Business Administration Degree

Guide to Online Business Administration Degrees

30 Specialty Search Engines and Web Databases for Business Students

If you’re searching for businesses or for customers, or if you want to list your business or service on the Web, the search engine market is alive and well for business clients. The following 30 specialty search engines and Web databases provide a variety of business services, products and specializations. The list is divided by search engines and databases, but we also included a “going green” section with viable directories for sustainable business opportunities, too. (more…)

The Top 50 YouTube Videos on Effective Managing

No matter what industry you work in, managers are necessary at all levels to organize employees and make sure that tasks are completed on time and budget. But with a shifting economy, changing priorities, and a workforce constantly in flux, being a manager can be far more difficult than hit television shows make it seem. Although amusing, shows like “The Office” rarely offer any practical tips for managers.

So to help bring you more useful information, we have gathered the top 50 YouTube videos on effective managing organized mostly by most views. They are filmed by everyone from world-recognized leaders to university professors and even managers in the workplace. So grab a mouse, a seat, and get ready to actually use YouTube for some good during your workday. (more…)

Where Do Writers Go For Inspiration?

Writing has been my profession for a while now, but it has always been a passion for as long as I can remember. From school essays to writing short stories and poems for the school magazine and local book club, I would take part in all of them with an enthusiasm that my friends considered somewhat unnatural – they were not the bookish kind and did not understand the intensity I showed towards my paperback friends. I was never at a loss for words when asked to write, I always had something to write about, and long or short, I always loved the result of my creative expression. In short, I was my biggest fan and I had never heard of writer’s block let alone experienced it.

Well, that sure changed when I started writing for a living – I found that in a few years’ time, there were many times when I became disillusioned with writing and other times when I just could not pen a single sentence without hating it. In the old days, it would have been the equivalent of crumpled sheets of paper lying strewn around my writing table, but today, it’s more a case of banging the keyboard when you’re frustrated at the words not flowing freely. Every writer has faced this situation more than once during their careers – they’re stuck in a rut and short of inspiration, and cannot write even though they want to. So where do they go for inspiration?

In my experience, I’ve found that the following things work when you’re looking to rejuvenate your creativity and breathe a whiff of fresh air into your writing:

  • Broadening your horizons: When you expand your repertoire of activities, you grow as a writer because you learn much more about life than when confined to your desk and computer all day long. The first time I felt a mental block, I took a break from work and went out to sign up for tennis lessons. A few hours of this game every day, and I felt like a new person. I didn’t switch on my notebook for a week, not until I felt I was ready to write again. This time, the words were at my command and ready to do my bidding. So when you feel you need inspiration, just look around for other things that interest you. You’ll be back in the saddle sooner than you think.
  • Write about something else: If inspiration is what is lacking, try changing the subject you normally write about. If technology is your cup of tea, switch to coffee for a change and take on health or education or anything else you feel passionate or know about. Alternatively, start a personal blog where you can write about anything and everything that interests you. The point is that you must not write for your career’s sake; instead, you must write for your own. When you feel your confidence returning after a few well-written pieces, you’re ready to get back to writing as a profession.
  • Take time off: And finally, it’s best to just take time off from work to go do your own thing when you feel the dearth of inspiration. You’re probably just overworked and your brain is too tired to think anymore. So what you really need is some rest and rejuvenation, after which you’ll be good to go once again.

Workout Programs That Suit Healthcare Professionals

It’s probably the best advice your doctor could give you, and coming from a healthcare professional, it would probably sound false if he or she was overweight or even a little fat. Every medical professional worth their salt tells their patients to adopt a sensible diet and to get at least five hours of exercise each week. These two ingredients make up the recipe to a happy and healthy life, and if healthcare professionals don’t practice what they preach, they end up coming across as insincere, something they cannot afford in their line of work. Also, doctors know that if they neglect their health, they’re going to lose much more than their income.

However, unlike most other people, healthcare professionals work long and erratic hours, especially when they’re just starting out as interns or if they’re specialists who’re called in at all hours of the day to take care of patients. And because of this, they may not have a fixed exercise schedule – the ones who are really passionate about staying healthy and fit squeeze in their daily jog or strength training exercises whenever they find time, morning or evening. Some prefer to get up an hour earlier and hit the gym while others find that the end of the day works well for them when it comes to exercise. Some take advantage of the quiet times in the hospital when they’re relatively free of work to do a few stretches, sit-ups or squats. They know that even 10 minutes of exercise a day is better than nothing at all.

