Top Ways to Save on Home Improvement

Change is simply inevitable. As the family gets bigger, the children grows up, and the difference in lifestyles is felt; among the first things that is done to accommodate these adjustments is a change in the home. But with the challenging New York housing market, upgrading through home improvement proves to be a more ideal option than selling and moving into a new house. And to make the changes more financially beneficial, here are tops ways to save on home improvement whether you are in Long Island, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Manhattan, or Queens.

Work within the Existing Blueprint

Envisioning your ‘perfect’ kitchen or bathroom can be totally exciting. Major changes however can be bank breaking. To avoid the hefty costs it is important to smartly choose which changes can be done to answer to the family’s needs without having to move primary features such as sinks, bathtubs, and toilets. If you are working with basement remodeling, instead of removing and relocating support columns, pipes, and other unsightly structural elements, you can work these into the design by using creativity. Not going through these major tasks in your home improvement saves you a big chunk on the remodeling project.

Reuse or Resell

If the fixtures and other features in your home improvement project are still in good working condition, consider reusing to save on the money you need to spend buying new things as well as demolition and disposal. Refinishing is a great way to create changes and make fixtures and furnishings as good as new. Some of the jobs you can include in your project are refinish hardware, repaint cabinets, refinish hardwood floors, etc. But if you really decide for new items, then sell your used fixtures and furnishings online or at a yard sale. The profits can add to your budget.

Buy Smart

There are many options that you can consider to get you the best value for your home improvement money such as:

  • RTA Cabinets – you can use ready-to-assemble cabinets for kitchen remodeling or bathroom remodeling. Without having to pay for labor costs, this will considerably cutback on expenses.
  • Bid on Materials – you can buy items at very cheap prices at auctions. One place to find such great buys is at the US Treasury auctions. You can also try searching for online auctions or local yard sales.
  • Buy Salvaged – salvaged materials such as hardwood, glass, marble or granite slabs, and other old fixtures and furnishings are great buys. This green way of doing home improvement is an amazing way to trim down on expenses. Some places to find such deals include recycling centers, architectural salvage yards, online classifieds and specialty boutiques offering vintage furnishings.

Know When and When Not to DIY

There are home improvement works that can easily be done by you and there are areas that are best left for professional contractors to efficiently do. Knowing when and when not to DIY is crucial as this decision can save you from the risks, hassles and costs of doing things wrong. Specially if the project involves any updates or changes in plumbing, electricity or other complex areas; it is best to hire a qualified contractor and get the best value for your budget.

Reclaiming Good Mental Health

What is good mental health? We are all more or less mentally healthy, and this usually varies through our lives especially as we deal with difficult life events, change and so on. Whether we call this psychological wellbeing, happiness, contentment, positive mindset, all these terms relate to good mental health.

With our physical health, it’s part of our everyday discourse to be aspirational. We want to feel physically fit, energetic, strong, balanced in our weight, eating a healthy diet, supple, resilient and not prone to minor ailments. Sure we complain about our problems, and talk about how we can’t do all the things we know we ought to do. We know it’s not easy to stay physically healthy without working at it, especially if we’ve experienced health problems. We know that even if we reach the peak of physical fitness, we can’t maintain this for the rest of our lives without paying attention to it.

Research tells us that good mental health is even more beneficial than good physical health. A positive mental outlook increases the rate and speed of recovery from serious, even life threatening, illness. Psychological resilience and wellbeing gives people the strength to turn problems into challenges into triumphs.

Yet whenever I ask a group of people to tell me what words come into mind in relation to ‘mental health’, their responses are about mental ill-health! It’s as if the term has been hi-jacked to become totally problem-focused.

In the meantime, we’re experiencing an epidemic of mental ill-health. About 1 in 4 people are experiencing some form of common mental health problem such as depression, anxiety and various stress related symptoms. GP surgeries are overwhelmed with such problems, mental health services are only able to provide support for the 1% of the population with much more severe mental health difficulties, and there’s a plethora of largely unregulated services, treatments and remedies out on the private market. A recent research study showed that the majority of long term sickness absence from work resulted from stress related conditions.

