Why Traveling Makes Us More Creative

Traveling is a wonderful hobby for millions of people across the globe. This also provides various advantages to people. Here’s why traveling is important. The ability to move around from one place to the other place is the main virtue one can ever have. All humans and animals have been secured with this ability, but humans are always a step forward. We humans being, have an extraordinary virtue of seeing, experiencing and learning from it, and this is exactly what makes our traveling more satisfying and enriching.A person who went on a long-distance journey returned home after some years. Till then, his family had either no or very little information regarding his situation and well-being. In some thrilling cases, a person would never return. In despite of all these barriers and difficulties, people traveled; not always because they needed to, but many times, also because they loved to. And why not? Traveling not only takes us to distant lands and explains us with various people, but this also removes the dullness of our lives.This is certainly very unlucky that some people feel traveling is a sheer waste of time, energy and money. Some also discovery traveling a very boring activity. However, a good majority of people across the world wish traveling, rather than staying inside the partial spaces of their homes. They love to travel to new places, meet new people, as well as see things that they would not find in their homelands. This is a very common attitude that has made tourism, one of the most money-making, commercial sectors in the world.People travel for different reasons. Some travel for work, others for fun, and some for finding mental peace. Though every person may have his/her own reason to go on a traveling, this is significant to note that traveling, in itself, has some inherent rewards. For one, for some days getting away from everyday routine is a pleasant change. This not only refreshes one’s body, but also mind and soul. Traveling to a distant place and doing fantastic things that are not thought of otherwise, can refresh a person, who then returns home, ready to take on new and more problematic challenges in life and work. This makes a person forget his worries, problems, preventions, and fears, albeit for some time. This offer him a chance to think wisely and usefully. Traveling also helps to heal; this can mend a broken heart.For many people, traveling is a way to achieve knowledge, and perhaps, a quest to find answers to their questions. For this, different people prefer to go to faraway and lonely places. For believers, this is a search for God and to gain higher knowledge; for others, this is a search for inner peace. They might or might not find what they are looking for, but such an experience certainly augments their lives.With people, with their culture, opinions and ideas also travel. When they go from one place to the other place, they are bound to meet people and share their thoughts and experiences with them. This is where the exchange of ideas takes place, and it definitely broadens a person’s outlook. This makes him/her think in a different way, from a different viewpoint. When we speak of cultural influences and exchange, food is one of the important factors. The food habits of people say a lot of things about them. It is very interesting to discover new and unknown ways and values; they really add spice to life.Traveling also makes lifelong memories. Whether a person travels solo or along with family and friends, the experience certainly gives him/her nice and thrilling stories, which he/she can share with people back home. A good long holiday with loved ones allows him/her to spend some quality time with them, which in turn, benefits to renew and restore relationships and makes very strong one-to-one and family bonds. In fact, traveling away from home and spending time with near and dear one(s) can bring the relationship an entirely new perspective and possibly, people may begin understanding each other in a good way.Addition to the above, traveling and getting away from our homes allows us to spend some time with our own selves. This makes us subtler and more tolerant towards others. This also makes it easier for us to meet and mingle with various kinds of people, and also explains us to live life to the fullest. Some of them travel from richer countries to poorer ones in pursuit of cheaper medication; some others travel from inferior countries to more developed ones to get the right medication. Medical tourism is today, one of the most essential parts of the travel and tourism sector and more than 50 countries have recognized it as a national industry.Personal health is what makes travel very important. People here, travel because they don’t have an option in most cases. One might wonder that if a person becomes medical aid only after he reaches his/her destination, what importance does traveling hold in this case? Well, traveling stimulates hope in a person. As a person travels and gets more and more faster to the destination, the hope of getting preserved and living a healthy as well as smooth life ahead goes on increasing. Thus, traveling makes a person more confident towards life. Traveling can therefore be a very enchanting and inspiring experience that may help recover the quality of your life. So, let the travel bug bite you so that you experience the excitement and the serenity of life at the same time, and arise a different person altogether.

