February 6, 2012

Flashy Car Rims – Is It Just A Guy Thing?

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Wheel Tips For The Female Of The Species Too

If you browse the internet ads for tires and wheels, it seems like flashy car rims is a guy thing. The websites are geared to a masculine point of view. Some websites feature sound and videos that include a pounding rap beat backed up by a view of “shiny things.” Most websites feature Charlie’s Angels “look a likes” pouring themselves over the car chassis or pointing to flashy car rims. Lexani’s official website features a four minute video to showcase its wares. The wheels are hot, the girls are hotter.

Men & Car Rims

Normally, the male of the species keeps a pretty low profile when it comes to plumage but when it comes to equipping their rides, most men, don’t question how much but how will the wheels look on the car, truck or SUV.

A Little Research

I did a little research about aftermarket car rims. I asked various friends and associates if they would they spend an additional $8.000.00 for specialty wheels for their vehicle. By far most of the men I asked didn’t even blink at the price but just shrugged and said “yeah, I guess; it depends on how they would look.” The women looked at me as if I had just arrived from Mars and replied with an emphatic “NO WAY”. A marketing statistic shows that ninety percent of the shoppers at wheel and tire shops are men. Men like flashy car rims and it seems to be almost genetic.

Car Rims & Shoes; A Connection?

This same connection exists between women and shoes. It’s never about the money but how they look. You need shoes to protect your feet. The functional ones work well but it’s the pretty ones that we want. Shoes, like car rims have a definite purpose as well. Like shoes that allow the owner to walk, car rims allow the car to “roll”.

Because car rims are so vital to the handling and performance of vehicles, it is important for women to become as interested in the details of car rims as men. This article will talk about car rims and wheels sizes, chrome and alloys, package prices, reliable brands, and upcoming trends like spinners.

So let’s get motoring. By the end of this piece you will know more about car rims. The man in your life will be impressed by your new-found knowledge and you’ll be ready to make an informed decision about what’s best for your ride.

Where To Look For Car Rims

There are numerous websites dedicated to sale of car rims. As well many sites offer valuable information about car rims and what you can do to enhance your vehicle’s performance and handling. If you decide to make your purchase through a website check with a Consumer Bureau to ensure that the website is reputable.

Car Rim Sizes – It’s The Fit That Counts

When you purchase a vehicle, stock models come with a specific size of car rim. For example small cars like Honda Preludes have 13 inch rims. As the size of the vehicle increases so do the size of the car rims. Car rims sizes can go up to 27” and beyond as many manufacturers are developing larger sizes for newer jeeps and SUVs. Front Wheel Drive sizes are slightly smaller than Rear Wheel Drive types by about 2 inches.

Plus Sizing

To enhance the look of your vehicle and improve its performance you can increase the size of the wheel “Plus Sizing” is a term that refers to increasing the size of the car rim to the wheel.

Why Plus Sizing?

Plus sizing is chosen by drivers for steering response, handling, and cornering ability. When you add inches to the tire, there is more surface that is in contact with the road. Plus sizing a wheel also enhances the sporty look of a vehicle.

Plus sizing can be done by “inching up”. The following are the three methods of “inching up” your tire.

* Plus Zero

* Zero Plus One

* Zero Plus Two

Plus Zero

The Plus Zero method uses the same wheel radius as the original equipment but includes a tire with a larger size than the original’s width but smaller than the aspect ratio. For example the original tire size is: 175/70R14. By putting a 195/60R14 tire on this wheel rim you would not be increasing the tire size, hence “plus zero”.

Zero Plus One

Plus one increases the size of the tire by one inch. For example if the tire size is 175/70R13 and you put a tire on it that is 175/70R14, you have increased the tire size by one inch. Zero plus one utilizes a one-inch larger diameter wheel in conjunction with a smaller tire. This method always requires a replacement wheel.

Zero Plus Two

Exactly as the name of the method implies, this approach increases the size of the tire by two inches. For example, you would replace the original equipment of 175/70R13 with a tire size of 175/70R15.

Chrome And Alloys

Early cars had steel wheels. This has changed because of the weight of steel. Today’s vehicles are designed to be as sleek and aerodynamic as possible. Ask any racer why alloy wheels were developed. The light alloy wheel is an essential part of vehicle safety and performance. These car rims evolved in the racing industry as cars needed to be lighter. Alloy wheels, because of their functional good looks quickly jumped into the mainstream of aftermarket vehicle sales. There are numerous websites dedicated to magnesium, chrome and silver alloy car rims and wheels.

Chrome, Magnesium And Silver Alloys

Chrome wheel rims have always been popular due to their shiny exterior but other types of alloy rims have appeared in the past 10 years. Custom alloy rims include magnesium rims that have been x-rayed and heat tempered to ensure their good looks and durability. Buyer beware however, when purchasing a car rim package make sure that price is not your primary decision making factor.

Buyer Beware

Many lesser known companies use copy cat technology and do not adhere to industry standards. Ensure that you are shopping at a reputable web site. If it seems to be too good a deal to be true, it probably is. Check out manufacturer’s websites such as Lexani, Giovanna and Sprewell for referrals to qualified sales centers.