The trouble with focusing on the problems and the pain, is that that’s what we become experts in. We’re looking for cures and treatments to fix the problem, instead of focusing on what makes for good mental health. We know that physical health is multi-dimensional – no-one imagines that pumping iron to build your muscles is a recipe for overall physical health, although it will certainly make you stronger for certain activities.

So what are the essentials of good mental health?

Connection is certainly one of the best known. Having positive close relationships is good for our mental health, as is having a wider network of friends, colleagues and acquaintances which will vary over time. Giving to others is another really important aspect of connection, improving our sense of self worth and wellbeing.

Challenge is about learning and development, it’s how we grow. For children, everyday brings new challenges, yet as adults we often become increasingly fearful of change, unwilling to learn new skills or put ourselves in unfamiliar situations. So expanding our comfort zone, sometimes in small ways if we’re feeling particularly vulnerable, will help develop our self-confidence and sense of personal achievement.

Composure means a sense of balance, and ability to distance ourselves from our thoughts and emotions. It means our ability to respond rather than react. This could be described as our sense of spiritual connection, which may come through a particular belief or faith, or may be found through connection with nature. A mentally healthy person will feel an inner strength of spirit, and find ways to support that.

Character relates to the way in which we interpret our experiences and our responses to them. We all have our own personal story, or stories, which we may or may not tell others. We may cast ourselves as the hero, the victim or the villain, and however we do this will impact generally on our mental health. Someone who has experienced severe life trauma may have great difficulty piecing together their story at all, leaving them feeling literally fragmented. Good mental health means having a strong sense of personal values, awareness of our own strengths, skills and resources, and personal stories of learning from mistakes, survival, success and appreciation.

Creativity represents the fun, childlike aspects of our mental health. As children we are naturally creative and we play. As we grow into adulthood, our creativity and playfulness is often discouraged or devalued, and this can cause great frustration, literally diminishing the capacity of our brain to function as well as it could. Exploring creative activities has often been found to have a powerful therapeutic effect, and good mental health certainly depends in part on opportunities to bring fun, playfulness and creativity into our lives.

These 5 C’s of good mental health offer a framework within which we can think about our mental health in the same way as we might our physical health. It’s pretty damned hard to be a perfect specimen of physical health,but then who needs to be perfect? Just like our physical health, our mental health is a work in progress and always will be.

In years gone by, many people with physical illnesses were treated cruelly because of ignorance and shame. I recall when cancer was spoken in hushed whispers as the Big C. Nowadays mental ill-health is the ‘elephant in the room’ which we need to be looking at long and hard, exposing to practical common sense and intelligent discussion.

World Mental Health Day on October 10 has been a timely reminder that good mental health really is something we can aspire to for everyone. Let’s make it so!

6 Keys To Home Business Success

The Home Business industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, but unfortunately the vast majority of people (more than 95%) never achieve any level of success with it.

Why?

Because they don’t know the 6 keys to home business success, and they give up before they see results.

So many people get started in this industry with the vision of creating massive residual income by telling 5, who tell 5 who tell 5 and they all live happily ever after. Unfortunately, they tell 5, who tell them where to go, and for most people that’s enough rejection to make them throw in the towel and give up all together.

Very few people have the fortitude to hear no as next and keep persisting.

And even the few who do persist still won’t see the kind of results they want because the system they’ve plugged into is missing one or more of the 6 keys to home business success.

What Are The 6 Keys To Home Business Success?
I haven’t been in this industry for decades like many of my mentors have, although I’ve seen enough in a few short years to know what works well and what doesn’t.

My first exposure to the home business industry was at a seminar. A speaker at the front of the room was pitching his program on how to get grants and loans from the government. The program sounded great, but near the end he said “who here would like to learn how I really broke free from my job as a garbage man and became financially free?”

