Friday, February 21, 2014

The jobs people do while you stay inside

You know we complain about lots of stuff when it comes to weather related issues. If it is too cold, we complain that we want to warm and when it becomes too hot then we want to chill out and be a little bit colder for our body. But have to you ever thought about the people who regardless of the weather work in all conditions because their jobs demands it and they don’t have the luxury to stay indoor if the weather is not to their liking. I am talking about firefighters, police personnel, street vendors, the construction workers and other people who done have any choice but to work in all sorts of weather to make a living or they lose one day due to weather. But some have the choice to sit home and utilize their holidays but some like street vendors and fire fighters cannot even do that because every day not on the job means no money for that day (although the fire fighters can utilize their days but still if fire breaks out then they have to in the streets). I believe (and I may be wrong) but the firefighters have the hardest time in extreme weathers. They have to fight fires in hot and cold weather and with their heavy suits and at this moment you thank your lucky stars that you are not the one out there doing it and you are in the comfort of your office with controlled climate to do your work (well at least the people who work in offices do have this luxury). So next time you complain about weather, take a moment to think about what it could have been if you were in their shoes.

The auto union lost in Tennessee, U.S.-2

And unlike in the past the auto companies have more choices regarding where to locate their production. Every country vies for the auto industry jobs since it signals that the country has entered in an industrial phase and the jobs are also high paying. The unions should realize that the job security that they used to provide is now a thing of the past. No company wants to have a hang of union company on its head every three to four years and the auto unions should also need to take a lesson front airplane maker in Washington where despite many opposition to airplane union contract it was accepted by the workers because of the airplane maker going to another non union state to make the planes being one of the major reasons. Although the unions showed much more flexibility to the running up of the organization election but it was not enough to sway the negative campaign against it. All is still not lost on the unions despite this seemingly huge setback. If the unions can be flexible enough on some issues like health costs, pension plans, wages and overtime and other related issues, then they may have some fighting chance to organize the workers on less stringent terms which reflect the new realities of workplace. Although I am not in a union and I believe that the unions sympathize with their workers but if they are not flexible in this competitive world economy then they will become much smaller with reduced power no matter how much the management is receptive to the idea of having a union among their midst or politicians in favor of them.

The auto union lost in Tennessee, U.S.

Recently the auto union workers tried to organize a union in the deep south of the United States with seemingly everything riding on it and lost it very closely. Although some may say that it was a devastating blow to the union's effort to organize workers in states which have been traditionally anti union but you can say that not all is lost since the vote came out to be very close. The defeat was a combination of state representatives being against unions and the unions not doing their homework correctly. The scare tactics that were used to scare away potential yes votes were the fear of jobs and also the fact that the Unions membership is declining in Michigan and other places and it is being blamed for the decline of the U.S. auto industry. Whether that is true or not remains to be seen but for now the unions are being blamed for more than enough of their share. The unions have been a great source of middle class movement for many families but it was really a long time ago when the competition was less and they could dictate what kind of benefits they can have. The unions are still living in a fantasy world where the U.S. is the only source of autos and the workers can dictate whatever wages they want. The world is not too competitive for the Unions to dictate their terms as easily as they did in the past. Any country with some knowhow of how to make autos is making them and the wages are not that much high in other countries as well.

On the lighter side-Movies-The Blade (1995-Hong Kong)

A dark remake/reimagination of the classic one armed boxer movie with not enough fights to satisfy martial arts fans and the story seems to be out of place and too much sentimentality crept in. Some may like it some may not. I did not enjoy it that much. Not recommended

The Anti Immigration referendum in Switzerland

Recently the voters in Switzerland adopted a resolution limiting the number of immigrants that will be allowed to work and live in that country. Now I know that every country has the right to formulate its own policy regarding the number of people it can allow to work in their country and it is not that it was done by some dictator but it was done in a referendum which was approved by the voters of that country. And we should all respect that decision but why would Switzerland want to enact a law which will hamper its ability to attract much needed talent? As you may well know Switzerland is one of the most expensive places to live and work and hence people are attracted to that place due to its high standard of living and as such the growing housing shortage may have be one of the reasons that spurred this action. It has also to do with the wave of anti immigrant sentiment that has been creeping up lately due to the economic situation in Europe. More and more affluent countries in Europe have their own version of extremist right wing ultra nationalist groups who want to limit or even eliminate immigration if possible and this is being played all over Europe. And surprisingly they are more inspired by the Nazi Movement in Germany which was the cause of so much destruction. So these two combinations of intolerant nationalist parties and a growing housing shortage has something to do with the votes but it is also the failure of the government to counter arguments regarding immigration and what it means to their country. I hope that this kind of vote would not spread all over Europe because then the genuine immigrants or even the ones who are highly skilled will be discouraged to go to Switzerland and the economy of that country will ultimately suffer.

On the lighter side-Movies-The Hospital (2013)

There are no words to describe this rape and snuff infested sorry excuse for a movie where the only theme is to rape and torture girls. In a nutshell, an abandoned hospital is the scene for some shady reality TV show that brings in girls and then rape and make snuff movies. Not recommended at all to anybody. Run from this as far as possible. I regret watching this waste of your precious time.

