What Car Battery Should You Choose? Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM), Gel Or Wet Cell

An electrical problem that doesn’t let your car start and leaves you stuck in a parking lot or some place away from the fix that’s needed is an unwanted problem we all do our best to avoid. So what can you do to lessen the possibility of a possible unwanted situation that involves an electrical system crash in your vehicle?

First of all make sure you spend double the money on a good car battery. A lead acid battery can cost between $75 to $125 dollars. The only reason liquid lead acid batteries are the most commonplace is liquid lead acid batteries were first developed in 1859 and they are the least expensive in today’s world of automotive engine starting sources. In 1971 the sealed liquid lead acid battery was created that made it maintenance friendly.

VRLA (valve regulated lead acid) batteries include gel and absorbed glass mate which are not liquid. Gel batteries are as the name applies which is a “Gel”. AGM batteries are silicate glass fibers mixed with boron and formed into a mat that holds the electrolyte. Non liquid gel batteries were created in the late 1920’s and lead to the creation of the “Absorbed Glass Mat” batteries in 1957. The AGM (absorbed glass mat) battery was put into production in 1972 but mostly used for military applications and non vehicle applications like boats, motor homes, motorcycles and electronics. Nowadays you see more AGM batteries becoming available for use in production cars. AGM (absorbed glass mat) batteries can cost from $160 to $250 but have more advantages over liquid lead acid batteries.

AGM batteries are basically used in applications where the use of the vehicle is only used now and again as in boats and recreational vehicles. The non use discharge rate is much lower in non use applications than liquid lead acid batteries. The charge rate is much faster also. Some automotive manufacturers are installing AGM batteries as their standard new car power source because of today’s higher vehicle power consumption. BMW right now is known to be the first to install AGM batteries in their 2007 models because of computer functions and braking.

AGM batteries are much better than liquid lead acid batteries but the downside of AGM batteries is you don’t overcharge them. They will charge faster with a normal output alternator up to 14.5 volts and a high output alternator is not needed. When an AGM battery is used in a non use vehicle a solar panel is recommended with a trickle charge. AGM batteries will go bad if charged over 14.5 volts. Most problems with charging AGM’s are in sports vehicles due to the rough environment they are used in. Toss away your old plug in garage battery charger and get a new one that maintains “Voltage” instead of amps. An AGM battery charger will sense a very low voltage in the battery and will start the recharge whereas an old charger does not sense low voltage and will not charge the battery.

These batteries are used in military vehicles that sit in storage for many years and start up after years in storage with no problem. I’ve read stories online where people have left their AGM batteries sitting in their garage for many years and they have retained their full charge. I use AGM batteries in my vehicles and disconnect the negative cable in the one that I don’t use that often anymore and it starts right up when I run the engine occasionally. I’ve read complaints about the AGM failing often but that’s only because of bad practices with them or using them in systems where the charging exceeds the recommended level. You can leave these batteries sitting for long periods of time without charging them but it’s recommended that a solar panel with an extremely low trickle charge be used when not in use. Again I will say from my own experiences is to disconnect the negative cable to the battery when not in use.

The AGM vs Gel and the wet cell? The AGM has thicker plates that tend to not warp that easily during deep discharges and resist sulfur buildup’s that destroy a wet cell battery. Wet cell batteries usually go bad after 4 years if they make it that length of time. The life expectancy of the AGM battery can be up to 10 years if not overcharged. Gel cell batteries are great for sports vehicles but tend to charge slower.

The Winner Is, “Absorbed Glass Mat” if you learn how to take care of them properly.

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Why You Should Buy Sarees Online

Probably one of the biggest ceremonies in India is traditional Indian weddings. And if it’s traditional, it has to be saree. Indian women look beautiful in sarees. Indian women and sarees- they always go hand in hand and are absolutely inseparable from each other. Since the time the civilization happened, sarees has always been one of the most beautiful and precious ornament that enhances the beauty of a woman. It’s the 6 yard long fabric which makes you a complete woman.

Unfortunately, buying a beautiful saree for an event or wedding is not easy. You must have encountered a situation when you were looking for a beautiful saree for a wedding and ended up wasting a lot of time and energy by going here and there, and yet you failed to find a lovely saree. However, things have now changed a bit. Buying a saree is no more a difficult task. Thanks to the DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY!! You can now buy a saree online from the comfort of your home. You just need the best gadgets to access the ecommerce sites online.

Have a look at the following reasons why more and more people are looking for an online saree store:-

1. It Saves Your Valuable Time

The very obvious reason why more and more people are buying shopping online is because it saves their valuable time. When you have a tight schedule all the week, it becomes difficult to take out time from your schedule and spend few hours in buying a beautiful saree which you will wear on a special occasion.

