Need for Focussed Markets in Computer Service Businesses

You may be the owner of a computer service business and you may need better results from your marketing efforts. Many entrepreneurs think catering to the home user or the B2C (business to consumer) category is a thriving place to do business. They may start out as a one-person or two-person operation. But they soon realize the difficulty of making enough profit in the venture.

In your computer service outfit, you may be targeting all ‘small’ businesses, but you need to know that there can be different types of small businesses. In this article we look at 3 different definitions of the ‘small’ in small business and recommend types of small businesses that should be the best focus for your business.

Increase your knowledge about micro-small businesses and home-based businesses. In a home-based business, there are usually a couple of computers used by one individual. In a micro-small business, there are usually 5-10 people with corresponding number of computers. If you focus on this segment you are likely to have a hard time when trying to sell ongoing services agreements like AMC. Both types of businesses are still technically ‘small businesses’, but they may not the best focus for your marketing efforts.

Don’t target home-based and micro-small businesses. These businesses usually have home PC’s which are not that good candidates for implementing advanced client/server networking solutions. Also, they usually use software that has been pirated. This will give you problems when you develop complex networks and long-term technology plans. Most of these kinds of businesses are often unable or reluctant to pay you for high-end, sophisticated IT services. They also tend to believe that IT is not very important to their operations, so they would not need your IT services. They may be too small to afford a dedicated, real server and a client/server setup, making your professional solutions look like overkill.

Concentrate on outfits with 10 or more PCs. If you target those units with a minimum of 10 computer systems then you are likely to build strong businesses. With 10 PCs minimum, these businesses cannot run peer-to-peer networks. They cannot afford to wait for volunteers to respond to emergency needs. They understand the need for ongoing service-level agreements. They get serious quickly about the need to put in client server network solutions, sophisticated and reliable backup solutions, secure firewalls, and power protection. The decision makers in these units usually tend to understand the need for sophisticated integrated business solutions. They are also aware of the need to use IT in a strategic manner to grow and compete.

Small businesses with ten or more computers are ideal targets for your marketing efforts because they understand your expertise and their need for a professional computer service provider to take ownership of business and IT problems. They also need you to provide an on-going service package and you are not called upon only for emergencies in an ad hoc fashion.

 

Luxuriously Scented Candles that “agree with Green” and Can Make You Some “Greenbacks” Too

“It’s hard to explain, but I think it boils down to simplicity” says Frazier Scott, a newly indoctrinated distributor for a direct marketing company named Scent-Sations. “When people smell them they just can’t get enough”.

He refers to what happens to most people who smell the Mia Bella brand of gourmet candle. “From the moment you first smell the fragrances, you’re hooked”. “If you smell, I usually sell! It’s just that simple”. And “the business just grows from there”.

People evidently want more and more of these gourmet scented candles if company gross sales are any indication, doubling in size every year of it’s first five years in business. “We are at $10 million annual sales and growing fast” says Charlie Umphred, one of three partners who started Scent-Sations in 2002. So what’s the secret to their early success? “The mixture of ingredients, which is to take the worlds finest perfumes combined with the best environmentally friendly vegetable wax and mix them in a proprietary blend” (the secret formula) and you get, Mia Bella Candles. The sales are on track for the company to become a leader soon in the $2 billion per year candle industry.

I decided to write this piece because I too have been taken by the Mia Bella mystique, for two reasons. One, I like cinnamon buns so I asked to smell the “cinnamon bun” fragrance. To coin a phrase, “the smell literally made my mouth water”. I wanted to take a bite just to make sure it was truly a candle…..no lie. Two, I interviewed partner Charlie Umphred and top distributor Jackie Ulmer on my radio show. That show was my most listened to show to date, more than double the listeners than the number who listen to my Forex trading investment shows which always drew the most listeners until the Candle show.

I was flabbergasted. I refreshed the page to make sure I read the numbers right. From my personal experience with the Mia Bella product I knew, “this baby got legs”! Which is “Gary James speak” for, “there’s potentially some nice honest money to be made here”. But then I asked, “What accounts for the people’s uncanny interest in the scented candle business”? To get an answer I right away became a Scent-Sations distributor. [I have found joining a project to be the best way to infiltrate a company in order to get the inside scoop on what’s really happening “on the money side of the street”.]

To give you the highlights on Scent-Sations: The company is debt free. The partners are experienced in their respective fields. There is no sign up fee to register. If you join their “Candle of the Month” club they consider you an active distributor able to buy wholesale and be in the position to collect residual commissions for referrals. As of this writing, the cost for the “Candle of the Month” club is $39.95 plus S H; and sales tax for your state. For that sum you receive, one 16 ounce two wick jar candle, 12 votive candles, one bar of soap, that all agree with green, and a personal Scent-Sations web site. This seems very inexpensive as direct marketing commitments go.