The Spying game goes on in Sophistication-2

All the hype has died down and life has moved on and so does the spying. There have been pros and cons to all this business of spy exposure. For example with all this exposure, the world knows that the U.S. spies on them through various means of technologies and it does not only to the enemies but friends too, so this exposure has hurt the spying capabilities of the U.S. and now all the governments are devising means to block the U.S. intrusion into the private lives of their citizens and politicians. Foreign governments are becoming more cautious about using American technology lest there be some spying material inside it and more and more of them are trying to develop their own technologies so that they don’t have to rely on the American ones. And with this exposure, we can see the spy agencies in a new light or can we since in our hearts we already know that they were spying and tracking everything we do online and offline. But on the other side, you can say that now there will be more spying done and more discretely and new technologies will emerge and strict employee clearance will be initiated to make sure that nothing of this sort leaks out in the future. I don’t believe there will be less spying on account of this episode but it will be more under wraps and highly sophisticated technology would be used on the pretext that countries are under threat from other countries and the spies have protect us from them. So welcome to the new world of Spying.

The Spying game goes on in Sophistication

If you have been ever in a situation where you have been asked to or are forced to do something for the first time and you are very hesitant to do it but when you do with shaking hands and doubtful mind and once you do it, it does not sound that bad or awful. Or maybe it does but the first time hesitancy is gone and if you are asked or forced to do the same thing again another time, you would be okay with that and all the shame and guilt that accompany the first time is now history. And this has exactly happened with the revelation of the spying details of the NSA by the now ex-employee Snowden who have leaked many of the secrets that were not truly secrets out in the open. The initial outrage came and had repercussions but as he started to leak more of it and is threatening to leak more, the surprise event has started to wear off a bit. I am saying this because of a new report that was released recently that said that not much has changed since the initial uproar of the spying leakage came. Things have moved on quite a bit after some strong protest from foreign government. After the leaks there were some measures announced by the U.S. government that would limit the amount of spying that will be done on U.S. and foreign soil but nothing was completely eliminated. It just altered some of the unbridled spying that was happening but who knows if it is still happening or not.

Rest in peace

If you have been reading my blog, you may have across an article entitled “A better Place”. It was not meant to be offensive but I had an issue with this phrase since many people use it without knowing what it is or what it is suppose to be meant by. The only think they know is that there is a much better place than this world where there are no worries. It is just in their minds since nobody has gone there and come back to narrate what it is really like to be there. And the only clue is in the Holy Scriptures, which people of different religions has and read it every day. And now we say and hear this word almost every day whenever we hear the news about someone whom we know remotely dying or have died. And it is repeated millions of times a day through the word in different languages. The expression, May he/she rest in peace or the like may his/her soul rest in peace means the same since it signifies that the soul is restless when they are in this world and with all the worries gone (supposedly), the soul will get a chance to take a breather and will/may rest in peace but does it really? Although people wish it and we all hope it is but it is debatable because nobody knows what happens in the grave after your die (or cremated) and nobody has come back to tell if they are really resting in peace or suffering for their sins. It is my sole opinion that we are wishing and hoping everybody who leaves this earth rest in peace but we have actually have to see if that is true in every case.

The Complainers-2

We complain when there is too much traffic and we complain when we have to stand in line to pay for our stuff, we complain when there is no water and then if we don’t have light then we complain again. If somebody is driving slowly, we complain again and if we have to wait in the doctor’s office or somewhere else we complain. We don’t have enough time to do all our chores and guess what we complain that we should have more than 24 hours to do it. We complain when we are hungry, eaten too much, have a headache or just tired, did not get enough sleep or have other reasons to complain. The main issue is why we complain. As human beings we know that not everything is under our control and that is the main reason. It is our helplessness that things are under our control all the time and in perfect synchronicity with our wishes that we feel like complaining. And complaining is the only mechanism we have without resorting to violence or any other criminal behavior. And that you can say is the biggest asset for us as we keep on complaining but remaining under the decent bonds of civility. I know sometimes we yell or curse so that our complaints can at least be heard (wishful thinking) but sometimes we don’t and we complain to our own sub conscious or within our own confinements of security. We complain to our loved ones and the people who understand what we are going through and they know that we can only complain and not do anything else. And that is the beauty of us human being complainers.

The Complainers

Ok we know that we all complain one time or the other. That is a given, as long as we human beings live, we have been complaining about one thing or the other and will keep on complaining till we die. And you had thought that it is just a few items we are talking about. No, we have a long list of complaints and if one complaint gets resolved, the other one starts. And thus we keep on complaining and complaining. This article was triggered by the fact that lately every week we have been having snow and for the last few days every day and my wife does not like it one bit and have been complaining ever since this brutal and unusual snow weather pattern started and I have been calm since we live in the northeast and hence snow is part of the weather pattern we have chosen to accept as given but as human beings we love to complain. And I started to think that how we human beings complain about everything which does not go our way. Like if there is too much snow and cold, we want no snow and lots of sun and if the days get hotter beyond our likeness we start complaining about how hot it is. And then we long for the winter months when it is not too hot, perfectly in the knowledge that the nature does not work according to our likes or dislikes. Our complaint does not end with Mother Nature but encompasses all types of stuff.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The faces in the public

