Strong Leadership Enhances Successful Companies

The world of business can be a complex and intricate place. With globalization and other external factors constantly weighing on organizations, leadership needs to be strong. In the financial industry, investment companies rely on leaders to develop strategies that deliver the opportunity for strong performance. Wes Edens Fortress Investment Group head provides his firm with a combination of versatility, industry knowledge, and the willingness to take risks, which has helped the company grow into a market leader. These skills in particular have created a flexible company that has focus and direction.


Versatility is important in any business. When a company is able to balance more than specific market at any given time along with another, the chances of being successful grow. Just in the finance industry, merger agreements, asset management, and private equity all require individuals with a specific skill set ready to spring into action at a moment’s notice. Proper staffing and strong human resource skills are a big part of company being flexible, which underscores the ability of leaders to surround themselves with an executive team capable of handling the rigors of what can be a demanding marketplace. In the end, people must be equipped to rise to the challenge.

Taking Risks

Every business takes chances, but taking calculated risks in terms of strategy and vision is something that leaders take very seriously. Modern business practices on a grand company sized scale have to be ready to accept some degree of risk. Granted the degree of risk is usually linear with the potential profit or loss of the strategy, but that responsibility falls on the executive committee. The stock markets of the world rise and fall with regularity, and timing a specific project to take advantage of downswings or upswings in those markets is often what separates great leaders from their counterparts. In the end, leaders have to know the right thing to do at the right time, because it makes all the difference in the world.

Industry Knowledge

Knowledge and mastery of a specific industry is what transforms a company into a market leader. Specialists in particular areas can be recruited, but when board of directors members, steering committee members, and executive officers have extensive knowledge of the industry in which they operate, the company is better positioned to succeed. While formal education is important, a career that spans years or decades in a particular field can easily offset any type of educational shortcomings. Life and work are generally the best teachers, and when corporate leaders have that kind of experience, good things tend to happen for the company. Companies that specialize in certain fields have to maintain that lead by constantly learning and evolving to stay ahead of the competition, and it is the job of the leaders to keep the company motivated.

In the end, corporate leaders that possess the ability to take calculated risks, maintain exceptional industry knowledge, and manage a versatile workforce give their companies the best chance to transform into industry leaders. The world of executive management requires a specific level of dedication and perseverance. When the company heads are willing to demonstrate those elements of leadership and use themselves as examples, the rest of the company follows suit. Leadership is where success in business starts and ends.

Tax Tips To Consider Before April 15th

With April 15th looming, Americans look to reduce their tax expenses. They confront a complicated tax code. It is important to note these figures from the IRS:

  • 1 billion – the total amount of hours individuals and businesses spend on taxes
  • 5,000 – the approximate number of tax changes from 2001 until the National Taxpayers Advocate Report in 2013
  • 30% of American buy tax software to help them

Cutbacks in staff at the IRS mean that people have difficulty reaching an actual person to answer their tax questions. This information illustrates what people face:

  • 5 minutes – average wait time in 2004
  • 30 minutes – estimated hold time for 2015

Tax Deductions and Credits Worth Considering

There are well-known ways to reduce your taxes such as the mortgage interest deduction and the child tax credit. Here are some not-so-famous deductions and credits.

  1. Interest on student loans - People paying off student loans can deduct the interest. This deduction can really help people with substantial student loan debt.
  1. Foster Pet Care - That phrase is not a typo. Many people are familiar with charitable deductions for cash and clothing contributions. If a person fosters a pet, he or she can deduct certain expenses such as food and medical bills.

Like any charitable contribution, a person needs to keep his or her receipts. Also, the organization needs to be a qualified charitable organization recognized by the IRS.

  1. Going Back to School - Many people want to finish their degree or go to graduate school. The Lifetime Learning Credit can help those taxpayers.

It is worth up to 2,000 so people who want to continue their education should investigate this credit.

  1. State Income Tax or State Sales Tax - Most states have an income tax, and the income taxes that residents pay throughout the year can be deducted from federal income taxes.

However, residents of states like Texas and Washington (no income tax states) can deduct sales taxes. They will have to save all of their receipts, but it pays to be diligent.

  1. Job Search Expenses - The last few years have been rough on Americans. Deductions exist for expenses such as resume writing services and transportation to and from job interviews.

Note: There is a very important restriction. The deductions are only available for people who are searching for a new job in the same occupation. A person who wants to make a career change from being an Administrative Assistant to a position such as Chef is out of luck.

  1. Kicking the Smoking Habit - People can deduct qualified medical expenses. Smoking cessation programs (prescriptions) fall under this category. When Americans quit smoking, they also save money on other taxes too.

A person must itemize to deduct for medical expenses. Another important fact is that people cannot deduct expenses that were paid using pre-tax dollars.

Be Conscientious

When managing their taxes, people need to:

  • Save their receipts to back up all claims
  • Consider itemizing to get the most deduction and credits
  • Get assistance if they are still confused

Unfortunately, the tax code is still very complicated at this time. None of this information is intended to replace a trained tax professional; however, it can help you.

Blackjack Or Poker – Which Is The Better Choice?

If you are tired of playing the slots at the casino and would like to try your hands at a card game, you have the choice of playing either blackjack or poker. At the end of the day, the one that you choose will depend on how well you understand both games and how much time you have to spare. Both games have their advantages and disadvantages and require a different skill set.

In either event, if you are aiming to take to these games seriously, you should spend some time finding out more about them.


Blackjack is the simpler of the two but you do still need to have some skills. The aim is to get a total of 21 – anything over that and you are bust. You are initially dealt two cards and from there you will have to decide whether to hit or to stay. If you decide to hit, the dealer deals you another card. If you decide to stand, you don’t get anymore cards. This continues until someone either hits 21 or someone busts. If you get two cards of the same type, you can opt to split, effectively allowing you to run two hands off the same bet. If you win both hands, you can thus win double.

If neither you nor the dealer gets to 21, the winner is the player whose total value of cards is highest. You are playing against the dealer and, although others can also play during the same session, their results will not make any difference to yours. You just have to concentrate on beating the dealer.

In most casinos, there are rules governing the way the dealer plays – often they will only be allowed to stand once they reach a certain value in the cards – usually 17. This could give a slight advantage – let’s say, for example, your total is 15 and you decide to stand. Even if the dealer’s hand is 16, actually enough to beat your hand, they will still have to hit. If luck is on your side, the next card they take will cause them to go over 21 and you will be the winner.

Blackjack moves faster than poker and there is a greater element of luck to the game. If you’d like to learn more, you can find explaining about blackjack.


Poker is a very different game. Instead of playing against the dealer, you are playing against other people at the table. Each player dealt 5 cards. You then aim, throughout the game, to improve the value of the hand.

This is where poker becomes more complicated than blackjack. You can choose to collect pairs of cards, cards of the same suite, etc. There are many different combinations to choose from.

After the first hand, you will be given the opportunity to swap out some of your cards. After this round, each player will then have the opportunity to call, raise or fold. Calling the bet means that you match any increases in the bet since the last time you bet; if you raise, you match the previous bet and add some more money to the pot; if you fold, you are out of the game but do not have to add any more money to the pot.

This continues until all the cards are dealt or all betting is over. At the end of the game, everyone reveals the cards that they had in their hands and the player whose cards have the highest value wins.

Poker is about more than just getting the right cards – you also need to convince the players around you that you have got a hand that is not worth betting against. The other players will then decide whether or not to call your bluff.

Both games have their merits and only you can decide which is right for you. Playing both games can be fun and exciting. Before you make any big bets though, it is a good idea to make sure that you understand the rules thoroughly and develop your skills through practice.