Re-ignite Your Passion For Reading

One of the greatest memories of my childhood is spending time among books and paper.  I've enjoyed books since I can remember.  The best place to spend quality private or family time is in the library.

Over the last 10 years, however, the Internet has irrevocably changed both access to and obtainment of information.  We have the capacity to take a trip to our nearest wireless device rather than a trip to our local library to get the same information and possibly more.  We have the equivalent of the volumes of books in a library at our fingertips through various electronic mediums.  This opportunity has both positive and negative impacts on our society.

The inarguable convenience of information retrieval by way of the Internet, on the one hand, is an infomaniac's paradise.  And, I am certain that there are a numerous parents who appreciate not having to make those late-night trips to the library to whiz from shelf-to-shelf as the lights flicker with impatience.  On the other hand, we severely lack respect for our educational blessedness and as a result, tend to take advantage of the privilege of having such tremendous access to education resources.

I have a saying, "Convenience is essential to utility."  The way we value a person, place or thing in our lives has to have some basis in their availability to us at any given moment.  But, we cannot automatically equate accessibility with value.  There is a lot of information that we can readily access, but has no inherent value.  It does not teach or edify us in any way, so its value is misrepresented because of its accessibility.  Ironically, the  educational intelligence available to us today in libraries and on the Internet is often underappreciated.

America is a nation rich in culture and community.  In heritage and history.  Nothing saddens me more than to think that our propensity for material gain has overshadowed our appreciation for the national treasury of knowledge, education and wisdom we are privy to.  The illiteracy rate in this country is alarming at least, unacceptable at best.  We need to become a nation of readers again.  We need to read and teach our children to read.  We need to take the family trips to the library to explore the wonders of the world as written by many well-known and not-so-well-known authors.  It is important to make that a priority just to experience the sheer joy of being around books as knowledge and information ooze from them.  Libraries and museums will always be part of the fabric of this country.

For those who are most apt to read electronically, there is now a tidal wave of wireless readers coming ashore.  They boast of instantaneous access to countless thousands of newspapers, books, magazines, blogs, and even, wikipedia.  A civilization is defined by the quality of its education.  It's defined by accessibility to information, but even more importantly, the applicability of information for educational purposes.  We need to become a nation of readers again.  I challenge you to rekindle your love affair with reading.

Payroll Wisconsin, Unique Aspects of Wisconsin Payroll Law and Practice

The Wisconsin State Agency that oversees the collection and reporting of State income taxes deducted from payroll checks is:

Department of Revenue

Income, Sales, Inheritance and Excise Tax Division

P.O. Box 8910

2135 Rimrock Rd.

Madison, WI 53713

(608) 266-2776

www.dor.state.wi.us/

Wisconsin allows you to use the Federal W-4 form or the "WT-4, Employee's Wisconsin Withholding Exemption Certificate/New Hire Reporting" to calculate state income tax withholding.

Not all states allow salary reductions made under Section 125 cafeteria plans or 401(k) to be treated in the same manner as the IRS code allows.  In Wisconsin cafeteria plans are not taxable for income tax calculation; not taxable for unemployment insurance purposes.   401(k) plan deferrals are not taxable for income taxes; taxable for unemployment purposes.

In Wisconsin supplemental wages are taxed at:

Annual wages: under $7,970    4.6%

$7,970-$15,590             6.15%

$15,590-$115,140         6.5%

Over $115,140               6.75%

You must file your Wisconsin state W-2s by magnetic media if you are have at least 250 employees and are required to file your federal W-2s by magnetic media.

The Wisconsin State Unemployment Insurance Agency is:

Department of Workforce Development

Division of Unemployment Compensation

201 E. Washington Ave., P.O. Box 7905

Madison, WI 53707

(608) 266-7074

www.dwd.state.wi.us/ui/

The State of Wisconsin taxable wage base for unemployment purposes is wages up to $10,500.00.

Wisconsin requires Magnetic media reporting of quarterly wage reporting if the employer has at least 100 employees that they are reporting that quarter.

Unemployment records must be retained in Wisconsin for a minimum period of six years.  This information generally includes: name; social security number; dates of hire, rehire and termination; wages by period; payroll pay periods and pay dates; date and circumstances of termination.

The Wisconsin State Agency charged with enforcing the state wage and hour laws is:

Department of Workforce Development

Division of Equal Rights

1 South Pinckney St., Rm. 320

P.O. Box 8928

Madison, WI 53702-8928

(608) 266-6860

www.dwd.state.wi.us/er/

The minimum wage in Wisconsin is $5.15 per hour.

The general provision in Wisconsin concerning paying overtime in a non-FLSA covered employer is one and one half times regular rate after 40-hour week.

Wisconsin State new hire reporting requirements are that every employer must report every new hire and rehire.  The employer must report the federally required elements of:

Employee's name

Employee's address

Employee's date of birth.

date of hire

Employee's social security number

Employer's name

Employers address

Employer's Federal Employer Identification Number  (EIN)

This information must be reported within 20 days of the hiring or rehiring.

The information can be sent as a W4 or equivalent by mail, fax or electronically.

There is no penalty for a late report in Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin new hire-reporting agency can be reached at 888-300-4473 or on the web at http://www.dwd.state.wi.us/

Wisconsin does allow compulsory direct deposit but the employee's choice of financial institution must meet federal Regulation E regarding choice of financial institutions.

Wisconsin requires the following information on an employee's pay stub:

amount of and reason for deductions

Wisconsin requires that employee be paid no less often than monthly; union contract may differ.

Wisconsin requires that the lag time between the end of the pay period and the payment of wages to the employee not exceed thirty-one days.

Wisconsin payroll law requires that involuntarily terminated employees must be paid their final pay by next regular payday; within 24 hours if employer closes or moves and that voluntarily terminated employees must be paid their final pay by the next regular payday.

Deceased employee's wages must be paid when normally due to the surviving spouse, children or other dependent living with employee; within 5 days of death-surviving spouse, children, parents, or siblings (in that order).

Escheat laws in Wisconsin require that unclaimed wages be paid over to the state after one year.

The employer is further required in Wisconsin to keep a record of the wages abandoned and turned over to the state for a period of 5 years.

Wisconsin payroll law mandates no more than $2.82 may be used as a tip credit.

In Wisconsin the payroll laws covering mandatory rest or meal breaks are only that minors under 16 must have 30 minutes rest near middle of shift after six hours of work.

Wisconsin statute requires that wage and hour records be kept for a period of not less than three years.  These records will normally consist of at least the information required under FLSA.

The Wisconsin agency charged with enforcing Child Support Orders and laws is:

Department of Workforce Development

Division of Economic Support

Bureau of Child Support

1 W. Wilson St., Rm. 382

P.O. Box 7935

Madison, WI 53707-7935

(608) 266-9909

www.dwd.state.wi.us/bcs/

Wisconsin has the following provisions for child support deductions:

When to start Withholding?    one week after receipt of order.

When to send Payment?    Within 5 days of Payday.

When to send Termination Notice?    Within 10 days of termination.

Maximum Administrative Fee?    $3 per payment

Withholding Limits?    Federal Rules under CCPA.

Please note that this article is not updated for changes that can and will happen from time to time.

Get a piece of the action

The sport, the life blood for many, Baseball is the most popular game in the United States of America. People go crazy over this game, and go to any extent to get hold of tickets, just so they can watch their Minnesota Twins rip through Los Angeles Angels. These Major league baseball tickets are purchased for billions of dollars almost every year. Compared to all the sports played around the country, baseball and that too MLB is the most popular. It also brings in high amounts of revenue into the coutnry when people from abroad visit exclusively to watch these matches.

Children are trained in this sport right from a young age and they either grow up to become baseball players or passionate about the sport. The major teams such as New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox belong to the American league east division.

There are many methods to purchase these baseball tickets. Buying tickets in advance or just before the game starts are options left to the fans. Although buying them before hand is better, since last minute means expensive tickets. And there might not be many left, so don’t take a chance. Purchasing of baseball tickets from fan clubs, stadiums and brokers was how it was earlier. But today, with invention of computers and internet, everything is available at the touch of a button.

Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Oakland Athletics and Toronto Blue Jays are teams that play in seasons, and so it is possible to pick up tickets from ticketsamerica.com for single games, or baseball playoffs. And these baseball tickets are sold at competitive prices. Apart from this, the site also offers extensive baseball related information such as the teams playing in which town; Game schedules stadium seating facilities, and right down to directions.

Instead of approaching a baseball club or places where tickets are sold, you could pick it off the net. It might work out cheaper, especially when booking for a group. Just make sure to pick out tickets to the games played by Atlanta Braves and Florida Marlins for the name of teams will be mentioned on the site. If by mistake you book for Washington Nationals, you might have to find a friend to take it off your hands. Bottom line being, convenience has taken on a new meaning ever since internet evolved. It has changed lives across the globe, bringing people closer.

