Category Archives: Business

30 Great Part-time Businesses

What is your talent? “A career is born in public – talent in privacy.”,Marilyn Monroe said.

You can even turn your hobbies to full-time businesses. Here you can find some useful hints:

01. AFRICAN VIOLETS. Specialize in the propagation and care of this popular indoor plant. Nurture, hybridize and sell when in
full bloom. Carry accessories, such as pots, shelves and lighting. Keep a small but permanent ad in your local newspaper.

02. ALTERATIONS. Replace buttons, let out cuffs, shorten sleeves, turn collars, repair tears for clothing stores, laundries and cleaner who don’t already offer this service. You can work for them or leave a price poster in their store.

03. ARROWHEADS. Collect, buy, sell and MAKE (with deer horn and clove) Indian arrowheads for hobbyists, displays and demonstrations. Sell instruction and/or information booklets
and do-it-yourself kits. Offer various types of flint.

04. AUTO PARTS REBUILDING. Work with garages and mechanics. Specialize in rebuilding one part (carburetors, master cylinders, electronic ignitions) for one or several makes.
Install kits, ream and/or re-fit and guarantee all of your work.

05. AUTO TOUCH-UP. Repair minor dents, cover rock chips, remove rust, polish, clean tires. Renew rubber and plastic, deodorize to help bring the best price or trade-in. Advertise under
Auto/Trucks For Sale, with a price.

06. AUTO PAWN SHOP. Hold cars as collateral for short-term loans. Hold the title (if clear) or, “buy” the car with a 30 days or so buy-back price agreement or limited power of attorney.
Check laws and obtain legal advice before proceeding!

07. AWNINGS, WINDOW. Design and install permanent and fold-up fabric and or metal awnings for storefronts, patios, house windows, trailers and mobile homes. Offer a selection of aterials, colors and prices. Advertise prices and benefits.

08. BABY DOLLS. Create dolls with fine wigs from client baby’s own baby hair as keepsake dolls. Try to get cloth from baby’s actual clothes to make similar looking outfits for the doll
(work from a picture if possible). Put in glass case.

09. BARBEQUE. Use a portable (such as trailer) meat smoker to take to fairs, parades and festivals. Have a supply of prepared
sandwiches ready, but always have a fire AND AROMA (throw in a little suet or sauce) going to attract more business.

10. BELT BUCKLES. Stock a selection of belt buckles for truckers, workers, etc. Have special designs and insignias made for local groups. Arrange to offer good prices on leather belts
as well (import some to sell at attractive prices).

11. BENCH RENTALS. Build bus-stop style benches and with city permission, place them free of cost to the city at various bus-stops. Pay a sign painter to apply advertisements for
clients who pay you by the month for the ads and space.

12. BIRD TRAINING TAPES. Make endless or auto-reverse tapes to teach bird to talk, whistle or sing. Sell or rent the necessary equipment to mount in or near cages. Charge extra to record the
bird owner’s own voice giving the instructions on tape.

13. BIRDHOUSE BUILDING. Build and decorate fine, scientifically designed birdhouses and feeders for birds native to your area as well as those that migrate to or through your area. Make up
little info folders for each model.

14. BIRTHDAY LISTS. Compile birthday (anniversary, etc.) of people in your area to rent as mailing lists to local merchants.
Or, contract to mail out cards each year on behalf of the merchants. Have a set minimum, as $25 for 50 mailings.

15. BREAD SPECIALTIES. Bake unusual or otherwise unavailable varieties of home made breads: oat bran, low calorie, ethnic, salt free. Keep a small ad in paper, take orders for loaves
fresh from your kitchen and/or deliver fresh to stores.

16. BRONZING. Bronze (or pearlize) baby shoes etc. Make mementos, awards and trophies. Design plaques and unique bases with emphasis on local needs such as Chamber of Commerce of company awards. Arrange for engraved plates on plaques.

17. BRUSH CLEARING. With you truck, tractor and shredder,contract to clear brush and small trees from lots and acreage.
Haul off excess debris or use a composter to recycle and sell organic refuse. Offer to drag or level the cleared area.

18. BUSINESS EQUIPMENT. Buy surplus equipment from bankruptcy sales and auctions. Store and clean-up, but do not repair (let buyer do that). Advertise bargain prices for qualified buyers
and sell at double or triple your investment.

19. CEMENT BLOCKS. Mold small orders of standard or custom blocks (building, stepping stones, curbs) in all shapes and colors. Make molds when necessary of plywood and tin. Take orders, sell form your “yard” and through nurseries.

