Natural Ethnic Skin Care: What You Need to Know

Long known, is the fact that there are very few natural ethnic skin care products in the mainstream cosmetics industry to address skin of color properly. Seems almost everything formulated for our skin in the ethnic market is either too drying, too irritating, too greasy, or just plain too ineffective.What makes some formulators of these products think these type of products are going to help our skin? One would wonder what they were thinking. Is there any hope?It is extremely pleasing to say ‘indeed yes’, there is. Start using natural ethnic skin care products. Stop using toxic products. We know just how sensitive our skin is, so the first thing we need to do is avoid chemical-laden skin care and personal care products like the plague.These types of products can prove to be devastating to our skin in many ways. Unfortunately, these products were saturating and even dominating the cosmetics industry for quite some time.In both the ethnic personal care market as well as the mainstream personal care market, there’s a lot left to be desired. By now, you probably have a good idea why it is not recommended to use most mainstream personal care products for sensitive skin of color. Not to worry, natural personal care products are the answer.Natural Skin Care: Herbs Make the Difference for Ethnic SkinWhen it comes to natural skin care, herbs contained in products can have a very positive impact on ethnic skin. There is a fundamental difference in the way herbal skin care and conventional skin care works.Herbs themselves, contain not only single active constituents, but many active constituents that provide necessary nutrients to the skin. These multiple compounds acting together, can more effectively address skin problems from every angle.Remember, plant cells and human cells are very compatible. What does all this mean? It means that herbals treat not just the symptoms, but the underlying cause of any existing skin or health condition more effectively.It is well-known that herbs are more gentle in nature, on not only the skin, but the body as a whole. This can be attributed to the fact that herbs have been extracted as naturally occurring substances. Herbs are gentle and do not produce any major, toxic side effects on skin.This is especially beneficial for skin of color, as it is more reactive by nature than most other skin types and needs both the gentlest, and most effective treatment. Make no mistake about it, herbal skin care may be gentler, but this does not mean it is less effective. You’ll be pleasantly surprised!Remember, 60-70% of what you put on your skin has the ability to penetrate your pores and eventually end up in your blood stream. If you are going to use products to address your skin condition, why not use something naturally healthy as well?Natural products either purchased or home-made from natural ingredients, should be the preferred choice before conventional personal care products are sought after from the mainstream cosmetics industry.Herbals vs. Modern Drugs in the Skin Care IndustryModern drugs contained in mainstream or conventional skin care products (including benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, kojic acid, etc.) are manufactured in laboratories and then produced in mass quantities in factories.Before reaching the general public, these drugs are tested on a large number of users. The knowledge that forms the basis of the conventional or mainstream skin care industry is based on experimental findings and observations.To that extent, herbal treatments are also supported through years of fact-based evidence that has accumulated over generations and across cultures, thus their value is well-known.The unfortunate fact is that the approach to testing herbal beauty remedies has not been as thorough and rigorous as the testing that is seen in the mainstream beauty industry.So much money has been put into funding the analysis of modern drugs (also contained in many skin care products) that they should be able to produce evidence for the benefits of herbal treatments. In the modern drug and personal care markets, it’s all about the money.It is much less cost-effective for mainstream cosmetic and skin care makers to produce active, natural and organic skin care products than to produce unnatural and even unsafe ones.Remember that herbal treatments are different in that they are a complex mixture of a variety of active compounds. These active compounds work together to heal skin more effectively and are difficult to separate making duplication and measurement a difficult task for the mainstream formulator.One Word of CautionWhen selecting herbal ethnic skin care products for our dark skin, we must still be cautious for our skin’s sake. Beware of companies who tout themselves as offering you so-called ‘natural’, ‘herbal’ and ‘organic’ skin or hair care products and they really are not!When it comes down to it, there may be tiny amounts of only one, two or maybe even three organic and/or natural ingredients in the entire product followed or preceded by a host of chemical ingredients such as coloring agents, preservatives, stabilizers, thickeners, PH balancers, fragrance and such. Please read labels carefully. Avoid these products. Your skin will thank you.The Bottom LineDark skin types should be treated with the thorough understanding of our skin’s characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses. Once we understand this, we can treat it more effectively with natural herbs and avoid the recurrence of excessive skin problems. We can start by becoming more educated about our beautiful dark skin (you are because you’re reading this article).First, avoid unhealthy and unnatural skin care products, incorporate more fresh, nutrient rich foods in our diets, and use natural ethnic skin care products designed for ‘us’ (even if you have to make your own). You’re on your way!

