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Keeping Organized

Friday, June 16, 2017 posted by Joan
Success Motivational Stones

Success Engraved Stones

Keeping organized takes extra work, but in the end, it saves lots of time and frustration.  Even if you are organized, you can still make mistakes, but there will be less of them.  As an example, some people give daily inscribed calendars as an engraved business gifts because they help to keep you organized even though your calendar might be on your smart phone.  It enables you to clip small things onto each day so they are easily at hand.  Others prefer to use a tickler system to accomplish the same thing.  It is a matter of personal preference.

Also, if you keep a chrono book (like a steno pad) on your desk and note things to do and contact information, when all else fails, go back to the chrono and you will likely find what you are looking for.  Keep daily and weekly to-dos on your smartphone or other electronic device so you can easily see the following week in advance and progress on large projects. Also, if you are managing a group of people, keep a notes file on each person to make annual evaluations easier.

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Money Management Tips

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 posted by Joan
Success Motivational Stones

Success Engraved Stones

There are so many scams that make the headlines that many folks are just plain scared to trust someone else to manage their hard, earned savings. Managing your own money without sufficient training can be a mistake.  Interest rates are so low that it might take a ton of motivational paperweights to improve their yield.  Listen to the commercials on radio and TV which can be tempting, but can you really trust the source?  Listening to friends can also be a mistake.  So, what is the best course to follow?

In my opinion, my money should always be in my name managed by a  money manager.   With Bernie Madoff, the money was controlled by him and he set up accounts for his clients.  If you wanted to get to your money, you had to request it.  I prefer my investments in a large brokerage firm like Fidelity or Charles Schwab.  Anytime I want money, I just write a check.  I view all mail from the brokerage firm to make sure I know what is happening even though I have great faith in my manager.  I don’t wish to spend all my time managing my money.

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Motivating Employees

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 posted by Martin
Thank You Engraved Stone

Thank You Engraved Stones

It is no secret that some companies are more successful because their employees are more motivated.  The question is what is the best way to motivate them?  Motivational stones alone will not work.  In the past, people were motivated by piece work.  Rather than pay $10 per hour, they could earn even more if they could get more work done.  In a company, I used to work for, the warehouse employees who were unionized reached an agreement that they would have to accomplish at least 90% of an agreed upon target.  What happened?  They finished their work early and rested for an additional hour while they were being paid.

The company would have been better off if they paid the workers extra for finishing early but continued to work.  There would have been less need for extra workers.  That way, everyone wins.  But once you give out a benefit, it is hard to take it back.  Sales people are sometimes paid by commissions.  Others are on a flat salary.  Which sales people are going to be more productive?

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New Year Resolutions

Friday, January 20, 2017 posted by Joan
Happy New Year Engraved Stones

Happy New Year Engraved Stones

The time for Christmas and Hanukkah greetings has passed and we look forward to what the new year brings us.  Have you made your new year resolutions yet?  What things can you do to improve yourself and make things better for others?  Here are some ideas to consider.

Many folks made a resolution to lose weight. The problem is that after a week or two, the motivation is overcome by temptation. If you make a resolution, also make a plan and stick to it. If you get off the wagon, make the adjustments and get back on it. Another good resolution is to save more money. If you are not saving a minimum of 5% of your net income, change your spending habits. The first payment you make each payday should be to your savings account. Saving more is even better.  If your employer offers a 401K matching plan, and you are not in it, you are making a big mistake.  At the end of a 30-year period, your 401K could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.

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Black Friday Sales

Thursday, December 1, 2016 posted by Martin
Merry Christmas Engraved River Stones

Merry Christmas Engraved River Stones

Most folks wait for Black Friday and Cyber Monday to take advantage of loss leaders from major retailers.  Black Friday used to be on the Friday after Thanksgiving, but many retailers are making it earlier and today, the sales begin on Thanksgiving Day or earlier.  Originally, the sales were by retailers of general merchandise. Today, almost every retailer from automobiles to engraved river stones to zoos have their Black Friday sales for a full week and more.  Car companies and appliance manufacturers dump last year’s models and call it Black Friday sales.  Are you really getting a big bargain?

As an example, when the new automobiles are introduced each year, there is not much discounting.  When Christmas arrives, there are deals.  After that, promotions and sale prices become more frequent throughout the season until June when end-of-year prices begin.  My message is, “Be a careful consumer.”  Don’t assume that just because a retailer uses the words Black Friday it means you are getting a loss leader.

