Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Rusty Oil & Gas Pipelines Could Drive Molybdenum Price Higher, Part One

As long as air conditioners keep us cool in the summer and central heating warms us in the winter, all is well in the world. In order to keep this gas and electricity continuously flowing into our homes, molybdenum has emerged as an essential metal to help preserve challenging energy transportation network. The anti-corrosive qualities found in molybdenum could also help prevent the collapse of the U.S. energy infrastructure.

Tucked beneath our streets, farms, deserts and forests lays a multi-million mile network of mostly aging pipelines supplying our energy needs. Meanwhile, hydrogen sulphide, carbon dioxide and common oxygen corrode the energy transportation system we rely upon to fuel our cars and power our computers. Corrosion annually costs the U.S. economy about $276 billion, more than three percent of the GDP, according to Technology Today (Spring 2005).

Unacceptably high percentages of two key energy-providing vehicles, such as nuclear power plants and the U.S. pipeline network, have begun aging beyond their original design life. About half of the nations 2.4 million miles of oil and gas pipelines were built in the 1950s and 1960s. And the composition of the liquids flowing through those pipelines has deteriorated over the past half century.

According the U.S. Department of Transportations Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) website, Corrosion is one of the most prevalent causes of pipeline spills or failures. For the period 2002 through 2003, incidents attributable to corrosion have represented 25 percent of the incidents reported to the Office of Pipeline Safety for both Natural Gas Transmission Pipelines and Hazardous Liquid Transmission Pipelines. Industry sources note corrosion is also a leading cause of pipeline leaks and ruptures.

Corroded Prudhoe Bay Pipeline Rupture

Corrosion makes each of us vulnerable to price shocks. On August 7th, public awareness about the impact of corroded pipelines in the energy infrastructure registered when prices shot up at the gasoline pump. BP shut down about eight percent of U.S. oil production. The international oil company cited unexpectedly severe corrosion in its Alaska oil pipelines. This was the first shutdown ever in Americas biggest oil fields. According to BP, sixteen anomalies were discovered in twelve separate locations on the eastern side of the oil field. Earlier in the year, a pipeline spill was reported from the western side of the field.

Immediately following the corroded pipeline rupture, the industry introduced legislation, hoping to prevent a recurrence. Signed into law in December, the Pipeline, Inspection, Protection and Enforcement and Safety Act, affected low-stress crude oil pipelines, and included provisions for the improved controls and detection of pipeline corrosion. During Senate committee hearings, trade representatives pointed to the Department of Transportations Integrity Management program, implemented in 2001 and which was reported to have demonstrated a reduction of leaks and releases resulting from corrosion from high-stress inter-state gas pipelines in high consequence areas.

Official statistics published by the PHMSA Office of Pipeline Safety disagree. In the twenty-year period of 1986 to 2006, 2883 incidents resulting in 1467 injuries, 349 fatalities and nearly $860 million of property damage were reported by distribution operators at U.S. natural gas pipelines. In the five-year period ending in 2006, 25 percent of the incidents, about 20 percent of the fatalities, nearly 19 percent of the injuries and more than 69 percent of the property damage occurred compared to the previous fifteen years, before legislation was enacted. Similar percentages were reported by natural gas transmission operators.

Faced with aging, out-dated infrastructure, the pipeline industry aimed legislation toward the lowest-cost solution detection of corrosion and piecemeal pipeline replacement rather than addressing the separate issues which led to the problem.

Older Pipeline Steels Vulnerable to Corrosion

During its massive build up phase, U.S. pipeline infrastructure relied upon carbon and low-alloy steels for natural gas and petroleum transportation. As oil fields have aged, the risk of pipeline corrosion and pitting has increased. The Prudhoe Bay oilfield now produces more water than oil. This is a common occurrence in numerous U.S. oil fields and around the globe.

In the absence of water, hydrogen sulphide is non-corrosive to pipelines. However, increased moisture in pipelines is problematic, because it activates the corrosive capabilities of hydrogen sulphide. A combination of tensile stress, susceptibility of low-alloy steels and chemical corrosion will lead to sulfide stress cracking. Hydrogen ions weaken the steel. Over time, pressure causes the embrittled steel in the pipeline to rupture.

Similar problems have emerged in the natural gas sector. As deeper wells are drilled in hot, high-pressure gas deposits, the probability of hydrogen sulphide in gas can increase. An entire industry has sprung up around decontaminating sour gas. U.S. sulfur production from gas processing plants accounts for about 15 percent of the total U.S. production of sulfur.

Sour gas is a naturally occurring gas containing more than one per cent hydrogen sulphide (H2S) and sometimes above 25 percent. It is typically identifiable by a strong rotten eggs smell. Commonly found in the foothills of western Canadas Rocky Mountain region, sour gas comprises more than one-third of the gas produced in Alberta. It is sweetened at more than 200 plants in this province to bring the gas up to pipeline quality.

