Good Nutritional Guidelines

It’s difficult to know what exactly makes up a healthy diet. Many are not just concerned for themselves, but for their family, as well. There are a ton of diet plans to find in supermarket checkout lane magazines, each of them claiming to be the easiest and quickest way to lose weight without compromising on nutrition, but which, if any, are the real deal? Unfortunately, many of the foods we love to eat are often the worst to eat when it comes to nutritional value. This is one of the main reasons so many refuse to even think about it, which gives room for the myths and confusion that surround the topic to grow.The most confusing thing of all is the way the “experts” seem to differ on even the most basic of premises, each one contradicting several others from week to week, it seems. New studies always come around to disprove something we all knew was true when it comes to nutrition, and now something that we thought was good for us is now bad for us, or vice versa. Just think about the shifting opinions over the years regarding such things as coffee or red wine. It seems impossible to be knowledgeable about subjects that seems to shift so much, where even some of the basic premises don’t seem consistent.Places to Find Good Nutrition InformationHow good the information may just be a factor of where you get it. All those checkout aisle magazines with their diets of the week are probably not good sources. Some of these may literally have made up their information for that week’s issue. Many of these diets have tailored their information for specific reasons, usually to sell their products or prove some sort of pseudo-scientific point. Anyone can write a book saying anything, fill it with a lot of technical-sounding words and pass it off as fact, but if the studies backing it were not scientifically done and legitimately put together, they are only advertisements shilling whatever the magazine wants to sell that particular week.The best place to get nutrition information is, of course, from a doctor or nutritionist. If news comes from trusted sources such as these, it’s more likely they are acting in the best interests of the reader, not of a company trying to sell you something.Information can be found online, but be careful of it – many of them are merely trying to sell something that really has no nutritional value at all.What Is Good Nutrition Made Of?Everyone has different needs when it comes to nutrition. We all need the same basic nutrients but we may need them in differing amounts. Each person needs a certain amount of calories per day and those calories are divided into protein, fat, and carbohydrate. Someone taller and heavier will generally need more calories than someone smaller and lighter. The more one weighs, the more calories it takes to maintain that weight. Weight loss, then, means having a diet with fewer calories – but it does not mean a drastic cut. Too sharp a drop in calories can actually make it more difficult to lose weight.If you are trying to lose weight by reducing your caloric intake, your nutritional intake may suffer in the process. It is important to not only get the right number of calories, but the right amounts of vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients.What’s the Deal with Nutrition, Anyway?Food is essential to life. The things we eat are used to heal, to help strength the body against illness and injury, and of course, to give us the energy we need to go about our daily business. Everything the human body does, the smallest action and the most complex processes, all get the power they need to function from the food we eat. A steady diet of junk food is poor nutrition and the body will become sluggish and begin to store excess fat. It will also become easier to get ill and it will just be difficult to move around in general. The longer a diet like this continues, the longer the body goes without good nutrition, which means more sickness and more weight gain.To be strong and healthy, a body needs good nutrition. This is the way the human body gets strength to move around and keep active and keep excess weight off.Protein Supplements as an Aid to Good NutritionIt may not be very easy to get all the protein or other nutrients your body needs, depending upon the nutritional goals you’ve set for yourself. Many people try to lose weight by eating less – a lot less than their bodies require to stay healthy. Oddly enough, going from eating too much to eating too little can actually make weight loss more difficult. A body that feels as if its starving triggers a slow metabolism, which means those calories you do ingest are hoarded by the body, instead of burned as energy. And of course it probably still lacks the nutrition it needs to keep the body properly functioning. Using a protein supplement to replace a small meal or as a between meal snack can be the solution to a diet with fewer calories but sufficient nutrition.

Alternative Financing Vs. Venture Capital: Which Option Is Best for Boosting Working Capital?

There are several potential financing options available to cash-strapped businesses that need a healthy dose of working capital. A bank loan or line of credit is often the first option that owners think of – and for businesses that qualify, this may be the best option.

In today’s uncertain business, economic and regulatory environment, qualifying for a bank loan can be difficult – especially for start-up companies and those that have experienced any type of financial difficulty. Sometimes, owners of businesses that don’t qualify for a bank loan decide that seeking venture capital or bringing on equity investors are other viable options.

But are they really? While there are some potential benefits to bringing venture capital and so-called “angel” investors into your business, there are drawbacks as well. Unfortunately, owners sometimes don’t think about these drawbacks until the ink has dried on a contract with a venture capitalist or angel investor – and it’s too late to back out of the deal.

Different Types of Financing

One problem with bringing in equity investors to help provide a working capital boost is that working capital and equity are really two different types of financing.

Working capital – or the money that is used to pay business expenses incurred during the time lag until cash from sales (or accounts receivable) is collected – is short-term in nature, so it should be financed via a short-term financing tool. Equity, however, should generally be used to finance rapid growth, business expansion, acquisitions or the purchase of long-term assets, which are defined as assets that are repaid over more than one 12-month business cycle.

But the biggest drawback to bringing equity investors into your business is a potential loss of control. When you sell equity (or shares) in your business to venture capitalists or angels, you are giving up a percentage of ownership in your business, and you may be doing so at an inopportune time. With this dilution of ownership most often comes a loss of control over some or all of the most important business decisions that must be made.

