December is a magical time of the year, when the glistening shades of red and green adorn the peaceful and serene whites, it is time for Santa to ride his sledge down the lanes. Christmas is one of the most awaited festivals of the year and with it comes the time for sharing and the time for exchanging gifts. It is hard to imagine celebrating Christmas in the modern world without thinking about giving gifts. The giving of gifts goes back to the gifts of the magi, or wise men to the Christ child. Originally gifts were tied on the Christmas tree and they were opened when the tree was taken down, which was on January 6th, the feast of Epiphany, or the coming of the wise men. It only was later that St. Nicholas started first putting small gifts into shoes and stockings of needy children in early December and then that evolved into gift giving on Christmas and the idea of Santa Claus.

For many families today, giving Christmas gifts to India is also about making a special time to show loved ones how much you care. Many people spend lots of money and buy nice things to give as Christmas presents. The Christmas Holidays is a time that should be filled with peace, carols, family, and friends. It's easy to get carried away with the spirit of giving during the holidays. Between Santas at every shopping mall, carols everywhere and the constant lure of ads for the latest toys and trinkets, one can indulge their desire to please their loved ones and feel good in the process.

Christmas is the only season that fills the air with so much love. As they say - it is the time of giving and receiving. Although it is delightful to receive gifts, giving Christmas gifts can be very fulfilling.Christmas is a celebrated festival, however, every year most people get stressed out about choosing gifts. Choosing suitable gifts for each one can get to be difficult and time consuming. Whether you're young and still live at home or older and out on your own, choosing Christmas gifts for all your near and dear ones can be quite a task. Don’t let struggling over what to buy your near and dear ones put a damper on your Christmas holiday spirit.

Now you can combine the joy of finding that perfect gift, with the comfort of shopping from your own home. Send Christmas gifts online and save time travelling to stores and standing in queues. Make this Christmas extra special by getting the gifts that they would love to have by choosing from the wide range of Christmas gift hampers that are available online.

Also read on - Online shopping sites in India

A business requires extremely proficient and intelligent tools that help boost efficiency and performance. An accelerated efficiency is necessary to ensure timely delivery of goods and services thereby creating an impressionable mark on customers. One of the most important factors that have predominant effects on your business is logistics and supply chain management. To achieve success in business a streamlined and highly integrated logistics and supply chain management process is a must. Solutions that possess robust capabilities to accommodate dynamic changes in the business environment without affecting the routine processes are ideal.

Handling the logistics and supply chain management process is not everybody’s forte. It requires a high degree of expertise to carry out the operations without creating any adverse reactions. The solutions have to provide integration between the various technologies and the legacy elements in order to boost faster-time –to market and reduce costs. They have to deploy comprehensive contract management solutions that encompass a gamut of services such as vendor selection, contract documents management, rates and pricing management, payments and after deliveries, discrepancies pertaining to audits and reports.

It should have a reliable structure that helps in collecting, managing and analyzing high volumes of data relevant to commercial shipments, inventory and distribution. The logistics and supply chain management solutions should provide high secured services and deploy applications for mobile asset tracking purposes.  Employing business intelligence tools provide cost-effective and revenue enhancing solutions. They help in optimizing the processes and leverage the performance levels providing your business with increased ROI.

Regular auditing the performance levels of your business gives you an idea regarding the progress that is made. You need solutions that provide you with speedy and successful results. As the environment is a dynamic one your business has to be agile and flexible to avoid any failures. Thus it is wise idea to take assistance from professional teams that provide offshore development services. The team consists of highly qualified personnel who assess the entire situation before providing you with solutions that are tailored to meet specific requirements. The advisory services delivered by the team of professionals are of global standards.

If you take the right steps in business you are sure to make profitable gains. In order to move ahead in the competition you need to implement professional solutions that guide your business towards the ultimate goal without much delays and obstructions. You will be provided with increased and enriching returns.

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Many international companies having  operations in China are bound to be hit by the two new surtaxes that will affect their tax filings starting in January 2011.Foreign enterprises, foreign invested enterprises, and foreign individuals in China must now pay the Urban Construction and Maintenance Tax as well as an Education Surcharge. Earlier, these taxes were only imposed on domestic enterprises and Chinese individuals with foreign enterprises, but now all tax payers of China's indirect taxes must pay.

