Are Travel Agents Old School?

It appears you can’t stare at the TV for 60 minutes without seeing a notice with William Shatner discussing Travelocity or that senseless dwarf discussing Orbitz. These travel sites have been extremely effective at encouraging voyagers to book their own particular carrier and lodging reservations on the web. So with this colossal push from the web to assume control over the travel business, one needs to ask, “Are travel agents old school?”

In the event that you have searched for some of these travel web sites, you have watched that they are stunning in the assorted qualities of travel choices that they make accessible. As a business traveler, be that as it may, your requirements are fairly unique in relation to the run of the mill aircraft traveler.

There are some certain administrations and genuine help that a living and breathing travel agent can give that basically can’t be duplicated by a computerized site like Travelocity or Orbitz. Some of those administrations that a prepared business traveler would be unable to live without having…

A Travel Agent will give you…

- Focus. You as a business traveler are not orchestrating this excursion for excitement. You have particular business goals as a main priority. So on the off chance that you should remove time from planning for your business assignment to stress over travel agendas, lodging and rental auto reservations and so forth, that is time that you are not being beneficial for your business.

When you get the chance that you can call a skilled travel agent who knows your travel profile well and delegate those courses of action to that agent, they carry out their occupation in finding only the right facilities for you and you are liberated to do what you excel at, spotlight on your business and the up and coming business trip.

- Economy. It is hard to find that harmony between finding the housing that fit the requesting timetable of a businessman out and about and is conscious of the organizations travel spending plan too.

On the off chance that you utilize a computerized online travel administration, you may need to relinquish accommodation, timetable or area for economy.

A decent travel agent will endeavor to get you the right schedule while getting as close the corporate travel cost confinements as would be prudent. Furthermore, they will do it without taking up a considerable measure of your time.

- Back up. You needn’t bother with help if your excursion goes totally as arranged. Be that as it may, in the event that you experience issues out and about, you can wind up in need or rescheduling flights and finding new lodging to work around scratched off flights, climate issues or other surprising intrusions to your arrangements.

These travel debacles are not aware of your tight due dates to meet your business objectives. In any case, you have a travel agent who is committed to giving you administration, he or she can locate those option courses and assets to do whatever they can to get you to your destination so you can direct your business on time.

- That individual touch. You may have travel inclinations that you need to accomplish with every outing you take. A travel agent has your profile and your travel history so they can do what they can to suit your inclinations.

Yet, in addition, when you have particular unique needs, for example, an eating regimen constraint or a requirement for convenience because of an inability, it will be a travel agent that sees to it that your needs are accommodated and you are well dealt with out and about.

- No Complications. In the event that your travel agenda includes making associations with different business accomplices who are going from various workplaces, complex travel calendars and schedule challenges that just can’t be depicted to the nonexclusive screens of an online travel administration, you can disclose these inconveniences to your travel agent and they can work with other travel agents attempting to arrange the meeting and see to it that your agenda meets your prerequisites.

While the online travel administrations do give a profitable and moderate other option to the general voyaging open, it is anything but difficult to see their confinements on the off chance that you are attempting to book a trek that is dubious or in the event that you have particular needs that the screens don’t suspect.

That is the reason working with a human travel agent ensures that this travel proficient person will devote themselves to the assignment of ensuring your excursion attempts to your details and that you get to your destination prepared to lead in business and be fruitful in your accomplishing your objectives.

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What Is Computer Aided Engineering And Computational Fluid Dynamics?

Computer Aided Engineering (CAE)

CAE is the broad use of computer software with the aim to aid engineering tasks. It is a broad field that involves computational fluid dynamics, finite element analysis, optimization and multibody dynamics. Software tools developed to support the activities are known as CAE tools and they can be used in different application, including analyzing robustness and also performance of assemblies and components.

Computer aided design has indeed revolutionized modern engineering as it allows easier development of products and management integration of the same. It has also made modeling greater and offers basis for virtual networking. In the engineering world, the design is used widely to develop products to meet consumer expectations. It is this knowledge that makes engineering students and professionals important because of the benefits they bring to the engineering workforce.

