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TLC Business Solutions, a division of Innovative Strategic Business Solutions, Inc., is a Certified Public Bookkeeping firm providing QuickBooks consulting, bookkeeping, payroll and financial management services to small to medium size businesses.

~ We help you improve the profitability, cash flow and financial condition of your small business.

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A Part Time Thing

Posted By on February 22, 2011

Most people are looking for a little more income these days. Those who relied on overtime to pay down bills are now glad to have a full time job. It simply does not make sense to get a part time job, because most of them only pay $9.00 per hour. That is only $36.00 for another half a day of work and it’s less after taxes. It hardly seems worth it.

Many are discovering the power of owning a part time business. There are substantial tax savings for business owners. Check with your tax preparer for details. But you may be thinking that you don’t have time to get a new business off the ground. Don’t they typically take years before they turn a profit? Yes, unless you join a company that has an established product or service with adequate market demand. You will find many of these companies when you investigate Network Marketing.

Network Marketing is much like the old co-ops, which were started by farmers. It was too expensive for a small farmer to own a large warehouse, so they pulled with other farmers and worked together. Everyone benefited because of the combined effort. You can make profits by only working 10-15 hours per week with a Network Marketing company. You can work by yourself or you can recruit others to join with you. You will help train and encourage them, and the company pays you a bonus on the work they produce. Many have produced more income form their part time business then they make at their full time job.

Passive or residual income is an important consideration when choosing a company. passive income is when you make one sale, but get paid over and over again for that sale. This happens when customers reorder or continue paying for a service year after year.

Here are some things to look for in a Network Marketing company:

  • Two or more years in business. Network Marketing requires a large volume of cash to operate and pay everyone. During the 1980s, Texas Instruments decided to market a home computer through Network Marketing, it was called Tronics. The division went bankrupt within two years because Texas Instruments was bleeding cash and could not keep up with product demand.
  • Evaluate the market demand. Is anyone else providing similar products or services? Search Ebay and Craigslist to see if you can find products discounted. This is a bad sign.
  • Is the company selling something that will continue to be valuable for years to come, or is it a fad like the pet rock?
  • How easy is it for someone to reorder? When someone runs out, how long does it take to get more? If it takes too long, they will buy something else at the local store.
  • Does the company have a good reputation or do people run in fear at the mention of the name? Amway is one of the oldest Network Marketing companies in the country, but their reputation has been damaged by aggressive recruiting techniques. They are now spending millions of dollars to rebuild confidence in their name, but it will take years.
  • Go with a company where distributors do not make money by recruiting someone. They should only be paid if someone purchases products or services. Otherwise people will simply concentrate on recruiting rather then training and selling product.

I am involved in a company with a strong history and very little competition. If interested, you may E-mail me for more information.

Ken Bear Cole

ken@aslbc.com

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Baby Boomers Are Changing Course

Posted By on February 11, 2011

Too many workers are unemployed these days, but that is the price for working for others. You become subject to their business ups and downs. You are strapped into the ride and have little control of market shifts or downsizing.

Some will get on another ride, but few will be able to create financial security. No matter how hard you work, or how much money you bring into the company, you only get paid once. You are only trading time for dollars.

Many Baby Boomers are tired of being replaced with a younger person who will work for less. Retirement is approaching and the well is running dry. So what can they do? The old thought of working for someone else is not looking kindly on this gereration. They need Passive or Residual Income.The ability to continue to be paid for work you do once.

Network Marketing has been the answer for many. Too many of us have had negative experiences from a network marketer who acted like a lion, hiding in the bushes, at the watering hole. They were waiting for someone to take a drink and they pounced. These individuals often have few friends, because of their unprofessional actions. That is no way to do business. With the endorsements of people like Robert Kiyosaki, the author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Network Marketing has been drawing a more professional crowd.

Network Marketing is a viable way to earn an income, build management skills and learn more about running a company. You don’t need to be a salesperson. Marketing tools with professional presentations, are available on line to E-mail to friends and others who are looking to get ahead. You are able to purchase the rights to market a company’s products or services without needing to pay for the expenses of employee payroll or facility costs. Like the Insurance Industry, you are able to build a team of representatives, from which you receive commission and overrides. Most of these companies have a small fee (usually under $500) for the rights to represent the company, but don’t be fooled by the low buy-in. You could be purchasing a gold mine, if the company is sound and has withstood the growing pains of Network Marketing.

Not all companies survive this transition. During the 1980’s Texas Instruments came out with a home computer and decided to market the product via Network Marketing. They became so overwhelmed with orders that the factory could not keep up. The division was closed within two years and lawsuits followed because of breach of contract.