And this is exactly why online shopping is in trend. It will not only help your time by receiving a home delivery, but they also offer excellent discounts on brands. You won’t have to leave your home for shopping. You can always do some window shopping online whenever you get time.

2. Trendy Clothes

Before the trendy sarees come in the market, you can find the same in a digital store. Yes, this is the place where you can find the latest fashion. Do you need any other reason why you should buy saree online in India? Well, we have some more.

3. Of course, CONVENIENCE

When you have decided to buy a saree online, you have opened the doors of comfort and convenience which helps you to buy the same anytime you want. You don’t need to go from one shop to other, and you can easily place the order either from your home or your office. Now, you don’t really need to struggle hard in finding a gorgeous muslin saree.

4. 24/7 Stores

One of the best features of the online store is that they will always remain open i.e. 24/7 available to assist you all the help whatever required unlike the stores in the market which closes quickly after a specific time. Whenever you get some free time, you can always do online shopping. Now time won’t have the strength to bind you if you want to buy gujrati handloom saree at 2.am. Isn’t that great?

5. Price Comparison

You always have the option to check the price of sarees in different online store, do a quick comparison between both of them and buy the best one at the cheapest price. You don’t need to be in hurry. Take some time to decide, read all the features, as there won’t be any sales person selling the product to you. It’s your choice.
Top 3 Wedding Sarees You Can Buy Online

JAMDANI COTTON SAREE

Jamdani sarees are beautiful. They are very popular among Bengali women. It’s the beautiful fabric in colorful shades which makes this saree more popular. You can get this saree at a much cheaper price in the online store, and not any Jamdani cotton saree store.

SILK SAREE

This is a kind of saree which is prefereed by classy women. It makes you look modern and classy at the same time. When you are looking for a silk saree, always look for some bright colors i.e. green, blue, orange, purple. They are beautiful.

Aplick Work Saree Online

In few parts of India, this saree is popular and it’s quite expensive if you buy it from a local saree store. They are the perfect option of office wear. You can find these sarees in different colors, patterns and designs.

Before buying sarees online, you should visit the websites and read the customer reviews/testimonials to find the reality. All the reviews you read will give you an idea about the online store. If the customers are happy and satisfied, they will share a good review. It will also help you know the authenticity of the company. There are many other aspects you need to keep in mind when you are shopping online:-

• Choose the most reputed and established online saree merchants because they will have excellent shopping sites. They will also describe about the saree i.e. fabric, colors used in the saree, enlargement of the saree and blouse both.

• They are also very quick when it comes to delivering the product and most of the times, they won’t charge a single penny for the delivery. It will be absolutely free.

• Online stores also offer great discounts during the festivals so that buyers can shop more when the prices are decreased.

• Online stores offers the latest trends and therefore it will be a great choice for you.

Finally, where should you go? You always have the option to buy from a local store or shop online. When you are looking for a saree online, you should also select the fabric which will make your search easier. Simply go through all the options, and choose the one which will make you look beautiful.

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7 Tips to Prepare Your Vehicle for Winter

Windshield Wipers and Fluid – Fog, snow and rain will cut down your visibility in winter, causing you to use your wiper blades and washer fluid much more than normal. An antifreeze solution along with winter wiper blades will help to fight ice build-up. Keeping extra windshield washer solvent on hand is helpful too!

Battery – A thorough inspection of your battery, cables, terminals and fluid will help to make sure your car is ready for winter. The cold weather puts more stress on your battery. Many automotive parts stores will test your battery capacity free of charge.

Inspect Your Tires – If you’re not mounting winter tires on your vehicle, be sure to examine your current tires for remaining tread life, uneven wearing and cupping as well as checking the sidewalls for cuts and nicks to help you to know if your tires are ready for the harsh weather. The colder weather will also reduce the pressure within your tires, causing them to perform poorly in the snow. You should frequently check your tire pressures.

Coolant – Along with regulating the engine temperature, a vehicle’s coolant system is responsible for protecting your engine against corrosion. For the winter season you will want to make sure that you are using the right ratio of coolant to water in your system as well as using the right type of coolant for your car. If you are unsure, you can check the effectiveness of your coolant with a simple and inexpensive test found at any car parts store.

Ice scraper – Keep your ice scraper in your vehicle and always clean off your car completely, not just a little peephole in the windshield. You must be able to see all your surroundings, your side mirrors and through your back window. Snow on top of your car could slide down and cover your windshield while you are slowing down or fly off onto someone else’s vehicle while you are driving. In some states it is the law that your vehicle is clear of snow and ice.