Of course most of the hands in the room shot up, and he proceeded to go into his home business presentation. After more than 30 minutes of hearing about how these revolutionary products would replace most of the everyday cleaning and self care products in your home a few people in the audience finally started muttering “oh, it’s ______”. I won’t mention the name of the company here, but suffice it to say it’s a very well known company in the network marketing industry.

He made an irresistible offer waiving the sign up fees and allowing anyone interested to get started for just $1. He even promised to work with anyone who was serious and to help build our teams for us. Seemed like a great opportunity so my wife and I signed up and bought our starter products. After a few months of paying nearly $100/mo to keep our distributor status and earning a big $2 cheque we bailed.

Now in fairness, we didn’t work on building the business either. What I do know is that the 2 people who’ve done very well in that business speak from the stage, and seem to build their business from the hundreds of people in the audience, not from doing milk and cookie parties like they encourage their team to do.

My next venture into the home business industry was even more eye opening. This was a program with a high ticket core product. It was a vacation travel package that cost over $3,000. The allure was that with just 12 people in your organization you’d earn 4 times that amount!

What should have been a clue though is we were trained to tell people that we invited to see the presentation that “I can’t tell you what it is, you just have to come and see.” if they asked what it was about. What’s interesting is that I saw people make thousands in that company in as little as a couple of weeks. They had people making 6 figures in their first year, but despite my best efforts, I still barely broke even on my initial investment.

Today, I’ve sworn off of doing business the old way, and that’s why I’m excited to share the 6 keys to home business success with you today, to hopefully save you some of the headaches and challenges I faced in the past.

Key #1 To Home Business Success
1) You need a product to sell that pays high commissions.

The first key to success in the home business industry is to find a product that pays high commissions. For the most part, the commissions paid out in the home business industry just aren’t high enough for someone to make a full time income from unless they’re able to recruit a small country into their downline. In fact, a few of my mentors had teams of 5,000-10,000 and were still only making a few thousand dollars a month, all while getting stuck on 3 way calls from dawn to the early morning every day.

Finding a product that pays 30-70% commissions will make a world of difference to your success in the home business industry. Better yet, is that the commissions will be paid out quickly, not weeks or months down the road. People want to see success early or they’ll end up quitting before they truly get started.

Key #2 To Home Business Success
2) Your product needs to be affordable to the masses.

The core product needs to be affordable to the masses. You will have far more success offering your products to people if they’re what my mentor calls “under the radar money”. This is a purchase that’s under about $200 that someone can make without causing a major fight over spending with their spouse. One of the big objections people get in the home business industry is “I have to speak to my wife/husband” which is really just an excuse. If your core product is only $25 to say $197 most people will be able to make that purchase themselves and not have to run it by their significant other.

Once someone makes that initial buying decision then your goal is to upgrade them to the highest level of products that makes sense to them. Notice I said makes sense to them. Your goal is not to sell the most products regardless of their circumstances. Your goal is to help them achieve their goals, and set them up with the level of products that will best help them achieve that.

Key #3 To Home Business Success
3) People need to be able to become profitable in 30 days or less.

One of the major reasons people fail in the home business industry is because they don’t see any wins in their first few weeks. To ensure longevity your home business system must enable people who plug in and apply the system to become profitable in 30 days or less. If people are able to become profitable quickly, they’ll become loyal customers for life. If not, they’ll quit and hop around from opportunity to opportunity looking for something that is.

Of course, not everyone will become profitable, because not everyone will even take the first step. It’s strange. People will sound all fired up and motivated, and then fall off the face of the planet and never even take the first step towards building a successful home business. It’s just human nature, and there’s nothing you can do about. Focus on helping the people who are in action.

Key #4 To Home Business Success
4) Your offering needs to include upsells and higher ticket items to enable someone to make the most amount of money in the least amount of time.