Using computer aided engineering designs can be simulated in all kinds of scenarios without any physical change to the model. The technology is therefore widely applied to engineering applications. It comes with drawing benefits, project management benefits and networking benefits as well. It is applied to fields like aviation, space, shipbuilding and automotive industries. Computer aided engineering systems are supportive to businesses because they can place information views into the business process and make reference architectures useful especially when it comes to manufacturing models and products.

Computational fluid dynamics (CFD)

This is a discipline that falls under computer aided engineering and is used to engineer products and process designs as well as fabricate and analyze all elements involved in the processes. The technology also falls under fluid mechanics that rely on numerical methods and algorithms to analyze and solve problems that are related to fluid flow as well as heat transfer. Computational fluid dynamics are made up of three phases:

· Pre-processing that defined computation fluid dynamics models that include physics environmental factors, geometry and boundary conditions

· Analysis which offer solution of transport equation using the computational fluid techniques

· Post processing which involves results using visualization tools

CFD started way back in the 1960s with the first successes becoming prominent in 1970s. In services industry it took effect in the 1980s and the industry significantly expanded in the 90s. CFD packages continue to develop and significant changes are definitely expected in the future. The knowledge on how fluid flow and the quantitative effects of solids that are in contact helps:

· Architects and building service engineers to provide safe and comfortable human environments

· Power plant designer to achieve maximum efficiency and also reduce pollutant releases

· Chemical engineers in maximizing yields from processing equipment and reactors

· Designers of marine, air and land vehicles to achieve maximum performance at minimum costs

· Safety engineers and risk-and-hazard analysts to make predictions of the damage extent of structures, human beings, vegetation, animals and even equipment as a result of blast waves, explosions and fires

The flow simulation also proves helpful to the metropolitan authorities in determining pollutant emissions, meteorologists in foretelling water and wind current, petroleum engineers in designing oil recovery strategies among many other applications.

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The Importance of Employment Tests

It is a known fact that the success of an employer and a company as a whole depends largely on the quality and reliability of its employees. This is the reason why employers must invest time and even money in the recruitment and interview process. Doing so would ensure that only the best possible candidate will be considered for a particular job.

When it comes to screening of potential employees, no other tool does it better than employment tests. These tests can measure what is called the KSA – knowledge, skills and abilities of the job candidates. Employment tests in this context are generally written or automated tests, but also include interviews, personality tests, skill tests, psychological tests, performance tests, medical examinations, agility tests, and so on.

A hiring process that is poorly designed is much like a recruitment process based on flipping a coin. Employers are well-aware that the impact of inefficient recruitment decisions can have costly and detrimental outcomes, which may include expensive training costs, decrease in overall productivity, increase in employee replacement, and increase in legal exposure.

Benefits of Efficient Assessments Incorporating assessment tests ensure that your company is making better hiring decisions. It can determine whether or not an employee can meet your criterion for maintaining high productivity. Consequently, pre-employment tests can reduce expensive and time-consuming recruitment steps by straightforwardly narrowing down the choices that will include only candidates who are best fit for the job. Because job fitting is greatly improved, this scenario can also increase the chances of retaining your employees for far longer periods of time. Furthermore, a well-developed pre-employment testing program can present a professional and positive image for your company, and will decrease the risk of hiring complaints.

Although pre-employment tests are basically a tool that protects employers, it can be just as important for them as for the applicant. It would be a shameful waste of time, effort, and even money to prepare for the responsibilities and challenges of a new job, yet find out later on that one is not capable of performing the tasks on hand and is bound for failure.

The benefits of pre-employment testing are endless. However, employers must know that these tests have certain limitations. For one, written tests must only measure skills that are important for the job description that a candidate is applying for. For this, employers must carefully design their pre-employment testing program. Pre-employment tests not properly designed may create an impression of being discriminatory, and this is something employers must avoid at all times.

Designing testing tools take time and experience. If these two are something your company does not have, you can easily find pre-employment testing software packages on the market. These pre-employment tests have been designed by professionals with expertise and experience in the field of recruitment, and thus can efficiently evaluate the general knowledge, office skills, personality, and so on, of a potential job candidate. There are various types of pre-employment test to choose from, and there will surely be one that best fits your needs as an employer.

