Monday

Situation bleak - Calgarians are still experiencing the effects of the recession



CNW/ - New Calgary Counselling Centre research results show Calgarians are still feeling the effects of the recession and many do not have a plan to deal with the changes they are experiencing.

http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/November2010/22/c6267.html

Sunday

7 Ways to Improve Your Business that Cost No Money



It is the norm for Small businesses, startup, new ventures to struggle due to limited financial resources. There are so many efforts that can improve your business and produce results that are little or no cost. We all want results, but at what cost ? Did that $1,000 investment or expense produce $10 results?
Part of my profession as a business broker involves consulting with both buyers and seller of business. I also provide consulting services to businesses outside my role as a business broker in Florida. Rarely do I experience a discussion based upon “I have too much cash flow to deal with.” Small business owner and entrepreneurs are constantly seeking ways to improve their businesses with limited resources.
Below are a list of several tactics and efforts a small business owner may take that cost little or no money and therefore the Return on Investment (ROI) is extremely high. There are many other practices and efforts that can be utilized outside of the below short list, hopefully this list can change the line of thinking of a business owner from “I wish I could do something but I don’t have the money” to:
“what can I do to improve my business with limited or no money” -
1. Look at your company from the perspective of a customer
Can you do that? Can you pretend you are a customer trying to do business with your company. You send an inquiry via email, you place a call into your company – what happens? We all have dealt with companies that customer service seems more like “How to effectively get a customer off the phone” instead of “I won’t let you hang up the phone until I know I have completely helped you to fulfillment.” IS it a pleasant experience to do business with your business?
2. Attempt to surround yourself with more beneficial synergistic strategic partners
As a business broker I have various strategic partners that allow me to best assist my clients. These professionals include, Attorneys, Accountants, bankers and Financial people. I am relocating to a city 5 hours from where I am and am in the process in developing a new “team” that I can rely on. I researched banks that do a lot of SBA loans to small business, migrated thru the company website, found a point of contact that I had an interest in meeting with, sent an email, and got an email back saying “going on vacation back in 2 weeks, call me then.” I proceeded to pursue a relationship with someone that would call me back, passed over this prospective strategic partner and found someone that I feel will develop into a mutually beneficial business relationship. My clients will benefit from my valued strategic partners.
3. Use the Internet more
post a blog – how much does that cost?
post a tweet about a sale, a special or event- We’ve all heard/read that this can be a good idea- just do it.
check out a site such as Fiverr.com and see if someone can do something for you for $5. Are there other sites that facilitate low cost solutions? Can you afford to make a $5 error?
Try something you haven’t tried – a video, guest blogging, join more related forums or user groups, start a group.
4. Educate yourself
Take some time out of your day to read other related blogs info on your industry or specific area of focus. Commit yourself to learn your own financials better than you presently do. Again the ROI on your time invested in this can be quite high.
5. Go to a network meeting
There are several available in most communities that are either free or cost a couple bucks. How much could you benefit from making that “right contact.”
6. Consider a Freelancer
Are there some functions/task that you currently are having performed that may be done more cost effectively thru an outside source such as a free lancer. Open your mind to it.
7. Treat all customers, prospects, employees, vendors with respect and integrity
The ROI on this no cost effort is immense.
Don’t ever stop trying something different. I have utilized the above items in my various business ventures throughout the years and still utilize them on a regular basis. If you are running a business, buying a business, or growing a business these low and no cost business practices will result in very good return on investment and usually all it takes to get these returns is to consider them and just do them.

Thursday

SolLight LightShip






This solar-powered LED light comes with suction cups and is incredibly handy. I keep one in the car on the back window, so it's always charged in case of a breakdown. It also features a red LED to preserve night vision is, as well as the auto-shut-off with the light sensor. It is weather sealed and it stood up brilliantly to the elements while living in Fiji- sun, salt and sea.


I used this device, along with the brilliant LightCap. This latest version of the Sollight classic LightShip is fantastic as ever. Great for hands free light, camping, and emergencies. -- Kaz Brecher


SolLight Lightship
$18


Available from Amazon


Manufactured by SolLight







Friday

GeekDesk


Reposted from Cool Tools.

