The Sale of Services During a Recession Needs a New Business Model

Most people are finding it just a bit harder to sell business services in today’s tough markets, not because of competition, but because customers are holding off writing deals. What can we do to get them moving?In our business we are turning down offers from people, not because we don’t need their stuff, but because we need our cash more! Our guess is the majority of businesses feel the same way. Cash is King. Money is tight for everybody, and businesses are pessimistic about when things are going to improve.So is there a strategy that unlocks the customer’s check book? We think so. That strategy is value sharing.Value sharing works both ways, on the upside as well as the downside. It works for the customer, because his/her risk is mitigated. If the project doesn’t pay off the supplier has something to lose. Failure means both parties share the pain.It works for the vendor, because when the project pays off there’s a bonus related to the value created. The customer goes along with the idea when his primary motivation is avoiding risk. The vendor goes along when the fee rates don’t properly reward the contribution.For some services providers value sharing can be a bitter pill to swallow. After all they just want their day rates. But what happens when the customer needs the service, and will build value with it, but won’t sign on the dotted line? Everybody loses.Doing a value sharing deal unlocks the check book, albeit maybe for a smaller fee, and opens the opportunity for much bigger upside. And there’s a much bigger win.Once they’ve figured out a way to share value, the parties aren’t customer and supplier anymore. They’re partners, with a common interest in making it work. And there’s further upside for the services provider. The customer won’t even think about working with anybody else on the next deal.Value sharing unlocks deals, increases revenue and margins, and locks in customers. Look at the success of the Business Process Outsourcing industry. Those guys figured out, a long time ago, that mitigating the customer’s risk enabled higher rewards for the supplier.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

What Is Fashion? Fashion Redefined to Mean More Than “Vogue”

Fashion is for Every Woman!

Today fashion encompasses more than what is worn on the runways of New York City during Fashion Week, or what is in the recent Vogue magazine. What is fashion – Fashion is for EVERY woman! Every women has a desire to be fashionable whether they act on that desire or not. This desire to look better can be snuffed out because the world of fashion is such a big industry. There are so many styles and options, where would one start? What clothing should I buy? Should I wear the “in” style? I couldn’t possibly look fashionable, because I don’t have the body of the women in the magazines.

I have a confession to make, I had the same questions and I was intimidated by fashion. I looked at magazines picturing beautiful women, that looked amazing, and were flawless. These women represented what beauty was for me, and the harder I tried to attain this beauty the emptier I felt. As a women, I desire to be both beautiful and fashionable, but those two words created fear, uncertainty, and confusion. Woman want to feel confident, satisfied, and desirable, yet so many of us are living lives that are less than what they could be, because we are not embracing the woman we were created to be; instead we’re trying to be someone else.

Embracing Who I Am

I was trying to squeeze myself into another woman’s body, another woman’s style, and another woman’s beauty. As I looked at myself and started to embrace my unique body, style and beauty, the fear, uncertainty and confusion were slowly replaced with confidence! What surprised me was this new confidence was not solely in how I viewed my outer appearance, but it was infused in ALL areas of my life.

As I changed and simplified how I saw fashion, I was able to enter the fashion world and create a unique and personal style that represented ME! If you’re curious, read on to see how I redefined the words to make it easier to enter this overwhelming world:

  • Fashion – What clothing can I wear that will bring out my BEST features, and will make me look good and feel good.
  • Style – The “look” I feel most comfortable and confident in.
  • Body Shape – God designed me with a certain shape, and if I am at a healthy weight no amount of exercise and dieting will change my bone structure to something different.
  • Beauty – Being able to accept and embrace all that God has designed me to be, inwardly and outwardly!

Using Fashion As A Tool

I have always loved fashion, but for a long time I went about looking good in all the wrong ways! I now use fashion as a tool to reflect my inner beauty, character, and personality to others through my outward appearance. You can too! Find, accept and embrace who you are, and then dress to bring out your BEST through fashion and style! Find clothes that look good and feel good, find a style that you feel confident and comfortable emulating, and allow your inner beauty to shine through your outer appearance!