Diverse Hampers

Business Services UK carry out independent small business reviews from selected businesses within the UK.

Diverse Hampers

Diverse Hampers is a relatively new venture that is located in Somerset, the business is owned and managed by Niki Stewart. I asked Niki about her business life and why she decided to start up Diverse Hampers.

After leaving school I started up an office supply company that became very successful, the company had an average turnover of Ј1.5 million. However due to personal circumstances I decided to leave last November.

I realised there was a niche in the market for providing unique tower hampers within the UK. After spending 6 months researching the business concept, I launched Diverse Hampers in June this year.

Diverse Hampers is slowly growing into a main player in the hamper sector. Niki is well aware she needs to concentrate her efforts on improving her online business model and continue with her marketing strategy. Her company not only provides hampers to the general consumer, she also targets the corporate world by sending out free miniature samples. This strategy is gathering momentum and leading to an increase in orders.

I have fully researched the hamper tower business within the UK and I believe Niki is right when she says there is room for Diverse Hampers to become the main provider in the UK. There product is very attractive and I can see franchise opportunities in the future. There is also potential to move this business into the European market.

Niki is a passionate about business, she is very experienced in business marketing and although Diverse Hampers is still a relatively new venture it is already showing the signs that it could grow into a much larger business.

The best testament we can pay her business is that we have already ordered our own hamper from her company. The team at Business Services UK wish Diverse Hampers all the best for the future. We are sure with a lot of hard work this business will turn this into a huge success.

Acquire New Business

A major part of keeping profitable and growing your business is maintaining a focus on business development. Even when you've got the right mix of work, clients and employees you should be looking for new opportunities. You could establish a process to do this whilst ensuring your existing customers don't get neglected. The process helps you manage new business opportunities in a cost - and time-effective manner.

Generate leads

Identify the types of companies you want to work with and a realistic number of companies you want to target over a given period of time. For example: an accountant with experience in the marketing industry might decide to target five opportunities per month focussed on marketing consultancies.

Finding potential clients and identifying new opportunities can be done through networking events, tenders listed in newspapers and industry magazines and headlines in newspapers about new projects and industry seminars. Keep an eye on your industry and stay aware of new developments.

Track the companies you approach in a database ( you could use Microsoft Excel or Access). Tracking should cover the obvious things (company contact details etc) as well as details of what was discussed, potential works, actions and more.

Qualify the leads

Once you have a list of identified companies you must review to ensure they are realistic opportunities. Some areas to think about include:

• Do you have the right contacts to get started?

• Do you have the right services to offer them?

• How can their website help you understand them better?

• Do you have any conflicts of interest in pursuing this company?

• Does this client have growth potential or would it be a quick job?

• Who makes the decisions? How can you reach them?

3. Raise your business profile

By raising your company profile (no matter how small you are) you'll be able to generate new business with less effort. As a leader in the industry new business will come to you. There are many ways to raise your profile; you could try sponsoring events, adverts and gaining media coverage. The size, location and target market of your business this will dictate what medium to use and the areas to cover.

4. Show them what you're made of

Start to reach your qualified opportunities by showcasing your company's products. Send them a brochure or a copy of any newsletters you produce and invite them to join; show off examples of your work; highlight relevant media articles.

Develop standard template letters in Word to send to potential clients to accompany your credentials/brochures. Ensure you link to your database (Excel, Access or Outlook) when merging the letters and envelopes to ensure you don't have to re-enter details.

There is no specified time for this courting so be patient. It could be six months before anything comes to fruition.

5. Set a meeting time

So you're in the door. Now you need to sell yourself. Tailor the meeting to suit the way you operate as a business. It could be a formal PowerPoint presentation or a discussion over coffee. You may have no choice for the style of the meeting but make sure you are comfortable and well prepared. During the meeting be sure to demonstrate the knowledge you have developed in the previous stages.

6. Follow up

You've presented your capabilities and ideas. Don't stop there. Follow up is essential. This is a major part of the process and should be taken as seriously as the other steps. You'll probably be able to build on ideas from the meeting, or you might find an interesting/relevant article or statistics you could send to re-open discussion. Even if you don't have anything to send, thank them for the opportunity.

Paid Survey

One of the most popular work at home money makers today is paid surveys. I'm sure you've seen one of the following ads:

Cash for taking Surveys, Paid Survey, Get Paid for your opinion, Online Paid Surveys, Get Paid To Take Surveys, Take Online Surveys for Cash!

If you are like I was I'm sure your wondering how does one learn how to make money by taking surveys.

The fact is there are many companies that will pay you to participate in Online surveys, focus groups, and product tests. These are market research companies that are paid by large companies to find out what the public feels about their products. They want to know if their advertising campaigns are working and how everyday people feel about their products. Many Major corporations spend a huge amount every year on advertising. So paying you a few dollars to find out if their advertising is working is not that big of a deal and considered money well spent. They hire market research companies and the market research companies send out surveys to everyday people to see what is appealing to the public.

So now that we understand where the money comes from lets move on to how one finds which companies to do business with, because there are many companies that will waste your time and pay you nothing. The best method in my opinion is by either doing alot of major research or finding a reputable company that has done the work for you. There are a few of these companies around and I highlight them on my website. They companies are called Paid Survey database companies. It's easier to research a few of these than the hundreds of survey companies that are currently out there.

The major benefit to these types of programs is that it saves you time and time is money. You could spend hours searching the Internet for Free Survey companies on your own or you can join one of these Survey database companies that have done the leg work for you. I lean toward Paid Survey directory database companies myself, because I felt I could make more taking surveys during the time I would be going through the many Survey companies. Time is money and many of the companies I have on my website charge a modest fee for access to their database.  Online paid survey databases are not free. Paid Survey database companies charge about $35 - $60 for their paid surveys directory.  Again the time you save and the training you get is well worth the modest fee and I'm glad my wife and I chose to use one of these companies. My wife actually does that side of our business.

Okay, we understand how we make money, how to find the survey companies to deals with and now we will deal with the last bit of information, which is how do we start and what do we need to start making money from home taking surveys.

All you will need is a computer, access to the Internet, email address and a few hours a week to put into your new work at home business. I would suggest setting up a separate email address for you survey business. You don' t have to do this, but I like keeping it all separate myself.  You will need a phone line if you want to participate in some of the areas like focus groups. You can choose whether you want to do that portion or not. It's all up to you.

The next thing for you to do is to choose which Paid Survey Database Company you choose to use.  You can either do the research yourself or feel free to access my site whereby you can read and review the research and recommendations I have made.

In summary

1. Review the available Online Survey database Programs

2. Narrow down the choices to 1-3 programs

3. Find out which ones have a money back guarantee

4. Use your charge card if possible for further protection

5. Sign up & start making money!

Softwarelady

Making Money Online - What Separates The Dream From Reality?

The answer? Firstly accepting that making money online is an ongoing process resulting from hard work, patience and knowledge of internet marketing.

If you look for other people to make you money online, by joining their scheme or plan, then sadly, this will be the truth you will have to face again and again: You'll make them money (because they've put the work into building their online business - and know internet marketing - and are patient enough to see the results) whereas YOU will lose your hard earned cash lining someone else's pocket.

How to get resell software?

Buy software one by one or join a membership club?

You can go to eBay or other sites to find resell software. The problem with this is that you are ending up getting many of the same products each time you are buying a product. You must also use much time looking around the web for new products to add to your site.

If you find yourself a serious membership site where you can download  as much as you want for a small fee. You save the time looking for products yourself and can concentrate on selling and making a great site. This is what a good resell seller would do. He would let other find the products for him and concentrate himself on selling and marketing his site.

Who to trust?

There are many schemes out there and finding the right membership site for resell software are not easy. To help you we have tried several sites and we have a winner. The winning site is not the site with most products but this is the site that takes care of you and help you if you need it. The member service are excellent and if you are a "nice" member they will help you with free marketing of your site.

SoftwareLady.com

After joining and sending a couples of emails to the management of SoftwareLady, we where overwhelmed by the service of this site. We therefore decided to give them some extra point in this article. The site have about 200-300 products you can download. Most of the products comes with resell rights and others are for personal use and some you can use in your work. They have just started a forum for peoples dealing with resell products. There are not many post in this forum yet, but its a start.

The good thing about this site is that they add new products all the time, you will therefore always have access to new products. The second thing is that they always help you if they can. After joining them they gave us free submission to 20 search engines and added us to over 500 link directories. The admin of the site wrote in the email with this offer: "We are trying our best to get our members to succeed".  This is the feeling we have about this site.

