Lose Weight Fast: How I Lost 23 Lbs In 3 Months

Brian Weight Loss

Brian in St Petersburg

Yes, I lost 23 lbs in 3 months time.  Got my A1C down a lot.  Added muscle.  You can lose weight fast too.  In this article I am going to tell you all about how I lost the weight quickly.  But first, what does this have to do with business?

I am a business writer after all.  The problem with business is that we are often working so hard and are so focused that we often lose track of the important things in our life.  Our families, our sidelines or hobbies, and our health.  Health is an important feedback loop because the more we neglect it, the more it impacts our business, and the more we neglect it.  It is important to pay attention to our health regardless of what else is going on in our life.  If we need an hour or two a day to take care of ourselves, do it.

Often taking care of our health is a positive feedback loop.  It gets us away from our daily wallow and often provides us with new ideas worth exploring.  It could be potentially the most productive time in our day.

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Federal Tax Return: The Dread Of Filing My 1120

federal tax return - form 1120If you did not know by now, your United States C corporation 1120 federal tax return is due in April this year (2017) rather than March, assuming your business runs January through December.  Note that I am not a CPA so I am not an expert on all things taxes, I just know that Illinois and the Federal Government made this deadline change in 2017.  This does not mean that I am ready to file or pay, though I always have good intentions.

My main complaint with filing my 1120 is that it is busy work.  While it might be my only federal tax return that I file for the corporation, it is certainly not the only filing I make during the year, or the only paperwork that needs to be done.  I know, I know, the tax man needs his money, but it comes at the expense not only of cash, but of my time to do more financially productive things.  Here is an idea of all the busy work you must do with a corporation:

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Could Global Climate Change Actually Be A Hoax?

Global Climate Change - The SunWe now live in a world of facts and alternative facts.  Just to make it clear, facts are true and non-facts are not true.  True and false.  Black and white.  Could facts turn out to be non-facts?  Sure, it is possible, but scientific truths, i.e. facts, are usually measured, tallied, counted, concrete, and iron.  They are the things we know, for a fact, are true.  Things like global climate change.

A hypothesis, on the other hand, is a strong theory based on the facts that is likely.  There may or may not be a way to prove it absolutely true, but the facts point to it being true.  A scientific hypothesis is often backed up by other scientists, published in a journal, argued, debated, and open for discussion.

Why would I write about global climate change, being a business writer?  Because as business people, we often have to make tough decisions based on the facts.  If there can be two sets of facts, well then, how do you make good decisions?

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We Ended Our Retail Operation, Should You?

We used to be a big huge sellers on Amazon.  Big.  We had a basement warehouse and bought by the pallet fulls.  We used FBA on Amazon… sending in shipment after shipment of product.  In fact, at one time we had more product in the Amazon warehouse than in our own stock.

We also sold direct to consumer, which was a bit of business.  We sold locally by delivery and nationally by mail.

It sounds like we should have been rolling in cash but we were not.  Amazon was tricky because we sold a commodity product that others could also be selling.  Lowest price wins, and many sellers would sell for a loss.  So we took a different tactic, we started selling items that were soon to be discontinued or were already discontinued, buying up a large portion so we could outlast the other sellers.  Sometimes we won, sometimes we lost.  We gave away a lot of product that our buyers did not want.

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When A Company Should (And Should Not) Invest In Technology

Investing in technology for your small business may seem like a good idea.  Many small business owners have laptops, smart phones, color laser all-in-one printers, digital cameras, or any number of other hardware devices.  Their business may also have specialized software and hardware to control inventory in their warehouse, or to share data among their employees.  There are all kinds of uses for technology and it may seem natural to use technology for any business process that can be done with technology, but that may not always be the wisest choice.  This article discusses when a company should invest, and when it should not to invest, in technology.

Justifications for a technology purchase

When starting new technology projects or purchasing new technology, business managers often use the following justifications:

Competitive advantage – Competitive advantage is when one company has an advantage over another.  As an example, company XYZ has competitor ABC, which has a CRM system.  Company XYZ buys a CRM to eliminate company XYZ’s competitive advantage over it.   Competitive advantage would also apply if company XYZ buys new technology company ABC does not yet have; company XYZ would then have competitive advantage (in theory).

Support a strategy – A company CEO may have a vision for the company’s future.  He or she creates a mission statement to detail the vision, and strategies to realize the mission statement.  The company then buys technology to support one or more of the strategies.

Create a product – Many companies in recent years have used technology to create a product: from web sites such as Facebook.com to companies like Oracle that develop software solutions.  Other companies like Cisco, IBM, and HP develop hardware products that they sell.

Be able to share information internally and externally – A company may invest in a customer relationship management (CRM) product or exchange data with a business partner via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).

Manage and control the organization better – Companies will buy financial packages such as Quickbooks or software solutions as elaborate as Microsoft Dynamics Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) package to share and control information within a company.