20. TRUCK LETTERING. Use pre-cut, self-stick vinyl letters to produce long lasting, professional truck signs (no art talent
required). Use chalk snap lines to mark lines and center, peel and press in place. Stock and offer a variety of letters.

21. CEMENT MARKERS. Make “engraved” cement or liquid marble markers and signs. Mold “backwards” letters into various colors and textures of plastic-like cement for carved in effect. Polish
molded marker into a professional looking stone.

22. CHAIR CANING. Use cane, plastic or other interesting materials to weave seats and backs onto casual and picturesque chairs for clients. Buy old chairs with promise at bargain prices to re-glue, refinish, re-cane and sell at a profit.

23. CHINA AND GLASS DEALER. Collect and deal in antique and interesting china and glass items. Buy at auctions, antique stores, private and public sales and through your advertisements. Deduct travel expenses for buying trips and
visits.

24. CITY LOT CLEAN-UP. Work with the city to learn of lots that must be cleaned up. Contract to do the required work on lots they designate (city adds bill to owner’s taxes). Contact
absentee (or local) owners to avoid future city actions.

25. CLIENT LISTINGS. On your computer, input and maintain customer (or business) information: customer info, purchases, credit records, employee information, etc. Provide periodic and
custom sorts (including mailing lists) to clients.

26. COLLECTION AGENT. Represent one or more commercial agencies (don’t tell one about another, though). Solicit delinquent
accounts for collection from local businesses for a percentage of monies the agencies collect.

27. COIN SEARCHING. Buy rolls of coins from banks (whatever denomination you can afford). Search through them for coins worth over face value. Keep all of these and replace with
“regular’ coins and trade back in. Best in small towns!

28. COLLECTIONS. Accumulate collectibles (glass, matchbook, baseball cards, comic books). Make up (from common specimens) starter collections to sell to beginners. Sell valuable pieces
individually to collectors (some you got started).

29. CONCESSION BOOTH. Operate a booth or stand at a recreation area, flea market, shopping mall or parking lot. Sell your own products and/or consignment items. Carry some attractively
priced items just to attract more customers.

30. CURB PAINTING. With a stencil and fast-dry black spray paint house numbers on all curbs in a city block then go back and request a $2-$5 “donation” from occupants. Pass out circulars the day before announcing your service.

7 Ways To Improve Your Professionalism

At Giant Leap Consulting, we understand the need for professionalism – and in fact, we offer an entire workshop focused on that particular topic, which highlights the following 7 characteristics. These focal points are designed to help you and your company improve professionalism across the board.

#1 Character

It all starts with who we are, and how we conduct ourselves. Character is the defining attribute of professionalism.

A key aspect of professional character for anyone – leader, employee, or even client – is integrity. Like bridges, people with high integrity are those who aren’t missing elements of good character. They are honest and ethical in all their dealings, not just at times when it is convenient or when they are being watched. When you have integrity, there’s a high degree of congruence between the values you espouse and your actual behavior.

Remember: the best test of your integrity is how you behave when nobody is watching.

#2 Caring

Are you invested in your work? Go-getters, the best (and often most professional) employees, take an interest in strategy and direction. They seek out tough job assignments. They take responsibility for their own careers. They strive to learn new skills and capabilities to deliver higher levels of value. They want success for their teammates and themselves. In short, go-getters care – they give a rip!

#3 Clothing

Be conscious of your professional image. The way in which you physically show up (clothes, hair, tidiness, etc.) will certainly make an impression on the people you meet and those with which you work. A professional appearance is also a way to express consideration for others and a desire to keep them from feeling uncomfortable.

#4 Customer Service

A keymark of a professional is how they treat their customers. Exceeding the expectations of customers should be a part of every company’s mission statement. Great customer service is based on building relationships. Some tips for relationship building include:

*Make friends with clients. There’s an old saying, “Get a customer, make some money. Make a friend, make a fortune.”

*When entertaining, know what you can and can’t do from an ethics standpoint.

*Learn and acknowledge birthdays. Send people birthday cards.

*Send handwritten thank you notes. Mailed, not emailed.

#5 Communication

What you say and how you say it will go a long way to communicate whether or not you are a true professional.

Before meeting with a client for the first time, set yourself up for good and friendly communication. Do upfront research on that person – Google them, use LinkedIn, get to know as much as possible about them. Make a good first impression by looking people directly in the eye, shaking their hand (firmly), and saying their name enough to memorize it. Don’t jump into the business conversation. Find out what they like to do, their passions or interests, and start with that.