Reliable Car Rim Retail Sales Outlets

Successful manufacturers of car rims and wheels have one trait in common. Each manufacturer pays great attention to producing a quality product. To participate in the motor vehicle aftermarket, it is essential that certain standards be met.

Manufacturers such as Lexani, Weld, Konig and Sprewell strive to provide the best quality product available today. In order for a retailer to sell products from these companies, they must hold to the guidelines set out by the manufacturer. Today, all car rim and wheel manufacturers have websites. It’s a good idea to review them prior to beginning your search for the perfect wheel.

Package Prices

Shopping for car rims can be done in three ways:

* In person at a wheel and tire outlet.

* At a vehicle dealership.

* On the Internet.

There are literally hundreds of sites that offer wheel packages and most provide free shipping anywhere in the United States. All sites offer packages that include custom fitting four wheel rims, mounting and balancing of four tires and delivery. Lug nuts and other associated items are not included in the package but are available at discounted prices.

Car Rims Can Be An Expensive Investment

Wheels aren’t cheap by any stretch of the imagination. Depending on the brand you choose a person can pay as much as $8,000.00 US for a Lexani Big Johnson 27inch package. Giovanna has a package available for almost ten thousand dollars. This package features the Abruzzo 26” wheel and tire.

There are packages available from Eagle, American Racing and Centerline that are less expensive. Many of the packages available from the above companies offer wheels that start at $1699.00.

Though they are less expensive, these car rim packages still provide the good looks and functionality featured in the more expensive models.

Trends

One of the hottest trends today for car rims is spinning jewelry. Car rims that include spinners are the most demanded item on wheels today. These items cause an optical illusion that the wheel is still spinning when a vehicle is stopped at a street light. These wheels are designed to catch the eye and keep the onlooker’s attention. Some websites describe spinners as being simply stunning. Spinners are available from numerous manufacturers such as Sprewell and Oasis for a variety of prices. Spinning jewelry looks good on SUV’s, jeeps, sports cars and even the family car.

Flashy Car Rims – Truly A “Guy Thing”

A term such as “simply stunning” was usually employed when describing dresses, women or shoes. More aftermarket companies are striving to attract a feminine audience to encourage women to purchase their product. These companies are few and far between and for the most part, flashy car rims remain a “guy thing”. However if you want to make an informed purchase decision or you simply want to impress your boyfriend with “guy” knowledge, it’s a good idea to do your homework. Ultimately, you’ll be glad you did. Happy motoring.

© 2005 [http://www.rims-now.com]

About the Author

Lillian Fuller is a talented and successful freelance writer for hire providing tips and advice for consumers about car rims including chrome wheels [http://www.rims-now.com], spinner rims, custom wheels, and more. Her numerous articles offer valuable insight and informative views on many different topics.

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February 5, 2012

Importance of Pet Supplies

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The percentage of US households owning a pet has risen from 56% in 1988 to 62% in 2008, according to the figures provided by the American Pet Products Association or APPA. The growth in the number of households is accompanied by increased spending on pet supplies and other items. The US households are expected to spend $50.84 billion on their pets in 2011. This amount includes expenditure on food items, supplies, over the counter medicines, vet care, cost of purchasing and grooming pets. Taking care of a pet involves expenditure on buying a wide range of pet supplies which includes foods, clothes, medicines etc.

Need for Pet Supplies

Pets are just like any other family member and need a lot of supplies which include food items, medicines, clothes or houses, shampoos and soaps for washing etc. Every pet owner likes to provide the best of supplies to his/her pet. This means buying the best quality of food and other products to ensure that the pet remains healthy and grows according to its age. The best way to buy good quality pet supplies is to get in touch with specialized pharmacies that deal in household products.

According to statistics quoted by the he American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the average cost of basic food, supplies, medical care and training for a dog or a cat is $700 to $875 annually. You can buy good quality pet supplies at discounted prices from varied online pharmacies that focus on selling supplies of all types and all price ranges.

Types of Pet Supplies

Whether you have a cat or a dog or horse or any other animal as household, you will need to buy certain basic essential food and other items on a regular basis. In addition products that help you to groom and train your pets are also essential. Several types of innovative supplies are available in the market and are aimed at making it easier to take good care of your pet.

While some pet supplies are common to all animals, there are others which are specific to certain animals. supplies can be generally categorized into:

  • Training products
  • Grooming products
  • Essential food items
  • Feeding and Water containers
  • Cleaning products
  • Food supplements
  • Pet Carriers and Houses
  • Pet Toys and Beds
  • Health Care products
  • Books and CDs on grooming pets
  • Pet Clothes and Collars

Apart from these pet supplies, you are bound to spend on vet visits and pet medicines to treat some common allergies and infections. Medicines to treat common problems like fever, itchiness, hair loss, ticks, cancer, rabies, dysentery, tumors, worms etc can be treated by buying branded or generic medicines from a pet pharmacy.

Buying pet supplies from a specialized shop or pharmacy is highly beneficial because their staff can advise you about the right type of products. You can also check about the usefulness or the efficacy of a household product chosen by you. These pharmacies also guide you about the dosage and the right procedure to use a medicine or a treatment for your pet.

