Oil extends rally on prospects OPEC could act to counter low prices

A worker grabs a nozzle at a petrol station in Tehran, Iran January 25, 2016. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi/TIMA

Oil prices rose on Monday, extending a rally triggered last week by speculation that OPEC might agree to cut production to reduce a supply glut that has pushed prices to the lowest in over a decade.

Brent crude futures LCOc1, the global benchmark, were up 33 cents at $33.69 a barrel at 1023 GMT. U.S. futures CLc1 traded at $29.79 a barrel, up 35 cents on Friday’s close. Trade is likely to be thinner than usual on Monday due to the U.S. Presidents Day holiday.

“Some traders still think about the chances of an OPEC plus Russia (production) cut and close their short positions,” said Frank Klumpp, oil analyst at Stuttgart-based Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg.

The United Arab Emirates’ energy minister said the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries was willing to cooperate on an output cut, the Wall Street Journal reported last week.

And Nigeria’s oil minister told Reuters the mood inside OPEC was shifting to a growing consensus that a decision must be reached on how to prop up prices.

Non-OPEC member Russia said on Monday it wanted to see improved relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia at a time when joint action is needed to influence global oil prices, according to the RIA news agency.

“The fact that the market has reacted so strongly certainly indicates that these comments are being taken seriously,” said analysts at Frakfurt-based Commerzbank.

However, many analysts, including the International Energy Agency, are still sceptical OPEC will cut a deal with other producers to reign in ballooning output.

“We continue to believe that if prices were to be artificially supported with production cuts it would only give more expensive forms of production more room to breathe and would only solve the problem in the short term,” Phillip Futures said in a note.

Iran is exporting 1.3 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil, and will be pumping 1.5 million bpd by the start of the next Iranian year on March 20, a vice-president was quoted as saying on Saturday.

Iran will load 4 million barrels of crude oil on tankers destined for Europe in the coming 24 hours, a senior official was quoted as saying.




ECB in talks with Italy over buying bundles of bad loans

The European Central Bank is in talks with the Italian government about buying bundles of bad loans as part of its asset-purchase program and accepting them as collateral from banks in return for cash, the Italian Treasury said.

The move could give a big boost to a recently approved Italian scheme aimed at helping banks offload some of their 200 billion euros ($225 billion) of soured credit and free up resources for new loans.

Nonetheless, it would likely fuel a debate in other countries about whether the ECB is taking on too much risk by buying asset-backed securities (ABS) based on loans that have not been repaid for roughly three months.

Italian Treasury officials told reporters the ECB may buy these securities as part of its 1.5 trillion euros asset-purchase program or accept them as collateral from banks in return for cash, in so called repurchase agreements.

The ECB declined to comment.

In November last year, an ECB source said that buying rebundled non-performing loans could be an extreme option if the euro zone’s economic situation became “really bad”. The bank has been struggling to revive inflation and is likely to cut its deposit rate again next month.

Italy’s high stock of bad loans has been a drag on the euro zone’s third-largest economy and is a growing concern for investors, who have been selling shares in Italian banks heavily since the start of the year.

The ECB has been buying an average of 1.19 billion euros of ABS every month since November 2014, Datastream data showed, and prefers securities backed by performing loans.

Under existing rules, the ECB can buy ABS as long as they have a credit rating above a certain threshold, thereby ensuring it only buys high-quality securities.

It also likely means the central bank will only be able to buy senior tranches, which are the last ones to absorb any loss if the loans are not repaid.

This would limit the pool of Italian ABS the ECB could buy.

Italian banks, however, can help enhance the rating of their senior tranches by purchasing a guarantee from their government, which has an investment grade rating, provided that at least half of the junior tranches are sold.

Several other factors will play a role in determining the rating of these ABS, which have become rare since the U.S. financial crisis of 2008, making a comparison with previous issues difficult.

“Standard & Poor’s evaluation of previous deals secured by NPL collateral have typically depended on numerous factors, as different collateral types may pose unique risks,” the rating agency wrote in about the Italian scheme.

“Generally, our credit analysis has focused on ascertaining the expected timing of cash flows and net proceeds from the liquidation of the assets.”

($1 = 0.8905 euros)


Cancellation of Iran oil contracts’ presentation signals infighting

Iran’s cancellation of a conference when it had been due to unveil investment contracts to international oil firms signals that political feuding is disrupting plans to revive its energy sector.

Tehran blamed snags in obtaining British visas for Iranian delegates to the long-delayed conference, which had been scheduled to be held in London on Feb 22-24.

However, foreign oil executives say factionalized politics in Iran, where elections will be held later this month, appeared to explain the delay as the country seeks major investment following the lifting of international sanctions last month.

Iran’s new oil and gas contracts are a cornerstone of its plans to raise crude production to pre-sanctions levels of four million barrels per day (bpd), and the OPEC member desperately needs $200 billion in foreign money to reach the goal.

The sanctions imposed in 2012 over Iran’s nuclear program have lost it billions. Tehran now wants foreign firms to revive its giant but ageing oilfields and develop new oil and gas projects through joint ventures with Iranian partners.

The conference had been postponed five times due to the sanctions. However, this time domestic infighting over the structure of the oil and gas investments contracts seems to have prevented any announcement of the commercial terms.

“There are big internal clashes on the new contracts,” said a senior foreign oil executive. “The Iranians did not present us with a final contract until now, nothing was finally approved.”

The Iran Petroleum Contracts (IPCs) covering about 52 projects will have flexible terms that take into account oil price fluctuations and investment risks, a senior Iranian oil official told Reuters in November.

BP, France’s Total, Italy’s Eni and Russia’s Lukoil were among 135 firms that attended a Tehran conference in November to hear about the IPCs.

But executives expecting to see the model of the contract were offered only data on the fields up for investment and some general presentations about what the new deals might look like.

“It was clear that this conference was only for a domestic audience. I do not think they even approved the contracts yet,” said another foreign oil executive who attended the November conference.


