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Gout and arthritis have two things in common. Each condition makes the body hurt, and they respond to the powerful nutrients found in cherries that eliminate pain. Cherries contain high levels of antioxidants and anthocyanins, nutrients known to relieve pain, inflammation and stiffness. Cherries belong to an esteemed group of super fruits including blueberries, acai, pomegranate, yumberries, cranberries and goji berries -- all providing exceptionally high amounts of these pain-killing compounds. Cherries are rich in polynutrients and anthocyanins, which give the fruit its rich, reddish-purple color -- the deeper the color, the higher the level of antioxidants.

Raw or Cooked
Whether they're raw or cooked, cherries in any form contain the same anti-inflammatory substances, according to the University of Michigan Health System. They reported that people consuming about 1/2 pound of cherries daily over a period of four weeks noticed significant joint pain relief. To be sure of getting the most from cooked cherries, include the cooking juices.

Count canned cherries in when including cherries in a regime of pain-relieving foods. The University of Michigan also included canned cherries in its review for helping to relieve aches and pains associated with musculoskeletal conditions. Keeping a couple of cans of tart cherries in the pantry ensures there will always be something in the house in the event supplies of other cherry products run low. This does not include maraschino, whose natural chemical makeup has been altered by preserving and adding sugar.

Some people swear by the healing effects of drinking tart cherry juice. Tart cherries are thought by some to have the greatest pain-killing power, and Montmorency cherries are considered the most popular sour cherry. Tart cherries are also rich in potassium, which may help the body create an alkaline-forming state, and protect against acidosis, which is a breeding ground for the formation of disease. Drinking six ounces of tart cherry juice daily is the approximate equivalent to 1/2 pound of raw or cooked cherries. Cherry juice can be diluted with water. Mixing black cherry juice and tart cherry juice provides sweetness, making the drink more palatable for some people.

Taking cherry powder provides a quick, portable, easy way to utilize the benefits of cherries. An animal study funded by the Cherry Marketing Institute in 2008 indicated that rats receiving dried cherry powder had greatly reduced levels of inflammation in their bodies. Additionally, when the cherry powder was fed mixed with a high-fat diet, the rats didn't build body fat or gain weight at the same rate as control animals.

Cherry concentrate is simply cherry juice with the excess water removed. It provides a super-punch of pain-relieving nutrients. As little as two ounces a day diluted with water may offer relief for aching joints and muscles and relieve the agonizing pain of gout. Look for organic cherry concentrate to ensure the absence of pesticides and other chemicals.

A variety of supplements contain cherries including capsules, liquid extracts, and snack bars. Cherry supplements may not cure arthritis and gout, but like fresh and cooked cherries and cherry juice, they too offer another way to consume the important chemicals that provide relief for those suffering in pain. Some supplements contain high levels of quercetin and vitamin C as well as antioxidants and anthocyanins. A common daily dose of cherry extract is 2,000 mg divided into four doses throughout the day; however, it's best to consult a health practitioner before taking unfamiliar supplements.

In one Finnish study of more than 2,000 individuals, researchers found that stored iron was more strongly linked to heart attack risk than either high blood pressure or high cholesterol. It is believed that women who menstruate regularly are less likely to experience heart attacks because iron levels are reduced by the loss of blood each month. The same line of logic explains why men who donate blood regularly also experience fewer heart attacks.

High levels of iron are linked to more than just heart attack risk:

- One study showed that iron supplementation disrupted the balance of gut flora in children. Children who were given iron supplements showed an increase in harmful bacteria and a decrease in beneficial bacteria.

- Research indicates that lower levels of iron can actually be protective against infectious disease, leukemia and lymphatic cancers.

- Other studies demonstrate that iron produces free radicals which accelerate the aging process.

It is easy to see why high iron is a common problem these days, when you consider that the modern diet is heavy in muscle meats and countless foods which contain added iron. Typical staples in the American diet - such as breads, pastas and cereals - are required by federal law to be enriched with added iron. In addition, iron is also present in many multivitamin and mineral supplements.

A common misconception is that anemia is directly linked to iron deficiency, so iron supplements are often the first line of defense when anemia is suspected. However, anemia can be caused by other factors as well, such as reduced thyroid function and vitamin B12 deficiency. Supplementing iron in these cases is unnecessary and can exacerbate the problem by not treating the true underlying issue.

It is far more logical to recommend iron supplementation only when tests show an actual deficiency in iron. Using hemoglobin or red blood cell tests to determine iron deficiency may not only be inaccurate, but could be harmful if iron supplementation is given when it is not needed. Even when a true iron deficiency exists, it is safer to eat foods naturally high in iron than rely on supplements.

Wanting to cover those grey strands or simply want to change your hair color for a different look? Think again. Studies about hair color treatments reveal that 5% of frequent hair dye users are bound to have sensitive scalp or develop allergies in the long run. However, those who already have sensitive skin will see and feel negative effects as soon as harsh chemicals in hair color touch their scalp. These effects are redness, burning sensation, dryness and itch, and usually caused by the following ingredients:

1. Harsh Chemicals in Hair Dye

A non-profit environmental organization based in the US called EWG or Environmental Working Group whose mission is "to use the power of public information to protect public health and the environment” gathered some alarming information on hair coloring preparations. Based on their research for the Skin Deep Database, 400 in 456 tested hair dyes have harmful ingredients that can cause skin or scalp irritation and hair damage, and are poisonous to humans in general. Three of the said ingredients are described below as well as their negative effects to health.

2. Coal Tar

Almost 70 percent of hair coloring treatments have this substance in it. Coal tar is in charge of giving a dark tint to hair colors. It is counted as one of the most irritating ingredients. It can be easily taken in through the scalp and a little skin contact with coal tar means a bad breakout. So, individuals with sensitive scalp, beware.

3. Formaldehyde

Also known as formalin, this compound is commonly used to preserve cadavers and is found in hair dyes too. Exposure to this substance may result to a burning and itchy feeling on the scalp and other health risks. Studies have proven that formaldehyde can result to cancer and problems in the reproductive system. Side effects such as these make hair dyeing dangerous for pregnant women.

