Saturday, May 14, 2011
Just a quick note that it is moving day for the 4 ScLoHo Blog sites.
I will continue to use the Google Blogger hosting platform, but each now has their own domain name:
ScLoHo's Really is moving from ScLoHo1.blogspot.com to ScLoHoReally.com
ScLoHo's Collective Wisdom is moving from ScLoHoNet.blogspot.com to ScLoHoCollectiveWisdom.com
ScLoHo's Social Media Adventure is moving from ScLoHoSocial.blogspot.com to ScLoHoSocialMediaAdventure.com
The Not-So-Secret Writings of ScLoHo is moving from ScLoHonet-TheBook.blogspot.com to ScLoHo.info
I am doing this on a Saturday which typically is the slowest traffic day for the ScLoHo sites because there may be some downtime as the transition occurs. They say it could take 24 to 48 hours for a transfer to complete, but so far, it has been less than an hour.
All of the sites should automatically redirect, however for future reference, I would urge you to save the new domains in your bookmarks.
Thanks for your support.
Friday, May 13, 2011
I decided to break it up into 4 parts. See if you can find some ideas to apply to your life:
Win the War on Debt: 80 Ways to Be Frugal and Save Money
The manliness of frugality cannot be overstated. Frugality cultivates the manly qualities of independence, self-reliance, self-sufficiency, simplicity, and minimalism. It keeps a man free from the enslaving chains of debt and gives him an sense of manly pride and satisfaction. Frugality build a man’s immunity to the siren call of “stuff,” helps him learn to make do with less, and adds pleasure and happiness to his life by providing opportunities to practice delayed gratification. Frugality also fosters the DIY spirit and inspires a man to create, instead of consume.
We could wax long and poetic about the manliness of frugality but let’s get down to the brass tacks: how does a man become frugal? Some men, inspired to jump on the frugality wagon, set a drastic course for themselves and turn theirs live inside out. But inevitably, this man ends up chafing at the extreme constrictions he has set for himself, burns out on the program, and sets off on a shopping spree to compensate for the months of rigid restraint. No, the better course is simply to make little changes throughout the different areas of your life. You will be surprised to see how fast these small changes can add up and leave you with extra moola in your pockets and in the bank. And you also might be surprised to find out how fun being frugal is–really! It becomes like a game where you’re always trying to figure out ways to cut costs.
We’ve created this list of 80 practical–and often pretty painless–ways to save money. Whether you’re looking to trim your debt, live more simply, start an emergency fund, or just need to find ways to offset the hole in your budget created by rising gas prices, there are guaranteed to be a few things here you can start implementing in your life right away. I recommend giving these ideas a look-0ver, making a list of ten of more things you can give a go, and putting them into practice as a new month begins.
Victory over debt is at hand!
Health and Fitness
27. High deductible insurance+ health savings account. If you and your family are healthy, you might consider switching to a high deductible insurance plan and opening up a health savings account along with it. While you have to pay more out-of-pocket before coverage kicks in, the premium you pay each month can be considerably less than regular plans. The health savings account you open along with your high deductible plan allows you to set aside money tax free that you can only use for medical expenses. You use the money in your health savings account to pay co-pays, deductible expenses, and medications. The lower premiums of a high deductible plan plus the tax savings of an health savings account can mean big time health insurance savings.
28. Get samples from your doctors. Most docs are happy to fill a bag for you with a bunch of samples of the medication you need.
29. Take care of yourself. The healthier you are, the less likely it is that you’ll have to make visits to the doctor and spend money on medications. Exercise and eating right are simple things you can do to stay healthy and reduce medical costs. Also, take care of your teeth. Dental corrections like fillings and root canals can cost an arm and a leg. Invest three minutes of your day, morning and night, to proper dental hygiene.
30. Stop smoking. Last time I checked a carton of cigs was going for $20+. Besides the money you save by not buying a carton every week, you’ll also save money on health costs in the long run.
31. Shop with a list. Studies show that when you shop with a list, you spend less than if you don’t, as it helps you concentrate on picking up only what you need.
32. Brown bag your lunch. It’s not only cheaper, it’s usually a heck of a lot more healthy than going out to a restaurant.
33. Cut back on packaged and convenience foods and learn how to make cheap meals yourself. Pasta. beans. Eat them.
34. Make leftover friendly food. Casseroles and crock pots are your best friends here.
35. Make your own coffee. Time to break-up with your favorite barista.
36. Drink more water. Water is free, and it’s good for you. Drink it instead of flavored beverages that cost money and pad your waistline.
37. Limit going out to eat to one time a week or less. And when you do go out, split America’s massively-sized portions in half and use a coupon.
38. Grow your own vegetables. Can’t do this right now because we live in apartment, but it’s a future goal. I have friend who has had tremendous success with growing his own vegetables. He saves money, and he says it makes him feel like a homesteader.