How to Increase Your Online Travel Service Ratings

Online travel service ratings are being regarded as the backbone of travel and tourism service providers. The web travel and tourism industry has evolved quite dramatically in the past one decade. Today, an increasing number of people turn to search engines to plan their holidays and vacations, offering potential opportunities for online travel service providers to expand their business.However, your potential customers are more informed today and your competitors are even hungrier. In the face of intense competition in a rapidly evolving travel business, the web travel service ratings play a key role to help sustain your travel and tourism business.Therefore, it is imperative for the online tourism service providers to focus on the following points in order to boost their travel service ratings.Offer Attractive Vacation Packages: Your prospective customers are web-savvy and search the Internet for the best vacation packages before they book for their holiday online. They may not be looking for the exact vacation package you offer. Therefore, allow the customers to assemble their own trip by empowering them with customization. This will help improve the online travel service ratings for your business.Encourage After-trip Feedback:When your customers are back from their trip, encourage them to share their travel experience with you by offering valuable feedback. This not only allows your customers to feel privileged, but also offers you an opportunity to take your service quality further and build a bonding with the customers. This may go a long way to increase the online travel service ratings for your company.Introduce Coupons for Loyal Customers:Treating your loyal customers with care is crucial to building your online travel business further up. Make sure you offer special discount coupons to your repeat customers. This offers them a very good feeling about why they should use your website again and again.Build Long-term Relationship: Online travel service providers should foster a long-term relationship with their customers in order to ensure repeat business. You should stay connected to your customers round the year by introducing them new tour offers and special tourism packages based on their past vacation priorities. For instance, you can send news letters to your customers about any attractive tour discounts they may take advantage of. Again, this may add to the online travel service ratings for your business.Allow Customers to Write Reviews: In order to boost online travel service ratings, you should encourage satisfied customers to write reviews about your services. You can be sure that these reviews will further influence other people to sign up for your services. User reviews add credibility to your services since it is a direct reflection of the satisfaction of clients. Not only can they make your ratings go up, but they also invite other clients.Run A Travel Blog: When it comes to improving your online travel service ratings, nothing works like running a travel blog. It is essentially a fun way to interact with your potential customers and show them the beautiful side of signing up with your tour services.You can also allow your satisfied customers to contribute to your blogs occasionally as guests. This not only creates a sense of value among your customers but also adds to the credibility of your travel business among many other potential customers.Focus on Social Integration: Social networks are the epicenter of product promotion for online service providers, especially in the travel and tourism industry. Developing a powerful social presence via Facebook fan page, Twitter and LinkedIn is almost inevitable to promote your travel business online. When you allow your satisfied customers to write a review or share their tour pictures with you on your Facebook fan page, it works wonders for other potential customers.A dedicated approach to maintaining your social presence can go a long way in ensuring excellent customer satisfactions and online travel service ratings.

Alternative Financing Vs. Venture Capital: Which Option Is Best for Boosting Working Capital?

There are several potential financing options available to cash-strapped businesses that need a healthy dose of working capital. A bank loan or line of credit is often the first option that owners think of – and for businesses that qualify, this may be the best option.

In today’s uncertain business, economic and regulatory environment, qualifying for a bank loan can be difficult – especially for start-up companies and those that have experienced any type of financial difficulty. Sometimes, owners of businesses that don’t qualify for a bank loan decide that seeking venture capital or bringing on equity investors are other viable options.

But are they really? While there are some potential benefits to bringing venture capital and so-called “angel” investors into your business, there are drawbacks as well. Unfortunately, owners sometimes don’t think about these drawbacks until the ink has dried on a contract with a venture capitalist or angel investor – and it’s too late to back out of the deal.