4. Paraphenylenediamine

PPD for short, when mixed together with hydrogen peroxide creates an irritating effect on the scalp. A common chemical allergen, it is a coloring ingredient found in permanent hair dyes. Paraphenylenediamine can easily be soaked up by the pores in the head and result to badly irritated skin.

There are other ingredients found in hair dyes that can pose health risks. These ingredients are parabens, ammonia, lead and mercury. Commercial brands of hair coloring treatments and even salon-used ones may contain these harmful chemicals. These may not only trigger an allergic reaction, but one can also end up with a scalp that is sensitive, hair damage or hair loss, lung and eye irritation, cancer, organ failure and birth abnormalities especially when used by a pregnant woman.

The best way to avoid these side effects is to not color your hair. Of course, for some, this is not possible. Especially for the type of woman who prides in having the latest hairstyles and of course, a new hair color and highlights to make her look younger. For this reason, a safe alternative for commercial hair dyes and some tips in mild coloring for sensitive scalps are shared below.

1. Henna For Your Hair

Henna tattoo looks good on the skin as an alternative to real painful tattoos. But, for the hair? Yes! Henna is first and foremost used during early times as a hair dye. A natural dark tint that does not contain any of the above harmful chemicals, it is now available in ready to use liquid form or you may also purchase it in powder form to effectively cover those protruding grey hairs.

2. For Sensitive Skin, Nothing Beats A Professional!

If you have sensitive skin and scalp, it is best that you seek the services of a hair expert for hair coloring treatment. A professional hairdresser will know what type of product or the exact brand to recommend that will suit your skin type. Allergy to hair dyes is a common problem encountered by women and salons are prepared for this with specially formulated products. Most of them are also trained to apply color correctly by not letting the substance touch the scalp.

3. Know What Your Coloring Kit of Choice Contains

Resorting to DIY at-home coloring kits? Be sure to read the ingredients listed at the back of the box to avoid the harmful ones mentioned above. There are popular brands that are created without ammonia, and there are those that do not have PPD in it like Herbavita and Naturtint. To be on the safe side, test the product first on your skin before using the whole box.

(NaturalNews) Few people pay attention to the importance of vitamin E, much less to the multi-fractioned mirror image versions of the vitamin known as isomers (consisting of tocotrienols and tocopherols). Vitamin E has long been known as a nutrient that may play a role in maintaining heart health, but extensive new research explains that the vitamin in all its potent forms is required to dramatically lower the risk of heart disease and heart attack. Recent studies also confirm that the nutrient family may play a crucial role in thwarting the effects of metabolic syndrome, precursor to the diabetes epidemic. Health-minded individuals may need to supplement with a full spectrum form of the vitamin to obtain the sufficient quantities needed to avert the multitude of chronic killer diseases that plaque millions today.

An ever expanding detailed body of evidence is mounting to support the importance of the tocotrienol fraction of vitamin E. While all eight isomers are required for optimal health and disease prevention, the four tocotrienols have emerged as critical components shown to influence LDL cholesterol particle size and oxidation rate. Researchers publishing the result of a study in the journal Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry explain that tocotrienols protect the heart against adverse gene signaling that is a consequence of elevated cholesterol.

Study Found Vitamin E Tocotrienols Lowered Damage to Heart Muscle by 75%
A study was designed using rabbits placed on a high cholesterol diet for a period of 60 days. The test animals were supplemented with alpha, gamma, or delta tocotrienols for 30 days, and then subjected to experimentally induced heart attack. Measures of serum cholesterol were cut in half in the rabbits on gamma tocotrienol and nearly in half on those receiving the alpha tocotrienol isomer. The delta tocotrienol form did not exert any effect on cholesterol. Additionally, gamma tocotrienol reduced damage to the heart by 77% and alpha tocotrienol resulted in 67% less damage to the critical heart muscle.

Metabolic syndrome is a group of symptoms closely associated with the development of diabetes. People exhibiting metabolic syndrome characteristics run more than twice the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Researchers from the University of Southern Queensland in Australia found "Tocotrienols improved lipid profiles and reduced atherosclerotic lesions, decreased blood glucose and glycated hemoglobin concentrations, normalized blood pressure, and inhibited adipogenesis."

Researchers determined that a variety of different receptors or genetic signaling mechanisms are involved that can prevent the dangerous systemic inflammation known to precipitate heart disease and diabetes. Natural sources of vitamin E tocotrienols include most varieties of nuts and seeds as well as coconut oil in its unrefined state. Most people will want to ensure adequate intake of this critical nutritional fraction by including a full-spectrum supplement to improve heart health and prevent metabolic syndrome.

NaturalNews issues consumer alert about Adya Clarity, imported as battery acid and sold for internal consumption

The claims that Adya Clarity is good for treating kidney stones, hair loss, arthritis and even cancer are, I discovered, entirely unsubstantiated for this product. There is simply no reliable clinical evidence supporting Adya Clarity to be safe or effective for any health condition whatsoever. Furthermore, there are many facets of this story that have raised red flags in my mind as the editor of NaturalNews.

For starters, Adya Clarity is primarily composed of sulfuric acid, iron sulfate and aluminum sulfate. Before being diluted and bottled, Adya Clarity starts out as Themarox, a mineral deposit mined in Japan just a few dozen miles away from Fukushima. This Themarox has a very acid pH value, near 0.5. In this state, aluminum sulfate is present in a concentration of 10.9 grams per liter, according to our research.

To make Adya Clarity, Themarox is diluted at roughly 10:1, raising the pH and diluting the sulfuric acid. Once bottled, Adya Clarity contains the following concentrations of metals and minerals, according to its label:

Iron: 2,000 PPM
Magnesium: 400 PPM
Calcium: 250 PPM
Potassium: 200 PPM
Manganese: 20 PPM
... and so on.

Do you see what's missing from this list? The aluminum sulfate. By my calculations, given that the aluminum sulfate starts out at 10.9 grams per liter, the diluted form of Themarox -- Adya Clarity -- contains roughly 1.2 grams per liter of aluminum sulfate. This is 1200 mg per liter, which is almost exactly 1200 PPM (parts per million). (Source: The MSDS provided to me by Adya, Inc. as a Word document, see below. This also corresponds to the PPM of aluminum claimed by the manufacturer, Shimanishi Kaken Co.,Ltd.)

