Salespeople selling advertising will tell you that you need to allocate a certain amount of your budget to advertising. While that is true, you should always have ways to track the results of your advertising (like a mention this ad to get 10% off statement) to help you find the best mix of advertising for your business.
Get a lawyer to review all contracts before you sign them. If they tell you "that is just boilerplate" and don't expain what it means, fire them! You should push back on at least some aspects of any contract drafted by the other party.
Partnerships bring diverse resources to a business but if all partners are not on the same page with regards to value of time and money invested, the partnership will fail.
When developing a business plan, make sure to always consider the worst case scenario. You will also be overly optimistic in your projections so you should get several non-interested parties to review and comment on your plan and incorporate their suggestions. Finally, based on your worst case analysis, determine some trip wire results and actions when you hit them.
The 4th quarter 2012 Gross Domestic Product came in at -0.1 when normally the Christmas season helps make the fourth quarter the best of the year. I have only watched the first half of the Superbowl, but it looks like a lot of the ad spots did not sell and not too many companies were willing to spend the big bucks for memorable ads. This makes me have to call it now-WE ARE IN A RECESSION! Thanks to Congress and the President for not coming to some sort of agreement on the budget and ensuring that the first quarter of 2013 will also be mired by sequestion concerns.
CL&P's Tropical Storm Irene response was crafted to get the most free work from the Federal Government and the least out of pocket expenses for CL&P; all at the expense of their customers. Although unsubstantiated, CL&P apparently did not authorize overtime for the CL&P crews and instead chose to let the work pile up until the out of state crews arrived. My understanding is that FEMA picks up 75% of the out of state crew costs and the remainder is paid by the state of CT which equates to a huge sum of free money in CL&P's pocket. I can't believe they did this! I am outraged! And how much have they spent maintaining the lines-I bet it has not been much!
I think the utilities should be penalized for delays in power restoration. I would suggest a model where the first day of the outage, the utility does not get charged anything. This matches up to about the amount of time that food will remain unspoiled in a refrigerator that has no power. After two days outage, the utilities should have to pay back each customer the average cost of one day of their electricity based on the previous months usage. After three days, they should have to pay the customer two days of their average daily usage. The payback should then increase by the power of two so that after four days, they would have to pay back four days; after five days they should pay eight days, after six days they would owe 16 days and so on. This will provide a financial incentive to restore power as quickly as possible.
Finally, I think the local governments and utilities should be working towards the goal of burying all utilities within 40 years. Local zoning requirements should be changed so that all new construction and major modifications to current buildings would require a subterranean utilities connection capability to be installed during the construction, even if the utilites are not buried yet for that location, so that eventually all the building connections would be in place to support burying the utilities whenever the roads are resurfaced.
My award for the person of the year for 2012 is Malala Yousufzai, the 15-year-old Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban for speaking out for the right to an education. Her courage to speak up in the face of death threats is amazing. Hopefully her sacrifices will drive some changes in the way Middle Eastern countries treat women!
Solve the problem! If there is some issue or problem and it is impacting your ability to do other things, take action to solve the problem. It will not get easier to solve as time progresses. Take immediate action to solve the problem!
The Democrats keep pushing a lie about the fiscal cliff. Revenues do not have to go up to elimnate the deficit and start reducing the national debt. There are two parts to our deficit, spending and revenues. You can keep the revenues the same if you reduce your spending. Or you can leave the spending the same and increase the revenues. Or the likely end compromise which will contain increasing revenues and decreasing spending. I believe the Government is already taking too much our of our taxes and needs to reign in spending.
Watching the Sunday morning press shows, I realized why it seems that the only thing that President Obama and the Democrats in Congress is pushing raising taxes on the rich. They want the Republicans to propose cuts to entitlements so they can blame the Republicans when the compromise includes entitlement cuts. They are pushing the "fiscal cliff" to extremous to benefit their party.
