July News

We're very excited to have launched the redesigned and mobile-friendly https://affordablefashionreaders.com. Forward View's newest contributor, Grace Wu, lent her creative talents to the project. We feel like our team is fully complete now that she's onboard. Read about Grace and the rest of our consultants on our website. Now that our website backlog is almost gone, we're looking for digital project opportunities to tackle this fall. If you're interested in having Forward View develop your website or create a new logo for your business/organization, contact us today. Our open slots will fill up soon!
 

 http://barnimages.com/

Every Forward View website is handcrafted in America and made-to-order


On the finance side of the business, we launched the Forward View Model Portfolio. It's filled with our best investment ideas, and we think it's our best research product yet. We also shared an update on the Forward View Elite subscription service (with included access to the Model Portfolio). Forward View initiated our Elite research offering through Seeking Alpha on March 22nd. Since then, we've posted 39 research notes, stock reports, trade suggestions and investment ideas. That's an average of one new update every three days! We focus on providing Wall Street-quality analyses at an affordable price, but Forward View is a sell-side firm with a global institutional investor readership base. JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Blackrock and Citigroup are just a few of the corporations that access our research. Despite our pleasure to provide services to these huge companies, Forward View has no desire to be an exclusive Wall Street-oriented research business. Instead, we're passionate about offering our services to smaller asset managers, financial advisors and the general investing public. We keep our own costs low (no fancy office and no Forward View jet) in order to sell Forward View Elite subscriptions on Seeking Alpha for just $275 per year/$34 per month. Please read our full Elite summary by clicking here.

We thank you for your interest in Forward View and wish you a great day!

June News

Forward View had a good June, and we're especially excited about the launch of our Team webpage. It's about time we introduced you to the full group of experts who collaborate on our projects! Furthermore, we're happy to announce that we signed on a new website development client last week. The results of the digital redesign will be shared in a future issue of this newsletter.

On the financial front, our owner published a guest research report on Wisdom's Reward, a Christian investment website. If you're interested in diving into twenty pages of analysis, grab your calculators and check it out. (Full disclosure: We also took over management of the Wisdom's Reward website very recently.) Our research continues to be read around the globe and is getting significant Wall Street attention. As always, we appreciate all of our clients, business partners and team members!

SPAM: A 21st-Century Business Problem

After being repeatedly spammed with messages related to my clients' websites, I composed the following response to one spammed supposedly named "Fred":

Fred,
You’re starting to annoy me, and that’s surely not a good thing. I’ve unsubscribed from your emails, and yet you’re still sending me the same garbage. I have never, and will never, click your link because your “generosity” is undoubtedly insincere. Your website will either infect my computer with a virus, or you’ll end up trying to charge me for something. So, here’s the deal:

  1. You’re going to stop sending me any email immediately.
  2. You’ll delete my address from your system. Now.
  3. You’ll delete my address from your archives, too.
  4. I won’t report you to the FCC/FTC/FBI. (Probably.)

If you fail any of the first three steps above, this will happen:

  1. I will report you to the FCC/FTC/FBI.
  2. I will keep pushing the case, including through my contacts in Washington DC and law enforcement.
  3. Your operation will be shut down.
  4. You will pay fines.
  5. You will be left either a) despairingly hungry and homeless or b) in a cell with a hopefully irritable, delusional or exceedingly boring cellmate.
  6. I will be very happy every single day.

It’s your move. Think wisely. Don’t test Forward View Consulting.
No regards,

Nathan Yates, M.S.F.

My message was, of course, bounced from the spamming account. As a research analyst and web developer, though, I tracked down the email marketing service used by dear old Fred. I provided the marketing company with sufficient information to can this spammer, but I know that 100,000+ other Freds exist. I'm especially concerned because my clients have also received supposedly website-related "alerts" that range from gimmicky SEO services to downright digital robbery. Each website domain name registration I complete fires up the internet trolls all over again. Forward View's future client services will include helping clients to identify website-oriented scams/spam, and we'll also begin aggressively hunting the online trolls for reporting to the appropriate authorities. Don't mess with Forward View!

21st Century Entrepreneurship

Small businesses are truly respected here at Forward View. Not only is Forward View a product of contemporary entrepreneurship, but most of our clients are entrepreneurs, too. In our opinion, the future of America will depend on people who use technology and modern capitalism to develop new products and offer innovative services. According to Inc.com, "The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor shows that 18- to 24-year-olds in the United States are starting businesses at a faster rate than 35- to 44-year-olds." Thus, entrepreneurs are definitely increasing in number. Here's the Forward View:

We believe that more and more companies will use networks of remote professionals because distance is becoming irrelevant. Technologies such as Skype and the prevalence of mobile devices will enable face-to-face digital collaboration across time zones and regions. Forward View itself is a product of this trend. We're based in Virginia but have collaborators and consultants in Pennsylvania, Washington, Colorado and now Texas. Our clients have come from Virginia, Maryland, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Illinois and New York. As distance education/training becomes commonplace, having remote jobs/projects will be even more widely accepted in business. Those who learn online will work online.

-from Entrepreneur

The global marketplace is creating significant demand for incredibly differentiated services and goods. Established corporations struggle to envision anything except for macro trends, but highly skilled entrepreneurs will quickly exploit developing opportunities. Small businesses can react rapidly to changing needs, and they should always focus on core competencies. The 21st century economy will look like your smartphone's list of apps, with each firm dedicated to expertise in a particular niche. The days of conglomerates ruling the world are over.