If you have gone to work every day you may or may not have noticed the faces of the people with whom you share your travel commute whether on a train, walking, taking a bus or just standing waiting for your transportation to come. Do you ever notice the number of people smiling and laughing to work even talking with their friends? I rarely see smile on people when walking/commuting to my workplace, everybody seems so tired and are not in the mood to chit chat or have a conversation since they just want to read their place of work. Just notice for one day and you will see what I am saying. Even if you see yourself going towards work, you will notice that you are not in any way cheerful or look forward to have a "good day" at work as people say to you when you have met someone early in the morning and when departing you say to them or they to you. Although they meant well about having a "good day", but maybe you are already having a miserable day and it sometimes shows on your face when going towards your work. Just the tired faces that you keep on seeing in the morning. People are generally not happy going to work especially if it is a miserable day from the start like it is snowing or raining and you have not only to make your way towards work but also to keep yourself dry. The tired faces I see every day has stories behind it that we will never know but generally very few people go smiling to their jobs as they may have many things on their minds and that keeps may help to explain their disdain for work because they have to earn their living and very few people want to acknowledge it but it is most of the time boring and tiring.

On the lighter side-Movies-The best man holiday (2013)-Terrence Howard

Excellent movie about four friends who meet on Christmas with their families at their friend's place and old animosities and hostilities arise again. Great acting and story line. I loved it, very good movie. Highly Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-The Counselor (2013)-Michael Fassbender, Cameron Diaz

A lawyer in financial trouble gets more than he bargained for when he tries to go into drug business. Too long of a movie with enough star power but below average story line. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Ender’s Game (2013)-Harrison Ford

An unlikely hero is trained to fight the aliens who are destroying the earth in this too much sentimental movie which I was jeering since I found the hero really obnoxious. Not Recommended

Another Birthday party-2

Usually if you have gone on the internet and try to locate these kid friendly places, they charge you anywhere between two to four hundred dollars which may or may not include food and goodies. The upper scale places will charge you more, not because they may provide more stuff but that they may be located in a upscale market or give you better service. All you need to do is to make sure you have insurance since it is regarding the kids and nobody wants to take any risks with that. The other stuff like inflatable animals or slides or games can be rented or outright bought out. The labor costs is not that much of a factor since you will find many locations staffed with younger kids who may looked to be out of school or are juggling college studies and work. Although I am not recommending that everybody rush into this business but it is worth the look. I am saying this because I have see many places around New Jersey and New York and it seems it is such a big business with children's birthdays and parties the number one target of these locations. It is not only convenient since you don’t have to plan that much because all is being done by the management of the places but also you don’t have to spend so much money and time to organize these parties. I would recommend using these kinds of places if your kids have birthday parties or other occasions. The kids use this to play as much as they can, get tired, eat and go home happy and the guests are also happy to attend these events.

Another Birthday party

This last weekend I attended my brother in law's youngest child birthday party. Although I will tell you what happened at the party but this article will be about how small party clubs catering to kids have mushroomed in the United States. First the Birthday party, when we reached there it had already started snowing with flurries coming down slowly and cold. I entered the area and it was just like many of the ones that I have attended before with open space in a warehouse type setting. With play area for the kids, it was a perfect setting but to be fair it was more empty space than in other usual settings. Kids were playing and had a blast of a time and after a while taking pictures, the cake was cut and pizza was served, there were some fruits and sodas too to eat and drink but it was all over as fast as it was organized, I don’t know the exact timing but it must be for two hours. Now I will come to my point, I have attended many birthday parties and when I believe I have seen the entire kids arcade and the parties that can be hosted there, in comes another invite and another new place to see. And I believe that you don’t need that much to operate too. Just rent or lease an empty warehouse, renovate it according to your specifications and kid friendly proof and advertise and there you have it. Although the upfront fees to do the entire above can reach 50k to 75k and more but you can easily recoup that investment in a year or so.

On the lighter side-Movies-Dallas Buyers Club (2013)-Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner

A homophobic, womanizing, drunken person contracts HIV and refuses to believe he can have it. Once the realization sets in, he embarks on clandestine adventure to extend his life and the others like him in his early AIDS drama with excellent performance by Matthew McConaughey. Highly Recommended.

On the lighter side-Movies-Escape Plan (2013)-Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger

A security expert who tests the prison system by putting himself in the prison and escaping from it to showcase their flaws gets framed and ends up in a prison which he has to escape with all the knowledge he has. Aging actors but still exciting tale . Recommended with caution

Suppression of facts

So why I am talking about it and who does it? Everybody does it, some do it on a small scale so as not to be discovered and others do on a massive scale like corporations and still others do on incredibly large scale like the governments who don’t want their citizens and the world know what is happening or have happened in the past or will happen in the future. Why do people do it because they want to hide some embarrassing episode in their lives which they don’t want their family or friends to know about it because it can potentially damaging to them or they think that once the facts are revealed the people hearing the revelation would not understand the circumstances under which the facts were suppressed. The corporations suppress the facts regarding their wrong doings so that they can either earn more money or don’t want their competitors to know their secrets or even want to deceive the government. But the biggest suppressors of facts are the governments. The governments don’t want their citizens to know what they are doing or have been doing and sometimes it is essential (for them at least) to keep the facts hidden in terms of their treatment of minorities and spying on their citizens. And sometimes history is distorted or suppressed widely through educational system so that the next generation does not develop the habit the questioning of facts or the facts are so much buried sometimes that only a curious and adventurous person can gain access to it and then the fact is not accepted by the general public even if it comes out because people refuse to believe that their own governments (with their families employed) can lie to them. And this suppression of facts goes on in every corner of the globe and no government is immune to it as it is in their own interest to keep their citizens and the international public in the dark about their hiding of facts.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