You can save your spending on pets by buying pet supplies from an established supplier of pet products and veterinary medications. The best way to get great deals on these supplies is by ordering online.

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February 3, 2012

You Don’t Have to Suffer These Effects of Fear of Cooking

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In my last blog post, I explained the 5 signs of the fear of cooking that many people suffer from in deciding that they would like to learn to cook. Because the kitchen plays a particularly important emotional role in many people’s lives, not knowing how to cook can have devastating effects. Some people that have come to me to learn to cook have told me stories that not only explain their fear of cooking but have made it almost impossible for them to learn how to cook.

One of the ways that fear of cooking is intensified is through smells. Your sense of smell has a powerful links to your memories. In fact, I’m sure that most of you have memories that come flooding into your mind when you smell cookies baking or a pot roast. I have strong memories when I smell the chlorine from a pool that remind me of swimming and snack bar hamburgers.

Memories are not always positive. For example, I had one woman that came to my cooking school and told me that she can’t cook. Later in the evening as she was learning how to cook (funny how well cooking by method works), she explained to me that as a child, every time she went into the kitchen, her mother would scream, “Get out of the kitchen. You’re going to mess everything up. You’re going to ruin things. This is not a place for children.” No wonder she had a fear of cooking!

Let’s look a little more deeply into the 10 ways that the fear of cooking may affect your life

  1. Anxiety – this can come from the thought of the “impending” meal and not knowing what to cook or how to cook.
  2. Depression - eating the same things over and over again can cause depression and place a person in a lull where they lose the desire to learn to cook.
  3. Lethargy - most often this comes from eating foods that aren’t good for us. In particular, eating empty calories or fast food over and over again.
  4. Embarrassment - are you the person that always brings napkins to the pot luck? Not knowing how to cook can cause embarrassment when you never bring a meal to gatherings.
  5. Loneliness - eating home cooked meals has the potential to bring families together. Without home cooked meals, there may be a sense of loneliness because so much conversation and socializing occurs over a cooked meal.
  6. Non-Reciprocation – Have you been invited to dinner by your friends multiple times and never returned the favor? This can cause a feeling of being a “deadbeat”.
  7. Poor provider – Not knowing how to cook can lead to a lack of variety for your family and feeling guilty from not feeding your children healthy foods.
  8. Taker/not giver – Always depending on your spouse or partner to cook for you can make you feel like a taker and never being able to give back to the cook in the family.
  9. Spend-thrift - Do you have kitchen gadget that were gifts or purchased that you don’t know how to use? Do you have a multi-thousand dollar range that makes popcorn? This type of guilt can intensify the fear of cooking.
  10. Money stress – When one has a fear of cooking and doesn’t learn how to cook, there is a tendency to spend more money on take-out foods which can cause anxiety around money and cooking

You don’t have to suffer these effects of the fear of cooking! These are exactly the types of feelings and thoughts that drive me to continue to help people to understand how easy it is to learn to cook using simple cooking method. Having an understanding of how foods go together without using a recipe can not only make the fear of cooking go away, but will enable you to cook anytime anywhere with confidence. You will not only know how to cook but will never suffer from the devastating effects of the fear of cooking again!

Chef Todd Mohr is a classically trained chef, entrepreneur, cooking educator and founder of WebCookingClasses. You CAN learn to cook without written recipes by taking his FREE cooking class that will change the way you think about cooking forever!

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The Car Rental Industry

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Market Overview

The car rental industry is a multi-billion dollar sector of the US economy. The US segment of the industry averages about $18.5 billion in revenue a year. Today, there are approximately 1.9 million rental vehicles that service the US segment of the market. In addition, there are many rental agencies besides the industry leaders that subdivide the total revenue, namely Dollar Thrifty, Budget and Vanguard. Unlike other mature service industries, the rental car industry is highly consolidated which naturally puts potential new comers at a cost-disadvantage since they face high input costs with reduced possibility of economies of scale. Moreover, most of the profit is generated by a few firms including Enterprise, Hertz and Avis. For the fiscal year of 2004, Enterprise generated $7.4 billion in total revenue. Hertz came in second position with about $5.2 billion and Avis with $2.97 in revenue.

Level of Integration

The rental car industry faces a completely different environment than it did five years ago. According to Business Travel News, vehicles are being rented until they have accumulated 20,000 to 30,000 miles until they are relegated to the used car industry whereas the turn-around mileage was 12,000 to 15,000 miles five years ago. Because of slow industry growth and narrow profit margin, there is no imminent threat to backward integration within the industry. In fact, among the industry players only Hertz is vertically integrated through Ford.

Scope of Competition

There are many factors that shape the competitive landscape of the car rental industry. Competition comes from two main sources throughout the chain. On the vacation consumer’s end of the spectrum, competition is fierce not only because the market is saturated and well guarded by industry leader Enterprise, but competitors operate at a cost disadvantage along with smaller market shares since Enterprise has established a network of dealers over 90 percent the leisure segment. On the corporate segment, on the other hand, competition is very strong at the airports since that segment is under tight supervision by Hertz. Because the industry underwent a massive economic downfall in recent years, it has upgraded the scale of competition within most of the companies that survived. Competitively speaking, the rental car industry is a war-zone as most rental agencies including Enterprise, Hertz and Avis among the major players engage in a battle of the fittest.