The current flood insurance laws need to be changed. Either make everyone buy insurance or remove the flood insurance coverage requirements. The current law only requires coverage if you have a mortgage. The current law really only benefits banks and is a clear example of special interests dictating their interests to Congress.
Here is a new idea for consideration: How about imposing a tax on new vehicle purchases based on the inverse of the estimated miles per gallon (MPG). The higher the vehicle MPG, the lower the tax. And somewhere around 50 MPG, there should be no tax. This can replace the current legislation that requires the industry to hit specific MPG targets across their entire vehicle offerings (hard to figure out and easy to manipulate).
I feel more and more that the teacher unions are more of the problem than the solution for our education system. Their resistance to teacher evaluations is preventing bad teachers from being removed and good teachers from being rewarded. They claim tests are not a good representation of their efforts and supervisor evaluations can be tainted. Unfortunately all other professions suffer from similar evaluation issues and live with bias within the process. It may not work perfectly, but it is better than the current teacher evaluation system based on longevity and the amount of college degrees obtained.
The only way to get a flat tax implemented is thru the Constitutional Amendment process. Congress has absolutely no incentive to pass a flat tax because all the deductions they proposed are just ways for them to buy votes from specific segments of the population. For example, the home mortgage interest rate deduction is just a way to curry favor with middle class voters.
I would like to thank the riders and employees of DC Metro. I lost my wallet last week on the Metro system. I reported the loss to the Van Dorn Station employee and he was very helpful in trying to find my wallet but unfortunately we were not successful. I filed a report with lost and found and then two days later they notified me that my wallet had been found. When I picked it up, it still had everything inside including IDs, credit cards and $150! I am impressed that not even on dollar of the cash was taken. Thanks to the riders and employees at DC Metro!
Don't get into an argument with an idiot. They will bring you down to their level and beat you on experience!
Make sure you consider how customers may manipulate promotional coupons. We gave out coupons to offer $10 off a $20 card used to purchase other items. Some customers used the coupon to buy the card, buy $10 worth of stuff and then tried to cash in the remaining value of the card (so they essentially got everything for free). Make sure your promotion does not have unintended consequences.
Treat your customers with respect. Although you may not be able to meet all their demands, you should be up front and honest with them. Do not forget that unhappy customers will tell far more people about their bad experiences than happy customers will tell about their good experiences.
Here are some words of wisdom I have passed down to my son when I put him to bed:
1) Be careful of who you choose as friends, they are a reflection of you!
2) If you don't like the situation you are in, do something to change it!
3) The most important thing to invest in is yourself.
4) You don't know everything-make sure to ask for help.
5) Take care of your body, it is the only one you have.
6) If it is worth taking the time to do something, it is worth doing it right.
7) The amount of effort necessary to achieve perfection can be enormous, learn to find the right balance between perfect and good enough.
8) Don't smoke. It is addictive, bad for your health and a waste of money.
9) Learn how to swim. You never know when you could end up in the water.
10) Often the most valuable team member is the quiet one that just gets their job done.
11) There are an infinite number of things to do with your life so there are an infinite number of things to be number 1 in. Pick one you love and become the best in the world!
12) Make sure to brush and floss your teeth. You should do everything you can to keep your original teeth intact.
13) Do something active every day you can. You will live longer and feel better if you are physically fit.
14) When you interview for a job, determining if you enjoy working with and respect your co-workers is as important if not more important than liking the job you will do.
15) Enjoy every day like it is your last, but save money for retirement like you will live forever!
16) Travel inside and outside the country at least a little bit. Seeing other cultures and their quality of life brings tremendous perspective on what we have in the United States.
17) Always have a backup plan. You will not succeed at everything you do, but how you handle defeat defines whether you are successful in life.
18) Break up big tasks into small parts so you don't get paralyzed by the size of the task and can get a feeling of accomplishment when you complete each part.
Combine retirement home with vacation timeshare. Establish retirement homes that people can stay in for one month increments and then let them move to different locations. Would probably need to have the locations in low cost countries. Would allow the elderly to experience new cultures and travel but on a budget.
