Real Estate Deposit vs Down Payment

When you’re selling your home, you have to be familiar with related real-estate lingo. You have to know the difference between a canopy and an awning; a mortgage and a loan; and most importantly, the difference between a deposit and a down payment.

Believe it or not, there are a lot of home sellers who think that deposits and down payments are one and the same, when in reality they are not.

A deposit is the money given or handed over to the owner when a buyer indicates a sincere desire to purchase the property being sold. It is a token amount that could be as small as a few hundred dollars, or as big as 5% of the total purchase price. The deposit can be returned when the transaction does not fall through for reasons beyond the control of the buyer, and can also be forfeited in favour of the seller. When the purchase pushes through, the deposit is credited to the buyer and forms part of his down payment.

A down payment or equity, on the other hand, can be considered as an initial payment on the property itself. It is given when the buyer has decided to actually purchase the house (unlike in deposit, where it is given when the buyer indicates a desire to buy the unit). The down payment is the total amount of money a buyer can give as a partial payment and is generally of a bigger value (10% of the total property cost, or more) than regular deposits.

It’s fairly easy to differentiate. Just remember that a deposit is smaller and, once the transaction pushes through, becomes part of the down payment. The total of these two, plus any outstanding balance, should be the agreed upon purchase price of the property.

What Is Digital Marketing? A Guide to Marketing in Today’s Digital World

In the world of business development and branding, going digital is all the buzz. So just what is digital marketing and how can we use it to grow our businesses?

Digital Marketing Defined

Digital marketing is the advertising and promotion of businesses and their brands through digital media channels. Digital media, at the moment, includes websites, social media, radio, television, mobile and even forms of traditionally non-digital media such as billboards and transit signs. Essentially any marketing media that is delivered electronically is considered digital marketing.

This leaves only various forms of person-to-person (P2P) marketing, print advertising and direct marketing outside of the digital marketing umbrella. Even then, print ads, direct mail, print directories, billboards and posters are all starting to connect to their digital counterparts. With items like URL landing pages, QR codes, web banner advertising, online directories and text codes, traditional marketing and advertising almost always has a digital marketing connection.

Why the Focus on Digital Media?

The shift to digital media is being driven by marketing agencies, business owners and consumers alike. The ever-increasing demand to show quantifiable results makes going digital a dream for the digital marketing agency. Most digital media, including websites, social media and mobile advertising is much easier to track than traditional marketing media such as print advertising.

For business owners, many forms of digital advertising are very low cost. Having a web presence, engaging customers in conversations through social media and e-mail marketing are low cost alternatives to print advertising and direct mail. These digital channels are available to businesses of any size, and help to even the playing field for start-ups, small businesses and independent consultants seeking new business.

For consumers, the fast pace of life makes digital advertising a must. When consumers are in need of goods and services, gone are the days of thumbing through a phonebook to find them. Now, we whip out our mobile devices or head to our computers for answers – and we find them fast.

Using Digital Media to Build Your Business and Brand

No matter what size your business is – large or small to medium sized business / enterprise (SMB or SME) – you can effectively market your business through low-cost digital channels. The foundation of your marketing efforts will be your website. Invest wisely in your website, and be sure that it does the following:

  • Adequately represents your business and brand (look and feel, messaging)
  • Adequately speaks to your target audience
  • Can be found by searchers on top search engines
  • Is up-to-date and easily navigable
  • Provides multiple channels for customer communication
  • Connects to other marketing efforts

It is recommended that you work with a professional web design firm that is skilled in web development and search engine optimization. Because your website is the foundation to and from which all other digital channels will lead, it should be considered one of your top business investments.

Once you have your website complete, the next steps would be to launch regular monthly or bi-monthly e-mail campaigns, and connect with customers via social media. If you are truly on a shoestring budget, these are efforts that can be done in-house (by someone with the proper knowledge) or for a low cost by an outside digital marketing agency. Be sure that all of your efforts lead customers back to your website where they can fully engage with your business, products and services, and choose the channels through which they contact you.

If you’re interested in getting aggressive with search marketing, you can set aside some digital marketing dollars for search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising. Many businesses today rely heavily on being found online to gain new customers. A common misconception among business owners is that simply having a website means that customers will find it. Not so. Your site must be built with specific key words and phrases, meta data, page content and linking strategies that will help it reach top search rankings.