If you are thinking about starting your own internet business with resell software - www.softwarelady.com is a place to start

Panama Gets a New Cruise Port in Colon

Introduction - Today it was announced that Panama is opening a new cruise ship port and terminal in Colon on the Atlantic side. The port will open in Dec. 2008. At the present time there is a cruise terminal in Colon to receive ships for a day stop only. Ships generally not passing through the canal will stop at Colon disembarking passengers for tours, shopping trips etc. The ships will generally pull in during the morning and leave at dinnertime. Colon is the second largest duty free zone in the world second to Hong Kong. It is simple for one to take a tour from Colon to the Panama Canal.

Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas - Royal Caribbean has announced that it will be deploying one of its modern ships by the name of Enchantment of the Seas. This cruise ship is 80,000 tons and was built in 1997 and refurbished in 1999 and again in 2005. It is not a flag ship of the line, yet still quite a respectable cruise liner. The boat was stretched out when refurbished in 2005 and is now 990 feet long, roughly as long as an aircraft carrier. The ship carries 2446 passengers and has a crew of 760. There are 6 hot tubs, three swimming pools, a rock climbing wall, spa, gym, full beauty salon, jogging track, and of course it has a rock-climbing wall. How can you cruise without a rock-climbing wall? There is a casino, 10 bars, and the ship has 11 decks extending above the water. This is no slouch of a boat. The itinerary of the boat will be Columbia, Aruba and Curacao with 17 such one-week cruises planned during the first season.

Discussion - Okay so now Panama is going to become a cruise port. The major ports in the general region, broadly speaking, are Miami, and Ft. Lauderdale. Many people in Central and South America have difficulty getting visas to go to America. To take a cruise starting or terminating in the USA one must obtain a visa to go to the USA unless they are able to travel to the country without a visa. Most of the countries are not this way with Argentina being the exception.

The visa process involves waking up early in the morning to go stand online at the USA Embassy waiting to go in for an interview. Numerous documents are required, reasons for the trip, why you are not a risk for overstaying the visa etc. There are fees involved, which are about $165 a person. Many people do not wish to go through this process. Many others are willing to go through the process but are unable to get the visa for various reasons.

Additionally people have been complaining about the treatment they get from USA immigration being unpleasant when they arrive and depart America. This has been hurting the cruise industry in the USA in a big way. Check cruise prices and it is common to see discounts of 50% most of the time from the USA ports of departure. This will give the cruise companies a chance to recover a market they have been missing out on in recent years which is the Central and South American market. It will also give Panama a chance to gain some tourism dollars. People taking cruises frequently come in a day or two before the cruise and stay a day or two after the cruise to see the local attractions.

The word we got was that the other cruise lines would follow suit and begin originating cruises from Panama as well. One could expect to see a bustling cruise port like Miami in the near future is what we were told to expect. We welcome the cruise industry and see it as having a positive effect.

Remember this port is not designed to attract the USA tourist dollar. While some USA tourists will come here the overwhelming majority of the cruisers will be from Central and South America. It is cheaper and easier for the USA resident to take a cruise departing from: Los Angeles, New Orleans, Houston, Tampa, New York, Orlando, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, or Puerto Rico. This is not going to give the USA some sort of leverage to use on Panama to get them to do what they want like weaken banking laws etc. If the Caymans Islands or the Bahamas did not comply with the USA regarding bank or corporate laws the USA could make like very difficult for anyone cruising to these destinations with lots of searching, long delays clearing customs and immigration etc. Places like the Caymans and Bahamas have heavy cruise and tourism industries that provide many more jobs than the banking industry. If you have ever been to the Caymans not many locals work in the banking sector. The new cruise port in Panama has no applicability to the USA since the passengers will not be subject to USA immigration and customs since the cruise boat will not be originating, terminating or traveling to the USA and the passengers will by and large not be Americans.

We are expecting to see a lot of South and Central American destinations like Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Aruba, Curacao, and Columbia. On longer cruises of 10 days or longer the cruise ships could travel to some of the popular Caribbean destinations like Nassau, Caymans, and Jamaica etc. Panama has very wisely chosen to go after the Central and South American tourism market. Is there going to be a Disney Amusement Park in Panama? Stay tuned.

Legal Transcription

Legal transcription service is about preparing legal documents from written or dictated information. It is the conversion of the spoken word into a printable form, such as the proceeding of a court hearing. Here, the legal transcription service assist young or experienced attorneys to prepare for trials, documenting relevant facts and information pertaining to lawsuits, organizing and maintaining client files. The persons working for legal transcription service are trained and qualified in the entire range of legal branches, which include:

1. Court proceedings,

2. Licensed appeals,

3. Presentations,

4. Seminars and conferences,

5. Depositions, hearings, and judgments,

6. Evidence or legal argument.

The legal transcription service provides service to solicitors, firms, and attorneys. Legal transcription service includes both legal and paralegal services like transcribing letters, reports, and different types of correspondence that a solicitor firm handles in a day. The objective is accuracy, fast turnaround and quality reporting.

Legal transcription service should be reliable, prompt and cost effective which in turn will save the valuable time and money of lawyers, attorneys, and professionals. Legal transcription service should include:

1.     Competitive pricing

2.     Fast turnaround time

3.     Good accuracy

4.     Confidentiality

The primary responsibility of legal transcription service should be to provide cost-effective, timely response to transcription needs with a high quality finished documents. Clients should be assured of complete accuracy in content and spelling with editing and grammar correction.

Most importantly, legal transcription service should include a high level of confidentiality to assure the safety of sensitive information being held and processed with strict procedure and confidence.

As different areas of the country and different courts have slightly different formats, the legal transcription service should transcribe in all legal formats. For that, legal transcription service provider should be professional and expert in linguistic skills in specialized area.

Is Freelancing Right For You?

After spending 20 years in corporate America, I decided it was time for a change. It was time to step down from the long hours of laboring for someone else’s benefit, to say “no” to the business trips and after-hours functions, and to begin a new career as a freelance writer. Finally, I’d be able to enjoy the fruits of my own labor, set my hours, and pick and choose my clients and assignments. For the first time, I would be in control, I would be my own boss, and I would write the rule book by which I would play.

Sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? As I’m sure you can guess, becoming a successful freelancer wasn’t as easy as I expected it to be. Instead, it took a lot of patience, persistence and hard work. Whether you are considering becoming a freelance graphic designer, Web master, writer or consultant, here are five points to think about when deciding if freelancing is right for you:

Consider what products or services you’ll offer.

If you enjoy making jewelry, buying and selling real estate or finding priceless collectibles, you may, indeed, have a talent that can translate into a full-time business. If building ant farms or playing online poker is your passion, however, be sure to research the income potential before quitting your day job. Do you have a marketable skill, talent or hobby that you’d like to share with others?

Evaluate your finances.

This step is a critical one, particularly if you are the primary breadwinner in your household. Is it your job that brings in the majority of the income and provides benefits to your family? If so, you can still start your own freelance business, but you will have to plan ahead to ensure your family’s needs are met during the transition from your current job to your new venture. This will not only include managing your current bills, but setting funds aside to invest in your business for equipment, supplies, inventory, staff, marketing, etc. Are you financially prepared to make the necessary sacrifices?

Enlist support.

If you choose to start your own business, you’ll obviously want the support of your family and friends. Take their “you can do it” attitude one step further. Ask for their help answering the phone, sending out mailers, or sharing your business with their friends and acquaintances. In addition, seek out the support of professional groups and organizations in your community as well. Most cities have a chamber of commerce that will allow you to visit once or twice before joining. Other towns have a women’s professional network or marketing group you might join. Do you have a network of support available to you? If so, what will it take to put that network in place?

Assess your personality.

While businesses vary far and wide, the most successful business owners often possess similar traits. Many of us are independent, forward thinking, objective and analytical, while others are creative, passionate, flexible and communicative. We know our products and services, and we know our customers. Above all, we are comfortable making difficult decisions and taking risks. The question is, are you?

Identify your strengths and weaknesses.

Through education, experience, and heredity, we have each been blessed with strengths and saddled with weaknesses. It is crucial to each and every business owner to identify those strengths and weaknesses. I suggest getting out a sheet of paper and dividing it in half. On one side, list your strengths – things like “good with people,” “business savvy,” “ability to make solid decisions.” On the other side, list your weaknesses such as “uncomfortable hiring and firing” or “mediocre bookkeeping skills.”

Once you’ve completed both of your lists, ask someone who knows you well (spouse, friend, peer, mentor, etc.) to objectively critique your lists and make adjustments. For example, maybe you don’t think your bookkeeping skills are up to par, but your wife knows your checkbook is always balanced to the penny.

Afterward, carefully consider your strengths and weaknesses. Make your strengths your greatest assets. If you are good with people, for example, you should be your company’s key spokesperson. If you are creative, assist in the design of your Web site and marketing materials. If you are not particularly business savvy or if you just hate working with numbers, however, consider outsourcing some of those management tasks to an outside firm. Let someone else hire key staff or perform regular bookkeeping. Are you willing to relinquish control enough to maximize your strengths while delegating the other tasks to professionals?