39. Buy store brands. Here’s a secret that brand name companies don’t want you to know: sometimes generic brands are made at the very same factory as the brand name product, they just put a different label on it. Sometimes this isn’t the case, and the generic really is inferior in quality. So just do some experimenting to see what works.
40. Have a weekly menu. I don’t know about you guys, but when Kate and I don’t have a menu planned out, when the question of “What are we going to eat tonight” rolls around, it’s pretty easy to respond with “Let’s go out.” A weekly menu can help you reduce the amount of times you go out to eat, thus saving you money on expensive restaurant food.
Part 3 next Friday!
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Blackboards were the communication tool my teachers used in my elementary school. They could have been black, or green, or even brown, but we used chalk to write on them.
Then came the fabled whiteboard. We have them in our conference rooms and I have a small one in my office.
Besides doodling, they do have another purpose. Check out this guest post:
10 Things to Write on Your Whiteboard
Recently I had visited a client who was struggling with his productivity. His practice was running smoothly but at times would occasionally slow up, for no apparent reason. The first thing I questioned was the methods he was putting into his workday. Quickly, I discovered everything seemed to be in ordered. So what is the problem? Can a 2:30 feeling last all week?
Discussing this, I found that bringing yourself back to basics could help out in a large way. Pretend that your business is a new venture again, and remember the excitement you felt with each new goal met. An often underrated and overlooked approach is “The Whiteboard.” Here is a list of ten motivational strategies to utilizing your whiteboard.
1 Divide your whiteboard in half, one side long-term and one side short-term goals.
- These two halves should coincide with each other. As progress is made short term, let it translate at some point onto your long-term side. This obviously depends on what kind of turnover ratios you’re working with.
2 Provide action steps.
- Action steps are key to understanding the task at hand. It is crucial when completing action steps to cross them out. At the same time it is crucial not to erase them until the ultimate goal is accomplished. Seeing progress, or the “light and the end of the tunnel,” can go a long way as a motivational tool.
3 Create a target number
- This is the simplest, yet maybe the most important thing you can do. Your target number can be any number, for instance a sales goal, or even a spending limit, and it is important to update this number daily accordingly.
4 Upcoming events.
- This is a great tool to keep a keen mind on what needs to be done. Looking ahead helps to keep you from getting behind, and also provides better communication with clients or associates. When everyone is on the same page, it’s easier to stay on task.
5 Make note of successful sales.
- Highlighting a good thing can motivate employees to be at their best and can turn selling or accomplishments into an ongoing competition. I find that it is best to use the color green or blue when making these notes, and provide the name of the successful employee. Make sure these do not stay up to too long to keep the employees wanting more.
6 Make note of a deficit or a complication.
- Highlighting a problem, or a goal that was not completely met can prove to be quite motivational as well. This should be made note of in red ink to relay the message that the issue needs to be taken care of. DO NOT include employee names and their mishaps. Doing so will only create turmoil and stress. Instead offer the opportunity to let it be known who was the one to correct the problem. These issues should remain on the board until the problem is fixed.
7 Prioritize your clients.
- Every one of your clients should be a priority, but lets face it, some are simply worth more to the business than others. Make sure your top clients are taken care of first.
8 Prioritize your debt.
- This is true with your accounts payable as well. Take care of the debts you absolutely need to pay first and don’t ever forget your payroll. Your employees will like to know that they are a priority. Also keep in mind some clients may offer cash back or a discount for payment within an agreed period of time.
9 List of your competitors that are outperforming you.
- Let this be a big part of your whiteboard. Competing with rivals is always invigorating, and can lead to a boost in morale amongst your colleagues.
10 Draw a Dinosaur
- Dinosaur, picture, joke of the day, employee’s birthday, or anything else that might draw a smile in the workplace. Little things like that can shrug of some of the stress the week may provide.
Now obviously you won’t be able to fit everything at once, but every whiteboard and business is different. Try out some of the ideas, and see what works best for you.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Tech Tuesday Tip
This week's tip is rated M for Moderately Techie.
A few computers ago, when I used to really dig in and modify settings, thinking I knew what I was doing, I found a free program called Free Extended Task Manager by Extensoft.
Every once in a while, my computer starts running slow, or a program hangs. I want to turn off the program that is not responding, or find out what is using slowing down my computer, so I will start this program.
I know Windows has a Task Manager program built it, but I like this one better. Click here to check it out.
I noticed that Microsoft Outlook was starting by itself and eating up a lot of my RAM and slowing down my computer. So I clicked on the process tab and stopped Outlook, and my computer was back to full speed.
(Finally I decided to uncover why Outlook would start up, I found the problem in an old calendar item and was able to delete it.)
Good luck, have fun, and be careful!
Monday, May 09, 2011
We can learn a lot from baseball
By Harvey Mackay
Baseball and spring go together. Both seem to create optimism that is contagious.