Curious as to why aluminum sulfate was not listed on the label in the appropriate order of concentrate (under Iron and above Magnesium), I contacted Matt Bakos, the owner and importer of Adya Clarity and asked him this question. The reason he didn't list aluminum concentration on the label underneath iron, he told me, was because "I don't want to." He said it was listed as a "trace mineral" and that was sufficient. There was no need to list the 1200 PPM of aluminum in Adya because it "is not required," he told me.

I bet many of the people who paid $100+ per bottle for Adya Clarity would also be interested to learn there's quite a significant concentration of aluminum in the product they may have already begun ingesting.

So I pressed further. When challenged on this a second time, Bakos became angry and rather belligerent with me on the phone, and what began as a conversation quickly devolved into something of a screaming competition between he and I. When I suggested that the product name "Adya CLARITY" should achieve "clarity" on the label by offering full disclosure of its mineral and metal content, he became further outraged and ultimately accused me of not knowing what I was talking about and then threatened to involve his lawyers.

To me, these are classic red flags of people about which I have serious reservations. When I ask honest questions and instead of getting answers I get angrily attacked, I know something's up. This is doubly true given that I am well known as a friend of the nutritional products industry -- someone who consistently shares good news about products that offer substantial benefits and safety to informed consumers. (I've been doing this for eight years. This isn't new territory for me.)

By the end of this conversation, it was clear to me that I was not dealing with a person who was willing to provide reasonable answers to legitimate safety questions. I have this entire conversation recorded and on the record, with Bakos' permission no less, and I reserve the right to publicly release this recording if I think it serves the public interest. (I am not ashamed of my use of profanity in this context, which will become crystal clear to you if you hear this recording. It got quite heated.)

Today most B2B companies are decreasing their offline marketing dollars and spending it on online marketing strategies. A survey by B2B Magazine revealed that over 48% of those surveyed were increasing their online marketing spend. According to another study by KnowledgeStorm of B2B technology decision makers it was found that:

· 90% Participate in Video
· 80% Participate in Blogs
· 80% Participate in Wikis
· 69% Participate in Social Networks
· 53% Participate in Podcasts

In the same study it was shared that of 69% of B2B buyers use social networks "primarily for business networking and development."

At a minimum B2B businesses should at least be involved in communities and social network where their customers are present. It would also pay to explore the opportunity to reach out to key influencers in their target market segment and optimize their content and social media applications for syndication. There is enough data available online which proves that social media marketing has made a mark and is here to stay!

B2B Social Media Marketing Present Usage Trends
The "2009 B2B Social Media Benchmarking Study" found that those B2B companies already using social media were much more active in the space than their B2C counterparts, especially when it came

to microblogging, participating in discussions on third-party sites, blogging and monitoring company mentions on various social media.

B2B Social Media Marketing Trends
"2010 Outlook" indicates social media marketing will be of rising importance for business-to-business (B2B) marketers. Website, e-mail and search spending were at the top of the list for online tactics to increase, but social media was not far behind. Six in 10 B2B marketers planned to up spending on social in 2010.

Fifty-four percent of respondents currently use social media for marketing. That was up 9 percentage points from November 2008 and about 4 points from June 2009, showing a steady increase in B2B participation.

While you try to obtain an on SBA business loan there are certain requirements that need to be fulfilled. Let us have a look at them below:

The first requirement is to provide a detailed profile of the business that you are currently running. This will include detailing of the business type that you are running. You will also need to provide the time limit from when you are running this business. Also, any information regarding the overall sales, profit and loss reports will also need to be discussed. Finally, the total number of people working under you needs to be mentioned along with the area of location of the venture. Apart from providing this information, you will also be asked to provide all the business operation related news.

The next requirement is the process to select the correct SBA loan that will best meet your purpose. You will need to discuss the amount you feel is necessary for your venture and then specifying the detailed information about how you will use these funds for your business. One thing should be kept in mind: Always read carefully all the schemes and plans available before applying. You need to ensure that you are choosing the best scheme to meet your needs and requirements. Unless you undergo the correct selection and application procedure, you will find that you have achieved nothing as your application will be ruled out.

The next step of the application process is extremely crucial. It is related with all the financial statements regarding your business venture status. However, this scenario is common to every loan package that you will obtain from anywhere. All the financial statements are required to be submitted pertaining to the last three years and also of the present year.

Not only the financial statements but also certain other financial calculative sheets need to be included. The account payables, receivables and the transactions related to cash flow are also required to be shown. The major advantage in this criterion is that suitable proof can be provided through some statements of cash flow on monthly basis to highlight the fact that you can repay the loan amount without any sort of trouble or difficulty.

One of the best places to obtain SBA business loans is BeneTrends, Inc. The reliability and genuine service is guaranteed

Black-cheeked lovebirds are the forgotten gems of the lovebird species. They are a part of the group known as the "eye-ring" lovebirds (which includes the masked, fischer, black-cheeked, and nyasa species) because of the white flesh that encircles their eyes. They are, however, a separate and distinct species. Black-cheeks are smaller and lighter than their masked and fischer counterparts, weighing between 40 and 45 grams. The feathers are a bright, shiny, grassy green instead of the darker emerald green of the masked and fischers. As their name implies, black-cheeked lovebirds have very dark cheeks. The forehead is a chestnut brown color, fading to green as it goes down the back of the head. The ideal black-cheek will have a small, almond shaped apricot patch under its throat. This color should not be spread out or contain any yellow at all. The rump color should be the same grassy green as the wing coverts and their beaks a bright red.

Black-cheeks are on the endangered species list. In the wild, they are found only in two small locations in Africa -- a river valley in southwest Zambia and the Victoria Falls area of Zimbabwe. Due to habitat destruction and the exportation of black-cheeks in the early 20th century, there is only a very small population of black-cheeks still in their natural habitat. The number of black-cheeks being bred in the United States is still limited, but growing. It is very important to serious breeders of black-cheeks to avoid inter-breeding these birds with lovebirds from the other eight species. The goal is to breed the purest line of black-cheeks in order to ensure the survival of this beautiful bird.