The GeekDesk is the best and most versatile desk I have found for my home office. It uses an electric motor to switch from sitting to standing position, and after nearly a year of using other standing desks I can say that it is one of the best investments anyone can make if they are interested in an adjustable desk.

My foray into standing desks began when I started working from home more often. I found that when I was sitting at work I would easily become distracted and more often than not lethargic. After reading several articles about the perils of sitting around all day I decided it was probably in my best interest to get a standing desk. My first standing desk was a podium I found on craigslist for $10. It was not adjustable, had an angled surface, and wasn't the best solution. But for the cost, it served me well. I learned how to stand all day, and the small footprint of the podium meant that I could keep my regular desk without sacrificing too much space. The difference between sitting and standing was immediately noticeable. I was much more likely to walk away from my desk and do something that needed to get done, I found that I didn't tire as much, and that my back no longer hurt from long days in a soft cushy chair. I was a standing desk convert.

Given the limitations of the podium I then decided to replace it with a used AnthroCart desk: a solid American-made adjustable desk with an amazing life-time warranty. Seeing how it was adjustable I was able to fine-tune the height so that it made for easy typing. The desk was composed of three aluminum poles that have slots that range from 24" to 30" (and up to 48" with extensions) in height where you could screw the work surface in. It had a large 3'x3' flat surface that allowed me to add an external monitor and a printer to my setup. However, it also meant that I had to say goodbye to my chair and sitting desk. My conversion to full-time standing desk was pleasant, but there were times when I wished I could sit down to write longer pieces.

All of this explains why I am so happy to have discovered the GeekDesk. Simply put, it is a traditional two-legged desk frame that uses an electric motor to raise or lower the working surface from 26" to 46.5" and anywhere in-between. It can lift up to 175 pounds, and it rises and falls at 1" per second.

The desk itself is made up of two steel legs connected by a cross bar that contains the electric motor and rack-and-pinion lift mechanism. The top of the desk is screwed on to the legs. GeekDesk sells the legs separately for those interested in attaching their own surface.

I have the slightly smaller GeekDesk Mini. It is identical to the GeekDesk except that it comes with a shorter crossbar that is 37.75" wide compared to the standard 61.42" model. It is more than enough space for me as I have a fairly compact setup including a 15" laptop, and a 24" external monitor.

To raise or lower the desk there are controls attached to the underside of the working surface. They remain out of the way, and are very easy to use. Simply push the button to activate, and click up or down on the toggle. It is a smooth movement and you can do it with everything on your desk without a fear of spills, or toppling monitors.

While my AnthroCart desk served me well, I realized that having the versatility of being able to sit and stand at the same workspace was really valuable to me. The biggest downside of this flexibility is that the temptation to sit is ever present. Since adopting the GeekDesk I do find myself sitting down more often than I would if I didn't have the option. I am undecided about whether this is a good or bad thing, but if you find that you have low self control then it is possible this desk isn't for you.

I love being able to sit and stand at my workspace, and I believe it has improved my general well being and happiness while working from home. A word of warning: anybody interested in switching to standing all day should, as with anything bio-mechanical, take it slow and make sure not to cause too much strain. I have had friends who have made the switch too quickly complain about back strain, foot pain, and tired legs. This goes away, but can easily be avoided by slowly easing into standing all day. And I strongly believe the GeekDesk represents one of the absolute best ways to do so. -- Oliver Hulland

[Note: GeekDesks ship by freight, only to the U.S. and Canada.-- OH]

GeekDesk Mini
Frame dimensions: 37.75" wide x 22" deep
Desk Surface: 47.25" wide x 31.5" deep
$525 for the frame (plus $85-$180 for shipping)
$749 for the frame and top (plus $110-$310 for shipping)

GeekDesk
Frame dimensions: 61.42" wide x 22" deep
Desk surface is 78.75" wide x 31.5" deep
$799 for the frame and top (plus $110-$310 for shipping)

Available from and manufactured by GeekDesk