The business has little if any product explanation necessary (just smell  amp; sell) as the basic business mantra. Many distributors market the candles at home parties but the distributors are allowed to use any legal method to market the candles except eBay. All of the distributors I spoke with maintain the company pays commissions as agreed.

And they say, “It’s a relative stress free way to create a stream of residual income”. I do not know how far I’ll personally take this project but it has become one of the projects I do recommend. Why? Simplicity.

To learn more about Mia Bella quality scented candles and other useful news  amp; information relative to business, investment, health amp; wellness listen to my radio show live or it’s archives at www.garyjamesradioshow.com

 

Popular Sites for Personal Cloud Computing

What is Personal Cloud Computing?

Personal cloud computing is not much different than cloud computing for businesses. The only differences are the types of features that are available to the users. Below are some popular sites for personal cloud computing.

Google Apps

If you are familiar with Google Apps, then you undoubtedly know about Docs, Picasa, Sites, etc. They also have a paid version for schools, non-profits, and businesses.

Tonido

Tonido is a robust personal cloud application that offers many features for personal cloud computing. Share large files, stream your music and videos, balance your checkbook, and more. You can access your files from any device that you own. Your data is stored locally with you, for optimal protection.

Customize your cloud center with the apps that you want or need and get rid of the rest. Tonido is Mac, PC, and Linux compatible.

Zumo Drive

Zumo Drive offers the same features as Tonido, only it was built specifically to sync between your mobile devices and your netbooks. You can import all of your music from iTunes to any device without having to download the songs. That will help you save hard disk space, especially on your iPhone or iTouch! Access any file from any of your devices without having to go through the painstaking process of downloading them first. Simply access them through your ZumoDrive app. ZumoDrive is compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, Android, and Palm Pre.

icloud

Out of the several personal cloud computing programs that I looked at, icloud seems to offer the most features. It not only stores all file types, but will let you organize them in folders. If you do not find any applications that will fit a particular need that you have, you can develop them with the icloud API and IDE.

Create and share mp3 playlists from any computer and share them with your friends. Search, play, organize, and share your movies, YouTube clips, and photos. Listen to radio stations from all over the world.

You can chat with other icloud users through IM, MSN, or the forum either to visit or to get some help if you are stuck on how to use icloud.

Conclusion

These are a few of the personal cloud applications that you will find online. Find an application that best suits your needs, whether it is for personal use or to run your small business more efficiently.

Need Equipment Loan and Lease Financing ? Re-program Your Leasing Finance Strategy Today !

Sometimes you just need to re-program things to make them work better – that’s what we’re also suggesting when you review your lease finance and equipment loan financing strategies for your company.

Let’s examine how you can maximize your leasing strategy to attain maximum benefits and minimum hassle! That’s clearly a win win strategy.

Focus clearly on eliminating what we can only call the ‘hassles’ of dealing with other types of financing , It’s all about ‘ time’ and your ‘ business bandwidth ‘ today when you are visiting a new asset acquisition . Without a doubt we can state that leasing equpment is by far the quickest method of obtaining an approval, satisfying both your vendors need as well as your own time constraints.

With only a very basic financial calculator you can quickly review all your lease finance options – the favorite question of almost all clients is: ‘ What will my monthly payment be?’ It’s about time for you to answer that question yourself, and make sure that your cash flow and working capital remain intact on the equipment loan financing you are contemplating. How? Just remember that the only elements to any lease are: term, rate, amount financed, payment, and end of term option. If you know any 4 of those you can always solve for the final item, which in our case is payment. You should assume an interest rate that is consistent with your firms overall credit quality.

Business owners and financial managers should view their lease finance acquisitions in the context of your overall financial strategy. You might need to’ re – program ‘ your thinking on buying and paying for assets outright . Doesn’t it make more sense to keep your cash and line of credit reserves intact, and match the useful economic life of the asset you are acquiring to a predicable cash outlay?

A quick way to’ re program ‘ your leasing needs is simply to always use the same business template for each asset you are acquiring . They key aspects of that decision template, if we can call it that are: cash flow budgeting re the monthly lease payment, reviewing the asset in the context of not having to draw on your business operating line of credit, determining how long you will use the equipment for (thereby matching term and payment) and finally, factoring in balance sheet and tax advantages into your asset acquisition decision.