#6 Composure

Composure means handling stress maturely. It involves being level-headed when dealing with pressure. When in conflict, remember that there are always three sides: my side, the other person’s side, and some place in the middle that has pieces of each side. Usually the middle is the truth.

The ability to courageously maintain composure amidst conflict is a key marker of professionalism.

#7 Commitment

Professionalism requires commitment. It requires maintaining professionalism when it’s temping or easier not to. With clients, show your commitment by following up soon after meetings to recap the outcomes and commit to your action items. It shows you’re conscientious and engaged.

As an employee or leader, YOU must commit to stepping it up!

Commit yourself to the 7 C’s and you will see a difference in how you are perceived and, more importantly, how you feel about your own professionalism.

How To Get The Job Of Your Dreams In 4 Weekends

Weekends are for relaxing but also for setting your career goals. Wouldn’t you like to start a new career path, one that is financially and emotionally rewarding, and do so in only 4 weekends?

While your To Do list may be a mile long, this exercise will not take long and has the potential to enhance and improve your career. Just follow these steps and only invest about an hour or less per weekend. See my tips below.

1. Weekend One. This weekend will ease you into getting motivated to make a career change. The only thing you have to do is daydream. That’s right, let your mind wander. This is not a time for planning so just concentrate on what you really want and not how to get there. Daydream about where you want to be in your career in five years. This important step is planting the seeds so your subconscious will do a big chunk of the work for you over the next week. Go ahead and jot down some notes on where your mind took you; this is the only exercise for Weekend One so you are free to go and enjoy the rest of your weekend.

2. Weekend Two. Pull out your notes from last weekend and review. Then jot down some additional notes that your brain has formulated over the past week. Determine from these notes what job title that you are interested in pursuing. Is it Sales? Clinical Research Associate? Accountant? Write this title down then perform Internet research on what you can expect from your title. Glassdoor.com is a great resource as this will give you an idea of the salary you can expect to receive in this position, based off your location. Once you put in your title and location, you can view jobs, companies and their reviews, as well as salaries, under the tabs at the top. You will want to view job postings online as well, as this will give you an idea of the skills and education that this title will require. Once you have obtained the information of the salary that you can expect and the skills and education that you will need to have, write down this information and you are complete for Weekend Two.

3. Weekend Three. It is now the 3rd weekend, you are almost complete in paving your way to your dream job! Pull out all of your notes and get organized. On a clean page, outline your plan, (this is your Action Plan). At the top center of the 1st page, write down the title that you are looking to have. List the skills next, starting on the left margin and the salary that you hope to achieve. Then list the education that you need to have. You now have a plan in place, with a clear view on how to reach your goal. Weekend Three is now complete.

4. Weekend Four. Now that you are at the final weekend, it is time to execute your plan! Pull out your notebook and review the education section of your Action Plan. Go online and start looking at local colleges or online courses to review the courses needed to get to your education goals. Write these down and sign up for your first courses today; why stop now?

Although at Weekend One, I referenced a five year plan, I guarantee that you will have your dream job much sooner, depending on how quickly you can finish your educational requirements. You can also look into entry level jobs that will pave the foundation of the title you are seeking to have. Staying organized is the key when growing into a new career so make sure you do not abandon your Action Plan. Review and add to your Action Plan once a month. I use an Excel document to keep my goals aligned but there are multiple organizational programs that you can use; you will be amazed at how it will keep you on the right track.

Creating The Right Online Marketing Strategy

People that own a website are often quite anxious about their needs for reaching out to consumers. Owners are continually faced with a unique base of challenges when trying to remain competitive with comparable pages in their niche while also considering their budgetary constraints which can seem counter intuitive on various levels. People focused on this need should know the fundamentals of creating the right online marketing strategy as part of ensuring their efforts will be carefully managed.

Growth strategies that are implemented by websites are generally based on the need to be as visible and well ranked on the internet as possible. Owners typically learn that the constant fluctuation in rules and regulations combined with the needs for generating revenue are stressful to balance and work through on various levels. Concentrating on the most viable strategies and insights is usually an effort that is more difficult to consider than originally imagined.

Owners in most markets are offered a significant number of tips and strategies to try and implement in their companies. Many of the latest in techniques are quite difficult to comprehend while also focusing on the chance to remain as streamlined as possible along the way. Understanding the most viable steps in this process is helpful in maintaining the best results possible.