Clearly, organizations that have a carefully well-developed testing program that best meets their exact needs will have competitive advantage. Employment tests allow employers to make the best hiring decisions and will consequently improve business revenue, productivity, and overall business outcomes.

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Puerto Princesa School of Arts and Trades: Technical Education and Training Provider in Palawan

PPSAT is one of the 125 Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Technology (TESDA) Institutions in the Philippines. It provides competency-based training programs and strengthens linkages with partners to develop competent workers for local and global employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for quality life. The school is an Accredited Assessment Center and Venue for various qualifications; a Regional Site for Language Skills Programs since 2008. It offers 16 Qualifications registered under the Unified TVET Program Registration and Accreditation System (UTPRAS). In December 2011, the school offered Training Methodology Program for the trainers handling TVET qualifications.

In October, 2011, the school has been accredited with the Asia Pacific Accreditation and Certification Commission (APACC) and a recipient of a bronze level award. This shows that its physical resources, faculty, curriculum, governance and management, are as good as those in the Asia Pacific Region’s TVET schools. The award received motivates its faculty and staff to continue working for the attainment of school’s vision, mission and objectives; as it belongs to the first 21 schools of the 125 to submit for accreditation.

As of these days, the school does not only cater high school graduates. It accommodates college graduates who wants to be technically trained, college undergraduates who dropped from school due to financial constraints, military personnel endorsed by officials from the Armed Forces to take programs prior to their retirement. It likewise recognizes high school undergraduates who have prior learning based on experience and graduates of the Alternative Learning System.

The Puerto Princesa School of Arts and Trades (PPSAT) is located along Rafols Road, Barangay Sta. Monica, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, Philippines. The school was created under Republic Act 7928 on March 1, 1995 to offer technology programs to the high school graduates who cannot afford to take a four-year college program. It started offering a two-year program in Construction and Electronics Sector. On March, 2003, it had been identified as a Center of Technical Excellence with Machining as its Distinctive Area of Competence. The school was one of the 41 school-beneficiary of Technical Education and Skills Development projects funded by Asian Development Bank. This leads to more programs registered and opened to serve its clients.

Currently, the school strengthens its partnership with Local Government Units, Non-Government Units and industries to meet graduates supply and employment demand of the country. It closely coordinates with the TESDA-Palawan Provincial Office and other Offices for quality delivery of services for customer satisfaction.

As of 2011, PPSAT had produced 2,413 graduates, and 64% are already working. It serves more out-of-school youths who aspire for technical jobs in the Philippines and abroad.

© 2013 March Clarissa C. Posadas

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Tips on How to Start a Home-Based Facial Business

Beauty is a very lucrative business. Every year, billions, even trillions of dollars are spent all over the world just on hair care, cosmetics, and skin care. This is the reason why it’s not surprising to see beauty based businesses popping up like mushrooms all over the place. Cosmetology, or anything that has to do with the beauty industry is probably one of the most popular professions at present. It provides a lot of opportunities for growth and profit which makes it one of the fastest growing careers. However, a lot of people get intimidated to put up their own beauty business because of the high capital cost that it requires. But don’t let that hinder you from starting your own business. If you don’t have enough funds yet to rent a commercial space for your business, having a home-based facial business is a great way to start your beauty career. Let me share to you some tips on how to start your very own home-based facial skin business.

1. Plan it out. Like any other business, you have to make a detailed business plan. A well written business plan will definitely play a big role on your business’ success.

2. Learn before you earn. Before you even open your home business, you have to be armed with enough knowledge on what you will do. It would be best if you become a licensed aesthetician first prior to opening your business.

3. Once you’re all set, you can now register your business on your city or town. You need to have the necessary permits for your home-based business to operate.

4. Designate an area of your house to your business. It could be a spare room or a small space anywhere in your house. Once you’ve designated an area, you can now start to decorate it. Make your space appear like a professional spa. You can do that without spending a lot. Just choose your decors properly. Don’t forget to load up on aromatherapy candles and other spa essentials such as oils.

5. Invest in a skin care device. There are a lot of skin care devices available in the market today. Having your own skin care device could really help your business boost its popularity.