The one-to-two percent of the H2S remaining in the gas is considered pipeline quality. But the interaction of the hydrogen sulphide with water can accelerate the pipeline corrosion process. Potentially, the combination of the old gas pipeline material and the rise of sour gas could pose the greatest risk to gas pipeline safety. Molybdenum is crucial in defending against hydrogen sulfide environments as reported in a metallurgical journal study and published by the Defense Technical Information Center.

High Strength Low Alloy Steels

Long running cracks, some stretching more than six miles, first began fracturing gas pipelines in the 1960s. The industrys solution was the development of, and encouragement to use, High Strength Low Alloy (HSLA) steels. Older pipelines, built in the 1920s (or earlier), of 500mm or less, could only handle an operating pressure of about 20 bar. Annual capacity of gas transportation long those pipelines stood at about 650 million or less. Because of todays high energy content of compressed gas at 80 to 100 bar and an annual transportation capacity of 26,000 million or more, pipelines require modern HSLA steel to prevent them brittle fracture behavior or ductile cracks.

HSLA steels capable of building large diameter pipes came about from the introduction of the thermomechanical rolling process in the 1970s, which maximized grain refinement. By increasing the strength of the steels, one could sustain the high operating pressure and reduce the wall thickness of the pipe. Steel manufacturers could use less steel, reduce the pipe weight and double the yield strength. Transportation costs from plate and pipe mills to construction sites were also reduced. Delivering a lighter-weight pipe to remote or arctic areas became more economical.

Steel is vulnerable to acids and is generally stable with pH values above 7. Acidity-causing corrosion comes about when magnesium and calcium are hydrolytically converted to form hydrochloric acid. Hydrogen sulphide and carbon dioxide are also acid-forming gases corroding steel. Molybdenums corrosive-resistant properties served beyond its original scope in manufacturing modern steel.

Initially, molybdenum was included to harden steel and increase weldability, while reducing the carbon content previously utilized. Higher toughness, but lower tensile strength, was required. By adding molybdenum in the range of 0.15 to 0.30 percent, depending upon the pipe walls thickness, carbon content in the steel could be reduced to 0.07 percent. The metal has played a key factor in oil and gas development projects as pipes continue being used in arctic, sour and sub-sea environments. Apparently, the more rugged the climate, the better the more recent gas projects have panned out. One example would be the Sakhalin oil and gas project in Russias Far East, where on- and off-shore pipelines in excess of 1,000 miles would transport some of the worlds largest natural gas reserves.

Steels for natural gas pipelines require higher standards than those used for oil. These pipelines must carry compressed gas at minus 25 degrees centigrade to minus 4 degrees centigrade. Crack growth and brittleness intensify in the severe arctic environment. Achieving low-temperature notch toughness, grain size control, and low sulfur content were some of the problems solved while developing this modern steel.

Since the 1970s, more than two million tons of molybdenum-containing HSLA steels for pipelines were manufactured. We checked with the worlds largest pipeline manufacturer Tenaris (NYSE: TS), which offers steel with high resistance to Sulphide Stress Corrosion Cracking (SSCC), to confirm continued interest in molybdenum. In a phone call to the companys Houston office, we discovered the company had purchased $65 million of ferromolybdenum in the six-month period ending January 31, 2007 for use in its new pipeline steels. As an aside, the company representative, having checked with companys central purchasing sister company in Argentina, pointed to the rising cost of ferromolybdenum and anticipated paying $80 kg in the coming year. (This could help explain why the moly price has remained high through 2006 and could rise higher in 2007.)

Pipeline Projects on the Horizon Confirm Moly Demand

We talked with Rita Tubbs, managing editor of Pipeline and Gas Journal (P&GJ), about molybdenum content to be used in the construction of gas pipelines outside of the United States. Most will adhere to the standards used in North America, she told us. According to Adanac Molybdenum Corp consultant, Ken Reser, the new standard has grown to 0.5 percent moly content.

In a December 2006 worldwide pipeline construction survey, compiled by Rita Tubbs, she observed 81,593 miles of new and planned oil and gas pipelines under construction and planned. She pointed out North American pipeline construction plans nearly doubled to 28,314 miles. In these figures, Tubbs spotlighted Canadian activity, which is expected to increase overall North American pipeline construction mileage. She wrote, By 2008, contractors expect to see a workload that has not been seen in Canada for nearly three decades.

Tubbs explained in her report, Much of the activity will be generated by the massive oil production that will come from the oil sands in northern Alberta which contain the largest deposits of hydrocarbons on earth. Terasen and Enbridge plan to move oil sands by pipeline. Molybdenum is likely to play a vital role in pipelines carrying the material, which is a mixture of sand bitumen and water with high sulphur content.