What’s the biggest’ re programming’ issue with most firms . It’s simply their mild obsession with ‘ rate ‘. Yes a rate has to be competitive, but view the lease financing rate in the context of the current interest rate environment , the challenge of getting traditional bank financing, and the fact that in the current 2011 environment rates are probably going up and not down . The real reality is that you determine your own rates in your new leasing re programming strategy! That’s because the largest factor in determining rates for equipment financing is the manner in which you properly present your overall credit quality and financial health.

In summary, equipment loan financing, aka ‘ leasing’ has been around for over a hundred years in North America. Take a hard look at why you finance your assets, reprogram your strategies around benefits and ‘ how to ‘, and acquire your assets with the knowledge you have made the best financial decision for your firm. Need help ? Given a choice we’ll take an expert over a rookie any day ! Speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor who will work on your ‘ re programming strategy with you!

Knowing the Limitations of Using Your Credit to Leverage Your Finances

It is a common custom for Americans to resort to credit when we are in need financially. However, we still are running out of money. This is because most people don’t understand all of the limitations associated with credit and the credit system.

Because the credit system allows most people to make purchases when they don’t have cash, people tend to spend more money than what they can afford. This results in a whole bunch of debt and very little money to pay for it. Even though most banks strictly enforce their credit limits, a lot of people seem to slip by them. And, with the over the credit limit fees, you can be sure that someone who is at or near the credit limit, when coupled with interest, be sure to incur extra fees on top of their purchases.

You need to be aware of all of your limitations when you use credit because using credit will affect not only your debt, but your credit score. And, a credit score is very vital in making sure that you are successful financially. Most people still remain ignorant to this fact.

There are many types of credit scores. But, the basis of them remained the same. Credit scores only show your credit worthiness as it relates to borrowing money and handling your finances. When coupled with your credit report, your credit score has just about all information on you about your past credit experiences: your payment histories, how long you’ve had each account, how many times you’ve been late on certain accounts, etc.

When lenders look at your credit score, they actually make determinations based upon comparing your credit history and payment experiences with other borrowers that have similarities. Each time you have certain factors that are above average your credit score is given points. When these factors are below average points are subtracted. At the end, these points are added up to give the lender a brief synopsis on how well your credit history is. Usually, your credit score is a three digit number ranging from 352 850.

In order to maintain a good credit score, it will take hard work. That is why it is very important to know your limitations upfront so that you can avoid any type of complications in the future. Also note that you are bound by the terms in your contracts, whether they be installment loans or credit cards. Look at the limitations and determined how accepting the terms of this credit will affect your overall credit score.

Simple Ideas that Will Improve Your Finances

“If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.” (Source: Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki) When you find yourself repeatedly overspending and not able to pay off credit card debt at the end of the month, put the credit card away and stop spending. You must change your spending habits.

“It’s your money!” (Source: ABC Nightly News) Yes, it is your money. You should be in charge and not let anyone else tell you what to do with your money. You can listen to advice, but you must make the final decisions.

“Never buy a financial product recommended by someone who makes a commission on the sale.” (Source: the Money Coach) A financial advisor should provide unbiased advice; when the advisor works for a commission, the advice could be unfair.

“If something can’t go on forever, it will stop.” (Source: Fed Chief Bernanke used this term to describe growing federal deficits.) This also applies to those who spend more than they make each month. Don’t deceive yourself that you can continue doing the wrong thing, and the problem will go away by itself.

“Things will cost more in the future.” (Source: the Money Coach) I rarely make financial predictions, but I am pretty sure that this one will come true. A very simple example is the first class stamp. When I first started collecting stamps, it cost 5 cents to mail a letter. Buy “forever” stamps now if you plan to mail anything in the future.

“When you are educated, it’s harder for people to take advantage of you.” (Source: The Best American Travel Writing 2004, story “Faces in a Crowd”) The more you learn about family finances and investing, the better off you will be.

“Stop, Look, and Listen” (Source: Beardstown Ladies) Before you buy something, think “do I really need this?” and “can I afford to buy it?” Look before you leap – find out as much about the product as possible. Listen to yourself; you know best what you should be spending your money on.

“A winner does more than the job requires. A loser says, I only work here.” (Source: Attached to a bulletin board in an American Express Office from No Kids, No Money and a Chevy by Chuck Mansfield.) Do more than your neighbor or your co-worker when it comes to managing your money. Go the extra mile.

“Don’t worry about the economy.” (Source: Warren Buffet) Don’t worry about things you can’t control. Worry about your own budget; don’t worry about the world economy. Do the best you can in whatever economic circumstances you find yourself in.