6. Market your business. There are many ways to market your home-based business. You can put up your business website so that people on your area and surrounding cities can find you. If you have the budget, you can also have some ads placed on your local paper and you can also give out flyers. It’s also best to have business cards ready so anytime a customer hops in, always give out a business card so that he or she can endorse your business to others.

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Preparing Your Car for Winter

The Canadian winter season can considerably influence driving conditions. In situations like this, drivers are more prone to accidents. It’s critical to focus on cautious driving to protect yourself and keep your family. Safe driving also helps minimize your insurance rates while reducing wear and tear on your vehicle.

Here are a few checks that you can perform to ensure that you, your family and your vehicle remain safe over the winter months:

Take your auto in for a tune up before the first snow fall. Having the peace of mind of a well maintained vehicle all year is an excellent idea, but it’s particularly essential during the winter when driving conditions are impaired.

Ensure you have the right oil for your vehicle. In general, thinner oil like 5W30 works better in cold winter conditions than 10W30 or 10W40, which are thicker. Thinner oils circulate easier, which makes lubrication of your engine easier in cold temperatures. To find the right oil for your specific vehicle, check your owner’s manual.

Keep your gas tank full. A full gas tank lowers the chances of running out of gas and being stranded. In addition, it brings down the possibility that your gas lines will freeze up because of condensation or water vapor buildup in extremely icy climates.

Ensure your battery is in great condition. Being stuck in remote areas and being unable to start your car is dangerous. Check that your battery’s connections are corrosion free and for batteries older than 3 years, consider testing its capacity to hold a charge.

Ensure you keep a winter emergency kit in your vehicle. A well thought out kit can be a lifeline in the event that you are stranded in the middle of nowhere, or on a highway. A high-quality winter kit for your car should include:
No less than one warm blanket.
A flashlight.
A shovel, in case you need to dig out of deep snow.
Additional warm garments, including boots, gloves and caps.
A well stocked first aid kit.
A bag of salt or sand to give you extra traction if you get stuck.
Food and drinking water. Foods with high sugar content are excellent choices.
Jumper cables.
A flare.
Spare windshield wipers.
Extra windshield washer fluid.

Test your tire pressure. Because of the colder air, your tire pressure tends to drop a small amount in the winter. Keeping your tires at the maker’s prescribed pressure makes your vehicle simpler to handle, making you more secure on the road and will even improve fuel economy which will save you money!

Check that your anti-freeze mixture is correct. Your coolant should have a 50-50 mix of anti-freeze and water. If you’re uncertain, you can purchase a reasonably priced anti-freeze analyzer at most automotive part stores. Keep your anti-freeze levels above 50% to prevent leaving your engine susceptible to freezing up.

Think about snow tires. If you tend to get heavy snowfall in your area, it might be worth getting snow tires for your vehicle throughout the winter months. The deeper grooves on snow tires provide substantially more traction on snow covered surfaces, which makes them able to stop your vehicle up to 40% more rapidly than all season tires. As well, snow tires are constructed with a specific type of rubber which lets them to preserve their flexibility even in coldest winter conditions.

Consider replacing your windshield wipers if they are not in good condition. Defective windshield wipers can essentially debilitate your capacity to see in wet and icy climate conditions. If your windshield wipers are not making good contact with the windshield and are not clearing it properly, they should be replaced.

Check your brakes. On the off chance that it’s been over six months since your last brake check, have them checked again before the winter driving season. With the dangerous conditions that winter brings, having the capacity to stop quickly is much more critical than in warmer climates.

Performing these checks before the ice and snow can keep your vehicle running safely and easily all winter season. This will give you one less thing to stress over when you’re driving and help to keep your auto insurance premiums low.

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20 Anytime Gifts That Will Last Forever

It’s that time again. You need a gift to take to a birthday, wedding, anniversary or any other occasion. Most of us don’t want to get just another gift, we all want to give and receive gifts that are timeless.

From the thoughtful custom necklace to the one-of-a-kind handmade trinket; we have you sorted out with our list of 20 anytime gifts that will never go out of fashion

The Thoughtful Gifts

1. Personalized Letter

In this day of technology, who wouldn’t love receiving a handwritten personalized letter? Personalized letters are particularly a great gift from children to grandparents or vice versa.

