Archive for December, 2007

Merry Christmas To All!

I just wanted to wish everyone a wonderful Christmas! Be safe in your travels and I hope all of you have a fantastic time with family and friends!

Bank of America can kiss my @#$

First off I have to admit I did a bad thing. I went against the rules and made store purchases on a personal credit card. At the time it seemed like we would be able to cover the expenses and worst case I could pay it down over time. I know you shouldn’t mix personal and business expenses, but at the time the solutions were fairly limited.

So let’s jump ahead to now and we find out that my interest rate has skyrocketed to 24% for no apparent reason! It’s tripled from the rate it used to be before I made these purchases. There has never been a dispute against the account, no cards reported lost or stolen or anything that warrants an outrageous interest rate like this. If you think about it, college students get 18% because they’re an unknown commodity and don’t have an established history. I’m not even on their level.

Let me also add that I have had this account for over 15+ years and have never missed a payment. The card has evolved into a Platinum Card (which used to mean something) and before Bank of America took it over the interest rate was never this high. It used to be with MBNA and although they weren’t known for the lowest rates in the business they never gouged me like this!

And this isn’t the first incident I have heard like this. I have talked with some friends of mine who happen to have Bank of America cards and accounts and they tell me that as the balance goes up so does the interest rate. It’s like this bank is trying to make it difficult to pay off the balance.  I’ve heard if you get too close to the limit on a card companies do this now, although I’m not that close and haven’t made purchases on this card in nearly a year…

I guess the point is, you need to be very careful when making purchases for the store and putting them on your personal account. You can easily end up with debts long after the store is gone.

And be careful whom you bank with. It could be a coincidence, but it looks like Bank of America is trying to make it difficult for customers to pay down their debts. From my experience they are pushing the rates so high that you never pay down the balance.

I just wanted to share this little incident for any other owners out there who might be going down the same road.

Advertising on a Shoestring Budget

Seems everyone is feeling the effects of a downturn in the market and heavy competition. Usually coffee is the last “luxury” people cut back on… This could be in indicator of some interesting times to come.

Advertising on a Shoestring Budget

For the first time in company history, Starbucks founder Howard Schultz is turning to television to market his hugely successful coffee company, in hopes of improving low sales. Thanks to increasing competition from other chains, including McDonalds and Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks stock has suffered a significant drop in price. It really isn’t any surprise that many people are switching to less expensive options for their morning cup of joe. Gas and oil prices continue to rise, the housing market is in shambles, and the holidays are just around the corner. With no relief in sight, many people are cutting corners wherever they can.

If you are an independent restaurant owner, you are no doubt feeling the pinch of the slackening economy. Unfortunately, most small restaurants don’t have the massive amount of cash to start a TV campaign, like Starbucks. So how do you attract customers in a time of recession? Marketing tactics, even on a shoestring budget, can help bring in business, as can restaurant promotions, such as early bird deals and two-for-one specials. Updating your menu by adding less expensive meals can help keep your food costs down as well, while still offering customers the same great food and service.

Advertising on a Shoestring Budget

Everything You Need To Know Before Opening A Restaurant

I have to admit, I found this little bit of commentary pretty funny.

Will 2008 be the year you follow your dream and open your own restaurant? Owning a restaurant sounds fun, exciting, even sexy to many people. You’re your own boss, making all the decisions. The public will be banging down the doors to eat your fantastic food. Sure, there are other restaurants in the area, but none will be as good as yours will. This is the pre-restaurant fantasy. Smug, self-righteous, all knowing individuals think they can open a restaurant and do it better than anyone else. I should know, I was one.

Well, reality quickly rears its ugly head when you own a restaurant. Slow sales, broken equipment and staff drama are just a few of the problems you will deal with on a regular basis as a restaurant owner. Owning a restaurant, while incredibly rewarding, is a lot of hard work and stress. Before you start drafting a restaurant business plan and writing up a menu, first read about everything you need to know before opening a restaurant.

Read more of the article here:

The end of the Wal-Mart era

Another example of over-extending and unbridled growth can lead to your downfall. Not understanding your customers and not anticipating their needs, no matter how big you are, will lead to your downfall.

The Wal-Mart era, the retailer’s time of overwhelming business and social influence in America, is drawing to a close.

Using a combination of low prices and relentless expansion, Wal-Mart Stores (WMT, news, msgs) emerged from rural Arkansas in the 1970s to reshape the world’s largest economy. Its co-founder, Sam Walton, taught Americans to demand ever-lower prices and instructed businesses on running a lean company. His company helped boost America’s overall productivity, lowered the inflation rate and strengthened the buying power for millions of people.

Over time, it also accelerated the drive to manufacture products in Asia, drove countless small shops out of business and sped the decline of Main Street. Those changes are permanent.

Today, though, Wal-Mart’s influence over the retail universe is slipping. In fact, the industry’s titan is scrambling to keep up with swifter rivals that are redefining the business all around it. It can still disrupt prices, as it did last year by cutting some generic prescriptions in the United States to $4. But success is no longer guaranteed.

Read the full article here: The end of the Wal-Mart era – MSN Money

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