Understanding the core base of consumers that must be reached is one of the most helpful and prevalent facets of insight in this process. All sites operate within a particular niche which is based on the kinds of consumers that are known to be the most viable to reach out to for the creation of revenue. Tailoring all campaigns to this market is usually quite simple once they are understood.

Learning about the latest in search engine regulations is also quite pertinent for anyone involved in this process. Search results are the main source by which people actually find the sites they are interested in using and focus on the pages that have received the highest rankings among competitors. Rules and guidelines are continually changing and should be fully understood prior to implementing any kind of campaign.

Milestones are also essential for people to consider when making this particular choice. Milestones offer owners the opportunity to make sure their growth results are monitored at various stages for the sake of making sure adjustments are easily performed. Realistic and carefully monitored milestones are helpful in providing the owners to actually make sure their growth results are proactively managed.

Social media campaigns are also quite helpful for people to consider. The use of social media has become a leading source of how businesses reach out to their clients with the creation of a company page and the spreading of campaigns on their profiles. Most platforms offer comprehensive metrics for their clients to ensure their campaigns are successfully implemented.

Owners are also known to consider the use of promotional offers with their growth efforts. Promotions are helpful in providing the chance for consumers to gain an idea of what is offered from the company and why they should be considered for making a purchase. Most promotions are readily afforded and quite effective when implemented.

The art of redesign

It took over 18 months to complete and was designed and built from the ground up by the team of designers, journalists, user-experience experts and product managers. The key goal was to deliver a new, fully responsive website, optimised for as many viewports and devices as possible.

THE GUARDIAN

One of the world’s most widely read newspaper websites, the Guardian, attracts tens of millions of unique visitors each year. With that audience increasingly migrating to mobile devices, the newspaper’s in-house team was tasked with rebuilding the site to improve user experience on mobile devices.

CHANGING THE ARCHITECTURE

One of the first things they did was look at how to simplify the information architecture. From analysing user data it became quite clear that once a user gets to a certain point in their journey, they stop using the navigation and instead navigate through content.

The old site had multiple levels of depth, and subsections would often had bespoke navigation that was out-of-date, cluttered and poorly used.

So what they did was basically strip the navigation down to two levels: primary and secondary, and also changed some of the groupings used to categorise content. This allows users to quickly find their way to the main topics they’re interested in.

WIREFRAMING PROCESS

From the beginning the project was wireframed in HTML, which has a number of benefits. For example, you can immediately see how an idea will work in a browser and iterate from there. These wireframes are also easy to present and share. Instead of explaining the interaction, all the people engaged in the project could see it live on the page.

Each of the breaking points was designed in accordance to the rest to get the best results when the resolution changes. All the content was placed on pages according to it’s value and place in the hierarchy, rather than it’s size.

USING CONTAINERS

The Guardian research team decided to thoroughly check the users’ motives for opening the website.
There are three major ones:

“Update” is the most frequent motive and describes the journey of readers who visit the Guardian – often many times a day – to find out about the news-agenda in general, or about news from their area of interest, whether it is sports, culture, the economy, etc..
“Extend” describes the motivation to then gain a deeper understanding of a specific story, which usually demands more time than a quick news update.
“Discover”, is rather a whole group of motives, such as the wish to find inspiration and surprise, new perspectives, interesting debates with other readers or entertainment.
These research insights helped build the new website based on the readers’ typical journeys and needs.
They are built with what’s called „containers”, which are sets of builiding blocks. They “contain” words, pictures, videos, graphics and data. Editors can group them together flexibly, creating modular homepages and article pages to create a representation of what is important each day.

FINAL EFFECT

The new Guardian site now has a more compact view, and provides more visual clues about each story’s importance.
Videos, photo galleries and interactives are now seamlessly integrated into pages. Videos can now be embedded and played anywhere on the website.

The new photo galleries allow users to browse them in different ways: either by scrolling through the images, swiping through them on mobile devices or viewing them in full-screen mode while using keyboard arrow-keys to browse through them.

And within each article, the Guardian editors now have many new ways of recommending related materials.

The Guardian’s team did a tremendous job getting the newspaper,it’s values and quality into the digital world. The website works perfectly on different viewports and there are no useless elements. It’s as easy to read and browse through as ever.

LONELY PLANET

Lonely Planet is a web guidebook. Founded in Melbourne in 1973, the company has grown to become the world’s leading travel publisher, providing fresh content to more than 120 million people every year across it’s different platforms.
Now, Lonely Planet has decided to make changes to improve the most important parts of their website. Let’s take a look.