Because many key words and phrases have stiff competition for top search rankings, you will need to supplement your organic search engine optimization efforts with pay-per-click advertising. Getting established with pay-per-click advertising campaigns can be a little daunting, but with a little time, effort and instruction, that too can be accomplished in-house, or for a reasonable cost through an outside digital marketing agency.

Beyond e-mail, social media marketing and search engine marketing, you can venture into a host of other digital marketing efforts. Mobile advertising, radio, television, electronic billboards and much more are available as marketing outlets. Whatever digital efforts you choose, they should all connect and tie into your foundation – your company website.

If you have the means, a wise investment would be to engage the services of a digital marketing agency to assist in your marketing efforts. Today, many digital agencies offer multiple levels of service to accommodate businesses large and small.

Characteristics of Leisure

In "Motivational Foundations of Leisure" by Seppo E. Iso-Ahola and "Pathways to Meaning-Making Through Leisure-Like Pursuits in Global Contexts" by Yoshitaka Iwasaki, both authors are grappling with distinguishing leisure from other aspects of human life. To this end, they are trying to describe the basic characteristics that identify something as leisure as opposed to something not being leisure. However, the big problem for both of them is the elusive definition of "what is leisure," since it is difficult to describe its characteristics if it hard to distinguish leisure from what is not leisure. This problem is made even more difficult in modern society, in that there is something of a continuum between leisure and non-leisure, with many activities seeming like a mix of the two.

For example, a part-time entrepreneur who sets up a party-plan business is engaging in an economic activity, but it is also fun for her (usually the entrepreneur is a woman), and she might see organizing sales parties as a side venture To something she considers work. So maybe this business starts out as a leisure activity, but as she makes more and more money, she may spend more and more time putting on parties to build a serious business. Thus, at some point, holding these fun parties may cease to be a leisure activity – but exactly when this occurs can be hard to tell.

This same problem of distinguishing leisure and not-leisure confronts both Iso-Ahola and Iwasaki in trying to discuss the characteristics of leisure, in that many of these characteristics are use to describe leisure can be true of non-leisure activities, commonly considered work. Iwasaki tries to get around this problem by calling things that he characterizes as aspects of leisure as "leisure-like" activities, and by the same token, one might character what people normally call work as "work-like" activities, but this is Really more of a semantic sleight of hand. Calling something "leisure-like" – or "work-like" for that matter – purely provides a nomenclature that is fuzzier to identify a part of human life that is hard to define. In other words, using a fuzzy term to define what is considered an elusive hard-to-define quality simply points up the fuzziness, but it does not help to clarify the basic characteristics of what is leisure as compared to other aspects of human life.

For example, in the "Motivational Foundations of Leisure", Iso-Ahola seeks to find an explanation for what is leisure in the "basic innate (psychological) needs that are the main energizers of human growth and potential." From his perspective, this need which everyone is born with both defines what people consider leisure and direct them to be involved under various conditions to satisfy those needs. Given this driving need for leisure, then, Iso-Ahola suggests that having a sense of freedom or autonomy is "the central defining characteristic of leisure". However, he distinguishes this feeling of freedom from the everyday characterization of leisure as "free time", which people use for describing the time when they are not working, since only some of this time time may truly be free from any obligations so someone can Do exactly what they want to do.

For instance, if someone performs chores during this time period, this time would not be really free, although Iso-Ahola suggests that the more a person thinks of his work as an obligation, the more free that person would feel when he is engaged In nonwork activities, and there before that activity might really be considered leisure.

From this perspective, then, if a person truly enjoys their work and participates in a variety of activities that contribute to success at work, though these activities might otherwise be considered leisure for someone who engages in these activities for reasons that have nothing to do with Their job, these activities may no longer be considered leisure. An example of this is the salesman or CEO for a company that plays golf with other potential customers. On the one hand, golf is normally regarded as a leisure-time recreational activity. But it has become part of the salesman's or CEO's work, even though the salesman or CEO may freely choose to play golf or not, or engage in an alternate form of entertainment with prospective clients, such as taking them to a show or ballgame. If that person plays golf, goes to a show, or is a spectator at a ball game with members of his family and no work buddies are present, that might be more properly characterized as leisure. But in many cases, the salesman / CEO may take the family along on a golfing, show, or ballgame excursion with his work buddies, thenby muddying the conception of leisure. Under the circumstances, using a continuum from non-leisure to leisure activities may be a good way to characterize different types of leisure, rather than trying to make a distinction between what is leisure and what is not-leisure.