An unexpected addition to the P&GJ report came on February 26th. Shanghai Daily newspaper reported a boom for Chinas energy pipelines. The worlds most populous country plans to add another 15,000 miles of oil and gas pipelines to its existing infrastructure of 24,000 miles by 2010. In three years, the country hopes to extend its mileage by nearly 63 percent as China races to raise its energy mix for gas to 10 percent.

Perhaps the greatest number of new pipeline growth will occur in the United States the worlds largest energy consumer. By 2025 EIA expects the US will need 47 percent more oil and 54 percent more natural gas. To transport this energy, transmission and distribution line mileage is expect to increase by approximately 30 percent. This implies pipeline projects on the order of some 600,000 miles.

Whether this would include the nearly one million pipeline miles sorely in need of replacement since the introduction of molybdenum in the 1970s to the steel in pipes is not known. However, whether one calculates the number of new pipeline miles potentially constructed or the number of replacement pipeline miles, one arrives at a staggering quantity of molybdenum required to more strongly protect the steel from future corrosion.

Depending upon the diameter of the pipe, wall thickness and environment, each pipeline mile could require between 600 and 1000 pounds of molybdenum. About one-half of the U.S. oil and gas pipeline network could call for replacement. In the United States alone, and solely to upgrade the out-dated portion of Americas pipelines, more than 300 million and as many as one billion pounds of molybdenum could potentially be required. While this should be considered a speculative extrapolation, based upon available data, it may not be that far off the mark. Pipelines aged more than thirty or forty years could very well be replaced before 2020. Chemical changes in the material passing through U.S. pipelines could accelerate pipeline corrosion. Based upon future natural gas incidents, future legislation could hasten the remediation process of Americas energy transportation infrastructure.

By comparison, the number of new pipeline constructions now on the books might require between 50 and 100 million pounds. This could be upwardly revised as the rest of the world, especially Russia and Europe, suffer from the similar aging pipeline problems found in the United States.

COPYRIGHT 2007 by StockInterview, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

James Finch contributes to StockInterview.com and other publications. His focus on the uranium mining and nuclear fuel sector resulted in the widely popular Investing in the Great Uranium Bull Market, which is now available on http://www.stockinterview.com and on http://www.amazon.com

Is Forex Trading By Pushing Buttons Possible

Now that many people around the world is thinking about joining the club of the forex traders, the thought of having an automatic system sending you the right signals to enter or exit the market are, Im sure, pervasive in many of those joining the ranks of aspiring traders.

In principle the concept of trading the forex by pushing buttons and having precise entry and exit signals seems a bit awkward. With a forex market having such a huge volume of transactions during most of the trading week and with the market quotes constantly oscillating it seems next to impossible to have such a simple approach to the trading of currencies.

Contrary to this conception; the other day, as I surfed the web I discovered a curious system called the lazy trading forex software, the title naturally catches your attention but it really catch my attention when I read the statement where the author mentions that he has historically won 76% of the time with his trades. Thats not a perfect record but its a very impressive one for any forex trader world wide.

As I read more information about this system I discovered one more thing that really excited me, as Im sure would excite many savvy webpreneurs with some flight hours on the web, the issue was related to the fact that you can use this software with the famous Betonmarkets site. Just thinking about beating Betonmarktes makes me salivate, again if you have been around for a while and trying to make money from the internet you will know the reason of my excitement. This is the first time I find a piece of software that has the ingredients that will help you to become profitable at this great site; a place that may become a very dangerous site if you dont know what you are doing.

Can you trade the Forex Markets just by pushing buttons? Maybe you can

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How to choose the best brokerage?


Stock market is the platform that can fulfill the desire of an investor to quadruple their invested amount in the shortest span of time. However, to be a successful stock trader, implementation of intelligent strategies in stock market investing is a necessity. The foremost requirement to be a big player in the ring of stock market is opting for a stockbroker that provides facilities and charges brokerage that are appropriate to the desire of a stock trader.

Importance of brokerage in selecting a broker

Selecting the perfect stockbroker requires more than the information gathered from surveys of customer satisfaction, guides for broker ratings or other fellow stock trader, who is experienced in stock market investing. The most important requirement for a stock trader from a stock market firm or a stockbroker is the best brokerage that satisfies their needs. Paying excessive brokerage for getting better customer satisfaction (that millionaire choose) is of no use when the brokerage cost leaves you with a very low profit percentage. A minor investor has a very small profit margin in different stocks compared to millionaires. If they opt for a high brokerage stock broker, the small profit will be converted into a loss. I am sure no small stock trader wants that! Simultaneously, there might be firms charging little brokerage but leaving you with advices that can guide you to a journey of no return. Therefore, we see that cheap brokerage is not the solution too when it come to having the best brokerage.

It is very important to create some queries in the mind on the subject before launching the search for the best brokerage that you are comfortable with.

What is the amount that you have to have for investments?

It is a common thought that to get most options open to you, the investment amount should be set up accordingly. It is seen today that most stockbrokers of discount firms are following the trend of the market and charging amounts to prevent any loss.