CONTINENT AND COUNTRY PAGES

These two are the most important ones for users. So the key here is to organize content to help people quickly find the top things to do in each location, and a recommended sets of places and experiences that help get the most out of the travelling experience.

STUNNING IMAGES

To draw attention as well as immediately present the most distinguishable qualities of a place or a product, there is nothing better than photographs. A partnership with 500px helps Lonely Planet find the best images on the web, and then upload them to the continent page. The user’s journey begins here, looking at the photographs that tell a part of his future story.

ENGAGING USERS

Lonely Planet decided to use the power of community – in this case, travel enthusiasts and travelling writers. Each of the continent pages starts with a testimonial (or as they call it, a „love letter”) that explains why you should visit a certain location. It is a great way to make users trust the website and its content.

TOP EXPERIENCES SECTION

The new design – through photography and placement – highlights the most important places to visit and recommended attractions.

MAPS

A completely new feature – interactive maps – will help connect all the content from all over the site. The user will be able to see all the destinations, as well as sort them using different filters.

GUIDEBOOKS

Lonely Planet is known as one of the best guidebook publishers in the world. So, they decided to make the only rational move regarding the website – place the guidebook in a visible place on the new destination pages for those who want to buy a guidebook for their journey.

CITY PAGES

One of the first changes made was making the design of city pages feel smaller. This was done to show the parent / child relationship between continents, countries and cities. The layout changes into an article at the city level.

HOTELS & HOSTELS

Travelling means finding the right hotels. One of the key elements that got improved is helping users find the best hotel or hostel in a city. Before, hotels were shown throughout the website, now they are shown only in places where the visitor is thinking about planning their trip.

ARTICLE PAGES

The article and detail pages are the most important ones from the Lonely Planet’s online brand. That is why all continent, country, and city pages place an emphasis on directing users to these pages.

APPLE

And last, but not least, Apple – the iconic manufacturer and service provider – has recently decided to redesign its website in order to change the whole experience of purchasing through the site. The Apple team has decided to organise and simplify the website in order to reduce confusion.
The old design had 2 designated areas: products & store. This was probably because Apple’s site served more as a marketing platform than an e-commerce one. Over time, e-commerce has grown but Apple never bothered to make the switch.
Finally, it’s properly combined together.

All product pages generally look the same with lots of photos and feature details. The classic Apple navbar is also fixed at the top, as you would expect, but without the inessential “store” link.

Now product pages lead right into the store, so purchasing is all done from the apple.com domain as opposed to store.apple.com. The latter now redirects back to the homepage so everything fits together.
This means your shopping cart can also be managed from any page on the site. There’s no longer a divide between browsing or shopping on Apple.

The checkout pages match the same design as before, so very little UI work has been done. There are minor aesthetic tweaks, but overall the redesign is more of a user experience upgrade.

Establish Website Credibility and Authority

Website credibility comes from the content published on the Internet. Consider having a professional writer regularly write a blog for your Web site. The quality of the content and the frequency of publishing it will help you gain customers’ trust and gain dominance in your industry.

Find out the trending topics so you know what your audience wants to read before getting started on it. Make it a point to create interesting and shareable content regularly. Try to get listed as a guest blogger on blogs related to your field, and contribute thought-provoking pieces on a regular basis.

Exhibit your unique selling proposition using videos in an interesting and engaging format. Use instructional videos to show your customers how they can make the most of your product.

Other interesting forms of dispensing content include story-telling with the help of designs and statistics and sharing information on blogs, social media networks, communities, and forums.

Although infographics are visually appealing and contain the most up-to-date and relevant statistics, numbers, and quotes, they have become overused in some instances. You can use them as complementary incentives for customers to sign up to your emails and to help them understand processes and procedures.

Build Links on Other Publishing Sites

Link building is one of the biggest marketing trends today. In order to receive good page rankings, businesses must have blogs and multimedia access all over the internet.

Through the use of blogging, you can publish links on contributor publishing sites. Any time a reader clicks on these links, it will improve your rankings and bring more attention to your brand.

Get More Bang for the Buck

A good strategy to combine several writing tactics:

Submit each blog to free submission sites. It takes time and patience but it builds links to your Web site. Share each blog to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, then, in a few weeks re-share them again. Keep periodically sharing the blogs until the response wanes and record the results for future reference, such as topic and season, for example. Analyze what works and for how long.

