Fatal Flaws in Your Business Plan

A business plan is the blueprint that guides aspiring entrepreneurs as they build their new business ventures. From 2008 – 2010, I taught a 20-week business plan writing course at an SBA-affiliated women’s business development organization. We met for three hours each week and students wrote their plans week by week, guided by the lessons.

When evaluating a business concept, unrealistic expectations or flawed thinking could creep in and undermine the planning. Excitement about the idea might distort one’s ability to see potential obstacles. What follows are scenarios that entrepreneurs-in-the-making should beware.

Unrealistic expectations

While it is sometimes true that using yourself as the ideal customer is a smart idea, since you understand the value and availability of that product or service, you might misinterpret the size of the market and the traction that can be achieved beyond a select group of true believers.

Insufficient information

Confirm the need for your products or services when you research and verify the number of potential customers who have the money and motive to buy from you.

Furthermore, make sure that you understand the buying process. Who green-lights the sale? What is the sweet spot price range? Lastly, where do potential customers obtain these products or services now?

Access to customers

Access to customers is everything and some industries or target customers seem impenetrable. You may identify the right customers, understand how your products or services fit their needs and know how to price and deliver. But if potential customers do not have the confidence to work with you because you lack an endorsement from a trusted source, you’ll starve.

Overestimating cash-flow

Usually, businesses won’t achieve desirable gross sales and or show a net profit in the first year of operations. Businesses that require high start-up costs especially will require long ramping-up periods. The business plan must acknowledge the potential for negative cash-flow and demonstrate how fixed and variable expenses will be met during that time. One must know how inventory will be financed, payroll will be met and office rent will be paid.

When writing your business plan, conservative financial projections are strongly advised. Customer acquisition may take longer than expected and the size of their purchases may initially be small. Moreover, it’s possible for a venture to be profitable on paper and still suffer from cash-flow problems, if customers do not pay on time.

Underestimating start-up costs

Developing a reasonable estimate of how much it will cost to get the venture up and running is essential. You must be prepared to meet the cost of all permits, equipment, inventory and staffing necessary to conduct business. If you plan to hire employees, it’s important to have a good idea of your minimum staffing needs up front (you can hire more as revenues increase).

“Magical thinking” business model

The business model illustrates how your venture will become profitable. Well thought-out interactions between marketing, financial and operations processes will promote and sustain profitability and you must map out how these will occur. The business model describes the core functions of the venture.

Likewise, the value proposition of your products or services must be articulated. The overall marketing strategy and selected tactics and resources that will promote the value proposition—intellectual property, patent rights, key relationships, or capital—will be accounted for. Sales distribution channels will be detailed.

Getting to Plan B (2009), by Randy Komisar and John Mullins, details the key business model components and advises business plan writers to segment their models into sub-headings:

  • The Revenue Model, to describe what you’ll sell, your marketing plans and how you expect to generate revenue
  • The Operating Model, to detail where you’ll do business and how day-to-day operations will function
  • The Working Capital model, meaning the business cash-flow requirements. Understanding cash-flow helps you know when money will be available to meet expenses like rent and payroll (it is distinct from revenue). A business can generate adequate revenue (sales) and still suffer from cash-flow problems.

Your business model will keep you organized and your priorities realistic. Matters such as quality control, collecting accounts receivable, inventory management and identifying strategic partners will mean much more than your number of Facebook followers, for example. Best of luck to you and your new business!

Thanks for reading,

Kim

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Outdoor Camping Tips – How To Not Run Out Of Brilliant Ideas

Are you thinking of going outdoor camping sometime this year? Camping is always a safe bet when it comes to choosing recreational activities. Not only is it a good family friendly thing to do, but it also helps promote good health and appreciation for nature. If you are one of those people “planning” to go on an outdoor trip but do not have an idea what to do, what activities to engage in, where to go, and how to organize everything, consider the information presented in this article as a startup guide.

