United States, January 24 – A top American fluid-dynamics boffin says that new, larger wind turbines now going into service are going to have to be placed much further apart – which will have serious implications for the amount of energy produced by wind farms of the future.

The latest wind farms now going into service use huge turbines with rotor diameters in the 100m range, expected to offer large outputs. But according to engineering professor and fluid dynamics expert Charles Meneveau of Johns Hopkins University, there’s a problem.

“The early experience is that they are producing less power than expected,” says Meneveau. “Some of these projects are underperforming.”

The prof, who has investigated air flow in wind farms for years, looked into the matter of the underperforming monster turbines along with Johan Meyers of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium.

“I believe our results are quite robust,” says Meneveau. “They indicate that large wind farm operators are going to have to space their turbines farther apart.”

Big turbines are at the moment generally installed about seven rotor diameters apart, but Meneveau and Meyers say that the optimum spacing is actually 15 diameters, slightly more than twice as far apart.

If this plan were followed, a wind farm covering a given area would only be able to install a quarter of the number of turbines it could have under today’s planning assumptions. Though the amount of energy generated per turbine would be the best possible, it seems unlikely that such efficiency gains could possibly compensate for the cut in numbers.

On the other hand, if windfarms continue to be constructed with turbines crowded more closely together, they will continue to produce less electricity than their builders had expected.

Overall the professor’s research would appear to mean that projected output figures for large new windfarms – for instance the UK’s planned, enormous offshore Round 3 facilities, expected to be built in the North Sea from 2015 – will have to be revised downwards one way or another.


Does it Pay to Convert Your Business Lighting to LED?

Yes. Whether your business uses florescent, recessed, high pressure sodium or incandescent bulbs, your business can enjoy significant energy savings by converting to LED. Until recently, LEDs were limited to single-bulb use in products such as pen lights and outdoor Christmas lights. Today’s LED bulbs are available with standard bases which fit common commercial light fixtures.

retrofitsLED retrofits are ideal replacement lighting for fluorescent tubes, recessed lamps and exterior fixtures including street, parking, signage and canopy lighting. The benefits are:

Lower Energy Costs – LED bulbs use 2-10 watts of electricity

Longer Long – LED bulbs last as long as 50,000 hours

Lower Maintenance – reduced bulb and ballast replacement

Click here for link to web page with more retrofit information

Ok, so we know a retrofit to LED bulbs will significantly reduce your energy use and that bulbs will last many times longer than incandescent or fluorescent. Your actual dollar amount of savings is based on a few factors unique to your location:

* The type and number of bulbs currently being used
* The Daily Operating Hours of your business
* Your local electricity rate

To prepare your free analysis and quote, please list the fixtures and bulbs to be replaced and have a copy of your recent electric bill nearby. Then download the FREE LED Savings Calculator. Call us at 860-693-0257 with questions.

For projects retrofitting 75 or more fixtures, Global Capital Services, LLC can assist in arranging lease-to-own financing which is structured so that the annual cash savings will cover most, if not all, of the lease payments. Then, after the repayment terms available from 2 to 4 years, your company enjoys all of the projected savings from the retrofit project.

Some people support Obama’ stimulus plan, while many others expressed their disagreements. If you’re not satisfied with the government’s response, what should you do? Well, Mark Cuban had an idea: create his own stimulus plan. This puts a whole new twist in the old saying, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.”

The billionaire entreprenuer and owner of the Dallas Mavericks announced his intentions last month on his blog, and it’s still ongoing. Joining is simple: leave a comment on his blog, post your business plan, wait for a response. Almost 2000 comments have already been recorded as of this time. Unlike most VC projects, he aims to make his chosen startups profitable as quickly as possible, so your business model should reflect that. Interested? Follow these rules:

1. It can be an existing business or a start up.
2. It can not be a business that generates any revenue from advertising. Why ? Because I want this to be a  business where you sell something and get paid for it. That’s the only way to get and stay profitable in such a short period of time.
3. It MUST BE CASHFLOW BREAK EVEN within 60 days
4. It must be profitable within 90 days.
5. Funding will be on a monthly basis. If you dont make your numbers, the funding stops
6. You must demonstrate as part of your plan that you sell your product or service for more than what it costs you to produce, fully encumbered
7. Everyone must work. The organization is completely flat. There are no employees reporting to managers. There is the founder/owners and everyone else
8. You must post your business plan here, or you can post it on slideshare.com , scribd.com or google docs, all completely public for anyone to see and/or download
9. I make no promises that if your business is profitable, that I will invest more money. Once you get the initial funding you are on your own
10. I will make no promises that I will be available to offer help. If I want to , I will. If not, I wont.
11. If you do get money, it goes into a bank that I specify, and I have the ability to watch the funds flow and the opportunity to require that I cosign any outflows.
12. In your business plan , make sure to specify how much equity I will receive or how I will get a return on my money.
13. No multi-level marketing programs.

