Monday, August 17, 2009

Where Others Have Gone Before

This article was written by Carl Woodard, Chairman, SCORE Orange County, California

clip_image002 I just returned from Chicago. Driving through so many large and small cities, seemingly endless fields of crops, beautiful national parks and beside full, rushing rivers. When time allows, driving is now my favorite mode of travel, since I retired. And, I prefer the small rural routes to interstates. But, for everyone who travels this country, we truly appreciate the work of all who came before us to stretch roads across mountains at 12,000 feet, cut highways through miles of solid granite, build bridges across rivers which flow with raw, erosive force and bore tunnels to shorten our way. We can now easily drive from coast to coast in four or five days, if necessary, because of their dedication and experience.

Dedication and experience…. makes the path easier for those who come in the future. Dedicated pioneers pointed the way for all who followed. Today, with so many ways to plan our routes, we have no reason to get lost or delayed….unless we want to.

If you own, or plan to open, a small business of any kind, in any location, you have the ability to call on dedicated, experienced business counselors from SCORE….counselors to America’s small business. Our deep experience in virtually any business discipline can make your road to success faster and easier to climb. The ladies and gentlemen of SCORE can help you develop your business plan, guide your financial planning, build your marketing plan, arrange the layout of a warehouse or teach you smart purchasing methods.

All of our counseling is at no cost to you! In Orange County, our SCORE Chapter has more than one hundred, experienced counselors, representing over 4000 years of business experience just waiting to make your way easier. And our knowledge is real, not simply from a book, but honed from actual marketplace experience. Why not benefit from our experience, rather than cutting a slow, new path through your business wilderness?

To schedule an appointment with a SCORE counselor, simply call 714-550-7369 and tell us what you need. Or, go to www.SCORE114.org and see our workshop schedule for a topic and location near you. Call us or join us. We can make your journey a lot easier.

Social Media is the New Frontier

 

This article was written by Bob Bradley, SCORE Management Counselor

Become a SCORE FACEBOOK FAN and follow us on TWITTER (www.twitter.com/ocscore)

clip_image00210 Years...This seems to be the time period that comes up most often when successful internet marketers are asked "how long have you been doing this?". It is also interesting to note that Google celebrated only its 11th anniversary just last month. That's right, only eleven years!!  In the last 5-7 years the real commercialization of website marketing has taken place. Google now indexes over 1 TRILLION unique URLs and it is estimated that there are over 200 million websites and still growing at about 3 million per month. The latest market share reports indicate that Google is getting close to performing 75% of the searches worldwide. Bottom line is that people accept the web world as part of their lives even though this was not always the case. This is similar to the horse people accepting autos back in the early 1900s 

However, with this growth rules have arrived. Search providers spend large sums of money to present a "pure" search result to the user based on the searcher's query. Substantial revenues can be generated by a company by being in the top 5 search results. Thus, the schemers and scammers attempt to wedge their way to the top five or ten by employing nefarious techniques. To battle this the search engine providers come up with more rules and controls. This results in complexities when attempting to create a successful web presence. One must learn and follow the rules and use prescribed techniques to "get found" that comply with the rules and the terms of service. Websites can be taken down for violations.

Now we are seeing explosive growth in the social media. Many scoff at social media sites as a passing fad, or something only for teenagers. No marketer worth their salt can ignore that there are over 250 million users of Facebook and between Facebook and MySpace they get 130 million hits each month. For perspective, when Google was Facebook's age they had 50 million users. Users of Facebook stay on the sites just under 30 minutes (in a world where 2 minutes is good) and the fastest growing segment of registered users in Facebook is the over 35 age group. Twitter has been in existence for just over 2 years, they have 42 employees and have amassed over 35 million users. They have little or no revenue model as of yet and are backed by numerous investors expecting a good payday. 