After carefully evaluating these five points and assessing your resources, you should be able to make a sound decision about whether or not a freelance business is right for you. Best wishes to you for many years of freelance success!

Rags & Riches: The Small Cap Maze

Conventional wisdom dictates that the early stages of a corporation’s growth cycle offer substantially more compelling risk-reward profiles than advanced stage investments. But that is exactly where the reality of that proposition ends. In actual fact, the Medium and Small Capital matrix has accumulated so many unsustainable business models over the previous decade that major brokerage houses have little or no problem in persuading hundreds of thousands of investors, both institutional and retail, to keep their money in companies with a proven past.

The junior markets are plagued by a number of fundamental issues. At one end of the junior spectrum, e.g. the Pink Sheet marketplace, corporate disclosure is so limited that a stock purchase is akin to gambling in a casino. Moving to a slightly higher level, the OTC Bulletin Board system continues to struggle between demanding greater public information on one hand and increasing the sheer numbers of listed counters on the other. The OTC Bulletin Board does require companies to report accounts and material developments on an ongoing basis but as many investors have found out to their cost, regular filings do not necessarily translate into quality.

All that said, there is no question that the senior markets do not, as a general rule, offer exponential returns. For instance, credible returns in excess of 1000% per annum are periodically recorded over the Pink Sheets and OTCBB trading system. The problem, therefore, lies in the selection process. How does one pick the winners?

Again, conventional wisdom suggests that the process of picking winners (and dropping losers) should have become a relatively straightforward exercise with the advent of the Internet. After all, as many believed in the late 1990s, the web-based information explosion should have led to a higher degree of informed decision-making.

That, however, has not been the case. On the contrary, as a New York-based hedge fund manager wrote in a client report last week, “there are too many websites and too many emails throwing up all kinds of untested ideas, so we have decided to refrain from participating in anything outside the established stock exchanges.” An executive of the London Stock Exchange was less charitable at a recent investor presentation. “Junior companies are making all kinds of ridiculous claims on websites and in emails, and investors should wait until the regulators have a handle over all that, whenever that will be,” she said, stressing the “whenever” portion of her statement.

But that “whenever” might be too far away, as a survey indicates. And that is because the selection basics that separate the good from the bad are not in dispute. The first selection priority is the availability of comprehensive information. The second is the willingness of listed companies to generate audited financial statements with extensive notes, despite the fact that certain trading systems do not require such data. The third important issue relates to the nature of the press releases: notably, are the press releases saying anything of value in relation to a corporation’s business model?

Finally, has an independent analyst (or researcher) provided any detailed assessment of the assumptions which drive the business model? As has become evident in recent years, many juniors are selling dreams; unfortunately, in more than a few cases, managements sincerely believe that they are involved in a “stock play”, not in the usually painful exercise of building shareholder and corporate value. And, also unfortunately, hundreds of fairly decent business strategies are seriously constrained by recourse to adequate financing.

To conclude, while there is no doubt that investors must access the internet if they are indeed looking for above-average returns, the methodology involved in a web-based analysis needs to be clearly understood.

Free and unlimited web storage

Today, when everyone is working through the Internet, most businesses are also vying for net space to create their portals. When building a website, the first thing a person checks, is how much web storage they get and if that will be enough for them to upload all the information and images related to their business. This storage space is also used to put in video and audio files, but only a few companies offer free and unlimited web storage facility. With the help of unlimited storage, it becomes easier to do multiple uploads and that also through simultaneous file upload feature. The space available is quite large which means free download is easy for the users, and they can even upload or download mp3 and video files from there.

There are many people who have the habit of uploading videos taken at home or in their personal space to share with others. This can be done using simple upload software and again using similar download software to take it down onto another computer. Being able to upload music means, one need not worry about occupying space on their computer. They can use the free music hosting facility on the company they are using and load up to 100mb of stuff on it. This gives them the flexibility of using the music or files whenever they wish.

Free files hosting, free mp3, video, image and any types of file uploading are all features of sites where unlimited web storage is a given thing. Through the service provided, the user of the site can upload files or download files depending on their need. They can also make changes and re upload the files, and this applies to not only mp3 and video but also to any files. There might be certain software that they use for work, and if they are unable to carry it on CD or multiple people need to access, it is easier to software upload on the web space and give access to all those who might need the same.

In most cases, the free web storage space is allowed for a trial period, post that the user will have to purchase the same. But there are few exceptions where unlimited space is allowed for indefinite periods of time. Make use of the bandwidth provided to free music hosting or upload files and share the link with all those you wish to share them with. Another possibility is to follow the steps involved in web hosting, get files, take backup and even put in flash files for free. It might sound like a far-fetched possibility, but these activities are very possible in sites that allow for uploading any file types and where it is fast uploading.

The software used for this purpose could also be stored in the same space, so the others who access the site can avail the same to view certain uploaded video files. They can also then proceed with file exchange, which would allow for knowledge transfer and more learning.

Eseential Bar Equipment

You really do not have to be a professional bartender to be able to mix original drinks, providing you use the appropriate tools for the job. You will certainly find some of the utensils listed below already in your home, and you can always improvise with everyday kitchen gadgets. If, however, you go shopping to stock up on bar equipment, the important feature to remember is that the utensils should be easy to clean, which is why stainless-steel items and glass are particularly suitable.

A cocktail shaker is an absolute must for your home bar. It is primarily used to mix drinks with ingredients that are difficult to combine smoothly, such as egg yolks, liqueurs, fruit juices, and cream. Any good bar-supply store will stock a variety of shakers and you are certain to find one to fit your budget and needs.

One standard version is a three-part shaker, which consists of a beaker, a lid, and a built-in strainer, to hold back pieces of ice and fruit pits or seeds when pouring the cocktail. Its disadvantage is that the strainer is very difficult to clean and the liquid pours out slowly. The two-part Boston shaker consists of a large stainless-steel beaker and a smaller one made of lead crystal, which fits inside and has the advantage that the glass beaker is also suitable for use as a mixing glass.

I find professionals usually favor a two-part stainless-steel or silver shaker because it is easier to close than the Boston shaker. When you use a two-part shaker or a mixing glass, you will need a round, stainless-steel bar strainer. This features an edge like a coiled spring, and it should fit exactly into the top of the shaker or mixing glass, making it indispensable when straining cocktails so ice and pieces of fruit or pits do not fall into the glass. If necessary, you can use a new tea strainer instead.

You will also need a mixing glass, sometimes called a shaker glass, for every drink which is stirred, not shaken, such as clear drinks and those made from easily blended ingredients. When shopping for a mixing glass, look for one with a capacity of about 1 quart (enough for 3 or 4 drinks). A long-handled bar spoon is a versatile tool used by bartenders to stir the ingredients in the mixing glass, as a measuring spoon to add the correct amount of ingredients to many cocktails, and to crush flavoring ingredients.

Most bar-spoon handles are 10 inches long and made of stainless steel or silver. At the top of the handle there is usually a disc called a muddler used to "muddle," or crush, pieces of I (mil, herbs, or sugar cubes. The spoon on the opposite end holds 1/6 ounces of liquid, or the same amount as a standard kitchen teaspoon. The rounded back of the spoon is also useful for slowly pouring layers of liqueurs into a glass when you do not want the layers to mix. A bar whisk is also useful for whisking and mixing.

A truly indispensable item for your bar is a double-ended bar measure, because exact quantities of ingredients are needed for making a drink. Also called a pony-jigger measure, these are usually made of stainless steel with a 1-ounce cup at one end, called a pony and a 1+1/2 - to 2-ounce measure at the other end, called a jigger. When you go shopping, look for a measure with easy-to-read 1/4-ounce and 1/2 mince markings inside the jigger end. Alternatively, you can use a standard shot glass with markings on it. If you do not have either measure, use a standard set of kitchen measuring spoons—3 teaspoons, or 1 tablespoon, equal 1/2 ounce, 4 teaspoons equal 3/4 ounce and 2 tablespoons equal 1 ounce.

The Secret To Guaranteed Success Online

Get Rich Quick Scams RevealedRead this article before you consider paying for a "get rich quick" program.

