Posts in Category: Real Estate

Greene County BNI Chapter Announces Visitors Day

BEAVERCREEK – The Greater Dayton Professionals Chapter of BNI, Business Network International, will be holding a special visitors day event from 7:30 am to 9:00 am on Thursday, April 8, 2010 at City Barbeque in Beavercreek, located at 2330 B N. Fairfield Road. The special event is free to attend and open to all entrepreneurs, business managers and sales professionals who would like to grow their businesses and expand their professional network.

Originally established in 1999, the leadership team of the Greater Dayton Professionals BNI chapter remains diligent in its efforts to hire the most professional, productive people for the organization. The membership is currently made up of 25 businesses including a marketing firm, real estate agent, mortgage lender, electrical contractor, HVAC service and a law firm. So far in 2010, the members have passed more than $73,000 in closed business.

Gery L. Deer, writer and managing director of GLD Enterprises Media Group, is the vice president and public relations coordinator for the chapter. “We welcome visiting business professionals to any of our weekly meetings,” Deer said. “Because potential members apply for a position within a specific professional category, this event provides them with the opportunity to observe the process first-hand and submit an application ahead of the competition.”

The international BNI organization was started by professional networking guru Dr. Ivan Misner in 1985 and now has more than 5,000 chapters world-wide. The goal of BNI is to help members develop a profitable referral network free of internal competition, something unavailable from chamber organizations or service clubs. Through the BNI structure, a network of professional connections can grow well beyond the core group and extend the reach of a small business to unrealized potential customers.

In the BNI strategy, each member tries to learn as much as possible about the others to the extent that they can give an informed recommendation to potential clients. Every week members give a 60-second sales training presentation from which the others learn more about their work and what constitutes an ideal referral.

“In order to pass a referral to another member of our chapter, the giver is required to have already communicated with the subject beforehand,” Deer explained. “Qualifying the referral in this way before passing it, rather than giving random, unqualified leads, is what separates BNI from other organizations and nearly assures a closed sale.”

In addition to providing the opportunity for expanding one’s professional network, the Greater Dayton Professionals Chapter of BNI also offers extensive education in the areas of business growth and networking. Each member is required to attend a Membership Success Program which provides the basic instruction for new BNI members, while the Educational Coordinator of the chapter gives weekly networking education presentations to further help people succeed.

The meeting will begin promptly at 7:30 and visitors to the chapter are encouraged to bring at least 30 business cards, as well as any fliers or brochures they wish to distribute to the membership. A brief visitor orientation will be held immediately following the business meeting. For more information go online to www.greaterdaytonpros.com or contact chapter president Sharon Zeljak of Automated Advantage by calling (937) 427-3277.

Book Review: Start Up from the Ground Up (Paperback)

This book begins by dispelling the common misconception that technology and social networking is the main component of business start-ups. The author tells the reader that her book will “detail strategies and techniques for success,” so that you already are aware that this is more than the regular fly-by-night self-help book. Cynthia Kocialski’s focus is on helping to transform an idea into a business that will last.

Kocialski breaks her book up, not into chapters, but topics including: common questions or situations fledgling entrepreneurs face during their initial start-up period. Kocialski also explains how entrepreneurs act in and outside of a business setting and how they possibly see themselves or fit within certain business frameworks. She notes and makes an active point that start-ups and businesses will not always run as planned. In addition, she is very detailed in her explanations of the book’s major topics and takes care in making sure her audience and other readers thoroughly understand their role as entrepreneurs.

As a reader, I felt that Kocialski took the time to address any concerns or doubts I might have had about starting a business. Also, the short sections helped to keep me interested and looking forward to the next tip to come. Throughout the book, there is an emphasis on technology and technological products. Kocialski makes sure to guide the reader through looking at the details of their business plan and what many investors may focus on. Also, when considering investing in a company, she stresses the importance of teamwork. Overall the section on investors is very compelling and an eye-opener.

Kocialski takes the time to define each of her topics, such as marketing, advertising, funding, and customer profiling. In addition, her use of anecdotes makes reading the book more enjoyable. Although her sections and details may seem repetitive, each one brings a different perspective and provides deeper insight into the world of start-ups.