What is the mode of investment that you are looking for?

Whatever might be the charge for the brokerage, traded stocks that are common to most stock traders is accessible. However, it is not necessary to access the stocks that have thin trades or any mutual funds. Investors, who have an eagerness for a hot IPO, need the services of a regular broker.

What is the volume and regularity of your trading?

Many stockbrokers link brokerage fees on the frequency of the trading done by the investor. If you have a high frequency in stock market investing, you can opt for any stockbroker.

What is the amount of help that you require?

Discount brokers provide useful advice to their clients. However, stock trader who requires the best result from their investments should opt for a full-service stockbroker.

Investor categorization

After analyzing your own requirement and understanding your position in this field, you should try to place yourself in the following type of investors and decide what are the broker and the brokerage that is suitable for your position.

Minor Investors: These investors are new in the field and have an investment amount less than $6000. They opt for the best results from the amount that they have with them. It is advisable to opt for a stockbroker that charges less commission and simultaneously giving adequate advice for stock market investing.

Investors who love to buy-and-hold: These investors have a busier schedule and fail to invest time in hassling with the investments regularly. The portfolios, which such investors have, comprises of stocks having lesser fluctuation in the day. Mutual funds or stocks with the least fluctuation are your option.

Active stock trader:Traders in this criterion live in stock market investing and look forward to squeeze maximum profits from the transactions that they make. A full service stockbroker is option for you as they are ready to give investors like you better rates for your transactions.

Big Wheelers: Investors with huge investing amount. It is a strict advice that you should go for a full-service stock broker to prevent yourself from any major loss.

It is easy to decide what the best brokerage is for you once you know your position in this category of stock traders.

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The Beginner's Mail Order Business Guide

No claim is made that the steps outlined would be successful for someone else. Each individual should obtain whatever professional advice may be
necessary for his particular operation.


The following is designed to provide a check list for new entrants into the mail order field. Each mail order business is different, but there are common elements that apply to most mail order businesses, as well as some specific characteristics that may vary from business to business. The following suggestions were developed to assist you in avoiding costly mistakes. Apply the various points as they relate to your specific business.


* Select a short, easily remembered name.
* Unless you are using your own name, it is required in most jurisdictions that a trade name is either registered with the county or the state.
* Before you spend money for printing material, make sure that the name you choose is not already registered to another company. You can usually conduct a name search with an office of the appropriate jurisdiction by telephone.
* You may consider using a name that describes your product.


* Most newly established mail order businesses will operate out of their home until the volume of the business requires larger space.
* Most mail order businesses prefer not to use their home address as their company address. If you do, you will advertise your home address in regional and national publications. You have two other choices, a Post Office Box(POB) or a postal box located in a commercial enterprise which rents out mail boxes.
* A POB is generally the least expensive, both to rent and for advertising purposes. (See below) Some mail order operators claim that it reduces business because people do not trust a POB address. Yet there are just as many mail order operators who disprove this notion. The decision is yours.
* If you rent a mail box in a commercial enterprise, your box number usually becomes a suite number in the address.
* Almost all publications will charge you a full word charge for each component of your address, except the Zip Code and State which is counted as one word, Example:
Information Books, 300 Main Street, Suite 611, Centerville,
Md 20910 Or:
Information Books, Box 1000, Centerville, Md 20910.

* The first address is counted as 9 words, the second one as 6 words. Since advertising costs anywhere from 50 cents to $10.00 per word (classified advertising) you could save a substantial amount of money at the end of the year if you use a post office box.


* Some mail order companies do not show their phone numbers on their stationery, others do. It gives the customer some comfort to see a telephone number, although he may never use it.
* You can show your residence phone number in the appropriate printed material, or you can obtain a business listing for your home.
* The residence phone is fine, for starters, if it is answered in a professional manner at all times.
* If you plan to sell higher priced ticket items, however,
(over $15.00) a business listing would be advantageous since a prospective customer may pick up the phone and check with the information operator whether "Company X" is listed.


* Be conservative and frugal in your acquisition of items that you feel are needed. It's always wise to start small, and as inexpensively as possible, and as you build profits, you can
buy more and better items.
* The basics are a good quality computer, Business stationery, business envelopes (#10's), and return envelopes, either #6 or #9 is fine. All items should have your business name and address
imprinted on them.
* You will also need some mailing labels and some miscellaneous office supplies.


* If possible, choose a product or products that people need
on an ongoing basis.
* Be sure the product is of acceptable quality. Know the
product before you sell it.
* If feasible, choose an item that is not widely available
from retailers.
* Develop a line of merchandise. It is rarely possible to make money with just one or two items. The availability of a line of related products is paramount to mail order success.
* The more specialized your products are, the easier your marketing becomes.
* If you are selling books, for example, it would be impossible, except for a very large company, to sell all types of books. You may decide to specialize in books pertaining to sports, and may want to go even further by zeroing in on football or baseball.