Having an affordable core product is great to enable people to get started, but earning $5 or $10 or even $50 isn’t life changing income. In order to create a truly successful home business you need to be able to earn higher ticket commissions.

Having the ability to sell $500, $1000, and even $3000 products is how you generate full time income with minimal effort. Making one or two sales of these types of products is how you go from making lunch money to making full time income doing part time work.

Key #5 To Home Business Success
5) The corporate videos need to convert on their own.

This is a big problem for much of the home business industry. People are drawn in by a compelling, charismatic presenter who has a way with words that just draws people in. The problem is, most people aren’t able to duplicate what their sponsor does or says, and gets rejected every time they try to “show the plan”.

Many companies have now produced DVD’s and video for their distributors to hand out, but even those don’t effectively convert viewers into buyers.

To be successful in the home business industry you need to have access to corporate videos that can do the telling and selling for you, so that anyone who gets started can just share the video with others and start seeing results. If the corporate videos aren’t effective in converting, then you won’t be successful either.

Key #6 To Home Business Success
6) Your offering needs to include marketing training to show people how to build their business beyond their friends and family.

Most of the home business industry teaches new people to make a list of their friends and family and to start reaching out to them and inviting them to a presentation. For starters, most people either won’t even make a list, or won’t bother contacting the people they put on the list. A small group of people will contact everyone on their list, and even still will only have a handful of the hundred or so they contact take them up on their offer.

Then the question becomes NOW WHAT? How do you continue to grow your business if you’ve already spoken to everyone you know, and only a few of them were interested? Go find new friends by wandering around Walmart asking people if they keep their business options open? I hope that’s not your plan.

You need to learn how to market so that people actually looking for what you have to offer come looking for you. Yes, it’s possible, and it’s called Attraction Marketing. If you’re in the home business industry and you’re not employing attraction marketing strategies as part of your daily actions you’re going to run out of people to talk to fast.

This isn’t the 70’s and 80’s anymore when no-one had heard of home businesses. Today, pretty much everyone has an experience in the industry, or knows someone who has. Sure those old strategies work, but not nearly as well as they once did, and they never worked as well as attraction marketing does.

So there you have the 6 Keys To Home Business Success. I hope you found the information valuable and would appreciate it if you could leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.

Start Your Home Improvement Now!

Saying that our homes are extensions of ourselves is actually saying less. When you think of it, our homes are actually who we are. That maxim “tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are” does not even come close. I mean, we do and we have most of our secrets inside our homes. It is the most private, personal place we can ever think of. And here we are, carefully dressing ourselves to be as pleasant to others as possible but leaving our homes slowly rotting away. Okay, That might be a real exaggeration. But, seriously, can’t you perform even a slight home improvement project?

Yes, your house may not be rotting away (at least not for now). But, how can you bear looking at yourself all dressed and dolled up when your house is as plain and boring as a shop assistant dressed in baggy clothes? Remember that people will always talk. No matter how we tell ourselves that what other people think is not important, appearances do matter. If that one prominent fact is not enough to drive you to perform home improvement now, I do not know what else.

How hard can it be to change the dull white tiles in your kitchen and bathroom to the bright or funky or dark personality that you are? After all, your home is who you are, right? You give such careful attention to your clothes and makeup. Why not try that faithful sense of duty to a home improvement project? Your home improvement project. Think about it. You will have nothing to lose here. Come on, who does not want a beautiful home? You will be a hypocrite if you say you do not. Either that, or you are just completely dull and dense.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not trying to insult anyone. I’m just stating realities. The sooner we face things, the sooner we can go on with things and start our home improvement projects. Taking good care of your home is also one way of packaging yourself. An additional deck or a front porch won’t be that bad either. You have always wanted fresh air, haven’t you? And I bet that additional back porch will be perfect for your kid’s playhouse. A few paintings in your living room is also great. Or if you are not into painting, you can always choose from tapestry to figurines to vases. It is all up to you, really.

