Monday, February 28, 2011

Little conveniences can cost you - and potentially your privacy

With busy schedules, many are looking for new ways to save time, and find bargains. A new service from ATT might offer you that, however, is in in your budget? What about privacy?

AT&T launched a new service today that shoots you special offers over your mobile phone when you’re near a participating store or brand. You have to sign up for this service on their website. However, let's look at their Terms and Condition (which many people don't take the time to read):

ShopAlerts by AT&T is a location-based marketing service. The Service provides customized messages to subscribers of AT&T Mobility from retailers when the subscribers are near a specific location. Subscribers opt-in to receive SMS messages from pre-selected retailers when they are within a defined geographical boundary. By electing to opt-in as a registered subscriber of the Service, you consent to receiving, from time to time, SMS text messages from Selected Advertisers subject to these Terms of Service and Use Agreement ("Terms"). Please be aware that carrier rates for phone, data and text messaging will apply to all such communications and you are responsible for any such charges. We encourage you to carefully read these Terms prior to completing your registration or using the Service.
Data obtained from you in connection with the Service may include your cell phone number, the name of your mobile carrier, and the date, time, and content of any SMS or MMS text messages sent by or received by your mobile device. 

If you don't have an unlimited data plan, these messages could add up to more than the savings you are offered. Plus, it appears they will now read ALL text messages from your phone(?)  

Before jumping to this or any newly offered "convenience" service, be sure to ready and understand the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Will you use this service? Share with us how it's working for you.
Comment below or click on the facebook icon to post on Facebook.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


CONTEST: WIN A WEEK AT THE PERFECT WRITING RETREAT. Located in Sonoma County's tranquil redwoods, "The Bungalow at Occidental" is the perfect place to get away and finish your writing project. Clicking the link below to win a six night/seven day stay, normally priced at about $1,200. Discount coupons for food and lodging will be sent to all entrants from our friends in Occidental (about an hour north of San Francisco).

This contest is sponsored by Red Room ( the online community for writers.

Click here by Friday, Feb 25th at 10:30 a.m. PST (GMT-0:800) to enter»

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Value of Your Time

At a conference this year, I heard many self employed and small business owners lamenting how hard they were working, yet not gaining any new business growth or profit. In today’s business environment many emerging entrepreneurs mistakenly attempt to wear all the hats when running their business.

Instead of hiring someone to conduct some of the work for them, they mistakenly believe that they are saving money by doing everything themselves. For every hour you spend during prime business growing hours working on tasks that are costing you (ie your website, your marketing copy, accounting) you are actually losing up to twice that in potential business growth. Many entrepreneurs lose sight of how much it actually costs them to wear all the hats.

If your goal is an income of $100,000 in a year, as an example (for 8 hours a day, 50 weeks work and considering 2 weeks for standard vacation) your hourly work value is $50 per hour. So, if you could hire someone for $20 hour to manage your bookkeeping, and instead you do it yourself, it is now actually costing you $100 an hour.

How? If you paid someone $20 from your $50 hour, you have a potential profit of $30 in that hour. If you do that job for yourself, you are now paying $50 for the hour (your hourly value), and since you are not producing any income during that time, you are losing another $50 of your potential income. Plus, many times it will take you twice as long to do the job that the bookkeeper can do because it is their expertise, and you may have a learning curve.

Years ago, I heard a statement “there is no such thing as a free lunch. Everything has a cost against your bottom line”. Check it out for yourself and see if this is true.

Someone was bragging recently that she got free software to do the graphics for her website, so she doesn’t need to hire a graphic artist anymore. However, she now has to take the time to learn the program, and learn how to make her graphics look as professional as if a professional did the work. All the while taking away from doing her own business and producing an income.

If you believe you must do it all, then schedule any non-income producing tasks in your non-income hours instead of watching TV you will find more profit in your business.

If you are wearing all the hats because you believe you must keep expenses down, energetically you are giving out the message that expenses are bad. People can feel that from you. Just remember, what is income to you, may be someone else’s expense. Since energy is reciprocal, what you are willing to give to others will return to you. Hiring others to do what they do best, and do it for you, opens the field of energy for people to pay you for your products and services. Focus on abundance for your business. The more abundant your business, the more you will see how expenses are taken care in the flow of abundance.