Some Interesting Facts About Camping

Outdoor camping, as a recreational activity, became popular in the early 20th century as a means for people to temporarily get away from the bustle of city life and explore nature. The reason why people go on outdoor trips has not changed since the beginning. In today’s modern economic and technological setting, people are more busy than ever. Camping is a more attractive and appealing option for people living in this generation who want to unwind in a place closer to nature.

Which Type Of Camper Are You?

There are two predominant types of people who go out on camping trips. The first one is the recreational type of camper. Recreational campers usually go outdoors just to relax, try things they have never done before, and view relaxing scenery. If you are more like the recreational type, make sure you choose camping spots that are more conducive to simple fun and has lesser possibilities for danger.

The second type of camper is the survivalist. A survivalist goes outdoors for a challenge and not just for the mere fun and relaxation of camping. Their idea of camping is to experience a sort of “Survivor” or “Lost” scenario. Are you a survivalist? If so, you should pick camping spots which are more challenging and that will give you a greater sense of danger. Make sure though, that you will take all the necessary precautions so that you and your companions will be safe.

Range of Camping Activities

First time campers usually run out of things to do on a camping trip. However, there are virtually limitless options and possible activities that you can engage in when you are outdoors:

You can go mountain or rock climbing. This is a physically strenuous activity that brings a lot of excitement and adrenaline to everyone involved. Fishing is another enjoyable outdoor activity that gives you and your fellow campers more chances to bond and talk.

Aside from the ones mentioned above, you can also try swimming, scuba diving or kayaking. There are so many options to choose from. All you have to do is explore the possibilities and be open to them.

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The Dangers of Fast Food

The fast food industry has added every chemical possible that they can legally get away with to addict people to their food. In fact, if you eat fast food and you stop eating it, you actually go through withdrawal symptoms. It’s like a drug. Not only that, the preservatives are so high in these fast food burgers these days that the product does not even break down. Fast food has been linked in the increase in obesity in both adults and children. Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in our country, particularly in children. Here are some startling statistics to consider:

65% of American adults are overweight

30% of Americans are obese

According to the American Obesity Association, 127 million Americans are overweight, 60 million Americans are obese, and 9 million are “morbidly obese”: they weigh 100 pounds more than they should.

In the last twenty years, the rate of obesity has doubled in children and tripled in adolescents and teens.

As of September 2004, nine million American kids between the ages of six and eighteen were obese.

OBESITY:

A KILLER Obesity-related illnesses will kill around 400,000 Americans this year–almost the same as smoking. Americans have gotten so big that their coffins have to be supersized!

Related illnesses caused by obesity:

High cholesterol

High blood pressure

Heart disease

Breast Cancer

Colon cancer

Gout

Arthritis

Asthma

Diabetes

Strokes

In 2003, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that one out of three kids born in America in the year 2000 will develop type 2 diabetes. The life of a ten-year-old child who has Type II diabetes will be, on average, between seventeen and twenty-six years shorter than that of a healthy child. Diabetes can lead to heart attacks, strokes, blindness, kidney failure, and nerve damage in the lower legs which may result in amputation (82,000 of these cases occur every year). Diabetes is currently the sixth-highest cause of death in America.

Fast Food is Everywhere

The rise of the fast food industry plays a critical role in why our country is plagued with obesity. Fast food is everywhere: in big cities, small towns, shopping malls, the airport, the bus station, schools, and even hospitals!

There are 31,000 McDonald’s worldwide- almost 14,000 of them are in the U.S.

People are Eating a lot of Fast Food

Fast food has become cheaper and easier to buy. In 2004, Americans spent $124 billion dollars on fast food. That same year, The American Journal of Preventive Medicine published a study showing that the percentage of fast food calories in the American diet has increased from 3 percent to 12 percent over the last twenty years.

Fast food culture was introduced to other countries around the world in the 1980’s. In countries like Japan and China, people have abandoned traditional healthy diets in favor of fast food and as a result the rate of obesity and other diseases has soared.

Fast Food Restaurants Serve More

Not only is fast food everywhere, but fast food companies encourage the consumer to eat more by supplying over-sized burgers, extra-large servings for fries, and buckets of soda.