Combine several blogs into a single article and submit it to free article submission sites. Each link back from the “author box” will resonate with search engines. Share the article with LinkedIn groups, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. Place a link in your Web site from your Frequently Asked Questions page to the blog or article that relates to the topic of the question. Respond to any questions or comments. Again, analyze what works and for how long.

Why Businesses Need SEO for their Online Communications

Effective search engine optimization to drive consumers to the website

The goal is to generate increased targeted web traffic and increased lead generation. How? By integrating long tail keyword combinations into the text, analysis of the effectiveness of on-page optimization, and optimization of page content, meta tags, headline tags, and alt tags.

But there is more, such as internal and external linking, submission of your site to Google and Bing, SSL certificates, and local listings submission.

So if you’re reading this and you don’t have the time or the desire to further market your business online, and to monitor and analyze SEO tactics and strategies, and make ongoing changes to improve performance, you should consult with a specialist like the J Howard Company.

The typical small business owner profile

I have a small business and I want to update my Web site.

I want it to be “responsive” so it looks great on any mobile device.

I want it to be easy to navigate and provide a good experience for the user.

I need to be able to add content and images easily.

I want to make sure it’s secure and can’t easily be hacked because I sell things online.

I don’t want to spend a fortune.

I want it in a timely manner, say three months.

I don’t want to have to update it often just because the software used to make the website is outdated.

(It’s a good idea to copy this list and to refine it for your own use because it serves the purpose of your agreement for using someone to complete what you can’t or don’t want to attempt. As long as everyone involved is aware of what is expected of them, there should not be much of a problem.)

If you are like most businesses you want to be found on the Internet because you believe you are then more legitimate (just like your competitors). You may be aware of other businesses’ successes and you also want to get your piece of the online-buying market.

You may have consulted with an ad agency (they often outsource this and other services)and decided the price was too high—you don’t need a full-service agency just to have a Web site.

You don’t know about design or programming (that’s not your business or career choice) and you have seen advertisements on television, or researched creating your own Web site by using a template or a free software program.

You really don’t like what you see from most of the do-it-yourself template results so you look for Web site designers to give you a cost estimate, and there are thousands to choose from. The very best examples are not surprisingly the most expensive.

You do more research and find that so-and-so company had their Web site created by someone using a WordPress program, and you are told that it is easy to use and inexpensive to get on a Web hosting service like GoDaddy. You take the plunge.

Very soon you discover that the most recent program you have is now out of date and because of hacking and security concerns you need to update your version of WordPress.

You also discover that your attempts at using the updated software require more experience than you have or care to be involved with, and so you contact one of the designers you found online who knows how to use WordPress.

Like any professional, the designer wants to be paid for their time and after you both agree to what is expected and the cost, you are told it may take three to four months to complete the site and have it live on the Internet. Four or five months later you have a site.

You want to update data and information and also add some images and content to your new site. Your designer assures you that this is all possible with all the plugins and so forth built into your site. When you try it yourself, you are overwhelmed by the all the options and power you have available. Many designers are still learning about tools like WordPress, so it pays to get some kind of guarantee from whomever you decide to use (see the list above).

Because you are not experienced you have to rely on a designer to do the work for you until you become experienced yourself at making the alterations to your site as you want (with your CMS, or Content Management System). You pay the price for their experience and hope that there are no problems.

But there usually are.

Many times it is a problem in the code for one of the many plugins your site uses. Or there is a compatibility issue. Or, you don’t understand the logic of how to use the tools resulting in incorrect operation or display. Whatever the problem is, you need to get that corrected. That may mean a developer (one who knows programming code inside out) will be required if your designer isn’t a developer, too.

Now you may be sorry for choosing that low-cost overseas Web site design company because they are unavailable to help you. Many times they go out of business or just no longer take your calls. Maybe what they did was wrong and you now must use someone that has to correct whatever they did wrong.

Finding a good developer is not as easy as finding a good designer. This is why I use a designer and a developer. The designer can make a slick looking site. The developer can ensure it all works properly. Finding a person who is both is even rarer. Most developers tell you that they lose money designing Web sites so they don’t do it anymore.

So, six months or more after you started to get the new site up and operational you have a decent Web site. You have spent about twice the amount you expected and it took twice as long to get it completed. You still need to learn some of the WordPress design functions and your developer should be able to help you with step-by-step instructions.

The point is that if you have little or no experience in Web site design, you are better off having a local source or at least someone in the same country to perform the tasks. It takes time to learn and it isn’t for everybody. WordPress makes updates often so you should also have a developer that can keep the site up to date when it is appropriate.