It is essential for doctors to exercise no matter how busy they are because:

  • They lead extremely stressful lives and must work out to alleviate tension and prevent stress from affecting them negatively and playing havoc with their health.
  • They don’t get enough sleep – they’re either pressed for time or too wound up because of the nature of their job to sleep soundly. Exercise helps soothe and relax their sore muscles and joints and enables them to sleep well and feel refreshed the following day.
  • They may not pay attention to their diet, preferring to eat whatever is available than making healthy food choices. This makes exercise even more important because it becomes the only way to stay slim and fit and prevent fatigue, stress and disease from affecting them.
  • They must set an example for their patients and be role models for them to emulate.

Exercise is a must, no matter how busy or hectic your life may be – if you don’t set aside time to work out, you may not have a life at all.

How Effective is Consumerism in Healthcare?

It’s all about choices, or at least that’s what they say. The healthcare reforms are supposed to bring about a sea of positive change; they’re being touted as the harbinger of good news for everyone who’s reached the end of their tether with the healthcare industry and all those associated with it; and they’re being promoted as the thing that’s going to improve consumerism in healthcare. In simple English, this means you get to have a bigger say and more choice when it comes to your healthcare plan. But does consumerism really make as big a difference as people claim it does?

Take for instance the consumer directed health plan (CDHP) offered by organizations for their employees – these plans involve high deductibles and low premiums. They’re attractive because you’re allowed to set aside money through a health savings account (HSA) which is exempt from tax. So if you fail to meet the deductible, you could use the money in your HSA to compensate for the difference. The amount unused in this account is rolled over from year to year and wholly belongs to you.

Now the problem with CDHPs is that they work if you’re healthy and foresee no health complications in the near future. With the right preventive care, a proper diet, and some regular exercise, it’s easy to look after your health and avoid complications of any kind. However, if you’re already beset by chronic health problems or if you foresee an illness in the future because of genetic predisposition, then these plans are not really advantageous. If you do suddenly need medical help, your insurance coverage does not kick in if you haven’t paid the deductible for that year, so you could be left high and dry even though you’re supposedly covered by the CDHP.

The trouble with choosing your own healthcare plan is that there is not really much of a choice – if you’re healthy, then you pretty much have the run of any plan you want as long as you can afford the premiums. And if you’re not, you’re screwed no matter which plan you choose – you may end up paying high premiums and significant out-of-pocket costs if you’re really unlucky.

True consumerism in the healthcare industry will only come about when consumers are able to choose any plan they need, irrespective of pre-existing conditions and other factors such as age. However, it’s safe to say that this will happen only if the state of Utopia happens as well.

Customizing Crisis and Emergency Communication

It’s not something we want to think about, but we have to be prepared for emergencies and crises whether we like it or not. No matter how safe we think we are, there is always something lurking around the corner waiting to pounce on us when we are least prepared. Disasters, both natural and manmade, are happening with alarming regularity nowadays, and unless crisis and emergency communication rules and measures are put in place, the loss of lives and damage to property could be more than necessary. It could be the outbreak of an unknown disease that is killing people and is contagious; it could be a fire that is rapidly spreading and taking lives and destroying everything in its path; or it could be an oil spill (or a dangerous chemical leak) that threatens not just the ecosystem of a place but also the lives and health of the people who live in the vicinity.

Emergency risk communication is essential in order to save lives and property and to reduce the intensity and spread of the disaster as much as possible. If it’s a disease, people need to know how to prevent contracting it, what to do if they have contracted it, and how to take adequate measures to safeguard their family’s general health. If it’s an earthquake or fire or oil spill, people need to know what activities are safe, if they have to evacuate their homes and get to safer locations, where they can find alternative accommodation and food, if their natural water bodies are safe and free from pollution, and so on. This makes crisis communication an important part of public health and social wellbeing.