Hardline rivals of pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani have strongly opposed the new contracts, saying they contradict the constitution which says Iranian natural resource reserves cannot be owned by foreigners. The hardliners also criticized a nuclear deal reached in 2015 that led to lifting of sanctions.

Trying to fend off criticism, Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh rejected “illogical” calls for banning participation of foreign energy firms, insisting that the new contract models are not treasonable, Shana news agency reported on Tuesday.

Hardliners want a bigger say in the contract regime, under which the oil ministry will assign certain Iranian companies to become partners of the foreign firms, industry sources say.

One Iranian oil businessman foresaw more problems for Zangeneh and the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) following the elections on Feb. 26.

“The situation could be more difficult for NIOC and the oil minister for negotiations with the foreign companies after the parliamentary elections, because there is a lot of pressure from the hardliners,” said an Iranian oil businessman.

“The hardliners don’t want to be sidelined from the decision-making in the oil sector. They want to have a share in the discussions.”


Easing economic sanctions and pulling Iran’s economy out of its current sorry state could help Rouhani’s backers in the elections to parliament and the Assembly of Experts, a body with nominal power over Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“The government and especially the oil ministry have done their utmost to finalize the contracts before the elections,” a senior Iranian official told Reuters. “We need to regain our position in the market and therefore Iran needs to offer contracts that are better than other oil producing countries.”

Khamenei and his hardline allies will not allow Rouhani to gain too much popularity, particularly before the elections, another Iranian official said.

“People are tired and have high expectations. The government is trying to bind up wounds created by sanctions. Petrodollars are much needed and therefore the new oil contracts were prepared,” the official, involved in the process said.

“The committee for preparing the contracts finished its work. The contracts need some minor touches and the final approvals. But unfortunately political infighting is overshadowing the issue.”

Analysts say Rouhani’s political allies could benefit from an economic dividend.

“The news about attracting foreign investors will give hope to Iranians, to voters, who will reward moderate candidates at the ballot box. And this is something that hardliners are wary of,” said political analyst Hamid Farahvashian.

Farahvashian noted they criticized Rouhani’s announcement of deals worth billions of dollars last month on a trip to Italy and France. “The same applies for the oil contracts.”

NIOC’s Deputy head Ali Kardor has said foreign oil companies will still be invited in May to bid for the new deals.

“The conference had been repeatedly postponed. It is a clear sign of political disagreement inside the establishment,” said a senior Western diplomat in Tehran. “Hardliners know the economy is one of the main issues for people. They would not let Rouhani and his allies become more popular ahead of the elections.”

Hardline students gathered last week in front of the oil ministry to protest against the terms of the contracts.

“These are all politically-motivated protests. Zanganeh is a seasoned politician and a technical person,” said the first Iranian official. “He loves his country and more than anyone else believes in nationalization of oil in Iran. He has always protected Iran’s interests.”



Japan economy shrinks more than expected, highlights lack of policy options

Japan’s economy shrank more than expected in the final quarter of last year as consumer spending and exports slumped, adding to headaches for policymakers already wary of damage the financial market rout could inflict on a fragile recovery.

Gross domestic product contracted by an annualized 1.4 percent in October-December, bigger than a market forecast for a 1.2 percent decline and matching a fall marked in the second quarter of last year, Cabinet Office data showed on Monday. It followed a revised 1.3 percent increase in the previous quarter.

The data underscores the challenges premier Shinzo Abe faces in dragging the world’s third-largest economy out of stagnation, as exports to emerging markets fail to gain enough momentum to make up for soft domestic demand.

Abe sought to reassure markets that Tokyo is ready to stem excessive market volatility that could undermine the wealth effect delivered by his stimulus policies.

“As we have agreed at G7 and G20, sudden currency moves are undesirable. I want the finance minister to closely monitor the situation and respond with appropriate measures as needed,” he told parliament on Monday.

Market speculation of additional monetary easing simmers, although the Bank of Japan’s policy ammunition appears to be dwindling, analysts say.

“Private consumption is especially weak. The economy is at a standstill,” said Junko Nishioka, chief economist at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking.

“It’s a matter of time before the BOJ and the government will take additional stimulus measures,” she said, predicting the central bank will ease policy again as early as next month.


With his stimulus policies that gave big manufacturers windfall profits, Abe had hoped to generate a positive cycle in which companies raise wages and help boost household spending.

Instead the data showed that private consumption, which makes up 60 percent of GDP, fell 0.8 percent, exceeding market forecasts of a 0.6 percent decline.

Since Abe took power three years ago, private consumption has shrank by roughly 1.5 trillion yen to 306.5 trillion yen ($2.7 trillion).

The economy grew an average 0.68 percent since Abe’s administration took office in 2013, below a 1.8 percent increase during the opposition Democratic Party’s three-year reign.

Offering some hope for policymakers, capital expenditure rose 1.4 percent, confounding market expectations for a 0.2 percent decrease.

But analysts doubt whether the economy will gain momentum in coming months, with the recent market turbulence and slowing Chinese growth clouding the outlook for corporate profits.

Exports fell 0.9 percent in October-December after rising 2.6 percent in the previous quarter, underscoring the pinch companies are already feeling from soft emerging market demand.

Domestic demand shaved 0.5 percentage point off GDP growth, while external demand – or net exports – added just 0.1 point.

Last month the BOJ cut a benchmark interest rate below zero, stunning investors with another bold move to stimulate growth.

But the shock move has failed to boost Tokyo stock prices or weaken the yen as Japanese markets remained at the mercy of a global equity sell-off.


Global shares rise as firmer Chinese yuan eases deflation fears

World stocks rose on Monday as China’s central bank fixed the yuan at a much stronger rate and oil prices held on to recent gains, easing fears of global deflation.

The rally belied a string of poor economic data from Beijing to Tokyo as demand for safe-haven assets waned, yet investors remained on edge as concerns lingered about global growth and the health of the financial sector.

