Baby Madness!

At first I thought this was a joke, but apparently not. I bring it to you because it might only be me who thinks this is the most ridiculous, pointless idea of the year.

I’m sure we’ve all heard of instances where parents have left their child in a hot car, and it’s led to tragedy. A company called Studio Whale has developed a small GPS and weight sensing device that fits under a child seat in a car. The device tracks both whether the seat is occupied and the location of the parents smartphones. If the parents move away from the car, an alarm sounds, indicating that they have forgotten their baby and left it in the car!

There are so many things wrong with this idea, I hardly know where to start. Who the heck forgets they have a baby in the back of the car? And if you do, you’re not likely to be the sort of person who would invest in a device like this. The people who leave their baby in the car on a hot day (or any day for that matter) are negligent, not forgetful, and negligent folk don’t spend money on stuff like this.

Maybe I’m missing the point, or maybe they are. I’m not sure which.

Free PR and Marketing

Entrepreneurs have it so much easier in this century than the last one, and that was never more true than in the world of PR…or free publicity and advertising  to you and me. There are so many free tools available now, to help you get your name and product  out to a worldwide  audience, and then monitor the results. Here are some of the free tools  you can use  to promote your business online, and monitor the results:

1.    Open a Facebook  account
2.    Open a Twitter Account
3.    Open a Linkedin account
4.    Sign up to Hootsuite
5.    Sign up to Google alerts
6.    Sign up to Haro and Reporter Connection
7.    Visit Mashable,  Quora and Media Bistro forums
8.    Sign up for Google analytics
9.    Open an Instagram account

You can do all of this is just a couple of hours without spending any money. The fact that you can do all of this so easily and for free would astonish any previous generation, so if you haven’t done it – why not?

Ryanair Bargains

I’m old enough to remember when air tickets were a single price, irrespective of when you booked. More recently, it became the ‘done thing’ to wait until the last minute to grab a bargain. But that’s all changed gain now, and the economics of it became subject of an academic study recently.

Professor Claudio Piga, an economics expert from Keele University, claims the best time to book seats is 10 days before take-off. He looked at fares offered by Ryanair at different times of the year and whether making last-minute bookings meant customers were more likely to get better deals. The study showed Ryanair tends to increase prices by 50 to 75 per cent a few days before a flight. Ten days prior to departure is the optimum time to book in most cases.

March Of The Greys

We’ve talked about this here before, but if you’re serious about making some money in a business, you could do an awful lot worse than pay attention to the needs and wants of the ‘grey’ market. It’s a demographic group which is growing, relatively affluent, and not prepared to accept the sort of products and services which have traditionally been offered to their age group in the past.

I recently read about Marie Kolstad, who became the oldest recipient of breast implants at 83. And she’s far from alone. Over 65’s now account for 10% of the clientele of cosmetic surgery clinics in the US, with over 700,000 procedures a year being performed. Cosmetic surgery is just one of many markets where the older generation are now spending serious money.

Don’t ignore the older generation. You could build an entire business around the ‘grey’ market or develop a version of your product of service which suits their needs and tastes. Either way, they have money to spend, and are happy to do so if they like what you have to offer.

Make-A-Movie Parties

If you have young children, you’ll know that they’re always on the look-out for the next cool party venue or theme. This one that we found in the United States, seems to fit the bill perfectly, and we haven’t seen anything like it here in the UK.

Make-A-Movie- Birthday Parties is a self-explanatory concept. The company arrive at the party with a pre-written script, costumes and camera equipment. Roles are allocated, the film is shot and then edited over the next week or so when it is delivered to the person holding the party. Revenue comes from both the booking fee and sales of the movie to party guests.

This seems like something you could copy anywhere. I’d imagine it would be incredibly popular. Equipment is cheap these days and the editing technology is at the hands of anyone with a PC. If you fancy yourself as the next Speilberg, but lack the budget, this could be something for you.