From: Success OnlineEverybody would love to make lots of money quickly, working from home, and only doing a few hours of work per week. I've spent the past two years trying to find a great way of doing this. Only over the course of the past few months have I found any "get rich quick" programs worth buying. I've been trying to make money online for a long time. I had a few small websites, but they never made much more than a few hundred per month. It was easy money and didn't require much work on my part, but I knew there were people out there doing better than I was and I knew I could do as well as them. Now, I've seen a lot of "get rich quick" programs. Most of these people make claims about earning $2000/day with Google or something similarly insane. Almost all of these people are complete liars. Even if they were making $2000/day with Google AdSense, it'd be because they had high - traffic websites with a lot of quality content. I'd know, because in one whole month, I never even made half of what they promised I'd make daily with their programs. Maybe you've already been scammed by one of these fraudsters. Anyway, I finally got sick of what was being offered. I decided I'd look through the all of the "get rich quick" programs I could find and see if there were any that were actually legitimate. I found that there were owners selling their programs for well over $100, but the information in them could be found almost anywhere online for free. Additionally, they all contained out-of-date information, had no e-mail support, no money back guarantees, and broken links in the downloads section. In conclusion, almost all of the programs I found were completely useless. The owners knew it, but they couldn't care less about their customers since they didn't offer refund policies! Amazingly, while looking through all of the programs, I actually did find a few legitimate programs. They were run by ordinary people like you and me, and they had found some great methods of making money from their home by doing very little work. I spent some time working with those programs, and my income is now ten times what it used to be. These programs provided a large amount of great information on how to make extra money on your computer doing very little work. Numerous customers had provided great feedback and reviews for their products. Many of them have started to make money just days after buying! Their programs have excellent prices, and the authors have a group of paid staff who are dedicating to helping you or providing assistance if you need any. I must say I was amazed! If you do decide to purchase any of the programs listed below, I recommend you join quickly. Most of the owners tell me they are getting an overwhelming number of sales and plan on raising prices in the near future, so order while prices are still low! To Your Online Success, Success Online

Liquidation Wholesalers Buy and Sell Stock

When it comes to inventory, buyers and sellers face similar dilemmas. For the individual or business that sells goods on eBay, in discount stores, or at flea markets, it's a challenge to find high quality products at wholesale prices. For the business or manufacturer that has surplus merchandise or who is on the verge of going bankrupt, it's a challenge to find wholesalers who will buy entire stocklots.

Liquidation Wholesalers

Liquidation wholesalers serve an important function for both buyers and sellers. They buy huge quantities of clearance items, bankrupt stock, surplus stock, overstock, and end of lines from businesses and manufacturers, and then resell it in smaller lots to individuals and businesses. The customer base for a company that sells liquidated stock can include other wholesalers, online merchants, garden centres, grottos, retail shops, market traders, and even those who do car boot sales.

If you are a business owner or an individual looking for high-quality products at bargain prices, you need a liquidation wholesaler. If you're new to the liquidation scene, here are some things to keep in mind.

Variety of Products

Liquidation wholesalers buy from a variety of sources, including large importers, local and regional manufacturers, and bankrupt businesses. Because liquidation wholesalers deal in bankrupt stock, overstock, and end of lines, they have a wide range of product types. They may have seasonal merchandise, jewelry and fashion accessories, tools and hardware, decorative items, pet products, car products, bathroom items, and kitchenware. Virtually everything you find in a retail store will eventually make its way into a liquidation warehouse.

Ever-Changing Products

The most successful liquidation wholesalers go through an enormous quantity of stock. Indeed, their success lies in their ability to buy huge lots, warehouse them, sell them, and ship them at a breakneck pace. For that reason, the wholesale inventory that's available is constantly changing. You might be able to buy candles and candle holders one week, but once they're sold, they're gone. That's why it's important to keep checking liquidation wholesalers' available stock. If possible, work with a wholesaler that offers a mailing list, and who will send you email newsletters about special offers and new lines that have arrived.

Quantities

Many people assume that, in order to buy from liquidation wholesalers, they have to buy whole pallets of a single product. To the contrary, there are some liquidators that sell products by the case. Because you don't have to commit to buying thousands of the same product, you can easily add variety to your own offerings.

Prices

Because liquidation wholesalers buy their stock so inexpensively, and because they are motivated to sell it quickly, you can get unprecedented bargains on high-value items. For example, you might be able to buy 120 wallpaper borders by a well-known designer for only Ј1.20 or 48 porcelain dolls for only Ј12.00.

Where to Find Wholesalers

Like most businesses, liquidation wholesalers are opening up their customer bases through the Internet. Because their stock is stored in warehouses, potential customers can't browse in showrooms. The Internet, however, is the perfect medium for both liquidators and those who want to buy stock, since pictures of items can be viewed and transactions can be performed online. After a transaction is completed, the stock is shipped to the buyer, and the liquidator makes room for more products.

Turning to a wholesale liquidator is the perfect solution for both those who need to sell quantities of stock and those who wish to buy merchandise for resale.

Discounts on online Shopping

Shopping Discount is a great way to cash in on the special offers made by companies and stores offering a whole range of products and services. Discounts range from gift certificates, bargain sales, clearances to free shipping offers to even free product offers. Also available are last minute hotel booking deals and online reservations. People who make their ticket reservations online benefit from a discounted rate as compared to people who book their tickets the traditional way by standing in queues at ticket counters. This is a great way to benefit from discounted rates.

One can purchase almost all kinds of products, online or offline. Because of the rising competition in the consumerist market today, companies want to gain a higher market-share and they offer discounts on all sorts of products and services. Discounts, are however, usually seen on products like food items, grocery items, clothing, consumer durables like mobile phones, electrical appliances, digital cameras, MP3 players, DVD players, services like body massaging, gym memberships, club and resort memberships, face toning, weight loss, etc. Some companies offer discounts on bulk purchases.

While discounted shopping may be available in online stores, gift certificates are usually less available on the internet. Besides, these are not seen on the official homepage of the company often. It is usually an online dealer who offers a lot of discounts.

Benefits of Discount Shopping:

By far, one of the biggest benefits of discount shopping is, of course, the kind of savings you can make on your purchases. Discount Shopping offers you cheap, cut-off prices on even branded products and services that you would otherwise have to spend a great deal more on. It could be that otherwise expensive birthday gift, dream camera, high definition LCD TV, etc. With discount shopping, you get it at discounted prices, and there is no compromise on quality or after sales services.

Be sure to avoid scams, though. Get a clear picture of the actual price – compare the discounted rate, inclusive of the shipping price, taxes and duties, etc. against the market price. Read the fine-print very carefully. Another important thing to remember is to make sure that you read and understand the vendor’s return and money-back policies. Be sure to read these terms very carefully.

Towards the end, we’d just like to tell you that all it takes is a couple of minutes to search and you could soon be saving a lot of money, and even time, if purchasing online. Do your research and act wisely to obtain the benefits.

National Real Estate Disaster

The current real estate crisis in the US is only going to get worse as the sub prime loans continue to switch from the honeymoon rate to the higher rate that has already seen many home owners pushed over the edge and out of their homes. This is an economic disaster that will continue to have serious effects on the US real estate market and the economy for years to come.

The banks should shoulder some responsibility for to the crisis after all they set the lending criteria along with the various financial institutions have made it very easy to obtain a home loan where in many cases the loan should never have been granted. Many people were steered into sub prime deals when they did not need to go that way, they could have easily qualified for a standard loan but were steered towards the sub prime deals by the lenders who were keen to pickup the more lucrative commissions. So now the time has come to pay and people are walking away from homes on mass, the banks are being forced to foreclose and property values are falling as a result.

Falling property values means many people end up in  situation where they have negative equity in their homes, they can't sell to repay the debt and the banks become very uncomfortable with the situation. The money market tightens up and the situation compounds. It's a national disaster in the eyes of some, so much pain and suffering for families. The economic fallout is massive and will only get worse as America rushes towards a recession, the soft landing of the real estate market has turned into a giant crash and the ripple effect will travel right around the whole globe. The banks have now started to try and work with people to keep them in their houses and they are negotiating where possible.

The foreclosure market is running hot in almost every state, many construction companies are falling like flies and are offering amazing deals to maintain cash flow and viability. Oil has pushed closer to the $100 per barrel mark to add to the problems.

The most popular search engine today for finding information about different companies

"If anyone today has a general enquiry about business or enquiry about a specific product or service then B2BCompass proves to be the best site for all business requirements. No matter in which part of the world people stay, they can find a company which caters to their exact requirements. People can search for companies located in their cities or even companies that are located in different cities in their own country or cities across the world.

To make search easier, the site is divided into different categories according to the nature of business that the companies undertake. For example, there is the Art, Gallery and Advertisement section where people can find online art galleries from where they can buy paintings. The other sections include health and medical companies for any health enquiries, automobiles for all auto companies, beauty companies for beauty products, etc. Hence people can easily find their way around the site. Information about each company is provided in detail so that the customer can directly get in touch with the respected companies by calling or mailing them.

There are many customers who would like to browse the companies according to the products and services that they offer. B2BCompass has a provision where you can look out for a specific product by browsing through the alphabetical list of products in the products & services section. Hence if someone is looking out to computers, he can simply go to the “C” section of the products and categories section and find out exactly what he is looking for in double quick time. In case a person is looking for a particular company like Arena Animation he can simply visit the Companies section where all the companies are categorized alphabetically. The customer can simply visit the A section in order to find a company by the name of Arena Animation.

