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It, too, was punished by risk-averse investors in and the first half of But as you can see from a chart of EWW, interest in the country is picking up. The government signed free trade agreements with 44 other nations, which is more than twice as many as China and four times more than Brazil. Mexico shares a 2,mile border with the U. Although China can still make most products at a lower cost, the advantage usually disappears when transportation expenses are included.
Mexico is in the same time zone as most of its customers; instead of waiting until the middle of the night or the next day to call a supplier in China or India, a U. Mexico also has a young, well-educated and energetic workforce. Over half the population is under Taken together, the recommendations paint a convincing picture of a fantastic place to invest in See our special offer for the Top Picks for here and enjoy the Top Picks issue and a year of bi-weekly issues at a limited-time special reduced rate.
Cancel Reply. You must log in to post a comment. Remember Me This setting should only be used on your home or work computer. The Top Investment Trend of Enter Your Log In Credentials. The media and consulting company maintains a brick-and-mortar space in Sunnyvale, Calif.
Several developments have facilitated the rise of a virtual workplace. Nearly 6 million Americans work from home, according to the U. Census Bureau. Cloud computing enables data backups and remote collaboration in real time. And group video chat--videoconferencing 2. Even traditional back-office departments are moving toward virtualization. Recently a number of third-party companies have popped up to provide services such as human resources, payroll and benefits.
Some of these providers, including Algentis and Insperity, offer customizable online portals for each employee. Of course many companies--big ones, especially--won't give up on physical offices entirely. But experts say that in order to succeed, these firms should completely rethink their layouts, creating work environments that provide employees with a range of options. Gartner's Austin predicts that rather than the cube farms and conference rooms of yore, workspaces will come to evoke areas of the typical home--open floor plans with couches and soft rugs; cozy, kitchen-like spaces with waist-high countertops; and covered outdoor patios with chaise longues.
Or, says Kevin Kuske--chief brand advocate and general manager for Turnstone, an office-furniture company in Grand Rapids, Mich. These days more CEOs are getting the memo on the value of fun in the workplace and its contribution to the bottom line. The prevailing wisdom is that a spirit of playfulness builds teamwork by bringing employees together in a collaborative setting. Just look at one of Zappos' core values:"Create fun and a little weirdness. Southwest Airlines has been the poster child for playfulness in the workplace since its founding in by fun-loving Herb Kelleher.
The opposite of play is depression. Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play, says a positive spirit should start from the top. Boyle touched on this idea during a presentation at the Creative Innovation conference in Melbourne, Australia. These days playful leadership may be most famously reflected in the businesses of Silicon Valley--but not just in the grand, in-house gaming arcades and bowling alleys of the early internet days.
Fun-based leadership has gone in a decidedly more grown-up and community-anchored direction. At Thumbtack, a San Francisco firm that helps consumers find and hire local service professionals online, employees sit down to lunches prepared by a professional chef.
The company culture grew organically from Thumbtack's origins, Zappacosta notes, when most of the founders all lived--and worked--in his brother's house. But at the end of the day we're not so wrapped up in it that we can't joke about it. Botox, schmotox. When it comes to anti-aging solutions, beauty seekers are starting to thumb their noses at injections in favor of "cosmeceuticals," personal-care products with supposed skin-enhancing ingredients. Another research firm, Freedonia Group, predicts that demand for cosmetic chemicals will jump 4.
This growth will be driven by products advertising "active and natural" ingredients like rice-enzyme powders and rainforest plant extracts, such as those from Lily Herbceuticals--which uses exotic ingredients like the Tibetan Snow Lotus, a flower that survives in the Himalayas at 21, feet above sea level and 70 degrees below zero--and Personal Cell Sciences' U Autologous, a skincare line that incorporates customers' own stem cells in the service of anti-aging.
Lindsey Guest, founder and CEO of San Francisco-based BeautyArmy , a year-old tech company that uses algorithms to match individuals with personalized beauty samples, says the number of skincare lines on the market has quadrupled over the last five years.
It's an especially lucrative category because of an urban and affluent customer base willing to pay a premium for the latest innovations. DermStore has seen annual growth of 50 percent for the last three years. Katia Beauchamp, co-founder and co-CEO of Birchbox , a New York City-based discovery shopping service for beauty, grooming and lifestyle products, says that no matter the age of the consumer, spending is trending toward higher-performance products. A recent company survey revealed that BB creams--all-in-one products that work as a serum, moisturizer, primer, foundation and sunblock and were originally developed to protect skin after cosmetic surgery--are now finding mainstream use as a daily skincare option and are most popular among the under set.
Beauty may only be skin deep, but consumers' desire to chase it offers endless potential for companies' bottom lines. Hot sauce has caught fire. In April research firm IBISWorld declared manufacturing of the spicy condiment to be one of the 10 fastest-growing industries in the U. Beyond established companies, thousands of kitchen and garage cooks have begun decocting their own spicy blends, with dozens of new sauces hitting local shelves and mail-order catalogs each year.
A quick survey of recent entrepreneurial sauciers included a year-old boy from North Carolina, a formerly homeless veteran who used sauce to rebuild his life and a Palo Alto, Calif. Even the industry's largest player--Avery Island, La. So what has transformed Americans from ketchup slaves to salsa-swilling heat addicts? With that comes demand for zippy condiments like Vietnamese sriracha, Korean chili paste and more complex versions of Mexican salsas. Research firm Mintel reports that sales of sauces and marinades--including hot sauces--jumped 20 percent between and and are expected to increase another 19 percent by , mainly because people are increasingly cooking at home to save money and want to re-create those international flavors they have come to enjoy while eating out.