* Your suppliers should provide you with reliable, quality,
and reasonable pricing.
* Since you probably should provide some type of a money back
guarantee (30 days is standard) you should expect the same guarantee from your suppliers.
* When buying from out of town suppliers, be sure to include the shipping charge in comparing prices to local suppliers.


* Under a drop-ship agreement which is available from many suppliers for a variety of products, the supplier ships your customers' orders directly under your shipping label.
(Suggested reading: "American-Drop-Shippers Directory".)
* It is customary that the supplier guarantees not to include any of his promotional materials with the shipment; or to use your customer's name for any future mailings.
* Drop-shipping arrangements are suitable for people just getting started. It allows you not to have to carry a costly inventory.
* As your business increases and you develop a sense of what sells well, you can stock limited supplies of certain fast selling items, and continue utilizing drop-shipments for slower products. Eventually, as your business flourishes, you can carry an inventory of everything you sell.
* Handling your own shipments is advantageous for the following reasons: It cuts down on your shipping expenses, it decreases the shipping time, and it allows you to include promotional material directly with the shipment.
* When you do utilize drop-shipments, be sure to send your customer a note that his order is being processed and he can expect it by, or around a certain date.
* It is unnecessary to make your customer aware of the fact that the item is being drop-shipped. Include some promotional material with your letter or note.


* Buy at a price that allows you an adequate mark-up. In setting your prices, allow for all costs:
* Cost of product, shipping cost and postage, bank charges including credit card charges, wrapping, bad debts, rejects, refunds, etc. In addition, the other normal overhead costs need to be considered,. Lastly, there is the substantial marketing cost for advertising, and for printing of
promotional items. (See following paragraphs)
* Your prices of course, have to be fair and in line with your competition.
* It is not necessary that you make a big profit on each and every item. the real profit in mail order comes from follow-up orders.
ADVERTISING, PRINTING COST, AND POSTAGE. Over 80% of your total expenses are in this area. Watch these expenses very carefully.


* Start with classified ads. As you test them and know what
is successful, you can switch to display ads.
* To test an offering and a specific ad, run it once in a specific publication and you should get a reading that could be very positive or very negative. It might also be inconclusive. If that is the case, simply run it again.
* It is best to test an ad by running it in different publications.
* Advertise in publications that advertise similar products.
* If you have a sure seller, buy larger space.
* Special interest products should be advertised in special interest publications.
* Keep on changing the ad and offering until you are satisfied
it is right.
* Examples of changes you can make are: size of ad, copy,appeal, special gimmicks such as discounts, free gifts or reports, etc.
* Remember that a given ad can be 20 or 30 times more successful than another ad advertising the same product. It pays, therefore, to continue testing until it is just right.
* Repeat a successful ad until you no longer get a satisfactory return.
* The conventional advertising cost is 15% of sales or more in
mail order.
* To evaluate your advertising cost, think in terms of cost per inquiry. This is calculated by dividing the number of inquiries into the cost of the ad. that cost may vary from about $$0.80 to $2.00 or more.
* Be careful when you allocate advertising funds to small mail order publications. The ad may appear to be very inexpensive. However, a $15.00 ad that gets no response is a lot more expensive than a $150.00 ad that gets over 100 inquiries.
* Stay away from those publications that have no news or editorial content, and also those that have poor printing quality.
* There are a number of quality mail order publications, but it takes time to find the right publication for your product.


* Write tight copy.
* Write as you speak. You are generally appealing to a mass market.
* Prepare your copy carefully. It must fit your specific medium.
* The emphasis should be on YOU rather than I, the company.
* Be sincere and don't make unreasonable claims, but remember that you are selling.
* Try to convince the reader that you are reliable and
* Give simple specific instruction.
* Key all ads to test their effectiveness.
* Check and double check, and have someone else check your ad to make sure everything is correct and easy to understand.
* Watch where your competitors are advertising.
* Experiment with new publications.
* It is generally considered impossible to sell something that costs more than $2.00 - $3.00 direct from either a classified ad or a small display ad. This is because there just is not enough space to convince someone to part with $10.00 or $20.00, for example. It takes a full page ad to do that.
* If you use an agency, use one that specializes in mail order, even if it is located out of town.


* Each inquiry you receive in response to an ad should be answered via First Class, if at all possible, within 24 hours.
* The contents of the envelope going to the prospective customer should contain: a circular, promotional flier, or mini-brochure, a sales letter, an order form (the order form can be part of the circular), a return envelope, and other appropriate information, such as a fact sheet, a free report, etc.
* In general, circulars should be limited to one 8 1/2 x 11 page.
* A sales letter, on the other hand, can be as long as it takes to say everything you need to say to a prospective customer in order to sell him the product.
* Sales letters should have an attention getting opening. The idea of the opening is to get him to read the rest of the letter.


