Building a “Successful-Product Pyramid”

Basically, businesses that are into tangible products are on a dead end today. It is because they don’t have an idea on how to create a successful product. Most of the businesses today only adds more features on a certain product and increase its price. They market it as new products even if it is only an improvement of the latter.

It is true that we are lacking enough minds to create a successful product, but deceiving the public is not something that businesses should do. The richest man in the Philippines once said that you have to be honest with your customers if you want them to stay and be loyal in your brand. Well, how can you expect them to stay and be loyal to your brand if you are not giving them what they deserve?

If you wanted to build a successful product, here are some of the important things that you need to know.

Put Innovation as your Product’s Foundation

When creating a product, you should always put innovation as the foundation because in the end, everything comes down on how your product is unique from the others. It is really hard to create a unique product and it is also the reason why every company spends a lot of time, effort and money to create a new product.

Instead of wasting time thinking of adding new features on an already existing product, think of a new product. It will take time, but you don’t have to release new products on a regular basis. You can always add features and tell them that it will be a new addition to the products. You don’t have to add features and increase the price of the item.

Your Product should be Functional

The term “Functional” is not only for electronic products. It can be applied to all the other products on the market today. Let’s say that you already have an idea on what to product, the question is how can you make it functional? You cannot sell an idea. Your idea should be functional if you want people to buy it. If your product will not live up to what you are claiming, it will never be successful no matter what you do.

If you think that the idea of the product is good enough or the design, it should be functional first. It should be a step by step process. You can determine the functions of a product unless you innovate first. You cannot make a design unless you do the first two.

Think of an Attractive Design

Don’t overdo the design because you are not selling a product just because of designs. Make it look attractive and make sure that the functions will not be affected in any way. This is the last step in the successful product pyramid. Even if it is only about the design, it plays a very important role in the marketing of the product.

Many business owners and Filipino billionaires know about this, but only a few are using this. It should be done by business owners if they want to make a successful product.

10 Things You Have To Know About Wooden Garages

Wood structures are pretty much the hottest fad in the real estate world right now. Log cabins are growing in popularity, backyard sheds made of lumber are hot ticket items and gazebos are an obsession. Even wooden garages are a big hit and you may be considering getting your own to take advantage of the many benefits it can provide.

Here are ten things you should know about wooden garages before you buy.

You Have To Regularly Keep It Clean – This is a big deal and one too many people ignore. Dirt may just slide off of metal siding but it can cause damage to wood. When you get a wooden garage you are committing to keeping it clean and maintained. That will keep pests out of the corners, or from burrowing into the lumber.

Staining Is Necessary – Another element to maintaining your wooden garage is staining it. This has to be done every three to five year to maintain the integrity and health of the lumber. If you don’t do it the logs will crack, blanch and possible let in pests like termites. The wood may also become warped or even rot from the inside. Luckily it isn’t an expensive investment, is simple to do yourself and there are many environmentally friendly chemicals to choose from for the tasks.

It Is Prone To Pests – As mentioned above, wood is attractive to pests. Termites, spiders, ants, rats, mice, even racoon..they like the wood. For the most part this won’t be an issue as long as you stain your wood, keep the garage clean and look out for cracks. But if you find a hole you should fill it as quickly as possible to avoid an infestation.

Materials Can Be Expensive – Looking at the cost of building a wooden garage you may be shocked by the discrepancy in cost when compared to metal structures. The other side to that argument would be how sturdy lumber tends to be, as well as how attractive it is. People who buy wooden structures are essentially investing in the property. When you look at it that way you will see why the cost can be worth it.

Pre-fabs Are More Cost Effective – If the price tag on a custom built wooden garage is a deal breaker it may be time to consider an alternative. Pre-fabs are much more inexpensive, fitting into most budgets. They come in multiple sizes with various features, such as automatic doors, or even manual double doors for a more rustic look. These will average between $1500 and $5000 for most models, though more complex garages can be more.

You Can Fix Them Yourself – This is a big plus for a lot of folks who don’t want to have to turn to a contractor to fix future problems. Wood is easier to work with than metal and you can replace whole logs if you have to. Any lumber seller, from hardware stores to wood based recycling centers, can help you find the right size, color, shape and weight to make a repair. But in many cases you can just to small patch jobs to take care of problems. If you maintain your garage properly it might never even come up. On the other hand, if you do need someone to come and fix it for you it isn’t hard to find contractors who can deal with wood. Metal repairs can cost more.