For emergency and crisis communication to be effective, there’s no doubt that it has to meet time constraints – there’s no use of informing people and alerting them hours after an earthquake has ravaged their town. The information has to be timely in order for it to be useful. However, what most people forget is that this kind of communication must also be tailored to the people who stand to benefit from it. For example, if there is an outbreak of a disease and you’re trying to effect damage control measures in an area where the majority of the people are not educated or well-to-do, then you cannot use television broadcasts and advertisements that use sophisticated words in newspapers and magazines to spread the word. Your vehicle of communication must be something that is accessible on a daily basis to the people who stand to be affected the most – so it stands to reason that newspapers in the vernacular language or radio programs that are possible or direct canvassing by public health officials (on a door-to-door or a street-to-street) basis would be more effective.

Also, it is important to ensure that people follow the suggested measures and cooperate with health officials to ensure that the calamity is not made worse. Plans should also be made to cope with unexpected hindrances – for example, rain could play havoc with evacuation measures and rescue attempts after an earthquake, so if the weather forecast predicts showers, the crisis communication must take that into consideration too and be tailored accordingly.

There is no standard textbook for crisis and emergency communication – the rules tend to vary depending on the nature of the emergency, so unless the people responsible are ready to deal with every contingency there is, the catastrophe could be compounded.

5 Practical Investment Tips You Must Know

The best way to use idle money is to make more money, and that’s why we invest; however, you also need to remember that the best investments are those that don’t destroy or detract from what you already have. In short, it’s ok if you don’t make any money as long as you don’t lose any. To ensure that this golden rule holds, here are five practical investment tips that you must follow:

  • Invest only in what you understand: No matter how appealing the sales spiel, never understand in anything that you don’t understand. All the mumbo jumbo might sound fantastic and you’re likely to be promised fabulous returns in a short time, but if you don’t know how your money is multiplying, it’s best not to part with it. Even if your investments don’t generate high returns, it’s ok as long as you understand them and know how to deal with each of their aspects.
  • Don’t trust your portfolio completely to someone else: Investment managers may know what they’re doing; they may even know what’s best for you and your money; and they may be doing all they can to ensure that you get the most out of your investments. However, it’s not a good idea to trust them completely and leave all the major decisions to them. Take an active interest in what your money is doing and how your investments are faring so as to avoid any kind of wrongdoing or mismanagement of your funds. It’s your hard-earned money and you certainly have the right to know all about it.
  • Know what you want from your investments: Some investments generate returns in the short term while others mature over a long term period; so before you invest, know what you’re looking for from your money. If you’re investing in the short term, look for the largest gains from the safest investments, like a fixed deposit with the highest interest rate. If you want to put away your money for the future, choose your investments after considering the risks, returns and all other factors associated with the investment; for example, if you’re buying stocks, look at the respectability and reputation of the company instead of just eyeing the returns.
  • Don’t put all your money in one place: It’s common sense, but many an investor has fallen prey to financial misfortune by not following this simple piece of advice. When you spread out your portfolio, you minimize your risks and maximize your returns.
  • Choose investments that are liquid: Investments are no good if you cannot get your hands on your money when you need it. If your money is tied up for a good number of years and cannot help you in case of an emergency or crisis, your investment is not worth it. So choose options that are liquid and can generate cash when you need it; you may not liquidate them at any point, but you do need the knowledge and security that you can if the need arises.

Investments work best when they’re tailored to suit your needs and your convenience; so choose wisely and reap the best returns you can.

5 Tips to Stick to Your Budget

The biggest problem with budgets is not that they’re difficult to create; rather, they’re hard to adhere to. Even the most dedicated of us find it a tough ask to live within our means, to spend only what we have planned for, and to avoid temptation in the myriad ways that it hits us. However, times are tough, and unless you learn how to stick to your budget, you’re going to be staring down the barrel of a gun called debt. So tighten your belt, and use these tips to prevent overspending and blowing your budget.

1.      Make a budget that’s practical and which will not test your limits every single time you have to spend something. When you restrict yourself too much, you tend to give up too easily. Every day seems like a struggle that you would rather not go through. So give yourself a little leeway, and set a budget that’s easy to stick to.

2.      Be aware of your spending habits – whether you use credit cards or cash or any other form of money, write down your expenses and keep tabs on them. If your credit card bill is not due until the next month, set aside payment for the card from this month’s budgeted amount. Only then does it become easier to keep tabs on cashless spending.