I am a real nag about planning. When you write an effective business plan or a marketing plan, you are focused on results. You have a blueprint to follow which can be adjusted as you grow. When you focus on your business growth you will find more ways to grow your business. Some things you may not have seen before will suddenly be in your line of sight. A support person will show up, or a new client will be referred to you. Those daily miracles occur.

I suggest that you spend your time wisely and realize the value of your time.


To stay abreast of trends and technology advancements, Sumner Davenport continues to participate regularly in developer forums and expands her knowledge through training courses sponsored by large internet marketing companies, developer forums and the internet search giant, Google, as well as industry related events in her clients' areas of practice. By consistently monitoring trends, events and news, Sumner is better able to assist them in selecting the best venues for marketing their firms.
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

QR codes or Scan tags – Using them? and how are they working for you?

A Quick Response (QR) code is a two-dimensional code that can be scanned by smartphone cameras to automatically pull up text, photos, videos, music and URLs. Scan tags from Microsoft are colorful versions of your custom scan code. These scan apps have been available since mid last year. Are you using them? And more importantly, what benefits are you seeing?

Smartphones have the capability to scan and read QR codes or Scan Tags with the click of a camera.

If you are listed on Google Places and Google Maps, Google has automatically generated a QR for you. Put this QR on your business card, brochures or in your print ad or poster and someone scanning it will land on a map for the location of your business.

I use both types. A colorful Scan Tag on my business card always raises questions People ask what it is, how it works and then more discussion about my services. A QR on a product flyer (one of my books) links directly to the purchase page. An associate uses her scan tag to link to a registration page for events, and a real estate agent uses his QR on his signs to link to web pages showing the details of his listings.

All you need is your computer to generate the QR codes or Scan Tags and then be creative on how you use them. You can create a QR or Scan Tag for simple text, a URL, an email message, an SMS or MMS, a phone number, or a location. (

With a Microsoft Scan Tag you can get reports of how many times your tag was scanned and from what geographic area. (

Monday, February 14, 2011

Keeping it Legal = Licenses & Permits

A significant task for new business is assuring that the business is properly complying with the extensive tax and information filing requirements imposed by various governmental agencies. Stiff penalties are commonly assessed if the required forms and information are not properly prepared and filed. Many types of businesses need to obtain some type of business or professional/occupational license or permit from a state government. Depending on your business, you may need to be licensed at the federal, state and/or local level. Beyond a basic operating license, you may need specific permits. Regulations vary by industry, state and locality, so it's very important to understand the licensing rules where your business is located.

The following are common types of local permits and licenses.
> Business Licenses / Tax Permits - from your city or county clerk or revenue department. Many jurisdictions require a trader's license or tax certificate in order to operate.
> Building Permit - from your city or county building and planning department. This permit is generally required if you are constructing or modifying your place of business.
> Health Permit - from your city or county health department.
> Occupational Permit - from your city or county building and planning development department. This permit is required for home-based business in some jurisdictions.
> Signage Permit - from your city or county building and planning department. Some jurisdictions require a permit before you can erect a sign for your business.
> Alarm Permit - from you city or county police or fire department. If you have installed a burglar or fire alarm, you will likely need an alarm permit.
> Zoning Permit - from your city or county building and planning department. This permit is generally required if you are developing land for specific commercial use.

Depending on the nature of your business, you may need other types of licenses specific to your business. Work closely with your Attorney and Accountant to insure that you are compliant with the current laws for your business, industry and location. You can find specific information for your state from the Small Business Administration

> Sellers Permit
A seller's permit from the State Board of Equalization is required if your business operations involve the sale of retail or wholesale tangible property. This also includes if you sell products on the internet. The requirement to obtain a seller's permit applies to individuals as well as corporations, partnerships, and limited liability companies. Both wholesalers and retailers must apply for a permit. If you do not hold a seller's permit and you are planning to make sales during temporary periods, such as Christmas tree sales and rummage sales, you must apply for a temporary seller's permit.  There are many activities that may qualify the need for a sellers permit in your state. Due to the various rules that apply, you should contact the Board's Information Center or contact your nearest Board office to determine if you must obtain a permit.