Products like The Whopper, The Big Gulp, and Super Size meals pack in a whopping amount of calories, sugars, and fats. Let’s take a closer look: The Double Gulp soda at your local 7-11 holds 64 ounces of soda – that is half a gallon! It contains the equivalent of 48 teaspoons of sugar. A typical hamburger at a fast food restaurant weighs six ounces. In 1957, it weighed one ounce. According to one nutritionist, your average fast food meal is more like three meals.

The average meal at a McDonald’s has 1,550 calories.

Fast Food is not Good For Us

We’re eating more food that is not nutritious. Most fast-food meals are high in fat, high in sugar, high in calories, high in starch, high in salt, and low in fiber and nutrients. Because fast food lacks nutrients, after we eat it we’re not satisfied. That makes us hungry for more soon after.

Why kids are at a major risk

Our children are exposed to an onslaught of advertising for fast food. Fast food chains spend more then $3 billion every year on television advertising. They intentionally campaign to kids so they become life-long customers. These are known as cradle-grave advertising strategies. Researchers have found that children can often recognize a company logo, like the Golden Arches, before they can recognize their own name.

In one year, the typical American child watches more that 40,000 TV commercials. Around 20,000 of these ads are for junk food: fast food, candy, soda, and breakfast cereals. This means that your child sees a junk food ad every five minutes when they’re watching TV.

To further motivate children to eat fast food, companies like McDonald’s have Happy Meals with free toys. McDonald’s gives away more than 1.5 billion toys every year. Almost one out of every three new toys given to American kids each year is from McDonald’s or another fast food restaurant.

In order to combat these calculated advertising strategies, educating our children on healthy eating habits that are easy, fun, and taste great is paramount. By teaching our children how harmful fast food is and how to eat healthier, they are empowered to make the right choices.

Fast Food is filled with chemicals and preservatives.

Fast food doesn’t break down. This is because it is loaded with chemicals and preservatives. There’s of course, the great video out on YouTube called The Bionic Burger that illustrates this in a fun and informative way.

The link is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYyDXH1amic

The video is based on a true story. In 1991, this software engineer from Burlington, Vermont (he prefers to remain anonymous) was out with friends in Boston for New Year’s Eve and stopped at McDonald’s on the way home. He bought a couple of cheeseburgers, ate one and put the other in his coat pocket to have later.

He forgot about the burger in his pocket. A year later, he pulled his coat out of the closet, put it on, and discovered the cheeseburger in his pocket from New Year’s Eve. It looked exactly the same. He was absolutely blown away. He told his friends and family but nobody believed him. So he decided to start a burger museum to demonstrate to everyone that these cheeseburgers and hamburgers were literally indestructible.

He started collecting burgers, one every year. By the fall of 2004, he had amassed quite a collection:

The original ’91 McDonald’s Cheeseburger from that New Year’s Ever

’92 McDonald’s Cheeseburger and Big Mac

’93 Burger King Hamburger

’94 McDonald’s Hamburger

’95-’03 McDonald’s Cheeseburgers

He kept them on bookshelves in his living room in the open air. These burgers look exactly the same. The bun, the meat, the cheese, the special sauce, the pickle, even the lettuce. They have all retained their shape, and color for over a decade!

Food is supposed to break down.

Food is supposed to be the most biodegradable of all products. How is it possible that these burgers have not broken down? Decayed? Become moldy?

My friends Len Foley and Rebecca Gauthier were not convinced. They thought maybe there was an exaggeration, or it was simply not true. So they went and bought a hamburger at the local McDonald’s in Burbank, CA February 2007.

They put it in their garage in the open air and left it there. Once a week they would go out and “check” on their burger. It would continue to look and smell exactly the same. No animals, insects, or birds touched it. After one year, they began to feature it in several health exhibits along with some of Matt’s hamburgers from his burger collection. Since then, they have added a Hostess Twinkie, cupcake, and other hamburgers to their collection. As of April 2008, there have been no noted changes in the food’s composition.