Damp Can Ruin The Wood – It can’t be said enough, you have to stain your wooden garage regularly! Staining seals the wood and keeps moisture out of the lumber. When the stain begins to breakdown it will no longer repel water. The damp will push its way into the logs and start to rot it from the inside. Warping will form, pushing the logs out and causing gaps where the wood has shrunk. Heat will make it expand again, exacerbating the problem. Cracks will form in the surface, letting in more damp and in some cases various pests. All it takes is a bit of rain when the garage isn’t properly fitted and you will have to replace full logs. Make sure you prevent it!

They Can Be Used as More Than Garages – Some people are choosing these structures, but not for their cars. Wooden garages make great sheds, extra rooms and even guest houses. Depending on the size you select (and that of your car) you might be able to share the space for multiple purposes. All it takes is a bit of imagination and you can turn it into anything you like. Because of the low price it might also act as an alternative to more expensive structures you were considering putting on your property.

They Improve The Look Of Your Property – Let’s face it, metal garages are ugly. They take up too much space, make weird noises in storms and are just an eyesore. Wooden garages look great, have a classic feel and are popular for a reason. If you want to make your property look as good as possible, especially if you are considering a sale in the future, this is a great step to take. Throw that metal garage in the trash heap where it belongs.

They Can Increase The Value Of Your Home – This is one of the biggest reasons people choose to go with wooden garages. There are many different upgrades you can do to increase the value of your home. Some people put in swimming pools, others go with guest houses in the backyard. Others put in a rock garden or install solar panels. Wooden garages are a practical upgrade the looks good while being fully functional. That gives it an edge to many of the other improvements, especially given the lower cost.

Apartment Rent Back Advice

When financial problems arise, many people become frustrated and sad. Working professionals, who earn a fixed salary, might lose heart when they do not get a raise. You might have planned to buy an apartment (when you get a raise). But when you fail to get a raise, you might not be able to purchase that apartment.

Interest rates have been volatile lately, causing many borrowers to have issues making their payments. Banks are nervous and might tighten the rules as to when payments can be made. This can be avoided by using the apartments rent back option. Investigate it to make sure it is the right option for you. Loosing some value up front might be better than losing your home altogether.

Using the “sell and rent back” scheme, you can prevent the bank from seizing your apartment. The “sell and rent back” scheme is making waves all over UK and USA. Hundreds of people have benefited from this method. Using the “apartments rent back” scheme, the owner can transfer the ownership of his apartment for a fixed time period during which he is required to pay a fixed rent.

If you are not sure whether you will be able to pay the installments of your home-loan, then you must consider the “rent back” option. There are many private companies which offer you this scheme and that too at reasonable rates. The “apartments rent back” scheme allows you to stay as tenants in your apartment by paying a fixed rent every month.

When looking for the best apartment rent back guide the internet is a good place to start. There is much information available online regarding these programs and companies that offer these services. Try an internet search with the terms “homes for rent by owner” and you should get some good information.

If you are seriously looking thinking about apartments rent back ideas it is wise to check with people you know in the real estate industry or other reputable real estate companies to get their thoughts and advice. It is good to keep in mind that if you find yourself in trouble paying your mortgage that the apartments rent back program is always available to help.

Package Forwarding Service

As far as international shipping is concerned, you have many options. But one of the best options is hiring a good package forwarding service. Let’s take an example Suppose you reside in Australia or UK, and you want to buy an item from eBay or Amazon. In this case, you have to use a package forwarding service. This service will help you save a lot of money, as you won’t need to pay high shipping charges. it’s not difficult to use such service. Read on to know more.

Registration

First of all, you need to choose a package forwarding site. Once you have a good and reliable provider, your next step is to sign up to get an account. By signing up, you will receive a forwarding address. You will use this address to meet your shipping and shopping needs from time to time.

Make sure you check everything carefully before signing up. The shipping cost shouldn’t be too high. Aside from this, you need to find out about other services offered by the provider, such as package consolidation, repackaging and fees, just to name a few. it’s very important that you take all these things into consideration or you will regret your decision later on.

Address details

As far as entering your address is concerned, you can use the same address you saved at the time of signing up for the first time. Once you have chosen the address, you can go ahead and place your order. This way you won’t have to type your address each time you place a new order. Next, you should wait for the delivery of the package from the seller to your address.