What is fashion? Fashion is creating a wardrobe with clothing you love – clothes that makes you feel good, look good, and give you confidence – you will SHINE! People will look at you differently, treat you differently, and see you in a new light. A light that says, “She cares about herself! She knows and is confident in who she is! She will make a difference in this world!” If you didn’t know already, you were created to make a difference! What are you waiting for? Go light up your world!

By: Torrie Chizek

Posted in Fashion | Tagged | Comments Off

Know How to Set Up a Garden in Your Backyard

There are several small garden designs and most of those depend on the geometrical shapes to give good impact such as straight hedges and walls, or else having paths that have perfect right angles at every bend, along with having geometric shaped beds.

Let us consider one of formal herb first. This kind of garden is laid on either a circular theme or square theme, and the paths in it bisects each other into equal-sized segments with double borders, which is also found in traditional gardens. The other types of small garden designs are walled gardens, carpet bedding gardens, pergolas, terraces, and more. All these are considered to be formal gardens. The basic concept of formal garden is its geometrical space, either in a traditional plan or modern way.

Next in garden design is the informal one. Informal small garden is just opposite of formal garden design. In this there is no straight line. The lawn edges curve gently in such informal gardens, the beds of it are cut into natural contours, and the paths usually meanders round bends having plants spilling over the edges.

One best example of informal garden is cottage gardens having island beds and woodland walks. The paving areas in such garden are irregular, and the hedges with peepholes cut in it.

The third type is traditional garden designs. In fact we think such garden to be a sort of scaled-down with a lawn, herbaceous border and shrubberies.

There are more variations in types of gardens. Below are few based on the region or era:

English Country Garden

Very popular type, This is a composition of those flowers and plants which are typically found in English countryside. Few examples are wildflowers, stone benches, rustic wood, and water in the form of small gazing ponds.

Victorian Garden

Believed to be a favorite type of design among older gardeners, this is incorporated with many types of flowers and plants along with stone statues, gargoyles, cherubs, or lots of Victorian roses, bejeweled gazing balls, fairy balls, and footpaths.

Japanese Garden

As the name goes, it follows a Japanese tradition. The Japanese garden spreads in a small land such as in your backyard, or a teahouse. At the heart of the garden stands a small structure. It is incorporates traditional design such as feature rocks, a lantern, water in the form of lake or brook, a bridge, or stepping-stones.

French Garden

Known to be always formal, French Garden are usually found at large hotels, houses, theatres, and other such spread away attractions. These type of gardens have precise geometrical and symmetrical patterns following a grid with hedge mazes and topiaries. These are in fact a famous landscape design that is usually used by English nobility.

Native Garden

It is a new concept of gardening sweeping across US. It incorporates only native flowers and plants to make it look more natural based on the region.

Posted in Gardening | Tagged | Comments Off

The CLASS Act – The Federal Health Care Law and Long-Term Care

On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the historic federal health care bill into law. The 2400 page bill is filled with complex provisions that are difficult to dissect. Certain provisions received national attention and were discussed daily on the evening news. For example, we all know that children will be able to remain on their parents’ health care plans until the age of 26, and we know that come 2014, people cannot be denied health coverage because of pre-existing conditions.

What many people do not know, however, is that buried deep within the legislative health care maze is a section that not even President Obama himself mentioned when he signed the health care legislation. The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act, better known as the CLASS Act, creates a voluntary program under which individuals pay a monthly premium and will be eligible for modest benefits for their long-term care needs after five years of paying premiums.

The CLASS program does not take effect until 2011 (realistically 2013), and therefore many of the details have yet to be defined. Over the next few years, the US Department of Health and Human Services will further develop the program. Until then, there exists some helpful information that can assist you, whether you are planning for long-term care or are currently receiving it.

1. Eligibility: Only full-time and part-time employees or self-employed individuals may enroll in the CLASS program. Part-time employees, however, must earn enough annually to pay Social Security taxes, which amount to roughly $1200.

