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What are you ready for, what are you waiting for?
Written by Delphos   
Thursday, August 28, 2014 2:32 PM

I’m all Apple all the time. Since 1984.

So far, Apple and Steve Jobs have changed the way computers run, revolutionized the mobile phone, and revolutionized the way music is distributed to a point that all retailers, distributors, manufacturers, producers, music groups, and recording artists are totally dependent on Apple for a sizeable share of their revenue.

The iPod, and all versions of their music players, phones, laptops, and anything that plays music uses iTunes as a playing medium AND a purchasing medium. WOW.

Oh, there are still DVDs and other forms of distribution, but Apple rules. And Apple makes the rules. They have completely changed the game and the process. The world, accepted it, bought it by the billions, and LOVES it.

Their iPod competition has utterly failed. Got Zune? Not only was it a billion dollar failure, it was a joke. The iPhone started another revolution. And that’s a story for another day.

Today is iPad day. Or should I say “book replacement” day. The iPad is so revolutionary that no one even saw it coming. They didn’t know what to do with it – or could have predicted the changes it would inspire.

Capitalizing on the growing demand for e-books, the exploding app market, e-reader popularity, and the global appetite for cool products, Apple went to market having no idea what an explosion of creativity they were unleashing.

Remember this ditty? No more homework, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks!

Well, some of it is about to come true. The homework will still be there, the teachers will still be there, their dirty looks will (unfortunately) still be there, but the books are fading fast.

Remember your first day of school every year? “Issuing books” was a major part of the day. Signing for them, writing your name and grade in them, putting them in your book bag, and then dragging them back and forth to class, to home, and back to school all year. (Not to mention losing them and dropping them in a puddle of water.)

Well, those days aren’t completely over yet, but the iPad is beginning to idle printing presses globally. And soon, like the Yellow Pages, newspapers, and magazines, the majority of printed media will only be available online as a download or from some ASP.

REALITY: Everyone on the planet is looking for ways to improve education. The iPad will lead the revolution. It will provide 21st century learning and make it FUN (and might even eliminate some of the teacher’s dirty looks).

What kid wants eight textbooks when they could have an iPad? NOBODY ON

THE PLANET. Less money, no hassle,

completely searchable, underline-able, note-take-able, and FUN.

Our three-year old daughter Gabrielle dominates one of our iPads. She

 
5 essential building blocks for a thriving work culture
Written by Delphos   
Thursday, August 28, 2014 2:31 PM

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What makes a successful business thrive? That’s what eight out of 10 new entrepreneurs would like to know, because their businesses fail within the first 18 months, according to Bloomberg.

Adam Witty has managed to turn plenty of heads in the business community as founder and CEO of Advantage Media Group, (http://advantagefamily.com/), an international publisher of business, self-improvement, and professional development books and online learning.

Witty, who was selected for INC Magazine’s 30 Under 30 list of “America’s coolest young entrepreneurs” in 2011, says creating the right environment is crucial for success. The magazine also featured his company in their top 500|5000 list of the Fastest Growing Private Companies in America for 2012 and 2013, when the company ranked No. 42 in Media and No. 36 for Top 100 South Carolina Companies.

“You don’t have to be a business guru to recognize when a business is firing on all cylinders, that everyone is putting their skills to maximum use, working together, and actually having a good time. How to create that chemistry – that’s the question,” says Witty, the author of five books and an in-demand speaker and consultant on marketing, business development, media and publishing, and entrepreneurship topics.

“Of course, you need folks with the right qualifications who are willing to bring their A-game every day – that’s crucial. But there are also character traits to look for: a positive, can-do attitude, for instance. If a person doesn’t fit in the mix, not only will he or she be less likely to bring their best, they can also compromise everyone else’s game.”

Witty talks about what it takes to get that hum every CEO wants, both in the office and in one’s respective industry.

• Staff your team with A-players; they’re worth the wait. An A-player is someone who brings all of the necessary qualifications to the table – perhaps more than you were expecting – and that something extra as a human being. Of course, that isn’t always readily apparent during a 45-minute interview; it can take time to see the true colors of a talented individual to come through. This speaks to the importance of having an intuitive hiring manager, “which may be a small business’s CEO,” Witty adds. Also, it’s important to have A-players who put the team first, who have helped Advantage Media Group earn a spot on the Best Places to Work in South Carolina list for 2013 and 2014. Egomaniacs who cannot collaborate can to grind productivity to a screeching halt.