Growth

Over the past five years, most firms have been working towards enhancing their fleet sizes and increasing the level of profitability. Enterprise currently the company with the largest fleet in the US has added 75,000 vehicles to its fleet since 2002 which help increase its number of facilities to 170 at the airports. Hertz, on the other hand, has added 25,000 vehicles and broadened its international presence in 150 counties as opposed to 140 in 2002. In addition, Avis has increased its fleet from 210,000 in 2002 to 220,000 despite recent economic adversities. Over the years following the economic downturn, although most companies throughout the industry were struggling, Enterprise among the industry leaders had been growing steadily. For example, annual sales reached $6.3 in 2001, $6.5 in 2002, $6.9 in 2003 and $7.4 billion in 2004 which translated into a growth rate of 7.2 percent a year for the past four years. Since 2002, the industry has started to regain its footing in the sector as overall sales grew from $17.9 billion to $18.2 billion in 2003. According to industry analysts, the better days of the rental car industry have yet to come. Over the course of the next several years, the industry is expected to experience accelerated growth valued at $20.89 billion each year following 2008 “which equates to a CAGR of 2.7 % [increase] in the 2003-2008 period.”

Distribution

Over the past few years the rental car industry has made a great deal of progress to facilitate it distribution processes. Today, there are approximately 19,000 rental locations yielding about 1.9 million rental cars in the US. Because of the increasingly abundant number of car rental locations in the US, strategic and tactical approaches are taken into account in order to insure proper distribution throughout the industry. Distribution takes place within two interrelated segments. On the corporate market, the cars are distributed to airports and hotel surroundings. On the leisure segment, on the other hand, cars are distributed to agency owned facilities that are conveniently located within most major roads and metropolitan areas.

In the past, managers of rental car companies used to rely on gut-feelings or intuitive guesses to make decisions about how many cars to have in a particular fleet or the utilization level and performance standards of keeping certain cars in one fleet. With that methodology, it was very difficult to maintain a level of balance that would satisfy consumer demand and the desired level of profitability. The distribution process is fairly simple throughout the industry. To begin with, managers must determine the number of cars that must be on inventory on a daily basis. Because a very noticeable problem arises when too many or not enough cars are available, most car rental companies including Hertz, Enterprise and Avis, use a “pool” which is a group of independent rental facilities that share a fleet of vehicles. Basically, with the pools in place, rental locations operate more efficiently since they reduce the risk of low inventory if not eliminate rental car shortages.

Market Segmentation

Most companies throughout the chain make a profit based of the type of cars that are rented. The rental cars are categorized into economy, compact, intermediate, premium and luxury. Among the five categories, the economy sector yields the most profit. For instance, the economy segment by itself is responsible for 37.7 percent of the total market revenue in 2004. In addition, the compact segment accounted for 32.3 percent of overall revenue. The rest of the other categories covers the remaining 30 percent for the US segment.

Historical Levels of Profitability

The overall profitability of the car rental industry has been shrinking in recent years. Over the past five years, the industry has been struggling just like the rest of the travel industry. In fact, between the years 2001 and 2003 the US market has experienced a moderate reduction in the level of profitability. Specifically, revenue fell from $19.4 billion in 2000 to $18.2 billion in 2001. Subsequently, the overall industry revenue eroded further to $17.9 billion in 2002; an amount that is minimally higher than $17.7 billion which is the overall revenue for the year 1999. In 2003, the industry experienced a barely noticeable increase which brought profit to $18.2 billion. As a result of the economic downturn in recent years, some of the smaller players that were highly dependent on the airline industry have done a great deal of strategy realignments as a way of preparing their companies to cope with eventual economic adversities that may surround the industry. For the year 2004, on the other hand, the economic situation of most firms have gradually improved throughout the industry since most rental agencies have returned far greater profits relative to the anterior years. For instance, Enterprise realized revenues of $7.4 billion; Hertz returned revenues of $5.2 billion and Avis with $2.9 billion in revenue for the fiscal year of 2004. According to industry analysts, the rental car industry is expected to experience steady growth of 2.6 percent in revenue over the next several years which translates into an increase in profit.

Competitive Rivalry Among Sellers

There are many factors that drive competition within the car rental industry. Over the past few years, broadening fleet sizes and increasing profitability has been the focus of most companies within the car rental industry. Enterprise, Hertz and Avis among the leaders have been growing both in sales and fleet sizes. In addition, competition intensifies as firms are constantly trying to improve their current conditions and offer more to consumers. Enterprise has nearly doubled its fleet size since 1993 to approximately 600,000 cars today. Because the industry operates on such narrow profit margins, price competition is not a factor; however, most companies are actively involved in creating values and providing a range of amenities from technological gadgets to even free rental to satisfy customers. Hertz, for example, integrates its Never-Lost GPS system within its cars. Enterprise, on the other hand, uses sophisticated yield management software to manage its fleets.