If you don’t believe me, try it out for yourself! Go invest a buck and buy a burger. (this is the only time I will ever tell you to do something like this by the way!) Put it in your garage, or wherever, and just let it sit there. I think it is important to see this for yourself so you will know on a deep level the implications of what this means. The food is not breaking down therefore it cannot be natural.

We brought the bionic burger museum to a recent health event to demonstrate how fast food is made of chemicals, preservatives, dyes, and low quality ingredients. Hundreds and hundreds of people saw burgers that were between one and eleven years old. None of them had decomposed. Adults and children were shocked. When people see first hand that fast food is not food, it has a powerful impact that can cause them to make the right choice: the choice to eat healthy, nutritious food instead of a cornucopia of chemicals, preservatives, fat, grease, and salt.

This video I just described has been viewed by 1.3 million people on YouTube. It has been translated into 7 different languages, and featured on 50,000 blogs. This demonstrates that people want this information, they want to be informed because information empowers us to make the right choice. You choose every day what you are going to put into your body. Make the best choice and put food in your body that is going to help you, not harm you.

When you put living food in your body it contains enzymes that naturally break the food down. The ripening process of fruit, for example, is an enzyme controlled process. And those enzymes will eventually, if that fruit’s not eaten, cannibalize the fruit. So the fruit will eat itself.

Well, these burgers aren’t eating themselves. They are here twenty years later because there are no enzymes present. These burgers are so loaded with preservatives that they’re like a sealant, as if they are permanently made, like you would have a painting glazed over and framed and put on your wall. It’s not food, it’s something else. What that something else is, we don’t know, but I’m totally impressed that people can survive eating it.

Now I’ve also seen the burger that’s nineteen years old, some that were fifteen, sixteen years old. it looks like we now have the technology to build the world’s first bionic burger! I recommend if you are serious about your health, you AVOID fast food AT ALL COSTS! There are so many healthy alternatives that can not only satiate your cravings, but deliver the vitamins and nutrients your body needs for peak performance. Please read all about delicious superfoods, superherbs, and other superior healthy foods in one of our many other special reports on http://www.thebestdayever.com.

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Malicious Apps Can Disable Android Os Anti-Virus Software

Android developers have another challenge on their hands. Privateer Labs has reported that a certain component in Android OS can be exploited by malware to subvert the anti-virus software rendering anti-virus scans on your Android device ineffective. The malware can even corrupt the anti-virus software and use it as a malicious app. Reiley Hassell, the founder of the security firm Privateer Labs, declined to identify the Android OS component that is vulnerable, since he is taking it up with Google.

While Android mobile applications have had a stupendous growth in range and depth, it has also attracted its fair share of threats. Android overtook Symbian as the most malware-targeted mobile OS in the 2nd quarter, McAfee has reported. Riley indicated the recent security vulnerability is “definitely an Android problem”. The software from the Android development market is not checked beforehand by the marketplace and the users end up with malicious apps masquerading as genuine ones.

“App phishing” is another strategy of cyber criminals where the users are tricked into downloading and installing a genuine-looking app but that actually contains a Trojan, which alerts the developer when the user activates the app. In case of a banking app, the developer can hijack the session by posing a fake authentication screen stealing the login details, resulting in loss of personal and financial data. The Trojanized malware Zitmo also known as ZeuS acts as a legitimate banking activation application, accepts incoming SMS messages, and forwards them to a remote Web server. The onetime pass codes banks send to users via SMSes for two-factor authentication purposes can be stolen by Zitmo-like apps.

Riley opined that this is a “tough problem to solve” and further elaborated that this needs to be solved by the Android development community as a whole. Determining who is to police the sanctity of Android apps is a challenge per se. Chris Wysopal of Veracode, an application security provider, has called for scanning of Android mobile applications for malware before they appear on the market. A signature-based scanning for malware can be enforced. Google this year has already revoked malicious apps twice from the market, once in March when it removed over 50 malicious apps and then again in June it removed a 2 dozen. This high attrition can slow down the growth of Android mobile applications.

Unlike the closed development ecosystem of Apple OS, Google has followed an open architecture model, where anyone can develop an Android application and put it in the market. Local as well as offshore Android development has taken off in a big way resulting in multitude of apps that are half-baked and incomplete. Some Android users download apps from unauthorized online stores presenting a threat to the open source Android development architecture.