Ask yourself what you would do today if you knew you could not fail. Then go out and do that!
The mortgage tax deduction should be eliminated. Although no politician wants to tackle removing this deduction because of the support of special interests like banks, real estate brokers and home construction companies, it needs to go away. It provides incentives for larger houses and suburban sprawl and only benefits middle and upper class tax payers. The best way to eliminate this deduction is gradually over the course of ten years.
How about this for a path forward to improve the economy and reduce our national debt? Congress should adjust the tax laws to remove industry specific deductions like the home mortgage interest deduction in 10% increments for all loans originated in 2014 or later. So there will be a natural incentive to immediately refinance or purchase a new home to get the full deduction for the life of the mortgage. And ultimately this major tax deduction will elimated for any loan originated in 2024. It gives a short term incentive to act and long term correction to remove all tax deductions.
Proposed 27th Amendment:
The United States shall restrict tax revenue to a maximum of 15% of all personal income and business profits. Taxes shall be applied equally across all taxpayers. United States government spending for any given year shall not exceed 15% of the previous year's total reported personal income and business profits. If at any point in the year, spending exceeds this limit, payments to all United States government employees shall cease starting with the highest paid personnel until the spending is returned below the limit.
This amendment will essentially enact a flat tax of a maximum of 15% on everyone and every business. Equal application of taxes will remove all exemptions and deductions. Capping goverment spending at 15% maximum with the consequence of the people failing to maintain this cap losing their paychecks will hopefully provide incentive to those making the spending decisions to stay within budget. Basing the cap on the previous year's income will allow for "deficit" spending to support stimulus efforts for up to one year, after which the budget must be trimmed to reflect the new economic conditions.
A flat tax regardless of type (income, capital gains, sale of real estate, profits from business) will ensure no special interest groups will be courted by politicians.
The US tax structure should be simplified dramatically. All revenue recognition should remain the same for individuals and businesses. The deductions should ALL be eliminated except as follows. For individuals, a fixed amount per person and dependents should be subtracted from the "income" identified. For businesses, a fixed amount for each equivalent full time employee working in the United States should be subtracted from the business profit reported. Then a fixed percentage tax should be applied to the remaining income or profit. The tax rate should not be adjusted based on income, age or any other factor except the number of dependents or US employees as discussed above.
Here is the complaint against Verizon that my wife just submitted on our behalf. Needless to say, we hate Verizon!
The new exhibits at the National Zoo in Washington DC are fantastic. And as usual, the Asian Small-Clawed Otters put on quite a show! http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/AsiaTrail/SmallClawedOtters/default.cfm
The US Post Office has lost billions of dollars this year. Here is an idea that could save the post office: partner with retail stores like Walmart, Home Depot, Sears, Target and others with a capable online presence to deliver products on the same day as ordered. The post office could pick up packages by noon for delivery by the end of the day. They already have the infrastructure to support this plan but may need to change their delivery schedule. It could generate huge revenues for the post office if implemented correctly.
A simple quick fix to mitigate the consequences of sequester is to have the budget cuts applied to the department level instead of program level in the budget. This will allow each department to determine when to achieve the cost savings rather than having to cut all the programs the same amount. The down side to this is Congress loses its ability to control cuts and many Congressional directed projects could get cancelled. So Congress would never agree to this change...
Hosting.com's up time has been horrendous since two months ago when they had a 5 day outage for my Cold Fusion 8 web server. During that time, most of the tech support staff were understanding but they did not provide useful outage status information and then let a security patch bug cause my specific server to remain out several days after they appear to have restored the other Cold Fusion 8 servers. Also during this time, one tech support staff member rudely hung up on me while I was complaining about the slow restoral and lack of useful information. Finally, the security patch issue has occurred at the beginning of each month since then. Hosting.com clearly does not have good procedures to manage their patches and diseminate information during outages.