European stocks rose 3 percent .FTEU3, having shed nearly 10 percent over the last fortnight, following a similar bounce in Asia. Futures pointed to notional gains of more than 1 percent on Wall Street ESc1 but U.S. markets will be closed for a holiday.

Meanwhile, assets that tend to perform well in times of stress lagged. The Japanese yen lost ground against the U.S. dollar while top-rated German bond yields pulled away from nine-month lows hit last week. <GVD/EUR>

“We had a very strong statement from the Chinese authorities signaling they are committed to a stable currency and that’s helped sentiment … safe-haven flows have unwound somewhat,” said RIA Capital Markets strategist Nick Stamenkovic.

In China, spot yuan jumped more than 1 percent to 6.4934 per dollar – its firmest this year – after the People’s Bank of China set its daily midpoint 0.3 percent stronger and the head of the bank was quoted as saying speculators should not be allowed to dominate market sentiment. [CNY/]

A stronger yuan reduces the risk that China will export deflation to the world, while worries about consumer price growth have also been helped by a surge in the oil price late last week.

Brent LCOc1 and U.S. crude futures CLc1 edged lower on Monday but held on to most of a 10 percent surge from Friday that came amid renewed talk that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) might finally agree to cut output to reduce a world glut. [O/R]


China’s weak exports and imports in January, down 11.2 percent and 18.8 percent year-on-year respectively, seemed not to disturb markets. The resulting jump in the country’s trade surplus to $63 billion for the month might have helped, as that may offer support to the yuan.

The disconnect between markets and economics was perhaps starkest in Japan, where the Nikkei .N225 jumped more than 7 percent, putting its worst week since the depths of the global financial crisis in 2008 quickly behind it.

This came despite data showing the economy contracted by an annualized 1.4 percent in the last three months of 2015, more than expected.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 2.3 percent .MIAPJ0000PUS, after losing 10 percent of its value so far this year.

European shares followed in their wake, led by a 3 percent rebound in banking stocks .SX7P on news that the European Central Bank (ECB) is in talks to buy bundles of Italian bad bank loans as part of its asset-purchase program. [.EU]

Some strategists said Monday’s bounce may yet prove to be short-lived, with lower oil prices, capital outflows and economic weakness in China, and pressure on European banks, creating a dangerous cocktail for investors.

“It’s no surprise to see markets rebounding after the excessive movements seen over the last few weeks” said Riccardo Ambrosetti, chairman of Italy’s Ambrosetti Asset Management.

Indeed, the strong yuan fixing by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) on Monday was seen by some traders as a move to deflect speculation about a possible devaluation that has been one of the main factors roiling global markets.

PBoC Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said there was no basis for the yuan to keep falling in a weekend interview, and China would keep it stable versus a basket of currencies while allowing greater volatility against the U.S. dollar.

Against a basket of currencies .DXY, the dollar was up a shade at 96.363 having been at its lowest in almost four months. Likewise, it edged up to 113.75 yen JPY=, having touched a 15-month trough just under 111.00 last week.

The euro was last down 0.6 percent at $1.1194 EUR=, having slipped from a 3-1/2 month peak of $1.1377.

Gold XAU= eased to $1,210.50 an ounce, after enjoying its best week in four years as investors fled riskier assets.

Core Business Services

Support functions

Enabling each of our service lines to deliver advice and solutions to their clients.

Whichever function you join, your intellect, experience and entrepreneurialism will be an invaluable support to our people right across Financial Services. They include Finance, Information Technology, Human Resources, Administrative Support, Marketing, Communications, Knowledge, Business Development, and Quality and Risk management. In return, we’ll help you find opportunities to drive your career forward, develop expertise in new areas and really stretch yourself, so that, however long you spend here, and wherever you take your career in the future, the skills you learn here will last a lifetime.

Expect variety, flexibility, frequent challenges and tough deadlines. We’ll be relying on your expertise and knowledge to make a real difference to important clients.

You can work in a number of key areas:


Our finance professionals are responsible for our organization’s fiscal integrity and the clear reporting of our results. Working in this team, you’ll provide financial reporting that is accurate, consistent and compliant with global financial policies and principles, and local statutory rules and regulations.

Human Resources

Our human resource professionals develop and execute our people strategy, making them instrumental to our plans. Working with them, you’ll help provide the programs, measures and tools that assist our employees in achieving their personal and professional goals.


As part of our knowledge team, you’ll make sure our client-serving professionals have access to the right people, tools and information to help their clients meet their business needs. The knowledge team provides a wide range of services to better understand client businesses and business environments; create and manage organization-wide business tools and processes to share important information, and advise people and teams on how to use content and tools effectively.

Accounts, Industries and Business Development

Become a key member of our business development team, identifying potential new clients, developing major accounts and keeping the sales pipeline active. You’ll need to think on your feet, adapting to changing client requirements. Your experience of account management will mean you deal with high profile clients confidently – and you’ll really care about client satisfaction, going the extra mile when required.


Developing your marketing career at EY, you’ll work with some of the most astute practitioners in professional services, who’ll challenge and stimulate you to produce your best. Your colleagues will value your strategic input and respect you for your expertise. They’ll look to you to deliver practical results and demonstrate the ways in which marketing adds real value to our growing business.

The 10 things in advertising you need to know today

Good morning. Here’s everything you need to know in the world of advertising today.

1. Yahoo is ditching a plan that caused turmoil within Tumblr. A representative acknowledged that it’s now unwinding the sales-team integrations that were put in place last year.

2. The most valuable celebrity endorsement in history might not be enough to save Budweiser. From 2004 to 2013, per capita Budweiser consumption, fell from more than 30 cans a year to just 18 cans.

3. Coca-Cola and Pepsi are depending on “the marketing trick of the century” to save business. In the next few years, bottled water will likely overtake carbonated drinks sales.

4. Inside the world’s eight best advertising campaigns of 2015. The Gunn Report recently produced its list of the most successful advertising campaigns of 2015, along with insights into each.

