Keep Tabs on Your Company Names

Now that the internet is the new business marketplace, check to make certain that your company name or slogans are not being used by someone else, even if your business isn’t a web-based business. We have a web page, but our business mainly comes in via the telephone. Because of comments and ideas I got through the forums, I bought some new domain names and have them automatically get directed to our main website…very cool. In doing this I found that our full company name (minus the Inc.) has been being used since 2000 and they’ve got paid sponsors on the landing page. Way back when, we selected a domain name that was shorter and easier to type rather than our full company name. Never thought to buy the full name as protection. So now we probably have a legal issue to have to deal with.

I also found that someone just bought a domain name that is our website name, but with an “e-” prefix. You can’t think of everything, but somebody else just might come up with something that trades on your good name. I signed up with Network Solutions to have a portion of our company name (kind of a keyword) watched and I’m e-mailed when there is any activity using that keyword. Also lets me know if any domain names have become available with my keyword in them. Found two great ones that I scooped up right away.

It still may involve a lawyer, but at least you can address an issue sooner rather than later. The internet has lots of benefits, but it can also create lots of issues…keep a vigilent watch!

Are Your Credit Lines in Danger of Being Reduced or Closed?

You need to be aware that many financial institutions are closing or reducing open Lines of Credit and HELOC's due to the current financial conditions.

I've known people whose HELOC's were "rescinded" or reduced to a fraction of what the credit line was originally. One woman was in the middle of a major kitchen remodel and needed the HELOC to pay for it. She finally got it re-established, but only after hiring an appraiser to validate that the value of the house would be increased enough to justify the HELOC amount.

And it's also happening with credit cards, too. If you have a card with a large line of credit that isn't being used you may be surprised to get a letter reducing it, even if nothing in your credit report or FICO score has changed! Happened to me...all I had available was a little over a thousand dollars. So they added in what the next interest payment would be and reduced my line by $1,240.00 - can you believe it? A friend has had an AMEX card with a $25,000 LOC for over 7 years and they reduced it to $8,000.00 which was what he owed at the time. He objected, but they didn't budge.

For HELOC's I think the biggest issue is the amount of equity you have in the property at these new valuations they are coming up with. For example, if you have a $300,000 mortgage and a $50,000 HELOC and in today's market your house is valued at $500,000 then you'd probably have no problem. If it was now valued at $400,000 or less I'd think you'd need to worry. The 80/20 or even 75/25 ratio would be what I would use to feel comfortable.

And it all depends on what kind of computer appraisal software the bank uses...just look at www.Zillow.com and www.cyberhomes.com and www.eppraisal.com and you'll see three different values for your home - and you never know if the bank will use the mid-range that they are showing you or the low-end valuation just to be safe.

If you have a HELOC with funds available, think long and hard about tapping it and not taking the risk of having it disappear. You can put it in an interest-bearing account or staged CD's depending on whether you have an upcoming need for the money. It will cost you some money in interest, but the question you need to ask yourself is "If this LOC disappeared tomorrow would it hurt me financially now or in the foreseeable future?" If the answer is yes you need to take action.

Signing Contracts in the Digital Age- Use a Felt-tip Pen

Are you old enough to remember that when a contract was signed, especially at a real estate closing, we all sat around the table together and signed the document, passed it to the left, etc. until all the documents were signed by both parties, and often both parties signed twice so that each left with an original, signed contract?

Now we often get fax'd copies of documents, etc. And just recently a friend had a dispute with a contract where the other party provided a copy of the document with changes made and "signed." It got down to a legal dispute with a handwriting expert saying the validity of the signature was "inconclusive." It appears that when a document has been signed with a ballpoint pen a a traced or forged signature is very easy to do. You can go very slowly and trace each letter exactly. The ink might look a little darker, but that’s not enough for a handwriting expert or the courts.

The lesson here...according to the handwriting expert - ALWAYS sign contracts with a felt-tip pen. It's basically impossible to forge a signature done with one because when traced or forged with a felt pen, the line gets fatter as you go slower and that fat line is a recognized sign of forgery If the signature is traced or forged it it is pretty easy for a handwriting expert to tell that it is a forgery. And that will stand up in court.


My Husband Could Care Less, But I'm Getting Some Traffic on My Blog!

So hubby has absolutely no interest in what I am doing on by Blog. He also was watching "I Love Lucy" reruns standing by my bedside as I was in labor with our first child....

But I am watching stat's on my Blog and I'm getting some traffic...and what's more fun than watching stats????

And I see you guys from Shoemoney.com looking in...did I mention I love information???? I may be a newbie, but I learn fast, as was noted!

So hubby is getting angry that he made hamburgers for dinner and I'm still typing on my computer - gotta run!

Can You Predict Some Things Just By Paying Attention?

An employee of ours sent us a copy of this article from The Washington Post:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/07/AR2008090702262.html?sub=new - titled "China's Outsourcing Appeal Dimming"

And another person on a Forum I follow just recently posted a link to an artile titled, "The Next Bubble: Pessimism" from cnnmoney.com:

I often wonder about how one big change in something, by necessity, creates other far-reaching changes. I know it's occurred in my life, and also historically. But can you in some ways predict what is about to happen?

Another friend in a Forum started a thread a while back about "Trend Identification (Futurology)" which I found incredibly interesting. She commented that at the height of the real estate boom she noticed that all of these brand new, big houses in her area had no landscaping. Now normally if you bought a new house one of the first things most people normally do is begin to landscape it. She realized that they probably had no money for it; with the prevalence of "no money down" loans and low introductory rates they were in houses they maybe couldn't afford.