Package handling

Now, you need to make arrangements for your parcel handling like repacking. Another option that you can consider is package consolidation. When you place orders with many retailers, you can try out this option. You can save a lot of money with package consolidation. However, you need to keep in mind that choosing this option may add to the custom duty for some countries. In this case, what you need to do is get the package sent separately instead of paying high custom duty.

Shipping fee

Keep in mind that you will have to pay the international shipping fee if you want to get the package at your doorstep. Once you have paid the shipping, the package will be yours.

Important things to consider

You may want to prefer a forwarder that charges no membership fee
Remember: lower shipping fee can’t be translated to reduced total amount
For package delivery in tax-free states, you can save more.
Consider the membership fees
Make sure there are no hidden fees, such as storage fees
Don’t place your order for prohibited items as they won’t be forwarded

Long story short, if you are going to choose a package forwarding service in the near future, we suggest that you consider the advice given in this article. This will save you a lot of headache down the road.

Curate and Control Your Online Reputation

Shakespeare, in Act 2 of his circa 1603 play Othello, said it best: Reputation, reputation, reputation. It is the original personal brand and one of the defining realities of our lives. For Solopreneur consultants and other self-employed professionals, reputation governs the number and quality of projects made available to us and therefore, reputation impacts our income and the kind of life we’re able to live. It pays, in more ways than one, to cultivate a peerless reputation and guard it vigorously.

In the internet age that is especially so, in both the personal and professional sectors. Mistakes and mischaracterizations made in digital formats are extremely difficult to dodge, ignore, deny, or correct. One’s online reputation is the ultimate flypaper. Take steps to ensure that what sticks to your name is all good.

Images

Along with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest are the sites where images of you are most likely to be posted, by yourself and others. When cameras are around, meaning whenever anyone has a cell phone, which is about 24/7, make sure that your behavior represents you and your brand well.

There’s nothing wrong with being photographed in an obviously casual gathering. Just make sure that you (or others) are not in the midst of activities that could be misconstrued and reflect poorly on you sometime in the future. If you regularly appear in photos that you know or suspect will be posted to social media sites, counteract with a photo of your own that shows you at work, paid or volunteer. Balance your accounts, so to speak, and show that there is more to you than non-stop partying.

Content

Create and regularly post original content that makes you look smart, professional and successful. On your LinkedIn account, announce when you will attend a symposium, serve on a panel, teach a course or workshop and definitely broadcast the good news if you’ve recently earned a professional certification or advanced degree.

If you’ve presented a webinar, request the replay and turn it into a podcast for your website and YouTube. If you write a newsletter or blog, link it to your website and LinkedIn. If you’re on Twitter or Instagram, produce streams of high-quality feed and images that convey the competencies and values that you want to be known for.

Twitter, Instagram and Facebook can feature glimpses into your personal life as well and it could all be for the good, as long as you are strategic about what is revealed. Your volunteer work is always a safe bet. Training for a marathon or even a fun and casual volleyball or softball league would be excellent. Your parent’s wedding anniversary party would make another good personal aspect to include in your online narrative. Be aware that narrative is the operative word. Create the story that you want to be told, in a manner that makes you look wonderful.

Search

About every three months, search your name and your company name in engines such as Bing, Google and Yahoo and see what comes up in the first 50 listings. Are you happy with what you see? Try keywords related to your business along with your city and check your professional reach in a more profound way.

If you find that your business has been reviewed in a negative and inaccurate way, contact the reviewing site and request that the offending post be removed. If customers have offered criticism that just may be constructive, address the matter. Apologize and offer your side of the story. Make amends if possible. By doing so, you’ll add to your credibility and customer service reputation.

It’s been reported that 70% of U.S. employment recruiters have rejected potential job candidates when something about them that was considered unsavory appeared on social media. Solopreneurs should assume that prospective clients will do the same. Maintaining and monitoring your online reputation has never been more important.

Healthy Eating – What You Should Know About Biological Value

As you go about planning your menu, one thing you will want to take into account is something called biological value (BV). Most people are quite good at staying on top of research so they can figure out which foods hold the most nutrients and which ones will help optimize health the best. Where many go wrong, however, is forgetting because if a food is nutritious, it does not mean it will be fully utilized by the body. That is where the biological value (BV) comes into play. Biological value refers to protein-rich foods and discusses how well these foods will be utilized after they are consumed.

Here is what you need to know…

Factors Impacting Biological Value. While BV is a static number, keep in mind there are some factors able to influence the natural biological value of the food you are eating.