• The importance of having fun … “Having fun not only helps your team do well, it’s a sign that you’re doing things right,” Witty says. “Where fun and work meet is the understanding from employees that they’re making a difference. You want a team of individuals who are motivated by the ‘why’ of what they do.” Fun at work means having energy and enthusiasm while tending to the tasks at hand.

• Make employees, and clients, your extended family. A family environment significantly facilitates a team mentality, especially for those quiet geniuses who like to keep to themselves because they’re shy. But why stop there? Extend the love to clients, suppliers and other crucial components of the business. Without these folks, your business couldn’t survive.

• Direction: understanding the “why;” encourage difference makers. “Our team members are driven by the ‘why’ of what we do,” Witty says. “The right content in the right person’s hands at the right time can change the world forever. We believe in sharing stories, passion and knowledge to guide and help others learn and grow.”

• Commit to lifelong learning. Seek to uncover and promote the leader in every one on your team by encouraging all members to follow a path of personal and professional development. With increased knowledge, experiences and skills, people lead to a more fulfilled life, which can profit everyone within a working environment.

 

(Adam Witty is the founder and CEO of Advantage Media Group, (http://advantagefamily.com/), an international publisher of business, self-improvement and professional development books and online learning. He has worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs, business leaders and professionals to help them write, publish, market and monetize books to grow their business. Witty has been featured on ABC and Fox, and was selected for INC Magazine’s 30 Under 30 list of “America’s coolest young entrepreneurs” in 2011.)

 
4 smart investments beyond the Stock Market
Written by Delphos   
Thursday, August 28, 2014 2:30 PM

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As major stock market indexes continue to climb, so too are concerns on the “fear market” – VIX, the CBOE S&P 500 Options Volatility Index, says entrepreneur Dean Anastos.

“Advances in the market have been relatively thin in volume, and the declines have been heavier; in general, there seems to be too much complacency among investors, and there are hints here and there that the market is not as bullish as many have supposed,” says Anastos, who specializes in real estate, computer programming and trading data communications equipment.

“Now may be a really good time to look elsewhere for smart investments,” says his business partner Ricky Brava.

Anastos and Brava review some of those options.

• Real estate is still growing. No area was hit harder by the recession than real estate. Since then, however, the getting has been good for prospective buyers looking for a profit, yet many remain gun shy due to the hard lessons of 2008-09. Meanwhile, the housing recovery continues as prices are getting back to where they once were. In many markets, buying is still cheaper than renting, “although this is not true everywhere,” Anastos says. “Ultimately, it depends on the area, the loan and how long you may be looking to live on the property – or, if you want to rent a property out, which continues to be very lucrative today.”

• Banks have plenty of distressed debt; consider a deal. (www.apollofinancialgrp.com). “We buy distressed debt bank portfolios that aren’t generating cash for the bank and work with the families in the homes to refinance at affordable rates,” says Brava, senior partner at Apollo Financial Group, founded by Anastos, who adds, “If we can’t work it out with the owner, the property gets a second chance, rather than sitting vacant, when we sell the loans as non-performing first or second lien bank notes.”

Conduct a title search of the property to reveal any liens. Check with the county to ascertain what, if any, outstanding property taxes are due. Contact a local real estate agent to get an estimation on the property and its as-is resale value.

• Keep in mind tax-advantaged investments. Tax-advantaged investments can include real estate partnerships, oil and gas partnerships and suitability, which refers to how appropriate an investment may or may not be to an investor. Two of the most common types of real estate partnerships, for example, are low-income housing and historic rehabilitation. The federal government grants tax credits to those who construct or rehabilitate low-income housing or who invest in the rehabilitation or preservation of historic structures.

• Pay attention to possible changes to Roth IRAs – a good option, so far. This is still a good investment option for retirement, even though significant changes have been proposed by the White House. Your allotted money goes into a Roth after it’s been taxed, but earnings aren’t taxed. Unlike traditional IRAs and 401(k)s, Roth owners currently don’t have to take annual distributions after turning 70½ — which means the money has even more years to grow if the owner doesn’t need it. Once the owner dies, the beneficiary inherits the money tax-free. President Obama says this isn’t what was intended in a Roth and wants to change this advantage, yet his proposal continues to face opposition and many think it won’t pass.

 
Secretary Husted announces August Ohio Business Profiles
Written by Delphos   
Thursday, August 28, 2014 2:28 PM

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COLUMBUS – Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted today announced that August’s Ohio Business Profile features seven nonprofit organizations who work tirelessly to help make our state a better place to live. Whether they help feed the hungry, assist those in need, or fight to protect our state’s most fragile resources, they give us causes to champion and provide outlets for all Ohioans to help give back.