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?

Social Entrepreneurship – Now is the Time

Social entrepreneurship is a major area of interest in many social and civic organizations and has a significant impact on many areas of society. During the past decade economic resources have become more difficult to acquire and society has continued to exhibit economic and cultural decline. Concurrently, communities are in need of initiatives that will enhance their financial viability and programs that will enhance the overall viability of the population.Social entrepreneurship initiatives are ventures that can serve as a method of increasing the social value of a community, organization or cause while enhancing the financial viability of a not-for-profit organization. With this being stated, social entrepreneurship has been defined in different ways by many different theorists. Gary McPherson, Executive Administrator of the Canada Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, states that social entrepreneurship involves various individuals working toward meeting social and economic goals simultaneously; while Bill Drayton, CEO of Ashoka, defines social entrepreneurship as a term coined to describe “individuals who combine the pragmatic and results oriented methods of a business entrepreneur with the goals of social reform.”A more basic definition of social entrepreneurship states that it is “the process of using entrepreneurial and business skills to create innovative approaches to social problems.” Therefore, it is a methodology that is presently being used to resolve community and societal concerns globally. Social entrepreneurship as an area of specialized entrepreneurship is not defined by the same titling in every culture. For example, in Latin America countries social entrepreneurship initiatives are referred to as “Micro Enterprise.” In India the same program would be identified as a “Social Mission.” Though termed differently in various regions, social entrepreneurship initiatives are being implemented to solve specific societal and community concerns by focusing on the needs and resource availability within specific geographic regions.Social Entrepreneurship in Education Throughout the United States, many top tertiary level academic institutions are enhancing their business programs by including a curriculum that caters to the study of social entrepreneurship. In 2003, the Center for Responsible Business was launched on the University of California Berkley Campus. This subsidiary of the Haas School of Business was implemented with the intent of training students to be more principled and socially responsible members of society through attending “the preeminent educational institution in area of Corporate Social Responsibility.” Stanford University also has established a Center for Social Innovation as a part of its graduate school of business. This center was founded with the mission to “build and strengthen the capacity of individuals and organizations to develop innovative solutions to social problems for a more just, sustainable and healthy world.”In 1993, Harvard Business School started its social enterprise program with its mission of “generating and sharing knowledge to help individuals and organizations to create social value in the not-for-profit, private and public sectors,” and the University of Miami has refocused its business school curriculum to include coursework in the areas of ethical-decision making, social entrepreneurship and community engagement with the primary focus being to expose students to various areas of civic engagement while concurrently teaching them leadership and team building skills.Tertiary level institutions, including Duke, which has established a Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship as part of its Fuqua School of Business, and Columbia University where the research initiative on social entrepreneurship is embedded in its school of business, have also made strides to enhance the study and education of those seeking to venture into areas of social entrepreneurship and social venture implementation. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business-International (AACSB – International) has identified over twenty-four tertiary level institutions that have included social entrepreneurship as a part of their business college and or business curriculums.With social entrepreneurship being perceived by many as a new way of stimulating social change, Idee Winfield believes that the implementation of community-focused service learning projects is the first step in exposing youth to the various attributes associated with social entrepreneurship. Through community involvement, youth will begin to visualize and experience the various social issues within their community and envision ways to solve these problems. Winfield states that social entrepreneurship should be promoted in primary and secondary education, and coursework should be adjusted to allow students to “see how abstract socially focused concepts can have real world applicability.” Jeffrey Soderborg, a member of the Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Clearinghouse on Entrepreneurship Education, is also an ardent proponent of social venture education who believes that social entrepreneurship would be more readily accepted if youth were exposed to information expounding the laurels of these initiatives during their primary and secondary academic years.As youth expand their horizons through the establishment of entrepreneurial efforts, knowledge and exposure to information about the process involved in the establishment of entrepreneurial business effectively plays a major