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Monthly Leasing and Finance Index September 2009

New Business Volume

The Equipment Leasing and Finance Association's (ELFA) Monthly Leasing and Finance Index (MLFI-25), which reports economic activity for the $650 billion equipment finance sector, showed overall new business volume for September declined by 30.9 percent when compared to the same period in 2008. For 2009, the MLFI-25 reported month-to-month new business volume increased 27.0 percent from August to September, from $3.7 billion to $4.7 billion.

Successful companies in social media


Successful companies in social media act more like party planners, aggregators, and content providers than traditional advertiser….

Stats from Social Media Video (sources listed below by corresponding #)

  1. By 2010 Gen Y will outnumber Baby Boomers….96% of them have joined a social network
  2. Social Media has overtaken porn as the #1 activity on the Web
  3. 1 out of 8 couples married in the U.S. last year met via social media
  4. Years to Reach 50 millions Users:  Radio (38 Years), TV (13 Years), Internet (4 Years), iPod (3 Years)…Facebook added 100 million users in less than 9 months…iPhone applications hit 1 billion in 9 months.
  5. If Facebook were a country it would be the world’s 4th largest between the United States and Indonesia (note that Facebook is now creeping up – recently announced 300 million users)
  6. Yet, some sources say China’s QZone is larger with over 300 million using their services (Facebook’s ban in China plays into this)
  7. comScore indicates that Russia has the most engage social media audience with visitors spending 6.6 hours and viewing 1,307 pages per visitor per month – is the #1 social network
  8. 2009 US Department of Education study revealed that on average, online students out performed those receiving face-to-face instruction
  9. 1 in 6 higher education students are enrolled in online curriculum
  10. % of companies using LinkedIn as a primary tool to find employees….80%
  11. The fastest growing segment on Facebook is 55-65 year-old females
  12. Ashton Kutcher and Ellen Degeneres (combined) have more Twitter followers than the  population of Ireland, Norway, or Panama.  Note I have adjusted the language here after someone pointed out the way it is phrased in the video was difficult to determine if it was combined.
  13. 80% of Twitter usage is outside of Twitter…people update anywhere, anytime…imagine what that means for bad customer experiences?
  14. Generation Y and Z consider e-mail passé…In 2009 Boston College stopped distributing e-mail addresses to incoming freshmen
  15. What happens in Vegas stays on YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook…
  16. The #2 largest search engine in the world is YouTube
  17. Wikipedia has over 13 million articles…some studies show it’s more accurate than Encyclopedia Britannica…78% of these articles are non-English
  18. There are over 200,000,000 Blogs
  19. 54% = Number of bloggers who post content or tweet daily
  20. Because of the speed in which social media enables communication, word of mouth now becomes world of mouth
  21. If you were paid a $1 for every time an article was posted on Wikipedia you would earn $156.23 per hour
  22. Facebook USERS translated the site from English to Spanish via a Wiki in less than 4 weeks and cost Facebook $0
  23. 25% of search results for the World’s Top 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content
  24. 34% of bloggers post opinions about products & brands
  25. People care more about how their social graph ranks products and services  than how Google ranks them
  26. 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations
  27. Only 14% trust advertisements
  28. Only 18% of traditional TV campaigns generate a positive ROI
  29. 90% of people that can TiVo ads do
  30. Hulu has grown from 63 million total streams in April 2008 to 373 million in April 2009
  31. 25% of Americans in the past month said they watched a short video…on their phone
  32. According to Jeff Bezos 35% of book sales on Amazon are for the Kindle when available
  33. 24 of the 25 largest newspapers are experiencing record declines in circulation because we no longer search for the news, the news finds us.
  34. In the near future we will no longer search for  products and services they will find us via social media
  35. More than 1.5 million pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photos, etc.) are shared on Facebook…daily.
  36. Successful companies in social media act more like Dale Carnegie and less like David Ogilvy Listening first, selling second

Use Equipment Leasing to Gear Up for the Recovery


Gearing Up for the Recovery:
Economist Brian Beaulieu Projects Oct. 2009 Recovery

By Paul Diamond, Web Editor, Vistage International

Economic Projections
Based on the movement of leading economic indicators:

  • The recovery will begin around October 2009, and will be so mild that most Main Street businesses won’t trust that it’s a true recovery until we are three to six months into it.
  • 2010 should show a tepid, mild recovery, while the pace picks up in 2011-12.
  • U.S. housing markets will reach a low in late 2009 when prices flatten. Home values may begin to rise again in 2011.
  • Disinflation (a decrease in the rate of inflation) or deflation is likely to continue into 2010, while inflation returns in 2011-2012.
  • Unemployment will peak in early 2010 above 9 percent nationally. Job growth should begin around September 2010.
  • Credit conditions will improve somewhat in 2010, when we should see renewed lending at low interest rates.
  • Commodity prices will go up in late 2010 and into 2011 when industrial production will have recovered to half its 2007 levels.

Actionable Advice to Business Owners
Beaulieu recommends that business owners take the following actions:

  • The beginning of 2010 will be a golden time to expand your operation. New and used equipment will be inexpensive, real estate will be inexpensive, interest rates will be low. Start planning your expansion now.
  • Borrow as much money as possible in 2010, as conditions may not be as favorable in the years to follow.
  • If you lease business space, renegotiate your contract as vacancy rates goes up later this year.
  • Hire some of the exceptional talent that will be available through 2010.
  • Cease activities that don’t create profit, such as seminars, services or other things that lose money for your company.
  • Eliminate products that aren’t profitable. Get rid of that which doesn’t advance the growth of your company.
  • Ramp up your marketing and advertising.
  • If you need to reduce your workforce, do it now.
  • Find clients in these resilient sectors: energy, “green,” hotel/motel, water, healthcare, funeral services, alcohol, security, legal services, food distribution, water purification/distribution, electricity, natural gas distribution,  education (community colleges in particular), pet products, and leisure.
  • Look for clients or ways to sell your product in western Canada, Brazil, and Australia. These countries are positioned for strong future growth. Russia and China are not positioned for near-term growth.
  • Review your competitive advantage. Define it and tout it.
  • Lead with optimism. Be the chief cheerleader.
  • Communicate your company’s future clearly.
  • Don’t just maintain the status quo. Take risks and be courageous.
  • Celebrate victories, even small ones, with your people. Treat your best employees well or they will defect during the recovery.
  • Monitor your cash position religiously. Take all necessary actions to maintain a positive cash flow.
  • Learn to compute your company’s “12/12 rate of change” so you can project where your revenues are going.

Actionable Market Advice
There’s no huge stock market rebound on the other side of this downturn, only a long, slow climb out.  In fact, Beaulieu projects the stock market will take 15 years or more to recover the territory that we lost.

  • People should put money into specific equities, in contract to a broad index fund that moves with the overall market--unless you are in your 30’s or younger. 
  • People within 10 years of retirement should go for safe fixed income investments, perhaps setting up bond ladders.
  • In the post-2010 world, avoid bond funds as they will be under long-term negative pressure.
  • Consider using inflation hedges such as real estate and alternative investments like commodities.
  • Pay your taxes now because they are only going to be going higher in the future.

As a final thought Beaulieu reminds us: “It took only two years to crumble to where we are today, but it will take us many more years to get back to that peak. It was a bubble and you don’t recreate a bubble quickly, nor do we want to.”

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