The best part of B2BCompass is its powerful search feature where one can simply enter the company or the product that one is looking for in the search text box and then also specify the region where he wants to look for. The online directory will quickly search its database and display results that match the user’s query. One can simply register one’s own company or product at B2BCompass so that people can become aware of it and then simply ask for more information about the product or the company. As a result people can come to know about the company in there area and can also become regular patrons of the company.

B2BCompass has a very user friendly homepage where people can simply find what they are looking for in just a couple of minutes. This saves people a lot of time and effort in the bargain.    "

Coal Reduces Reliance On Foreign Oil

Recently, the price of a barrel of oil rose to $40, the most expensive price in American history. With the rise in oil prices and constant instability in the Middle East, the United States seems headed for an energy crisis.

But there is an abundant, low-cost energy source located throughout the country. That energy source is coal.

After years of mine shutdowns, there is a renewed interest in coal in the United States. Companies such as Quest Minerals and Mining Corp. are now reopening mines and resuming coal production.

There are 274 billion tons of coal in mines across the country. That amount of coal could last the United States for about 250 years, considering that the average American uses 7,000 pounds of coal each year. Using this resource decreases dependence of foreign oil and stimulates the economy in several ways.

First, coal stimulates the American economy by maintaining and creating jobs for people that work in the mines and in coal transportation. For each of the four major freight rail lines, coal represents at least 40 percent of the total tonnage hauled each year. Many people are dependent on coal for their livelihood and will remain so if Americans increase their use of coal as an energy source.

Moreover, because coal is a domestic resource, the cost of transporting it is much lower than the cost of importing oil from other nations. Transportation costs of coal are also lower because there are more options for transporting coal from one place to another. Coal is carried by barge and by train.

Using coal is beneficial for more than just jobs and reducing transportation costs. The abundance of coal allows the price to remain stable, unlike oil prices in the volatile Middle East. Commodities like coal, whose costs remain stable or decrease, keep inflation low. Low inflation rates allow Americans to be confident that their savings and investments are safe.

Another major benefit of coal power is the cost of electricity generated by coal. Generation of coal power costs one-fourth that of natural gas power generation. Businesses using coal power keep their overhead costs low and maximize profitability. Furthermore, coal is used to generate electricity for telecommunications, computers and all other electric-based technologies that boost the American economy.

The benefits of coal power make it a logical choice for the power source of the future of the United States.

How to Have the Right Limo Service

For you to give an added touch to your special event, you should acquire the service of a limousine. In acquiring for limousine service, you should be alert and well-informed; you can do this by making sure that every details or information is taken into account.

There are lots of factors that you need to take into account such the costs, rate per hour, limousine types, and so on.

Actually, one of the vital parts to the success of your special event is the choice of transportation you make and by considering all the factors needed or accompanied with it.

Absolutely, you want to make your special event perfect and run smoothly, so you want to make sure that everything is settled and planned. So it is advisable that you book a limousine service for your special event months before the specific date in order for you to choose the limousine type you want and can make sure that you will have the best services that you need.

In booking earlier, you can also have the chance to discuss with the manager the amenities that you need and want for your limousine. Like for instance, if you are going for a long trip, definitely, you would want a flat television with DVD player in order for you to watch some movies while traveling. If you need the limousine for business affair such as meeting, you and your business partners can be given privacy screens that you can use for your meeting and discussion. It is really very important to let the limo company know your needs and wants in order for them to settle it for you.

You have to make head count as well, this can help you determine the type and size of limousine that you need for the special event. In choosing limousine, you also have to consider the comfort that you and your passengers will have and the fun that they will get from the amenities that the limousine has. In order for you to choose the right type of limousine you need for your special event, you need to ask the limo company to give you the details and photos of limousines that they offer. It is also better to ask about the quotes of the rates that the limo company offers.

Indeed, there are lots of limousine companies and each of them differs with their prices and rates. You can check out your yellow pages in finding the right limo company that can give you the best services that you want and need. You can contact several limo companies and compare each. You can also use the internet in finding the right limo company, you can check out few websites that offers limo service. Just make sure that the limo company is reliable enough to give you the best service with the right rate.

As soon as you find the appropriate limo service, you need to talk about the details with the manager. You have to ask all the valuable information that you need. You need to inform the manager about the details of the special event such as the time, date of the event, pick up point, destination, and location and so on.

The Truth Behind Linear Selling : Why It Can Make Prospects Run The Other Way

Sean works for a major telecom company.

During one of our coaching sessions on how to master Unlock The Game™, he told me, "I've been diligent about following the sales process that my company believes is required to make a sale -- but, for some strange reason, my prospects don't want to fit into that process.

Here are some suggestions about what to say and do in a sales situation.

* Integrate trust-building language into your conversations with prospects so they'll feel comfortable telling you where they are at in their process.

For example, saying "Where do you think we should go from here?" invites them to tell you the truth, while "Why don't we set up a next appointment to discuss our next steps" gives the impression that you're trying to take control.

* Rather than asking prospects overtly what their decision making process is, use softer language that they can understand from their perspective.

For example, "What specific gates do you anticipate you'll need to go through as you consider the proposition of purchasing the software to solve the business issues we discussed?"

* Don't probe or "fish" for prospects' "pain" as part of your sales process. Prospects have learned through long experience that the appearance of caring is usually a verbal ploy designed to move the sale forward according to the salesperson's agenda. Instead, speak genuinely and with sincerity to what you know their core business issues are. You can find out what these are by getting in touch with customers who have already bought your product or service and asking, "What three or four business issues drove your decision to buy our product?"

Chances are, your new prospect will be dealing with similar concerns.

Consider these ideas, and try these practical suggestions. They helped Sean feel better about letting go of the old ideas he'd been taught.

Maybe they'll do the same for you.

7 Cold Calling Secrets Even The Sales Gurus Don’t Know

Cold calling the old way is a painful struggle.

But you can make it a productive and positive experience by changing your mindset and cold calling the new way.

To show you what I mean, here are 7 cold calling ideas that even the sales gurus don't know.

1. Change Your Mental Objective Before You Make the Call

If you’re like most people who make cold calls, you’re hoping to make a sale -- or at least an appointment -- before you even pick up the phone.

The problem is, the people you call somehow always pick up on your mindset immediately.

They sense that you’re focused on your goals and interests, rather than on finding out what they might need or want.

This short-circuits the whole process of communication and trust-building.

Here’s the benefit of changing your mental objective before you make the call: it takes away the frenzy of working yourself up mentally to pick up the phone.

All the feelings of rejection and fear come from us getting wrapped up in our expectations and hoping for an outcome when it’s premature to even be thinking about an outcome.

So try this. Practice shifting your mental focus to thinking, "When I make this call, I’m going to build a conversation so that a level of trust can emerge allowing us to exchange information back and forth so we can both determine if there’s a fit or not."

2. Understand the Mindset of the Person You’re Calling

Let’s say you’re at your office and you’re working away.

Your phone rings and someone says, "Hello, my name’s Mark. I’m with Financial Solutions International. We offer a broad array of financial solutions. Do you have a few minutes?"

What would go through your mind?

Probably something like this: "Uh-oh, another salesperson. I’m about to be sold something. How fast can I get this person off the phone?"

In other words, it’s basically over at "Hello," and you end up rejected.

The moment you use the old cold calling approach -- the traditional pitch about who you are and what you have to offer, which all the sales gurus have been teaching for years -- you trigger the negative "salesperson" stereotype in the mind of the person you’ve called, and that means immediate rejection.

I call it "The Wall."

The problem is with how you’re selling, not what you’re selling.

This is an area that’s been ignored in the world of selling.

We’ve all been trained to try to push prospects into a "yes" response on the first call. But that creates sales pressure.

But, if you learn to really understand and put yourself in the mindset of the person you call, you’ll find it easier to avoid triggering The Wall.

It’s that fear of rejection that makes cold calling so frightening.

Instead, start thinking about language that will engage people and not language that will

trigger rejection.

3. Identify a Core Problem That You Can Solve

We’ve all learned that when we begin a conversation with a prospect, we should talk about ourselves, our product, and our solution. Then we sort of hope that the person connects with what we’ve just told them. Right?

But when you offer your pitch or your solution without first involving your prospect by talking about a core problem that they might be having, you’re talking about yourself, not them.

And that’s a problem.

Prospects connect when they feel that you understand their issues before you start to talk about your solutions.

When people feel understood, they don’t put up The Wall. They remain open to talking with you.

Here’s an example based on my own experience. I offer Unlock The Game™ as a new approach in selling. When I call a vice president of sales, I would never start out with, "Hi, my name is Ari, I'm with Unlock The Game, and I offer the newest technique in selling, and I wonder if you have a few minutes to talk now."

Instead, I wouldn’t even pick up the phone without first identifying one or more problems that I know VPs often have with their sales teams. Problems that Unlock The Game™ can solve.

For example, one common problem is when sales teams and salespeople spend time chasing prospects who have no intention of buying.