Sometimes, owners are enticed to sell equity by the fact that there is little (if any) out-of-pocket expense. Unlike debt financing, you don’t usually pay interest with equity financing. The equity investor gains its return via the ownership stake gained in your business. But the long-term “cost” of selling equity is always much higher than the short-term cost of debt, in terms of both actual cash cost as well as soft costs like the loss of control and stewardship of your company and the potential future value of the ownership shares that are sold.

Alternative Financing Solutions

But what if your business needs working capital and you don’t qualify for a bank loan or line of credit? Alternative financing solutions are often appropriate for injecting working capital into businesses in this situation. Three of the most common types of alternative financing used by such businesses are:

1. Full-Service Factoring – Businesses sell outstanding accounts receivable on an ongoing basis to a commercial finance (or factoring) company at a discount. The factoring company then manages the receivable until it is paid. Factoring is a well-established and accepted method of temporary alternative finance that is especially well-suited for rapidly growing companies and those with customer concentrations.

2. Accounts Receivable (A/R) Financing – A/R financing is an ideal solution for companies that are not yet bankable but have a stable financial condition and a more diverse customer base. Here, the business provides details on all accounts receivable and pledges those assets as collateral. The proceeds of those receivables are sent to a lockbox while the finance company calculates a borrowing base to determine the amount the company can borrow. When the borrower needs money, it makes an advance request and the finance company advances money using a percentage of the accounts receivable.

3. Asset-Based Lending (ABL) – This is a credit facility secured by all of a company’s assets, which may include A/R, equipment and inventory. Unlike with factoring, the business continues to manage and collect its own receivables and submits collateral reports on an ongoing basis to the finance company, which will review and periodically audit the reports.

In addition to providing working capital and enabling owners to maintain business control, alternative financing may provide other benefits as well:

It’s easy to determine the exact cost of financing and obtain an increase.
Professional collateral management can be included depending on the facility type and the lender.
Real-time, online interactive reporting is often available.
It may provide the business with access to more capital.
It’s flexible – financing ebbs and flows with the business’ needs.
It’s important to note that there are some circumstances in which equity is a viable and attractive financing solution. This is especially true in cases of business expansion and acquisition and new product launches – these are capital needs that are not generally well suited to debt financing. However, equity is not usually the appropriate financing solution to solve a working capital problem or help plug a cash-flow gap.

A Precious Commodity

Remember that business equity is a precious commodity that should only be considered under the right circumstances and at the right time. When equity financing is sought, ideally this should be done at a time when the company has good growth prospects and a significant cash need for this growth. Ideally, majority ownership (and thus, absolute control) should remain with the company founder(s).

Alternative financing solutions like factoring, A/R financing and ABL can provide the working capital boost many cash-strapped businesses that don’t qualify for bank financing need – without diluting ownership and possibly giving up business control at an inopportune time for the owner. If and when these companies become bankable later, it’s often an easy transition to a traditional bank line of credit. Your banker may be able to refer you to a commercial finance company that can offer the right type of alternative financing solution for your particular situation.

Taking the time to understand all the different financing options available to your business, and the pros and cons of each, is the best way to make sure you choose the best option for your business. The use of alternative financing can help your company grow without diluting your ownership. After all, it’s your business – shouldn’t you keep as much of it as possible?

Market Mood Swings And How To Benefit From Them

You must have heard many news like – market dropped due to some political upheaval in the middle east or the market soared due to some referendum in Europe. In the age of globalisation, all the markets and businesses across the world are intertwined, hence any geopolitical event has the potential to move the global markets.But where does that leave the investors? What should be their ideal approach to counter such uncertain situations? The good news is – whether markets fall or rise, it’s an opportunity for the investors. Here’s how.Investors In The Market CycleThe reason we say that whether market falls or rises, it’s always an opportunity for the investor is because if the market falls, all the stocks on your watch-list, most likely, will be in the buying range. And when the market rises, it’s a perfect point for you to sell the stocks which have reached their target price.The key point is – if you have a long-term perspective in stock investment, it will be your armour against all the uncertainties of the stock market.Let’s take a look at the market phases which comprises the market cycle.The Bear MarketThe bear market is a market condition where the prices of the securities fall considerably and the market goes through a significant downturn. In such situations there is widespread pessimism about stock prices and a lot of panic selling takes place which further escalates the downturn.Though it’s a nature of the market to swing up and down, intraday traders and short-term investors, who deal in huge quantities, have no other option but to sell their holdings to minimise their losses.However, long-term investors have an advantage in this phase, as they can choose to hold their stocks while they also have an alternative to average their existing stocks and buy new stocks. Always remember, the bear market is a perfect opportunity to enter the market and build a robust portfolio.Market Accumulation Phase (Consolidation)This phase takes place after the markets have hit the bottom and some value investors think that the market situations is good to buy as the worst is over. Valuations of stocks are very attractive in this phase while the market sentiment is still bearish. Which makes it an ideal time to enter the market. In the accumulation phase, prices are flat, as the disillusioned sellers start selling while the wise investors pick it up at a healthy discount. Owing to such turn of events, market starts to pick up.To get through such phases, investors should just be patient and hold their stocks. Giving in to your impulse of selling stocks due to continuous consolidation will only bring you losses. It’s just a phase which passes sooner or later.The Bull MarketThe bull market simply means that the market is on its upward drift. The market index goes high and all the major stocks start soaring. This is the phase investors invest for. One thing investors should ensure while going through this phase is that it’s not a buying period, it’s the time to review your portfolio and sell stocks which have reached their target price. In a way, all the investment, and calculated risks you take while the market was down pays off when you reach this phase. If you make the right choices, you will be handsomely rewarded.