5. Kanye West removed the download link for his new album and made it a Tidal exclusive. West finally released his new album, “The Life of Pablo,” early Sunday morning.

6. Instagram and Pinterest are killing Gap, Abercrombie, & J. Crew. When young people buy clothing or shoes they want to be able to showcase purchases on social media.

7. Alcohol brands are struggling to attract the millennial Brat Pack. Millennials have proved to be a different, often elusive kind of consumer, requiring new strategies of seduction.

8. Drake might be coming out with his own brand of whiskey. In a post to Instagram this weekend, he revealed that new brand, Virginia Black Whiskey, is set to debut soon.

9. Inside Great Big Story, CNN’s attempt to out-BuzzFeed BuzzFeed. Great Big Story launched in October as an independent subsidiary of CNN, reports Digiday.

10. Apple Music just notched up over 11 million subscribers. Apple has also now amassed 782 million iCloud users who between them are uploading billions of photos each week, reports The Drum.

Three Things Your Business Needs to Know About 2016

We sat down with the General Manager of Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) Indonesia, Krisantus Veni Calix, and asked him about their latest Business Optimism Index for Q4 2015, the outlook for 2016 and how companies are faring in these times.

1. What can businesses expect for the rest of 2015 and the new year, 2016?

Based on our recent survey, businesses are feeling more pessimistic across all key indicators, namely sales, net profits, selling price, new orders, inventory, and employment. This is the fourth consecutive quarter of decline, and shows that the global slowdown is taking its toll on domestic firms.


Nonetheless for 2016, we expect Indonesia to perform better in line with the improving global economy. According to the World Economic Outlook (WEO) 2016 released by International Monetary Fund (IMF), global economy is expected to grow by 3.8%, an increase of 0.5% from 2015. Our D&B analysts forecast 6.0% growth for Indonesia next year compared to 4.7% this year.


Growth will be supported by recovery in developed markets such as US, EU and Japan, which are our main export destinations. In addition, commitment from Indonesian government to boost state spending in infrastructure sector will be an important driving force. However, China’s slowdown, weakening global commodity prices, and prolonged instability of global financial markets could negatively impact Indonesia’s growth prospects.


2. How has the credit quality of Indonesian firms changed in the past year?


Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 3.46.38 PM


We find that the overall credit ratings of Indonesian firms have largely remained unchanged over the past year (2014 to 2015). In fact, the percentage of local firms which have had their credit ratings downgraded was significantly lower than those which were unchanged.


The D&B Rating consists of two indicators – one measures the financial strength and another measures the risk condition of the company. Financial strength is an indication of how financially sound the company is while the risk indicator focuses on the management experience and any negative listings of the company.


Based on our findings, we find that Indonesian firms are still financially sound. Out of every 100 firms, we noted that none of the firms have had their credit ratings downgraded over the past year (2014 to 2015). This is in line with the upgraded credit ratings, which was only 3.13% over the past year.


In conclusion, we can say that most Indonesian firms have had their financial strength unchanged over the past year. On the contrary, there is considerable movement in risk conditions. However, this should be no cause for alarm as the credit ratings are evaluated based on a company’s fundamentals and merits.


3. What advice do you have for Indonesian firms to tide through the rough times?

The business community is expected to begin rationalization and efficiency amid current economic conditions, such as reviewing investment expenses, and re-planning and optimizing existing ones. Firms must also continue to be creative and smart in utilizing the government economic package policies to stimulate local economy and business activity.


Finally, it always helps to stay informed of your business partners and suppliers. Any failure or stress in them especially during an economic slowdown can potentially disrupt your business.

105 Service Businesses to Start Today

At your service: Convenience-craving consumers are always looking for a way to do things better, faster and cheaper. Often, that means turning to a specialty-services entrepreneur who knows how to get the job done right. Here, we provide some inspiration for aspiring service providers-from adventure-tour leaders to window washers. With 105 ideas to choose from, you have no excuse not to get started today with your own service business.

Once you’ve scrolled through our ideas and gotten a taste of what’s out there, read “How to Start a Service Business” to learn how to get started.

Personal Services
Mobile Pet Grooming
Snip, clip and brush your way to success as a mobile pet groomer. Fido and his owner will both appreciate the convenience of a “doorstep” doggie-grooming service. With the proper training and experience, a van and some grooming tools, start barking up the right tree by marketing your business in your neighborhood and others.

Collectibles Search
Collectibles searchers, who carefully canvas swap meets, thrift stores and garage sales, can collect a bundle locating objets d’art for clients. Once you’ve found your niche–be it antique lunch boxes, dolls or grandfather clocks–advertise your services in hobbyist publications, at collectibles stores, in specialty forums on the internet, or on eBay. Soon you’ll be taking up a collection of your own.

Diaper Delivery
Whoever said cloth diapers couldn’t be convenient–and user-friendly? Velcro diaper “wraps” replace awkward pins, and pickup and delivery take the dirty work out of diapering. Equipped with a “clean,” propane-fueled delivery truck and some washing machines, you can provide an environmentally friendly alternative to disposables. Talk about a change for the better!

Dry-Cleaning Pickup & Delivery
Are you clothes-minded? Then try on the dry-cleaning pickup-and-delivery business for size. Provide pickup and drop-off at a place that’s convenient for busy professionals, then follow suit by arranging with a local dry cleaner to do the actual cleaning.

Mobile Locksmith
You hold the keys to success as a mobile locksmith. For best results, be ready for 24-hour action with a cell phone and van. With some training and basic equipment, you’ll have this business mastered–lock, stock and barrel.

Graffiti Removal & Abatement
Equipped with some paint and other preventive treatments, you’re set to serve residential as well as commercial clients with your own graffiti-removal-and-abatement business. City governments and schools can also benefit from the removal of unsightly “tagging” in their districts.