Yesterday, he posted some of the early favorites to get funding, and it’s worth your while to study them to see what he’s looking for. The list was a mix of food and tech ventures, which might reflect Cuban’s own personality. If you have similarly brilliant ideas, go to the blog and leave a comment. Be sure to think it through and leave a short but compelling argument on why he should choose you.

Best of luck.

March 4th, 2009

The real Estate apprenticeship grant is one of the few grants that actually offer financial assistance for people who seek profit. Usually, government awarded grants are provided only for non-profit individuals or institutions.

The program aims to improve the US real estate industry by providing education and training to people interested in pursuing real estate as a career. It awards grants every six months totaling to $1,000,000.

By assisting new real estate agents the grant aims to help these novices increase their sales by giving them guidance and training, as well as the stat-up cost, all to improve the real estate industry as well as to improve the individual.

What can this grant do for me?

Based on each type of grant each finalist awarded the grant receives an estimate of $7000 in the form of:

1. Compensation of your licensing fee as well as the provision to attend any class offered by RealtyU School for once year.

2. Unlimited online access to a real estate mentoring service as well as counseling calls from your mentor.

3. Software named Transaction Manager that can be automated to store data from every transaction for every deal you make. It automatically calculates and stores due-dates and is very good for easy data access and storage.

4. A free consultation from McLean International Consulting at your own office. They will give you advice on business system technology.

5. A marketing package which includes the designing of your own stationary, business cards, envelopes and letterheads, a custom brochure, printing and design of PowerKards as well as your very own web site.

6. A detailed demographic information system about neighborhoods in the country.

7. 20-30 real estate books.

8. The real estate Success Kit with a mortgage calculator and a Laser Dimension Master.

9. Free printing from Express Copy

10. A one-year subscription to visual tours to help you create visuals for online listings as well as train you for neighborhood tours.

11. You become a member of the Real Estate Cyberspace Society

12. A subscription to the online magazine Broker Agent News and the print magazine, National Real Estate.

Who are eligible for the grant?

U.S. or Canadian nationals are allowed to take part in the grant provided that they have already taken a pre-licensing course at an accredited Real Estate School. The school should be state or nationally accredited and the participant must have taken the class during the six-month grant application season. If however the applicant has already passed his/her licensing examination, he is eligible for the grant if he has passed for a license within the same six months of grant awarding season.

How do I apply?

Go to their website, http://www.realestateapprentice.com/apply.cfm and register as one of the applicants. The application form is electronic and you will be asked to enter personal information. However, you are only allowed 500 characters per question so answer it carefully and briefly.

What Criteria is used for this grant?

The questions on your application form aim to assess your communication skills, integrity, creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and uniqueness. Therefore your application form should contain as much of the talented you as it can.

The organizers who give it an initial grade, and then a panel of judges who are veterans first view the questions or otherwise well known in the industry are asked to judge each application form. These may range from industry leaders to sponsors of the grant.

15 judges one of them, the chairman of the panel, is appointed by the foundation. The chairman will then act as the coordinator for all judges as well as the judging process. The foundation only chooses the best and most experienced leaders in the industry and you are ensured that these people will be impartial.

Other things you should know.

* Always be ready with your proof of eligibility as the panel may request it.

* Finalists who are selected must be interviewed by the judges so prepare to look your best.
* It’s ok that you work for a real estate brokerage, but you may not work for a financial institution, insurance company or a title company on a full-time basis.

* The award isn’t tax-free
* If you do receive the grant, you will be required to show proof that you are indeed a licensed real estate agent.

· Once a finalist, you will be required to remain active as an agent.

A down economy is the best time to connect with your customers.

Consumers are seeking trusted business sources to hear their concerns and provide them with options. Customers want your ear and your empathy. They want to be heard and acknowledged. They need to know that you understand and care about what they’re going through — even if they’re not buying from you at this point in time.