In any event, building on this notice that freedom is a basic characteristic of leisure, Iso-Ahola suggests that leisure activity is characterized by behavior that is self-determined, or which may start off as determined, but can become self-determined by the Process of "internalization" Therefore, to the extent that people perform everyday activities because they want to do so, they make them leisure-like. An example might be if I hate gardening (which I really do), but I start doing it because I can not afford to hire a gardener, and ever I start to feel joy in it, which would turn it into a leisure activity. (But since I can hire a gardener, I have no compelling reason to do this, so for now this is definitely not a leisure-time activity for me).

Then, too, according to Iso-Ahola, leisure might be characterized by escaping, which can contribute to internalizing an activity, which makes it even more a form of leisure.

Iso-Ahola brings together all of these ideas into a pyramid in which the greater one's intrinsic motivation and sense of self-determination, the more one is engaging in true leisure outside of the work context. On the bottom is obligatory nonwork activity participation, such as chores one has to perform in the house. On the next level above this, he diagnoses free-time activity participation in TV and exercise, which he feels are usually not true leisure, since people are not really autonomous in participating in either activity. He claims people lack autonomy in watching TV, because they do not really want to do this and it does not make them feel good about themselves (though this opinion of TV is questionable), and in the case of exercise, he claims that They feel they should do this because it's good for them, rather than because they want to. Finally, at the top of the pyramid is full leisure participation, where one feet complete autonomy and freedom, so one gains intrinsic rewards, a feeling of flow, and social interaction with others.

Finally, to briefly cite Iwasaki's approach to characterizing leisure, he seeks to describe leisure as a way of generating certain types of meanings, although the particular meanings may differ for people experiencing different life experiences or coming from different cultures. In Iwasaki's view, citing the World Leisure Association's description of leisure, meaningful leisure provides "opportunities for self-actualization and further contribution to the quality of community life." As such, leisure includes self-determined behavior, showing competence, engaging in social relationships, having an opportunity for self-reflection and self-affirmation, developing one's identity, and overcoming negative experiences in one's life. Iwasaki also goes on to describe the five key factors which are aspects of leisure (which he prefers to call "leisure-like" pursuits: 1) positive emotions and well-being, 2) positive identities, self-esteem, and spirituality; 3) social and cultural connections and harmony, 4) human strengths and resilience, and 5) learning and human development across the lifespan.

Profitable Tips For All Restaurant Owners

What were the last three things you did to increase your restaurant profitability? Below profit protection is constantly on your mind, you will get hurt. Eroding margins, fickle markets, escalating food prices, rising utility rates, outrageous credit card fees, and a host of other factors eat into your margins daily, thereby reducing your ability to pay the bills, let alone yourself.

We recently consulted with a client that has not paid himself for 17 months. He called us out of sheer desperation saying, "I just can not go on working for free." The sorry fact is that there are many restaurateurs working hard for very little income, and we think it should stop.

In my profession as CEO of the leading restaurant consulting firm in the US, people rarely call me when things are going well. The kinds of calls that I receive daily are along the lines of, "Why can not I make any money" or "My food cost is through the roof" and this is the most painful one, "I can not afford to Stay open anymore, what can I do? "

Why do not you invest a few minutes into yourself right now and read over the tips below. In fact, print out a copy and share it with your friends that run an operation as well. Yes, some tips may seem obvious, but are you using every tool at your disposal to solidify and enhance your profits? Your restaurant owes you for risking your neck to get it open, so I'd like to suggest that you start holding it accounting.

1. Do not serve water automatically. Sounds simple, but water service does not increase your profits or sales. Put systems into place where you serve alcoholic beverages, coffee, tea, sodas, milk – anything but free water. Serve it upon request only.