Market products and share information with customers on the internet – A company may develop a website to share information with their customers about a new product offering or information about contacting the company.  These days the internet has become a self-service marketplace, allowing customers to research, buy, and get service after the sale.

When to invest in technology

The following are situations when companies should seriously consider investing in technology:

When there is a need – The technology is a requirement of doing business.  For instance, a customer begins requiring data transmissions about the status of shipments.  Not implementing the technology means losing the customer’s business.

When there is a significant savings to be had – Implementing the technology means not hiring 5 people, saving the company $250,000 in salaries, taxes, and benefits.

When there are significant revenue gains to be had – A new customer will only do business with your company if you accept their orders electronically, and will sign a contingency contract to that effect.  The value of the business is $2 million per year.

A reasonable return on investment is needed to justify the above arguments.  If it costs $50 million to get $2 million more in business yearly, the 4% return may not be worth the investment.  In addition, many companies underestimate the costs of technology investments, often leading to a smaller return on investment than expected.  It is important to make realistic estimates.

While operating on the “bleeding edge” of technology may seem to be a risky endeavor, the competitive advantage it provides may produce an exceptional return on investment.  Again, it is important to make good estimates for cost and analyze the expected return on investment to see if it makes sense to proceed with the new technology.

When not to invest in technology

Here are some situations when a company should not invest in technology:

To get the cool new thing – Investing in cool new toys may not be the best use of company resources.

To keep up with the Jones – While competitive advantage is important, it is also important to make sure that keeping up makes financial sense.  Perhaps the Jones’ new technology purchase was not such a good idea for them.

To sell new, unconfirmed business – One logistics company implemented warehouse automation they did not need, believing they would be able to make new sales because of it.  The company is no longer in business because the new sales did not materialize.

To get technology for technology’s sake – A company wisely declined to invest $500,000 for a machine that would have eliminated one $20,000 per year job.  The machine would have also required regular maintenance and repair.

To develop a new product without marketing research – New technology can be expensive.  Make sure there is a market for your technology idea before you invest a fortune.

Technology can be a wonderful investment with a magnificent return for your company, but you must make sure your investment will produce a good return.  Jumping in is almost never a good idea.  Make sure to do your research to keep your eyes wide open for the best possible result.

Just Getting Started With SplashPlan.com

Our SplashPlan.com site is nearly two years old, but we are really just getting started.  The reason is: We are just not promoting it enough to get it off the ground.  We have had some really good members that are just starting to promote their sites, but the second-level ramp up is a little slow, as expected.

Now I could whine about how it is too hard and just give up.  Some would do this.  But I have a vision for the site and it really is going according to plan.  What I did not expect was the last two weeks of a huge number of signups per day.  Apparently from robots.  Because when I put in Google’s reCAPTCHA, the signups stopped.  Is it a bad thing that the signups stopped?  Not if they were all robots.  I would rather see reality as it is than think I am doing great.

We do continue to get good signups but they are far in between, which is ok with me.

SplashPlan.com is for network marketers of all kinds to promote themselves and their businesses.  There are tons of network marketing companies too… Amway, Melaleuca, Avon, Tupperware, Watkins, Plexus, Isogenix, ACN, Ambit Energy, Amsoil, Beachbody, Longaberger, Pampered Chef, Forever Living, Primerica, Shaklee, and many others… and you can be a member of SplashPlan.com to promote any of these companies.

Network Marketing is great because you can grow your business to a very large size.  But it usually starts out very slow.  With SplashPlan.com, you can use our affiliate programs to get current income while you also build your network marketing group… rather than trying to find some way to sell the company’s products to customers some way, some how.  Yes, most companies will not allow you to advertise or promote online… another good reason to join SplashPlan.com… you do not show your network marketing information until sombody signs up as a member.

If you have any suggestions for the site, please let me know.  We are looking to make it as good as possible for you.

References:

Derailed By Jump In Traffic, Concerns About Security

It has been an interesting couple of weeks with a major jump in traffic on our splashplan.com website. At first I thought it was great.  Then I got to thinking about the possible setup issues we may encounter and I started getting ready for manually reviewing profiles and link overrides.  Then I started getting concerned that we were getting multiple signups per IP, and we were.  Then I started getting concerned about security.

User Setup Issues

Unlike other sites I have worked with in the past, user setup and or data entry issues are minimal.  The main areas to watch are user profile setup, link overrides, and forum entries.  Forums are virtually unused, as are link overrides so I concentrated on manually reviewing user profile setups.  Nothing much to report here either.  I am working towards an automated system to review and approve changes to user (member) profiles that I can hand off to an employee to take care of.  I am watching the forums for anything myself right now and watching for link (resource) overrides to start happening.

Multiple Signups Per IP

Unbelievable.  We started getting multiple signups per IP.  There is absolutely no advantage whatsoever with doing this.  Nothing to be gained.  So I looked at blocking IPs that have more than 5 signups.  I am doing this manually for now but I have thought of some automated ways to take care of this.  We will see.