Finally, Avis uses its OnStar and Skynet system to better serve the consumer base and offers free weekend rental if a customer rents a car for five consecutive days Moreover, the consumer base of the rental car industry has relatively low to no switching cost. Conversely, rental agencies face high fixed operating costs including property rental, insurance and maintenance. Consequently, rental agencies are sensitively pricing there rental cars just to recover operating costs and adequately meet their customers demands. Furthermore, because the industry experienced slow growth in recent years due to economic stagnation that resulted in a massive decline in both corporate travel and the leisure sector, most companies including the industry leaders are aggressively trying to reposition their firms by gradually lessening the dependency level on the airline industry and regaining their footing in the leisure competitive arena.

The Potential Entry of new Competitors

Entering the car rental industry puts new comers at a serious disadvantage. Over the past few years following the economic downturn of 2001, most major rental companies have started increasing their market shares in the vacation sector of the industry as a way of insuring stability and lowering the level of dependency between the airline and the car rental industry. While this trend has engendered long term success for the existing firms, it has heightened the competitive landscape for new comers. Because of the severity of competition, existing firms such as Enterprise, Hertz and Avis carefully monitor their competitive radars to anticipate Sharpe retaliatory strikes against new entrants. Another barrier to entry is created because of the saturation level of the industry.

For example, Enterprise has taken the first mover advantage with its 6000 facilities by saturating the leisure segment thereby placing not only high restrictions on the most common distribution channels, but also high resource requirements for new firms. Today, Enterprise has a rental location within 15 miles of 90 percent of the US population. Because of the network of dealers Enterprise has established around the nation, it has become relatively stable, more recession proof and most importantly, less reliant on the airline industry compared to its competitors. Hertz, on the other hand, is utilizing the full spectrum of its 7200 stores to secure its position in the marketplace. Basically, the emergence of most of the industry leaders into the leisure market not only drives rivalry, but also it varies directly with the level of complexity of entering the car rental industry.

The Threat of Substitute

There are many substitutes available for the car rental industry. From a technological standpoint, renting a car to go the distance for a meeting is a less attractive alternative as opposed to video conferencing, virtual teams and collaboration software with which a company can immediately setup a meeting with its employees from anywhere around the world at a cheaper cost. In addition, there are other alternatives including taking a cab which is a satisfactory substitute relative to quality and switching cost, but it may not be as attractively priced as a rental car for the course of a day or more. While public transportation is the most cost efficient of the alternatives, it is more costly in terms of the process and time it takes to reach one’s destination. Finally, because flying offers convenience, speed and performance, it is a very enticing substitute; however, it is an unattractive alternative in terms of price relative to renting a car. On the business segment, car rental agencies have more protection against substitutes since many companies have implemented travel policies that establish the parameters of when renting a car or using a substitute is the best course of action.

According to Tracy Esch, an Advantage director of marketing operations, her company rents cars up to a 200-mile trip before considering an alternative. Basically, the threat of substitute is reasonably low in the car rental industry since the effects the substitute products have do not pose a significant threat of profit erosion throughout the industry.

The Bargaining Power of Suppliers

Supplier power is low in the car rental industry. Because of the availability of substitutes and the level of competition, suppliers do not have a great deal of influence in the terms and conditions of supplying the rental cars. Because the rental cars are usually purchased in bulk, rental car agents have significant influence over the terms of the sale since they possess the ability to play one supplier against another to lower the sales price. Another factor that reduces supplier power is the absence of switching cost. That is, buyers are not affected from purchasing from one supplier over another and most importantly, changing to different supplier’s products is barely noticeable and does not affect consumer’s rental choices.

The Bargaining Power of Buyers

While the leisure sector has little or no power, the business segment possesses a significant amount of influence in the car rental industry. An interesting trend that is currently underway throughout the industry is forcing car rental companies to adapt to the needs of corporate travelers. This trend significantly reduces supplier power or the rental firms’ power and increases corporate buyer power since the business segment is excruciatingly price sensitive, well informed about the industry’s price structure, purchase in larger quantities and they use the internet to force lower prices. Vacation buyers, on the other hand, have less influence over the rental terms. Because vacationers are usually less price sensitive, purchase in lesser amounts or purchase more infrequently, they have weak bargaining power.

Five Forces

Today the car rental industry is facing a completely different environment than it did five years ago. Competitively speaking, the revolution of the five forces around the car rental industry exerts some strong economic pressure that has significantly tarnished the competitive attractiveness of the industry. As a result of the economic downturn in recent years, many companies went under namely Budget and the Vanguard Group because their business infrastructure succumbed to the untenability of the competitive environment. Today, very few firms including Enterprise, Hertz and Avis return a slightly above-average revenue compared to the rest of the industry. Realistically speaking, the car rental sector is not a very attractive industry because of the level of competition, the barriers to entry and the competitive pressure from the substitute firms.