Breeding black-cheeks is more challenging than breeding some of the other lovebird species. Black-cheeked lovebirds seem to be more sensitive to their surroundings when breeding. It is unknown whether this is due to a species difference or the fact that they have not been bred in captivity as long as their peachfaced or masked counterparts. It has been our experience that once a pair is established and proven, success rates are higher when the pair is not moved and remains in familiar surroundings during future breeding attempts. Clutch size typically ranges between four and six eggs. If given the appropriate resources, female black-cheek lovebirds can create intricate nests for their babies. Perferred materials include palm fronds and willow tree branches.

As pets, black-cheeked lovebirds are great companions. They are small, sweet, and sassy. They aren't as aggressive as the peachfaced lovebirds or nervous as the fischers. As always, a handfed lovebird baby will produce the best pet. Most breeders do not sell black-cheeked babies to pet owners for the reason of preservation. In the future, when this species is more established in the United States, black-cheeks will become available in the pet trade.
These are Love 'n Let Aviary's two established breeding pairs of black-cheeked lovebirds. It is our hope to add one or two more breeding pairs to our collection, so that we can offer more than two distinct bloodlines to other potential black-cheeked lovebird breeders.

The mindset of today’s young professionals is changing radically. They would like to have a semi-retired life in their late forties or early fifties by taking up a hobby instead of a regular job.

Somewhere within all of us, there is a dream to reach a point in life where we have enough wealth to be able to choose the work we would like to do and the pace at which we would like to work, if at all we feel like working; a point also referred to as financial freedom. Financial Freedom is also interpreted as being able to spend whatever amount you like, on whatever things you like, month after month.

Here is a step by step guide to Retire Early.

How long you expect to live?

First of all, you need to decide on “How long you expect to live?” This is going to be the starting point for your retirement plan. This you can decide by your health history and your family health history.

Will you run out of money?

You need to accumulate enough money required to live up to that age. You need to calculate the corpus amount required for retirement based on when do you want to retire?, how much you need to spend every month after retiring?, Inflation, tax, investment returns and the like.

There are two things which can make you run out of money in between. One is inflation and the other one is medical expenses at the old age. So you need to be very careful in assuming inflation when planning for retirement. Also you need to be adequately covered with right health insurance policies.

Retirement corpus Break up:

You need to divide your retirement corpus into two portions. One portion of it is the corpus required to retire at the regular age. It could be 58 or 60. The other portion is the corpus required to live between the early retirement and the regular retirement. Say if you want to retire at 50, what would be the corpus required to live between the age of 50 and the regular retirement age of 58 or 60.

First you need to accumulate money for your regular retirement. Then you need to proceed to accumulate for your early retirement. This way you break your targets and it psychologically gives you a lot of comfort in achieving early retirement.

Don’t fall for get-rich-quick schemes

To retire early, definitely you need a sizable corpus. Don’t look for any short cuts and get-rich-quick schemes. Only with the increased risk comes the increased return. If any scheme assures low risk and high return, then it is going to be another scam. So stay away from those schemes.

Don’t fear stocks

You need to consider investing in a well diversified portfolio for long-term. Diversified Equity mutual fund schemes are better. By investing in a diversified equity portfolio you will be taking calculated risk and not blind risk. Equities will beat all other asset classes in the long run. So it is an important option for those who want to retire early.
Reduce your annual cash requirements for when you retire by working out a careful budget
The monthly income required after retirement is going to be an important criteria for deciding the retirement corpus. If you are comfortable with lesser income you can retire sooner. So you need to be careful in drawing a budget for cash requirement post retirement.

Investigate a better return on your savings

Better return on your investment portfolio will help you retiring early. So maximize the return on your portfolio as far as possible.

Cut your current spending so you can save more

Money spent is money saved. Spend less; save more; invest smarter and retire sooner. There are more number of ways to spend smarter to save more. (Link this article here
Earn more now
Time is money. Don’t waste your time. Invest your time in revenue generating activities. Apart from your regular income source, there are other opportunities which you can exploit. You can create blogs; you can be a freelance writer; you can do internet marketing. There will be numerous opportunities based on your knowledge and skills if you take time to think and implement.

Take advantage of tax-deferred opportunities

Tax deferment is an important tool for early retirement. Tax deferment means less tax now. If you pay less tax and you will have more money to save. You need to pay tax on FDs on maturity even if you renew them. Income funds and MIPs could be a better alternative to this. You need to pay tax only when you actually redeem.

Find out some ways to have an income

Even after retirement you can have an income by way of a hobby or interest. You need not work on a regular schedule. Say you can be a trainer, you can be a blogger, you can be a consultant, or you can be an advisor in your chosen field. It generates money as well as it keeps you engaged after retirement. One of my clients has written a book and he is able to generate income from the copyright of that book year on year. If you are able to generate this kind of income, then you can retire early.

What is Portfolio Management Scheme?

Portfolio management scheme popularly known as PMS are specialized investment vehicle for lump sum investments. The portfolio manager invests the money in shares and other securities and manages the portfolio on behalf of the client. One can invest fresh money in Portfolio Management Scheme and the portfolio manager will construct a portfolio by deploying that money. Also one can transfer his existing share portfolio to the Portfolio Management Scheme provider. In that case, the portfolio manager will revamp the portfolio in sync with his investment philosophy and strategy. Once the Portfolio Management Scheme account is opened, the client will be given with a web access to his portfolio. The client can look at where the portfolio manager is investing client’s money. Also one will be able to generate reports like Investment Summary, Portfolio Transaction List, Performance Analysis, Portfolio Statement and Quarterly capital gain report. As a result, Portfolio Management Scheme relieves investors from all the administrative hassles of investments.

Portfolio Management Scheme Vs Direct Stock Market investment:

One can directly invest in stock market. Then what is the advantage of investing in the stock market through a Portfolio Management Scheme. Investing in share market demands knowledge, right mindset, time, and continuous monitoring. It is difficult for an individual investor to meet all these demands. But a Portfolio Management Scheme meets these demands easily. The Portfolio Management Scheme will be managed by an experienced professional. It saves the time and effort of the individual investors. Hence it is advisable to outsource the stock market investment to a sound Portfolio Management Scheme operator instead of managing it on our own.