2. Memory Capsule

Memories are timeless. The best gift you could ever give a loved one is a piece of encapsulated memory. Recreate old photos taken with loved ones to form your memory capsule.

3. Quality Time

Sometimes your present is enough of a gift for that special person. Set aside ample time to spend a day together or go on a getaway.

4. Personalized Gift Cards

Personalized gift cards are still a timeless favorite from kid to parents or vice versa. Give out several with thoughtful tasks that they can be redeemed against.

5. Technology Lessons

Time has flown by and our grandparents, and parents, might need a little help catching up. Kids can gift their grandparents and immediate parents technology lessons to teach them about social media as well as the use of other gadgets.

Gifts for Him

6. RFID Wallet

Wallets are overly popular gifts for men, but not the RFID wallet. The RFID wallet will protect unwarranted card data theft, and it is one wallet he’ll be keeping for long.

7. Bartender Kit

Men love their drink, well most do. There isn’t a better gift for that drink lover than a bartender kit. A bartending set will also benefit you because, with it, he’ll be whipping up those delicious cocktails well into your hay days.

8. Balance Board

Balance is necessary for everyday life, and as we age, we lose our elementary balance. For the man looking to regain balance or just to keep fit, a balance board would be the perfect gift for them.

9. Smart Sprinkler Controller

Who is in charge of the sprinkler system, or just about any electronic, in your house? For that man, an intelligent sprinkler system would serve them well. Men love gadgets, and he will rave over the ability to control the sprinklers conveniently from a laptop/tablet/phone.

10. Watch

A good watch is always a great gift for that man in your life. It doesn’t have to cost much but go for a durable timepiece that will end up being an heirloom.

Gifts for Her

11. Jewellery

Let’s face it; time has proven it, women love jewelry. You can’t go wrong with a good custom necklace or just about any tasteful jewelry that she can pass on down the family tree.

12. Tea Set

Know a woman who loves tea? Then a tea set would make the perfect gift. This isn’t necessarily an age-restricted present; any woman who hosts company will like to add a good tea set in her collection.

13. Character Apron

Aprons are functional pieces of protective clothing and contrary to tradition; they don’t have to be flowery. Character aprons can instantly transform a lady into her beloved hero.

14. Scarf

Often overlooked, scarves are exquisite and complimentary outfit accents. Most women keep them for years, and that’s why they make it to our list of timeless gifts.

15. Handbag

Next to jewellry and shoes, women love handbags. Women also keep bags for years and getting her a good, quality bag is an ideal gift choice for any occasion.

A Custom Necklace and Other Custom Gift Ideas

16. Custom Pendants

A custom necklace is a good gift, but a custom locket is a great gift. A pendant allows you to take a treasured photo with you on the go. Anyone would love getting a personalized jewelry as a gift.

17. Picture Mug

Who doesn’t love a photo mug? Why not get her or him a collection of mugs with pictures of the people dearest to them?

18. Keychains

Everyone uses keychains at one point or another. Personalized keychains are thoughtful gift options.

19. Clocks

Clocks are also great options to personalize with custom photos. Go for a traditional wall clock or a wrist watch for a custom gift option.

20. Map

Have someone you have shared countless of adventures with? Get them a customized photo map to map out your travel memories.

There you have it; with our list of 20 anytime gifts that will never go out of fashion, you are equipped to give timeless and ageless gifts for any occasion.

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Incredible Business Growth With Custom Boxes

Some people are unaware of the little things that make a business move from a small business to a well-recognized business. One of such little, forgettable things is having custom boxes for every business. To confirm the truth about the importance of custom boxes, look around you, and list any five businesses or well-recognised servicing company you know, and you will immediately realize they all have their custom packages which stand as their branding.

For those people who are not conversant with custom boxes, here it is. These boxes in simple words; is your label, your brand, your name, your touch, being handed over to your customers in the form of the packaging used when delivering the goods to your clients. It is actually a box, or package bearing the seal of the company or business.

You might think this will cost so much for your small business, but no it is far cheaper than you thought and the effect it leaves for you is far more valuable. These have lots of benefits, but you will see a few of them listed here.