A brief about the surtax

This surtax is calculated as a percentage of the actual amount of the Value Added Tax (VAT), the consumption tax and the business tax paid by the taxpayers. While the Education Surcharge is 3 percent across the board, the rate for the Urban Construction and Maintenance Tax varies by location. In city areas like Shanghai and Beijing, the rate is 7 percent, while in county and township areas the rate is 5 percent, and in other, less populated areas the rate is as low as 1 percent.

As per the principle of tax burden sharing, those who benefit, pay and those who benefit more will pay more. The two surtaxes will increase the cost of doing business in China or with China. For instance,  a foreign enterprise providing consulting services to a Chinese enterprise in Shanghai, will need to pay a business tax of 5 percent of the service fee as well as an additional surcharge of 0.5% of the service fee [5% x (7% + 3%)]. The recent change in law is another effort by the Chinese government to put domestic enterprises on an equal footing with foreign enterprises and foreign invested enterprises. Two years ago China unified its enterprise income tax law for the first time.

Foreign companies need to prepare to for the tax increase and review the effect on their business plans. These two surcharges should start to apply to the tax filing of Foreign Invested Enterprises conducted in the month of January2011.

Do you need the help of an expert?

In the current economic climate, the last thing you want to do is to pay your hard-earned profits as unnecessary taxes when doing business overseas. To overcome any challenges in taxation, it is best to partner with an expert to help simplify the process. They have the complete up-to date information on how to keep up with the ever changing laws regarding expat tax, global transfer pricing, regulatory filings, to name a few. A dependable professional partner in an international expansion can help eliminate the anxieties concerning your overseas expansion project and allow you to focus on building your business alone.

Click here for more on :- expat tax advice & intercompany transfer pricing

Christmas, celebrated as a major festival commemorates the birth of Jesus and is treated as a public holiday around the world. The Christmas cheer runs through to some of the non-Christian communities too. In some countries, where Christians are still a minority, Christmas is a popular festival and many have adopted the secular aspects of Christmas such as planting Christmas trees, decorations and gifting during Christmas. Family reunions and exchange of gifts is the common feature during the season.

Taking cue from the biblical Magi when gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh were given to the infant Jesus, and later from the stories associated to St.Nicholas, gifting and exchange of Christmas gifts has become one of the core aspects of modern day Christmas. Christmas gifts to India shopping has made Christmas one of the most profitable time of the year for businesses around the world especially the retail sectors.

Gifting brings to mind friends and family and finding the ideal gift for them need not be a stressful event or   a chore, but should be fun and easy.  Whether one is looking for Stocking fillers for the younger generation or a secret Santa gift for the a dear friend, a precious gift for the special someone, a gift for Mom and Dad or for little sis, choosing from a store which gives the choice on a platter makes Christmas gift shopping very easy. A number of online shopping portals now offer everything from Christmas gifts to Christmas décor.

The online shopping stores have a range of Christmas gifts 2011. This could be anything from the choicest Christmas hampers in color coordinated gift baskets, Christmas goodies in ribbon tied gift boxes or Christmas wine hampers. Besides, one can also get customized hampers made from the stores by choosing each product. However, gifts need not be always vast and expensive, it’s the thought that counts more and better so if one can gift others with things they have been longing for.  One can also gift books, cutlery, that special crystal vase Mom wanted, a pair of jogging shoes, a set of golf balls, Aviators from Ray Ban, a manicure set, a box of special chocolate, a bunch of flowers, or a set of saplings to make a effort towards greener environment.

On the corporate front too, this is the season for gifting and enterprises allot funds during the beginning of the year from their budgets towards the Christmas season gifting. Christmas Hampers are the most favorite for the corporate sectors and with so many online shopping stores open find it convenient in sending Christmas gifts online.

Marketing automation has always been a test of patience. Direct and pushy marketing tactics are not practical anymore. Marketers today implement smarter approaches to subtly coax their customers to a point where sales are inevitable. Customers have also become more vigilant and aware of their needs. A smart marketer is one who not only ensures that unwilling customers are converted to relenting ones, but also enjoys their patronage for a long period.  This is called lead nurturing and is a primary requisite for any lead management process.