2. Set up the dining experience on the first visit to the table. Tactfully done by the server, profitable items should be promoted, desserts can be suggested, and guests will appreciate a quick, "Run down" of the dining experience. Plus, server competency will be rewarded for taking responsibility for the positive experience that they will have. My wife's favorite server line is, "Want to split a dessert with coffee?" Not only have we just purchased a dessert that may have been too much for one of us, we've also bought 2 coffees. These additional sales make a big difference, and they're easy to execute. Having a hard time selling desserts? Encourage your servers to use this statement and see what happens.

3. Concentrate on improving product delivery systems to eliminate waste. For example, if your servers are throwing away iced tea lemons at the end of each shift, instead of at the end of the day, re-evaluate this system. By valuing everything, you may be surprised what gets thrown away. This includes portion control items such as creamers, crackers, butters, jelly and silverware as well.

4. Understand that guests dine on a budget, and be sensitive to it. Servers that sell beyond the dining budget will experience reduced tip income, and the restaurant will experience reduced visits. Ensuring that your guests come back repeatedly is much more important than increasing their check average for just one visit.

5. Selling a more expensive item does not always equate to increased profitability. Make sure that your servers understand which items are most profitable for the restaurant, and promote those. It makes no sense to promote items that may have minimal profit contribution. Tell your servers what items you want them to sell.

6. Use the best menu. Ensure that your menu is costed out properly; Current with market conditions, and designed to insure that the most profitable items are the ones being promoted. It makes sense to enlist a consultant to do this for you, as the return on investment will be immediate and lasting. This is your # 1 selling tool.

7. Work with your food vendors to insure that you are buying the right items for the menu specifications. Are you overbuying on an item that does not require top grade quality? An example would be the purchase of a # 1 quality baking potato, when a # 2 quality would suffice.

8. Buy key items in bulk. On the topic of food vendors, make certain that you are promoting menu items that you are able to bulk buy on a negotiated cost effective basis – and can sell at a premium. This simple step will quickly aid in bringing meaningful dollars to the bottom line.

9. Offer your guests a complete dining experience. This includes the sale of beverages, appetizers, salads, entrees, desserts, side items (such as a vegetable) and add-on items (such as sour cream or cheese). Make sure that you are not inadvertently missing out on the sale of key parts of the meal. Table tents, menu inserts, promotional signage, sales tracking, and staff pre-shift meetings are all ways that you can ensure that all meal parts are promoted and sold effectively.

10. Bundling meal parts together will increase the quality of your guests dining experience and maximize their dollars spend. Bundling may consist of an appetizer / salad / entrée combo or salad / entrée / dessert combo. Diners will not be surprised by the dollar value, and they can knowingly order within their budget.

11. Do not forget the grapes. Effective promotion of your wine offerings should be systematic and routine. Guests should be fully aware of the pricing and offers, both by the glass and by bottle. Wine service is a skill that every server should have.

12. Get an Operations Analysis. As operators, we frequently get caught up in the heat of the battle, and can not take the time to analyze our operation critically. Engaging a restaurant consultant to look for ways to improve service, enhance income, and reduce waste should result in immediate financial improvement. Do not skimp on this, thinking that you have your bases covered, because the food service industry changes daily. In cold hard terms, your restaurant should be a money making machine to benefit the owner (s). If it's not generating the kind of money you think it should, you must get the machine repaired!

13. Do not overlook slow day parts. If it's quiet in the afternoon, are there promotions that may make sense for you to utilize to generate more revenues during this down time? Do not tolerate your money machine sitting open, but not generating revenues. Put it to work.

14. Children's menus. Most of them are boring, and priced to reflect that. Is it reasonable to think that parents would pay a bit more for more interesting and nutritious meals? This is a good opportunity to re-evaluate your children's menu and pricing. It's dangerous to neglect this important item, as parents usually examine this menu closely.

15. Are you maximizing food sales in your bar / lounge areas? For many, it's more enjoyable to eat in a bar than drink in a restaurant. It makes logical sense to have menus, silverware, condiments and promoted specials available for your drinking guests. If they do not eat on the first visit, you will have planned the seed for them to consider eating in your establishment next time.

Simply remember that it's not what you make, it's what you keep that matters. Hopefully some of these tips will be useful. Still can not seem to make the numbers come out the way you want? It may make sense to enlist the services of an advisor to walk you through the complexities of making money in the restaurant business.