“Look both ways before you cross the street.” (Source: your Mom) Be careful when investing; there are a lot of reckless products and clueless salesmen out there.

How a Woman Can Maintain Her Finances After a Divorce

Sometimes, we don’t even think far enough in the future or even consider things like a divorce affecting our livelihood. Now that we are faced with this situation, we feel alone and out of order. After all, you and your spouse were each responsible for specific responsibilities. Now you find yourself doing them all alone. How can a woman survive such a dramatic change in her life?

First of all, you’ll want to take control of your emotions. You must believe that you have the ability to make right choices and lead a happy life, because you do. Reality is that you control your emotions by what you think about.

You can view this situation as negative and positive. Of course, the negative part of the situation may be that your marriage has ended, but the positive part is that you may now take control of your finances.

The second thing you want to do is make a list of all of your current assets and liabilities. If you are planning to receive more money after the divorce proceeding, you can calculate that amount in later. At this point, you just need to have a clear view of what you have in your possession right now.

Once you’ve reviewed your assets. You’ll begin to create budget for yourself. It’s not as difficult as many would have you believe.

Just write down you total income for the month.

Next, write down separate amounts of all your monthly bills. For example, you would make a list which would include different headings such as rent, light bill, phone bill, etc. you should also include a topic to put into a savings account that you will contribute to once a month.

Once you’ve done this, subtract your total amount of monthly bills and savings from your monthly income.

The remaining amount you should subtract food, miscellaneous spending, which is money to spend on an unexpected event, like a birthday or craving for a specific food, or a spontaneous night on the town. Money should be used to supply your daily needs and to have some fun with every now and then.

Your Monthly Review may look like this:

Total income for the month – $1500.00

Rent – $750.00

Light bill $60.00

Phone Bill $75.00

Car payment $200.00

Savings $50.00

Total – $1135.00

Then subtract the total $1135.00 from the total income, $1500.00.

You have $365.00 left for groceries and your miscellaneous spending. You’ll want to put at least $100.00 a month in an envelope for emergencies that may come up unexpectedly.

If you find that you have a substantial amount left over after you completed your monthly review, you may want to put it in a Roth Ira or talk to a clerk at a bank to find out what other options you may have available to you.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Take charge of your situation. If you don’t feel comfortable about making a quick decision at a bank, ask to take some paperwork home to read it at your own pace and call them from home with your inquiries.

If you find that you are coming up short every month. You may want to get a job or use your skill or talent (everyone has one), which will allow you to earn more money every month. You could baby-sit for the neighborhood children, style hair or give manicures for a small fee. Whatever your talent, it can be used to get wealth. If you’re unsure what your talent is, feel free to ask a friend what they think you are good at, they’ve probably already noticed it.

Above all, don’t fret. You are not the first person that has faced this situation. Remember that many others exactly like you have faced this situation and have overcome.

It has always been beneficial for an individual to take control of their finances whether they are married or not. It affords them the ability to organize their money and their well-being.

Realize that you are a wonderful person with talents and abilities. If a person does not want to be with you or around you, it’s their loss. Never forget that.

Refinance Homes: It Should Be Approached with Caution

There are many companies that can be readily found which offer great rates in order to refinance homes. Whether you are in need of money for a major upcoming expense or are seeking to make significant home improvements or simply want to pay off your high interest credit card debt, refinancing your mortgage might be an option worth considering. If this is something you are considering be sure that you shop around, study your options, and find the best possible overall situation for your personal and financial needs.

For the average person, a home is the single largest investment he or she will make during the course of his or her lifetime. As such, the decision to refinance and place your home in further or prolonged risk should not be taken lightly. There are many things you should consider before deciding to refinance your home. The first and possibly most important thing is whether or not there are other options that might require less personal and financial risk?

No one really likes to hear the word sacrifice, but in order to avoid the financial risks involved for those who refinance their homes. If giving up Starbuck’s, taking the lesser cable package, and resorting to dial up for a while will help you get your finances back on track those are far superior options than choosing refinance your home loan.

Some other things to keep in mind when considering whether or not to refinance home loans is whether or not you are willing to go through the process of application fees, points, closing costs, and private mortgage insurance all over again? Also are you willing to give up the equity in your home and the security that equity provides? Another thing to keep in mind when considering refinancing your home is that your interest rate will probably be a bit higher on your second mortgage than on your original loan. This means that you will pay considerably more money over time.

There are however times when refinancing homes is a great option. One time when this is a perfectly wonderful idea is when you refinance your home in order to pay off your high interest credit cards. Of course, this is only effective if you “go forth and sin no more” as the saying goes. If you pay off your high interest credit cards only to go out and spend madly, you’ve defeated the purpose and no longer have the equity in your home for security.