We Come To You

People are lazy. I know this because I am a person – and lazy! While price and quality are two key reasons why we choose one product or service over another, convenience is important for a lot of us. It explains why home shopping deliveries are becoming increasingly popular, and services like hairdressing, beauty therapy and tutoring have a large number of ‘we-come-to-you’ mobile operators making a good living.  But here’s the question – might there be an opportunity for someone in your market to gain a competitive advantage by visiting customers in their homes? is a website which showcases dozens of different products and services which are available on a home visit basis – many of which you perhaps wouldn’t normally associate with  this sort of delivery. Take a look. It could give you some inspiration.

The Speaking Exchange

Online video has opened up a lot of money making opportunities. Speaking Exchange, based in Brazil, is one such opportunity which brings together Brazilian nationals wanting to learn English, and US senior citizens with time on their hands.

The idea is that the students log on to a website and form a video link with  a senior citizen living in a retirement home. They then have a chat on a pre-determined topic, and the whole thing is recorded for tutors to evaluate. It’s a great way for the students to have a conversation with someone whose mother tongue is English without having to go to the expense of travelling. The other side of the coin is that it’s a nice way for senior citizens to feel more active and engaged with the world.

Could you use online video to bring together people who would never usually  encounter each other for mutual benefit? If so, there could be a business in it.

Streetwise Property Alert 26th June 2014

Welcome to the latest UK property news and views. Heads up! If you are interested in the ‘£10k Off’ London property, you need to move on this today. Another heads up! If you are investing in the Cheltenham JV, please remember the closing date is 30 June 2014. Invest in this and you have a place in the imminent JV2 (assuming you have funds, of course). Meantime…

Property Prices Overview

The latest figures from ONS, the Office of National Statistics, suggests that prices rose by 9.9 per cent in the 12 months to the end of April 2014. That is up from 8.0 per cent in the 12 months to the end of March 2014. As ever, we need to say ‘think micro-markets’ when it comes to doing your due diligence. After all, we should note that the ONS advises that, in the 12 months to the end of April 2014, prices in London rose 18.7 per cent with the South-East and East of England seeing 8.9 per cent and 8.5 per cent rises respectively. Take them out and the average rise is just 2 per cent.

Peter Rollings at agents Marsh & Parsons suggests we have reached a turning point. ‘After a very lively start to the year, where an acute lack of supply and subsequent competition for homes pushed prices higher, we’re now sailing into steadier waters. Stricter controls for mortgage affordability and the renewed housing stock is moderating the market and property price growth has slowed.’

‘In prime London, the ratio of registered buyers per available property has fallen from 24 in January 2014 to 16 in June, so as the market returns to more normal trading conditions, buyers can make the most of the extra breathing space. London has long been akin to its own city state, and is wholly unrepresentative of the broader nationwide picture. If the government or the Bank of England were to slam their foot on the brake too heavily, they risk setting back the emergent housing market recovery outside of the capital.’

BTL Club Update

Lots of interest in The BTL Club we are creating from September – in essence, we will stop sending BTL deals out via the general membership and present them solely to members of The BTL Club.

Yes, it’s free but please do not join if you are not serious about investing as it’s a drag for everyone involved to go through everything only to find at the end that you have £6.39 in your bank account.

We are going to split the club in two with a separate one for London; email back now to be added to the list(s). The London list we will limit to just 100 members and we have about 55 so far; so be quick for that one.

Land Registry News

The Land Registry has announced that it is to be the sole registering authority for Local Land Charges (LLC) in England and Wales, ‘leading to a standardised national fee for the first time.’

Some newspapers are reporting this as happening now. Not quite, ‘preparatory work will begin from April 2015 for a phased migration of the LLC service to begin later that year.’

‘The proposals will provide a one stop shop digital LLC search service, which will improve and standardise the service through faster turnaround times. This is consistent with government’s digital by default agenda and will ease the process of buying property. We have listened to the consultation feedback on LLC and have made a number of changes to the original proposals. For example, the period covered by a LLC official search will not now be limited to 15 years.’ More to come in due course.

