Best Destinations for Business Travelers in the US

Business travelers spend lots of money during their peregrinations for their companies. Global business travelers spent more than US$1.3 trillion in 2017, with China and US businesses the top two spenders. Expedia, the on-line travel agency looked its annual data and discovered that out of a total of 405 million trips made for business by Americans, about 60% extended their stays for fun.

The following three cities were found be the best US cities in which adding a few days to your business stay is the most fun according to small business solutions marketplace Fundera.

In first place was Los Angeles. Strategically situated in one of the sunniest US cities, a visitor can count on great weather, but there is a lot more to LA than sunshine. Gorgeous beaches, fantastic restaurants, non-stop entertainment opportunities and world-class museums are just the beginning of what makes LA such a great place to chill.

What must have been a close second is of course New York City. One of the great cities of the world, despite cold winters and hot/humid summers, the Big Apple is unquestionably the go-to place for an exciting vacation chock-full of an almost endless variety of activities suitable to every taste. From Broadway shows to lovely parks, the city that never sleeps is good choice for an after-work break.

In third place comes Dallas; but it ranks first in US cities not along any coast. This city is a wonderful compromise in its size, convenience and culture. Since it is not a mega metropolis like LA or NY, it might have less by way of choices for restaurants and hotels, but it makes up for that in the calm, cool atmosphere created by a smaller, friendlier and easier to get-around in environment. Not to mention the Dallas airport is a hub for just about anywhere else you might want to travel to in the US.

Fundera says that an average stay in a Dallas hotel is just under $190 per night, lower than in less-populated cities such as San Francisco or Miami. The Dallas Fort-Worth Airport is 20 miles from downtown, but even during rush hour it will only take 40 minutes to arrive.

Starting a New Business

Many people dream of becoming their own bosses, having their own businesses and not having to answer to an employer.  Recent figures have shown that in the States 99.7 percent of all-American businesses are actually small ones.  this indicates that people are increasingly moving toward working for themselves and away from the corporate world.

While that statistic is very positive, unfortunately, when you look a few years down the line, the numbers of those businesses that were successful and even remained afloat is not as encouraging.  indeed, around 70 percent of small businesses end up closing within two years.

We took this opportunity to ask two individuals who have successfully been running their own business for 5+ years for tips.

Photographer Mozes Victor Konig works in both the US and in Israel.  He opened his company in 2011 and has never looked back.

“I did work for an agency when I first started out.  And I liked it on some levels.  I didn’t have to worry about getting clients and I had regular work. But after a decade of giving more than 60% of my hourly rate to the agency I started thinking about how I could open my own business.  I have to say – maybe I’ve been lucky – but I’ve never looked back. I think the most important piece of advice I got that perhaps resulted in this success was from a fellow SME owner who said find your niche.  now that I focus on events like museum openings, new restaurants and charity events, I feel like I have more respect from consumers who know that I have a talent in that particular area. don’t try to bite off more than you can chew.  make sure you are 100% proficient in a few areas and offer those services.  The fact that I travel between Israel and America (also for personal reasons) is helpful for me personally since I never tire of what I’m doing; I love it actually.”

Genevieve Marcella opened a florist store in Battery Park City in 2015.  She has lived in the neighborhood her whole life and – similar to Mozes Victor Konig – really enjoys what she does. She said:

“I think that the fact that I’ve lived in Battery Park City all my life really helped when starting a new business.  I know many of the locals – my mother taught half of my clients – and I understand their needs.  I offer flowers for many different events and occasions but in particular for weddings.  Weddings by the Hudson River are fantastic; there are many different options and I like to help clients with that as well.  I suppose the advice I would give to someone starting out is get to know your client base.  The personal touch – especially in the service industry and with local businesses – is so important and can really set you apart from the competition.”

Toshiba LNG Division Sold to Total SA

Unburdening itself from its somewhat risky liquified natural gas venture, Toshiba Corp. completed the sale of Toshiba LNG Corp to oil and gas powerhouse Total SA of France for $15 million. The sale is part of the Japanese firm’s restructuring process.

Technigaz Mark III type LNG membrane inside an LNG carrier. Photo courtesy of Thinfourth

The sale was announced in June when Toshiba realized it would have a hard time profiting from US-produced LNG for Japanese utilities due to the fall of the price of LNG. As it is, the sale to Total SA will still result in a loss for Toshiba of about $847 million for the fiscal year ending in March. Toshiba plans to pay Total about $815 million to take the contracts Toshiba is already committed.

Toshiba’s deal with the US firm to have the rights to process U.S.-produced gas into 2.2 million tons of LNG each year for 20 years beginning in 2019 was brokered back in 2013.
Toshiba’s restructuring comes in the wake of a fraud scandal that came to light in 2015, and after Westinghouse Electric Company, a nuclear power subsidiary, went bankrupt in 2017.

Banking Guidance for Students

When students head off to college for the first time, it is vital to have the correct checking account for their needs. Credit card companies are fully aware of this and thus offer all sorts of incentives to sign up with them. But choosing the right bank – especially for those who have never done it before – can be a little overwhelming. Deciding whether or not to get a credit card is also very important.

According to Michelle Smith Source Financial Advisors Manhattan CEO, students should not “feel pressured to open a credit card because [they are] opening a bank account.”

Why is this advice being given though?  What are the issues with credit cards, in particular for students?  One answer is: reality.  There are many promises made to those signing up for a credit that are simply not true such as price deals (which turn out to be not such great deals) and cashback deals (also not all that attractive in reality).  When you factor in interest payments and fees the “deals” can actually be the opposite of “a good deal.”

Managing credit cards can be a challenge.  Why would a student – often away from home for the first time – want to be burdened with tracking debts and payments and managing deadlines every month?  Student life should be a fun experience and the only pressure involved should come from studying, not card management.

Also, if payment deadlines are missed, interest rates can spike to 20 percent or even more. Youngsters often get misled into believing that credit limit is their money, when in reality it is money that the bank is loaning you at a very high interest.

So as Michelle Smith suggests, students should not “feel pressured” to get a credit card.  A bank account is different, but a credit card – as noted in this article – is something quite different.

Frank Armijo: Renewable Energy and Job Opportunities

Providing clean, sustainable energy is crucial for the environment today and the global future tomorrow.  MeyGen – the world’s largest tidal energy plant – is currently in the construction phrase for SIMEC Atlantis Energy (SAE) in its efforts to provide clean, sustainable energy.  Vice President of Lockheed Martin Energy (one of MeyGen’s suppliers), Frank Armijo said:

“MeyGen is on track to provide clean, sustainable, predictable power for at least 175,000 homes in Scotland, support local jobs, reduce carbon emissions, and deliver significant, long-term supply chain benefits for the UK economy.”

Armijo also said that the company is in the process of developing a flow battery. This will use electrolyte chemistry with cheaper earth metals and chemicals. These have a lifespan of 6 to 10 hours (much longer than the lifespan of regular lithium ion batteries of 2-4 hours).  In addition, the batteries are devoid of problems such as reliance on expensive and toxic materials like zinc bromide and vanadium.

SIMEC Atlantis Energy (SAE) has been using 6-MW MeyGen as part of its 25-year operational phase.  To date it has delivered over 8 GWh of energy to the national grid.