These factors include:

  • the frequency in which you consume your protein. Eating protein every few hours throughout the day can help increase the BV more than eating one or two large meals with a higher serving of protein in each meal. This is one reason to space your calories out into six mini meals rather than three large ones.
  • the speed in which the amino acids hit your bloodstream. Generally speaking, the slower the amino acids hit your bloodstream, the better they will be absorbed and utilized, so do what you can to slow them down.
  • The best way to do this is to ensure you consume some dietary fat with each protein serving as fat slows the rate of digestion.
  • whether or not exercise has been performed. Exercise will naturally increase your ability to utilize the nutrients you feed your body immediately following a workout, so do whatever you can to eat a post-workout meal in within minutes of finishing.

A post-workout protein shake is a must for optimal results.

So as you can see, a biological value is not black and white. Factors do impact the value. Still, it can serve as a general guideline.

The Biological Value Of Foods You Are Eating. So this said, below is the listing for the BV of a variety of foods you have likely included in your menu. The higher the rating, the better the protein will be utilized:

  • eggs (whole) – BV = 100
  • eggs (whites) – BV = 88
  • chicken/turkey – BV = 79
  • fish – BV = 70
  • lean beef – BV = 69
  • cow’s milk – BV = 60
  • whey protein isolate – BV = 159
  • casein protein – BV = 77
  • soy protein – BV = 74

Keep these values in mind as you plan out your meals. For optimal protein retention, choose foods with the highest biological value whenever possible.

Freight Forwarders – Great Help for All Transportation Requirements

A freight forwarder is an agent hired by importers, exporters and companies to efficiently and safely transport goods from one international location to another. Used for multi-national or international import and export, freight forwarders do not in most cases perform the transportation task by themselves. They actually serve the purpose of establishing an effective communication between the client and the transportation services, thereby playing the role of an intermediary between the two.

A freight forwarder takes full responsibility of organizing and handling the large number of carriers, legalities and requirements involved in transporting goods internationally, thereby relieving customers completely of the hassles and botheration involved in the process.

These agents make sure that they use the most efficient, reliable and safe transportation means for delivering your goods to the desired location, with regard to the type of goods and your individual transport requirements. As per the situation and requirements, they make use of all kinds of freight operating systems, including air freighters, ocean liners, trucking companies and rail freighters. Whatever the means of transport, they guarantee the delivery of your goods on time and in the best condition. They always aim at offering the most affordable rates by negotiating with the freight operators to take the most economical and reliable route while transporting the goods.

The function of a freight forwarder may vary to some extent depending on the client requirements and type of goods. However, some of the common activities performed by them include:

  • They play a significant role in determining and organizing the most suitable transportation route based on the type, fragility or hazardous nature of the goods to be delivered.
  • Negotiating with the freight operators on the costs of handling and transporting the goods.
  • Taking care of the safety of the goods by ensuring the most efficient and reliable packing, warehousing and delivery.
  • Verifying and arranging necessary documents required for clearing customs, meeting insurance needs and obeying the rules and regulations of overseas countries.
  • In case of any damage to your goods, they take full responsibility of arranging for the insurance claims.
  • Using various advanced methods, including internet technologies, e-commerce and satellite systems to facilitate customers with real-time tracking of their goods.
  • Serving the purpose of making as well as collecting payments on behalf of the customers.
  • Verifying the urgency of the delivery in order to determine the means of transport. For example, they opt and arrange for air transport for goods that are of high-value and need to be delivered on an urgent basis.

A reliable and reputed freight forwarding service has the expertise and skill to provide efficient transportation services while saving their clients a great deal of time and headache required to handle such procedure. They efficiently take care of all the necessary requirements involved in transporting your goods internationally. These include maintaining effective communication with all parties involved, handling and storing the goods in the most appropriate manner and delivering them to the desired location in the best condition. For any company having the requirement to transport goods internationally, a freight forwarder can be of ultimate help.

Real Estate Note Listings

The number of people on the lookout for real estate notes are increasing day by day, as the profit involved in the business is great. Lots of websites provide real estate note listings. Business, commercial and residential notes are the major categories of real estate note listings. Real estate note listings are ideal for both buyers and sellers. They are also used by real estate note brokers to improve their business.