What I am trying to say is that we can’t just leave our homes feel neglected and lonely. They are like our best friends-when we talk about houses and buildings not people. Why not give them the love and care they deserve. Come on. Splurge a little for your home. It is yours anyways, not just anybody else’s. Home improvement does not come easy, of course. But the fulfillment and satisfaction you will feel in the end will be incomparable. Trust that all this will be worth that happiness.

Home Improvement Tips to Save Energy

Whether you’re looking for ways to improve the way your home looks or to make it more energy efficient, it’s always best to find out how to do it right and get the most out of your time and money. These home improvement tips can show you how to start saving energy right away.

1. Use energy saving lamps instead of incandescent bulbs. Energy Star qualified light bulbs such as CFLs use 75% less energy than traditional bulbs.

2. Check your heating and cooling system, including the furnace, air conditioner, and heat pump). Be sure to seal your ducts. Leaky ducts make your heating and cooling systems less efficient and you’ll end up with higher utility bills. You can save up to 20% on energy with this home improvement tip.

3. Purchase and install a programmable thermostat. This will let you automatically adjust the temperature at your home when you are away.

4. Check the weather stripping around your windows, doors, garage, etc. Make sure your home is sealed and insulated to reduce heating and cooling costs.

5. If you’re in the market for replacement windows, install Energy Star labeled windows. Energy saving windows can dramatically lower your utility bills.

6. Is your refrigerator more than 10 years old? It’s time to get a new one. Refrigerators (and freezers) account for a substantial share of your electricity bill. An Energy Star qualified refrigerator
uses 50% less electricity than an old, conventional model.

7. When it’s time to replace your washing machine, replace it with an Energy Star compliant model. You will be able to use 50% less water and up to 70% less energy. Whenever possible, wash your clothes with cold water.

8. Here’s another home improvement tip that doesn’t cost much. Use curtains, blinds and drapes to help you save energy and money. In winter, open the blinds, drapes and curtains in the morning to let the sunlight in. Close them at night to help keep the warm air in.

9. Landscaping can improve your home’s looks while saving energy. Shrubs and trees in strategic locations can protect your home from frigid winter winds and block out the hot summer sun.

10. You won’t have to invest a lot of money for this home improvement tip but you’ll get a lot of savings in return. Purchase a hot water insulation kit from your local home improvement center and wrap it around your water heater. You’ll save on water heating costs.

11. Consider installing your own renewable energy system. A solar or wind energy system can help you reduce your utility bills.

On the Formation of a Business

This is not a how-to guide, more a study in the beginnings of a business.

How does a business start? How does it grow? What drives some to succeed and some to fail?

What is a business?

We all understand what a business is, but how is it defined?

A search among different sources will give you a range of different definitions. Chambers dictionary list it as defined below:

business noun 1 the buying and selling of goods and services.

This highlights the common theme among all the definitions, buying and selling. It doesn’t matter what the end product of the company is or what service it is that they supply what matters is that someone wants to buy it.

The aim of any business, no matter how lofty a mission statement they may purport to follow, is to make money. They need to provide something that other businesses or customers will part with money to have access to. It’s important to remember that not all businesses will have the aim of a profit. A charity can be run as a business, they may give away all the money they receive or spend it on helping others, but they still need to be able to have that income stream to be able to operate.

How Does it Start?

I’m not going to get into depth about the formation of a business in a legislative sense, whether a limited company, partnership or group, that information is for another time. I want to focus on the concept of a business itself.

A business always starts in the same place. With an idea.

This idea must have a market value. Without a market value the idea is just that, an idea. The market value is the amount that people would be willing to pay for your idea, whether a physical product or an intangible service, it must have value.

These ideas can come from anything. Many come from people already working in an industry seeing a specific gap in the market that they could fill. Some come from the archetypal inventor, creating in his garden shed something that the world has never seen before. Many of them will leave you with the same reaction, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

From Idea to Business?