On the Business Path: Internet Business-20

Although you can find many articles on how to start a business, this is my take on it and it is just a brief introduction on what you should do when you have physical products to sell. If you are going to do purely internet based business then you have to have different model. You don’t need a physical location to store your products since your products are essentially on the internet. You do everything on the internet and you can sell it to the people without them getting something physical. You can sell tutorial, Music you made, videos that you have made and teach something on the internet which the people can access it by either streaming or downloading on their computer. And for some people it has become their living. You will still need some space to put your stuff but the need to have a big storage space is not there. Since the beginning of cloud computing you can now put your stuff on the internet without worrying about storage space on your hard drive. You will also see lots of tutorial and consulting work being done on the internet as more and more people are finding work on the internet which is very convenient to even retired people and stay at home moms and also for second income as people don’t have to stop working at the end of Friday. From now on I will give you detailed things about how to run your business like marketing, pricing, contacting customers, ordering supplies etc. As a business person it will be an ongoing learning process for you and it never finishes as you learn every day how to manage and grow your business.

On the Business Path: Internet Business-19

Besides clothing, you can get pretty much get anything but you will have to buy in huge quantities to generate a profit. If don’t want to waste your money, you can also buy it auction sites and garage sales some unique items that can sell very well if you know how to find them and market them to curious buyers. Nowadays with the ecommerce getting bigger and bigger share of the retail pie, now is the right time to start your business. And I don’t have to go any further than my own household. My wife loves to shop online as it is the most convenient way for her to shop. When I object to it, she gives me these reasons which I already know but just to hear her explanation. The first one being it is free shipping (that I have earlier mentioned that it is now expected that ecommerce sites give free shipping). The second being that she got a deal which is true since if you navigate the internet you will come upon some website where your favorite thing that you want to buy will be selling for less than the retail. And the third thing is convenience since it is just easy to shop on the internet and then click and put in your credit card number and then you are done. No need to dress up, drive your car to the store and browse stuff and pay and then come back because in that time you would not only shopped on the internet but also done lots of house work right in the comfort of your own home and in your choice of clothes.

On the Business Path: Internet Business-18

So if you are going to order from one category say for example clothing, how are you going to go about it. You can either contact the distributors or wholesalers but better yet you can take the closeouts and enjoy a healthy profit. These closeouts are brand name items but were surplus or from last season and were not sold by the original department stores so they sell to the closeouts sellers for pennies on a dollar. The more you buy from them the less per product price you will get. They rarely handle the retail side but there may be some from whom you can get sample pack to test your market. These closeouts are a good way to start your business. Sometimes they may ask that you must have a tax identification number to deal with them so that they will not charge your sales tax but even without it you can still buy stuff from most of them. Another way is to talk to distributors or wholesalers who may only give you discount in quantities, the more you buy the more you would get lower price so economies of scale count. I suggest that you get the least minimum quantity to see if it sells and then go for the big one. If you are only dealing with one category which is common, you may find many vendors from whom you can buy but then again you will be in competition with many people who may be selling similar items and it will be hard for you distinguish on only price unless you get it for pennies and that entails buying big volumes which you cannot because you are just a startup.

On the Business Path: Internet Business-17

You will have to pay more for the real stuff but it is worth the effort and it is not that difficult to find it either. But since everybody is looking for the authentic stuff, you will find it difficult to get it at a good price so that you can make a profit. Right now the most popular category on the internet is the electronics. And out of electronics, the most popular are Apple® products but you don’t need to go for the most wanted since the most wanted has tight grip on supplies. Any kind of electronics would do but you will need to spend a lot of money in order to get less number of products. I would not suggest going with the electronics section initially but go with something which your small budget (if you have one) can bring in a fairly large number of products. I will not suggest any particular category lest you think that I am favoring one product over another. But for starters you can start with clothing, fashion, toys, household goods, but anything that will not cause you to spend more money that is necessary in your budget. Even if you have the money, always start small to test the waters and if you are comfortable with it then go for the bigger order. And besides my blog, there is so much advice out there for startups that you can get help easily and instantly. Once you done with what kind of products you want to buy then you can contact various vendors to get a feel of how to order and their requirements.

On the Business Path: Internet Business-16

If you have already decided what you are going to be specializing in then you can start working on finding suppliers for it. As I said before you can find it through wholesalers, distributors, closeouts, through auction sites, visiting garage sales or flea markets and even if you have money contact the manufacturer directly. If you want new products the best way to approach is to go directly to the manufacturer of that product and ask for their terms and conditions. You must be a state or federal corporate company in order to do business with them, but if you are new to the market, they may not even listen to you. In this case, the second best thing is to contact closeouts, wholesalers and distributors and find out their minimum in order to avail the best price for the product. Just be careful that you are not caught with counterfeit goods otherwise your business will come crumbling down faster than you think. You see counterfeit goods are flooding the market in the United States and other countries and it is not just the any country but some countries do copy brand name goods and sell it as the genuine products and cause billions of dollars of losses to the actual manufacturers. If you want your goods to be perceived as real and not fake and you want to build a reputation for your business, it is better to get the real stuff. I know that the real stuff is sometimes more expensive then the fake ones but reputation is more important in running a business.