Golf-Club Cleaning
Take your best shot with a golf-club cleaning service. Not only will you be offering golfers a clean edge to improve their game, but you’ll be offering a way to protect their investment from the rusting, pitting and discoloration of dirty clubs.

Self-Defense Instructor
You can never feel too safe or secure. People of all ages and backgrounds can benefit from the self-defense skills you can teach them. Get your business jump-started by training others in the disciplines you’ve learned–Aikido, Karate, or simply basic safety-awareness skills.

Adventure Tours
Got a taste for adventure? Whether it’s exploring South American caves or touring English teahouses, you’re sure to find a fanatic following . . . so long as you do all the footwork first. Put your service on the road to success by coordinating transportation, food and lodging. Your clients only need to worry about one thing: having fun.

Pet Sitting
When it comes to creature comforts, most canines would choose their own backyard over a kennel any day. Thanks to pet sitters–who take care of pets while their owners are out of town or busy–Fido can have his kibble at home. This business isn’t just for the dogs, however; gear your services toward all creatures great and small for maximum profits.

Mobile Massage
Success is close at hand for mobile massage providers. Advertise your stress-relieving services at local workout clubs, spas and physical therapists’ offices. Then bring your trained hands–and a portable massage table–to clients’ homes or places of work.

Personal Chef
Cook up tasty profits as a personal chef. Those with culinary competence can likely find a hungry clientele among the ranks of America’s busy working families. Or, market your business to clients for those special occasions when they prefer to dine in–complete with restaurant-quality food and service.

Mobile Mechanic
As a mobile mechanic, a good knowledge of automobile repair techniques and a list of referrals help you rev up sales. Put your business in the fast lane by bringing your service directly to clients’ homes or places of business.

As a seamstress or tailor, sew your way to success altering clothing and/or creating new apparel from scratch. Spread the word about your service at local boutiques and dry cleaners, plug in your sewing machine, and start stitching.

Court-Paper Serving
You can’t beat the legal system . . . as a great resource for business, that is. Private attorneys, who lack the time to do much footwork themselves, often turn to registered court-paper processors to serve their summonses. Come judgment day, you’ll be courting success.

Porcelain Repair
Rub a dub, dub, a porcelain-repair entrepreneur in the tub: Fixing unsightly chips and cracks in tubs and other porcelain accessories puts entrepreneurs in business. With a porcelain-repair kit in hand, sinks and tubs are made like new again.

Cover Letter/Resume Service
Not everyone knows how to look good on paper. With your editing and basic layout skills, a laser printer, and some high-quality stationery, you’re set to start showing clients how to put their best foot forward in their resumes and cover letters–and how to get in the door of potential employers’ businesses for an interview.

Mystery Shopping
Now, you can shop till you drop . . . and get paid for it! Just put on your shopping shoes and put service personnel to the test as a “mystery” shopper. Rate local retail stores’ employees on attitude, friendliness, and overall quality of service, then report back to your store-owner clients, helping them to ensure their service really is number one.

Tax-Form Preparer
One thing is certain: There will always be a need for tax preparers. Come tax season, businesses and individuals alike need help preparing numerous tax forms and understanding the latest tax regulations. Equipped with some specialized computer software, start scheduling your career as a tax preparer this fiscal year-and get ready for some returns on your time and investment.

Wedding-Guide Publishing
For photographers, bakers, caterers and florists, wedding bells mean big business. Help them get a piece of the action by publishing a wedding guide with space for local advertisers. Include some basic wedding-planning articles, and you’ll find June brides aren’t the only ones to benefit from your premarital publication.

Mobile Car-Wash and Detailing
Take your business on the road, and clean up on profits as a mobile car-wash and detailing pro. Let a little soap and water do wonders . . . along with a few rags, brushes, and elbow grease; then drive home sales by marketing your services to car dealers, rental fleet owners, and corporations.

Used-Car Inspection
Sometimes, it takes a little more than a kick of the tires to evaluate a used car. With some basic diagnostic equipment and mechanical know-how, however, used-car inspectors can help steer clients away from “lemons.” Developing a roster of appreciative customers puts you on the road to referrals–and success.

Professional Organizer
Neatniks need apply: If you’re got a knack for neatness, why not help the organizationally challenged? Messy closets, home offices and commercial offices alike could benefit from a more efficient setup. Put some order into others’ lives, and arrange yourself some pretty profits.

Thought your proficiency in high school algebra was all for naught? Think again: As a tutor, you could help others bone up on their studies. Whether it’s reading, writing or arithmetic, help your students reach the top of their class with a little experienced guidance and support.

Power Washing
Oily driveways, mud-caked semi trucks, or barnacle-ridden boats . . . You name it, and entrepreneurs equipped with specialized power-washing equipment can probably clean it. For spotless results, target commercial as well as residential customers.

Windshield Repair
To find potential clients for your windshield-repair business, simply canvas local parking and used-car lots for cars with cracked, chipped windshields. A basic repair kit enables you to offer clients what is clearly a better alternative to costly glass replacement.

Private Investigation
Blaze your own entrepreneurial trail while following others’ footsteps-literally. As a private investigator, make your mark in the industry by keeping a keen “eye” on other people’s activities. Clients include attorneys gathering evidence for a case, or individuals seeking information about a significant other.
Business Services

Business-Plan Consulting
Not only is a business plan crucial in obtaining bank financing, but it’s an invaluable tool for anticipating–and tackling–a business’s inevitable ups and downs. With your writing skills, spreadsheet know-how, and general business savvy, show clients how to present their best-laid plans . . . while accomplishing your own.

Packing and Unpacking Service
Packing up to move to a new home or office–not to mention unpacking on the other end–is enough to leave one feeling upended. Thank goodness for packing and unpacking entrepreneurs who, with their hassle- and time-saving services, make moving seem like magic.

Business-Travel Management
Make the skies even friendlier for business travelers–and less costly for business owners–as a business–travel manager. Help book low-price tickets, keep expense records, manage frequent-flier miles . . . and reap the high-flying rewards.

