Guaranteed Auto Financing – Fact or Fiction?

In today’s challenging economy, rising unemployment has meant that many people have found themselves unable to meet their family’s financial needs. Unemployment and inadequate cash flow can damage anybody’s credit reputation. With a bad credit history, your reputation in the financial marketplace becomes questionable, especially when it comes to finding a car loan. However, enter ‘guaranteed’ auto financing to the rescue of those who face these types of financial challenges. Many reputable financial institutions now appreciate that many people are struggling to make ends meet and so have responded by offering different guaranteed auto financing packages to suit various personal situations.These days it is not necessary to have a perfect credit rating to get a loan and so most people can access car loans even with a bad credit history and irrespective to the size of their income. Of course, guaranteed auto financing is never actually 100% guaranteed. However, several lending institutions now offer bad credit auto loans and with careful research, it’s easy to learn how to improve your likelihood of acceptance.There is stiff competition amongst lenders in the car financing market. Every dealer tries to please their customers in order to achieve more deals. There are lenders who are specialists in handling particular kinds of credit situations and these lenders can assist you get a loan with sensible terms. Bear in mind that a few dealers might reject your application. However, most lenders will be well informed enough to be able to help you get the loan. Therefore, spend some time researching online to find lenders who are will be able to finance your present economic condition.Preparing Your Guaranteed Auto Financing Application
Knowing how to approach auto financing lenders is important. Do not give a lot of dealers accesses to your credit history because the more people that inquire into your credit, the worse it looks to the one giving you loan (they are able to see how many times your credit record has been accessed). For that reason you may want to obtain your own copy of your credit report. By understanding this report you should be able to match it to the type of auto financing lender you are considering.Try not to let every other person know about your credit details. Only talk about it with people who you trust and who are willing to guide you. When you are meeting a lender to arrange guaranteed auto financing, make sure that the person that accesses your credit report is actually the dealer who is selling you the car of your choice. Otherwise allowing to many parties access to your report might end up hurting your credit record.Repairing Credit History via Auto Loan Repayments
Like any loan, guaranteed auto financing depends upon being able to pay the installments consistently on a weekly or monthly basis. If you are able to demonstrate that you can repay a loan without missing a payment, then your credit rating will improve. However, note that guaranteed auto financing lenders sometimes tend NOT to report your credit to the credit bureaus, so it can be hard to build up a good reputation using this type of loan. It is also worth noting that the loan term for guaranteed auto financing is often short and is typically for purchasing a used car.Do your research and think carefully before approaching a guaranteed auto financing company. Know that there are ways to obtain car financing if you have a bad credit rating using guaranteed loans – but tread carefully. Finally do not forget that you can trade-in a used car and this can help you to negotiate a lower interest rates.

Tacit Knowledge and the Knowledge Management Systems

In today’s economy, knowledge management has moved from being one of the resources of competitive advantage to being the most important resource. All attention has been turned toward knowledge and methods to manage it. Nonaka (1991) states that knowledge and its strategic use is one sure source of sustained competitive advantage for organizations. Thus, the processes used to retain and transfer knowledge is becoming the main objective of organizations. For that, knowledge management systems are created based on organizational needs in order to efficiently create and share knowledge.However, few knowledge management systems have been able to deal with the human capital. The reason for that is two-fold; there are various definitions of knowledge and so what constitutes exactly knowledge management. At this point, many knowledge management (KM) practitioners have stated the weak capacity of the knowledge management systems (KMSs) in managing tacit knowledge. Yet, some made research trying to find solutions to the externalization of tacit knowledge. Tacit knowledge refers to the knowledge that cannot be easily articulated and thus only exists in people’s hands and minds. This was first mentioned by Polanyi (1966) who created this interest for tacit knowledge.The introduction of information and communication technologies (ICTs) improved a bit the tacit knowledge management. Some KM practitioners stated the great contribution of ICTs-driven KMSs in externalizing tacit knowledge (Cohen and Bacdayan, 1994; Scott, 1998). Others concluded the useless function of these KMSs, even the negative effect of them on tacit knowledge management attempts (Blackler, 1995; Hansen et al., 1999). Those two opposite point of views concerning the effectiveness of the ICTs-driven KMSs in externalizing tacit knowledge urges the need to present the real role played by those KMSs in externalizing tacit knowledge.