* Answer inquiries to your advertising immediately and via First Class Mail. Use Bulk Mail for future mailings.
* You can save a great deal of money by getting a Bulk Mail permit. Mail must be sorted by zip code. Get more specific information from your Post

* Keep your mailing lists clean - updated.
* Utilize all of the various mail classes, such as Printed Mail and Book rate.
* Compare costs of shippers other than the Post Office.
* Guarantee return postage.
* Watch your shipping weight. A fraction of an ounce can make a big difference in a large mailing.


* Very large printers will not be interested in your business. Very small ones, quick printers and instant printers although convenient, are generally too expensive. Their equipment is not large enough to be competitive.
* There are many medium sized printers that will give you good pricing and quality printing. Often they have the capability to help you with layout and design.
* Don't hesitate to use out of town printers. If you live in a high cost-of -living area, you can probably save a substantial amount of money. Many of these printers advertise in mail order publications.
* Utilize the promotional material available from your supplier.
* Until you know what sells, print small quantities, even if it is more expensive.
* Use colored paper for your promotional flyers to spice up your offer. Use white paper, blue or black ink for everything else.


* Accept money orders and checks.
* Some mail order companies state in their material that they will not ship for 10 days to 2 weeks when payment is made with an out of town check. This may be an unwise practice because, it can create ill feelings with your customers. NSF checks are rare.
* An increasing number of mail order companies accept credit cards - Visa and MasterCard - for payment. It is generally felt that it does increase sales.
* If you cannot obtain a credit card merchant agreement with your bank work through a credit card clearing house. A number of these companies advertise in mail order publications. Since these companies generally charge between 6-9%, it may be wise to set a minimum amount such as $15.00 for credit card orders.
* Remember, "the customer" is always right. An argument won,is usually a customer lost.
* If you receive an order with an underpayment, ship the order and bill the customer for the difference.
* Make refunds on overpayments quickly.
* Most mail order companies offer a 30 day money back guarantee. Some offer 90 days and even more.
* It is unwise to offer money back guarantees on items priced very inexpensively, for example, a $3.00 report.


* As in any business, it is important to keep records.
* You need records to tell you what is going on in your business; to evaluate both your revenues and your expenses.
* It is also required by law that you keep certain records.
* Keep especially good records of your advertising expenses so you can evaluate your advertising on an ongoing basis.


* It is recommended that you do no direct mailings, except to your own list of customers and inquirers, until you have
thoroughly tested a specific product through advertising.
* Stay away from inexpensive mailing lists, under $40.00 -$50.00 per 1000.
* Avoid mailing lists whose owners make unrealistic claims.
* Work with a list broker who wants to see your product before he will rent you a list. Lists are rented for one time use.
* Lists from professional list brokers rent from $60.00 and
up, per thousand names.
* The general consensus is that you need to mail a minimum of 1000 names to get a fair reading. 5000 names would give you a more accurate test.
* Buyer' names are better than names of inquiries.
* The best mailing list is your own list of buyers. Second best is your own list of inquirers.


* The most important factor in mail order is FOLLOW-UP
Substantial profits can be generated from this segment, if it is properly handled.
* You can generate a lot of sales by including promotional material when filling orders for customers. Other orders are generated from mailings that are made to former customers, as well as individuals who inquired about an offer in the past.
* Send out regular mailings to your customers. At a minimum,
four times per year. However, you can send out mailings as often as every 6 weeks or so, if you have a new product to offer.
* As you build your mailing lists and you send out regular
mailings, your orders will start flowing in.


* Whether you are new to this field or not, to stay on top, you must continue your education by reading books and reports on mail order and subscribing to mail order publications.
* Always be on the lookout for new products you can offer your customers.
* Study the advertising of your competitors. Request their
material and study it.
* Study all mailings you receive.

Continue to learn about mail order by reading, experimenting, and talking with other mail order operators. Have patience. Success will not come overnight. It takes time to build a successful business. Start slowly and expand your business from your profits.

Good Luck!

Copyright 2004 by DeAnna Spencer

DeAnna Spencer is a virtual assistant that helps entrepreneurs run a successful business by providing affordable administrative help. She also publishes a blog for small business owners. Visit this small business resource today.

The Gig Is Up - Getting Those Gigs

Time for your music dreams to come true playing live onstage to masses of screaming fansor at least a room full of people listening in to your creations. Though the ultimate goal is a good-paying gig, an artist or band just starting out may have to take on some freebies. Consider them as experience. Use this list as a start on how to get gigs, a checklist of the basics, and an idea starter.