On the Business Path: Internet Business-15

For a product to be sold, you will need a camera to take pictures of your products. Although it is said that an 8 MP (mega pixel) is fine enough to take quality products, nowadays cameras are so cheap that 16MP camera you can get for under 200 dollars (in other countries it may be expensive but you don’t need to spend too much money on a quality camera). To take pictures you will need a space to put your camera and have ample lights to focus on the product. There are several products taking photo equipment available in the market and they are not that expensive either. As you may have heard, a picture is worth a thousand words, so this logic applies to taking pictures of your products and take it as clear as possible and if you do it further from every angle so that the customers can see what they are buying. I am emphasizing taking pictures because the people are unable to touch and feel the products in person like they do in a retail store, so you have to show the full view of the product in order to motivate the customers to buy it. Although you will have to take pictures yourself but there are many websites out there that can handle your products automatically. You may have to describe the specifications of your products to the fullest so that it can fall into a category like color, size, pattern, price, make etc.

On the Business Path: Internet Business-14

You can find many manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, closeouts and dealers on the internet of every product available, the trick is the buy at the lowest price And at this juncture the economic rules comes into play which is economies of scale. The more you buy the more your price per unit of a product goes down and sometimes you get free stuff in addition it but it will never be free so you want to get to the lowest minimum price per unit. But being a startup you may not have funds to go the minimum lowest price or buy in extremely huge quantities like truck loads or container loads of goods. You will have to buy small quantities at slightly higher prices and then justify it by providing additional service so that your customers can see value in what you are offering. So still you have a chance to buy low and sell high but initially it would not be possible to buy at the lowest price. I will come back to the point of economies of scale since this does not matter to a startup but a unique idea surrounding the common products can certainly gain you many customers. Nowadays free shipping on big ecommerce is a given but there are certain variations to it like a limit dollar amount that you can spend that you can achieve free shipping but in the future small ecommerce sites will have to provide this service and makeup for the expense in some other way because the customers expect it so.

On the Business Path: Internet Business-13

So what kind of products you can sell and how can you sell it. If you have been on e-commerce sites and have navigated the internet, you would know that you can sell about anything on the internet. But anything does not mean that you can sell junk and expect people to remember you as the expert on junk. You want to create a name for yourself but if you want to go through that path then you better be a really good junk business person. But aside from that you want to sell something that people will actually want. And if you have shopped on the internet, it will seem like you don’t have much to offer since all the products seems to be similar. But if you are unable to find something unique, you can always distinguish yourself by providing exceptional service or other things that will make your business stand out from the rest of the bunch. The most common thing sold on the internet are the electronics but you can sell clothes, watches, shoes or anything which can come to your mind, the trick is to buy low and sell high, this is the basic rule of Finance. And it becomes harder sometimes to do it since there is so much competition that you are have very little or no margin left to make a profit and reinvestment in your business or pay yourself and the employees that you have hired. But that is the name of the game and you have to be creative in order to make generate revenues and make profit.

On the Business Path: Internet Business-12

And the time limit that you have set for yourself to run the business, it is imperative that you organize it into parts doing different tasks which should all lead to growing your business. You will have to start with whatever you want to do during the day but the majority of the work will be to contact and have more business meaning you need to market yourself and make others known that you exist. Without marketing, you are just a website out there. I will talk about marketing later on, but for now it is the part about establishing your presence on the website that takes precedence. Establishing a business is a complicated process and every business has its own set of problems since you cannot make a generalized assumption of what works for one business can work for all businesses. And you will encounter problems that other businesses even similar to yours may or may not encounter. Since you are starting fresh, you will definitely make mistakes, even if you have read tons of books on how to start a business they will not necessarily be of help if you encounter some problem that will be unique to you or your business. Although books can help you somewhat but entrepreneurship is an on hands job experience and you need to be more of a street smart than a book smart. It is all about how people friendly you are since even if you using your email, you will need to contact your customers by phone and also to answer to any queries by it too.

On the Business Path: Internet Business-11

Although you can put your products in your office but it is better to have a separate place for it. Besides keeping a lot of stationery items on hand so that you don’t run out of it when you need it, you need to keep your software updates too. A few years ago buying the whole software package from Microsoft ® and other companies was prohibitively expensive, but now due to competition and the cloud model, you can just pay a monthly subscription to one of the many software companies so that you can run your business without ever buying a physical CD. It has really made things very easy with regards to running a business. The key to running a business is organization and if you don’t have that then you would not be able to run a business effectively. Time element is crucial so organization helps in this matter. Although as it is popularly known that entrepreneurship does not have a set time and you live and breathe it twenty four hours a day. I encourage you to set up a time limit on how much you will want to work each day. This is although contrary to conventional thought but you need to take a rest otherwise your thoughts will be blurred and you would not be able to work properly. A good night sleep is what you really need so that you can start afresh and this I am saying from the inception of your startup and if your business grows then you hire more people and have more time to yourself.