Not long ago I stopped by a local playground to watch a Little League baseball game. To get myself up to speed, I asked one of the youngsters what the score was.
"We're behind 16 to nothing," he answered.
"I must say you don't seem discouraged," I said. "Why is that?"
"Discouraged?" said the boy, "why should we be discouraged? We haven't been up to bat yet."
What a lesson in optimism! As I thought more about this positive attitude, I realized there are a lot of business lessons that we can learn from our national pastime.
Invention. Babe Ruth is credited with the invention of the modern baseball bat. He was the first player to order a bat with a knob on the end of the handle, with which he hit 29 home runs in 1919. The famous name of that bat was Louisville Slugger, which has become synonymous with baseball.
You can overcome faults and be successful. Can you imagine a major league baseball player leading the league in making the most errors...in striking out the most times...in hitting into the most double plays -- and still being voted Most Valuable Player for that year? In 1942, Joe Gordon did all those things -- yet still won the MVP award that season in the American League.
There is no "I" in team. "It is important for sales managers to acknowledge what every baseball manager instinctively knows - that every championship team needs good bunters as well as long ball hitters," said Harry Artinian, former vice president of corporate quality at Colgate-Palmolive Company. "It is the good sacrifice hitter who can advance the man on base to a position where the long ball hitter can drive him home. And you know what -- at the end of a successful World Series, the bunters and the long ball hitters all wear the same ring, and they all have the same equal shares in the bonus pool."
Negotiation. After a poor year pitching for the New York Yankees in the 1930s, legendary pitcher Lefty Gomez was asked to accept a salary cut from $20,000 to $7,500 a year. Reeling, Gomez asked the Yankees, "How about you keep the salary and pay me the cut."
Little things mean a lot ... Not true. Little things mean everything. When the famous baseball player Ty Cobb reached first base, he had what seemed to be a nervous habit of kicking the bag. It wasn't until he retired from baseball that the secret came out. By kicking the bag hard several times, Cobb was able to move it a full two inches closer to second base. A terror on the bases, Cobb figured this tiny advantage was enough to improve his chances of stealing second or making it safely on a hit. Anything to win the game! The mark of a real competitor.
Take pride in your work. Joe DiMaggio of the New York Yankees had a fierce pride about always doing his best. The Yankees were on the road for a doubleheader against the St. Louis Browns. The day was not only boiling hot, the Browns were last place in the league. Despite this, DiMaggio made an off-hand comment that he was looking forward to playing that day. "In this heat!" said an amazed sportswriter. "How can you enjoy playing a doubleheader in stifling weather like this?" Glancing toward the grandstand, DiMaggio said, "Maybe somebody out there has never seen me play before."
Keep your focus. People who attain success have learned to forget past failures and concentrate on present goals. Baseball great Babe Ruth was once asked what he thought about after he struck out. "I think about hitting home runs," the Babe answered.
The importance of attitude. A winning attitude is critical in competing for business against all-star competition, said Norman R. Augustine, former chairman of Lockheed Martin Corporation. It's also very much a part of sports. One baseball manager with an interesting slant on winning said, "You only have to bat 1,000 in two things, flying and heart transplants. Everything else you can go four for five." Some teams, like some businesses, have attitudes that inevitably guarantee failure. A Pittsburgh Pirates coach once said, "I managed a team that was so bad, we considered a 2-and-0 count (two balls, no strikes) a rally."
Mackay's Moral: In the immortal words of Yogi Berra, "You can observe a lot by just watching."
Sunday, May 08, 2011
I'm a guy.
I'm a son.
I'm a Dad.
I'm a Step-dad.
I'm a husband.
And yet I am amazed at a lot of the women I've had in my 51 years of life.
I only had one grandparent in my life, my mom's mom. The others passed away before I was born.
She was married 3 times. She had her two children with her second husband and her third husband also passed away prematurely. Health care in the 1930's wasn't up to the standards we have today. So she worked as a single mother of 2 and did an excellent job as a mom.
There is my own mother whom I written about in the past. And I've had two mother-in-laws since I have been married twice.
Both of them along with my own Mom I easily call amazing women.
Despite some of the differences that my first wife and I had, we continue to have a good relationship and one of the reasons is dedication to our three children that surpassed our own relationship.
It's been 11 years since I met my wife Kathy and her daughter Abby, two more amazing women that have enriched my life.
I have two daughters, Rachael who is getting married in 20 days and Tiffany who married nearly 5 years ago and looks like she is ready to burst as she will be a Mom in less than 20 days!
Last year we welcomed Madeline to our family as she married my son Josh. (We actually welcomed her a long time ago, but they made it official 10-10-10).
I cherish the many roles I have had as a guy in the lives of all these women and in honor of Mothers Day, at this moment I am putting the final touches of a special Mothers Day dinner I created as my Kathy,(pictured above) spent the day working today.
Please be sure to let the amazing women in your life known that you cherish them today too.