Knowledge and its Management:Most organizations are nowadays realizing that knowledge management (KM) is one of the key success factors in today’s economy, and all are moving toward the knowledge-based economy. All the KM view practitioners are aware that their success depends on the way they use their knowledge in order to get competitive advantage and create new knowledge. Various organizations strive for continuous innovation and for that KM plays a key role in differentiating one organization from the other.One of the most relevant discussions about knowledge management was made by Nonaka (1991) and Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) when they showed how the Japanese companies were and are still -after 10 years- able to develop fast and to innovate in the new product development. Their success was mainly the result of their capacities to transfer and share the tacit and explicit knowledge across their organizations. It is important to mention that one of the firsts to distinguish between tacit and explicit knowledge was Polanyi (1966) when saying that `We can know more than we can tellĀ“.Also, Davenport and Prusak (1998) defined KM as a process for the collection, distribution and efficient use of the knowledge resource. At that time, the slogan ‘efficient use of knowledge’ was already used showing the new emerging trend and interest for KM. In fact, even before that, Drucker (1993) stated that in order to meet market challenges, a company has to be prepared to create efficient means to manage its knowledge and create new one according to its performance needs.Knowledge has been defined in a variety of ways depending on the context. An interesting definition by Beckman (1997) was that knowledge is reasoning about information to actively guide task execution, problem-solving and decision making in order to perform, learn and teach. Also, Wiig (1993) stated that knowledge consists of truths and beliefs, perspectives and concepts, judgments and expectations, methodologies and ‘know-how’.Tacit Knowledge:Knowledge, this mixture of information, experience, skills and capacities is not only located in documents, journals or books, but above all in people’s minds. It is important to understand that the primary sources of the tangible knowledge repositories are the human brains that are thinking and questioning. The human capital, as we call it, comprises the most important knowledge of all times which is the tacit knowledge. This knowledge is the know-how, and skills hidden in each individual- described as the knower. In order to manage the tacit knowledge, all interest is toward the knower- the individual carrying this knowledge. This focus has created a knower-centered (K-C) view for the KM experts.The knower-centered approach considers the humans as the principle source of knowledge. The main issue concerning the K-C practitioners is to manage not only the explicit but also the tacit knowledge belonging to individuals. For that, recently, a new function has been created – the Chief Knowledge Officer (CKO), this person dealing with knowledge. Drucker (1993) first mentioned the knowledge worker or CKO-as named today. He defined this person as a knowledge executive who knows how to allocate knowledge to productive use, and also as a strategic person that any organization must raise in order to meet the competitive goals.Also, Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) said that knowledge practitioners generate and accumulate both tacit and explicit knowledge. And that the quality of their knowledge accumulated depend mainly on the quality of their direct day-to-day business experiences. Again, according to Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995), the CKO groups that are more linked to tacit knowledge are the ‘knowledge operators’; they accumulate and generate rich tacit knowledge in the form of experience-based embodied skills.In fact, experience, as mentioned before, is one of the most relevant types of tacit knowledge. Experience is building personal skills and the best one able to deal with that is the knowledge worker. As Davenport and Prusak (1998) said, this person can then try to transfer as much knowledge as possible to someone through mentoring or apprenticeship, so that important tacit knowledge is not wholly concentrated in one person.However, tacit knowledge was named so for specific reasons. We should keep in mind that tacit knowledge is this knowledge difficult to codify. Polanyi (1966) defines tacit knowledge as personal, context-specific and, not easily visible and expressible -nor easy to formalize and communicate to others. More recently, Grant (1996) explained that it is this tacitness precisely that makes tacit knowledge difficult to imitate or to import from one organization to another and therefore this makes it an important organizational resource for securing competitive advantage.Besides, since an efficient tacit knowledge management provide an organization with a competitive advantage, it is important to give it the right definition. New KM approaches have appeared trying to deal with tacit knowledge. Hansen et al. (1999) distinguished between two different types of strategies depending on the tacit and explicit knowledge focus. Respectively, at the core of the codification strategy is the conversion of individual knowledge to organizational knowledge through the use of databases. And the personalization strategy instead stresses the tacit and contextual aspects of knowledge and experience, relying on the transfer of individuals between different teams. Then, the KM approach accordingly, related to tacit knowledge, calls for the creation of groups or networks that will share knowledge.Wenger (1998) defines those formed groups of workers as the communities of practice. He studied how the know-how was shared among workers in large organizations showing that mostly information was exchanged in informal meetings. A community of practice is different from a team; it is defined by knowledge rather than by task. More recently, many examples of communities of practice have been created in organizations, but have different names. Gongla and Rizzuto (2001) mentioned some of them such as ‘learning communities’ at Hewlett-Packard Company, ‘thematic groups’ at the World Bank, ‘peer groups’ at British Petroleum, and ‘knowledge networks’ at IBM Global Services.Information Communication Technologies and Knowledge Management Systems:Knowledge sharing and creation- the aim of all communities of practice, has been recently boosted by the introduction of the information and communication technologies (ICTs) in order to allow more information handling. It has established itself as an important tool for communication and information exchange between people. Some authors even seem to equate knowledge management with the introduction of specific ICTs applications like intranets, and groupware. The role of ICTs in knowledge management is once again to extract, and codify knowledge, whether it is explicit or implicit knowledge. As Malhotra (2000) said, knowledge management embodies organizational processes that seek synergistic combination of data and information-processing, capacity information technologies, and the creative and innovative capacity of human beings.