An Android mobile applications user can mitigate the risk of being targeted by malware by:

  • Downloading apps only from trusted sources and from developers that are known by name and are rated
  • Checking permissions that the app requests and matching it against its stated purpose

Being alert for any unusual phone behavior like installation of unknown applications, sending of SMSes to unknown recipients, or automatic placement of phone calls.

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Self Motivation In Times Of Imposed Change

There are two levels of self-motivation: firstly there is the day to day, “task level motivation” of achieving routine activities, and then there is the “big picture level motivation” that is required to get you through situations of significant imposed change that have large and perhaps dramatic impacts on your life.

Our focus here is on the self-motivation that is needed to deal with the “big picture” stuff.

I am terrified that I will lose it all…

Your company is downsizing and you are worried that this might include you…

Your organisation is restructuring, and you are facing major unwelcome changes in your working life…

You are experiencing severe financial pressure…

You run your own business and are owed a significant amount of money by a major customer or client – and you have just heard that they have gone bust…

You know what I am talking about – you may be experiencing this right now.

In all these types of stressful situations sustaining self-motivation can be extremely difficult. In my experience, the tendency is to attempt some form of action – to DO something – anything.

This is invariably accompanied with and followed by lots of thinking – the kind of thinking that we find hard to stop – the kind of thinking that keeps us awake at night – the kind of thinking that goes round and round in circles – the kind of thinking that starts to take over and dominate our minds.

Underneath all this thinking is a lot of emotion – invariably negative, anxious, fearful feelings – feelings of stress – feelings of overwhelm.

The compulsive need to “do” something

And then the urge, the need, the compulsion to “do something” arises again.

But actually there is not much if anything we can do – because there is so much uncertainty surrounding the whole situation, there are so many unknowns, and we have no way of figuring out how this thing is going to play itself out.

Then comes the painful realisation that we are not in control – that unwelcome change is being imposed upon us.

As this realisation sinks in it is usually accompanied by another round of frantic thinking accompanied by more urgent and insistent feelings of anxiety and insecurity.

How do we motivate ourselves when we do not know what to do?

Here are 4 key steps in to how allow our self-motivation to survive imposed change and for it to emerge renewed and transformed.

[1] Choosing our response to imposed change. It all comes down to these 3 simple choices:

– We can resist it, and increase our suffering

– We can adapt to it, and develop new responses

– We can accept it

[2] Dealing with our thoughts

The state and quality of your mind has a very large bearing on the quality of your experience of life, and very specifically on your capacity for managing personal change.

– We need to learn how to change the way we think so that we can maximise our capacity to think in the most constructive and positive way.

– We need to learn how to NOT think – that is to STOP thinking – and to be able to do so at will.

[3] Understanding the stages of the transition we are moving through

It is extremely helpful to realise the clearly defined stages that we will move through emotionally and psychologically as we adjust internally to the external change that is being imposed upon us.

– The letting go of “how things were” and “what was” – this really is all about practising deep acceptance

– The neutral zone (aka “The Dark Night Of The Soul”) – where nothing seems to make much sense and there is so much unknown and we just blindly feel our way forward as key internal psychological realignments take place within us – and we really need to accept the deep confusion and uncertainty that accompanies this

– The new horizon – where we develop fresh perceptions of our self – maybe a new identity, and the is accompanied by a feeling of new and increased energy, a new sense of purpose and the experience of a powerful self motivation that make the change begin to work

[4] Understanding the true nature and purpose of our struggles and suffering

Suffering and struggle are inbuilt into the way the universe runs.

However, through deep acceptance of what is being imposed upon us and by developing a quiet mind and thus allowing clarity to emerge we will – if we allow it – eventually and paradoxically find that the true nature and purpose of our struggles and suffering is constructive and transformative, it unmasks the true nature of “who we really are and why we are here” and it reveals a path to real and permanent personal change and transformation.