Strategic Group Mapping

As a moderately concentrated sector, there is a clear hierarchy in the car rental industry. From an economic standpoint, disparities exist from a number of dimensions including revenue, fleet size and the market size each firm holds in the market place. For instance, Enterprise dominates the industry with a fleet size of approximately 600,000 vehicles along with its market size and its level of profitability. Hertz comes in second position with its number of market shares and fleet volume. In addition, Avis ranks third on the map. Avis is among one of the companies that is having issues recovering its revenue margins from prior to the economic downturn. For instance, in 2000 Avis returned revenues of approximately $4.23 billion. Over the course of the next several years following 2000, the revenue of Avis has been significantly lower than that of 2000. As a way of reducing uncertainty most companies are gradually lessening the level of dependency on the airline industry and emerging the leisure market. This trend may not be in the best interest of Hertz since its business strategy is intricately linked to the airports.

Key Success Factors

There are many key success factors that drive profitability throughout the car rental industry. Capacity utilization is one of the factors that determines success in the industry. Because rental firms experience loss of revenue when there are either too few or too many cars sitting in their lots, it is of paramount importance to efficiently manage the fleets. This success factor represents a big strength for the industry since it lowers if not completely eliminates the possibly of running short on rental cars. Efficient distribution is another factor that keeps the industry profitable. Despite the positive relationship between fleet sizes and the level of profitability, firms are constantly growing their fleet sizes because of the competitive forces that surround the industry. In addition, convenience is one of the crucial attributes by which consumers select rental firms. That is, car rental consumers are more prone to renting cars from firms that have convenient rental and drop off locations. Another key success factor that is common among competing firms is the integration of technology in their business processes. Through technology, for instance, the car rental companies create ways to meet consumer demand by making renting a car a very agreeable ordeal by adding the convenience of online rental among other alternatives. Furthermore, firms have integrated navigation systems along with roadside assistance to offer customers the piece of mind when renting cars.

Industry Attractiveness

There are many factors that impact the attractiveness of the car rental industry. Because the industry is moderately concentrated, it puts new market entrants at a disadvantage. That is, its low concentration represents a natural barrier to entering the industry as it allows existing firm to anticipate sharp retaliations against new entrants. Because of the risks associated with entering the industry among other factors, it is not a very attractive sector of the marketplace. From a competitive standpoint, the leisure market is 90 percent saturated because of the active efforts of Enterprise to dominate this sector of the market. On the other hand, the airport terminals are heavily guarded by Hertz. Realistically speaking, entry in the industry offers low profitability relative to the costs and risks associated. For most consumers, the main determining factors of choosing one company over another are price and convenience. Because of this reason, rental firms are very circumspect about setting their rates and that generally force even the industry major players in the position of offering more to the consumers for less just to remain competitive. Hertz, for example, offers wireless internet to its customers just to add more convenience to their travel plans. Avis on the other hand, offers free weekend specials if a customer rents a car for five consecutive weekdays. Based on the impact of the five forces, the car rental sector is not a very attractive industry to potential new market entrants.

Conclusion

The rental car industry is in a state of recovery. Although it may seem like the industry is performing well financially, it is nonetheless gradually regaining its footing relative to its actual economic position within the last five years. As a way of insuring profitability, besides seeking market shares and stability, most companies throughout the chain have a common goal that deals with lowering the level of dependency on the airline industry and moving toward the leisure segment. This state of motion has engendered some fierce competition among industry competitors as they attempt to defend their market shares. From a futuristic perspective, the better days of the car rental industry have yet to come. As the level of profitability increases, I believe that most of the industry leaders including Enterprise, Hertz and Avis will be bounded by the economic and competitive barriers of mobility of their strategic groups and new comers will have a better chance of infiltrating and realizing success in the car rental industry.

Sources

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“Car & Truck Rental.” Hoover’s AB&D Company. Jan. 2005 . Hoovers. 04 Feb 2005. http://premium.hoovers.com.ucfproxy.fcla.edu/subscribe/ind/factsheet.xhtm. “

Rental car foes war on each other’s turf.” The Associate Press. Fall 2004. The Enquirer. 08 March 2005. http://www.enquirer.com/editions/2004/10/11/biz_rentalcars111.html.

“United States – Car Rental.” Data Monitor Industry Market Research. Nov. 2004. Gale. 12 March 2005. http://search.rdsinc.com.ucfproxy.fcla.edu/sessions?products=BNI.

“A synthesis of tactical fleet planning models for the car rental industry.” IIE Transactions. Sept. 2003. Gale. 12 March 2005. [http://www.fleet-central.com/arn/01stat3.cfm].

“Corporate travel plans moving to Web.” Crain’s Chicago Business. Apr. 2001. ProQuest. 12 March 2005. http://www.proquest.com.ucfproxy.fcla.edu.

“Tracy Esch.” “Car rental market leaders make rebound .” Business Travel News. May 2002. Gale. 12 March 2005. http://search.rdsinc.com.ucfproxy.fcla.edu.

“Avis Equips Rental Car with Satcomms 1999.” Newsbytes News Network. Oct. 1999. Gale. 12 March 2005. http://search.rdsinc.com.ucfproxy.fcla.edu.