The hardest part of the business is this part. How to get your wonder product or idea from your thoughts to existence and profit?

This is the key part that can make all the difference between a successful business and a failure. Research. The successful businesses know that they will make a profit before they even start, it may be several years down the line but they know it will work.

Finding out the target market, the competition, the price points, the costs incurred to provide the service or product, advertising, overheads and working out margins to produce a profit without pricing yourself out of the market. All of these things need to be done and done well before even beginning the process of setting up a functional business.

This is why creditors or investors would require a full business plan before helping a business start up, no matter how good the idea itself is. Getting that idea to a functional point requires an enormous amount of effort and dedication.

Business Formation

The plan is in place. The profits are mapped and there’s even a lovely graph to show exactly when they will occur and how much they are expected to be.

The next step is where your investors come in, it requires an outlay to get a business up and running.

Whether it’s a small outlay, the renting of an office and copyrighting your company name, or whether it’s enormous, building a factory to produce your product while employing and training all the staff to operate it, the crux is the same, you will need some investment.

Many small businesses start with just their founders savings to set up, and this is often enough, while others will turn to banks for business loans.

This is going to be the most expensive period your business will ever see, there is always a period of investment before any return can be made. Once the returns begin coming in then further growth is possible but before any profit comes the initial investment.

Business Operation

The first aim for any new company is stability. Getting the business to a point where it is not losing any money. Obviously every company will be aiming for a profit as quickly as possible, but stability is more important.

A bumper period in a new business can lead to extra growth and outlay that the business cannot support and a quieter period following this can lead directly into financial difficulties.

Reaching a stable point means that there is the time to consider future growth and new strategies, without the pressure of knowing that every moment wasted means money lost. Only from this secure position can the appropriate decisions be made for the future.

From Business to Success

There is a certain mystique around the growth of those enormous corporations, the stories of Apple or Google starting in a garage and Facebook from a student bedroom. It is definite that a certain amount of luck is required but it is just as certain that no business can grow to that scale on luck alone.

There is one defining feature of all successful companies and that is that the right decisions were made. Time and again, those in charge of the company have made the right choice in regard to growth, the right choice in regard to competition and the right choice in regard to investment. Not everything they’ve done has always been a success but due to their structure and planning they are in a place to be able to cope with this.

Two Ways to Fight the Rising Cost of Health Care

The next time you visit a health care provider make sure you are paying the contracted rate and you are in network. This will help you save money and ensure that you are getting the benefit from your health insurance.

#1 The Contracted Rate

The contracted rate is a critical component of the insurance industry. In my opinion it is the single most important aspect for why everyone should have coverage. The usual and customary charge by any physician, hospital, pharmacy, or lab facility is a fraction of what the charge is with health insurance versus not having coverage.

The contracted rate is the negotiated rate agreed upon between your health care provider and the insurance company. Your portion is only a fraction of what the total bill may be. This is what will save you thousands of dollars the next time you need an expensive procedure. The balance of the claim for that expensive procedure is written off.

Example #1 the cost of a covered service at the hospital is over $30,000. Mr. Smith receives a final bill totaling $1,500 and the rest of the balance is written off due to the contracted rate.

Note: A list of covered services is found in your evidence of coverage when you were approved for health insurance. Call your health insurance company for a copy if you do not have a copy at home.

Example #2 Mrs. Jones goes in for knee surgery. The claim is for $8,800. Mrs. Jones only pays $1,100 and the balance is written off due to the contracted rate.

While many will argue that the cost of health insurance is expensive, the cost of receiving the health care you need without health insurance is astronomical by comparison.

Make sure that you pay the usual and customary rate or contracted rate on all of your health procedures and health claims every time.

One way to ensure that you are paying the contracted rate is to work with a licensed insurance agent in your state. This agent will also help you with your claims as well.

And remember, always stay In Network.

#2 In and Out of Network

When you are In Network, the health care provider accepts your health insurance.