What does this mean to a marketer? Social media, as a business, is positioned just where websites were 10 years ago. There are no real rules right now and opportunities may be everywhere. Rest assured that real entrepreneurs are taking this trend seriously and they will find ways to monetize their efforts. Money will be made and money will be lost. Meanwhile those that scoff will be the ones trying "me to" marketing efforts a few years from now and find themselves stymied by how hard it is to make any real money in social media. History does repeat. Get a horse!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Should I upgrade my Windows XP to Windows Vista?

This article was written by Dan(Baer) Feinberg, Fein-Line Associates, Inc.

For those still running the venerable but aging Windows XP, here are questions and answers.

• (Q) I am still running XP, should I upgrade to Windows Vista? (A) No, while Vista is now a good operating system, Windows 7 is even better and as it is so close to release I would now wait.

• (Q) When will Windows 7 be available? (A) It will be available with new computers sometime in September or October but any new computer you buy now should include a free upgrade to Windows 7 when it be­comes available. Separate upgrades will be available in October.

• (Q) Is Windows 7 as good as what I hear? (A) Yes, it is. Windows 7 seems to be perhaps the best OS since Windows 98SE and perhaps the best Windows ever. It is speedy, intuitive and it is not bloated which means it will not slow down even an older slightly underpowered computer. There are many additional rea­sons to upgrade, more than can be covered here.

• (Q) Where do I get the upgrade? (A) If you buy a new computer this Summer you will get a coupon for up­grade when it becomes available. Just follow the instructions. If you are planning on upgrading a present Windows XP or Vista machine you will be able to buy an upgrade to W­7 when it becomes available. Right now however there is a great advance order sales going on. See the links below to get the approximately 50% discount and advance order the upgrade.

• (Q) Can I still continue to run Windows XP? (A) Of course but remember XP is an OLD OS and it therefore does not have many of the valuable features found in Vista and Windows 7. It is also less secure and Mi­crosoft will eventually stop supporting it.

 

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“General Ledger” is an Old Accounting Report That Still Has Uses

This article was written by Dick Ginnaty, CPA

clip_image002In the world of accounting “General Ledger” is not a military hero, or the father of Keith, but a useful accounting report that every business person should be aware of.

A general ledger contains every accounting entry to each account in the chart of accounts. So every debit and credit which is a result of an accounting transaction during the period in question is recorded in the general ledger. For example, by reviewing the general ledger entries for an account that seems to be in error, (let’s say “rent expense” seems too high), you can discover the root of the problem and if you are operating in QuickBooks you can correct the erroneous entry right then.

This report is most useful when reviewing the tax liability accounts, the fixed asset accounts, the loan liability and interest expense accounts. Each of these accounts tends to have errors in them or have dates of payments that are critical to complete the tax returns correctly. Don’t be surprised if your accountant is asking for this report to be printed out for their review.

To see the general ledger in QuickBooks, go to “Reports” tab, and select “Accountant & Taxes”, then select “General Ledger”. You can then view all the activity in all the accounts, or by using the filter capability of QuickBooks you can just view the accounts that are of interest.

P.S. If there is any area in accounting or tax that you think needs to be addressed in this column please e-mail me at

Ginnatycpa@aol.com and if it is of general interest, I will address it in future column.

Good luck and here’s hoping it “all adds up” for you.

Next Women’s Breakfast, Friday Sept 11th

 

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Eight Principals of 21st Century Networking!

Join us for another exiting breakfast with Lisa Bentson, Author, VP San Diego SCORE Women’s Program, President of Leads Club Inc. Lisa believes that the bottom line of successful networking is building business friendships. Today’s networking is all relational networking. As an attendee, this interactive seminar will provide you information on the eight principals of 21st century networking.

  • The golden rule of networking
  • Define your strategic objectives
  • 7 seconds for success
  • Be someone’s hero
  • Your networking tool kit
  • Once is not enough
  • Expand your universe
  • Networking etiquette

The Center Club , 650 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa, CA 92626 
Note: The Center Club FREE VALET is located just past the ticket office for the OC Performing Arts

Sign up on line at Score114.0rg under Women in Business