So I would start by asking, "Are you grappling with issues around your sales team chasing prospects who lead them on without any intention of buying?"

So, come up with two or three specific core problems that your product or service solves. (Avoid generic problem phrases like "cut costs" or "increase revenue." They’re too vague.)

4. Start With a Dialogue, Not a Presentation

Let’s return to the goal of a cold call, which is to create a two-way dialogue engaging prospects in a conversation.

We’re not trying to set the person up for a yes or no. That’s the old way of cold calling.

This new cold calling approach is designed to engage people in a natural conversation. The kind you might have with a friend. This lets you both of you decide whether it’s worth your time to pursue the conversation further.

The key here is never to assume beforehand that your prospect should buy what you have to offer, even if they’re a 100 percent fit with the profile of the "perfect customer."

If you go into the call with that assumption, prospects will pick up on it and The Wall will go up, no matter how sincere you are.

Avoid assuming anything about making a sale before you make a call.

For one thing, you have no idea whether prospects can buy what you have because you know nothing about their priorities, their decisionmaking process, their budget, etc.

If you assume that you’re going to sell them something on that first call, you’re setting yourself up for failure. That’s the core problem with traditional old-style cold calling.

Stay focused on opening a dialogue and determining if it makes sense to continue the conversation.

5. Start With Your Core Problem Question

Once you know what problems you solve, you also know exactly what to say when you make a call. It’s simple. You begin with, "Hi, my name is Ari. Maybe you can help me out for a moment."

How would you respond if someone said that to you?

Probably, "Sure, how can I help you?" or "Sure, what do you need?" That’s how most people would respond to a relaxed opening phrase like that. It’s a natural reaction.

The thing is, when you ask for help, you’re also telling the truth because you don’t have any idea whether you can help them or not.

That’s why this new approach is based on honesty and truthfulness. That’s why you’re in a very good place to begin with.

When they reply, "Sure, how can I help you?," you don’t respond by launching into a pitch about what you have to offer. Instead, you go right into talking about the core problem to find out whether it’s a problem for the prospect.

So you say, "I’m just giving you a call to see if you folks are grappling (and the key word here is ‘grappling’) with any issues around your sales team chasing prospects who turn out to never have any intention of buying?"

No pitch, no introduction, nothing about me. I just step directly into their world.

The purpose of my question is to open the conversation and develop enough trust so they’ll feel comfortable having a conversation.

The old way of cold calling advises asking lots of questions to learn about the prospect’s business and to "connect." The problem is that people see right through that. They know that you have an ulterior motive, and then you’re right back up against The Wall.

These ideas may be hard for you to apply to your own situation at first because trying to leverage calls based on what we know about our solution is so engrained in our thinking.

If you stay with it, though, you can learn to step out of your own solution and convert it into a problem that you can articulate using your prospects’ language.

And that’s the secret of building trust on calls. It’s the missing link in the whole process of cold calling.

6. Recognize and Diffuse Hidden Pressures

Hidden sales pressures that makes The Wall go up can take a lot of forms.

For example, "enthusiasm" can send the message that you’re assuming that what you have is the right fit for the prospect. That can send pressure over the phone to your prospect.

You must be able to engage people in a natural conversation. Think of it as calling a friend. Let your voice be natural, calm, relaxed…easy-going. If you show enthusiasm on your initial call, you’ll probably trigger the hidden sales pressure that triggers your prospect to reject you.

Another element of hidden pressure is trying to control the call and move it to a "next step".

The moment you begin trying to direct your prospect into your "sales process", there is a very high likelihood that you can "turn off" your prospect's willingness to share with you the details of their situation.

It's important to allow the conversation to evolve naturally and to have milestones or checkpoints throughout your call so you can assess if there is a fit between you and the person you are speaking with.

7. Determine a Fit

Now, suppose that you’re on a call and it’s going well, with good dialogue going back and forth. You’re reaching a natural conclusion…and what happens?

In the old way of cold calling, we panic. We feel we’re going to lose the opportunity, so we try to close the sale or at least to book an appointment. But this puts pressure on the prospect, and you run the risk of The Wall going up again.

Here’s a step that most people miss when they cold call. As soon as they realize that prospects have a need for their solution, they start thinking, "Great, that means they’re interested."

What they don’t ask is, "Is this need a top priority for you or your organization to solve, or is it something that’s on the back burner for a while?"

In other words, even if you both determine that there ia a problem you can solve, you have to ask whether solving it is a priority. Sometimes there’s no budget, or it isn’t the right time. It’s important that you find this out, because months later you'll regret not knowing this earlier.

Putting the Pieces Together

Have you ever wondered where the "numbers game" concept came from?

It came from someone making a call, getting rejected, and the boss saying, "Call someone else."

But with the new way of cold calling, it’s not about how many people you call. It’s about what you say and how you come across.

Do you remember the definition of insanity—continuing to do the same thing but expecting different results?

If you go on using the same old cold calling methods, you’ll go on experiencing the ever-increasing pain of selling.

But if you adopt a new approach and learn how to remove pressure from your initial cold calls, you’ll experience so much success and satisfaction that it’ll really change the way you do business, bring you sales success beyond your imagination—and eliminate "rejection" from your vocabulary for good.

How to Keep Your Laptop Out of Thieves’ Hands

Here are six guidelines to help you avoid seeing your notebook PC disappear!

So there you are, rushing to catch a plane. You've got an important presentation on your laptop, along with sensitive company and personal information. And then, suddenly, it's gone.

Either you've lost it, or it's been stolen.

Airports and hotels are favourite places for thieves. Laptops disappear from both and that's bad enough. But often, irreplaceable data has gone with them. According to Safeware, an insurance agency specialising in insuring high-tech equipment, in the US alone 591,000 laptops vanished in 2001.

None of this has to happen to you. But you have to be extra careful today. With the increased security at airports, losing track of a laptop is easier than ever. Here are six guidelines to help you avoid seeing your notebook PC disappear — or, if it does, help you find it or get a quick replacement.

Tips for Getting Through Security Checks

Oddly, some airports have collected stacks of laptops. They're left behind by harried passengers in security areas. Most are reclaimed eventually. But some people never come back for their machines.

Obviously, you've got to allow yourself plenty of time when you fly. When I travel, I carry my laptop in a backpack. There's lots of room in there, and it's inconspicuous. I see fashionable businesspeople carrying laptops in expensive cases. They're asking for trouble. Those cases say, "Laptop! Laptop! Steal me!"

Security people most likely will want to check the laptop. If possible, handle it yourself, rather than having them do it.

Don't be afraid to speak up. You don't need your machine damaged.

Be sure your battery is charged. The security people may well want to turn on the machine. Most important, don't let it out of your sight. This becomes especially difficult if you are selected for a random head-to-toe check.

Once on board your flight, put the computer — safely stowed in your bag — under the seat in front of you. Try to avoid putting it in the overhead bin. Others will have more access to it there.

Have Sensitive Data? Encrypt It

If you have sensitive information on your computer, consider encrypting it. If you have Windows XP, you already have the tools needed. While the thief has your machine, these extra steps will make it much more difficult to access the laptop's data.

Encryption will protect your business secrets, but it won't retrieve your data. To do that, you've got to back up your information to another computer. If you run your own server, you can easily upload files to it.

You don't have to back up everything on the laptop. Just copy the files you will need to the server. If your laptop should be stolen on your trip, you may be able to borrow a computer at your destination and download your important files. Finding time for backups is a pain, I know. But they can save you.

Make Your MP3 Player do Double-Duty

If you don't have a server, or don't want to back up to it, take a look at MP3 players. Some today have huge hard drives. They are easily hooked to a laptop through the USB or FireWire ports. The data can then be copied to the MP3 player. These things can copy any data, not just MP3s.

Trace a Stolen Laptop's Location

If your laptop does get stolen, wouldn't it be great if the system could do the high-tech equivalent of phoning home? There are programs that will report the location of a stolen laptop. They work when the laptop connects to the internet.

Security experts also say that engraving your name on the computer is helpful. That will make it more difficult to sell on so thieves may look elsewhere.

Set a System Password

Every road warrior should protect their laptop with a start-up password. This way, a system password prompt will appear each time you start your computer before Windows even begins to load. It will prohibit any access to the computer at all.

To create a system password, you'll need to access your computer's setup utility (also known as BIOS settings, which stands for "Basic Input/Output System"). Typically you do this by pressing Delete, Esc or F1 as soon as you turn on the computer. Check the manual though, as some computers are different.

Consider Laptop PC Insurance

If your laptop is expensive (and aren't they all?) you might want to insure it. Some homeowners, renters and business insurance policies don't cover computers, and if they do, there may be many conditions attached.

Today's laptops are ripe targets for thieves. If you follow these basic guidelines along with some good common sense, you won't have to give yours up.

Businesses Need Money To Grow. Is Venture Capital Right For You?