Kocialski uses language that the average American can relate to and understand. There is a feeling of ease as the book proceeds from topic to topic. Unlike many “self-help” books, Start Up from the Ground Up does not use “suit and tie” language that is unappealing to most audiences, but rather conversational language that guides the reader from the beginning to the finish line. She seems to want to be eager to relate as much as possible to her audience.

Kocialski does not stray far from her own personal style. There is not much to elaborate on because it is a 214-page self-help book. It may be a bit friendlier in its writing style than most self-help books in describing its concepts but is still very straightforward. Start Up from the Ground Up brings the reader from start to finish thoroughly, hitting, major and minor points. There is a reoccurring theme of technology throughout her book which could possibly discourage the reader from starting a business that strays from a business start- up not focusing on technology as its main theme. There is a summarizing chapter, but there is not necessarily a conclusion. The book just seems to end on the ground level.

Fake Homelessness in Los Angeles

I’m always entertained by the antics of the self-proclaimed homeless. While I can appreciate that homelessness in America and the rest of the world is a problem, I am always amazed and a little bit angered by the poser homeless I see. Are you really that lazy that homelessness would be your full time job? I mean, telemarketing, handing out flyer’s on the street, cashier, or janitorial are all jobs which don’t require too much discernible skill. And they pay a wage; granted you’re not going to break the bank on your flier distributor job, that’s still no reason to turn to begging as a means to an end. It’s still considerably more work for the possibility of no payoff.

I was driving home from work yesterday (even my job as a front desk clerk at a hotel only requires that I show up dressed and shaven) and I was coming off the highway at Van Nuys Blvd from the 101. There was a young man standing with a rather large sign; maybe an off-ramp marketer, I presumed. He was young, tousled blond hair, over sized expensive looking JanSport backpack, clean khakis; generally looked like a person you’d see walking around any neighborhood anywhere.

His sign was the interesting thing and it came into focus as I’d neared. It was large poster-board and it had individual lettering (like lettering you’d find on a professionally made sign whose message would change; fast food sign lettering). The lettering read, “T-O-U-G-H T-I-M-E-S — NOT A CAREER CHOICE.” I zipped past him in the right lane (he was on the left side) but I understood that he was asking for money, a lift, or what have you. But as I cruised by I thought, “that kids not homeless.”

Eah, it’s no different anywhere else in Los Angeles; everyone is so fake and plastic; might as well have fake homeless people. Still, it made me mad. There were real homeless people who needed whatever handouts this kid was getting much more than he did. The only real excuse I could think of for this travesty might be if this kid were like an investigative journalist and he were trying to, you know, uncover the way that beggars are treated in an expose story (note to self: become a beggar) or if he were a sociology student or something; doing some grad school paper about the subject. But for the love of Christmas, dress the part! You know? Don’t show up in your best khaki’s with your full on JanSport backpack and your intricate sign. Because this sign was so intricate, the fact that you even had it meant that a) you were a fake or b) you were a thief. And who wants to support a fake or a thief?

As disheartened as I was by this display, I kept going. I picked up my lovely wife and we jettisoned off to our fun afternoon in another part of Los Angeles, when I almost stopped in my tracks. While getting on to the 405; about a mile from where I’d gotten off the 101 not an hour earlier was a blond haired girl with tousled hair, swanky denim, and an individually lettered sign standing along the side of highway.

“Oh no…” I groaned.

“What’s wrong?” asked my wife.

-Fake homelessness is what’s wrong. If we’re really so smug that we would give to the homeless at all, who probably have an addiction or other issue of some kind, go home and write a check to the Red Cross, United Way, or other worthy organization. Let’s make the barriers to entry so high, the payoff so small, and the ease startup so difficult, that people would rather have a career in the most menial type of service industry, than resort to homelessness. It’s the people who give to people like these two jokers that are the problem; stop giving and we can stop making homelessness even an interim career choice.

How to Get Cheap Renters Insurance Coverage: Ways to Reduce the Cost of Renters Home Insurance

The following is a guest post from Nigerian real estate developer Michael Chudi Ejekam.

A lot of people make the mistake of assuming that, because they are a tenant, it isn’t necessary to pay for renters home insurance. However, the coverage they are thinking of is taken out by the landlord purely to protect the building and its structure. It doesn’t cover the tenant’s household items or personal liability in the event of someone getting injured. It represents yet another expense that a family can do without.