Benefits of Custom Boxes

1. These boxes give your Customers and excitement: your business can stand out with a unique box or bag the customers receive their goods in. It will amaze you to know that just a beautiful bag or box can make a customer repeat purchase. This little effect speaks volumes, of who you are, and how you value your customers. Everyone wants to be appreciated.

2. Serve as your marketer: Are you having trouble marketing your business without spending so much? Oh, this incredible little move of custom boxes is a marketer, spreads thick of how many people will see your brand name, as customers walk away with your name on them, by holding your bag.

3. Custom boxes spread your brand like a virus. Your business will be in one city, but the custom bag is in another. Don’t worry this means your business is spreading like a virus, and your Company will soon be visited by new customers.

4. These boxes are cheap to get: You don’t need a big business to use these custom boxes. You can use them for every business with customer packages, by hand or shipping. These boxes are cheap to get and won’t bite your business in any way. You can get the right information and do it with the most competitive producers available. This makes you get it, at almost no cost.

5. These create a rewarding excitement: you can’t take the joy and excitement you get when your customers appreciate your custom boxes, you know what they are actually appreciating? Your business. This will overall give your business the needed lift.

Little things are most times the hardest things to do, but now you know better. You can give your business the little push it needs to thrive. Get your custom boxes and let your business go viral.

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Your 50 – Part 2 – The Keys to Starting Your Own Business Now!

In part 1 of this article series we met 3 individuals with unique backgrounds that left corporate and forged their own way. Here we illustrate 2 addition stories along with important strategies and tactics you need s you go forward in your own business. This journey of starting your own business is not for the faint of heart, but the success you will find will be life-changing.

Here is what you will learn:
1. Franchising is a good option for a business.
2. Doing your own business is very rewarding.
3. How coaching is vital to making your business a success.

First Entrepreneur

Our first entrepreneur, was a successful high-level executive first at Ford and then at Terex, a firm focused on lifting and material processing products (e.g. cranes), with all the associated perks and incentives. Meet Pete Gilfillan. He had the good life and no reason to change until one day…

Alan: I saw that your main business is helping people evaluate franchises (FranChoice). How did you get started in your own business? What triggered that decision?

Pete: I was a corporate executive, first with Ford and later with Terex and they literally owned my life. I was traveling all the time. I just decided one day I had had enough and I would be an entrepreneur.

Alan: Tell me more about what happened when you decided to leave corporate life.

Pete: In my last position, I was with Terex. I live in Chicago, but the Terex is headquartered in Connecticut and I was on the road 6 days a week and much of the travel was international. With all the travel I didn’t eat right, didn’t exercise and frankly I was miserable. I was in another country and I woke up in the middle of the night and I couldn’t remember what country I was in. I realized then I had had enough. When I got back to Chicago, I told my wife about the decision. At first my wife wasn’t keen on the idea of my leaving corporate. She saw the practical side of staying in corporate (financial security), but I knew I needed to make a change. I quit my job and I started working with a franchise consultant in order to find a franchise. After a few months we found Junk King and saw that it was be a good fit. I liked that it was a service based business and could be scaled up; such as adding trucks as the business grew and it had little overhead. Later, I started to work with FranChoice, where today I’m one of the top franchise consultants. I really like the way their business model works. There is no cost to individuals (companies pay FranChoice) and it gives me the opportunity to do what I love most, which is to help people find the business that meets their needs.

Alan: That’s great. You are able to do what you love. Let’s change gears for a minute. I saw that you wrote a best-selling book. Writing a book is a big step. How did you come up with the idea for your book?

Writing is a key way to demonstrate your expertise and build your business

Pete: Darren Hardy, who is pretty well known in the entrepreneur circles, is my mentor. I went to his High Performance Summit and Darren said one of the best ways to give back is through writing a book. Since I have a lot of knowledge about the franchise business, doing a book on it was a good fit.

Alan: How did you find the time to write?

Pete: There is many ways to write a book. I found a company that would write the actual words while I talked. I would put together an outline for each chapter and talk for a couple of hours with the writers. We would meet for 2 hours a week, either early morning or late at night. After a draft of the book was created, I had someone edit the book. Even then it took a year and a half to complete the book.