“These nonprofits are making a difference in local communities around the state by providing goods and services that people need, as well as by supporting jobs and helping to strengthen the state’s economy,” Secretary Husted said.

According to the most recent report available from the Ohio Association of Nonprofit Organizations, Ohio’s nonprofits employed almost 500,000 paid workers. That is equivalent to one out of every 10 workers in Ohio, earning nearly $18.8 billion in wages. Companies profiled this month include:

· Freestore Foodbank – Cincinnati - The largest emergency food and service provider to children and families in the tri-state. The organization distributes more than 18.5 million meals annually to more than 300,000 low-income individuals and families. · SHC/The Arc of Medina County – Medina - Partners with individuals with disabilities and their families to provide services to assist them with living.

· Black Swamp Conservancy – Perrysburg - Dedicated to preserving family farms and natural habitats. To date, they have protected more than 13,300 acres of land across 13 northwest Ohio counties.

· Keep Ohio Beautiful, Inc. – Fairlawn - Believes that everyone deserves to live in an environment that is healthy, safe, clean and beautiful. They are a state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful and serve as Ohio’s umbrella organization for 33 local affiliate organizations.

· Elizabeth’s New Life Center – Dayton - Specialize in positive solutions and support for unexpected pregnancies, including free pregnancy tests, ultrasound scans, consulting on pregnancy decisions, parenting education, and material assistance.

· Food for Thought – Toledo - Provides over 350 lunches each week in the Toledo area and also provides a “Mobile Pantry” that serves more than 1,400 each month.

· The Arc of Ohio – Columbus - Works to create a world where children and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities can enjoy equal rights and opportunities.

 
3 proven management techniques that work in any business
Written by Delphos   
Thursday, July 31, 2014 8:13 AM

Within the first five years of a small-business venture, about half do not survive, according to the government’s Small Business Administration. And after 10 years, only a third are still around.

“Successful entrepreneurship hits the bull’s eye of the American dream, but most simply do not make it,” says veteran Texas businessman David M. Smith, author of “The Texas Spirit,” (www.TheTexasSpiritBook.com).

“You don’t have to have extravagant wealth or a degree from Harvard to make it; a successful business requires essentially the same thing for a successful life – perspective.”

Smith reviews some common denominators for success.

• Aim at nothing and you always hit it. “If you’re like me – perhaps with a touch of ADD and someone who wants to do too many things than you have time for – this is a helpful aphorism,” Smith says. Not every idea that comes to mind should be pursued; be very selective with your time, and when you go after something, go full-throttle.

• You cannot win on the defensive in business or any other endeavor. Don’t think in terms of defense; instead, think of counterattack. To take a defensive position on anything means that you have conceded at least some of your position.

• Work toward optimal employment for everyone in your company. “At least once a year, I have a one-on-one discussion with every person in our companies – a renegotiation to hopefully renew employment for a longer period,” he says. “This adds an important personal touch and attention to detail.” Of course, the same approach offers an excellent return in your personal relationships, too.

• Keep in mind Union Pacific’s motto: “Safety is my responsibility.” Safety should always rank high in your priorities; it’s easy to take it for granted until a catastrophe happens. Texmark celebrates more than 25 years without a production-halting accident – a remarkable record in the industry.

• Organize projects, planning and profit action with at least three people, but never more than five. You need a point person for the meeting and at least two compatible partners – more than five people gums up the process. Meet weekly; the point man should set priorities and is most responsible for action.

• People chemistry is more important than process chemistry. Just as you must have a process for making chemicals built around operating conditions that are best for the desired chemical products, so too should you have the right chemistry of people working together. The right chemistry is trickier than you think.

• Promote voluntary participation regarding medical benefits and thrift and savings plans. It’s always best to put individuals in charge of their health and financial destiny – to let people consciously choose their plans. Monolithic systems arbitrarily imposed by institutions are the beginning of stagnated individual responsibility.

 

(David M. Smith is the author of “The Texas Spirit,” www.TheTexasSpiritBook.com (2014; Halcyon Press). He’s the founder and owner of Chemical Exchange, Inc. and Texmark Chemicals of Galena Park, Texas. An El Paso native, he attended the University of Texas in Austin. Early in his career, he moved east to Houston and established himself in the petrochemical industry. His new book, “The Texas Spirit,” features a series of essays about the ways in which the United States can benefit from Texas’ example, including economic models and moral fiber.)

 
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