Hospitals, your doctor’s office, labs, specialists, your pharmacy, and any health care provider you visit must accept your insurance for you to receive the contracted rate.

Staying In Network ensures that you pay the contracted rate.

The very best way to ensure that your health care provider accepts your insurance is to simply ask them and confirm. Remember, you will not get the contracted rate unless you are In Network.

A second way to ensure that you are In Network is to verify with your health insurance company or your licensed insurance agent.

Your insurance company can help you by mailing another copy of your coverage benefits summary along with a directory of health care providers that will keep you In Network. Your licensed insurance agent will also have access to the information in case you cannot find your doctor in the directory that your insurance company provides you.

Now, if you go “Out of Network”, it means that the health care provider you visit may not accept your health insurance coverage that you are paying for. In this case the visit will be very costly to you.

In most instances, going Out of Network will cost you more than twice the amount had you stayed In Network.

This day and age health insurance companies do such a great job in growing their network that you can travel outside the U.S. and still visit a health care provider that is In Network.

A company like Blue Shield automatically enrolls you into a plan that will allow you to carry an insurance card outside of your state or outside of the U.S. so that you are In Network in case of an emergency.

To find out if you can stay In Network the next time you are travelling outside of your state or outside of the U.S. simply contact your health insurance company and ask.

Final Thought

Now, more than ever, it is important that you educate yourself on the topic of Health Insurance in this country.

DO NOT GET LOST IN THE POLITICS AND THE MILLION AND ONE OPINIONS HEARD DAILY ON THE NEWS!

These people are not in your living room helping you understand how best to plan for your healthcare needs this year. Make sure that you always stay In Network and that you are paying the Contracted Rate.

Top 6 Best Travel Gifts

It is never easy to choose a perfect and dashing travel gift for your friends and family. At times, you simply get blank as to what type of gift you must choose for your brother, sister, cousin, father, mother, classmate, girlfriend or boyfriend. When it comes to travel gifts, one does not have much choices. Especially when you do not know anything about traveling. So what type of travel gift is right for your friend? Here is a list of top 6 travel gifts to make things easy for you.

1- Card Cover
A traveler card cover is especially made for travelers. Most of the travelers do not keep their wallet with them when they travel. And even if they do, they put their cards elsewhere for various reasons. Travel style card cover is made from PVC. Your friend can put all his/her cards in it. It is very easy to use card cover and these come in different colors. Choose one for your loved one today.

2- Earphones
Earphone is something that every traveler needs. They used to listen to their favorite music when they travel from one place to another. So why not you give them a perfect earphone for their next tour? Earphone is a cheap but very attractive gift.

3- Earphone Pouch
Earphone pouch is also a must when we talk about travel earphones. I mean, it is not easy to take care of a small earphone especially when you are on the move. So every traveler needs an earphone pouch to keep his/her earphone safe. You can either give away earphone pouch or you can give both the earphones as well as its pouch to your loved ones.

4- Travel Bag
A travel bag is the most important thing that every traveler needs. It is one of the basic necessities of traveling. Whether it be a small folding bag or a giant size travel bag, every traveler needs one. And this could be a great gift for your traveler mate. Buy a folding bag for him and surprise him with your smart choice.

5- Scratch Map
Not all the travelers use scratch maps but all of them do use a map. A scratch map is a modified form of traditional maps. However, most of the travelers now use Google maps, GPS and other more effective tools while traveling, but most of them still use traditional maps. You can send a scratch map to your buddy and I am sure he will love it. You can choose to buy a world map or a map of a specific country for your family and friends.

6- Passport Cover
Made from pure PVC, these passport covers come in different bright colors. Since travelers have to move with their passports and identity cards, so why not give a passport cover to your friend so that he can keep his passport safe all the times. Passport cover will keep it safe for years.

Anchor and Nooses: Two Big Drains on Your Business

Business is a tough game. Continually we need to operate in three areas to ensure we produce consistent outcomes. The businesses we work with are challenged to:

    • Tend to the business. We operate our business daily, tend to the issues and the pressing needs as they arise.