role in the rate at which business entities are established. A study focusing on entrepreneurial interests among black youth ages 14 to 19 identified that 75% of the youth surveyed had interest in becoming entrepreneur. The study also found that these minority youth believed that more information about entrepreneurship should be presented through their schools. They also believed that entrepreneurs have a responsibility to reinvest in their community.Corporate Social ResponsibilityPersonal values often serve as the justification for entrepreneurs to focus organizational efforts on socially focused ventures. The organizational decision to forgo pursuing financial gain with the intent of using the corporations’ profit resources to enhance a community is often referred to corporate social entrepreneurship. Corporate Social Entrepreneur (CSE) is a term used to describe corporate initiatives whose primary focus is to enhance a social concern and whose secondary focus is financial gain. The corporate social entrepreneur differs from the financial profit seeking entrepreneur in the area of decisions made that affect the community and environment in which their organization functions. Research identified that in corporate social entrepreneurship business acumen serves as a factor in the success or failure of social venture initiative implementation. Research identifies that success factors associated with the implementation of social responsibility initiatives were linked to whether the entrepreneur exhibits behavior that is moral, amoral or immoral.The amoral entrepreneur would pursue initiatives only if they were deemed acceptable by the organization as a whole. The immoral entrepreneur implements initiatives based on what can be potentially gained for self as well as for the stakeholders, while the moral entrepreneur would pursue social responsibility initiatives based on what was in the best interest of the organization. Individuals identified as corporate social entrepreneurs are individuals who are more active in community activities and are actively involved in social responsibility efforts. Corporate social entrepreneurs also are more likely to implement social responsibility initiatives based on an organization’s long term objectives.While many corporations are looking for ways to increase their social responsibility efforts, in some regions corporate responsibility efforts are not progressing. A policy paper, “Corporate Social Responsibility in Latin America and the Caribbean,” documented that corporate social responsibility activity in this region has “stalled.” The reason for stagnation in this region is “minimal government involvement” and the lack of “private sector involvement.” It was also identified that initiatives to implement programs focusing on social responsibility are often initiated outside of the market, and then subsequently not embraced by stakeholders who reside within this geographic region.Corporations are continually looking for ways to increase corporate advantage through their social responsibility efforts. While proponents of corporate social responsibility believe that corporations are obligated morally to engage in efforts to enhance social, community and environmental concerns, many stakeholders believe that social involvement should only be initiated if the efforts are going to strengthen the organization’s image, brand, moral or stock value. With this in mind, corporations have separated social issues into specific categories.These categories are social concerns that are general, social concerns that are value chain based and concerns that focus on social dimensions of competitive contrast. Generic social issues are identified as social concerns that do not directly affect the company’s operation and do not have an effect on a company’s competitive advantage. Corporations are least likely to get involved or invest in projects that focus in these areas because they will not receive a high value of return on their involvement. Value Chain Social Impact issues can significantly affect a company’s operation and can have an impact on the way a company conducts business. Corporations are more likely to be involved in value chain concerns, but only after conducting due diligence studies to ensure that a return on investment will be achieved over time.Social issues that affect a company’s financial profitability or serve to enhance or increase a company’s competitive edge are likely to be areas that a company will invest in because of the direct impact that these initiatives will have on the company’s overall viability and stability. An example of a social dimension projects is General Electric’s investment in under-performing high schools throughout the country. General Electric believes that through investing financial and professional resources in under-performing high schools in areas where they have substantial financial investment, they are investing in enhancing a community, as well as directly increasing their future employment prospects.Whole Foods Market is an organization that has taken control of its social value position through purchasing products from local farmers. Also, Whole Foods maintains strict controls over all of the products produced and sold in all of its locations. They even have extended their social and ecological efforts through offsetting the use of in-store electricity with the installation of wind conversion generators, converting their trucks to operate on bio-fuel and trucking spoiled produce to regionally located compost sites. Though the investments in these technologies may be costly at the onset, the long term financial, civic and market exposure benefits