2. Pre-Existing Conditions: Unlike traditional long-term care insurance, the CLASS program does not contain health qualification requirements. Instead, the program will be guaranteed to those who choose to enroll.

3. Waiting Period: Following implementation in 2011, there is a five-year waiting period during which premiums must be paid before the participant becomes eligible to receive benefits. As a result, the earliest anyone could be receiving CLASS benefits may be as late as 2018.

4. Payments and Cost: Money will be withheld from individual paychecks similar to the way taxes are withheld from paychecks. Those who are self-employed may also take advantage of the program, but these provisions will be defined in the coming years. The monthly premium has not yet been determined, however in November, when the Congressional Budget Office analyzed the CLASS program, it assumed a $123 average monthly premium (less for young enrollees, more for older ones).

5. Age: If you are 55 in 2010, you’ll be 58 when CLASS finally starts enrolling participants. You’ll have to be employed for at least three years (to age 61) and then pay until you are at least 63. Remember that the plan calls for payments for five years in order to ultimately be eligible to receive benefits (after meeting the qualifications).

6. Benefits: In November, the Congressional Budget Office assumed a cash benefit of $75 a day, available once a participant needed help with two to three ADL’s, or activities of daily living (eating, bathing, dressing, using the toilet, transferring from bed to chair to wheelchair, continence care), or the equivalent amount of assistance needed because of cognitive impairment. The law says the average minimum benefit must be at least $50 a day.

7. Opting Out: The CLASS program contains an extremely important “opt-out” provision that will be included as part of your employer’s annual employee benefits enrollment period. You will have the choice to decline participation or “opt-out.” If you choose neither, it will be considered that you have said “yes” and premium amounts will automatically be withdrawn. The Department of Health and Human Services is expected to work on this issue to avoid confusion.

My View: If you currently have existing long-term insurance coverage, I recommended that you remain on your current plan. Because the premiums are expected to be quite high, the CLASS program will likely not be attractive to those who already have qualified for individual or employer-based sponsored long-term care insurance. The CLASS Act is clearly a work in progress and will be beneficial to some. However, if you are 50 or older, now is the time to act on long-term care insurance if you haven’t already.

Posted in Law and Issues | Tagged | Comments Off

How to Get Cheap New York Health Insurance

New York City is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in, costing twice as much as any other city in the United States. Is it any wonder, then, that 25% of New York City residents do not have health insurance? If you’re uninsured, here’s how to get cheap New York Health insurance with a reliable company.Health Insurance Costs in New YorkConsider these facts about health insurance in New York:* New Yorkers pay 26% more for health care than the national average.* From 2000 to 2006, health insurance premiums in New York rose five times faster than earnings.New York State InsuranceNew York does provide options to help the uninsured get cheap health insurance. Several state programs are available:* Family Health Plus is a public health insurance program that provides comprehensive coverage for uninsured adults who don’t qualify for Medicaid.* Child Health Plus provides similar coverage for children.* The Healthy NY program helps small business owners provide employees with affordable health insurance.To find out if you’re eligible for any of these programs, go to the New York Department of Health website – – and click on “Health Insurance Programs” under “Site Contents” on the right side of the page.Private Insurance If you aren’t eligible for any of these programs, you can find the cheapest rate on individual or family health insurance by going to an insurance comparison website. Insurance comparison websites let you easily obtain quotes from multiple A-rated insurance companies so you can compare them and choose the cheapest one.The best insurance comparison websites let you talk online with insurance professionals so you can get answers to all your insurance questions and get advice on how to lower your insurance costs. (See link below.)When you choose an insurance company, you want to choose a company that will be reliable and provide you with excellent service. So before you make a final decision, check the New York Consumer Guide to Health Insurers webpage, which ranks insurance companies based on complaint statistics and enrollee satisfaction surveys. Then you’ll be confident that you have the cheapest premium with the best company.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Comments Off