that common.

Tacit knowledge, or the lessons obtained from it, seems to “stick” both faster and better when the lessons have direct relevance to the individual’s goals. Knowledge that is based on one’s own practical experience will likely be more instrumental to achieving one’s goals than will be knowledge that is based on someone else’s experience, or that is overly generic and abstract.

BEING BOTH SMART AND STUPID

Yes, it’s possible to be both smart and stupid. I’m sure someone you know comes to mind at this precise moment. But the goal here is not to ridicule, but to understand how some seemingly highly intelligent, or highly educated individuals can be so smart in one way, and incredibly stupid in others.

The woman who is a respected, well paid, dynamic executive who consistently chooses men who don’t appear to be worthy of her, or the man who appears to be a pillar of the community, with a loving wife and happy kids, ends up being arrested on rape charges.

It happens, but why? I found the answer in Why Smart People Can Be So Stupid. Essentially, intellect is domain specific. In other words, being smart (knowledgeable) in one area of your life, and stupid (ignorant) in another is natural. Turning off one’s brain is quite common especially when it comes to what we desire. A shared characteristic among those who are smart and stupid, is the difficulty in delaying gratification.

Olem Ayduk & Walter Mischel who wrote the chapter summarized: Sometimes stupid behavior in smart people may arise from faulty expectations, erroneous beliefs, or merely a lack of motivation to enact control strategies even when one has them. But sometimes it is an inability to regulate one’s affective states and the behavioral tendencies associated with them that leads to stupid and self-defeating behavior.

The central character in this book who many of these lessons regarding being smart and stupid revolve around is Bill Clinton and his affair with Monica Lewinksky.

WISDOM & CONCLUSION

My great grandmother, Leola Cecil, maybe had an 8th grade education at the most. By no stretch of the imagination was she highly educated, but she had what seemed like infinite wisdom. She was very observant and could “read” people with startling accuracy. Till the very end of her life she shared her “crystallized intelligence” with whomever was receptive to it.

She died at the age of 94. I often use many of her sayings as a public speaker, but most importantly, I use her philosophies to make sure that I’m being guided spiritually and not just intellectually. Many of us who are lucky enough to have a great grandparent can testify that there is something special about their knowledge. They seem to have life figured out, and a knack for helping those of us who are smart, educated and intelligent see things more clearly when we are too busy thinking.

What they have is what we should all aspire to end up with if we are lucky: wisdom.

Wisdom is the ability to look through a person, when others can only look at them. Wisdom slows down the thinking process and makes it more organic; synchronizing it with intuition. Wisdom helps you make better judgments regarding decisions, and makes you less judgmental. Wisdom is understanding without knowing, and accepting without understanding. Wisdom is recognizing what’s important to other people, and knowing that other people are of the utmost importance to you. Wisdom is both a starting point, and a final conclusion.

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Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship

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Owning a successful business is no longer reserved for a lucky few. It is because there are some rules followed by those successful business people in making the business people to climb the richness ladder with assurance and comfort ability although any business is about risking and that the higher the risk the higher the reward or profit.

When you want to startup a business you first must have an idea, example of business ideas are like opening up a hairdresser, opens a salon, a shop and much. Generally, people do make huge mistake. Just because they are thinking about the job and not the business. Only because you are a good chef does not mean you know how to run a restaurant. More important, it does not mean a restaurant would be successful in your market. So you have to clearly assess and evaluate your business idea before implementing it.

Business wise you have to make sure that what you are going to produce Is it a product or service they have fallen in love with. Again, just because you love something does not mean a profitable business will come of it. This is especially true for first-time entrepreneurs. Learning how to run a business is hard enough; you don’t need to make it any harder by doing something you love rather than something customers love paying you a good profit for or producing what you want instead of what they want.

There are some guidelines on how you are sure that your intriguing idea is also something from which you can truly make a profit? There are three essential considerations one has to bear in mind.

Make sure the product or service has a repeat buy. This is by far the most important aspect of long-term business success. You have to have a product or service that people will keep buying. It is better and more profitable, in my opinion, to have a pool cleaning company than a pool building company. Put another way, a business owner should focus on getting a customer once, but making a profit from that person for a very long time.
Be certain you have a high profit margin.