“Car Rental In the United States.” Data Monitor Industry Market Research. Nov. 2004 . Gale. 13 March 2005. http://search.rdsinc.com.ucfproxy.fcla.edu.

“Global – Car Rental.” Data Monitor Industry Market Research. Nov. 2004 . Gale. 13 March 2005. http://search.rdsinc.com.ucfproxy.fcla.edu.

“Corporate and Travel Trends.” Travel Trade Gazette. Nov. 2003 . ProQuest. 14 March 2005. http://www.proquest.com.ucfproxy.fcla.edu.

“Car rental market leaders make rebound.” Business Travel News. May. 2002 . Gale. 14 March 2005. http://search.rdsinc.com.ucfproxy.fcla.edu.

“Car rental market leaders make rebound.” Business Travel News. May. 2002 . Gale. 14 March 2005. http://search.rdsinc.com.ucfproxy.fcla.edu.

“Ovation Travel.” Wall Street Transcript. May. 2002 . LexisNexis. 14 March 2004. http://www.lexisnexis.com.ucfproxy.fcla.edu/cis.

“Avis Offers New Deal for Free Weekends.” Newswire. Feb. 2004 . LexisNexis. 15 March 2004. http://www.lexisnexis.com.ucfproxy.fcla.edu/cis.

Rodrigue Monestime has authored several articles. He holds a BS in Business Administration with high concentration in Management Information System (MIS). He is the founder of BizVita.com [http://www.bizvita.com], a site designed for busy professionals with an all-in-one approach to the daily facts of the global business environment.

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Avoid the Top Five Resume Mistakes

Author: admin - Categories: Uncategorized

Over the years as a recruiter and resume coach, I’ve seen the consequences of poorly written resumes. Unfortunately, most people don’t seek professional career help until they experience the frustration of a long and fruitless job search. It’s surprising how many of their problems can be traced to the top five resume mistakes.

#1 No resume focus.

The most effective resumes leave no doubt as to the job seeker’s career objective. A one-size-fits-all resume gives the impression that the job seeker is uncertain of his career goal. An employer once told me that if a candidate is interested in two completely different positions, he must not be very good at either. If you have more than one career objective, you need more than one resume.

#2 Lack of marketing strategy.

Job seekers rarely see their search for what it is-a sales campaign. Think of your resume as marketing material designed to create a powerful first impression and win a multitude of job interviews. A resume coach can help you translate your career history into an effective marketing piece by selling toward the reader’s buying motives: solving problems, saving money, or increasing profits.

#3 No accomplishment statements.

95% of all resumes lack accomplishment statements. These statements allow employers to visualize your contribution to their company. A resume coach can help you move from a job description type resume to a resume with quantifiable statements that motivate employers to call you before their competition does. These statements can dollarize your worth and increase your bargaining power.

#4 Lack of resume keywords.

These days, resumes are screened by both humans and computers. A resume lacking in keywords runs the risk of being read by neither. An average screening of a resume is 15 seconds or less, so more attention is paid to resumes using the same words found in the job description. Candidate-tracking software retrieves resumes by keywords. A keyword-focused resume will put you front and center.

#5 Incorrect resume format.

Basically, there are three resume formats: chronological, functional and hybrid.

Chronological: The chronological is best known and easiest to write, a timeline style resume. This format works well if your objective is to remain in the same industry or occupation.

Functional: The functional resume places transferable skills and accomplishments at the beginning of your resume. However, a poorly crafted functional resume can be confusing, causing the reader to believe the candidate has something to hide.

Hybrid: The hybrid resume combines the best features of other resumes. It showcases skills and accomplishments while maintaining ease of reading. This is the best format for job seekers of all level, but it is also the most difficult to write, requiring thoughtful planning to identify the most critical transferable skills that will attract potential employer attention.

Once your resume is designed to avoid the top five resume mistakes, you will be well on your way to winning interviews and reaching your career objective. How much is you old resume costing you in lost opportunities?

Deborah Walker, Resume Coach, has spent years studying the art of fine resume crafting. Her career-long focus on all phases of the employment process provides a solid base of knowledge for resume advice and coaching. Learn more about resume coaching at http://www.AlphaAdvantage.com

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February 2, 2012

7 Tips for Successful Blogging

Author: admin - Categories: Uncategorized

So, you have a blog! Do you have traffic? Do you know how to build traffic to your weblog? There are seven proven methods for building readership of your blog. They start with defining the purpose, or life, of your blog. Then, after you have a blog worth promoting, driving traffic is crucial to your ongoing success at blogging.

Here are seven tips to help you build and hold an audience for your blog:

Tip #1: Provide quality content.

On the Internet, whether you are talking about websites or blogs, a lot of space is given to content. Everyone directs you to provide quality content. But, what is quality content? The quality of your blog’s content is directly related to how well you have defined your ideal audience.

A successful blog is written with a distinct audience in mind. In this way, you can provide content that is unique to your audience’s issues, needs, or desires. If you create content they like and wish to return to read, you have quality content.

The second issue is to stay true to your audience and tone of your blog. If people are reading your blog, it’s because they like your topic and tone. Try not to stray from your typical topics and style too much. This will give your readers a reason to link back to your blog on an ongoing basis, as will posting on a regular basis.