    • Prune the business. At times we all need to prune. Whether it is a process, a product or a person, this is a needed part of ensuring that you obtain the best result and investment is made in what is best in your business.

  • Grow the business. We continually need to look for ways to grow our business. This can be growing your core business or sowing new seeds.

To work these areas, our owners progress through a process to reflect and review. We take them “out of their business” to work on their business. We acknowledge that we all need to be in the business, but we need to have time ongoing to work on the business.

All businesses are unique, however, we find a few things in common. We find most businesses have anchors and nooses. Let me explain.

Anchors

Anchors hold businesses (and people) back. They are wide and varied but the common ones are listed here.

    • A business relationship that takes too much resources relative to the level of business.

    • A product line that the business has emotional investment in, but is now not providing the return for it’s current level of investment.

  • A team that is failing to see the link between sustainable business and their positions.

These are the main three, although we do see more. On every occasion we create a strategy to release the anchor and start the business moving again.

The biggest part is to be able to identify the anchor and work through a process to cut the chain.

Nooses

Nooses are, similarly, an impediment to business growth, but this time the business is impacted by a tightening pressure. Often this is due to the following:

    • Unreasonable supplier or customer terms creating unnecessary pressure on cash flow.

    • Inadequate planning, be it business, financial or marketing which pressure ongoing investment in these areas.

    • Constant complaints from customers on service or product quality.

  • Pro-bono or special consideration business taking resources away from your best customers.

The key, again, is to identify it, and then work to achieve a strategy to reduce the pressure and then eliminate.

Strategy

We work with clients to build strategy to help them gain control and bring growth back to their business. Once awareness is gained from the business owner, the strategy starts to form. Having a fresh set of eyes helping you through this maze.

Some businesses simply don’t ask for help. Often it’s a lack of awareness of the situation and of a feeling of normality, as they have become comfortable with the situation.

It is important to gauge the situation, once you have become aware of it, with a set of fresh eyes. In the words of Einstein:

“We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them”

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We do see pride get in the way with some businesses. Don’t be the proudest person in the morgue.

Fashion – A Fragile Grace

I firmly believe that fashion is the ultimate form in which one can express themselves. An awareness of what is in trend is necessary to be with the times. People try to put comfort over fashion but I feel that fashion does not only exist in a dress but it has to do with a combination of trendy ideas. The whole ideology of fashion is to synchronize things around us and to make us look beautiful. However fashion does not mean over dressing as that makes us look like clowns. A person can look nice when he/she wears a dress which compliments his/her personality.

Fashion seems to be the most important aspect in a women’s life. It is something that the females can do much better than men. It enhances the life and when the end results are good it gives pleasure. The concept of fashion cannot be same for the entire Diaspora of society. However fashion cannot be treated in singular terms, it is a collection of bits and bobs which are in vogue.

In my point of view fashion has a widespread diversity in it. Two people with opposing ideas can still be fashionable in their own ways. Fashion has many layers to it and with the increasing awareness about fashion many people have started indulging in it. Those who detest fashion may be the ones who need fashionable clothes in order to improve their looks. The fact is that when women do not like their appearance they criticize fashion but the dissatisfaction of women about their appearance is what fuels the fashion industry.

There are three basic rules in order to dress well which are:

1) Be comfortable in whatever you wear as that is what adds beauty automatically
2) Do not go overboard for dressing up as that may just be a fashion glitz
3) Follow the latest trends by keeping an eye on what celebrities wear

If you follow these three fundamental rules then you can be sure that you will definitely land up being well dressed wherever you go.

The new era of fashion has seen a lot of changes. It is no longer for stereotypes but it is all about the individual style and there are no rules. You can easily select your own fashion trend and go along with it. After all the beauty of fashion is that it has lot of variety and character and it can lend its fragile grace to anyone who seeks it.