Survival Kit – Especially during times of slick road conditions and below freezing temperatures, you will want to keep a survival kit in the car at all times in case of emergency. Some items to consider include extra gloves, boots and blankets, flares, tire chains, a flashlight and extra batteries, car charger or portable cellphone charger, and a whistle. Also check your spare tire and make sure that your car jack is in good, working condition.

Keep Your Gas Tank Above Half – If you get stuck or stranded, the car’s engine will be your only source of heat and you will want to be sure you have enough fuel to keep you warm. In some cases, it may be necessary to remove snow from behind the tailpipe and keep it unobstructed to prevent lethal gas from accumulating in the vehicle.

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The Best Places For Destination Weddings

Wedding bells are ringing everywhere! If you’re someone who is planning to get married on the coming year then you need to read what we have to say before you make any further wedding plans. For all us, the day we get married is probably the most important day of our lives and we want to make sure it is arranged that way as well. To do that, you don’t necessarily have to throw a grand wedding at the most expensive place around. A simple and much cheaper alternative is to get married at one of the following locations which are known for their exotic beauty and their services all of which are at your beck and call for very economical prices. And before you move on, here’s a tip – if you’re planning a destination wedding make sure you book flight tickets well in advance!

1. Belize:
This place is on top of our list of wedding destinations and the reason for that is because it offers so much for so little. The place has some extremely beautiful destinations and rainforests as well as old Mayan ruins. Oh and let’s not forget that this place is also home to the second largest barrier reef in the world. The best thing about this place is that instead of being filled with expensive resorts like most of the other exotic travel locations, it has a lot of economical lodges and the sea food here is divine yet cheap too. So you can even host a wedding feast filled with exotic sea food but still save a lot in your pocket.

2. Jamaica:
The best thing about Jamaica is that it provides you with a choice of two very different and equally beautiful locations. You can choose to get married on the white sandy beaches or near the Rocky Mountains depending on what you like. Or maybe you could get married on the beach and throw the dinner or reception in the mountains to get the best of both worlds. And on top of that, the arrangements here are really cheap as compared to other travel destinations.

3. Vermont:
This small collection of beautiful landscapes and homey villages is probably the best travel destination to get married in. The scenic beauty here gives you the perfect backdrop to take your wedding vows and have a fun pre or post wedding shoot too. There are a lot of cozy and warm bed and baths here as well as halls where you can hold your wedding party. And the best part of this is that you can get all of this at very very economical prices.

Now that you know the best places to get married in, we suggest that you start planning for your perfect destination wedding and make sure you book flight tickets well before time so as to avoid any unnecessary delays and problems in your plans! All the best! Cheers to new beginnings!

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The “How” And “Why” Of Electric Panels

Electric panel very simply refers to the electric board which provides electricity to the sub circuits. These panels are extensively used in Process industries, Automotive industries, Food and Beverage sector, Oil and Gas Equipment, Aerospace, Metal Forming Machinery, Machine Tools, Power Generation, R&D Testing labs and Process Industries and other industrial sectors.

Are You Banking On The Right Product?

Once you go through this post, you will actually understand why electric panels play such an important role in the aforementioned sectors. Think about the times when you experience power outage owing to a natural disaster— then you must have run to the electric panel to restore power. When it comes to electric panels, getting the right circuit breaker can make all the difference between safety and risk. These panels are generally based in backrooms, basements and less visited areas of a particular place.

The products of reputed manufacturers are known for the following aspects:

– Quality performance

– Easy installation

– Flawless design

– Power efficiency

– Low maintenance

Make sure you are checking the credentials of the manufacturer thoroughly before you are roping the same in. If you’re looking forward to install these units, you should find out about the manufacturers who are known for offering products with the aforementioned qualities.

The internet will offer you information about a lot of manufacturers providing these panels. However, one should realize that that not all of them are equally credentialed to offer you quality panels. It takes years of experience and domain expertise to manufacture panels that go on to serve you satisfactorily in the long term.

So, it is important to ensure that you’re actually taking the trouble to conduct proper market survey and then going on to settle for their product. Now, the question is – how exactly would you know that you are actually posing your faith in the right name? You can consider the following steps.

How To Settle For The Right Electric Panel

The first thing to do would be to seek recommendations from peers. Now, let us clarify from the very beginning that in order to meet the diverse quality requirements, leading manufacturers employ quality analysts who ensure that the products pass multiple quality stages before reaching you. Those who have accessed products of these manufacturers are bound to endorse their products- while those who have actually gone on to choose manufacturers arbitrarily might not as well be in a position to do so. When you are not conducting research on the background of the manufacturer, you are not even aware of whether or not the particular name is actually taking the aforementioned steps to ensure that only quality products are reaching you. Without research there is every chance of unwittingly ending up with poor quality products.