Carpet Dyeing
For a fraction of the cost of replacing unsightly or stained carpeting, carpet-dyeing professionals provide hotels, community centers, nursing homes and other businesses an attractive alternative. So go ahead, lay the options at your clients’ feet . . . and start making wall-to-wall profits.

Hospital-Bill Auditing
There’s nothing worse than being laid up in the hospital for a few days . . . except maybe the pile of often confusing bills that follow. The remedy: hospital-bill auditors, who–thanks to their billing savvy and attention to detail–make way for their clients’ smooth recovery.

Specialized Staffing
Helping clients meet their workforce needs is a matter of finding a niche and filling it–and keeping up with human resources trends. Work your way up in the industry by developing a roster of specially skilled workers, then use your “people skills” to build your business.

Though today’s software makes keeping your own books easier, it doesn’t make it much less time-consuming. That’s why, for business owners with little time to spare, a bookkeeping service is not only a time-saver, but an asset.

Computer Repair
In today’s computer-based society, computer “downtime” can be both costly and aggravating. As a repair professional–equipped with some basic diagnostic equipment and technological savvy–you can get clients’ computers back up and humming again.

Referral Service
For referral-service entrepreneurs–who act as a “welcome wagon” to newcomers–getting to know new as well as existing businesses pays off in more ways than one. Local companies pay to get their services introduced to newcomers, while these new customers pay for a little friendly advice.

Video Brochure
Make record profits taping corporate video brochures. Just get your video recorder handy, and zoom in on the action. Video-editing skills and special-effects techniques help you pull together the big picture–and reel in the profits.

Executive Search
Take your business to a “hire” level: As an executive-search specialist, help busy clients find the right man–or woman–for the job. Your job involves placing ads and conducting interviews to screen potential employees for clients. Put on your best interviewing suit, and get down to business.

Freight Brokerage
One sack of flour for a dozen eggs . . . Gone are the days of such no-frills, local trade. In their place: a sophisticated global commerce system requiring a thorough knowledge of land, sea, air and rail shipping rates and regulations. Knowledgeable freight brokers are indispensable to this burgeoning scene.

Long-Distance Reselling
By buying time in bulk from wholesalers, long-distance resellers ring up sales by servicing long-distance consumers–often at significant savings. You make the call: Either purchase the telecommunications equipment you’ll need now, or rent it and simply focus on the marketing of your service.

Computer Consulting
Tap into a surging market as a computer consultant. Whether you’re an expert at Linux, putting together hardware components, or networking, a growing number of computer “newbies” will surely benefit from your services.

Limousine Service
With a limo and some insurance, you could be the driving force behind a new business venture. Stretch your market by adding more drivers and cars to your fleet. Then, once you’ve established a reliable reputation, start driving home your limousine-service sales.

Language Translation
Falling foreign-trade barriers and improved communication technology translate into success for language translators and interpreters. An ear for multiple languages puts you at the forefront of this global movement.

Office-Relocation Service
Helping businesses get plugged in to a new neighborhood comes easy for office-relocation-service entrepreneurs who, as “locals,” know who’s who in providing such services as printing, restaurant delivery and equipment repair.

Office Plant Maintenance
Set your roots in a growing business as an office-plant-maintenance entrepreneur. Regular watering, light pruning, and fertilizing are all in a day’s work. Though a green thumb is helpful, some clients may also request maintenance of their silk plants. Either way, your business is sure to grow.

Professional Office Consultant
It’s one thing to spend a day at the office, and another altogether to run the office. As a professional office consultant, you’ll oversee such responsibilities as marketing, insurance and daily operations for professional lawyers, doctors or other specialists–while leaving the rest to the “pros.”

Miniblind Cleaning
Put an end to dusty miniblinds in offices, homes and other buildings with your miniblind-cleaning service. Immerse blinds in tanks of gentle, yet effective, cleansing solution . . . and give clients a squeaky-clean new perspective on the world outside their windows.

Office-Support Service
Typing, filing, sorting mail, entering data, and answering phones are just a few tasks an office-support service can perform to help out harried business owners. Hand out business cards to every businessperson you know–and get ready to spend a productive day at the office!

Move in on the housing market with some basic plumbing, painting, caulking and scrubbing skills. Busy landlords and leasing offices can both benefit from your handyman skills, while you, in turn, make some handy profits repairing vacated units for clients’ new tenants.

Debt-Collection Service
Money makes the world go ’round: You get paid when your clients get paid by the people who you get to pay them. Sound complicated? It doesn’t have to be: As a debt collector, it pays in more ways than one to have some persistence in tracking down clients’ delinquent debtors.

Restaurant Delivery Service
When “Let’s do lunch” means eating at the office, an ordinary sack lunch doesn’t have to suffice. Thanks to restaurant deliverers, busy professionals can order their meals from local restaurants. By collecting a delivery charge and tip, operators get a good taste of entrepreneurial success.

A caterer’s place is in the kitchen . . . cooking up hot profits, that is. So long as your kitchen is commercially approved–and you’ve got a knack for stirring up some “dough”–you’ve got the makings for savory success. Service weddings, holiday parties, and other festive gatherings; if you’re lucky, clients will have your cake and eat it, too!

Seminar Promotion
If there’s one thing consumers can never seem to get enough of, it’s information. Give ’em an earful by planning and promoting informational seminars. You don’t need to be an expert yourself; just schedule the speakers, reserve a location, promote the event, and get ready to collect the profits at the door.

Window Washing
Business has never been clearer for window washers. Grab your bucket, squeegee, and glass-cleaning solution, and rap at the dirty windows of local businesses and residences alike. Add repeat customers, and you’ll soon be on a winning streak.

Valet Parking
Drive right up to entrepreneurship as the owner of a valet-parking service. Restaurants, hotels and convention centers can all use the services of a well-dressed, bonded parking staff. The key is having your own team of drivers to keep clients’ customers–and their cars–on the move.