Why Cheap Renters Insurance Coverage is Important

Although not the most expensive policy, many families are forced to work on a limited budget. This means that reducing the cost of renters insurance is fundamentally important if affordability is to be established. The most effective ways to reduce premiums are performing a more comprehensive search, increasing the deductible and selecting ‘actual cash value’ for claims on household goods. Polices are also cheaper for over-55’s and for those who pay annually.

Trawl the Market for Renters Home Insurance

A common mistake that tenants make is accepting the first offer that they receive. However, this is a very inefficient way of identifying a cheap renters insurance policy. Websites, such as moneysupermarket.com, allow the customer to search through hundreds of different providers. It is then relatively easy to look at the most competitive deals and compare the policy features – cheap doesn’t necessarily mean good.

Increase the Deductible on Insurance for Renters

The deductible is the amount an individual is prepared to pay before making a claim. This means that if a $500 deductible has been chosen and $1,500 of personal possessions are stolen, the policy will pay out $1,000. Selecting a higher deductible on renters contents insurance can significantly reduce the monthly premium. This is because insurers don’t need to waste time on small claims. However, it is necessary to put away a sum of money that can cover the deductible that is selected.

Actual Cash Value (ACV) vs. Replacement Cost Value

A policy that only agrees to pay out the ‘actual cash value’ offers a less expensive alternative for a family. This is because it doesn’t cover the cost of replacing the item, it pays out a sum of money equivalent to its current cash value. Whilst this is an excellent way of achieving cheap renters insurance, it also means that any payment is unlikely to be sufficient to purchase a replacement.

Other Ways to Get Cheap Renters Insurance

Insurers may be prepared to reduce the cost of renters property insurance for those who pay annually. Whether this is possible depends upon a number of personal and financial factors. Others will be able to secure discounts on their home renters insurance policy by purchasing several forms of coverage (car, home etc) from the same provider. Over-55’s may also be eligible for age-related discounts.

Tracy Suttles: Class Project – Build a Recycled Bottle Greenhouse

The following is a guest post from Houston, Texas real estate developer and entrepreneur Tracy Suttles.

A construction project is a great way to involve a whole class of children, and to encourage teamwork and co-operation. Building a greenhouse from recycled plastic bottles offers an ideal opportunity for this, as children can work together as small groups, contributing to the construction of the greater project.

Constructing Your Recycled Greenhouse

The greenhouse is constructed from plastic 2L pop/soda bottles. To construct the greenhouse:

  • Cut the bottom off each bottle (this should be done by an adult, as a craft knife is the most effective way to do this).
  • Stack the bottles on top of each other, passing a garden cane through each bottle neck as a support. The neck of each bottle should fit fairly snugly into the open bottom end of the bottle above.
  • Once the vertical sections have been constructed, they can be positioned by pushing the garden cane into the ground. Tape, string or rubber bands be used to hold the sections together.
  • Similar sections can be used to create a roof for the greenhouse however the bottom bottle in these sections should have its base left in tact, so that the end of the garden cane does not protrude.

This method can be used to create a range of temporary structures ranging from small scale cloches to full sized greenhouses. For a more sophisticated, and hard-wearing version of the plastic bottle greenhouse a timber frame can be added. An example of this type of structure was built by the Greenspace Education Project.

Cross-Curricular Links

The number of bottles required will depend on the intended scale of the greenhouse, and whether it is to be free standing, or a ‘lean-to’ against a wall. Conversely, the scale and design of the greenhouse could be decided once the number of bottles collected is known. This can also introduce an element of mathematics and estimation to the project. Designing the greenhouse, and deciding on the best location for it, can encourage children to think about the mathematical ideas of area and volume.

Knowledge of plant growth and the requirement for sunlight can be linked to the science curriculum, and to other disciplines, by recognising the best position for the greenhouse (South facing if in the Northern hemisphere). Compasses and maps of the school grounds can be used to link the project to the Geography curriculum.

Encourage Children to Recycle and Reuse

If the design has been decided prior to starting the project, an estimated target for the number of bottles required can be used as a class target. Children can increase their contribution to the project by collecting plastic bottles from the recycling bins of their family and friends. This has the added advantage of passing on information about the importance and benefits of recycling to the wider school community. A prize could be offered for the child who collects the most bottles.