The Prep:

  • Talent know your style, be solid in your performance abilities before you take on too big a gig
  • All band mates know their responsibilities
  • Calendar create your timeline
  • Internet - online presence, class ads, forums, press, make friends with other bands
  • Networking go to shows of other bands and meet them, create critical allies, rub elbows
  • Press kit with contact info, web address
  • Demo tape/CD with your 3 best songs
  • Rehearsed extensively
  • Decent equipment with backups and spares
  • Reliable transportation for band and ALL equipment
  • Funds who handles your band finances, food, gas, places to stay
  • Booking agency or manager to get bookings when affordable and research thoroughly
  • Sound Technician
  • Playlist well shaped, great flow, more than enough for the time allowed, minimal pause between songs

The Places:

  • Fundraisers, charities, benefits
  • Festivals, fairs, city free concert venues, trade shows
  • Music competitions, songwriting contests
  • Battle of the bands
  • Clubs, bars, pubs karaoke, open mic night
  • Weddings, special occasions, private functions, parties
  • Country clubs, cruise ships
  • Restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, bookstores
  • Schools, churches, colleges
  • House concert
  • Jam sessions
  • Online video
  • Gig trading with other bands of similar style one band opens the show, the other closes

Getting the Gig:

  • Attitude should be how we can help each other
  • Understand what is expected of you dont assume anything, including food and drinks
  • Make sure the venue has a good rep for being fair
  • Be ready if you need to do a live audition during a clubs less busy hours.
  • Venue specifications, space, sound
  • Keep your word, build respect, do what you say you will do
  • Get it in writing, contract
  • You know its up to you to promote your gig, right?

The Promotion:

  • Word of mouth with enthusiasm!
  • Flyers, posters get permission as needed (e.g. parking lots)
  • Street teams, fan clubs
  • Internet marketing Artistopia events, email, ezines, newsletters, class ads, Blogs, concert calendars, mailing list (online/offline)
  • Call ALL your friends, family, co-workers, school mates
  • Press releases to any media available
  • Newspaper, radio, local gig guides
  • Bulletin boards, music stores, record shops
  • Go where your particular style of fan would hang out or work do your market research
  • Swap promo with local stores, restaurants, come up with some cool idea
  • The number of heads through the door is the most important factor for a re-booking

At Work:

  • A gig is a job so the same rules apply: be on time, dont take too many set breaks, be prepared to do your best and be professional at all times. The reputation you create will proceed you.
  • Sound check, balance, volume levels
  • Make sure the audience knows the name of your band
  • A good catchy opening line
  • Be adaptive to your environment have a sense of humor
  • A musician under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a recipe for disaster
  • Merchandise for sale CDs, t-shirts, stickersdoor prizes
  • Have someone take good photos (video) for adding to your photo albums later and schmooze with your fans! Get fan names to add to the photo narrative online.
  • Collect emails, hand out biz cards, promote the next upcoming gig, get references
  • Something will probably go wrong, think through typical disasters and try to be prepared
  • Have a great time because you are doing what you love to do!

The Follow-up:

  • Let everyone know you had a great time and appreciate that they came to see you and thank the venue operators and staff
  • If you have a band following you, be polite and move your equipment as quickly as possible
  • Have your pre-appointed money collector do their job
  • Drop the rock star attitude dont get a big head
  • Respect the people around you and don burn any bridges
  • Learn from every experience
  • Add any upcoming gig or follow-up press release to your Artistopia profile. Show the world what you are about!

Artistopia - The Ultimate Artist Development Resource www.artistopia.com is an artist development and community on the web providing indie and unsigned music artists, songwriters and bands all the tools needed for music business collaboration and networking.

Enrollment Of Beginners In Forex

Foreign exchange market becomes new market for the people who are engaged in the activity of foreign exchange. Generally, large number of people enters the foreign exchange market at their interest and particularly more number of beginners investors finds it difficult to enter the market. Foreign exchange market is a peculiar market, where more innovative things happen daily. When a person enters the forex trading, he is required to understand the various terms, procedures and other strategies required for trading. Forex trading is offered as per the customer requirement and to facilitate the investors, new innovations are been found out. Even online forex trading has been offered to the investors and the investors can also make their foreign exchange through online forex trading.

There are many forex trading companies which online forex trading to their customers. Using more courses and books offered related to forex trading should be used by the beginner investors, so that he can take part in forex trading efficiently and effectively. There are more useful tips, guides are available for the beginner of the foreign exchange and they found to be more useful to the investors. Generally for any forex trading investors, the beginner investor should be more careful and should make it more successful and complicated. Since, forex trading is the long term investment and involves unique steps, more knowledge and experience is required for the investors to be competent.

* The amount fixed for the foreign exchange usually differs and fluctuation can always be found out.

* The investor should be known that foreign exchange market is irregular market and they lay out certain set of procedures. The investor should undergo certain functions in foreign exchange.

* He should be known that foreign exchange market involves lot of risk. Particularly, trading foreign exchange currency comes up with more risky currency trading. So, the beginner investors finds difficult and they are afraid of investing in the foreign exchange currencies.