There is no denying that the lead nurturing process hikes up sales opportunities. Timely action, patience and a persistent attitude help to nurture leads towards definite sales deals. Here are some effective tips that can come in handy while nurturing leads:
  1. Make the Right Impact– Your first impression must be an effective one to grab the attention of your prospects. Ensure that you are attentive to their personal needs and provide the information that they seek. The help that you extend should help customers resolve their issues rather than direct their focus towards your product or service.
  2. Make Your Customers Aware of Your Presence – Constantly remind them of your presence by sharing white papers and case studies from time to time. Make short videos of your products to be distributed amongst your customers. Share your success stories with them. This helps to build your company’s image and make you the preferred choice.
  3. Maintain Brand Image – Once you have managed to convince your prospective customers that your brand is the best one for them, ensure that you do not annoy them with too many messages regarding your products. You can instead keep them constantly engaged with third party information or by hosting webinars and requesting their participation. Send them personalized messages.
  4. Close the Deal – Once you have a fair idea about your prospect’s readiness to purchase, it is time to hand over the responsibility to the sales team. Even after the sales team has taken over you can continue sending your customers emails and free trial offers.

Customers are extremely precious, and they need to be handled with special care. Lead nurturing is a continuous process in which you can evaluate the results of your strategies and pursue your marketing campaign in the best possible manner. Lead intelligence helps to build trust between the customer and you and provides credibility to your brand. Employing automated lead nurturing programs yields positive results as all possibilities of erroneous and ineffective procedures are eliminated giving you accurate details and reports.
Know more - lead management system, lead nurturing software

When economic recession hit the world two years back, it affected businesses very badly. In order to tide over this financial crisis, companies and organizations took some drastic measures such as layoffs, pay cuts, salary freeze and so on. All measures were taken to cut down superfluous spending in all possible ways. Thus, business travel budgets were also reduced as it was considered as an unnecessary spending. Even when the economy recovered, the travel budgets were not restored. Moreover, companies and organizations started preferring virtual meetings to face-to-face meetings as it was considered as a means of saving more time, money and effort. Now with fears of another global recession in the offing, business travel budgets would be further reduced. But is it a smart move to cut business travel budgets? Can virtual meetings take the place of face-to-face meetings? The answer is no.

Research has shown that business travels play an important role in accelerating performance of companies, which in turn helps in developing the global economy. With foreign business markets opening up due to globalization, meetings have become essential for expanding businesses. Though financial crisis has forced several to cut down face-to-face meetings and depend more on virtual meetings, the fact of the matter is in-person meetings is still and would continue to play a greater role in building and fostering relationships.

Importance of Business Travels
Let’s look at some of the factors that make face-to-face meetings more successful than other forms of communication such as mails, emails, voice mails, web meetings, teleconferences and so on.

New Business Relationships
Face-to-face meetings provide opportunity to build market share and develop new customer relationships. It is definitely necessary for businesses to grow and flourish.

Client Contact
In a slow economy, it is very much necessary to maintain mutual trust and faith. It can be nurtured only through in-person meetings.

Human Elements
Though virtual meetings help in faster dissemination of information, it still cannot bring in the human elements possible only with face-to-face meetings.

Morale Booster
Incentive travels helps in boosting the morale of the employees. This brings in job satisfaction, which translates into enhanced employee performance.

Economic Growth
Business travels play a positive role in growing economies, increasing incomes and creating more jobs.

Considering the above aspects, it can be summarized that face-to-face meetings are a necessity and not an extravagance. Instead of cutting down business travel budgets, enterprises must invest in travel expense management software for effective business travel management. It provides better travel spend analysis and helps your business to obtain end-to-end visibility and control of business travel management and expenses.  

Also read on - eprocurementReverse supply chain 
For B2B marketing to succeed, marketers must be able to nurture their leads with the appropriate marketing content. Tracking visit patterns such as a prospect’s online activity footprint, number of site visits, content downloaded, sections visited, knowing whether forms are filled or not, can help in identifying where he is in the buying cycle at all. This detailed understanding of the prospect’s behavior is important to send him the right type of content at the right time.