Forward View realizes that modem entrepreneurs will increasingly promote socially-conscious activities. We think capitalism is the best economic system ever devised and ardently support free markets. (If you disagree and prefer Communism, just go ahead and click that little Unsubscribe button at the bottom of this email.) Nonetheless, we're very interested in supporting companies that do good while they earn profits. Those two outcomes aren't mutually exclusive. In fact, we'd say that thriving firms in this century will seamlessly integrate financial success with other metrics related to sustainable business practices. That combination will be essential to America's future.

-from Entrepreneur

It's our earnest desire to support the first generation 21st century entrepreneurs. The next generation seems even more strongly interested in developing new companies: "61 percent of high school students and 43 percent of college students would rather be an entrepreneur instead of an employee when they graduate college. While Gen Y struggles to pay back one trillion dollars in student loans, and is living with their parents when they graduate, Gen Z [those born between 1994 and 2010] is already focused on creating their own companies and living life on their terms." (Dan Schwabel of Millennial Branding) As business ownership becomes the preferred career, we look forward to helping Generations X, Y and Z!

2015 Web Design Trends

As with any area of design, digital styles change over time. Web design fads come and go quickly, but some trends are much more enduring. In this article, we'll focus on the areas of website design that won't be dated by morning. Here are the four key trends to understand:


Imagery: The trend in imagery is for larger, bolder photos and graphics. Header and background images are especially popular, with text flowing over and around the visual elements. While the current preference for retro-tinged pictures is likely to fade, impressive visuals are here to stay. High-speed internet and 3/4G cell service ensure that photos won't take hours to load. (We forecast that video will increasingly replace or complement static images.)
 

This image would be perfect for a contemporary website


Page Number: Until recently, there was a focus on increasing the number of pages in a website. Any page longer than two screen lengths was considered ripe for separation into multiple pages. Now, page consolidation is occurring as a response to the number of overly-segmented and less cohesive websites. Instead of creating several pages for each site, current trends are geared toward creating distinct blocks of content on fewer pages. Separation of design elements is still key, but that trend doesn't always necessitate additional pages.

Depth: A couple of years ago, websites were flat, but the graphics offered depth. Now, this has reversed. Flat images are being built into website layers which create the illusion of depth. The parallax design style even uses content blocks that roll over each other. (We'll be unveiling our first parallax website soon!) While websites aren't 3D yet, we're excited about new methodologies that improve the appearance of depth in the digital world.
 

A parallax design currently in progress


Multiple Screens, One Design: When the transition toward mobile web browsing began, designers considered the mobile experience to be of lesser importance than the traditional desktop website. The mobile site was thus built with an entirely different style than the "standard" site. (The technical limitations of early smartphones also dampened the ability to produce a fantastic mobile experience.) As smartphones and tablets have become more powerful, mobile sites and their desktop counterparts have converged. Instead of putting each site in its own silo, current design trends are centered around a unified user experience. The screen size used to view a website shouldn't affect functionality. At Forward View, our sites are always tested on multiple screens to ensure a delightful experience on every device.

We hope you have enjoyed this review of website design trends. It's not an exhaustive list of modern sensibilities, but this article should address the most noteworthy concepts for 2015. Technology can affect digital styles quite rapidly, however the trends we've identified should endure...well, as long as anything endures on the internet!

April News

April brought many business developments to Forward View. Our most exciting news is the launch of our research subscription service.

Why did we develop this specific service? Most of our previous research was delivered to Wall Street and large investment firms through distribution agreements with high-end data providers. Such research publishers aggregate investment analyses from many firms and package them for resale. The annual subscription fee to one of these information services is around $20,000 a year. We realized that's not affordable for smaller investment companies or typical Americans, and yet these are the same businesses and investors who lack professional research and executive contacts. Well, we aim to fill that gap by offering a reasonably-priced research service to anyone. For $275 a year/$34 a month, you'll have access to everything we publish! We believe Forward View's analyses will pay for themselves many times over. (And for the record, we do still publish for Wall Street and the big banks as a way to maintain our connections and offset some expenses.)

On the website development front, we completed a new deli's digital presence. The restaurant's online ordering system will be available when the business opens on May 15th. Forward View provided the integrated e-commerce platform, website, digital menu, social media page, email newsletter and the logo. (Many thanks to the uber-talented Jamie Brown for her awesome graphic design and copywriting contributions!) Forward View also fulfilled a contract to provide a new Dickenson County, Virginia tourism logo:
 

Our ever-amazing collaborator Kerri Costello really outdid herself with that logo! It's the perfect visual depiction of our home county. We look forward to finishing the Dickenson County Chamber of Commerce's website in the coming weeks, too.

As always, we thank our clients, business partners, contributors and friends for their support. We're excited about upcoming projects (and warming weather). Have a great day!

Cash Flows Are The Music of Finance

When Forward View analyzes any company or stock, we always look for the cash flow. "Show me the money" is an appropriate slogan for our research methodology. We believe that a focus on cash flow is both theoretically valid and eminently practical. Over the long-run, a business thrives or fails due to its increases or decreases in cash. The Forward View valuation model utilizes a DCF (discounted cash flow) approach in order to strip out "earnings" based on creative accounting. That's why we never recommend investing in firms without positive cash flows or a clear path to free cash flow (defined as operating cash flow minus capital expenditures).

Too often, equity research analysts forget that the only thing a company can spend is cash. Period. They can't spend "income" from the favorable revaluation of assets nor from adjustments in intangibles. Unfortunately, some analysts base ratings on these very items. Forward View will never get distracted by these things. Our goal is to accurately forecast future cash flows and then value them accordingly. We would be happy to explain the technicalities of our analytical methodology if you would appreciate more information. Forward View always welcomes your inquiries.