* More over forex brokers will encourage the forex trading investors and they motivate the beginner investors to come up in competitive prices. The beginner investor should come up the risks that are available in the market and the investor should try to ignore forbidden risk.

The investor should take time to read the new forex trading activities and they should practice each and everything required for forex trading. So, the beginner of foreign exchange market should be very careful and should follow the tips, guides, and steps in estimated manner.

Chris David is a SEO Copywriter of Forex Broker He written many articles in various topics. For more information visit: Online Forex Trading contact him at chrisdavidseo@gmail.com

Learn Global Forex Trading for Amazing Profits

Forex trading has become an extremely popular way to trade the global market. The forex market is the largest and most liquid market in the world.

With technology advancements, individuals can now trade the forex with large amounts of capital, something that was previously impossible.

Global forex trading is going on twenty four hours a day seven days a week and you can trade anywhere, anytime, as long as you have an internet connection and your computer.

Forex trading is the trading of various currencies throughout the world. When you place a forex trade, you are making a "bet" that one currency will increase or decrease in value against another currency.

Some of the basic characteristics of global forex trading include:

The forex market is completely separate from the stock market. Not only that, but there is always a bull market in forex trading. One currency is always falling or rising against another currency.

Forex trading is a global market so you can partake in currency trading 24/7.

Forex trading has a lot of leverage, much more so than margin accounts for stock. While this makes forex trading riskier, it also greatly increases your profit potential.

The Global forex market is the largest in the world. It is estimated that over $1 trillion dollars in trades takes place every day.

It's important that you educate yourself and learn as much as you possibly can before starting to trade the forex. While forex trading is a phenomenal trading opportunity, if you don't know what you are doing you will lose a lot of money.

You need to know your risk level and how much you are willing to lose. You also have to understand the different forex trading systems, such as technical and fundamental and research these trading systems so you are familiar with how they work.

You'll need to learn things such as trading trends, price history, support and resistance lines, etc. You'll also need to be familiar with the various economic factors that can affect the value of one currency against another.

As you can see, there is a learning curve involved when it comes to profiting from global forex trading. But the rewards, in the form of amazing returns on investment, can be well worth it.

Learn more about forex trading tips and tactics for more profitable currency trades at http://www.forextradingtactics.com where Richard Pfaeltzer, an investor and freelance investing and success writer, contributes articles on forex and currency trading

Is Inflation Harmful

Q. Should the Government be concerned if the CPI rises to 5%?

The Govt set the MPC a target for CPI of 2% +/-1 therefore it believes inflation higher than 3% is potentially damaging for the economy.

It depends on inflation in other countries. If inflation in the UK is higher than elsewhere then UK goods will become uncompetitive leading to a fall in demand for UK exports.

If there is a fall in demand for Exports then there may be a deficit on the current account Balance of Payments. However this may be offset by a devaluation that is likely to occur

However if inflation is high there will be a devaluation of the exchange rate, This is something the govt wishes to avoid as it creates uncertainty amongst business.

Higher rates of inflation may cause menu costs, which means firms have to change price lists quite often. However this is not that significant when inflation is only 5%.

If inflation is caused by unsustainable economic growth then the boom may be followed by a recession . To keep inflation within target the Bank of England will have to increase interest rates, this causes problems because AD will fall causing lower growth.

Higher rates of inflation are disliked by business because it makes it more difficult to predict future costs. Therefore investment will be lower, Countries with lower inflation rates generally have poorer economic growth.

A high rate of inflation would make it more difficult to join the EURO, because it would breach the Maastricht criteria. If inflation in the UK was higher than Europe a single Monetary policy would be ineffective for the UK

If the inflation was world wide caused by an increase in the oil price, it may be necessary to revise the inflation target of 2.5% . The UK would not lose its competitive advantage because every country would have higher inflation. TO reduce inflation would cause stagflation (lower growth and lower prices)

Inflation may cause redistribution of income from savers to borrowers, although this will depend upon the rate of interest. E.g. if interest rate were 8% savers would still have a real interest rate of 3% It depends on whether wages are keeping up with inflation. If wages were only increasing by 4% then real wages would be falling.

Should the govt be concerned with inflation falling below 2%?

If prices are falling because AS shifts to the right because of new technology, this is beneficial for the economy, because growth is increasing and jobs being created

If deflation is cause by falling AD then this is serious economic problem because it indicates a recession with problems such as unemployment, lower output and a negative multiplier effect

Deflation can cause problems for the economy. It means that those who have debts will see the real value of debts increase, this will lead to lower consumer confidence and possibly lower AD and economic growth

Deflation makes monetary policy ineffective. This is because interest rates cannot be reduced below 0%.

Companies cannot alter real wages easily because workers are very resistant to any cut in nominal wage wages.

It is more difficult to set prices when there is deflation

By R.Pettinger Economics Teacher in Oxford. More Economics essays at Economics help.org Including macro and micro economic essays.