On the Business Path: Internet Business-10

So if you are willing to start with other manufacturers’ products you need to set up the internet business in some part of your house. You must dedicate a certain part so that it is exclusively for a business purpose and nothing else get done there. It is because in the U.S. you can claim tax deduction for the portion of the house you have dedicated for a business (other countries and jurisdictions may or may not have similar laws and you should check it with them to avail maximum benefit for a tax deduction). Needless to say, but you will need a computer, printer and software with a desk to manage your business. There are many computers out there that can easily handle daily business task and you don’t have to go overboard with getting the most expensive one. The printer should be all in one with scanning, printing, copying and faxing capabilities and you can find it in any office or electronic store or online. If your office is small, you can only put so much stuff but if you have a regular bedroom size office then you can put your products right in there, otherwise you will either have to use your garage or your basement as a storage space. And I would suggest that you should keep your ready to ship products and other surplus items of your office in the basement so as not to clutter your office and have a hindrance free environment there. Another thing is that your office should not a drive thru and you should keep your kids and other household distractions away from it as it can take away precious time from your business.

On the Business Path: Internet Business-9

What can you put in your business plan, anything which is tangible and reflect the true nature of your business. Don’t put any lofty goals or goals that are very general like the business will make big revenues or anything which is not specific. Business plan should always present a look for a future and if the goals listed initially are not attainable then you should change the goals immediately. So if you want to start a business where you will sell products, you will need to state that you will need space and other requirements and if it is a purely internet based business then the plan should reflect that. For the outside investors, business plans are closely watched to make sure they are making the right investments. Although nobody knows what the future holds for any company, but these business plans reflect a rough idea of what the owner envisages his business should be going forward. Your business plan will depend upon what you want to do with your business, it will be different for different kinds of Businesses and you cannot make a general business plan for all the businesses. If you want to sell products through your website, it will be different than if you want to be purely internet based business without any need for physical space. So let's start with if you want to have a business where you would be able to sell products made by different manufacturers as I believe this is one of the easiest (selling wise) to start with.

On the Business Path: Internet Business-8

It is better to go with an established company because you never know when the free company goes out of business and as I said before it does not look professional. As somebody said in order to make money you have to spend some. Once you have established a domain name and selected a hosting company then you have to find out what you are going to do with that. It is easy to select a name and a host then to figure out how to actually go about executing your plan. Do you really need a business plan? There are two different views about it, one side says that you need it and the other one says you don’t need it. If you are going to apply for funds from outside sources, you had better have a business plan so that you can actually show to your investors/creditors that you can pay them back but even if you don’t have outside investors/creditors, it is better to have a business plan. Why do you need to have one even when you self financing, it is because you need to know what path you are taking. A business plan need not and should not be static but should be dynamic and should constantly change as your business progresses. Nowadays it is easy to create a business plan as there are several software available online and on the market where you just have to plug in numbers and other stuff and you are good to go. But in order to plug in those data, you need to know what your business model should be.

On the Business Path: Internet Business-7

But for now let’s stick to the rent option on the servers of the hosting companies which are numerous and have very low rental fees. Other countries may have their own hosting companies and they can charge in their own currencies or you can live in another country and still utilize U.S. based or other foreign hosting companies. Whatever you do, you have to choose carefully your requirements, although most of the companies do list almost everything that is needed to run a website completely and with minimal intervention but you still have to do cost and benefit analysis to come out with your best hosting companies. There is another option of going with free hosting companies. And as with almost everything free, they have their disadvantages. There is no such thing as completely free as these companies may be hosting your website on their own leased sites and they have to pay their own hosting companies fees. Free hosting companies generate their fees by advertisements and if they are hosting your company for free on their servers they will insert ads into your website which may have nothing to do with your website and if you want the ads to be removed then you will have to pay for it. Another drawback is that you may not even have your own domain name as it may be an extension of the host company website. And again you can have it removed by buying your own domain name. But as they say you get what you pay for and if it is free then there must be some catch and these are some of the catches that you get and professionally if you are starting a business, you don’t want it to be hosted on a free web hosting company.

On the Business Path: Internet Business-6

Once the business grows and you have the money then you can host your own website business but for now, just rent the space out as it is much cheaper and costs less than a dollar a day. Although there is another solution which is gaining momentum and it is called cloud computing. It is that the servers are owned by other big companies and you just upload your website to it. You only pay what you can utilize in that space and as your needs grows so you pay more for that space, although I should caution that since the renting and cloud computing options has the downside that if something goes wrong with their servers, your website can go down too and it can anywhere from a few minutes to hours on end. And sometimes these crucial down times or outages can mean a loss of revenue for a startup. Other thing is that in case of renting a space with a company without cloud computing, you can have at least some sort of web creating site where you can initially create a rudimentary website for your business plus you can have other applications free of charge, but in case of cloud you are on your own as you have to built everything from scratch and there is no help to create a website (although it can in the future but for now you have to maintain your website on the cloud, since they are just hosting it). But cloud can be an effective way to manage your site with minimal investment.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

On the Business Path: Internet Business-5

So even if your name is taken, don’t despair since it may have been taken for top dot com name but not the other extension like dot net or dot org. But be careful as somebody can sue you for using the same name with different dot extensions (you need to consult your accountant or lawyer about this). Even if you want the name which is taken by a different extension, you should avoid this route as your potential customers would get confused and take your business as the extension of the more established brand. On the other hand, most of the brands operating on the internet have already taken up the names with all the possible extensions so it is no use to use common name. You will have be a little creative in order to name your business. Once you have chosen your business name and obtain its domain on the internet, you will have to find some hosting company. Hosting company is like a real estate company except that it is on the internet and in order for your company to have a space to operate these are the companies who have to space to rent you out. As with the physical real estate where you can either own or rent, you can do the same thing. You can either rent the space of some company's server or you can outright buy your own servers and host your own business. Cost and benefit analysis should be done before you decide either of them but if you are a new company, you should go for the rent option because it is cheaper and you can work on growing your business instead of worrying about technical aspects of your website business.