An IP is a number that typically identifies a single user or group of users.  I would say that 5 is a lot of sign ups.  17 is far too many for an individual signup.

I researched each IP at first and found that many forums are having the same problem with these IPs.  So blocked.

Security

It looks like security will be a never-ending process of thinking and rethinking my security strategies.  So far it looks like I was pretty good with my user id/password and reset strategy.  I simply ask new members to enter their email and password to sign up.  If they need to reset their password, they can use “I forgot my password” to reset it.

Resetting a password sends an email to the member with a 6 digit random number.  Once the number is used successfully, it is removed from the database.  Passwords and reset codes are encrypted so even I cannot see either in the database.  Even if somehow somebody gets a email and password from a member, there is very little to be gained.  We do not collect payment or personal information from a member.

We could do more.  We could require certain kinds of passwords.  We could require a two-step sign in.  We could follow best practices all the way around.  But even if a hacker got my sign in to the web site, they really would not be getting much.

I have also thought about socially engineering a hack, which is a possibility with a lot of work.  What if somebody got my sign on and password or got it reset?  What if somebody got my email password?  What if somebody got the database password?  Security, honestly, is not paramount.  I would be more worried about getting data destroyed than stolen.  Most of the information stored is public or semi-public, we do not have credit card information or anything that sensitive stored.  People are not worried about being associated with the web site.

Of course this does not stop me from worrying about it.

New “The SplashPlan Blog”

I did also move over The SplashPlan Blog from WordPress.com to our own hosted site here.  I am still working on the stories here, as I merged in three different blogs.  Hopefully I should have it in a good state within a couple of weeks.

Welcome to The New SplashPlan Blog

I decided to move myself off of WordPress because of its limitations… nothing against WordPress… but it is so easy to have my own hosted WordPress site that I went ahead and set one up. You can get WordPress hosting with Godaddy, and it is fairly inexpensive.

For us, we already host WordPress blogs so we just added one into our hosting, pointed splashplan.net to it, and voila! A new SplashPlan blog.

One problem that we had was that SplashPlan.com is a dedicated IP address with a funky .htaccess, so to set up a new subdirectory for WordPress can mean problems. You must first set up the subdirectory, then an .htaccess file within it, before installing WordPress. Your new .htaccess file will basically do nothing. Godaddy then has a WordPress installation tool that sets up everything, very easy. I will write up instructions for doing this in the future.

In the mean time, welcome!

What This Blog Was About

I originally wrote this blog to give lots of info about the SplashPlan site.  So feel free to search and find information that you might need to make a choice to become a member of my free site.

That’s right, free.  So what do you have to lose?

I am not sure what I am going to write about or video about, or whatever about.  But it should be interesting to see where we go.

Now, just so you are aware, I believe you can make money with SplashPlan.com as a member.  My plan was, and is, to make a site that could break even with your advertising budget as you seek out prospects to add to your network marketing opportunity.  You shouldn’t expect to profit just from the affiliate programs, just to break even with your advertising budget.  That’s the hope at least.

What breaking even will do is allow you to expand your advertising and filter more prospects, some of which will join.  It could mean going from 0 to 30 new distributors per month added to your program.  And those new distributors will have a way to market your program that is network marketing-centric.  Not a marketing plan based on customer sales, but on network sales.

Give SplashPlan a try but be patient with yourself.  Please go the free route as much as possible.  There are plenty of ways to advertise for free on the internet and many are better in the long run than paying for advertising.

 

So Many Fixes, But So Little Time

I have been testing and retesting SplashPlan.com the last few days.  I’m finding out that I am not as perfect as I would like to be.  Yes, I have added some improvements to existing features but mainly I am avoiding it.  Why?  Simply because I’m worried about messing the site up and making it unusable.

I do have a separate test site that I use for changing and testing the site before I roll it out to the main site, but most of the changes, i.e. improvements, I have made have been minor.  The bugs I’ve found have also been minor but critical to the operation of the site…

An example: I used an external picture on the home page… actually a banner ad… and it was from a site that did not use SSL.  Hence a home page that is not quite secure.  Fixed now.

I removed a google ad on the interior of the site to make it look better, although the left side menu is a little low right now.  I’m going to leave that since it is not critical.

I did add a little to the forum page… it now has the most recently updated posts.  I really didn’t like having to click each link to see if anything changed so this will help me if nothing else.  Nobody has used the forum in a year so I seriously doubt anybody will notice right now.

Several of my resources needed to be updated or removed so that is done now.  I removed but did not add any resources at this moment.

So hopefully the site is more usable than ever.  Once I have a little more traffic I am hoping to get suggestions from members on new features or improvements to existing features.  Until then, I am hoping to be done for a while.  Please let me know if you’d like anything added to the site.

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