Portfolio Management Scheme VS Mutual Funds:

Mutual fund is also a good investment vehicle. It should also form part of your total equity investment. But mutual funds are mass products. So they will be conservative by nature. As per SEBI regulation, mutual funds have some investment restrictions. There is a maximum limit on the percentage of amount invested in an individual stock. Also there is some maximum cap on the exposure in a particular sector.

Once the fund manager reaches the maximum limit prescribed by SEBI, he is forced to invest in some other stock or some other sector. That is why we see a large number of stocks in a mutual fund portfolio. Where as a Portfolio Management Scheme will invest in 15 to 20 stocks. This concentration makes it more attractive and aggressive. Managing a 25 lakhs Portfolio Management Scheme portfolio will be more flexible when compared to managing a 2000 crores mutual fund portfolio.

Portfolio Management Schemes relatively have more flexibility to move in and out of cash as and when required depending on the stock market outlook.

Basically the conservative portion of your equity investment can go into mutual funds. The aggressive portion can go into Portfolio Management Scheme.

How to choose a best Portfolio Management Scheme?

There are so many Portfolio Management Schemes in the industry. So it is really very difficult to choose a good Portfolio Management Scheme provider. Here are some factors to be considered before choosing a Portfolio Management Scheme.

1) Yardstick for Performance:
One should not just go by the past performance alone. Making an analysis on various Portfolio Management Schemes in the industry with their past performance along with the risk adjusted return and the consistency of performance will be useful in selecting the best Portfolio Management Scheme.

2) Minimum Investment Criteria:
Investors need to avoid Portfolio Management Schemes where the minimum investment is less than 25 lacs. Even there are Portfolio Management Scheme operators who keep minimum investment for their schemes as low as 5 lacs. But these kinds of Portfolio Management Scheme operators will have more number of PMS accounts. When the quantity (the number of PMS A\cs) goes up the quality (the performance) may relatively come down.

Therefore it is better to choose a Portfolio Management Scheme where the minimum investment is 25 lacs or more. So that our PMS A\c will be directly handled and managed by the top level portfolio manager and not managed by the juniors and analysts. If you are planning to invest less than 25 lacs, then the ideal investment product for you would be mutual funds.

3) Conflict of interest:
Portfolio Management Schemes have been run by some stock broking companies as well as investment management companies. There is a conflict of interest in Portfolio Management Schemes run by share broking companies. The main business of a share broking company is to earn commission income by facilitating the share market transactions.

Portfolio Management Scheme is an additional business for them. It is not their core business. Hence there may not be enough focus on the Portfolio Management Scheme business. Also they may indulge in doing undue and unnecessary churning of the clients’ portfolio to earn more commission income. This will cause additional expenses and short term capital gain tax to the client.

The core business of investment management companies is managing the investments of their clients to earn management fees. So, with the Portfolio Management Schemes run by investment management companies, there is no conflict of interest or vested interest. Therefore it is always advisable to choose a Portfolio Management Scheme offered by investment management companies.

4) Role of Professional Financial Planners:
A professional financial advisor or financial planner will study and analyse the Portfolio Management Schemes run by various stock broking companies as well as investment management companies. If we approach them, they will guide us in choosing the right Portfolio Management Scheme depending upon our requirements and other factors.

Also a professional financial advisor will continuously monitor the performance of various Portfolio Management Schemes and advice the client on a regular basis on the performance of the Portfolio Management Scheme where the client has invested vis a vis the other PMS schemes in the industry. After a certain period, if necessary he may advice you to move from one Portfolio Management Scheme operator to the other.

ESOPs and Portfolio Management Scheme:
ESOPs are provided by the companies to its employees based on their service. Most of the employees are of the opinion of keeping the ESOPs as it is forever because it is their company shares. But logically it is too riskier to invest in a company to whom you work for. Because, your employment income as well as investment income will depend on the performance of a single company.

So it is not advisable to keep your investments in a company where you actually work. So it is at all times advisable to transfer your ESOPs to a Portfolio Management Scheme. They will revamp it to construct a well diversified portfolio.

Portfolio Management Scheme is an aggressive investment product and really suitable for those investors

• Who have a share portfolio and find it difficult to manage.
• Who have enough exposure in Mutual funds and looking for a different and good investment option
• Who have sizable ESOPs.

The concept of Rural Marketing has been evolving continuously over the years and can be classified into three major phases – pre 1960s when it was synonymous with agricultural marketing; 1960s-1990s which saw the growth in the marketing of non-farm rural products; and post 1990s, where the prime focus of the companies is to market FMCG and consumer durable goods in rural areas as a result of rise in income levels as well as the number of middle class families.

With about 60% of the Indian population living in rural areas and representing half of the country’s buying potential even today, the Indian economy can be developed by improving the living conditions in rural areas. Rural illiteracy is the prime area of concern and various projects have been undertaken time and again to improve the rural conditions. A recent study by NCAER (National Council for Applied Economic Research) reveals that the number of middle/ high‐income households in rural India is expected to grow from 130 Million to 172 Million by the end of 2012 as compared to nearly 71 million of urban India.

Despite the fact that India is unarguably one of the largest consumer markets in the world, it is difficult to tap the market. Various marketing theories and concepts have been directly implemented in India, but have met minimal success. This is due to wide variations in size and potential of different segments owing to various parameters like income levels, diversity in language & religion, geographical diversity etc. Even, a company like Kellogg’s had to face the consequences of the unpredictability of the Indian market. The sales of cereals were abysmally low and forced the company to introduce new eating habits in the country. However, in the meantime, a major chunk of the already existing cereal market (which was small in size), was taken away by imitators who introduced local cereal flavors at much lower prices. As a result, Kellogg’s had to realign their marketing strategies and introduce inexpensive biscuits meant for breakfast. It is therefore essential for the marketer to look beyond time tested concepts and reevaluate the entire approach. In order to tap the rural market adequately, the traditional marketing concepts should be modified. This is when the importance of Packaging, Retailer, Education and Empowerment comes into picture.