On the Business Path: Internet Business-4

If you are trying to create a business which is a niche or sub niche of a niche and it just caters to one category then you can carefully name your business with that name and acquire the domain name related to your business. But if you are going to have multiple and different categories of products, it is not feasible to create a single business name. And still I would not suggest that you name a business where you are restricted to only one category as you never know that once your business starts growing, you may want to branch out to other categories and then it becomes a problem how to let your present and future customers know what your business is all about. It creates confusion in the minds of the customers and you don’t need that if you are initially starting or growing your business. And for this naming your business should be one of the top priorities that you should your most effort in. Researching a name suitable for your business takes time and effort and much brainstorming. You may have a eureka moment and have your favorite name right away or it may takes a few days before you find your ideal name. But even if you do you will still have to search the domain name registry to find out if you name has not been taken yet. You can do this by researching your name in one of the many domain name registrars on the internet.

On the business path: Internet Business-3

Okay let’s start with a business where you have to a physical location to store your goods but before we go there we need to know what you have to do to set an internet business online. Whether you want an internet business with physical goods or an extension of your physical business onto cyberspace, you need to know what to do. I believe that selling other manufacturer’s goods is the most convenient way to start a business but here is the catch that you would need funds for that although you don’t have to go overboard initially with huge sums since you may have only limited amounts to spare. So before you even go there you will need to first find out what your market is all about and in this case you will have to do some research. You don’t want to buy some stuff and then find out that you already have tons of competition and you sell at a loss. So how much you do have to have in funds in order to start your internet business? It again depends upon what you want to start with. But before we go there if you really know what is you want to start then you have to find a domain name like a name that you have to have in the physical world in order for people to know that it belongs to your store or company. The name should be distinct enough that your business not gets lost in the millions of business operating on the internet.

On the business path: Internet Business-2

So what makes the internet business so special that everybody wants to be onboard and the people who are still resisting are trying to be realistic about it? It is the reach of the internet that is the biggest reality of all for all business. You are not confined to a local physical location but can reach beyond that. And because of this big advantage, internet business is on a roll, although a small one still but it will be big in the coming years. So in order to avail this opportunity and get a little piece of this action, people should think about starting a side internet business in their spare time. And if you think that it will cost you a whole lot of money, I believe that my blog will help you change that a little bit. A whole world is waiting for you to explore and it is where attention should be. The first thing you want to do before you start an internet business is what you want to do. I mean what you really think you have the passion and stomach for since it is these things that will decide what you will achieve. I mean if you want simply a combination of internet and physical goods then I can start from there or your may want to have a pure internet business in which case the logistics become different. The former will cause you to spend more money while the later will cost you less but nonetheless the challenges that both business will face remains the same.

On the business path: Internet Business

So last time as I detailed extensively about the Physical side of the business as you establish your business in brick and mortar, here is another take on if you want to do a business either exclusively on the internet or just have an extension of your physical business. But although internet entails some of the same things that you do in a physical place there are some fundamental differences that you need to know and it is constantly changing since although internet seems to only in its infancy regarding e-commerce but it is growing the fastest of any model out there. And for people with not enough money to start their own physical business, it has been a God send as many people have started to earn their living exclusively through the internet when it was not possible before. Now people cannot imagine working without the internet. Internet has become a game changer and has created an equal opportunity for the little guy to compete against the big box retailers and manufacturers and if they can’t they have created a niche market for themselves. And you don’t have to be a millionaire to start on your own or sometimes even be creative to make some money on the internet. And the thing is that there are so many companies out there that are helping people with limited budget and money to make that dream of owning a business happen. It all depends upon how dedicated and hard work you want to put in order to make that happen.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

House ownership

I have a big issue with this term as it does not fully say who you are. You see according to me, an owner owns hundred percent of something and in the case of real estate or house ownership that is not what it should not mean. The way I see that (at least in the United States) is that unless you have paid the full price of the house, you have borrow money somehow to finance this purchase. And the best way to finance is to through a mortgage from a financial institution. And for that they either ask you to put some percentage of the down payment of the total amount of the house purchase price. The more you put the less there will be risk for the bank financing it since they will lose less money if you are unable to pay back that loan. And how do you get that down payment is through your own savings, your parents, friends or relatives. So I get to my point that unless you have paid a full price for the house, you should not be called a home owner. I know it is none of anybody's business whether you paid full price for the house or got a mortgage (unless you choose to tell them), the house can never be yours unless you have paid the mortgage and so every time somebody ask me if I am the owner of the house, I say this I am the owner but only 10 or 20 percent (whatever is my case) and the rest is owed by the bank, so I don’t pay them the 80 percent, I lose the whole 100 percent. So the house you think you own is not your unless you have either completely paid down the mortgage and there are no more loans against it or have brought it outright with your own money.