And then there are the scams that pop up offering a “ground floor opportunity.” I recommend that you only deal with a company that has been doing this for at least two years. At first there are many kinks to be worked out of the system.

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The Federal Government Is Helping Again

Posted By on February 7, 2011

No they are not lowering your taxes, but the have set up a number for disgruntled workers to call. The department of labor has set up an 800 number, which rings at the American Bar Association. They have attorneys who will hear complaints and represent workers on a contingent basis. This will undoubtedly increase lawsuits, which could prevent some smaller employers from hiring additional workers.

A few employers or managers do overstep their bounds at times, and they should be reigned in or fined; but that is not the norm. Often when companies are fined, the money goes to the government agency rather then the worker. The worker will typically need to file a civil lawsuit against their employer to recover damages. This could become a lengthy process taking years before a trial date is chosen.

Lawsuits cost money even if you are not in the wrong. Employers will need to hire an attorney, pay court fees and spend additional time preparing a defense. All of these things are an additional drain on company resources. This comes at a time when many businesses are struggling to keep their people working. Unwarranted legal action could cause some to simply give up and close the doors. A quick arbitration between the worker and employer could be a much more cost-effective answer to the problem.

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Bold Move

Posted By on February 1, 2011

I am always impressed when a person or company makes a bold move in business. January 30, 2011 was one of those days.

“Under the terms of the deal, the New York buyout company will acquire all outstanding shares of Pre-Paid for $66.50 each.”

MidOcean Partners purchased PrePaid Legal for $650 Million. They are purchasing ALL shares of stock to return the company to a privately held company.

Companies go public to raise capital to fund growth and expansion. To reverse this process, is an indication that the new investors see huge potential in a company. An advantage of being a private corporation is that you reduce administration costs, which are required by the Security and Exchange Commission. You do not need to make decisions just to satisfy stockholders. Private corporations can choose to reinvest funds back into the company to improve market share and profits. A financially sound private corporation is also free from investors who buy short, or bet on the company’s stock to go down. Short sellers are known to spread rumors of trouble within the company, even when things are going well.

This purchase will take six months or so to complete. Time will tell, but it looks like good things are in store for Stockholders, Employees, Members and Associates of PrePaid Legal.

Ken Cole

Kenbearcole.com

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Team Management

Posted By on January 29, 2011

A man goes into a pet store and purchases a turtle for his 4 year-old-son. Three days later, the same man returns the turtle, complaining that the turtle will not come out of its shell. So the pet store owner replaces the turtle and the man leaves. Three more days pass and the man, his son and the replacement turtle return. This time the turtle has blisters on it’s feet. The customer is complaining about the poor condition of the turtles and wants a different turtle. The store owner asks the 4 year-old to show him how he plays with the turtle. The little boy takes the turtle, places him on the store’s carpet, and goes Vroom! Vroom! Vroom! As he slides the turtle on the carpet.

Sometimes we can overwhelm our new recruits with our excitement. If we push them too hard, they may crawl back into their shell to hide from us. Others may try to keep up with our expectations, only to become exhausted, while a few will catch fire and go like a race car.

It’s important to understand the needs of the individuals within our organizations and motivate them appropriately.

The Detail Oriented People

These will need to consume a lot of information regarding the company and our memberships before they feel comfortable presenting the membership to others. They believe in being through. Often they become bogged down in the details and never present the membership in an uncomplicated manor. These people need to be trained to show the DVD rather then explain things on their own. Dress: These people are sharp dressers. Everything matches and is in place.

Power People

You may believe that you want to fill your team with these power players, but do you have the people skills to handle these headstrong players? Most of these individuals believe that they know what is best. They desire control. If you are able to encourage, motivate and guide these people, they can become a great asset to the team. Do not get into a power struggle with this personality type, fore they will dig in their heals and refuse to give in. They must be allowed to give input. Dress: Power people want to impress you, so they will be neatly dressed. Their attire will match the occasion.

Fun Loving

Life and most of its tasks need to be enjoyable for this group. They want to laugh and can be wonderful team players. It is truly sad when they become depressed. Without fun they simply don’t want to participate. Many will respond well to competition as long as they believe they have a chance of winning a prize. Dress: This group enjoys bright colors.

The Easy Going

These people do not make quick decisions. They are methodical and have a strong sense of fairness. They do not want to be involved in conflicts. Some of these individuals choose the path of least resistance and do not want to disappoint anyone. Dress: Casual and comfortable are key terms for this group’s clothing line.

Few of us are strictly one personality type. We tend to be a blend of two different groups. I want to have fun, but I also want to do things correctly. If I cannot have fun and I have little influence, then I do not want to play.

See if you can find yourself in these groups. I would be helpful if you could find what motivates your team members. That will make it easier to help them achieve their goals.