The supportive role of ICTs for tacit knowledge management has been discussed by many KM practitioners. Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) described two modes of organizational knowledge creation related to the transfer and sharing of tacit knowledge; socialization referring to the transfer of individual tacit knowledge to organizational tacit knowledge, and externalization which is converting tacit knowledge based on experience to objective explicit knowledge. In fact, those two modes of dealing with tacit knowledge are supported by ICTs; Scott (1998) stated that to facilitate socialization, virtual teams use visual cues (signals) from observation and rich media such as animation, graphics, audio, video-conferencing, the chat feature of the internet, and virtual reality. Before that, Cohen and Bacdayan (1994) mentioned that the multimedia capabilities of the intranet, such as video clips, demonstrate organizational procedures that cannot be easily communicated or when language barriers exist. Concerning the mode of externalization, the transfer difficulty of ‘sticky’ tacit knowledge- as named by Von Hippel (1994) is mainly due to the unknown rules of expertise, which means that there are no specific methods to externalize tacit knowledge. This author also stated that iterative prototyping has been used successfully to externalize ‘sticky’ user requirements, since as mentioned more recently by Ba et al. (1997), animation, video clips, virtual reality and other technologies enhance presentation of prototypes on the intranet. Also, Scott (1998) identified the hyperlinking capability as a mean of reducing cognitive overload and capturing tacit knowledge. Hyperlinking encourages context sharing which enables tacit knowledge dimension to be communicated via the emergence of explicit relationships, according to Gundry and Metes (1996).Whereas Davenport and Prusak (1998) stated that the technology cannot make organizations more ‘knowledgeable’. In the sense that, the ICTs-driven KM approaches stress only the codifiable, explicit aspects of knowledge while ignoring the tacit aspects (Blackler, 1995). In fact, Hansen et al. (1999) mentioned that if an organization KM strategy is aimed at personalization- bringing people together for the purpose of exchanging tacit knowledge, investing in ICTs would not be advantageous. Thus, the importance of tacit knowledge for knowledge creation is determining the value and limitations of the ICTs since its basic goal is supposed to be the articulation of knowledge.The other issue concerning the emergence of ICTs-driven KM approaches is that the focus on explicit knowledge management could leave no place for the tacit knowledge to be produced. This is a very recent concept mentioned by Clergeau (2005) while she focused her study on the role of ICTs in information exchange at three call centers. In fact, the ICTs-based Taylorim- as she named it- codifies intensively knowledge leaving no space for individuals, inside an organization, to create and share their tacit knowledge. As the journalist Sydney J. Harris said: ‘real danger is not that computers will begin to think like men, but that men will begin to think like computers’. At that level, the knowledge and individual experience of workers are no more considered as unique and the organization does not promote learning. This issue is also due to the non-awareness of the top and middle class organization management of the importance of the tacit knowledge. In fact, KMSs are manipulated by people and some practitioners do not attach the right value to tacit knowledge. Some even think that it is not necessary to externalize knowledge, though, to share it with others. Thus, some think that it would be better to look for complementarities rather than sharing their own knowledge.To conclude, all those factors demonstrate the importance of an adequate atmosphere for the act of knowledge sharing. Davenport and Prusak (1997) stated that the creation and testing of knowledge is a social activity and, as such, requires environments that provide extensive opportunities for communication and experimentation. So, since the social activity- tacit knowledge – requires an adequate environment in order to be efficiently created and shared, it is interesting to see if knowledge management systems (KMS) based on ICTs are the right environment for such knowledge management. Clearly, this urges the need for discovering the adequate KMSs for tacit knowledge management.Copyright (c) 2006 Nouha TAIFI

Is Your Online Business Making This Mistake?