Maintenance expenses of the house-3

No snow removal for you either if snow falls because you are sharing the building area with other owners. In fact in order to invest in a real estate and earn income on it and especially if it is far away, I would suggest that you invest in an apartment. It is easier and most convenient and less hassle to handle than a whole house since you have to take care of the snow removal and other things that come with owning one where you are not the resident of the house. After being a landlord of a house for almost 12 years, I have come to realize that in order to invest in a property with the minimal amount of work being done, it is feasible to own an apartment which you can rent it out and pay like a fees to building for maintaining for you like snow and garbage removal and sometimes even utilities. So as with the first thing about the real estate is location, location and location so if you have the stomach to be a landlord, try to buy an apartment in a building with all the above amenities so that you have less maintenance to take care of and more to earn your investment. Although you might be tempted to buy a house as the house and all the things above and below is yours (at least in the U.S), but the maintenance will get to you sooner or later if you happen to make it a rental property which have its share of laws to maintain it. Save all the grief and go with the apartment as the advantages is more than the stand alone house.

Maintenance expenses of the house-2

And in order to maintain your rental property you need to have funds set aside. The rent coming from the property is not enough since most of the time it goes towards paying off the mortgage. And although it is an investment property and you can deduct it on your taxes (in the U.S. at least, all other countries should check their own local tax code) you still have to pay upfront for the upkeep and pay all the expenses necessary to keep it in shape. And this the people sometimes forget when buying a rental property, with my experience I know that if you rental property is near your place of residence (like 10 to 15 miles) and you happen to go through them every day then you can manage your property but if it is in another state where you go very infrequently or just when you have to collect rent or check on them, then it becomes a problem to maintain it unless you have somebody nearby to check on it once in a while and take care of the necessary repairs if need be in an emergency. And after being a landlord for more than a decade, I have come to the conclusion that if you want to have a rental property, you should opt for either a condominium or an apartment. I will give you the reasons for that. Condominiums are easier to handle than stand alone property because most of the time (again I am talking about the U.S.) the building has a full time handyman who can take care of minor repairs in your apartment. You don’t have to worry about the security as you have to close only one door and the garbage is collected by the building so need to go out and through it on the curbside in the cold sometimes.

Maintenance expenses of the house

This last weekend I had a leak in my other house and I had to rush to check it out myself. Thankfully I was able to find my handyman in time and he told me that it was not that of a big deal after checking where the leak was coming from and I was relieved that it was not a major expense; otherwise it would have been bad. You know that my house is almost 100 years or so old and constant maintenance is the key to keep it up to shape. And that is what I want to state in this article. Maintaining a house where you live is equally hard but at least you are living in it and you can delay it as much as possible because the only people complaining about the problem is you and your family. If you can do without it for a while, you try to do it until it becomes an emergency and you don’t have any choice. But if you have a rental property, then you are unable to ignore even minor inconveniences since you are getting paid by your tenants to live there and they have every right to demand that things should be fixed on time. If you are lucky enough, they would not bother you too much and only major events will trigger some urgent phone call to you but there may be some tenants who might call you often. Finding a good and what I call non bother able tenant is the key to having a rental property. Your tenant can be a key to whether you make some money on your property or just bleed cash till you sell the house in disgust.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The crazy drought in the Western United States-2

The states where people settled were built for a lot fewer population then they have now. Sun is nice to have but if there is no rain for a long period of time, where is the water they are going to bring from. The more people move there for the sun and low taxes, the more pressure will be on the water supply and all the lush lawns and swimming pools that they enjoy will have to be packed in. People have to cut back on gardening and washing cars and taking long showers because that is the new reality in the Western States. You know without water, life does not exist and there needs to be a serious discussion about how to utilize this finite source not only in the U.S. but all around the world. But since I am talking about the U.S., I will stick to what I am talking about here. Water has been taken for granted in the Western U.S. for a long time now but since the frequency of droughts are occurring increasingly, the whole agricultural industry in California and the relentless increase in population and housing industry is either have be checked or strict conservation measures with heavy penalties should be in place so that everybody has a fighting chance for getting their water. You can see the long term solutions elsewhere on my blog but the way of the west have to be changed drastically if they want to enjoy their lifestyle and this will involve how much water they will and can use.

The crazy drought in the Western United States

I have written about the droughts that have been happening in the U.S. for a long time and this time the drought that is happening in the Western United States have been particularly scary. And this is the third year they are enduring it and not only in California but also Nevada and New Mexico have not gotten enough rain. In California, the snow that they so much rely upon in the northern parts of the country have been 12 percent (according to some estimates) of the normal snow that they are getting and in some places they have not even gotten any rain for more than a month. Although they are used to this drought conditions which happens once in a while but now it is becoming more frequent and they are not sure how they can handle this drought which is now affecting millions of people in several states. I have been to California, specifically Los Angeles, San Diego, Anaheim, Santa Monica and San Francisco and it is indeed a beautiful state with beaches and good weather, but to move there permanently is not in my any agenda. The main problem is the drought. I know people will say that it can happen at any time and at any place and I have endured it on the East Coast too but we eventually get the rain or snow somehow and people are leaving the northeast to go to southern states where the sun is plenty and land is plenty and taxes are low but the strain on water supply is no one talking about.