Ken Bear Cole

http://KenBearCole.com

503-702-0930

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What Will You Do?

Posted By on January 25, 2011

I was a good kid as a teen. I did not take drugs, drink or cause much trouble. I was an athlete and hung out with other teammates. But there were times that the cops showed up. At that time, I thought that only criminals should be afraid or the police. I now think differently.

Being a police officer if a difficult job. A great deal of stress comes with the job. Like all of us, cops have bad days. Police officers are at greater risk of divorce and alcohol abuse then the average person because they live with a higher level of dailey stress. More people are carrying firearm or other weapons, so it is difficult to be a nice guy as a cop.

I don’t worry much anymore about dealing with abusive law enforcement officers, because I have a magic tool. I carry a tag on my key chain that has a number to an attorney. These lawyers man that number 24/7, so if I am detained, questioned, arrested, or served with a warrant, I can speak to a live attorney. As long as I have not been drinking or under the influence of drugs, my attorney will also speak to the officer at that time.

I wish I had this service a few years ago, when a racist cop falsified information to obtain an arrest warrant for a black employee of mine. We were working 300 miles from home and did not know many people in the town. I lied to the officer and was arrested along with my worker. I was released within hours, but my employee was detained for over two weeks. He was later released in the middle of the night over 350 miles from home and he did not have my phone number. It some how disappeared from his belongings during his stay with the county. It took him over a month to get home.

I will never be without my keychain tag again. It is well worth it to know my family and I are safe. I also make sure that each of my children also carry one of these cards, so if they are stopped, they can call an attorney to get important advise.  If you want to know more about this service, pleasde E-mail me at ken@aslbc.com

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5 Ways To Grow During A Recession

Posted By on August 11, 2010

  • Increase Customer Service

Customer Service is being resurrected from the dead. Many markets have downsized, which has caused stiff competition. Your customers are being offered lower pricing, which is a contest to see who can go out of business first.

You can compete in that contest or provide outstanding service. Many buyers are rapidly becoming fed up with low price lures only to be charged extra for previously included services. The Air Lines are one of the best examples of this scheme. “Oh, you are taking luggage on your trip, well that will cost more. Sorry, but because of national security, you are no longer allowed to bring food on board the plane. We will be offering a sandwich and soda during the flight for only $10.”

An increasing number of customers are willing to pay and purchase more when they realize you offer better customer service. A generous return policy will cause people to purchase more of something when they know they can return the unused items. But the truth is that many of your customers will not return those items, which means more profit for you.

  • More Market Exposure

If you are still relying on the Yellow Pages for customers, you are wasting precious advertising dollars, unless you are targeting senior citizens who do not own a computer. This is a continuingly shrinking market that could be gone within 10 years. Yellow pages are trying to persuade advertisers that they have the knowledge to transfer your marketing from print to the web, but it is a difficult sell, because web marketing takes a differnet set of skills.

An increased Internet presence with important information targeted toward your most profitable customers will bring in more sales. The old adage of “See The People,” still holds true. Marketing and Sales is a numbers game, but numbers along are not the key. You must continue to research your customer and place your message where it is easily accessible. Strategic partnering is especially important for smaller companies with limited advertising budgets. Who can you help, that can help you?

  • Optimize Efficiency

During this recession, many employees have been asked to do more work with less help. Too often owners and managers have not acknowledged or thanked those employees for doing more. This has resulted in additional stress and many employees looking for a chance to escape to a different company with hopes that things will be better. A simple “Thank You” along with other expressions of appreciations will go a long way to building cohesiveness among your employees. Allow your employees to share and shed activities among themselves. Everyone has one or more required work activities they dread. These are very easy to spot because they go undone until they are forced. It may be filing for some, but others love to file and organize. Give your employees freedom to trade some activities. I know this is terrifying for some of you managers, but isn’t it better to allow your employees to enjoy their work? You will find that things are done quicker and with greater efficiency. Yes, some things will probably slip through the cracks at first, but that is where your management and motivational skill come into play to help your team determine how to prevent the problems.

  • Give Things Away

“Buy X and get Y for Free!” We have all heard the pitch and many of us have taken advantage of some of the offers. Providing free stuff during a recession simply makes sense. Bundling products and services is also a good way to increase your sales. The freebee is to get more customers to call, come to your facility or visit your website. It’s all about traffic and more opportunities for your customers to purchase.

  • Reduce Debt

Interest payments and burdensome debt can cause a business to collapse under the strain and demand for capital. It is a good idea to lessen debt before you decide to expand. Growth is always risky. It requires capital and best-made plans do not always work out. If you can reduce your debt during a recession you will be in a better place then your competition and banks will be more willing to extend lines of credit for operating capital once you have proven your ability to repay loans.