London Prime Lettings – News

According to the latest residential lettings report from Chestertons, there was increased activity in Q1 2014, with the number of applicants up 7.7 per cent over the year and agreed lets up 6.2 per cent over the same time. Stock levels decreased by 22.5 per cent. You don’t need to be an economist to work out ‘what happens next’. Chestertons is forecasting rental growth of 2 per cent for the prime London lettings sector in 2014.

‘Looking ahead, due to London’s improvement of the overall economic performance, growth rates are set to outpace the national average over the next couple of years. Once the balance between supply and demand has reached healthier grounds, rents are expected to stabilise across the board. In terms of prime locations Tower Hamlets is forecast to see the strongest growth in household numbers of 29,548 over the next five years.’

All for now, see you tomorrow with some more news and views.


How to Publish Your Book Online

There are many ways to publish your book online. Here’s a quick step-by-step guide to one of the easiest:

1. Create an account on It’s owned by Amazon. If you have any question you hit a button that says “Call Me” and within 30 seconds they have a customer representative calling your phone.

2.  Download a Microsoft Word template they provide  The template is similar to those used by any publisher when they format your book.

3. Make a  cover. Createspace has over a million options when you combined their templates with images, fonts, etc.

4. Save as a PDF and upload it. Let them pick an ISBN number.

5. Choose a price.  $7.95. is the minimum price if you want them to distribute it to bookstores, libraries, etc along with Amazon. You’ll get about a $2 royalty per book at that price. But if you choose a price of $20 then you would get about a $14 royalty. Much higher than any publisher will ever give you.

Streetwise Property Alert 25th June 2014

Welcome to today’s email of property news and views…

Istanbul – Prices Still Rising

According to the latest figures from Gyoder, property prices in Istanbul are now rising at twice the rate they were this time last year. They rose by more than 1 per cent in April. Much of this growth is being driven by foreign investors. We’d urge you to consider where the local buyers are purchasing too. As always, you are likely to be letting to and selling to local buyers.

Adil Yaman of real estate agents Universal 21 comments, ‘We would normally expect fluctuations in growth in the early part of the year, which are traditionally times when the market takes a breather. The buying season normally reaches a peak in August with strong growth also seen in June and July. In August 2013, for example, property prices in Istanbul increased by more than 2 per cent in a month, which would add £1,000 to the price of a £50,000 apartment in the city.

‘The city has seen huge investment in its infrastructure, which hasn’t always been popular with locals but the pace of change in the city is rapid and the population is rising with it. So it comes as no surprise that this puts pressure on existing housing stock. Along with the recent announcement of a third airport in the city which will provide a boost to suburban areas like Beylikduzu, all the signs are positive for another year of strong growth.’ More to come.

Germany Cut-Off

Those of you looking for 12 per cent returns in 12 months should take a look at the Germany investment. But, as advised, this offer will be gone by 1 September. Now is the time to look – email for details.

Brazil – New Offer

Members have invested heavily and very successfully in Brazil over the past two years. We now have details of a new deal. Up to 17.5 per cent yields. Low entry level from £21,000. Returns in 12 months. International escrow facility to protect investors’ funds, managed by independent solicitors. Clear and defined exit strategy. Award-winning developer. Proven and secure track record in similar projects. In essence, you put from £21,000 in and get up to 17.5 per cent yields in a year. Interested? Email back – we have a PDF for you.

Crowdfunding Cut-Off

Are you one of the UK crowdfunders? Please note that funds need to be over by 30 June – that’s the cut-off point. Email back if you are thinking of progressing this. It’s not too late to get the full pack and to visit with me.

Spain – Sareb Update

Spain’s ‘bad bank’, Sareb, is in the news as its head, Belen Romana, has been talking in public at an event in Madrid. ‘It’s time to invest in the property market because it is stabilising in terms of price. New mortgage lending grew 2 per cent in March from a year earlier, marking the first annual increase in four years – and providing another sign of

It’s been said that the Bank of Spain could force Sareb to revalue some of the 51 billion euros of assets it took on at zero, if they do not carry certain guarantees and have been in default for over 18 months. ‘We will do what we have to do.’ Interesting – we will have an article on this shortly.