Professional Organizer
Neatniks need apply: If you’ve got a knack for neatness, why not help the organizationally challenged? Messy closets, home offices and commercial offices alike could benefit from a more efficient setup. Put some order into others’ lives, and arrange yourself some pretty profits.

Power Washing
Oily driveways, mud-caked semi trucks, or barnacle-ridden boats . . . You name it, and entrepreneurs equipped with specialized power-washing equipment can probably clean it. For spotless results, target commercial as well as residential customers.

Marketing and Sales
Sales-Lead Generating
Streamline salespeople’s efforts by identifying prospects and generating sales leads. Some footwork, market research, and a phone set you on the path to compiling a list of potential customers for your clients.

Public-Relations Agency
A way with words, enthusiasm and persistence are all necessary in this competitive business. Networking–by developing contacts with reporters and other media–is also crucial to helping your clients go public with press releases and more.

Copywriting and Proofreading Service
Wanted: creative writer with a knack for finding typos and misteaks . . . er, mistakes. Writers who help ensure clients’ advertising copy is both catchy and fault-free may not win a Pulitzer, but they will have some profits to write home about.

Direct Mail/Coupon
Cash in on consumers’ coupon-cutting craze with a direct-mail coupon service. Get started by selling ad space in a direct-mail coupon package to local businesses. When you mail coupons to local residents, your clients will benefit from the exposure and you’ll benefit from a first-class business of your own.

Public-Relations Agency
A way with words, enthusiasm and persistence are all necessary in this competitive business. Networking–by developing contacts with reporters and other media–is also crucial to helping your clients go public with press releases and more.

Mailing Services
Post record profits fulfilling clients’ envelope-stuffing and bulk-mail-processing needs. Advertise in the business section of your local newspaper, and start looking for your check in the mail.

Sales Training
Don’t sell yourself short: With some self-promotion and marketing know-how, you could have what it takes to build your own business as a sales trainer. By sharing your sales savvy with other busy business owners, you not only help boost clients’ bottom line, but yours, too.

Welcoming Service
Welcoming-service entrepreneurs–who greet newcomers to town with a package of coupons, samples from local businesses, and other community information–not only provide a welcome service to newcomers, but to local businesses, as well.

Home Services
Packing and Unpacking Service
Packing up to move to a new home or office–not to mention unpacking on the other end–is enough to leave one feeling upended. Thank goodness for packing and unpacking entrepreneurs who, with their hassle- and time-saving services, make moving seem like magic.

Handyman Services
If it’s broke, you can fix it. Advertise in local newspapers and bulletin boards, then get busy repairing everything from leaky pipes and stopped-up toilets to jammed cabinet drawers and broken windows.

Carpet Dyeing
For a fraction of the cost of replacing unsightly or stained carpeting, carpet-dyeing professionals provide hotels, community centers, nursing homes and other businesses an attractive alternative. So go ahead, lay the options at your clients’ feet . . . and start making wall-to-wall profits.

Home-Entertainment Installation
Just watch a novice attempt to connect the wires, cables and other components of their new or relocated stereo and television equipment, and you’re likely to view consumer impatience at its finest. But with your sound electrical and wiring expertise, you’ll have all systems buzzing in no time.

Mortgage/Debt-Reduction Service
By explaining alternative payment structures to clients (which can result in a smaller total payment in a shorter period of time), mortgage and debt-reduction-service professionals are helping to relieve America’s debt–one citizen at a time.

Pool Services
Make a splash in the pool-services business with little more than some cleaning equipment and a water-test kit. Just load up your tools in your car and make the rounds in your neighborhood. Then dive right into business by marketing your service to homeowners’ associations, apartment complexes and individual residences.

Lawn Care
When push comes to shove, you’ve probably got what it takes to make some “green.” Just roll up your sleeves and start mowing, clipping and fertilizing lawns for office complexes and residential clients alike.

Home-Inspection Service
A keen eye for structural detail paves the way to success in your home-inspection service. Start by assessing clients’ homes for problems such as structural damage and foundation abnormalities, then refer customers to contractors who can ensure their homes are in good repair.

House Painting
Brush up on your painting skills, and get ready to paint the town red–or white, blue or beige, for that matter. Just load up your truck with brushes, rollers and ladders, and get primed for business!

Local Moving Service
Be a mover and shaker with your own local moving service. This is no business for the faint of heart, however: Make sure you’re equipped with some upstanding leveraging techniques . . . as well as brawn.

Is there a sitter in the house? If so, homeowners can rest assured that, while they’re away, their plants and pets will be tended to. Don’t wait for opportunity to come knocking; a reliable set of references get you in the door.

Home Decorating
Home in on the decorating business with your flair for design. Work with local furniture and accessory stores, paint shops, and carpet and drapery outlets to coordinate clients’ interiors. And remember: The key to getting in the door of this business is decorating your own home, first.

Miniblind Cleaning
Put an end to dusty miniblinds in offices, homes and other buildings with your miniblind-cleaning service. Immerse blinds in tanks of gentle, yet effective, cleansing solution . . . and give clients a squeaky-clean new perspective on the world outside their windows.

Pet-Food and Supplies Home Delivery
Lugging pounds of pet food and supplies from the store each week or so can be a burden on pet owners, but it’s certainly not too much for pet-delivery entrepreneurs. Once you’ve sniffed out some leads, start serving up success by delivering pet supplies directly to customers’ doors.

Custom Closet Systems
Calling all closet-organizing fanatics: It’s time to come out and show your stuff! With a few hooks and shelves, and a lot of creativity (but checking any fear of small spaces at the door), you’ve got the makings of a custom closet-systems pro . . . with plenty of room to grow. New homeowners and long-time closet accumulators alike make up your potential clientele.

Window Washing
Business has never been clearer for window washers. Grab your bucket, squeegee, and glass-cleaning solution, and rap at the dirty windows of local businesses and residences alike. Add repeat customers, and you’ll soon be on a winning streak.