Tip #2: Blog regularly

If you don’t update your blog often enough, blog readers will move on to other blogs. There are too many blogs out there competing for attention. Blog readers will go where they can get enough of what they want.

Successful blogging takes a commitment of your time. When you begin blogging and wish to capture an audience, you should be prepared to blog every day. In this way, you can develop an audience who counts on you to help them begin or end their day.

This means you should also try to post at the same time each day. Your readers will get accustomed to your schedule and check your blog at the appropriate time. The time of day is not as crucial as the consistency in your posting.

Since you now have quality content and a regular posting schedule, it’s time to drive traffic to your blog. Your readers will do a lot to promote your blog just by telling their friends. Don’t count on this alone! You need to do some additional work.

When you post, make sure you set your blog to “ping” blog tracking sites every time you add a new post. Think of this as a means to get their attention. The ping says “Hey, we just added a new post”. An alternative to automatically pinging from your blog is to use pingomatic.com. This is a one-stop place to automatically ping everyone you should notify of your new post and only takes a couple of minutes to accomplish.

Tip #3: Mention your blog wherever you can

Mention your blog’s address in your email signature line, in forums where you post, on your business cards, on address labels and in conversations with anyone you meet. Use a tag line under your blog address to further entice them to visit. Mine reads:

Michele Schermerhorn

http://www.imarketblog.com

A sassy little marketing blog

Beyond just mentioning your blog in writing and conversation, you must actively participate in the blogging community too.

Tip #4: Participate in the blogosphere

Get involved in other people’s blogs. Visit blogs that interest you and are in line with the general topic of your blog. Then, leave thoughtful comments. Almost every comment option on someone else’s blog will allow you to post your blog URL and your email address. Help other bloggers out with traffic and they will help you.

If a blogger really likes your site, they will add you to their blogroll. A blogroll is generally found on every blog which understands linking to the rest of the blogosphere helps drive traffic. A blogroll is a listing of other blogs. Think of it as a “recommended reading list”. Don’t be stingy with your blog roll either. Add those blogs that you read and enjoy to your blogroll too.

Tip #5: Think keywords when you post

Think about keywords with your use of titles, links and blog posts. Search engines, like Google and Yahoo, like keywords. The more targeted your keywords, the better the chances of your blog appearing in search results. Search results can drive that extra traffic you want.

To increase the value of the key words in your content, make certain keywords are part of the hot link in your posts. Don’t use “click here” as the hot link. You will be wasting valuable real estate in your post. Instead use the relevant keywords for the hot link, like “a great marketing idea. This gives the keywords added emphasis with the search engines.

One last thought on keywords for driving traffic; if you want a real leg up in the traffic game, in your linking code add rel=”tag”. This helps Technorati, a major blog resource, index your blog for their directory. But don’t stop there! It’s time to submit your blog to blog directories.

Tip #6: Submit your blog to blog directories

In addition to submitting your blog to the major search engines, make certain you submit the blog to exclusively blog directories like blogwise, blogcatalog, or bloghub. Many people find blogs through these online directories.

When you do submit your blog to these directories, remember to add a description that will entice your targeted audience to check your blog out. For instance, when I post my blog in blog directories, under description I put “General musings, rants, advice and strategies from a battle-worn veteran of the Marketing Wars, online and off”. Your description should help the potential reader understand your blogging topic and the flavor of how you write.

In addition to submitting your blog to blog directories, join a few of the free or inexpensive traffic exchange sites like blogexplosion or blogclicker.

Tip #7: Use free and inexpensive blog traffic exchange communities

There are many sites which can be termed “traffic exchange” sites for the blogging community. It won’t cost you anything to sign up. At the very least, join blogexplosion, blogclicker, and blogazoo. Once you sign up, you have two options to help drive traffic to your blog. Use both of them!

The first method is to earn credits (guaranteed visitors to your site) by using the “surf member sites” function. As you surf through those sites, you will be earning credits (visitors to your blog). When you find an interesting post, leave a comment as discussed above. When you find a blogger you like, add them to your blogroll and let them know you did.

The second method to drive traffic is to purchase credits. The cost is very cheap for the traffic you will drive to your blog. The more traffic to your blog, the more customers you’ll have. The more happy customers you have, the more they will tell others. The more they tell others, the more customers you get. Don’t you love this dance!

In summary, blogging may not be for everyone. However, it can be a great method for bringing your unique perspective to the Internet. You will surely find others who think the same way you do. Some bloggers will entertain you, some will inform you, and some will drive you to tear your hair out. Decide what type of blogger you want to be and be the best you can. See you in the blogosphere!

Michele Schermerhorn calls herself a “Corporate Freedom Fighter” dedicated to freeing cubicle prisoners to experience their own successful online business. She has over 30 years experience in the business world and over 12 years running her own successful online businesses. She is President of Online Business Institute Inc. (http://www.obinstitute.com), authors a sassy marketing blog (http://www.imarketblog.com), and regularly conducts free online seminars. Online Business Institute Inc. exists to “Create Successful Online Business Owners One Person At A Time”.

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