Alan: How did you go about publishing it?

Pete: I was able to find a publishing company through my business coach.

Alan: It had to be daunting to start your own business after being in corporate. What is one thing you wish you knew before you started your own business?

Pete: If I could have been able to keep my corporate job and invested in franchise and then make the leap instead of going in cold to my own business, it would have saved me a lot of angst. I may have done something different than Junk King. I could have started a franchise on a part-time basis, say 15 hours week. With Junk King there was no way to do it on a part-time basis.

Alan: What’s next for you?

Pete: Speaking engagements, so I can reach more people and continue to work with ExecuNet, which is a private community made up of over 750,000 CEOs, VPs and various leaders and influencers.

Alan: Any final words?

Pete: I would say that for franchising, people need to have an open mind. When people ask me about franchising, they have already made up their mind that it would be food (McDonalds, etc.) They have that in mind because they see a lot of people eating at those restaurants so they assume it is a good business to get into. I help them understand that the food business is very competitive; has high capital investment and a high cost of goods sold (the food). There are over 3000 franchises in every conceivable business that may fit their needs. It doesn’t have to be food.
But regardless of what business you go in, whether it is a franchise or not, you need to work hard. There is no substitute for hard work.

Alan: Good words to live by. Thanks for your time.

Second Entrepreneur

Our second entrepreneur was a successful telecom executive before going into his own business. He shares key ideas on making your business grow. Meet Rick Lochner.

Alan: How did you come to be an entrepreneur?

Rick: I’ve known for some time that I wanted to be in my own business and that it would be in the leadership area. I worked with entrepreneurial company and it was sold 2 years after I started. I went to another company and 2 years later it was sold. The turmoil of being at companies that are going through turnarounds is very difficult for everyone involved. It is very long hours, great stress and often the rewards of that hard work just aren’t there. I’ve been laid off 4 times in my career so I knew corporate has no security. I even negotiated my severance package before I went to work a healthcare company.

Alan: How exactly did going into your own business occur?

Rick: My wife and I were having brunch with a couple and we talked about how it would be great to start business and details on what that business would look like when it started in a few years. At the end of the meal, I said, “Why are we waiting; let’s do it!” It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Alan: What do you like best about being an entrepreneur?

Rick: The best thing is I get to do what I love. In corporate, there were many things I had to do that I really didn’t enjoy. Being an entrepreneur, being in my own business, enables me to live with purpose and that is very meaningful to me.

Alan: Is there anything you would do differently now if you were just starting your business?

Rick: I would have pursued the non-profit market right away. I didn’t because people told me there is no money in that business, but that is not true. That market needs to be approached differently than for-profit but they need my services just as much. Now non-profit is 25% of my business. But you asked if I would have done anything differently and the answer is no. The business strategy worked and I would have approached starting the business the same way.

Alan: What challenges did you have starting out?

Rick: I started the business in July 2008. The US was already in a recession and financial markets were in turmoil and little did I know things in the business world were about to get a lot worse. I had worked in telecom for many years as an executive and I had been quite successful. I had a load of contacts at my previous company, Sprint; there were many people that knew me well and respected me but I was not able to get business from them. They still saw me as a telecom executive and not as knowledgeable in leadership development, even though I had been developing leaders at Sprint. I had traveled a lot during me years in corporate and my connections in Chicago were no better than in Atlanta or any other U.S. city. I knew I needed to develop roots in the local community. I joined Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce and started to created circles of influence. In time the contacts I made developed into connections for the business. It wasn’t easy, but I went all in; 100% to make the business work.

Why having a part-time business is so important

Alan: What advice would you give to someone that is climbing the corporate ladder?

Rick: Every corporate employee should have a part time gig to provide a bridge to go into business for themselves or just to have a secondary income source. I started teaching leadership at Keller School of Business in 2004. Teaching helped in the 8 months transition to my business full-time. It provided income after getting laid-off; making it easier to focus on the growth of the business and not where the next paycheck was coming from.

Alan: What has been the biggest challenge in your learning curve as an entrepreneur?