3.      Think before you buy: Don’t buy things on a whim or because they’re on sale. The rule is simple – unless you need something, unless you cannot do without it, don’t buy it. You may feel like you’re losing out on something when you don’t buy; however, if you wait for the end of the month and find that you have some money leftover, then you can treat yourself to a frivolous purchase.

4.      Allow yourself a cushion for times you meet with unexpected expenses. It’s better to be prepared rather than to pull out money from your nest egg or worse, incur debt. However, don’t use this money for frivolous expenses, and if it’s left over at the end of the month, push it into your savings.

5.      Think of the alternative: Every time you’re tempted to overspend or use your credit card when you know you cannot pay your bill in full, think of the consequences – you’re going to find yourself deep in debt because credit cards come with a hefty interest rate. You’re going to be paying your card company much more money than you borrowed. So take a moment to think of the burden of debt hanging over your head before you buy – you’ll find that it’s easier to live within your budget.

Your budget must take into account your outstanding loans and your day to day living expenses before setting aside money for purchases and other expenses. It’s also wise to put aside a certain percentage of your take-home income as savings – they come in handy when you’re in a financial crisis or when you need money in an emergency. Budgets are valuable financial tools that help you live within your means, so take them lightly at your own peril.

5 Ways for Leaders to Improve Productivity

Leadership is a trait that sits naturally on some people’s shoulders because it’s an innate ability; on others, it’s an acquired characteristic that must be honed and directed at every stage. Effective leaders are those who lead by example, set high standards for themselves and their team, and most important of all, those who get the job done with the least amount of effort and in the least amount of time. Productivity for a leader is all about thinking ahead, directing their team, ensuring that the work is being done according to schedule, and addressing hurdles and issues that hinder the team’s progress. If leaders are looking to boost productivity, here’s what they need to do:

  • Avoid being a one-man show: New leaders are guilty of this – in their enthusiasm to make a splash, they end up taking on more than they should and can manage. When you try to do it all, you end up doing nothing at all, or worse, botch up important tasks and incur criticism and loss. Besides, when you assume every responsibility you can possibly take on, you’re only making your team lazy and leaving yourself prone to stress and overwork. Effective leaders must delegate responsibility and know how to assign tasks to their team members.
  • Learn how to delegate: It’s not just enough to delegate randomly; the key to delegation is to choose the right people for the job, give them time limits and instructions as to how to do the job, talk to them about your expectations, follow up to ensure that the work is being done, and offer praise or constructive criticism during and after the task. Even though you’ve delegated, do remember that you’re still responsible for your team’s performance.
  • Take advantage of technology: Technology makes tasks easier and more convenient; it expedites jobs and helps you perform more efficiently. So if the right technology is available, make use of it to improve your productivity. If you’re a technophobe, then you’re not going to last very long as a leader because technology is taking over the way we do things. So there’s really no excuse for not knowing technology; if you’re unsure, make the effort to learn – technology becomes easier to master the more you use it.
  • Work harder than your team: Leading by example means you must set the standards for your team. If you’re in early and leave late, your team too puts in extra effort. But if you shirk your responsibilities, they’re likely to ape you as well. In order to be in a position of command and respect, you must let your work speak for itself. When you put in the maximum effort, it translates into productivity for yourself and your team.
  • Instill loyalty in your team: Some leaders take pride in being tough taskmasters; however, productive leaders know that the best way to get their team to produce optimum results in to instill a sense of loyalty in them. This can be done by empathizing with them, understanding their needs, and offering praise when it is due. Cut them some slack, especially if you know they’re going through tough personal periods; don’t criticize them in the presence of others; and treat them as a part of a family that works together.

Productivity is not about how many hours you work, but how much work you get done in those hours.

The Top 50 Real Estate Blogs

Real estate can still be a good investment, even though the housing bubble’s collapse has had a disastrous effect on the economy. And people across America are still buying and selling property each day. Real estate newbies and experienced professionals can all get excellent real estate news, information, and commentary thanks to some very dedicated bloggers. We’ve searched the Web to find 50 top real estate blogs that we think you just shouldn’t miss. Here they are, arranged into several categories:

Local/Regional Real Estate Blogs

1. Buy And Sell With Shannon : Shannon Register is a realtor in the north Houston area. Her blog was named “Best Real Estate Blog in Texas” by the Mays Business School at Texas A&M.