There are very few companies that can compete long term on a “we are cheaper” marketing platform. In any new business, you need to watch your cash flow–and if you are trying to work with low profit margins and make gains in volume, you will need to have a high level of working capital to keep you running through the lean profits early on. Having a higher margin is extremely important when you are growing a business so you can self-finance your growth.

Build a strong support team because a good idea is not enough. The idea counts most, yet a quality idea must still have a great team of people behind it to give it wings. Time after time, when people bring me a business investment proposal or an idea they want to take to market, I ask them who is on their team and they respond with something crazy like, “Oh, we have not hired anyone yet.” Get a board of advisers. Get a team of professional accountants, coaches, lawyers and bankers. A great team will greatly improve the chances for success of any business.

Now if I were going into business today, to be sure of the market what would I choose? I would start with one premise and some hot industries. Here the premise is, you do not make money panning for gold, and you make money selling pans. Get in the way of a buying frenzy, and you will be a success. Therefore the fastest way to make a restaurant profitable is not by having a great chef and great decor or big buildings it is by attracting a starving crowd with money so that they can eat the food in exchange for their money.

In other words look for an idea you can take national or, even better, global at some stage. Although it might be fun and a challenge to establish yourself locally right now, but eventually you’ll want to build something much bigger for the future and also expand you business.

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Organic Swing Tags Offer Amazing Benefits for Your Business

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Organic swing tags can be used to promote and enhance your items at competitive rates. These tags come in various sizes, styles, designs, shapes, and colors. You can print one side of the tags or both according to your needs and budget. Make sure you are using quality machines for printing. Let’s know more about the benefits of organic swing tags for your business.

Uses Of Organic Swing Tags

You can use these tags to promote products like clothing, luggage, and jewelry effortlessly and cost-effectively. Moreover, it is a sophisticated and chic tool that makes the items even more stylish and branded. You can get the organic type because they are available in different finishes, and stocks, to make exceptional branding and unique items.

Go for the Embossed type

This type can be recycled with time. Mostly, eco-friendly materials can be used to make them. They can be used in the clothing center to label different items. You can print the price, size, and name of clothes on your embossed swing tags to deliver information. This will help your customers to get an idea about your garment.

The Demand For Foiled Swing Tags Is High

In the market, a vast range of organic types is available to serve different purposes. Just like organic and embossed types, the demand to use the foiled tags is high. These are easy to print and design.

Consult a Professional

If you do not know what size and style you need to use, do not worry. You should consult with the experts because they have the knowledge and expertise to make these products. Besides, they always use quality material to make your orders.

See The Template

Before placing your order, you need to check the vast variety of these products on the internet. You should also check the customer reviews. In this way, you will get an idea of which ones are best for your business.

While looking for branded tags, do not forget to ask about the prices. At this time, we suggest that you buy in bulk. It’s hard for designers to make only one piece for you.

They make a bundle of organic swing tags in one second with the best tag-making machines. So, tell them the number you need. You can show the template of what you like and want for your need. In this way, the expert worker will incorporate their own expertise to make attractive and eye-catching products.

Importance Of Foiled Swing Tags

Foiled swing tags on a product assure the buyer that they are purchasing a high-quality item. They can convince the consumer that they have chosen the proper size. They can demonstrate quality by exhibiting accolades, approving seals, or confirming the product’s legitimacy.

Boost Your Revenue

Because a swing tag is often the same size as a business card, it may convince clients with a short promotional message to enhance sales. They can promote a special offer so that buyers place a bulk order. It may also promote limited-edition items, encouraging buyers to purchase them while supplies last.

So, this was an introduction to organic swing tags and the benefits that they offer for your business.

