5 Mistakes Every New Business Owner Should Avoid

A Proud New Business Owner

A Proud New Business Owner

Joining the ranks of millions of other small business owners can feel great: you have an establishment you’ve built from the ground up ready to get running, you have a potentially long business career ahead of you, and everyone is supportive of your venture. Wouldn’t it be an awful shame to screw all that up by making a rookie mistake that dooms your company? Starting your own business can be full of risks, and you should make sure that you’ve taken care of the biggest risk to your business before you begin: your own ignorance. Making sure you understand what not to do is just as important as knowing how to hire the right people or where a good location in town is.

Don’t Get Started Without a Business Plan

Your idea and your passion for your business should be more than enough to carry you through to success, right? Unfortunately, this is not correct at all. If you don’t have a plan for your business before you start out, you can probably plan on failing within your first year. A business plan will cover everything from where your start up capital is coming from, to how you’ll meet your monthly expenses, to the most important part of all: how you plan to make money with your company. If you’re thinking about getting started without actually having your business plan spelled out, you should think again. A plan will allow you to always know what your next step is going to be, and it should be the foundation from which you build up your business. Don’t let it become an afterthought simply because you think you have the experience or fortitude to power through the first year on your own.

Huge Start-up Loans Can Kill Your Company

Do Not Take On A Huge Start-up Loan

Do Not Take On A Huge Start-up Loan

Getting a business off the ground is both difficult and expensive, and most small business owners will find themselves speaking to a loan officer at their local bank at one point or another. While it’s not a bad idea to give yourself some financial wiggle room when you get started, and it could even be advisable, taking out huge loans right away is a quick way to kill your business. Do you really want to start your company under the dark cloud of debt? You’ll be rushing to pay those loans off as quickly as possible, and you might end up neglecting the legitimate needs of your business in the process. Look around at various options for securing start up capital besides loans straight from the bank, and focus on making your business profitable.

Early Success Doesn’t Always Mean Longevity

If you open your doors and immediately find success, congratulations! Your concept has got legs and you’ll be able to go places with it. However, don’t let this make you complacent. Owners who find early success often think that they figured out the formula on the first try, and that they won’t need to invest as much time, energy, or money in keeping their business successful. Then, six months later, their business drops off and suddenly their books are in the red. Don’t let this happen to you. Just because you’ve started strong doesn’t mean you’ll continue on that way, and you should vigilantly be working to keep your business afloat.

Don’t Hire Too Much

Don't Go And Hire More Employees Than Those You Can Affor

Don’t Go And Hire More Employees Than Those You Can Afford

Having the power to hire your own employees is great, and you might even be able to give some friends of yours jobs in your new establishment. However, you should carefully evaluate the staffing needs of your company. You could end up hiring too many people, which would quickly become a drain on your finances. Bring people on slowly, and figure out how much work each employee, and you, can handle. If it’s too much, bring on someone else until you’ve found just the right level of personnel without wasting money on people you don’t need.

Understand What Your Market Can Sustain

Start Small

Start Small And Grow From The Bottom

A rookie mistake a lot of owners make is not understanding how much volume they can reasonably expect from their patrons. If you run a restaurant, sure, you can count on a crowd every weekend. If it’s a retail store, though, you may have weeks that are absolutely dead. Too many dead weeks equals a dead business. If you’ve staked your success on doing high volume consistently, you may have your expectations set too high. Don’t open a business in a neighborhood full of people who won’t be able to afford to patronize you. Not only is it bad business sense, but it will tarnish your reputation in the community, too.

Five Fitness Products That Are Great Buys

Go For A Ride... For Fitness And Health

Go For A Ride… For Fitness And Health

For the most part, it’s hard to decide what sorts of products you should buy when you’re trying to lose weight. There are so many bad products out there, and ones that are a waste of money. In fact, some are just blatant scams that never work at all. On top of all that, though, there are some truly great products that will do wonders for your workout routine. They might not be the cheapest on the spectrum, but they’ll get the job done without you having to worry about whether or not you wasted your money.

Bicycle

Okay, this one sounds a little old-fashioned, but a bike can help you out more than you could ever imagine. It’s a good way to transport yourself and save gas, but it’s also a perfect way to fit some cardio into every day. Sometimes walking can seem like too much effort because it goes slowly, but a bike will take you wherever you want to go and get you the workout you want without it taking forever. You also get to sit while you exercise, too, which is pretty great.

Fitbit Flex

The Fitbit Flex Syncs With Your Fitbit Account

The Fitbit Flex Syncs With Your Fitbit Account

This tool isn’t something to work out with, but it is something that’ll help you work out. The Fitbit Flex is a watch that syncs with your Fitbit account, meaning that it helps tally up your intake for the day, as well as any exercise you’ve done. Think “pedometer on steroids” and you have the Fitbit. You can put in what you ate that day, what exercises you’ve done, and everything in between, and the Fitbit will tell you how you were doing on reaching your weight loss goals today, as well as how many calories you have left.