2. UrbanTrekker : UrbanTrekker’s main blogger is Dewita Soeharjono. She writes about urban housing trends, transportation, and other issues facing the Washington, D.C. metro area.

3. Property Grunt : Have you ever wondered what it must be like to be a realtor in Manhattan? Property Grunt takes you there for a first-hand look. It’s not all pretty.

4. Rain City Guide : With a name like Rain City, it’s got to be about Seattle. And it is. Get all the Seattle real estate news that’s fit to blog about on Rain City Guide.

5. Curbed : Curbed spotlights real estate news and trends in New York City, the Hamptons, Los Angeles and San Francisco. New construction is highlighted, along with renovations projects that impact the public.

6. : A highly active realtor in the Denver area writes commentary and other insights on real estate investing, how to determine a home’s price, and other topics.

7. The Front Steps : One of San Francisco’s most popular real estate blogs, theFrontSteps has over 400,000 readers each year. Alexander Clark is the main writer, an active agent in the Bay Area.

8. YoChicago : Get all of the latest real estate news from the Chicagoland area on YoChicago. Topics include tips for renters and current market conditions.

9. The Boston Real Estate Blog : The real estate agents of Ford Realty in Boston write this blog. Continuously updated, the blog covers real estate news, sales, bidding wars, and more in the Boston area.

10. Brokers First Realty : Atlanta brokerage firm BrokersFirstRealty blogs about the Atlanta real estate market. They invite the reader to comment and participate in the Atlanta real estate discussion.

11. Austin Real Estate Blog : “Late-night observations” from an Austin, TX realtor include market statistics, even charts.

12. Swamplot : America’s fourth largest city (Houston) gets full coverage on this witty real estate blog. New development, news about commercial buildings, and unusual listings are featured.

13. 360 Digest : 360 Digest is another excellent blog about Seattle-area real estate. Its topics extend to technology news, pop culture, and opinion pieces.

14. True Gotham : True Gotham is an influential blog about New York City real estate, published by The Heddings Property Group.

15. Real Estate Zebra : Real Estate Zebra is written by Daniel Rothamel, a Virginia realtor who also officiates NCAA D-III basketball. Therefore, he is a real estate zebra. His blog is written in an inspiring and educational style.

16. St. Paul Real Estate Blog : Teresa Boardman, a St. Paul, MN realtor, writes a thorough and frequently updated blog about St. Paul real estate. Local news, articles about different neighborhoods, and a condo directory are included.

General Real Estate Information

17. Zillow Blog : Zillow is one of the hottest real estate sites online, and their blog has lots of frequently updated information. Both real estate pros and consumers will find good information.

18. The Real Estate Bloggers : These real estate bloggers attempt to make sense out of the nonsense that is the real estate industry. This blog is for consumers and professionals.

19. HomeGain : The HomeGain real estate blog contains content from various real estate brokers, agents, mortgage experts, and other real estate blogs. This blog is written for the industry professional.

20. Matrix : Jonathan Miller is the editor of Matrix, a well-written, well-researched blog about the economy and the real estate market. He has been a real estate appraiser and consultant for over 20 years.

21. The Real Estate Bloggers : Fran and Rowena are California realtors who have been blogging about real estate for over seven years. That’s an impressive stint in the blogosphere!

22. HomeGain Agent Blogs : The Agent Blogs on HomeGain connect you to a wide variety of posts from the HomeGain network of agents.

23. HotProperty : This blog, from the editors of Business Week, focuses on the news and developments in the housing and mortgage markets.

24. Altos Research Real Estate Insights : Altos Research produces real estate reports that real estate professionals around America rely on.

25. Realty Freak : Evan Kane writes about issues facing residential real estate buyers and sellers, in a way that pulls no punches toward the real estate industry as a whole. He’s not afraid to be brutally honest when he feels it’s called for.

Marketing and Technology Advice For Real Estate Pros

26. Sellsius : Sellsius Real Estate Blog, published by Joseph G. Ferrara, Esq., is a comprehensive blog that covers every aspect of real estate. The recent focus has been on innovation in social media and other marketing tech developments.