It comes down to this: You may have the best product or service out there, but that alone won’t guarantee your success if you haven’t built loyal bonds with your customers. Your existing customers are your best customers. They will thank you with their repeat business and send you business referrals. And they will think of you when they’re ready to buy — in good times and in bad. But customer loyalty must be earned.

Unlike big business, small organizations are uniquely able to cater to customer needs and earn their loyalty. How do you do that? By being 100% customer focused every day, with every interaction, in every aspect of your business. Here are three ways simple ways you can earn their loyalty by focusing on super-serving your customers.

1. Be Passionate About Your Customers

Being passionate about your customers starts with listening to and hearing their concerns. Make sure you always understand what the customer is saying or asking. Educate them on the value of the products and services you provide, and offer them solutions based on what they need. Passion means proving to customers you are vested in their success.

Passion also means being accessible, accountable, and HONEST. If there’s a problem, don’t gloss over it. Own it. And don’t quit until you make it right. Saying, “I’m sorry, let’s work this out” goes a long way toward earning your customer’s gratitude and return business. Get on the phone, send an email or send a personal card and make that personal connection.

2. Use Every Interaction as an Opportunity to Build a Relationship

Consumers today are feeling beat up and shrugged off by the sorry state of some big-business customer service. Customers desire connection.

We have a mantra here: “Connect to give.” We make every effort to connect with our customers for no other reason then to stay in touch and strengthen our relationship. We remember birthdays, send advice and support, and sometimes just a hello and an inspirational quote.  In doing so, our customers rely on us as they do their friends and we take a lot of pride in that.

Every interaction — be it over the phone, in an email, or across the counter — is an opportunity to deepen your bond with your customer. Make sure all your employees share your commitment to your customers’ success.

3. Learn What’s Important to Customers and Deliver It

The businesses that are going to survive this economy unscathed are the ones who are listening to their customers and adapting their businesses based on customer feedback. By letting your customers know that you are not only interested in their feedback — but you are willing to act on it — you can build stronger customer relationships and earn your customers’ loyalty.

Extend invitations for customers to give you feedback at every opportunity. If you have a physical store, put a suggestion box at the counter — alongside your email sign-up list.

Include an open-ended question at the end of every email marketing communication asking, “How are we doing? What could we do better?” Better yet, do it in a “hand-written” card and send it in the mail with a stamp. That act alone will set you apart from your competition.

Survey your customers to find out what they want and need right now. Ask them, if they’re not buying from you now, why not? What would it take to get their business back? Report on that feedback to your mailing list in your future email marketing communications.

Write a Question-and-Answer column in your email newsletter inviting customers to sound off and tell you what’s on their minds. Offer free advice. Use customer feedback to inform your email marketing content and drive your campaigns.

The economy may be turbulent for some time. The good news is, building loyal customer bonds is an investment in your business’s future. Because when the dust clears and the economy picks up again, loyal customers are more apt to come back to a trusted source with whom they’ve done business before. But that’s true only if they believe you’re focused not on what you want to sell them, but on what they need. Today that might just be a good ear that shows you care.

For more information, check out www.BuildRelationshipsToday.com

Jeff Battiston, www.GlobalCapital-LLC.com

Jeff is Founder and CEO of Global Capital Services, a company that provides financing to businesses and municipalities.

What is the actual advantage of Equipment Leasing instead of buying it? There can be several reasons. Many small businesses have to watch their overhead, as they usually have a tight budget to work with, especially when just starting out. Although comparing buying business equipment to leasing business equipment is always the prudent thing to do, most small businesses find that leasing will save them money – in the short and the long run. Some business equipment is an investment only in the fact that it helps a business run efficiently and become successful. Just like an automobile, however, the value of many types of business equipment will begin to depreciate the moment they are purchased. This is partly due, of course, to simple wear and tear. It is also due, though, to technology. Some business equipment can be updated up to a certain point, but there will come the time when it will be rendered almost obsolete by technological progress. Unfortunately, this can often happen before the equipment has reached the end of its normal life span. Having to replace business equipment is costly, and becomes even more costly when a business cannot sell or trade in their old equipment for anywhere near a reasonable price.