Residential Cleaning
Not only is residential cleaning a good way to keep a body busy, but it’s also a way to clean up some profits while you’re at it. Start on the ground floor by mopping, sweeping and dusting one house, and work your way up from there!

Computers and Technology
Computer Repair
In today’s computer-based society, computer “downtime” can be both costly and aggravating. As a repair professional-equipped with some basic diagnostic equipment and technological savvy-you can get clients’ computers back up and humming again.

Computer Consulting
Tap into a surging market as a computer consultant. Whether you’re an expert at Windows 95, putting together hardware components, or networking, a growing number of computer “newbies” will surely benefit from your services.

Internet Research
Practice makes perfect when it comes to surfing the internet. With some search-engine and self-marketing savvy, put information at clients’ fingertips–and “net” profits at yours.

Web-Site Designer
With specialized software, creating websites comes easy, so long as you have some basic technical and graphic savvy. Home in on business by helping businesses establish a site; existing clients will need help keeping their websites up-to-date, as well.

Children’s Services
Children’s Party Planning
Do parents a favor and plan their next children’s party. From hiring Sesame Street character look-alikes to coordinating games, decorations and food, you’re sure to be the life of the party by allowing parents to relax and have fun, too. Plan birthday, holiday, and religious-ceremony celebrations . . . and let the festivities begin!

Child Care
As a child-care provider, you’ll need a state license, plenty of baby-sitting experience, and a lot of patience and TLC. Whether you “sit” at your place or theirs, you’ll find busy parents aren’t your only clients; many office complexes, gyms and other businesses need quality child care, too.

Child-Identification Program
Safety first: When it comes to keeping tabs on children, there’s no excuse for kidding around. By offering parents a complete child-identification program, including information files, fingerprinting, identification tags and photos, you not only set parents’ minds more at ease, but provide a safety net for our next generation.

Children’s Fitness
If there’s one thing that never seems to run out, it’s a kid’s supply of energy. Tap into that vast resource with a children’s fitness program. Put your knowledge of children’s education and physical fitness to the test by renting a location, then coordinate activities such as tumbling, dance, gymnastics and karate. And hop to it!

Children’s Transportation Service
For working and nonworking parents alike, transporting junior to and from school (as well as to after-school activities) can become, well, taxi-ing. By providing a reliable children’s transportation service, you give busy parents a break-and keep their busy kids on schedule.

Stairs, cabinets, electrical cords and outlets-they’re all potential baby hazards. New parents, grandparents, and even baby sitters could all benefit from a more kid-friendly house. So grab your tools and be prepared to get down on your hands and knees (it helps to view things from a baby’s perspective).

Computer Training for Kids
Reading, writing, arithmetic . . . and computers. Though it seems like kids today are born speaking computerese, they’ve got to start learning somewhere. Teaching them the basics early on is sure to put kids at the head of their class . . . and you at the head of your own business.

Nanny Placement
For busy parents, finding a good nanny isn’t child’s play. Nanny-placement agents-who screen applicants, check references, match personalities, and set schedules-provide clients an invaluable service by saving them considerable time and worry.

New Mother/Infant Home Care
Make new babies’ homecomings from the hospital less tiresome for parents by providing the in-home care and support they need. Preparing meals, diapering the baby, and providing light housekeeping are all a great relief to proud-but occasionally exhausted-new parents.

Thought your proficiency in high school algebra was all for naught? Think again: As a tutor, you could help others bone up on their studies. Whether it’s reading, writing or arithmetic, help your students reach the top of their class with a little experienced guidance and support.

Event Services
With your eye for photo opportunities-at weddings, parties, special events and more-you could be zooming in on profits as a freelance photographer. Be prepared to work weekends and evenings (when many clients will need your services) and to hire an assistant to help you juggle your photo paraphernalia.

Errand Runner/Personal Shopper
Calling all shopaholics: Here’s one business where you can truly shop till you drop . . . without spending a penny of your own! Personal shoppers-who may also perform other errands, such as picking up prescriptions or buying groceries-can never complain about a lack of things to do.

Family-History Video
Money can grow on trees . . . family trees, that is. Family-history videographers are hitting home by filming personalized accounts of weddings, births and other memorable occasions. Should a customer’s other family members give the film a thumbs up, you may be looking at future generations of customers.

Mobile Disc Jockey
As a mobile disc jockey, weddings, parties and other events are all music to your ears. Start jammin’ with a collection of compact discs, a CD player, and a speaker system, then pass on the word about your services to wedding and event planners.

Wedding-Planning Service
Getting married isn’t always as simple as saying, “I do.” There’s a caterer to be contracted, a location to be rented, and flowers to be ordered. So when it comes to making matrimony a more harmonious event for the new couple and their families, wedding planners take the cake.

Event Planning
If your life has been, well, uneventful until now, we have a solution: Be an event planner! Whether it’s a party, wedding or convention, you’re sure to be at the center of all the action when you coordinate everything from room rentals and speakers to decorations and food.

Limousine Service
With a limo and some insurance, you could be the driving force behind a new business venture. Stretch your market by adding more drivers and cars to your fleet. Then, once you’ve established a reliable reputation, start-driving home your limousine-service sales.

Photo Birth Announcements
For birth-announcement producers, business is booming as fast as the population! Some basic desktop-publishing software, scanning equipment, and the names of new parents put you in the starting blocks; from there, create fanciful photo-cards, including those all-important details: name, birth date, time and weight.

Videotaping Service
You may not win a producer-of-the-year award, but you’ll win the appreciation of your clients when you capture their weddings, bar mitzvahs, birthdays and more on videotape. Keep the film rolling at special events, then edit a final version for clients’ own special screenings.

Reunion Organizing
Reunite ’em ’cause it pays so good: Whether it’s one big happy family or one big high school class, reunions can be a joyful-and lucrative-occasion for reunion organizers. Schedule the accommodations, coordinate the catering and entertainment, send out the invitations, then sit back and let it all “come together.”