27. Future of Real Estate Marketing : Joel Burslem blogs about the major impact that the Internet has had on real estate sales. He also provides great tips for helping consumers learn how to shop for homes online.

28. Bloodhound Blog : Strictly written for the real estate professional, by other real estate pros, The Bloodhound Blog provides excellent commentary on real estate marketing and technology.

29. real/diaBlog : Tony Arko, a realtor in Virginia, writes this provocative blog about the way technology has affected the real estate industry. He also discusses the economy and the implications of political involvement in real estate.

30. Real Estate Tomato : The Real Estate Tomato blog is all about teaching real estate agents how to use Web 2.0 technology such as social media and blogging. They offer classes through “Tomato University.”

31. New Rules. New Tools. : Mike Price has been blogging about Web 2.0 for real estate since 2006, as “Mike’s Corner.” Four years later, he’s moved his blog to this address and he’s still focusing on real estate but branching out into other topics.

Listing Blogs

32. New Condos Online : New Condos Online is a blog that focuses on condominiums. Vacation properties, as well as resort condos and residential condos, are spotlighted here.

33. Overseas Property Mall Blog : This blog is a guide to real estate investment overseas. The site includes reviews of different properties as well as a discussion forum.

34. Roost : Roost is a home search engine that partners with Multiple Listing Services, real estate brokers, and others to give customers the widest variety of listings. Their blog is written for a professional audience.

35. Cyberhomes : Cyberhomes is dedicated to providing high-quality information for real estate buyers and sellers, as well as realtors. Recent topics include tips for homeowners, sustainable building, and interest rate news.

36. Trulia Blog : Trulia is a real estate search and listing showcase site similar to HotPads and Zillow. It won the 2009 Webby Award for real estate. Their blog showcases unusual celebrity listings such as Sheryl Crow’s solar-powered farm.

37. Big Time Listings : Check out listings of famous homes and the homes of the rich and famous on this fun blog. Everyone from sports stars to fashionistas is covered at Big Time Listings.

38. HotPads Blog : HotPads is a website that features an innovative search option based on maps. It won the 2010 Webby Award for real estate. Their blog features different properties and ways for people to use HotPads.

39. Sustainable Green Communities : Ram Shrivastava highlights environmentally-friendly building design on his blog. He’s been blogging about these topics since 2005.

40. Jetson Green : Preston Koerner is the founder and chief editor of Jetson Green, a smart, streamlined blog that highlights the best in sustainable design and the way green design works in the real estate market.

Real Estate Investing

41. Shaun’s Real Estate Adventures : Shaun is a real estate investor who wants people to realize that real estate investing doesn’t have to be super hard. In fact, you can read all about his investments on this blog.

42. The BiggerPockets Blog : BiggerPockets is an online real estate magazine that focuses on providing resources for investors. This excellent blog is updated frequently.

Mortgage and Appraisal Blogs

43. The Housing Bubble Blog : Not for the faint of heart, this sometimes gruesome blog details shocking home value increases, bloody foreclosures, and mutant loans that should have never been made.

44. Mortgage Fraud Blog : Rachel Dollar edits the Mortgage Fraud Blog, which is full of news reports about people around the country who have been found guilty of mortgage fraud-related crimes.

45. Bubble Meter : Bubble Meter tracks the ongoing effects of the housing bubble–the artificially high real estate values that are slowly sinking back to earth. It has national coverage, with particular attention given to the DC area.

46. Lending Clarity : Marc Brinitzer, a mortgage professional for over 20 years, writes this blog to educate the public. He specifically wants to de-mystify underwriting rules for the public and for real estate agents.

47. Appraisal Scoop : A real estate appraiser for the past 25 years, Brian provides news and perspective from the appraiser’s point of view. Topics such as professional certification and technology for the appraiser are covered.

48. Blown Mortgage : This blog has been providing information about free home loan modifications, mortgage solutions and debt relief since 2006. In addition, they have been named one of the top 3 most influential mortgage blogs by Inman News.

49. RealEstateUndressed : Larry Cragun provides a no-hold-barred look at mortgage practices and other issues affecting real estate on his thoughtful blog.

50. The Mortgage Reports : Dan Green, a loan officer at Waterstone Mortgage, writes this intelligent and frequently updated blog about the world of mortgages and real estate.