Thursday, July 26, 2007

Free Online Service for Commuters

According to the article, "Email traffic alerts aid N.J. commuters" in The Philadelphia Inquirer, commuters traveling between New Jersey and Philadelphia will be able to check their email, cell phones or PDAs for up-to-date traffic jams and late trains.

The free online service will be provided by the Delaware River Port Authority, and a similar program is being developed for SEPTA.

The PATCO train line, run by the Delaware River Port Authority, will also provide uniformed "ambassadors" to assist commuters traveling at night and on weekends.

Providing information in formats and on devices that make life more convenient for your customer is a sure way to build a stronger business.

Recycling Can Save Your Life

According to the Men’s Health article, “Energy-saving lightbulbs”, government scientists believes compact fluorescent bulbs, which contain mercury, could one day poison us.

Apart from standard recycling to prevent soil and water contamination, Ikea is also accepting bulbs at their store for free.

Visit for more information.

Natural Solutions Help Save Money

According to the Men’s Health article, “A Clean Sweep”, ammonia-based cleaning products can cause asthma attacks.

Homemade products can work just as effectively. Coffee grounds mixed with compost mulch can open drains, vegetable oil and lemon juice work as a glass cleaner, and simmering cinnamon leaves and cloves become an air freshener. Who knew?

When you’re building a stronger business, DIY is often an economic route.

Eliminate Stress, Live Longer

Worrying takes 16 years off your life! proclaims the article “Chill, You’ll Be Fine” in Men’s Health.

Negative thinking produces cortisol, a stress hormone that can be bad for your health when elevated for long periods of time. Stress-coping habits like overeating can also contribute to overall bad health, but activities like volunteering can help eliminate stress.

Genius Computer Game "Solves" Checkers

Chinook, a checker-playing computer program developed by Canadian researchers, can beat anyone at checkers.

The Canadian study entitled, “Checkers is Solved”, is discussed in Randolph E. Schmid’s article in the Philadelphia Inquirer’s, “Computer Scientist Say Their Program Cannot Lose”. According to the scientists, every decision the checker-playing program makes is 100% accurate. For the 39 trillion positions possible in the game, Chinook can calculate them all!

The emergence of unbeatable computer –playing programs has not stopped people from enjoying the game. Ernest L. Hall, director of the Center for Robotics at the University of Cincinnati, believes such programs will encourage people to solve “other games we encounter in life”.

Being the best is a smart position strategy when building a stronger business.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Perception Matters When Building a Business

In order to make her small real-estate and property management firm look larger than it actually was, Angela Ford invested in an answering service. Instead of reaching Ms. Ford, her customers would first speak to a live operator, who would only direct their calls if she was available. Her company's revenue has more than doubled every year since it began.

According to The New York Times article, "Making a Little Company Look Big" part of building a successful company includes creating the image that you are more successful than you initially are. Besides paying for an answering service, entrepreneurs can also rent office space and design a sophisticated Web site.

Evan Carmichael, a chief executive of small business, had his friends dress in suits and work diligently in a borrowed office space when a local television studio asked to interview him. After the segment was broadcast his Web site went from 150 visitors a day to almost 1700 a day.

People who build a stronger business realize that perception matters and take advantage of technology tools and marketing techniques to put their best foot forward.

Public Chooses 7 Wonders

A poll on the seven wonders of the world was conducted via the internet and cell phone text messages, bringing in 100 million votes. The article in The Philadelphia Inquirer highlights the 7 winners as:

  • The Great Wall of China
  • The Roman Colosseum, Italy
  • The Taj Mahal, India
  • Machu Picchu, Peru
  • Statue of Christ Reedemer, Brazil
  • Petra in Jordan
  • Chichen Itzen Pyramid, Mexico

The 21 runners-up included:

  • The Eiffel Tower
  • Easter Island
  • The Statue of Liberty
  • The Acropolis
  • Cambodia's Angkor
  • Spain's Alhambra
  • Turkey's Hagia Sophia
  • Japan's Kiyomizu Temple
  • Russia's Kremlin and
  • St. Basil's Cathedral
  • Germany's Neuschwanstein Castle
  • Britain's Stonehenge
  • Mali's Timbuktu
  • Sydney Austraila's Opera House

Organizers of the poll admit there was no way to stop people from voting more than once. Nearly 200 nominations came in from around the world.

Surveys and polls are convenient ways to gather insights into public opinion--something everyone who is building a stronger business wants to do.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Online Rating System: Help or Hindrance?

In The New York Times article, "On Second Thought, Let's Just Rate all the Lawyers", criminal defense lawyer John Henry Browne, sites his reasons for filing a lawsuit against allows regular people to find the kind of lawyers they need in their location. After typing in a zip code and specialty, a list of lawyers come up with a rating out of 10 points.

Unfortunately for Mr. Browne, his first visit to the site ranked him at a 3.7, in the site's "caution" zone. He claims to have lost two potential clients because of Web site.

Avvo appears to generate their rankings from public records including disciplinary reports and factor in education, experience and specialization help. Lawyers are allowed to add information to their profile after providing Avvo with a valid credit card number.

They will not disclose exactly how much each record factors into their ratings, but claim lawyers could temporarily increase their scores by inputing minor prizes and awards. After typing in positive information about his career and experience, Mr. Browne watched his score rise to a 7.4.

When you're building a stronger business, focus on the metrics that matter rather than getting caught in an arbitrary rating game.