Rick: Marketing was new to me; I had not worked in that area. So I put together my business plan and my marketing plan and discussed it in detail with my two mastermind groups. They both said the business plan was great and was going to work but the marketing plan was not good. So I was tutored in marketing from people that were 20 years younger than me and their advice was spot on. This taught me a couple of valuable things. 1) You have to know what you are good at and what you are not good at and find experts in the areas that you are not good. 2) Spend a lot of time with people 20s to early 40s in order to gain insights on trends.

Alan: What additional advice would you give to someone that was looking to start their own business?

Rick: Know what problem you are trying to solve and position yourself so that is clear that you are the only one that can solve it. Too many people get hung up on their product or service and less focused on the problem to be solved. If you are going to go for it, then you really have to go for it. At the core, you have to know how to solve the problem in a unique way.

Alan: How did your writing a book come about?

Rick: The business model I developed has been a work in progress since 1999. I used that model to align the business at every organization I led as an executive. Often we try to fix a problem in an isolated way which doesn’t work. The process may not be broken; it may be the people, so you need a holistic approach. I wrote the first book in 2012 to complete my initial business strategy and a book does that. I was advised by a couple of authors and self-published it. I needed to promote the business alignment method and the book helps clarify the model as well as promote the business. I asked clients what is perfect length for a book and they said a Chicago to Los Angeles flight, which is about 4 ½ hours.

Alan: You’ve actually published multiple books. How did you come with your ideas?

Rick: The second book was to help the individual leader and the third book was for the entrepreneurs. I write books that apply to the business areas I work in.

Alan: How do you find the time to write?

Rick: The secret to success is having a coach. I’ve had 3 accountability coaches so far and each one helped me in a different way. When I first started the business, I needed an accountability coach; someone that would keep me accountable and keep me encouraged. She was the type of person I needed at that time. Keep in mind, I was starting this business during the depths of the Great Recession and needed that support. The second coach helped me write the books, not from the standpoint that he had ideas for the book, but he was able to get me moving along on the development of the book. I actually wrote the first book while my wife was driving during vacation because I was on a self-imposed deadline and needed to get it done. The third coach has helped me grow the business and take it took another level. If I would have had her in the beginning, it would not have worked well. Now that the business is growing and I am at a different place in my thinking and my business, she is exactly what I need.

Alan: Any final thoughts?

Rick: I talked with 20 different coaches before starting out in leadership coaching and based on my research, billions of dollars is wasted on leadership that doesn’t work. I am on a crusade to change that one leader at a time. It will take time to undo the wrong things that leaders are doing today; takes time to unlearn. But I will continue to work with them, one leader at a time. It is my passion.

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Credit Card Processing

The credit card is a commonly used financial tool and its use forms an important part of personal finance. A credit card though simple to use has a networked system and structure that enables payment through a plastic card with minimal chances of misuse and fraud. The credit card industry mainly comprises of:

  • Card Provider: Cards providers are very few in numbers. Some of the known credit card providers are: VISA, MasterCard, JCB, American Express etc. The logos of these card providers are what we very often see on entry to a store.
  • Card Issuers: financial institutions such as banks issue a MasterCard or VISA or any other card to card holders. This card will have logos of both the financial institution and the card provider.
  • Card Acquirer: The card acquirer processes the cards accepted by any store and this service is known as credit card processing or merchant account services.
  • Merchant Account: The merchant or stores have an account with a credit card processing service to enable credit card payments in their store.

Every credit card transaction initiates a flow of information and exchange of money between the credit card processing organization, card issuer and the merchant account authorized and conducted by the credit card provider.

Credit card processing services do not limit their services to acceptance of credit cards alone but also enable the processing of various payment mediums such as: debit cards, electronic cheques, gift cards and other forms of payment.

The credit card processing organization performs the key task of authorizing the credit card when presented to the merchant instantly. The credit card processing organization then debits the card issuers account and credits their account with the amount of purchase made by the card holder.This implies that the card issuer pays the card processing services for the transaction. The card services organization then makes the payment to the merchant after deducting a transaction processing fee.

This is the procedure followed for every credit card transaction and it is made easy for you due to the efficiency of various parties that are involved in making credit card transaction an easy process.

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