Sometimes just opening our eyes and taking a good look around can tell you a lot about where we are going. These two articles gave me a lot to think about!


An Early Morning Networking Meeting

This morning I was up at 5:00 a.m. in order to go to a networking breakfast at the invitation of a new friend. Mind you, I am not a morning person!

I have never been an outgoing, social, networking type of person, but with my two newest businesses the personal interaction is most likely necessary, at least to get them kick-started. I've tried using AdWords and Facebook Visa ads to test the water and get familiar with these two ways of getting traffic, but haven't been overly impressed with the results for anything except my blog.

One reason may be because I'm sending people to "mirror" sites designed by others that frankly I find confusing and overwhelming myself. So no wonder I've gotten lousy CTR's. But my question is that if I create a landing page that I design myself they still need to go to the other sites in order to take action. Is this going to add a layer that will help, i.e., condense what they need to know before sending them to the link or just frustrate them that they didn't get directly to the information they thought they were being directed to?

Any comments, ideas, experience from people out there?


The Difference Between Winning and Losing - A Wonderful Blog by a Friend

I'll give you a snippet here, but please follow the link and read the entire thing. It's a must read! By my good friend, Diane Kennedy.

"Ever so often I send an email that resounds with a number of people. The one I sent a week ago, 9/3/08, was one like that. Here it is again. Thank you all for your kind comments.

The past year and a half has been the most challenging I’ve ever faced since I’ve been in business. And last week, in the worst storm in Phoenix’s history, a tree went through our roof. It was a bad enough storm that I looked under the trunk the next morning for little witch’s feet, but apparently it wasn’t that bad. (That was a Wizard of Oz reference, by the way.)

There was a time in my life when this would have been devastating. Now, it’s a hassle, but not the end of the world. Since our son David came to join our family, I’ve found that I think a lot more about my reaction to things. I strive to be the adult that I want my son to become. And I’m better for that.

So, what is the lesson that I should take away, and teach my son about, from all the turmoil that’s come our way? There are a number of them..."


Diane Kennedy, CPA and Tax Strategist is co-founder of Diane Kennedy's Tax Services, a leading tax firm that works with clients throughout the U.S. and founder of taxloopholes.com, an award-winning online tax education site. Diane is the author of The Wall Street Journal and Business Week bestsellers, "Loopholes of the Rich" and "Real Estate Loopholes," and co-author of "The Insider’s Guide To Real Estate Investing Loopholes," "The Insider’s Guide to Making Money in Real Estate," "The Insider’s Guide to Tax Free Real Estate Investing" and "Tax Loopholes for eBay® Sellers."

How to Profit from Idea Thieves - another great article to read!

I have a friend, a published writer, who found some of her material being marketed by someone else as their own. She has found some ways of tracking her material on the web using keywords and such, but this article provides even more ideas. I'll be passing it on to her and others in her Forum.

For the article I read this morning go to http://www.earlytorise.com/2008/09/10/how-to-profit-from-idea-thieves-2.html - and as always I'd enjoy your feedback and comments.


An article you MUST read - lots of food for thought!

Today's first article on the www.earlytorise.com daily list that starts off my blog page was a must read in my opinion..."A Thorn with Every Rose." On first reading I thought it was uplifting, on second I realized that others may disagree with it and it would create lively discussion. So please read it and give me your opinions; I love a good debate!

This is a quote from it that I found quite astounding:

"In Unweaving the Rainbow, Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins writes: "We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of the Sahara. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively outnumbers the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here."" (emphasis is mine)


A Garden Tip for the Coming Cold Weather

I live in a coastal area in California, so freezes are are very rare occurrence, but we do get the occasional frost and sometimes it's enough to kill our normally year-round plants.

Just last winter I was admiring a huge, beautiful Jade plant that we planted 10 years before, the year we moved to California and this house. I made a comment to my husband about it. A few days later we awoke to it sagging and looking awful! We had several days of frost warnings so we tried everything to save that beautiful plant. We covered it with a blanket, we ran an extension cord with his worklight and left it on all night under the cover. All to no avail. The plant survived, but so much dead stuff had to be cut off it wasn't much bigger than when we planted it years ago.

Now a new friend, who is a professional gardener told me the secret...string frost sensitive plants with miniature outdoor Christmas lights!

Even if you are in a cold weather climate you may find this tip helpful to either extend your growing season or help sensitive plants winter-over. I remember my Mom wrapping plants in burlap and/or covering them with bushel baskets back east.

This is Exactly Why You Should Make This Your Homepage!

I use this blog as my own Homepage and would highly recommend you do, too! There's so much "fluff" on most homepages, or just too much hard news...I need things to feed my brain, not drain it!

And I just clicked on one of the new articles that were here waiting for me this morning from www.earlytorise.com and this reader was saying the same thing:

Reader Feedback: "Every article, no matter how big or small, contains such informational treasures..."

“Each morning when I open my e-mail inbox, I look forward to reading Early to Rise. Every article, no matter how big or small, contains such informational treasures that I often forward the e-zine to others within my company. And I’ve got other people hooked! In the lunchroom, we now have discussions about articles in ETR, rather than the latest tragedy in the news or what happened on television the night before. It makes a huge difference in our attitude at work.

“Thank you, Early to Rise. Keep up the wonderful work!”

Krista L. Ellis

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

But she had to go through her e-mail to find it...make this your Homepage and you'll have Early to Rise articles at your fingertips throughout the day, as well as a host of other great information!