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Business Philosophy

Tuesday, September 20, 2016 posted by Martin
Success Motivational Stones

Success Engraved Stones

It has been said that the business of business is business. What does that mean?  There are two fundamental objectives of business.  The first is to create revenue.  The second is to create profits.  Increasing revenues cure a variety of problems as long as revenues add to the gross profit of an organization.  To increase top line revenues, incentives are a major factor.  That can be anything from engraved business gifts to free merchandise to volume discounts.  Unless there is top line growth, the only way to increase profits is to cut expenses, but never the quality of the products.

No matter what the product is, every buyer looks for value.  Prices are important, but not at the expense of quality.  This is true for both businesses and consumers.  Every buyer wants both low prices and good quality.  A happy buyer means more sales and therefore more business.  Reputation takes years to establish but just minutes to lose.  Therefore, every business must focus on customer service to improve sales.  Amazon is a prime example of this.  Over the years, Amazon continues to increase top and bottom lines by providing good value and customer service for both consumers and businesses.

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How to Save Money at the Supermarket

Tuesday, August 30, 2016 posted by Joan
Engraved Motivational Stones

Engraved Inspirational Stones

As a former supermarket executive, I became familiar with things that happen to increase their profits.  It is true that most supermarkets work on very thin margins, however their profit margins differ depending on which department you buy from.  Actually, certain products can be loss leaders so you will do your major shopping at that store. There are things you can do to hold onto more of your money.  Print out this blog and keep it handy, under your favorite inspirational stones, so you can review it before your next trip.

  • Don’t shop when you are hungry.
  • Bread or milk will usually be in the back of the store so you will pass by other items that will tempt you.
  • Use coupons only to buy the items you want and need.
  • Put yourself on a time budget so you won’t be tempted to overspend.
  • Beware of end caps.  Usually, end caps feature special prices for the consumer.  However, it is not uncommon for the store to place regularly priced products on an end cap.
  • Candy and magazines are at the checkout counter to tempt you. Ignore them.  There are usually no bargains there and you probably don’t need either of them.
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Choosing Alternatives

Sunday, August 21, 2016 posted by Martin
Happy Valentine's Day Stone

Happy Valentine’s Day Greeting Stone

Alternatives can be a great idea.  As an example, generic drugs are often as good as their high priced national brand.  In many stores, their private label merchandise looks as good, wears as well and or tastes as good as the national brand.  Greeting cards are a big markup item and often a greeting cards alternative offers better value than spending as much as $15 on a famous brand.  The card usually gets tossed quickly, so make more careful decisions.

Cable TV alternatives can be satellite providers.  Direct TV and Dish are the most famous.  Before choosing, find out what happens if you are not happy with the service.  Also, phone companies like Verizon and AT&T offer alternatives.  Here again, what happens if you are unhappy?  Make sure that you can receive all of the channels you are used to. An alternative to your ISP (internet service provider) can be your cable company, your phone company or a satellite company like Hughes.  Hulu is another alternative. Make sure you research the reviews and complaints with each of these alternatives before you decide.

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Are You Financially Organized?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016 posted by Martin
Success Motivational Stones

Success Engraved Stones

Many of us are organized, some better than others.  However, what does it mean to be financially organized?  If you know the answer, you get 5 engraved river stones.  If not, it will be worth your time to read this blog.

To begin with, have online access to your banks, insurance policies, credit cards and investments.  Have different passwords for each.  Stay away from easy to guess passwords and use something like *8Mju&765.  Write down your passwords and keep them printed in a secret place.  Also, read your statements and transactions carefully.  Don’t just file them away.  If there is something you don’t understand, ask questions. Also, keep a running list of your valuable assets. This includes government bonds. jewelry and such.

Next, treat your credit cards as though they are cash.  Don’t spend what you don’t have.   Make a household budget by looking at last year’s expenses and stick to the budget.  This includes pocket cash as well as checks you wrote and charges.  On April 15 next year, you will have to settle up with the IRS.  Track your income and deductible expenses as you go.  Don’t wait until tax time.

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Planning for The Future

Friday, June 3, 2016 posted by Martin
Engraved Motivational Stones

Engraved Inspirational Stones

Many of us live our lives just trying to make each day count.  Some live pay check to pay check and enjoy every dollar we earn.  Others have a more difficult task because we experience rocky roads and the money just won’t stretch.  It doesn’t take a pile of inspirational stones to teach us to plan ahead for the future.  There will always be good times and bad times.

Planning for the future means that we can see the future in advance.  Should the bad times never arrive, great!  But that is rarely the case. Think of what could go wrong and how you will deal with it.  Never say, “If I only knew then, what I know now.”   Planning includes retirement, health issues and education in addition to your other concerns.  Each of these involves money.  So live within your means and enjoy your life without fear.  Make sure you are protected from disaster with the proper insurance and gain the support of those closest to you.

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