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Is Your Old Photocopier An Invitation For Espionage And ID Theft?

Posted By on August 4, 2010

According to CBS News report released April 15, 2010, your old discarded photocopier could become a treasure chest for Identity Thieves. If your Copier / Scanner / FAX machine was manufactured 2002 or later, it contains a hard drive with records of all the documents processed on the machine. That’s right, checks with account numbers, personnel documents, company financials, … ECT. Not only is this a huge security issue, but also it is in violation of the new HIPAA requirements to protect employee and customer private information. Opps!

I received a heads up from a computer repair company offering to clean out the hard drive of any of my old machines, but this is a serious problem. Thieves are working overtime to make money off your errors.

I am not recommending replacing your office technology with a legal pad and pen, but it is just one more thing to do while running a business. Ain’t life grand!

Ken Bear Cole

A Second Look Business Consulting

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Opportunity or Nightmare?

Posted By on July 23, 2010

Soon every business will need to generate a form 1099 for each company, vendor or person you pay $600 or more during the course of a year. This process should be able to be automated within your accounts payable department. I am not aware of any software program offering this, but mark my word; it is being developed as this article is being written.

Here is another opportunity to select solutions to a problem that every company is facing. This could be your chance to become a hero and increase your company profitability. But, don’t move too fast to produce a product, which is not properly tested. The legal impact could become a devastating tidal wave of lawsuits. If you are not sure, do not present the product to the marketplace.

One caution for everyone impacted by this new government requirement, make sure any new software has a penalty clause within the agreement in case the program fails to perform as promised. Yes this will add to your overhead because of the required monitoring, but you must comply or face fines from the IRS. Ouch!!!

Some micro businesses with 5 or less employees could be hit hard by this requirement. It may cause companies on the edge to close up shop. I think the true impact on employment will not be known for a couple of years when the IRS starts handing out fines.

So comply or die.

Ken Bear Cole

A Second Look Business Consulting LLC

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SEO, Internet Marketing, Web Design, Web 2.0 tips 2010-07-14 16:34:00

Posted By on July 14, 2010

Orange County Web Design

Today, RG Pacific is going to provide some basic web design tips to help you out. We have recently used these simple web design tips to improve one of our client’s sites, located in Orange County. Just through utilizing these easy steps, the web design on your site will improve drastically.

1) Your site needs to offer something valuable.
a. For example, our client in Orange County is offering fashion and styling services. The web design of the site is useful and interesting to visitors.

2) Allow users to navigate easily.
a. Believe it or not, being able to navigate easily determines how long a visitor stays to explore the site.
b. If you go on the site for the Orange County client, the easy navigation of their web design forces you to stay on the page longer without you even noticing.

3) Have a clean layout design.
a. The cleaner your site, the neater it looks. Try using Dreamweaver templates to help your web design. Sometimes big, flashy colors and pop-ups can be a distraction.

4) Program with pure CSS.
a. More and more web designers are using pure CSS websites. Learning minor details such as text links rollover, CSS style bulleting, and making links without underlining will improve your website.
b. The client in Orange County’s web design used to be more table-based but now he switched to pure CSS and it has definitely made a difference.

5) Minimize Clicking, page length, and load time.
a. Let there be as minimal clicks between your visitor and the information you are providing as possible. With technology nowadays, people do not like waiting for pages to load. Make sure the load time on your page is low. And even though you want to provide a lot of information on each page, try and limit each page to two screenfuls.
b. My client in Orange County has the fastest load time compared to his competitors. By removing unwanted tags and unused scripts and using Server Side Include (SSI) files allow your site to load faster.

6) Make sure your contact information or at least a link to it is on every page.
a. This is one of the most important tips of web design because you want your visitors to be able to have access to your contact information anytime, which then will turn in more revenue.

7) Ensure your web design is scalable and your browser is compatible.
a. With the latest technology, computer configurations vary and the web design of your site may not be compatible. 95% of the world’s browsers include Internet Explorer 5+, Mozilla, Safari, and Google Chrome so making sure your web design is compatible is crucial.

8) Last but not least, make sure your website works and keeps on working.
a. Although it may sound obvious, checking your site is probably the most important tip of web design. Making sure everything is in place is key.
b. My client in Orange County has included a “Last Modified” link on the bottom of one of his pages in order to ensure his web design is up to date and working.

Although these tips may be redundant, they will definitely improve your site’s web design. With an improved web design, more people will be attracted; therefore, bringing in more traffic and more importantly, revenue. You can ask my client in Orange County. With the help of RG Pacific, their business has moved forward.
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