Exercise Ball

Buy An Exercise Ball And Get Fit

Buy An Exercise Ball And Get Fit

Whether you do yoga or some other kind of exercise, an exercise ball is invaluable. Everyone should have one. Not only does it mean you can bounce on a ball in front of the TV to lose weight, but it also means that there are a huge variety of exercises you can do with the ball. Check out yoga tutorial videos to see different techniques you can use with these things – some of them are pretty amazing. They also help with balance, which improves the strength of your core. It might not seem like this big ball can help you lose weight, but you’ll find yourself playing with it nonstop for sure.

Punching Bag

Getting a freestanding punching bag is a great way to let out the stress of the day without hurting anyone. It’s also a great way to get some amazing arm muscles. When you get home from work, just head in your room and start punching away. It’ll let out that pent-up aggression without anyone falling victim to it, and your body will thank you for taking it out in such a beneficial way. You can get these in all sorts of different weights, and while they’re not cheap they’re always worth it.

Rogue Fitness Bands

This Bands Provide You With Different Levels Of Resistance

Bands Provide You With Different Levels Of Resistance

These nifty bands are easily stored, easily removed, and easy to use all around. The bands provide different levels of resistance, meaning that you can essentially lift weights all day without buying a single set of metal weights. This easy to keep way of working out is really beneficial for those who don’t have a lot of free space, because you’ll get the exact same workout without taking up your entire living space. Just be sure not to let them go, though. Keep a firm hold on them, or else they might end up flinging out of your hands and smacking you. That wouldn’t be fun for you at all.

How to Get Debt Collectors to Stop Contacting You

Get Debt Collectors To Stop Calling You

Get Debt Collectors To Stop Calling You

You may have excessive debt and what you owe might even be in collections. However, that doesn’t mean you deserve to be harassed. It’s also illegal if debt collection agencies call you early in the morning or late at night. They’re also not allowed to use threatening language, tell you owe more than you do, or make other untrue claims. You should know your rights and don’t listen to anything a debt collector tells you. In fact, you’re usually better off dealing with the original biller, if possible. Here are four tips to get debt collectors to stop contacting you.

Finding out What Debt Collection Agency Is Contacting You

Sometimes, debt collectors will call your phone and then hang up without leaving a voicemail. This can be to see if it’s actually the correct number, or they just don’t get an answer fast enough. The best way to figure out which debt collection agency is trying to reach you is to look at the missed phone call, and then google the number. Chances are enough other people have searched for the same phone number online that the collection agency’s name and address should come up. Once you find the name of the agency, track down their address and direct contact number. This is how you can begin the process of requesting that they cease communication with you.

Requests to Cease Communication

Send The Agency A Letter Formally Requesting Them To Cease Communication

Send The Agency A Letter Formally Requesting Them To Cease Communication

Once you locate the address and contact information of the collection agency, send a letter formally requesting that they cease communication with you. Name the time and date of their last phone call, and state that you do not want any further contact with the agency. Keep a copy of the letter for your records, and if possible, send it certified mail. They have one more legal opportunity to contact you to say they received the correspondence, but that’s all they’re allowed to do. After that, they’re in breach of the law. Try not to pick up when they call, and attempt to contact the original biller to pay if you can.

Reporting Harassment to the Federal Government

If a debt collector is harassing you, you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Contact information can be found on their website for complaints which can be filed with the Consumer Response Center in Washington, D.C. If enough complaints are filed, chances are they’ll pay more attention to the debt collection agency at fault. Make sure you follow all possible avenues to report the collection agency to as many consumer agencies as possible. There are also undoubtedly other people in your same position, being harassed illegally about debt they owe.

Using Mobile Apps to Stop Phone Calls

Exhausted Of Debt Collectors Calling Your Home

Exhausted From Debt Collectors Calling Your Home

If you can’t get a debt collector to stop calling you, take matters into your own hands. There are lots of mobile apps that will block certain numbers, and even label the number as spam based on other users’ flags. Such apps as Mr. Number specifically prevent certain phone numbers from contacting you, and you can choose what you want the response to be when the number calls. The best option in the case of a harassing debt collector is to simply have your phone hang up on the number using the app. Set it up so the collector can’t leave a voicemail. If they even bother, it’s probably going to be a series of threats that are just going to stress you out. Don’t listen to any threats debt collectors make, whether on the phone or in a letter. You have rights as granted to you under federal law, and you’re entitled to a harassment-free collections process. If things keep getting worse, you may want to contact an attorney.

Is Call of Duty The Next Madden?

Call Of Duty

Call Of Duty Is An Awesome Game

You may be asking yourself, “How are you going to compare a first person shooter, to a football franchise?” There is no denying the fact that these two game franchises are on completely opposite side of the spectrum, but what we’re going to convey is how the franchises became similar in this generation of video games.

Call of Duty

Based Off Of War Events

The Game Is Based Off Of War Events

Call of Duty is a franchise that was originally based off of the events of World War II. It has expanded into other wars (such as the Vietnam War), and has created fake wars to fit into the universe. The first three games were based off of World War II, and were mainly single-player games with online multiplayer. When Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare came out, it changed the landscape of how multiplayer first-person shooters work by adding a leveling system. Ever since then, many other games in the series have come out with different plot lines, but essentially keeping the same multiplayer aspects, with added gameplay modes for variety.

