Realistic Thoughts On Diversifying Your Art Investment Portfolio

Do you know the difference between an original print and a limited-edition print? Some would contend that they are one and the same as far as originality goes, but you can certainly purchase a limited-edition print which is not an original work of art. An original print, therefore, is basically created by hand from a stencil or plate that has been hand created by the artist in order to produce the finished result. You will see that the artist signed the original in pencil as a fraction number, to indicate it’s part of the total edition. In other words, it could be 24/100, which means that the print itself is 24th in an edition of 100. In these situations the artist is very much hands on when it comes to this entire process and he or she will often experiment before being happy with the plates used to generate the finished product. The final printer’s proof is also called a BAT.

Note that the limited-edition print may not be the work of, directly, the artisan as outlined above. It could be a simple reproduction of a painting or drawing and even though it may be signed once more by the artist, it might not be the direct work, per se, of the person.

Today, with our advanced levels of technology it’s perfectly possible to produce digital files of an image stored on a computer in a process known as Giclee’s. Other transfer methods are tending to blur the line between what can be classified as an original print and a reproduction. Purists argue on both sides of the equation and it’s true to say that when you buy signed limited edition prints as a fine art investment you should have a fairly clear idea of how that product has been produced in the first place. This will give you a clear indication of its value and how it may help you to boost the ultimate value of your portfolio as time goes by.

Whenever considering diversification of your biggest investments it’s well worth your while looking at fine art as a part of this. Many studies have shown that art collections can help you to get a 10% compounded return over a lengthy period of time, which is as good or better than many of the major stock market indices. In fact, with the stock market being as volatile as it is right now many experts consider that you should shift some of your investments into other areas that may be somewhat less susceptible to current, political and economical machinations.

Whilst no one can predict the future of course and there is always a certain element of risk whatever you plan for your economic future, people who diversify into art in this way often say that they feel that they have a more involved and hands-on approach and therefore feel as if they are in some way contributing more to their potential gains. Somehow or other the events of recent years should make us all feel that we ought to be more “in control!”

Rehab Projects Are Often Great Investment Opportunities – Why Can They Become Huge Disasters?

A rehab project is easily seen as a great investment opportunity. You are able to purchase the project at a fraction of the replacement cost. After all the cash is invested, the total cost per square foot is far below the competition. You can see an easy path to much greater cash flow after the vacancy is filled and after the rents are increased. Unfortunately, there are a ton of issues that can throw the plan off of the expected course.

A rehab project did not get in the current condition because the owners wanted a run down dilapidated apartment complex. While the situation can be and often is the result of extended neglect, the buyer must consider that neighborhoods change, crime problems develop, basic infrastructure issues become insurmountable.

Where to begin?

First, is the property in a rentable location? Spend time understanding the schools that service the property. Look at access to employment and shopping. Find out what the crime issues are on the apartment complex. Determine what crime in the surrounding area is. Check out the demographics of the area and check with local merchants, consumer, and other sources about the reputation of the area. If too many red flags begin to develop, then you may have identified a project that could resist your best efforts to rehabilitate.

Next, if the property demonstrates solid performance, look at the physical issues with the project. Are the kitchens unable to meet expectations for today’s consumers? Is the foot print to small? What changes are required to meet utility cost expectations? Does the project require central AC? Is parking inadequate? Do the units require washers and dryers in the market and for the demographic the project will serve. What about dishwashers? Are the amenities inadequate? Are the floor plans positioned wrong for demand in the market?

In the case of infrastructure issues like those suggested for review above, the right rehab plan may well be able to resolve the issues. The key considerations are putting together a detailed rehabilitation plan that resolves the issues thoroughly for rentability. If the costs begin to rise to high for the project to be viable, you will know to abandon this prospective project. However, if you can meet the project well below your affordability considerations you have identified a potentially strong performing asset.

While the considerations above can protect against a bad decision because a rehabilitation requires repositioning the project the risk is much greater because rentup may not occur as expected. Renting costs can be too great. Rehab costs may over run. Rent rates may be weaker than expected. Management issues may be greater than anticipated. In all cases, the project can become continually more challenging and lead into failure.

Technology Increases Small Business Profitability

During times of economic struggle, most small businesses end up making cuts and changes to keep their businesses in the green. From laying off staff to decreasing business travel, reducing marketing efforts and ending bonuses and raises temporarily – there are a variety of ways small businesses look to cut their expenses. At the same time, they look for ways to increase profitability – especially when operating with reduced staff. Technology becomes even more useful as small businesses strive to increase productivity and efficiency.

There are so many gadgets and technology solutions out there that it can be easy to buy more than you need, or to buy the wrong types of products that just don’t deliver the solutions your business needs. When deciding what types of technologies can help your business reach its goals, here are a few things to look for:

Communications – technology is well known for its capability to improve the ability for people to communicate with one another. Whether you’ve got employees on the road or down the hall, virtual phone systems can route calls to cell phones and keep everyone in touch regardless of location. Instant messaging and email provide quick ways to communicate with the written word and keep documentation of these conversations for future reference. Social media and networking sites provide a way to keep in touch with co-workers, customers, and the competition at a glance.

Data Storage, Warehousing and Search – If you find employees are spending a lot of time looking for certain reports, forms or other data that they need to perform their job responsibilities, investing in network hardware and software to keep track of the whereabouts of your data can be useful.

Telecommuting – many small businesses also find that there isn’t a need for all employees to work in the same office building in order to get their work done. Having employees who telecommute requires the technology to make that happen (a secure network for employees to access data they require to do their job; improved communication systems to receive incoming phone calls at their homes or on their cell phones and the ability to keep in touch with co-workers in different locations). Having employees telecommute can save you from needing a larger office space, which keeps your overhead costs lower, too.

Customer Relationship Management – having some sort of CRM software to help you manage your database of clients and prospects is well worth the investment. Many businesses will tell you the “money is in the list”; meaning the amount of money a company earns is directly proportional to the number of people on their mailing list. Some companies use software like ACT, Goldmine or SalesForce to track their clients and leads. Others have custom-built software developed to handle unique needs that can’t be addressed with existing software.

Technology makes it possible for small business to increase productivity and compete with larger businesses on a smaller budget, thereby increasing profitability. Efficiency and organization is improved through the use of appropriate data storage, search and mining, customers are better managed through customer relationship management systems, and it is possible for money to be saved when employees telecommute from home. Before investing in any new technology, identify the unique needs of your business and determine which technology will best meet your needs.