A rural consumer is always a budget seeking consumer. It is essential to first match a product’s expectations and its pricing structures. It is to be noted that most of the rural population comprises of daily wage workers who tend to have minimal stock of money. Depending on her daily income, she fixes a budget for the purchase and makes a decision after taking other parameters like after sales service, warranty period etc into picture. Thus, the products in the rural market should be able to meet the basic needs of the consumer, as a rural consumer shall not be willing to pay additionally for extra benefits. This makes pack sizes and price points all the more important. For instance, a rural consumer would prefer buying a shampoo sachet to a large bottle which could be used for over a month. Packaging should also be done accordingly in smaller units and lesser priced packs, thereby making them affordable.
Physical distribution becomes arduous due to high costs involved and the non availability of retail outlets. Melas & Haats, and Rural Marketing Vehicles (RMVs) could prove to be better means of distribution as the rural consumers prefer ‘touch and feel’ experience.
In rural markets, a consumer’s buying behavior is widely influenced by social customs and traditions. Higher levels of illiteracy and lack of exposure to traditional media practices further add to the problems. Hence, the advertising mix should be customized and contain other alternative forms like street plays, wall painting, posters etc.

A retailer’s importance should be clearly understood because he plays a vital role in influencing the customer’s decision making process. A rural consumer frequents the same shop in order to buy as per her daily requirements. As a result of the lack of brand awareness among the rural population, the amount of purchases is positively correlated with the extent to which a retailer pushes the product belonging to a particular brand. Effective incentive schemes and trade promotion activities should be developed to maintain a long lasting relation with the retailer.

The levels of unemployment are very high in the rural areas. Hence, any marketing strategy which involves the scope of income generation would be more preferable. The success of “Self Help Groups”, which helps in generating income apart from operating like direct to home distributors, is a reflection of this viewpoint.

The concept of “e-choupals” introduced by ITC is noteworthy in the context of Indian Rural Marketing. The presence of these e-choupals is increasing at a rapid rate. It helps in raising the income levels of farmers by providing better prices for their produce in comparison with auctions. These also provide high quality seeds and online advice on various agricultural practices. These practices enable the farmers to increase the consumption levels of the products and services offered by ITC.

A clear understanding of the “Value for Money” concept in the rural areas shall be the major differentiating factor between a successful brand and its competitors. This has been proved by HLL (Hindustan Lever Ltd). HLL discovered that Indians in the rural areas used soaps for multiple purposes. This resulted in the design of all-in-one soaps which was a huge success.

In the present scenario, the clear understanding of the fact that “Customer is king” is the major differentiating factor between a successful brand and its competitors. Many companies have implemented a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategy in order to cope with the ever increasing demands of the customers. The competing firms are in a race to outdo each other in terms of developing new strategies and technologies that enable the management of customers, their information and the business as a whole.

The CRM strategies should aim beyond the fundamentals like 360 degree view of the customer, automate sales processes, increasing customer satisfaction, improving sales cycle, reaching to new customers, retaining the previous customers etc in order to reflect rapidly changing business conditions and technological advancements. The benefits of CRM could be more measurable when the individuals interacting with the customer directly are able to access valuable customer information. This would help in better understanding of the customers and effectively building relations with them in the long run.

Marketing Automation applications help the marketer in creating, planning and executing their campaigns optimally. By the effective use of CRM, marketers can access the necessary information which, in turn, shall enable them to analyze which campaigns shall work and which segment is to be targeted for a particular offer, with minimal wastage of money and time. Sales Force Automation (SFA) helps the reps to understand the buying behavior of the customer. It also helps in optimizing sales across all sales channels. Customer Service applications help in providing superior customer service through multiple channels like the Web, sales reps, field service etc. These channels could be used to add value, reduce costs and effectively build customer relations.

Generally, different departments within an organization refrain from sharing customer data. This leads to loss of efficiency. Hence, an organization must understand the importance of integrated customer information, which shall ensure that the data is reliable and complete. Global companies must additionally ensure that the customer files from different countries are all integrated. It is important to know the revenue generated by a campaign and the channels that are working successfully. The integration of customer information helps in genuine flow of information to the marketers.

Component approach and Package approach are the two strategies used to achieve data integration for a successful CRM implementation. The component approach connects the data of individual departments into a single system. The data is then shared across all the platforms which is accessed by different departments from multiple sources using the appropriate software and various applications. On the other hand, a package approach uses a single database for the entire data which is referred to by every department using the same application. The latter approach is generally preferred for its convenience.

An integrated CRM strategy can be implemented in stages after focusing on the key Business processes that are either of highest priority or causing maximum problems. This helps in addressing the problems of interacting with other departments and sharing information across the teams.

Most importantly, the success of an Integrated CRM strategy depends on transformations at four different levels. Firstly, the departments should be restructured and should no longer exist as independent entities. Secondly, these departments should discover more effective ways of interaction when they begin to work together. Thirdly, the work culture must undergo a major change. Employees should change their styles of thinking and should begin to work with other divisions and departments around the world. Lastly, the company must be aware of all the technological changes and must be updated in order to help the employees in fulfilling their tasks. The ever increasing usage of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter etc is an indication of the fact that CRM can be done through online communities of customers in the near future. Companies can set up their accounts on various websites and understand how the users interact with each other and their perceptions of a brand.

In short, CRM is all about change. It is necessary for an organization to move from a product centric approach to a customer centric one. It is of utmost importance to address the organizational issues which hinder the process of serving the customer. Also, CRM strategies should be well aligned with the mission of the organization for fruitful achievement of business objectives and better customer relations. CRM is a reiterative process. Regular assessment and adjustments of the strategies is necessary to ensure its long term success. Improved customer segmentation, service strategies and customer satisfaction should be the long term goals of any successful CRM strategy. Executive sponsorship is most important for the success of a CRM strategy. The investments made on these strategies have lower probability of success if CRM initiatives are not in the agenda of senior executives. Hence, it is essential to ensure their active participation during the development of these strategies. Since CRM is a continuous process, it is also necessary to develop a long term strategic plan which shall also contain solutions to several ups and downs of the business cycle.

The conclusions drawn from CRM can act as the base of future decisions. For instance, a fair understanding of past customer sales, their levels of satisfaction and service requests would help the marketer in designing the new promotional activities catering to the highest profit providers of the organization. When marketing campaigns are designed with the help of adequate customer knowledge and have the ability to deliver keeping individual preferences in mind, they deepen the levels of customer loyalty to a greater extent.