The goal of every business is to be successful in their efforts and continue to grow. However, they often come to a crossroads where they are going to have to invest more money if they want to experience growth and additional profits. It may be money needed for new equipment, a larger building, or a number of other items that can be found to keep a business operating at its very best.

Many business owner’s turn to venture capital in order to finance the such ventures for their business. This is a type of loan that comes from a private investor rather than a traditional lending institution. The lender offers the necessary cash and in return they receive shares of ownership in the business.

They often ask for 2% of the profits during the time it takes to repay the funds as well so venture capital lending can be very profitable. In addition you will still be paying the principal balance and the interest on it. However, this 2% is to cover their risk on such an investment.

Business owner’s may have no choice but to look into venture capital options if they are considered to be too high of a risk for a traditional lender to offer them the funding they need. It could be due to the business being new, the business owes too much money to other lenders, or they have a poor credit history that traditional lenders can’t accept.

There are also times when a business needs funding in order to purchase items that aren’t tangible. Since the lender can’t use them as collateral they find the venture to be just too high of a risk. Some common items that may be involved are software programs for operating computers in the business and research that is necessary for the business to successfully grow.

However, it is important to realize that venture capital may not be a good option for your particular business and financial needs. You are going to have to be able to present information that shows there is a very high chance that your business will be quite profitable if you are allowed to access the funds necessary for your business to expand.

Keep in mind that your information also has to show that these additional earnings will be evident in the allotted time frame. In most instances the investors of venture capital will give you a minimum of three years and a maximum of seven years for that growth to occur and be profitable.

Venture capital should always be a last resort when all other options of securing funding have failed. In those instances it can be a very valuable tool which can decide whether you get the funding you need to expand your business or not. It is estimated that more than $6 trillion in loans under the category of venture capital take place each year in the United States. The process is available in many other countries as well but not nearly to the same extreme as in the United States.

Podcasting – What Is It? How Can It Help Me?

Podcasting is a new way to get your message out to millions of people without costing you an arm and a leg.  A podcast is a digital media file that gets distributed over the internet using syndicated feeds for playback later and can be downloaded to a portable media player or computer.  Listeners can also subscribe to your podcast so that when you record a new one and publish it to the internet they are notified and can download it for their listening pleasure or a fee if you choose to go that route.

How can podcasting help your business?  The ways are limitless so instead of having a blog a million pages long and boring no less, we are going to highlight two of the best reasons, in my opinion of course, here.  Reason number 1?  You are in complete control! No one will tell you what you have to record, you control what your listeners hear, how long the cast is and who is allowed to listen to your message.  Reason Number 2?  It’s easy and you can do it for free!  What is better than growing your business and doing it affordably?  There are programs out there that let you record and edit your audio files for free like www.audacity.com.  If you want to pay for a program they come in all shapes, sizes and price ranges.

To reach your target audience you will want to do some research to find the appropriate place to link your site and then get it out to all the RSS feeders that you can.  If you don’t know what an RSS is that’s alright.  An RSS is Really Simple Syndication and is how your podcast is syndicated and found by others on the internet. Many websites today will have RSS somewhere on them with a logo or icon.  When you click on this little logo you will be able to subscribe to the feed and be notified when there are updates and new content available. It is an easy way to get updates without having to manually visit a web page or blog to check for updates or news.

Having your podcast associated with an RSS feed will allow those listeners that have subscribed to your feed to be notified automatically and immediately when you have new information.  No more sending emails out to everyone individually, this saves you time and therefore money!

Podcasting is yet another wave of the future.  To get ahead and reach more people than ever you need to grab your board and ride the waves into the next age of technology.  Surf’s Up!

Tips for Window Cleaning

Windows appears to be fine and superlative if they are clean. Cleaning should be done on a regular basis, at least twice a year.

Given below are some useful techniques for cleaning a window:

•      Clean one part of a window with the horizontal strokes and the other part with the vertical strokes. By doing this, you can identify which area of the window have a streak.

•      To steer clear of streaks on a large window, employ squeegee. Situate it at the top of the window and pull down effortlessly. The trick for no streaks with the squeegee is to introduce a dry rubber blade on the dry window.

•      Bring a flexible toothbrush or cotton swab in use to clean the corners.

•      To give a superfluous shine to the window glass, polish it with the well-washed cotton T-shirts or old cloth diapers. Or else rub a clean blackboard eraser over a freshly rinsed and dried out window to furnish it a brilliant shine.

•      Polishing windows with the wrinkled newspaper will provide a luminous shine. Besides, it leaves a film which is resistant to dirt.

•      When you have to clean the soil, grease or the other debris from your window panes, use a product such as baking soda, ammonia, or washing soda.

•      Make certain that you dry out your windows in one direction only, leftwards or rightwards as mingling of the direction will not give a tidy look.

•      If you are cleaning the window sills, scrape the entire surface through the wet cloth sprayed with alcohol so that all the spots get cleared.

By following these tips, you can view the world from a clean perspective which will come into sight as rose-tinted glasses.

Avoid Sticker Shock when Buying Ink Cartridges

Over the past year, I've had the dubious pleasure of buying two different printers: a black-and-white laser printer and a dual-purpose copier and color inkjet printer. My laser printer gets a good workout on a daily basis, while I usually reserve my color inkjet printer for photos.

Although both printers are well made and carry brand names (HP and Brother), they were incredibly inexpensive. In fact, one of the primary reasons I bought both was because of their bargain prices. Imagine my chagrin, then, when I had to replace the toner cartridges in my laser and the ink cartridges in my inkjet, and discovered that each cartridge cost about half of what I paid for the printer.

I quickly - and correctly - surmised that printer manufacturers sell printers at or below the cost of making them, and generate profits from the sale of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) ink cartridges. With dire warnings of possible damage to the printer or voiding the printer warranty, the manufacturers insist that consumers buy only OEM printer cartridges. I resented being gouged by their inflated prices, and so did some of my own research about OEM print cartridges and alternatives. Here's what I discovered:

Option One: Compatible Ink Cartridges

Contrary to popular belief, compatible ink cartridges are not recycled. Rather, they are brand new, generic versions of OEM cartridges. They have all of the quality and reliability of OEM cartridges, but cost only a fraction of the price.

Option Two: Remanufactured Print Cartridges

As the name implies, remanufactured ink cartridges are, indeed, recycled. However, the old cartridges aren't simply refilled. Rather, they are disassembled, inspected, cleaned, reassembled, filled with ink, and individually print tested to meet or surpass the specifications associated with OEM ink cartridges.

Cost Savings

I was astounded when I saw the price differences between OEM, compatible, and remanufactured ink cartridges. For example, one black and one colour ink cartridge for an HP DeskJet 920C might cost Ј50.45 for the OEM cartridges, but only Ј16.95 for remanufactured cartridges. A pack of four ink cartridges (black, cyan, magenta, and yellow) for the Brother DCP117C might cost Ј31.80 for OEM, but only Ј8.95 for the compatible version. Over the lifetime of a printer, those kinds of savings really add up!

Cartridge Life

Typically, remanufactured ink cartridges have a shorter "shelf life" than OEM or compatible cartridges. A remanufactured cartridge will be good for about six months, whereas a compatible cartridge is vacuum-sealed and will be viable for years.

Suppliers

I also discovered that it's important to purchase compatible and remanufactured ink cartridges from a reputable dealer. When shopping online, look for a supplier that uses top-quality ink, has been in business several years, offers free UK delivery, and doesn't require a minimum order.

Medical Innovations Via Modern Machine Tool Technology

Massive advancements have been made in the cost and the quality of orthopedic devices, implant devices and many other medical components. These advancements have been supported, and in many cases made possible, by the modernization of equipment and manufacturing investments in the medical products industry.

Injected molded plastic parts, such as artificial knee and hip joints, specially engineered small - to medium-sized medical parts, and plastic injected syringes, pill containers and breathing apparatus devices are all essential to modern medicine and personal health care. Implant devices such as artificial hip joints are frequently made from strong, tough but hard to machine titanium and cobalt chrome stainless steel.

Much of this technological improvement simply would not have been possible without the machine tool advancements that have occurred to help generate these medical applications. And many of those industries and jobs are located in the heartland of America, according to applications engineers at Makino, a global provider of advanced machine tool technology.

This is an area of future manufacturing growth. One major designer and developer of cardiovascular medical products, such as leads that connect to life-saving devices such as implantable defibrillators and pacemakers, says the intricacy of modern machine tools makes all its work possible. The small, detailed shapes with exceptional finishes demanded by modern health industry consumers simply could not be made without the work performed by modern CNC machine tools.

Health care and orthopedic health professionals recognize that technologically progressive equipment and methods are vital to making continued advancements toward superior health care in the United States. Prioritizing the investment in machine tool technology will yield even greater health care benefits and options to an aging American population that continues to grow.