Another time when refinancing homes is a wise decision is on one of those rare occasions when the average interest rate is lower than your current interest rate, or when your adjustable rate honeymoon is about to be over and you would be wise to find a fixed rate mortgage rather than paying the adjusted interest rate, which could be much higher. The important thing is that you find a lender that you can build a rapport with and that is willing to not only discuss your long and short term financial goals as a result of the refinance of your home, but also willing to work with you in order to make sure you have the foundation to achieve those goals.

Very Easy Ways to Earn Supplemental Income

The current state of the economy is looking grimmer and grimmer by the day. Many Americans are living paycheck to paycheck – and even more alarming – unemployment check to unemployment check. If you are one of the many American’s struggling right now due to the economy, there are ways to increase your income.

  1. Get a part-time job. If you are working 9-5 now, consider taking on another job. Waiting tables at a restaurant is an excellent and fast way to earn some extra cash. The job can be difficult at times, but the money is well worth it on a busy Saturday night.
  2. Sell your stuff. Ebay and Amazon.com are great online marketplaces to sell things you don’t use or need anymore. Their websites get a high amount of online traffic, so your listed items will most likely be noticed by potential buyers.
  3. Write online articles. Websites like Helium.com and AssociatedContent.com pay writers of all levels for articles on various topics. While the pay may not be enough to cover the monthly mortgage, it can certainly pay for a week’s worth of gas for your car.
  4. Consider temping. If you are jobless, this can be especially beneficial to you. There are numerous temping and staffing agencies across the country that place individuals with companies. Skill-sets of any kind are usually welcome. I went through a temp agency and was placed with a company that same week. A few months later, I was hired as a permanent employee by that company and now receive great benefits!

Try to avoid using credit cards to save money. Many people rack up debt by putting small purchases such as groceries and gas on their credit cards. This could be detrimental to your finances.

Do try to save money when you can. Avoid shopping excursions, dining out, and getting takeout for lunch.

Your Personal Finances and “The Broken Window” Theory

Managing my family’s finances and investment portfolio, I enjoy applying abstract economic theories to everyday decision-making. I came across renowned economist, Henry Hazlitt, twenty years ago. In his seminal book, Economics in One Lesson, he lays out a theory that I encounter in my personal finances every day.

The Broken Window Theory looks at every economic transaction in three steps instead of two. There’s the seller and the buyer, of course, engaging in trade. But there is also the third person, the one who wasn’t there, the trader whose goods the buyer didn’t buy because he bought something else.

In my personal finances I make buying decisions every day. Will I buy organic milk or regular milk? Apples or oranges? Meat or chicken? I make these financial decisions because I need these products and because I have a limited amount of money to spend on food. Every time I buy organic milk, the regular milk vendor loses a potential sale.

In a free market environment, The Broken Window theory is even more interesting because competition offers you a range of vendors and products to choose from in the same field. In that case, The Broken Window Theory relates both to the item you buy and the person you buy it from.

The Broken Window theory becomes even more relevant to your personal finances when you consider financial decisions that are forced on you. To use Hazlitt’s example, if someone throws a rock through your window and breaks it, you find yourself suddenly forced to spend money on a new window. You gain nothing that you didn’t already have, and yet you spend money in the transaction. If the window hadn’t been broken, you might have bought a new coat or gone out to dinner instead.

In my personal finances I come across the Broken Window theory in several ways. When I make a bad financial decision, for example buy a beautiful dress even though I have several in the closet, I end up with less money to spend on the things I truly need.

If I buy the dress on a credit card because I don’t really have the money anyway, I not only wipe out the potential for buying something useful, but I commit my future earnings to paying off both the dress and the interest on the loan.

Thinking of my financial decisions with the three-layered perspective of The Broken Window theory keeps me from getting tempted to buy things I shouldn’t. This is especially helpful when I see items on sale, which increases the temptation to buy even more.

The Broken Window theory also applies to my personal income. My salary takes me a fixed number of hours to earn. I could be spending these hours doing something else. This leads me to question whether my lifestyle is too expensive, whether earning the livelihood I need is consuming too much of my free time.

In short, The Broken Window theory keeps me on my toes when it comes to my personal finances. That something else, the unidentified commodity that I lose when I choose one path over another, always reminds me that every decision wipes out a slew of alternative options. I have to make sure that I don’t break windows in my life. In other words, that I don’t end up spending my limited resources on things I already have and don’t really need.