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Finance

The Consequences of Stealing – Theft and the Law

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Theft can include armed robbery, burglary, theft by check, forgery, unauthorized use of a vehicle, fraud, false statement to a credit agency, shoplifting and the list goes on. The consequences for stealing range from a Class C misdemeanor to felony charges, usually depending on the monetary value of what was taken. If the value of the stolen item is under $1,500 then the perpetrator will most likely be convicted of a misdemeanor. This can result in a simple fine and/or community service, but could also involve jail time, depending on the circumstances. If the item stolen was of great value, the accused will most likely be charged with a felony and will have to serve prison time. At the time of a hearing the court will be notified if there is more than one offense on the suspect’s record and this will also affect the sentencing. People who steal generally do not do it just one time.

It is important to note that in some states, stealing of any kind is considered a “crime of moral turpitude”. This means the act of stealing is not a favorable action in community standards of justice, honesty or good morals. Even if you are charged with a misdemeanor, you will have a permanent criminal record that will follow you for the rest of your life. This can have negative effects on the wrongdoer’s character personally, legally and with future employment opportunities.

One of the most common forms of stealing is shoplifting. Shoplifting is the deliberate act of taking an unpaid item from a place of business and it happens more than we are aware. A person can be convicted of shoplifting even if they don’t walk out of the store, but are found with hidden merchandise in their possession. In some states, there is even a “law of Parties” meaning that if you are with a friend who is caught stealing in a retail establishment, you can also be prosecuted even though you didn’t intend on stealing. An average of $10 billion dollars’ worth of goods is stolen from retail businesses each year. The numbers and statistics are staggering. We all pay the price for people who commit these acts by having to pay more for products when companies pad prices to recuperate losses from shoplifters. The law does not look kindly on people who shoplift.

Bottom line, stealing is never a good idea and can land you in a world of trouble. It will affect the offender in many negative ways for the rest of their lives. Stealing also affects everyone in the community, in one way or another, which is why the laws are harsh. Thieves may think that they can get away with stealing, but eventually they will get caught and will be forced to face severe consequences.

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Finance

The Multiple Uses Of A Backup Email

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A backup email has so many uses that it really is essential for anyone that has an email to have a backup. A backup email is basically known as a secondary email that is most likely linked to your primary email.

The first use of such a thing is for the password recovery system of your primary email. Most of the time your primary email will contain all the important messages from your contacts such as a memo from the boss, a greeting from your family and so much more; your primary email is also where your contacts will be stored.

With such important data you will of course protect it with a password that only you would know. But what if you accidentally forgot your password, what can you do? Well you can use a basic feature that virtually all email providers have: the secret question feature.

This feature is where you are asked a series of questions, mostly around 2, that you have previously chosen and that only you know the answer to. The problem with this is that most of the time if the email you’re using has been around for a few years there is a big chance that you might have forgotten what the answer is; this is where a backup email comes into play.

You can choose to have your password be sent to your backup email. This provides you with fewer problems because you only have to check your backup email as opposed to having to try and remember what the answers to your secret questions were.

Other uses of a backup email would be either as a spam receiver or as storage for important messages. If you’re into the habit of subscribing to a lot of newsletters you will most likely receive a lot of spam mail and no matter how you filter those emails there will still be some that will be able to make it to your inbox.

What you could do is you could use your secondary email as the email that you enter when you subscribe to anything, that way all the spam mail will go to that email and you could just check it when you have the time to.

If you don’t see your backup as a spam receiver then you could use it as a password recovery email and as a backup storage for important messages, contacts and files. Ideally, everything that is digitized is supposed to have a backup so that when the primary data is lost there is still something that can bring it back.

What you could do is you could forward all important emails, save all contacts as well as store files in your secondary email so that you have a backup just in case you delete those things in your primary email.

A backup email has a lot of uses to the point that having one is turning out to be a necessity; just remember to try and have your backup with a different provider so that you don’t get troubled by ID security measures.

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Finance

3 Benefits of Web Analytics

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Web analytics is the process of measuring site statistics and analyzing traffic behavior. Here are there of the main benefits of web analytics.

It is typical for any business to do some data analysis. Data analysis is used to determine sales, profit, loss rate, and market interest. However, in terms of establishing a strong e-presence for your website, there is one tool that you could used in order to collect necessary data that you would need to promote your site.

