Your Business Mission – What the Heck Do You Do, Anyway?

Do you really need a business mission statement? Is it just some fancy words to put in that business plan that collections dust on your shelf, or is there really more to it?

One of the key attributes of successful businesses is that they clearly know what they do. Defining the goal or the "mission" of your business can be the key to your success.

A good mission statement does three things:

"States what business you are in." Defines your target market. "Provides inspiration for your business.

One of the best examples of a mission statement comes from Levi Strauss & Co. [http://www.levistrauss.com/Company/ValuesAndVision.aspx]

"We will market and distribute the most appealing and widely worn apparel brands. Our products define quality, style and function. We will clothe the world."

Clothing the world is a pretty lofty goal, but Levi Strauss has the ability to do this for one reason — Their founder, Levi Strauss, started the business with a mission and focus.

Levi started his wholesale dry goods business in San Francisco February, 1853. Rather than hoping to make his fortune in the Gold Rush, he created a fortune by wholesaling clothing and fabric to the small stores supplying the thousands of miners and later, families of the West.

In 1872, he was contacted by Jacob Davis, a tailor who had developed a method to rivet the stress points of the pants he made from fabric he bought from-you guessed it — Levi Strauss. Jacob did not have the funds to patent the process, so he teamed up with Levi Strauss to patent the original blue jean in 1873. The rest is history.

Now, if Levi Strauss was your typical small business, he would probably have spun off in ten different directions in their early years, but the company remained focused on supplying quality clothing and fabrics to the working men and women of the West, and later the world. Rather than focusing on their core market, they would have fallen into the AFAB method … Anything for a Buck.

Most small businesses suffer from this lack of focus.

When we work with struggling business owners, the first thing we ask them is "What is your bread and butter?" What one product or service provides you with the majority of your business profit?

Unfortunately, most business owners can not answer that question. They did not define their core product or service and target market when they started, and end up doing a little bit of everything, and nothing well.

Or, they focus most of their time on a product or service line that they like, without knowing whether it actually is their most profitable.

Fortunately, there is an easy fix for this problem.

You have to determine your gross profit margin from each of your product lines or services. Get together with your accountant, and figure out what you need to do to separate your revenue and expenses by the major product lines of your business. Then, you can find out your gross profit margin, or the percentage of gross profit you receive from each activity.

The product or service with the highest gross profit margin is your core business activity. It is the bread and butter of your business, and the key to your company profits.

Now, you must focus as much of your company resources as possible on this core activity. Market it, systemize it, and turn your business into a machine for duplicating this product or service over and over again.

What happens?

Well, rather than running around like a chicken with your head cut off, putting out fires all over your business, you suddenly have the focus to know where to spend your time and energy. You know your core, and you can work to make a good thing even better.

This focus will transform your business and your life.

Remember the term "Jack of All Trades, but Master of None"? You can not really really good at something without focus, and focusing on your most profitable core product or service will make your business even more efficient.

Does this mean that you should never expand beyond your core? Of course not, but you must make sure you are really good at your core product or service before you venture into different directions. Creating a strong bread and butter business will give you the base necessary to expand.

Your core product or service is the foundation for your business. Build it well.

4 Ways to Lose Weight Before and during the Holidays

Here are 4 tips if you are trying to lose weight before or during the holidays.

When the holidays are approaching, you might be worried about how much weight you might gain. Perhaps you started a diet during the summer and are doing well, but now the trips and big holiday dinners are causing concern. Or you lost weight in the spring and now all those July 4th and summer barbecues are looming. Do not worry! You can still lose or maintain your weight through any holiday season.

Drink Only Water

One of the best ways you can lose weight and continue losing even through the holidays is by drinking more water. The majority of what you drink on a daily basis should be water. We have all heard the 8 cup of water a day rule, right? Another recommendation is to drink half your weight in ounces of water each day. Also try to drink a glass of water before and after any other type of drink. So if you are at a holiday party and want a glass of champagne, drink a full glass of water beforehand. You are not allowed another glass of champagne or wine until you have another glass of water. This helps to limit how much alcohol you end up drinking.

Indulge, But Not Too Much

The problem with wanting to indulge during the holidays is that you feel left out if you can not have trees. If you keep denying yourself too much, you might find yourself on Christmas Eve, (or New Year's Eve, or Labor Day weekend), eating everything in sight because you went without for so long. A good way to remedy this is by letting yourself taste everything, but not over-indulging. If you are at Thanksgiving dinner, have a small small portion of each food item, but not a full portion.

Remove 1/3 of Your Meals Immediately

When you are eating out for the holidays, this is another time when you might indulge a little too much. This can make it really hard to lose weight. If you decide to order something that is not as light and fit as it could be, separate your meal immediately. Ask for a to-go container when your food is served. Then take 1/3 of the meal and place it in the container. This decreases how much you end up eating. It also lets the meal last longer.

Top Food With Salsa

Instead of putting cheese, sour cream, or guacamole on top of your food, consider adding some salsa. This adds a lot of seasonings and is extremely low in fat and calories. The majority of salsa is just tomatoes, jalapenos and onions, so there is not much to it.

Ways for University Students to Make Extra Money Online!

Today, college or university students have more opportunities to make money for themselves compared to their parents' generation. I know that some of these students even make so much money that they do not need to complete their studies!

Although students are bogged down with their studies in colleges or universities, they still have more time and energy comparable to working adults.

So instead of partying and wasting money, why not take the opportunity to make some money in your spare time? Sure you can take some part time jobs such as working in fast food restaurant, laundry services, petrol stations, and so on.