You have a good website, you are focused on your product, you work hard at the business and yet your website is not delivering the expected… What went wrong?Mike Carlson (name changed) had a website that was perfectly in all aspects- it was running well, looked good and it was even on page one for some keywords. Yet he was getting practically no traffic and his conversions were abysmal.Mike is no exception. There are plenty of entrepreneurs with online businesses who are unsuccessful in attracting traffic.Mike just failed to plan well.What Mike planned was that “I will sell this product, target this keyword and have an online shopping cart for 24 hour accessibility”Mike failed to plan a strategy. He did not plan how to achieve his targets. He just planned what he wanted to do.”Failing to plan is planning to fail”,you’ve heard this before. This is particularly true for businesses and no prizes for guessing; this applies to online business too. If you have decided to do business online and you have no plan, you are doomed to fail. Online business plans must be focused on all business activities which will lead you to your goal, help you to reallocate your resources to optimum use, analyze and make corrections & adjustments to get back on track if you ever deviate from your goals.In the world of e-commerce you need specific planning- What ecommerce business do you want to start?
– Is there a demand for the product?
– Is it too niche to generate revenue?
– How much revenue do you plan to target in the first year of business?The above questions will help you decide the selling price and the number of people who must purchase your product for you to achieve the target. Your conversion rate will more or less depend on the conversion rates of your industry.Once you get an approximate figure you can calculate the number of visitors you wish to browse your site. Then to need a workable plan which will get the required number of people to your website. This means that you much finalize what phrases are being used to search for the product and target the ones relevant to your product and traffic estimations.A proper business plan will establish your business goals and eliminate unrelated unnecessary activities. After asking yourself the above questions you have a clear view of what you want from your online business in a given timeframe.Online business plans may differ but there are a few broad guidelines which all such plans should include. They are knowledge of your market, content management and integrating your website design with SEO. Once you have the idea of a niche item you want to deal in you need to find the market for it. Then you need to refresh your website content periodically for search engines to fall in love with you. Your website planning, development, management and marketing strategies should be integrated with your business model for perfect harmony between each other.An analysis of Mike’s business was that he just started selling products outright, targeting low traffic keywords and not finding the right people or the right market. In fact he was selling niche products to a generic audience. He did not research and did not plan long term He just focused on the present.Know your customersHere is some basic information that is needed before you launch your online business:1. Who is my prospect?- Demographic informationa. Where do they live?
b. What is their income group?
c. What is their age group?
d. What is their family size?
e. What is their profession?
f. Psychographic information
g. What is their lifestyle?
h. What are their beliefs?
I. What are their radio/TV watching habits?2. Product usage information- What is their hot button issue that your products or services address?
– How do they use your products/servicesa. How much?
b. How much money do they spend?
c. What are their expectations from the products/services that you offer?3. What is my prospects internet usage behavior?a. What percent of your prospects look for your product/service on the internet vs. Yellow Pages?
b. What keywords or key phrases do they use to search products or services that you offer?
c. What percent of your prospects purchase your product/service over the internet?
d. What makes them decide to buy on the web vs. in store?The plan for online business is very different from the plan for normal brick and mortar business. This business runs 24×7 non stop and closes as and when you, the business owner wants.Focus on the customer- What benefits do my products give my customers?
– How can I maintain their satisfaction levels?
– Why will the customers buy my products?
– How do I reach my target customers?These are some questions which should be answered by your online business plan. Traffic generation is very important for this business and you may opt for free (article, blog, forum marketing) or paid (solo ad, Pay-per-click marketing, SEO) methods to generate more and more traffic.The goals in your plan should be realistic, measurable and appropriate to your skill level and time scale. Your plan should include the details such as start-up costs, labor needs product quality, competition, the size of your potential market, profitability, necessary product support, legal issues and regulatory concerns, associated costs like shipping, inventory and repeat business potential and cross-selling potential.Keep asking yourself these questions…- How many visitors are coming to the site?
– How many visitors are new vs. old?
– How long does each visitor stay on your site?
– What does each visitor look at?
– What graphics, words, pictures, etc are generating the most responses?
– Which search engines are getting you the best prospects?
– Where else are your customers coming from?
– How many pages does the visitor look at?
– What are your website rankings?
– How much money have you made from the average visitor?
– Who are your biggest money-making customers?
– If you use PPC is it working and paying for itself?
– Which links are bringing your visitors and are they converting to customers?Last but not the least, online business should invariably be related to something you love to do. The product or business should have an attraction value for you which will help you to not get bored while the time flies. A majority of businesses fail during the first two years after inception, mostly because its owners are no longer willing to put in the work needed to make it grow. By picking an area in which you have a natural affection and aptitude in, you will increase the chances of making your online business more than just passing fancy.So get going and don’t forget to fail to plan a complete strategy.Copyright (c) 2009 Ajay Prasad