Read reviews in order to find out how the companies have been rated. Kindly ensure that you’re not leaving any stone unturned to get the best value for your money. Taking the aforementioned steps will ensure that you are not repenting your choice later on.

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Useful Tips for Choosing an Airport Taxi Service

Getting to the airport isn’t the easiest thing and can be more difficult for those travelling with a lot of luggage and family members. One option to forget about the logistics of reaching the airport on time is to make use of an airport taxi service. This can remove a lot of the stress and worry, but is still important to schedule the pickup to match the specific needs.

Here are a few tips to make sure the airport taxi service provides a prompt and timely package:

Plan ahead

A simple step that can make things go smoothly is to book the taxi well in advance. Make sure there is enough time to easily reach the airport without feeling rushed. Try to calculate the travel distance and add an extra hour or more in the event of heavy traffic. Also, if travelling during busy travel times, such as bank holidays, it may be worth adding a little more time.

Pay attention to reputation

Investigate two or three different companies and aim to identify one that is highly rated for providing a reliable deal in the local area. Use online reviews to get an idea of the quality and reputable of a potential company. Find one that has the courteous drivers and appreciated for providing timely pickups and drops-offs.

Most companies are quite similar, so it helps to ring around and get a price for the ride to the airport. Many quote a flat fee to travel from home to the airport, as well as any other pickups on the way. Also, make sure the preferred company has the necessary licensing and credentials to offer this particular type of service.

Amount of space

One of the important things to check is the amount of space for passengers and luggage that the vehicle can accept. The vehicles can vary significantly in size with a standard vehicle able to accept a couple with minimal luggage to the larger vehicle that can easily take six or seven passengers in comfort.

For those travelling with a lot of bags, it may be necessary to ask for a larger vehicle.

Call before pickup

Even if the airport taxi service has been booked and reserved in advance, it still may be worth giving the company a call a few hours before it should arrive at the pickup address to make sure it will be arriving on time.

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Are You Eligible for These Sunshine State Travel Discounts?

If a Florida vacation is in your future, then find out if you’re eligible for these travel discounts in the Sunshine State. Although they are relatively easy to get, if you don’t know how or where to apply for them, you’ll totally miss out on some hefty savings.

Save at the Toll Booth

First and foremost, if you have a significant dexterity disability, you may be eligible for a free pass when it comes to Florida’s toll roads. The Disabled Toll Permit saves drivers both time and money; and although it’s often overlooked by visitors, it’s easy to obtain if you meet the minimum qualifications.

In order to qualify for a Disabled Toll Permit you must have:

A valid driver’s license
An upper limb or dexterity disability that prevents you from tossing coins into a toll booth basket
An adapted vehicle
The permit is valid for five years, and it can be used at manned toll booths throughout the state. Just show the toll booth operator your permit, and you’re good to go. For more information about the Disabled Toll Permit, call (800) 983-2435.

Once you receive your Disabled Toll Permit, you can also apply for a Sun Pass non-revenue mini transponder. There is a $4.95 fee for this electronic device that attaches to the windshield, and allows users to pass through unmanned toll booths at no charge.

For more information about a Sun Pass non-revenue mini transponder, call the Florida Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged at (561) 488-5344.

State Park Savings

Additionally, veterans with a service-connected disability can receive a free military entrance pass, good for admission to all Florida State Parks. This lifetime pass is valid for park admission of up to eight people, except at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife and Weeki Wachee Springs parks, where it’s good for up to two people.

Proof of identification, service-connected disability and honorable discharge are required. Acceptable documentation includes:

Valid driver’s license.
Documentation from Department of Defense or another appropriate agency of service-connected disability.
DD Form 214 showing honorable discharge.
The military entrance pass can only be obtained in person at any Florida State Park. Surviving Spouses and parents of US military members who have died in combat are also eligible for this pass.

Honorably discharged veterans can also receive a 25% discount on individual or family passes. These passes, which are valid for one year, are good for admission to all parks. A valid driver’s license and a DD Form 214 are required to get the discount; and like the military entrance pass, it can only be obtained in person.

And if you don’t qualify for either of those passes, but you plan to visit a number of Florida State Parks, you can still save some money by purchasing an individual or family annual pass. These passes are good for one year and they can be purchased at any state park entrance. The individual pass is priced at $60, while the family pass costs $120.

So plan ahead, bring your documentation, and rack up some savings on your next Florida vacation.

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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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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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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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