Buying Cycle and Content Mapping
There are 4 main stages in the buying cycle and the content that needs to be provided to a prospect is different at every stage.

The ‘Research’ Stage:
This is the first and probably the most important stage where content can make a great deal of difference. The prospect has taken the first baby steps acknowledging he has a need and is looking for options. The marketing automation content for lead generationat this stage should address the need expressed. Don’t talk much about the product, just talk about how the company has a solution to his need. Content formats recommended here are thought leadership content including whitepapers, research reports, and interactive content like Webinars.

The ‘Consider’ Stage:
The prospect at this stage knows his need and is considering various products/ services. He now knows that this particular B2B Company can help him solve his need, but does not know much about its product. So it’s time to tell him about it. The marketing content at this stage should talk about the company’s product and its value proposition and how it can solve the prospect’s need. The Content formats recommended are product/service oriented content like features list, data sheet, product videos etc.

The ‘Trial’ Stage
In this stage, the prospect has moved beyond the consideration phase and wants to try the product to see if it fits his requirements.  He might also want to compare the product features with a competitor’s. It is the marketer’s responsibility to make it easy for him to make that comparison. The content strategy at this stage should focus on how he can get the best out of the marketed product and how it is the best product out there. Content formats recommended for lead management at this stage are detailed demos on how to use various features, support documents to help him navigate easily, pricing and competitor feature comparison charts.

The ‘Buy’ Stage
This could be called the golden stage, where the prospect has expressed interest in buying the product/service. This is where the marketer has to assure him that he’s made the right choice and that he can trust the B2B Company. The content strategy at this stage should be to make the whole buying process simple. The prospect should opt for the marketed product knowing he’s gone for the best. Content formats recommended at this stage are customer testimonials and success stories, special discounts, privacy and product security related documents.

In lead generation system putting the customer first and understanding his needat various stages in the buying cycle is the key in formulating an effective content strategy. Content is a powerful weapon in a marketer’s arsenal, but it needs to be used at the right time and should address the right person. Only then, will it be able to make a positive difference.

Also read on -Marketing automation solutions, Lead nurturing best practices
The technological innovations have paved way for the ever-changing business scenario with a greater demand for the next generation applications. Mobility being the keyword of the next-gen, the mobile market has shown a great upsurge and the customers and end users now look for flexible, reliable and secure mobile applications with more processing power. The top players of the mobile eco-system generally link up with the mobile application development partners the ability to provide cost-effective mobile applications that integrated with other applications.

Wikipedia defines Mobile application development as a process wherein application software is developed for small low-power handheld devices such as personal digital assistants, enterprise digital assistants or mobile phones. These applications can either be pre-installed on these hand held devices or mobile phones during the manufacture phase or can be downloaded by the users from the mobile software platforms.

Being a very customer centric market, there are new products developed every day in the mobile market. Enterprises that foray into the world of mobile application development needs to have a deep knowledge of the domain and should focus the development towards the areas such as Location-Based Services (LBS), media streaming, Social Networking, Messaging & Syncing, Advertisement & Ad Engines as well as Mobile VoIP and Gaming.

Mobile application development is a catalyst, which helps to increase the productivity of the mobile device. Hence, the application developer should consider all the major mobile brands and platforms while developing the application. The various mobile operating platforms, which are out in the field, are iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, JAVA, Symbian, and Windows. With the growing popularity of smart phones and PDA’s, there are a number of organizations that have entered the mobile apps market. This provides scope for the manufacturers and service providers to outsourced product development to experts in the field using the latest technology for development of mobile application.

The mobile applications which are OPD packages or developed in-house, should be quality assured. The Quality Assurance services ensure that the applications pass the various testing platforms. The mobile applications thus developed needs to be tested from various perspectives. These should pass the compatibility, interoperability, and automation test from the hardware perspective and also undergo performance testing, functionality testing, localization, OS compatibility and data exchange and synchronization testing.

The mobile application development companies which involve in offshore development of software applications for the mobile market should be able to develop applications in the latest technology platforms, design, develop and test applications as well as port applications between platforms and devices. Further these providers should also be an integrating carrier for SMSC, billing and OEM embedded systems. A well-designed application will help the clients to meet their professional and practical business requirements.

Also read on - Application lifecycle management