But These jobs does not pay you much income and you definitely can not choose your collections or your boss! Imagine working with unreasonable and super demanding boss. Frightening right?

So I suggest that you immediately go to the Internet to make some cash! There are numerous ways for students like you to make money. This is especially if you are young, energetic and full with ideas and creativity!

1. Writing Articles

Do not be surprised by the fact that many of the web owners actually do not write their own content for their sites. They mainly outsourced students to write for them. As young adults today, you have the capability of writing good articles due to your studies in colleges and universities.

Articles do not need to have 100% perfect grammar or with bombastic words and sentences. In fact, the more simple your articles, the better it is! The main thing is for readers to be able to read with ease. But do take note that your sentences do have to make sense and that there are no spelling errors!

If you can not create an article from scratch, you can offer to rewrite articles. They are also many request for this service. Be sure not to just copy and paste from others! (such as when you are submitting your assignments!)

Do explore and research on more content writing. A typical request will require you to write at least 10 different articles on the same subject matter.

In the beginning, you got to offer to write them at a lower price per article. This way, you might have the opportunity to work with them fulltime in the future! (Yes, without even seeing their faces!)

2. Website Design and Creation

If you are interested in computing and graphics designing, you are in luck. There are actually thousands of requests for this service each day. So if you possess some HTML skills, then you are indeed a hot commodity!

Just go to websites such as elance.com or scriptlance.com to register for an account and look for the many jobs posted. I am pretty sure you can find a few that suits you!

Simple websites creation and templates can bring you good money! Be professional in completing your tasks. Do not just submit the same kind of site theme over and over again. Your clients will definitely know to differentiate between a fantastic job and a poor, 'last minute' kind of work!

When you are just starting out, offer to do them at a lower price. After that you can request them to introduce some clients to you. By doing this, when you have graduated, you will have a stable income from your so call 'part time job'

3. Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing refers to the act of making a slice of a profit from referring people to buy from merchants. Basically you will get paid per referral or per sales.

If you refer information products or downloadable stuff such as ebooks, ecourses and audios, you can get up to 75% of the sale price. Just imagine if the product is USD97 and you get one sale per day. You will actually get more than USD2000! Pretty good income for a student!

You do not even need to have a website, product and do not have to worry about shipping and handling. All these are completed by the merchant. In affiliate marketing, you only put your energy into a single task. That is to be a middleman.

Just focus of referring the right person to the right seller and you will make money!

Apart from 3 ways above, there are numerous money making ideas online. Others include selling on eBay, advertising in your websites, creating softwares, completing paid surveys, selling domain names, flipping your websites, and others.

The point is that you have so much opportunity to make money online! Just select one idea and focus on it! Once you are good at it, then jumped to the next one!

The good news is that all the above ways have minimal risk. If you really can not do the above, you got nothing much to lose. However, if you really made it, you will definitely believe that making money from the Internet is the way to go!

Top 10 Celebrity Styles For 2008-2009

Every year we look to celebrities for fashion inspiration and new styles. Looking back over this year we can say that 2008 did not disappoint. Although some celebrities veered a little too far left of what is fashionably acceptable many others hit the bulls-eye. Even if you didn’t commit to any of the following trends, you can’t deny that they made statements in 2008. We have broken them down in order from 1 – 10 and let you know who owned that specific celebrity style.

Fashion Trend # 1: The Two-finger ring. This is one of the coolest jewelry trends we’ve seen in awhile. It has been spotted on famous celebrities such as Rihanna and Lauren Conrad from ”The Hills”.

Fashion Trend # 2: Baggy ”Boy” Jeans. This was a hit-and-miss look. It really depended on the body type of the person sporting the look. We think the new Baggy Boy Jeans should have a distressed and loose look, but should also be cut to show off a woman’s curves. This celebrity style was rocked by Reese Witherspoon and Katie Holmes.

Fashion Trend # 3: Nail Designs. Many celebrities decided to wear crazy colors on their nails this year. Those celebrities include Beyonce, Eve and Rihanna.

Fashion Trend # 4: Sky-Scraper High Heels. Every year high-heels get higher and more dangerous looking. If you don’t believe us just take a look at Victoria Beckham and Madonna.

Fashion Trend # 5: Pointless Accessories. Anything and everything was up for grabs to be an accessory in 2008. Just take a look at Miley Cyrus, Rihanna and Beyonce.

Fashion Trend # 6: Obama T-Shirts. For the first time we can remember political T’s were available and worn by the general public. Check them out on Halle Berry, Beyonce and P Diddy Combs.

Fashion Trend # 7: Nerdy Glasses. Geek-chic is a sure thing, when worn right. But be careful because dark, thick plastic frames aren’t a look everyone can pull off. If you want to see them worn right check out the celebrity style of Kanye West, Jay-Z and Common.

Fashion Trend # 8: Bangs. This look also doesn’t work for everyone, but when it does, watch out! Check out the bangs on Jessica Alba and Christina Aguilera…HOT!

Fashion Trend # 9: Leather Jackets. This look was taken straight from the 80′s, but worked great in 2008. Some celebrities rocking leather jackets were Vanessa Hudgens and Rihanna.

Fashion Trend # 10: Hippie Headband. Very few people can actually pull this look off. Personally, I’m not of fan of it on anybody. Some ladies sporting the hippie headband this year were Nicole Richie and Mischa Barton.

As you can tell there were many new celebrity styles this year, along with some re-tread styles. Every year we are amazed at what people bring back out of the closet and add to their wardrobe. No matter how much we may fight it, the looks always seem as glamorous and hot as they did before. We can’t wait to see what celebrity styles these people pull out next year. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see!