Are you a job-seeker who is looking for more responsibility and pay, seeking more leverage in obtaining a work/life balance, or contemplating a move into management -- and are considering returning to school to get your MBA? Or perhaps a job-seeker exploring changing careers by going back to school for your MBA? Or perhaps a consultant looking to add a credential to your dossier. Or perhaps a college junior or senior contemplating going straight through and obtaining your MBA right after your undergraduate degree?

Regardless of your reasons, if you are contemplating attending graduate school to obtain your MBA, you should read this article before you make your final decision. This article will take you through all the important issues you need to contemplate before making your decision of whether -- and when -- to obtain your MBA.

What is an MBA? It's a Master of Business Administration degree, granted after one to two years of graduate-level university study that provides training in the theory and practice of business management. The MBA is basically a document that certifies that you have a general competency in all the major functional management roles you'll find in the modern corporation. An MBA is a career accelerator across a number of industries and MBA graduates can usually command higher salaries.

Ideal Time to Get MBA
When is the best time to enroll in an MBA program? The obvious answer is to enroll at a point in your career when the MBA is necessary to take your career to the next level, but the choice is never that simple.

For the college undergrad, the biggest question you need to ask yourself is why -- why are you interested in going straight through and getting your MBA right after your bachelor's degree? The top-ranked programs will not even admit you if you don't have at least several years of experience, and a freshly minted MBA with little or no job experience is often in a much tougher job hunt than a recent college grad with little or no job experience.

For the job-seeker, the question about getting your MBA involves how as much as when. Will you keep working while earning your MBA in a part-time program or do you have the financial resources to quit your job and return to school full-time? Will your current employer help finance your MBA? Do you need the MBA as part of a career change -- and if so, how are you going to do it?

Finally, there is the question of the economy. Some people think it's a good hedge to get an MBA during an economic slowdown -- a safe haven -- rather than face the tough job market; however, when the economy is bad, even having an MBA is no guarantee of obtaining a lucrative job offer. The best advice? Talk to recruiters and MBA career placement counselors -- and read the current trends in magazines such as Business Week, Success, U.S. News and World Report.

MBA Enrollment Trends
The number of MBA degrees conferred annually has seen explosive growth over the last few decades, going from under 5,000 MBAs in 1960 to more than 100,000 MBAs in 2000 -- and now averaging more than 150,000 annually, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Enrollment is also influenced by the economy, and as the economy turns toward a downturn, both recent grads and displaced workers head back to earn their MBAs.

Because of the growing number of graduate business programs that confer more and more MBA degrees, the degree itself is not as special or highly-valued as in the past. An MBA alone will not be the magic key to the door of career and job-hunting success.

Types of MBA
One of the questions you'll need to answer is whether you are interested in a general MBA, which is often shorter in duration, or a specialized MBA, which may take longer but make you more marketable.

Regardless of the type of MBA, the core topics you'll encounter include:


Quantitative analysis



Organizational behavior
Specialized MBAs offer more advanced study in a particular area of business (such as marketing) or a particular industry (such as higher education).

Finally, you'll need to determine the value of the "name" of the program you are considering. If you are searching for a big push that fast tracks your career, snagging an MBA from one of the top schools in the country may be the ticket. But, if you're looking to simply get ahead and move your careers along, don't discount the many MBA programs that are unranked but that offer you the degree and value you need. (See the link for Business Week, below, which is one of several organizations that rank MBA programs.)

MBA Costs -- and Returns
According to one salary guide, an MBA is worth about $10-30,000 a year over a bachelor's degree, but the salary increase you could see may be much less -- or much more. Factors that can affect your salary include:

whether you stay with your current employer or seek a job with a new employer.
the amount of relevant experience you have for the job you are seeking.
the reputation of the graduate school you attended.
the type of job you are seeking -- and the level of supply/demand for workers.
the industries where you are seeking a job.
the location of the jobs you are seeking.
But don't forget to factor in the costs as well, with the average cost of graduate study leading to an MBA at about $40,000. Tuition and expenses add up to about $54,000 per nine-month academic year (resulting in an investment of more than $100,000 for the full-time two-year MBA) at Wake Forest University, one of the premier MBA programs. You'll find tuition closer to $12,000 at lesser known programs with generic MBA degrees.

What an MBA Can Do for Your Career
If you're looking for the MBA to help you get into the executive suite, it may be just the ticket you need. According to a study by Accountemps, a global temporary staffing service for accounting and finance professionals, 80 percent of executives responding to the survey said that a graduate degree in business is still important to reach senior management ranks within most companies.

And there is growing evidence that having an MBA not only gives you more leverage in dictating new job titles and salary, but also gives you leverage in achieving a better balance between work (read: fewer hours working) and life outside work.

Final Words of Wisdom
Whatever you do, don't jump into an MBA program without doing all the necessary research and introspection. And once you have made the firm decision to attend a graduate business program, make sure you read one of our other articles: Criteria for Choosing a Graduate Program.

There are numerous other good sources of information about attending graduate school -- and about the MBA in particular.

Quintessential Careers Sources:

See also our article: Considering Graduate School? Answer These Five Questions Before You Decide.

For application help: Mastering Your MBA Application.

Other MBA-Related Sources:

MBA Trends -- a listing of articles pertaining to MBA trends, degrees, programs, etc., published in previous issues of Business Week. -- a comprehensive MBA program directory and information source. Includes a great glossary of MBA terms. -- the official site of the Graduate Management Admission Council. Contains some great information, resources, forums, and worksheets to help prospective MBA students determine the best programs and schools for you.

MBA-Related Books:

For the most recent editions of the best MBA and graduate school-related books, please go this section of our online bookstore: Graduate School Books.