I have found a good source for Web site development named Golden Oak Web Design. Instruction for multiple types of WordPress users is offered and can save customers money if they consult first with Golden Oak Web Design.

7 Ways to Increase Your Focus and Get More Done

The modern way of life is full of distractions. We are surrounded by so many things which can be hindering our productivity and damage the potential. Most of the users are already so used to distractions that we start looking for one after a while.
If you can put a stop to things like distraction and multitasking, your productivity level will definitely skyrocket. In today’s post, I will share some working tips to increase your focus and reduce the distractions.

    1. Planning ahead in the night before could be an excellent way to increase your focus on the following day. Identify the two most important tasks you have to do the next day and write them down. On the next day, do these two tasks before you do anything else and you will accomplish a lot already.

 

    1. You also need to be careful about the potential sources of distraction and keep a safe distance from them. If possible, turn off the notifications on your mobile and computer. Another proven strategy is to limit your email checking frequency.

 

    1. You will be more focused when you are comfortable with the environment. Therefore, it should be a priority to get comfortable with the atmosphere. Adjust things like your clothing, seating arrangement, music, temperature, furniture location, document management system etc. Find out which settings suit you best and keep them like that.

 

    1. If you want more control over your wondering mind, you should practice some kind of meditation. While most people think meditation takes a lot of preparation, which is not true at all. Sitting still for five minutes could be a great meditation too. Start with the basics and gradually move towards the advanced techniques.

 

    1. Another big step in increasing your focus is to set achievable goals. There is no problem with bigger goals. But you need to break the large goal into small, manageable chunks so that you can accomplish them one by one. Otherwise, you will keep thinking and make plans about the bigger goal, while not taking any actual step to achieve the target.

 

    1. When it comes to increasing your focus, you can’t ignore the importance of sleep. Depending on your condition, you need 7-8 hours of sleep every day. Some people prefer to sleep less and work more. While that may work in the short-term, they will definitely face problems in the future. They are highly likely to lose the ability to focus completely on something.

 

  1. Delaying gratifications could be another effective way to increase your focus. Instead of allowing that activity instantly, make it a reward for accomplishing something important. When you have a motivator ahead, you are more likely to be focused and engaged in your work.

Bottom Line

So, these were the best ways to increase your focus and get more done. Try to follow as much of this advice as possible and you will be amazed with the result. Let me know how these tips work out for you.

Why start a business from scratch when you can buy a running business for sale?

The world is full of statistics. One data point says 40% of new businesses fail in the first year and 80% in five years. Does this surprise you?

Whether it does or does not, this data point tells you that the chances of your success would rise if you choose to buy a ready, established and running business for sale rather than starting out from scratch.

Take the case of Dubai, for instance. Dubai is a mega city with a few hundreds of thousands of successful retail businesses. Businesses that their owners have built over years of hard work and capital risk.

Buying a ready business for sale helps you take over an operation which has an existing customer base, trained staff, market reputation and robust cash flows. You hit the ground running. Surely, starting from scratch does have a few benefits but you would not have a ready set of customers to serve, a well-trained bunch of employees and a tested formula to climb up the ladder of business success.

Purchasing a ready business starts with understanding your own area of interest and the industry you have knowledge about. Nothing better than choosing something which matches your skills and experience.

If you are wanting to start out from scratch, you might not find a location that’s best for your kind of business. There in fact might be someone already doing your kind of business in that neighborhood. What great business sense would it be for you to locate your flower shop next to a florist in the same neighborhood?

If you are not a drive-through business, finding a location next to a parking space is important. What use is a restaurant of if you cannot find parking space nearby? This becomes even more important during summers or rush hours. The ready availability of transportation for your employees as well as customers helps. Competition in the local neighborhood may be a factor to consider. Speak with someone who knows not only what exists in the area, but also what is scheduled to come up.

Capital is key to any business. Persuading financial institutions to invest or fund loans on new ideas or propositions could be challenging. Dubai and UAE based banks, much like their peers elsewhere, have business cycles of credit expansion or reduction. In the current low commodity price environment, many banks are averse to taking credit risk with small and medium sized businesses. Your chances of securing a business loan are higher when you are a well-established business with existing brand value and certain cash flows.

Buying a ready business helps you ascertain all these factors before you buy it. It removes the uncertainties associated with starting out from scratch, injecting capital, building a brand and then waiting for customers to walk in.