Real estate note listings provide buyers a wide range of selection. Through these listings they can purchase real estate notes at a higher profit margin. Location is another great advantage with this type of listings. You can purchase real estate notes from your locality or any other locality you prefer. Another advantage is the variety of listings available. If you are interested in commercial real estate notes, you find them in a separate category and you don’t have to search all real estate note listings. The greatest advantage you get from real estate listings is that your real estate note would be displayed to different types of investors. Prices offered by different types of investors vary. Sometimes you could enter into a deal beyond your expectations with the help of these listings.

Real estate note listings are also ideal for people who need immediate cash. With the help of real estate note listings, you can quickly find a buyer who would be ready to release cash immediately for a good discount. Real estate note listings allow you to easily sell a part of the note or the whole thing. Real estate note listings have much flexibility, and they can be used by both sellers and buyers. Blindly believing real estate note listings can be dangerous. It is better to take each single note in the listing and see whether it matches your selling or buying criteria.

Austin Student Apartments

Austin, the capital of Texas and a college town, is home to some of the premier public and private educational institutions in the state. Students from in and around Austin come to the city for higher education.

Comfortable student apartments are available both on and off campus. Most of the on-campus apartments are located within the institutions’ campus or at convenient locations. The apartment communities of Austin offer off-campus apartments with easy access. Apartments are available for both rent and lease. The rent may be short term or long term, on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. The rate is subject to facilities available in the apartment. Inexpensive as well as luxury residences can be found.

Austin student apartments provide a fairly wide range of residence options from dormitories and condominiums to family suites, houses, and duplexes. Fully furnished units, private bedrooms, and unfurnished apartments are available. Most of the apartments are equipped with a telephone, basic cable TV service, coin-operated laundry, and Internet access. Facilities vary from apartment to apartment. Some have study centers, fitness centers, fully equipped kitchens, spacious parking area for cars and bikes, as well as private pools. Panoramic views of the neighboring area are an additional feature. Medical and psychological services, counseling, and health education are also provided.

Austin student apartments are within easy access to shopping malls, recreation centers, major businesses, and restaurants. Numerous brokers and property management organizations specialize in renting and leasing student apartments in Austin. American Campus, based in Austin, is one of the largest managers and developers of student housing in America. Online sites also give adequate information.

Common Sense Home Improvements

In more prosperous markets, the mention of home improvement ideas meant double-sink vanities, stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops and spa baths. Today, upgrades have come down to earth with the focus on money saving, practical improvements meant to not only appeal to a prospective buyer’s sense of style, but their wallet. Here is a top 10 list inspired from Forbes.com and their “10 Recession-Proof Improvements”.

1. Cork Floors – This Eco-flooring is not only economical, but practical as well. It provides good sound insulation, is much more comfortable for standing on than ceramic or slate, and has allergy resistant properties.

2. Bamboo Counter-tops – Also an Eco-friendly alternative to standard counter-tops, bamboo can be harder and denser than maple. It comes in various vertical or parquet grain designs, and in a selection of colors.

3. LED Lighting – LED lighting systems use far less energy than standard bulbs. Although initially more expensive, they pay for themselves over time. Lower electric bills can be a great selling feature in any market.

4. Garage Doors – Gone are the stark white, plain, windowless doors we were so accustomed to. One of the most popular exterior features of an up-to-date home is a new garage door in one of the current designs such as a carriage style with a row of small windows.

5.Energy Star Windows – If your home needs new windows, then ensure that you choose energy star rated models. Not only will you save on heating costs, but you’ll provide an extra incentive for a prospective buyer.

6. Tank less Hot Water Heater – Tank less hot water systems have become a popular, energy saving alternative to conventional hot water heaters. Their initial cost is a little higher, but they save 30-40% more in energy, are made to last 20 years or longer, and are designed to allow multiple water flows at once. This means two of the kids can be having showers at the same time the dishwasher is running.

7. Water-Saving Toilets – The demand for water-saving toilets has grown over the last couple of years and technology has improved to the point where these units use less than half the water of their older counterparts.

8. Nicely Landscaped Gardens – You can’t beat good old curb appeal when selling a home. Your yard is often the first thing a buyer sees when house shopping, and the opinion they form can make or break a sale before they even set foot in your home.

9. Door-less Showers – Door-less or walk-in showers with sleek chrome trims are replacing large spa tubs by leaps and bounds. It’s become a popular feature in most high-end condos and apartments.

10. Painting – A fresh coat of neutral paint on your interior walls can make a home feel like new. Paint or stain touch-ups can brighten up an otherwise worn home exterior, making it appear updated and well cared for.