far exceed any initial costs incurred.In the area of corporate philanthropy many corporations are at a loss. They continue to be involved in the conflict between philanthropic giving and investor requests for increased profits. For this reason many corporations engage in context-giving programs. Context-giving programs are programs that are defined as allotting resources to specific projects that will enhance the community while simultaneously enhancing the corporation.Examples of context-giving initiatives include the Cisco System Networking Academy, which trains computer network administrators and provides job opportunities to those who complete the program; the DreamWorks SKG film production program that trains low-income individuals in occupations that are needed in the film and entertainment industry; and American Express Travel and Tourism Academy which trains high school youth for careers in the hospitality and tourism industry. Corporations that invest in corporate-giving social venture programs are concurrently gaining positive return on their social investment, improving the economic climate of the communities where they are located and gaining positive exposure for their organizations.At times social ventures do not have the intended impact on the community. A study focusing on the impact of community focused business ventures found that businesses started with the intent of enhancing a community often lose focus by becoming focused on profitability and competition. Competition and self-focused motivators were identified to be factors that played an additional role in the impact and economic role that entrepreneurial ventures have in community settings.While many foundations, trusts and philanthropic organizations, accumulate and distribute resources with the intent of providing services to enhance specific community or social causes, many of these organizations are looking for ways to gain public exposure for their efforts. Organizations also attempt to leverage their gifting efforts through seeking not-for-profit organizations that are willing match the funding received. The success of funded programs is evaluated through performance outcomes and indicators, and through promoting the organization’s work through success stories provided by program clients. These methods are viable ways for funding agencies to acquire value and exposure through their philanthropic efforts and simultaneously continue their efforts to enhance the communities in which they invest.With the social philanthropic efforts of Warren Buffet and Bill Gates gaining a high degree of attention, and many leaders engaging in activities to promote social advocacy, corporations are seeking ways to also gain exposure with social entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurship from the corporate perspective can be defined as corporate social initiatives used by a corporate entity as vehicle to show support for social causes. In recent years, many Fortune 500 companies have implemented social ventures with the intent of enhancing their corporate image through providing funding for various social causes.McDonald’s is one such company that has funded social causes for many years. McDonald’s primary social venture is the Ronald McDonald House Charities. The Ronald McDonald House provides lodging for the families of adolescents, ranging in age from birth to 18, who are receiving critical care for illness in communities that are away from their community of residence. The Ronald McDonald House allows families to reside in these temporary living facilities throughout the child’s period of treatment at no charge.The Federal Express Corporation also funds programs focused on the implementation of socially responsible programs. FedEx is a supporter of St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and has been acknowledged by Reader’s Digest as one of “Americas Best Charity Minded Corporation.” Federal Express has also been recognized for providing funding for numerous community and civic organizations, including March of Dimes, Heart to Heart organization, an organization that focuses on delivering food and health resources globally, the United Way and the National Civil Rights Museum. These are just a few of the charitable initiatives that allow Federal Express to present itself as a socially conscious organization.Virgin Mobile has partnered with Youth Noise, a not-for-profit organization that brings youth together for networking and brainstorming opportunities, and Stand Up for Kids, the largest all volunteer not-for-profit organizations in the United States, to implement an initiative to expand its corporate social responsibility activities. The project involves recording artists donating ring tones to Virgin Mobile and through partnership agreements, 5% of the proceeds received through ring tone sales are donated to various “Virgin Mobile Charity Partners.” This initiative, established in June 2006, is being positioned to raise over $250,000 annually.For social ventures to gain global acceptance, corporations need to become involved in ventures that allow employees and consumers to see the social, community and external benefit of these ventures. This process is identified in countries south of the United States, where the concept of social responsibility is one that has been embraced by many but implemented by few. Many government organizations expect non-government, or private organizations to take responsibility for ensuring the stability and longevity of the resources throughout this region while the private sector is looking toward government agencies for intervention.
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