So, if you are considering the purchase of a ready business for sale, where do you start? Local newspapers in the UAE such as Gulf News and The National are a great resource to find a ready businesses for sale. Be careful though. You do not buy businesses on a daily basis. You might not have the expertise to acquire a business. Ask yourself, what could be the reasons for this business to be for sale. Business sellers might not disclose sensitive issues associated with the business. Take the help of professional advisers. Ask them to investigate the legal status of the business. Check out the trade license issued either by the Department of Economic Development of Dubai, Abu Dhabi or the emirate it is located in. Check with the concerned free zone authority if the business is located in one of the several free zones in the UAE. Click here for a list of the free zones in the UAE. Ask a law firm to handle legal aspects of the transaction. Ascertain that all issues of regulatory importance have been fulfilled. Let your professional adviser do the job. If you navigate the process of buying a business for sale well, you will gain advantages that you would not with a fresh, new business

1) Avoid the risky start-up stage:
Very few startups survive to make profits. Eliminating the whole start-up phase helps you focus more on expansion of the business than laying the foundation.

2) Skilled staff and trained managers:
You can save your time, money and energy by gaining access to skilled staff. Trained managers help you with service and advice which could be very valuable. They are the people who deal with customers or production day in and out and could help you with ways to improve the business.

3) Easy availability of finance:
Since an existing business have a track record to refer to, getting access to finance or business loans could be easier. This would be the case especially if you continue the existing banking facilities of the business you have purchased.

4) Leverage on brand value:
Save the marketing dollar. As the existing business will already have brand value and would be well knows by customers, you can save some money on its branding and in creating customers.

5) Market reputation:
The business you acquire would have existing relationship with clients and customers who would contact you when they need to engage with you or procure your products and services. They will come to you based on their previous experiences without you have to hire new people to reach out to every potential client in town.

While there is no denying that that there are advantages to starting out fresh, the ability to hit the ground running with existing customer bases and existing cash flows outweigh many of those.

On the Importance of Leader Imperfection

Leadership is a messy business… at least when it’s being done right.

It requires making bold decisions, often while relying on ambiguous, shifting, or contradictory information. Sometimes you have to get it wrong, a lot, before you can get it right. Just ask any leader in Silicon Valley, where having had some spectacular failures is how you get your business creds.

To be sure, results reign supreme, and amassing a track record of stellar results will determine one’s legacy as a leader. High standards matter. But leaders shouldn’t be judged against a standard of perfection – because it’s a willingness to be imperfect that fuels a leader’s ability to experiment, innovate, and evolve. Unless a leader has the courage to try new things, where perfect outcomes are not guaranteed, she will never grow.

When it comes to leadership, imperfection is more important than perfection.

Let’s face it, some tasks demand a rigor of perfection. If you’re a bridge-builder, air traffic controller, or brain surgeon, you are expected to do your job right every time. No exceptions. But it’s the task that’s expected to be perfect, not the person doing the task. It doesn’t matter if you’re socially awkward, a subpar communicator, or if you dress in secondhand vintage clothing. No one cares that you aren’t a perfect human being.

Perfectionists have few rivals in their ability to annoy and repel others. Conversely, imperfections and idiosyncrasies are often the most endearing human qualities. Doing some critical tasks perfectly makes perfect sense. Being a perfect human being does not.

Here are a few tips for embracing your leadership imperfection.

Review Your Imperfect History: Think back on all the risks you’ve taken, and mistakes you’ve made, during the course of your career. Which ones are you most proud of? How did the mistakes you made help you become the person you are today? What does that tell you about the value of making mistakes?

Let Go: What tasks are you holding on to because you’re convinced that others won’t do them as well as you do? Perfectionists make great micromanagers. But micromanagers don’t make great leaders. Let go of tasks that others deserve the chance of doing.

Bust Up Your Routines: Perfectionists are habitualists, preferring tried and true over new and improved. Leaders, conversely, are expected to bring about positive change. Purposely disrupt your habits and break up your routines. Try a different route to work, order something new off the menu, and let someone else lead the meeting. You get the idea.

Reward Smart Mistakes: Value imperfection in the people you lead. When they make non-habitual mistakes, especially mistakes that key the business on to a new business insight, always high-five the mistake-maker.

Keep in mind that perfectionism doesn’t just inhibit a leader’s ability to take risks; it inhibits her ability to enjoy it as well. Nobody’s perfect, not even the perfectionist! So if you’re a person who can’t be fully satisfied until things are perfect, you’ll be perpetually dissatisfied. Perfectionism, then, is a joyless experience. Knowing that, imperfection is a way more attractive leadership proposition!