Different Types of Financing

One problem with bringing in equity investors to help provide a working capital boost is that working capital and equity are really two different types of financing.

Working capital – or the money that is used to pay business expenses incurred during the time lag until cash from sales (or accounts receivable) is collected – is short-term in nature, so it should be financed via a short-term financing tool. Equity, however, should generally be used to finance rapid growth, business expansion, acquisitions or the purchase of long-term assets, which are defined as assets that are repaid over more than one 12-month business cycle.

But the biggest drawback to bringing equity investors into your business is a potential loss of control. When you sell equity (or shares) in your business to venture capitalists or angels, you are giving up a percentage of ownership in your business, and you may be doing so at an inopportune time. With this dilution of ownership most often comes a loss of control over some or all of the most important business decisions that must be made.

Sometimes, owners are enticed to sell equity by the fact that there is little (if any) out-of-pocket expense. Unlike debt financing, you don’t usually pay interest with equity financing. The equity investor gains its return via the ownership stake gained in your business. But the long-term “cost” of selling equity is always much higher than the short-term cost of debt, in terms of both actual cash cost as well as soft costs like the loss of control and stewardship of your company and the potential future value of the ownership shares that are sold.

Alternative Financing Solutions

But what if your business needs working capital and you don’t qualify for a bank loan or line of credit? Alternative financing solutions are often appropriate for injecting working capital into businesses in this situation. Three of the most common types of alternative financing used by such businesses are:

1. Full-Service Factoring – Businesses sell outstanding accounts receivable on an ongoing basis to a commercial finance (or factoring) company at a discount. The factoring company then manages the receivable until it is paid. Factoring is a well-established and accepted method of temporary alternative finance that is especially well-suited for rapidly growing companies and those with customer concentrations.

2. Accounts Receivable (A/R) Financing – A/R financing is an ideal solution for companies that are not yet bankable but have a stable financial condition and a more diverse customer base. Here, the business provides details on all accounts receivable and pledges those assets as collateral. The proceeds of those receivables are sent to a lockbox while the finance company calculates a borrowing base to determine the amount the company can borrow. When the borrower needs money, it makes an advance request and the finance company advances money using a percentage of the accounts receivable.

3. Asset-Based Lending (ABL) – This is a credit facility secured by all of a company’s assets, which may include A/R, equipment and inventory. Unlike with factoring, the business continues to manage and collect its own receivables and submits collateral reports on an ongoing basis to the finance company, which will review and periodically audit the reports.

In addition to providing working capital and enabling owners to maintain business control, alternative financing may provide other benefits as well:

It’s easy to determine the exact cost of financing and obtain an increase.
Professional collateral management can be included depending on the facility type and the lender.
Real-time, online interactive reporting is often available.
It may provide the business with access to more capital.
It’s flexible – financing ebbs and flows with the business’ needs.
It’s important to note that there are some circumstances in which equity is a viable and attractive financing solution. This is especially true in cases of business expansion and acquisition and new product launches – these are capital needs that are not generally well suited to debt financing. However, equity is not usually the appropriate financing solution to solve a working capital problem or help plug a cash-flow gap.

A Precious Commodity

Remember that business equity is a precious commodity that should only be considered under the right circumstances and at the right time. When equity financing is sought, ideally this should be done at a time when the company has good growth prospects and a significant cash need for this growth. Ideally, majority ownership (and thus, absolute control) should remain with the company founder(s).

Alternative financing solutions like factoring, A/R financing and ABL can provide the working capital boost many cash-strapped businesses that don’t qualify for bank financing need – without diluting ownership and possibly giving up business control at an inopportune time for the owner. If and when these companies become bankable later, it’s often an easy transition to a traditional bank line of credit. Your banker may be able to refer you to a commercial finance company that can offer the right type of alternative financing solution for your particular situation.

Taking the time to understand all the different financing options available to your business, and the pros and cons of each, is the best way to make sure you choose the best option for your business. The use of alternative financing can help your company grow without diluting your ownership. After all, it’s your business – shouldn’t you keep as much of it as possible?