Private not-for-profit- 4-year or above
Carnegie Classification Research Universities (very high research activity)
Total Student Population (Graduate + Undergraduate) 7,330
Undergraduate Population 4,878
Student to Faculty Ratio1 5:1
Graduation Rates2 90.0%
Click Here for More Academic Data3
Total Cost4 $49,830
In-State Tuition and Fees $34,290
Out-of-State Tuition and Fees $34,290
Click Here for More Tuition Data5
Percent of Student Body Receiving Any Financial Aid 56.0%
Percent of Student Body Receiving Pell Grants 9.0%
Click Here More Financial Aid Data6
Percent Admitted 10.0%
Percent Admitted Who Enrolled 59.0%
SAT Composite Range7 1390-1580
ACT Composite Range 31-34
Click Here for More Admissions Data8
Athletic Division NCAA Division I-AA
Percent of Student Body that is Varsity Athlete10 19.7%
Michelle Obama, 1985, First Lady of the United States; Sonia Sotomayor, 1976, U.S. Supreme Court Justice; Gen. David Petraeus, 1985 and 1987, U.S. Army General and Commander of the U.S. Central Command; Jeff Bezos, 1986, founder and CEO of; Wendy Kopp, 1989, president, CEO and Founder of Teach for America; Charles Gibson, 1965, broadcast journalist and former anchor of ABC's World News; Meg Whitman, 1977, retired president and CEO of eBay Inc. and candidate for governor of California.
Total FTE (full-time equivalent) undergraduate students divided by total FTE instructional staff not teaching in graduate or professional programs.
Percentage of students who began their studies in fall 2002 and completed their degree program within 4 years
Academic data refer to fall 2008. Enrollment and attendance data refer to entire undergraduate student body. Graduation, transfer rate, and retention rate data refer to full-time, first-time students pursuing bachelor's degrees.
For out-of-state students living on campus
Tuition data refer to estimated expenses for full-time, first-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students for the year 2008-2009, unless otherwise noted. The output is only an estimate and not a guarantee of the actual amount the student may be charged.
Financial aid data refer to full-time, first-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students in 2007-2008.
SAT composite includes only Critical Reading and Math.
Admissions data refer to first-time, degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students applying to enter in fall 2008.
Student life data refer to undergraduate student body in 2008-2009 unless otherwise noted.
The unduplicated headcount of varsity athletics participants divided by the total undergraduate population, multiplied by 100.
Athletic data refer to 2008.

The best public and private colleges and universities, from the student's point of view.The best college in America isn't in Cambridge or Princeton, West Point or Annapolis. It's nestled in the Berkshire Mountains. Williams College, a 217-year-old private liberal arts school, tops our third annual ranking of America's Best Colleges. Our list of more than 600 undergraduate institutions is based on the quality of the education they provide, the experiences of the students and how much they achieve.

Williams rose to the top spot on our rankings, which are compiled with research from the Center for College Affordability & Productivity, after placing fourth last year and fifth in 2008. It's a small school (just over 2,000 undergrads) with a 7-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, affording students the chance to really get to know their teachers and have a unique college experience.

One of the things that we really embrace is that we are tiny and very aware of where we are in the world. This fosters an incredible sense of community," says Amanda Esteves-Kraus, a double-major in art history and biology in the class of 2012. "It takes a very specific type of student to go to Williams, and there is a quirkiness here that you can't find anywhere else. This all makes the fact that we are in the middle of nowhere totally irrelevant because you don't actually want to be anywhere else."

See The Top 50: America's Best Colleges

While Williams' tuition is relatively high at $37,640 a year, the school tries very hard to help its students financially. This spring Williams replaced all its loans with grants. And the school has one of the lowest average student debt loads in the country: $9,296.

Some of Williams' prominent alumni include Steve Case, cofounder of America Online; Edgar Bronfman, CEO of Seagram ( SGCYP.PK - news - people ); Elia Kazan, the Oscar-winning director of films including On The Waterfront and A Streetcar Named Desire; Jay McInerney, author of Bright Lights, Big City; and James A. Garfield, 20th president of the United States.

Last year's No. 1 school, the United States Military Academy (West Point), fell slightly to No. 4 on the list. The U.S. service academies, which offer high-quality education at zero tuition, all do well on our list: the United States Air Force Academy (No. 11), the United States Naval Academy (No. 29), United States Coast Guard Academy (No. 105), and the United States Merchant Marine Academy (No. 165).

Princeton University (No. 2), Amherst College (No. 3), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (No. 5) round out the top five. Super-selective schools like Stanford (No. 6), Harvard (No. 8) and Yale (No. 10) also rank highly.

Whether they're in the top 10 or near the end of the list, all 610 schools in this ranking count among the best in the country: We review just 9% of the 6,600 accredited postsecondary institutions in the U.S., so appearing on our list at all is an indication that a school meets a high standard.

As a gardener, you probably first heard the word "organic" as it applied to gardening, when you first came across the magazine Organic Gardening. The magazine has been around for several generations, and was one of the first voices of the organic gardening movement. But organic gardening didn't start with the magazine. It began as a reaction to the slow but steady use of synthetic nitrogen as a fertilizer for crops.

The organic gardening movement developed a following in the 1960's and 1970's as alternative lifestyles became popular. The back-to-the-land movement supported communes, nature, and organic growing practices. As agri-business took over family farms, the whole nature of growing crops for massive agricultural production changed, and the choice to grow crops without synthetics became a real issue to consumers.

Organic farming promotes soil and water conservation and reduces pollution by using companion planting, beneficial insects, compost and animal manure, and rock dust to increase plant viability, and encourages and builds naturally healthy environments for plant growth. This is done without the use of chemical fertilizers, insecticides, or herbicides.

Organic farming uses nature as the backdrop to create sustainable growing environments.

Organic produce is usually more expensive in stores because it takes longer to grow crops by alternative methods, and because "organics" are usually grown by small farms that expend more energy in growing and promoting their crops seasonally. The major question is whether it is worth the extra cost? Some people maintain that "organics" are more nutritious. Are they more nutritious because they are grown without synthetics? That hasn't been proved. What has been stated is that they are tastier. Compare any commercially-grown tomato with an organic tomato, and the taste-test will confirm that most organic tomatoes taste better than commercial tomatoes. Is that true for all organic vegetables? Most gardeners who grow vegetables organically in their backyards will always say that their vegetables taste better than store-bought. Are they just proud of their gardening skills, or are they telling the truth? Home-grown vegetables are usually fresher than store-bought, because they are harvested just minutes before being consumed. Ever eaten an ear of corn harvested in the garden? It is sweeter than any corn bought, because the sugar hasn't been converted to a starch.