Web analytics has been gaining steady popularity among websites, blogs and portals. It is used to analyze market trends and to identify website users or visitors. It is also used to determine the behavior of website users. It is a great tool to determine your latest website trends and your visitors’ or users’ preferences in terms of site features. Here are the benefits of web analytics.

Number 1: It helps monitor your visitors and users

With web analytics, you would know how long your visitor stayed in your website, who they are and where they came from. You will be able to know their clickstreams, the keywords they used, and how they came to be in your website (referrer pages, search engines, etc). You would be able to determine how many times a user or a visitor returned to your website and which pages were given preference.

In fact, a web analytics tool would tell you your website usage down to the last specifics. It would tell you about your visitor’s nationality and language. It can even pinpoint the city of origin. Of course, it will tell you the IP addresses and the host used for access. Further analysis would reveal if your visitors were there to actually check out your site or if they were mere strays. Most certainly, you will know how many visitors you get daily.

Number 2: It can help you optimize your website

Once you have carefully studied the actions of your visitors or web users, you would be able to act accordingly in order to optimize your website. You would also have an idea about the things that need changing and the aspects of your website that may appeal more to your market. You would know which pages are most viewed and which are basically ignored. You would be able to adjust certain aspects of your website that need improvement or adjustments. You could then fix any technical problems; or you could also improve, streamline or reshape site navigation to better assist your site users or visitors.

Number 3: It can help you formulate a sales and e-marketing plan

Web analytics will be able to assist you in preparing for an e-marketing plan and course of action. This will be more effective because your plan would be based on actual facts and not mere probabilities. You would be able to really know what your market wants. By tracking the items which were highly viewed, you would learn which products received the highest response. You would also be able to enhance other programs that you have already employed like pay-per-click or PPC advertising. You would be able to get more clients, as well as monitor and keep your clients interested.

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Finance

Business Technology in Small Business

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Business technology in small businesses can mean a lot of different things and can be interpreted in many different ways. But it will always come down to the same thing – the technology implemented and used by a business must provide the maximum amount of efficiency for the minimum amount of cost and maintenance.

Technology in business must be well planned and implemented in a sensible manner and a plan for technology management must be developed and adhered to. This may mean moving more of your business systems onto the internet to increase the mobility of your business, or identifying and investing in new systems which will do the same job but in a more efficient manner.

How Can the Internet Help My Business?

If you are looking to save money for your business, the internet is an excellent place to start. If your business includes a small call centre to provide customer service, you could save a lot of money in the long run by investing in changing the phone system to an IP telephony system. This would mean that rather than incurring massive phone bills using normal phones, all calls would be routed over the internet and customers would be able to call in using a normal local telephone number.

It is much cheaper to call someone through the internet than through a standard phone line and the savings you would make here would more than cover the cost of implementing such a system.

You would need to ensure that your business’ internet connection is powerful enough to manage this of course. If there is not enough bandwidth to accommodate all of the calls being made, the sound quality can suffer. As long as both parties can hear what the other is saying, this does not have to be too much of an issue – making allowances for this would need to be part of your business’ strategy for technology management.

What about My People in the Field?

If you have a large team of sales reps in the field, the savings which you could enjoy through the implementation of internet based telephony can be carried on to this side of your business as well. Nowadays, there are many mobile phones available which are capable of making calls over the internet using the 3G network. This would mean a possible upgrade of your corporate mobile phone contract and possibly some retraining for your staff – but ultimately it would save you money on phone bills.

How do I Know that My Company is Now More Efficient?

Technology in business also encompasses the assessment and monitoring of work performed by the employees. With modern networking and targeted technology management, it would be possible to not only make your company run more efficiently for less money; but also allowing you to keep an eye on exactly what is going on in real-time.

There are many products available which will allow you to monitor your employees’ statistics – be it the amount of time they are spending on each call or the amount of time they take to finishing each file before they are able to move onto the next one. Through this, you would be able to address any possible issues which may arise and discuss them with the employee.

Business technology should broaden the horizons. You should be able to do more for spending less. Something as simple as making phone calls cheaper or something as involved as identifying areas of concern in an employees performance and having more information which can be used to develop strategies for the employee to avoid this.

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