Leasing, however, can help small businesses avoid this problem. Businesses that need production machinery or technical office equipment can benefit from leasing. For one thing, leasing seldom requires a down payment, and leasing payments are generally lower than mortgage-type payments. This is because they are not usually subject to high interest payments, and are usually spread over longer periods of time. Leased equipment can be updated on a regular basis as needed, and the old equipment can simply be returned to the leasing company, making it a simple and efficient process.

There are other advantages to leasing versus buying or obtaining a bank loan.  They are as follows:

  • Liquidity: The #1 reason businesses fail is due to lack of liquidity. Maintaining ample cash balances in your checking account should be a top priority for a company of any size. Leasing allows you to conserve your cash for times when you need it most.
  • Convenience: Unlike a bank loan, Leases generally require less financial documentation, meaning they require less preparation and are easier to secure. Some banks want two to three years of detailed credit history, and financial reports, while leases often require only six months of history or less. Often a one-page application is enough to obtain a lease for up to $75,000.
  • Quick Turnaround: If your company is like most, timing is everything. Who has time to undergo the lengthy and burdensome credit approval process required by most banks? Upon receipt of your credit application, you can expect a response from most leasing companies within 24 hours.
  • 100% Financing: That means a company can acquire essential operating equipment and begin using that equipment immediately to generate revenues with NO large down payments. Leasing companies will fund 100% of the cost of the equipment, including delivery costs and installation costs. Bank financing usually ends up meaning that you pay for your own installation costs .
  • Off Balance Sheet Financing: Leasing is the perfect tool to acquire new equipment without further leveraging your company’s balance sheet. If additional debt may jeopardize an existing bank borrowing covenant, an operating lease may be the perfect solution to your next equipment acquisition.
  • Flexible Payment Options: Leasing is an extremely flexible financing tool. Unlike bank loans that only offer fixed, level payments, leasing can offer flexible payment options. Many leases can provide for step-up, deferral, skip and/or annual payment programs, that will match your company’s cash flow.
  • Flexible Terms: Budgetary concerns over new equipment purchases can be circumvented through equipment leasing. Operating budgets tend to be more flexible than a capital budget. The lease terms can be as flexible as required and are often negotiable on an individual basis. Lease terms are usually much longer than a standard bank loan, which makes their payment terms even better.
  • Conserve Bank Lines: If your company has been successful in establishing a borrowing relationship with a local bank, why use up the available funds on an equipment purchase that is easily financed via leasing? Again, conserve your bank borrowing availability to support your company’s ongoing cash flow needs.
  • Used Equipment: Often banks are only interested in financing new equipment purchases. While it may offer you an added opportunity, used equipment often presents added challenges to bank lenders who are typically less familiar with the useful life and resale values associated with used equipment. Regardless of whether or not you plan to buy used equipment from a dealer or private (third) party, a good leasing company will likely have a variety of equipment leasing options from which you can choose.
  • Other Considerations: Many bank loans often require additional collateral other than the equipment being purchased.  Bank loans usually require extensive monthly reporting.  Finally, many bank loans can be cancelled by the lender at any time.  None of this is true for a typical lease.

Jeff Battiston, www.GlobalCapital-LLC.com

Jeff is Founder and CEO of Global Capital Services, a company that provides financing to business and municipalities.  Jeff is also an Independent Distributor for SendOutCards, an internet-based system that allows users to send personalized “hand-written” cards by US Mail.

It costs nothing, but creates much.

It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give.

It happens in a flash and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.

None are so rich they can get along without it, and none so poor but are richer for its benefits.

It creates happiness in the home, fosters good will in a business, and is the countersign of friends.

It is the rest to the weary, daylight to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and Nature’s best antidote for trouble.

Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed or stolen, for it is something that is no earthly good to anybody till it is given away. (Source: Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People)

What is this valuable business tool??

Simply, a SMILE.

Remember, all business comes down to relationships.  People do business with those they like and trust.  A smile is the best and most simple way to make a good first impression and build relationships.

That is why dogs are considered “Man’s best friend.”  They are so happy to see us that they almost jump out of their skin.  Naturally their action only makes us happy to see them as well.  The same is true between human beings.

Jeff Battiston

Jeff is Founder and CEO of Global Capital Services, a company that provides financing to business and municipalities.  Jeff is also an Independent Distributor for SendOutCards, an internet-based system that allows users to send personalized “hand-written” cards by US Mail.