Madden NFL Franchise

The Madden NFL franchise is a sports simulator of American football. Featuring all the franchises of the National Football League (NFL), such as the Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, and New England Patriots, just to name a few. Allowing you to play your favorite teams, as well as your favorite players, this game is wildly popular among sports enthusiasts, and has garnered over 4 billion dollars and has sold over 100 million units since its inception.

How Are These Games Similar?

The War Between Two Companies Making Video Games

The Fight Between Madden And Call Of Duty Is Heating Up

At a glance, these two games couldn’t be further apart. Throwing a football in a stadium doesn’t compare to a game where you are killing other players. The way that these two franchises do compare is in their business strategy. That business strategy is to come out with a new game annually. Essentially, both companies put out the same game every year, plus or minus a couple of new features.

In the Madden series, the main thing that they do every year is update the roster. Once the offseason is over in the NFL, teams always let go and take in new athletes, as well as let new players enter through the draft. However, the game of football never changes, so the gameplay stays relatively untouched. In the Call of Duty franchise, the modes of gameplay are essentially the same: free-for-all, capture the flag, and team deathmatch, just to name a few. Instead of changing up rosters, Call of Duty keeps the gameplay the same, but resets everyone’s stats and makes them start over from scratch. Additionally, new maps are released with each of these yearly updates.

Enjoy The Video Games Without Worrying About The Companies Going to War

Enjoy The Video Games Without Worrying About The Companies Going To War

Now, if you are making as much money as these two companies are – billions of dollars for each franchise individually – you would be doing the same thing as well. However, in the end, it’s the consumers that suffer. Even though we aren’t forced to purchase these games annually, millions always come out in droves to pick these games up. And if you can’t beat them, you might as well join them. As each year passes, another game comes out, and the yearly cycle won’t break until we, the consumer, step up.

Survivor’s Guide to Splitting up Your Stuff

Break Up Using Style And Sensitivity

Break Up Using Style And Sensitivity

A breakup is never an easy thing to deal with. If you live together then a breakup can really be like a divorce; you have a lot of things that you got together, bought with joint money, or both want to keep. When you’re trying to sort out who gets what the important thing to remember is that you don’t want to do any more damage. Just get what you need to have, split the difference, and get out of this in one piece.

Start with the Obvious Things

Before you two try to tackle who gets the pricey set of knives that you bought together or how you’re going to figure out whose was what in the media cabinet, start with the easy things and have them boxed up. You can take the gaming console and she can take the romance novels. Almost all of your clothes should be separated and boxed, and furniture that you both agree on can be moved to opposite sides of the couch.

Put Things You Bought Together in a Pile

While you’re rounding up the things that are clearly owned by one or the other of you don’t just leave the rest scattered through the house. Go through room by room and place all the small mutual items in a pile and tag all the furniture that you’re undecided on. When you’re done you’re going to have a lot of tags and even more signs on furniture. That’s alright. That’s the important thing, even. When you have everything that’s up for dispute put together it’s going to be much easier to go through it all.

Split the Household Essentials Evenly According to Value

Getting Everything Split In Half After A Break Up

Getting Everything Split In Half After A Break Up

You might specifically remember paying for that lamp or this cutting board, but unless you have the receipt to prove it it’s simply not worth fighting for. Get your ex to agree to split the household essentials according to their value. You can let her have the high end lamp that you know that you bought if she’ll part with the rug and a half dozen DVDs that were gifts to one of you and you don’t remember who. This way it doesn’t matter who paid for what, it only matters that everyone is getting the same value of the shared possessions.

Split the Personal Affects According to Who Likes It More

When you get into the personal items things can get a lot more tricky. If you’re not sure who it belongs to, first set it aside to think about it. Then you have some time to decide if you really want that thing or if you’d be alright parting with it. So can she. When you come back around to it you can both honestly say whether or not having it is important to her. If it is you’re going to have to try to determine who likes it more. If it’s a mug that you both favored but you clearly like more than she does, you should have it. If you’re probably only going to watch that movie a few more times and she watches it once a month or more, she should have it. Be sensible and sensitive.

Don’t Take Things Because You Can

Don't Make Things More Painful Than They Already Are

Don’t Make Things More Painful Than They Already Are

One of the worst things that you can do in this situation is take on extra clutter just because she’d be willing to let you have it. When you get to your new place you’re probably going to give away or otherwise get rid of a lot of the things that reminded you of her anyway. You’re not going to miss an extra bit of junk to give away. If you don’t want it and she doesn’t want it, donate it, give it away, or toss it out. Don’t snag it just because it’s there.

Don’t Take Things to Punish Her

A big thing is don’t take things vindictively. There’s a lot of temptation to hold on to things that you know she wants because you don’t want her to be happy. Right now it’s totally normal to feel this way, but you’ll regret it if you hold on to these things just to stop her from being able to have them.