At the same time, DeWitt says, hot sauces are maturing. Instead of focusing on extreme heat or crude names like Slap Your Mama and Blow It Out Your Ass, companies are doubling down on flavor, experimenting with fruit-based sauces and toning down some of the heat to appeal to a wider consumer base. Blair Lazar, who founded Highlands, N.
Now people can order bottles and get labels off the internet," Lazar says. But the most important reason for the trend, he contends, is that Americans, like much of the rest of the world, have simply fallen in love with heat: "We're not a bland society, that's for sure, so why not turn it up a bit? Whether it's synthesized caffeine in a mass-produced beverage or a naturally occurring jolt in an organic snack, energy products are lifting off. Since flying in on Red Bull's wings in the s, energy-enhancing products have grown into a multibillion-dollar industry fueled by young consumers.
Tom Vierhile, innovation insights director for Datamonitor , a business information and market analysis firm, estimates that the energy drink category will grow 8. He notes a recent survey in which nearly 30 percent of U. Supercharged food products are also on the rise. But he isn't referring to novelty items like caffeinated waffles. YouBar , a Los Angeles-based manufacturer of customized energy bars, has been filling that need since its launch--and has grown every year since.
At YouBars. Owner Anthony Flynn says sales increased percent in , and he expects them to double again this year. Other companies are pursuing the all-natural energy path, too, even if it means diverging from their core business. Pyure Brands, a Naples, Fla. Whatever the reason--staying awake to complete a business plan, cramming the night before a presentation or just remaining alert throughout the workday--clearly, says Datamonitor's Vierhile, "there is an interest in energy.
Meanwhile, consultancy ABI Research estimates that sales of wearable wireless health-monitoring devices will grow from less than 3 million units in to 36 million by , pushed by rapid growth in the senior in-home care market. Early players in the mobile-health space include Happtique, an app-management company that helps healthcare professionals integrate digital technologies into their treatment programs, and Proteus Digital Health, inventors of a sand-grain-size ingestible sensor that monitors physiological and behavioral metrics from within a patient's body.
Startups, of course, want in. The money has caught up, too. Hogg's company is developing an app that uses large data sets to assess behavior and spur healthier living habits--only now possible because of a sea change in the way people collect and share their own data. They haven't had this power and access to the tools and services to make it possible before," he explains. So don't be surprised if, in a few years, your virtual doctor's visit ends with a prescription for both pills and apps.
Experts agree: Weary consumers have had enough of false promises and conflicting marketing claims and are simply seeking brands they can trust. People are more likely to do business with a company they trust, which means [trust] generates revenue and increases the enterprise value of the company. A survey conducted by Concerto Marketing Group found that when people trust a brand , 83 percent will recommend it to others; 82 percent will use its products and services frequently; 78 percent will look to it first for the things they want; and 78 percent will give its other products and services a chance.
How do you earn that trust? Start with a brand story containing a human element to which consumers can relate, says Mark Lawrence, co-founder and CEO of SpotHero, a Chicago-based online parking reservation provider. Once an emotional connection is made, it's important to stay true to that brand promise to prolong the sense of trust. When high heels start to rub, consumers today can take the edge off with a visit to a vending machine--and not just for a soul-soothing candy bar.
It's simple, and they can go on their way. Last year Ross and business partner Lindsay Klimitz bought the U. The size of the U. And while nearly 95 percent of that revenue came from traditional options such as beverages and snacks, NAMA president and CEO Carla Balakgie believes recent innovations like touchscreen technology, electronic payment options and unique products could drive the industry forward.
The U. But new companies are bringing new products to stateside machines all the time. The Sandbox's Beach Shop in a Box dispenses essentials like sunscreen, sunglasses, beach balls and towels. And Greenaid's seedbomb vending machines--part of the company's "guerrilla gardening efforts"--dispense balls of clay, compost and seeds that can be thrown into sidewalk cracks or barren parking lots to grow a little green.
It's no surprise that creative financing is on the upswing. More people are starting businesses than before the economy tanked--but traditional business lending is still faltering. Little wonder that alternative financing methods--crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending sites, online pawn shops, you name it--have become so popular.
Take microlending. In Accion East, a leading U. According to Accion East CEO Paul Quintero, it's the same story at the four sister organizations in Accion's national network: more entrepreneurs applying for loans and more microloans disbursed. Also gaining in popularity is revenue-based financing RBF , which is repaid based on the lendee's monthly sales. Entrepreneurs are also flocking to collateral-free loans, particularly short-term ones. Consider merchant cash advances, in which restaurants, retailers and other businesses doing a high volume of card transactions receive a lump sum in exchange for a cut of future credit or debit card sales--often about 25 percent.
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The Halo Report analyzes angel investment activity and trends in the United States. Here are a couple interesting highlights. 1) Submerging Markets The relative underperformance of emerging market stocks (NYSEARCA:VWO) in places like China and Brazil compared to. Investment trends Over the course of the past six years, Global University Venturing has tracked more than 2, investments in spinouts– add in.