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Forex Trading Tip – Get a Solid Education Before You Begin Trading

Many of the Forex trading products sold online claim you don't need any experience in the Forex market to make money … Don't be deceived. They're just trying to make a quick and easy sale of their product from the gullible.

To be successful in the Forex market, you need more than the software they promise will automatically buy and sell currency contracts for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Put that hyped up Forex sales letter aside and force yourself back into reality. Do you really think making money in the markets is easy without first getting an education? If it were as easy as these Forex promoters say it is, then why haven't you heard your friends talk about it.

Did you get the job or the position you have now without any schooling or training? Why would you think it would be any different for being successful in the Forex market?

You don't need to go back to school for a finance degree, but the least you can do is pick up a good book on the basics of Forex trading. It will give you some working knowledge to at least evaluate those Forex trading products with some intelligence.

Trading the Forex isn't a game. There's money to be made but there are also risks of losing your starting capital that these Forex trading promotions hardly mention.

Educating yourself before you begin trading will likely improve your chances of minimizing your losses and making those spectacular returns.

Copyright © 2009 L Chan

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Coming Out Ahead When Losing Your Ability To Earn An Income

Nobody wants his or her income to be taken away. If we had total control over our future, like a crystal ball, we would never worry about money vaporizing one day. One in three people will lose their ability to earn an income prior to the age of 65. The fact is, we do not know what can or will happen to us. Life can change in a moments notice and your income and your future could dry up really fast. Are you prepared?

If you become too sick or hurt for an extended period of time, how long will your employer keep you on the payroll? After all of your sick days and vacation days, your employer will most likely stop paying you. It’s the facts of life and many avoid thinking about the possibilities.

If you are an owner or key executive of the business, listen up. At some point you will need to replace yourself or your salary in order to keep the business alive. The business will become a squeaky wheel until something is done. Some people are in a position to take a leave of absence from the business and still maintain revenue and income. However, many cannot and need to protect the income; business revenue.

Even some businesses, such as a manufacturer, have employees producing on the assembly line, could still have problems producing at the same level. The team of employees can only produce at the same level with the quality leadership the owner/employer has put in place. All of that will change when you (or quality management) are no longer there to make sure things are running smoothly.

It is common knowledge that illnesses do not discriminate. It can happen to you, your spouse, family members and employees of the company. Or even some injuries can be prevented, however, we are human and accidents do happen. One quick misstep and you are laid up for weeks, or even months.

Your income will dry up real fast. The savings accounts will start to drain and tapping into the retirement account could be costly on taxes and penalties. Savings and retirement accounts now become the source of income until either you go back to work or the money dries up completely.

Disability insurance is one way to protect your income. Most people take out insurance policies to protect what is important to them: Buy a car, you get insurance – 1 in 240 chance of a major accident; Buy a house, you get insurance – 1 in 1200 chance of a total loss; Buy life insurance to replace income from a lost loved one – 1 in 5 result in premature death prior to age 65. For many, their number one asset is their ability to earn a living but they never put insurance on that. With one in three chances of losing your ability to earn an income, it should be a high priority. Why do people avoid it? Simple… The fear of having no income is not great enough until it is too late. You may not have a second chance.

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This Coud Ruin Your On Line Business

You can create the coolest, best looking, most exciting online store or website ever created, and fail miserably.

Why?

Because you probably did not choose a profitable niche!

Niche selection is so important that it can literally make or break your success.

A good niche should:

Have a moderate to large audience

Have some moderate competition highlighting the fact that money

is already being made.

Have buyers who are passionate about the niche or need help

with their own personal problems

Have products that are priced high enough to be profitable and

can be promoted as an affiliate

You want to make sure there are enough people who are interested in the niche to support a good number of sales, but you don’t want the niche to be so saturated that it’s difficult to make a profit.

You want a market in which the buyers are passionate, or have a real need for the product. It’s going to be difficult to make good money selling ordinary products unless you have a very unique selling point, such as a drastically lower price, or some sort of value added selling point. You want to sell products people will be excited to buy, and that they will keep coming back for.

You want to make sure you have products that can be priced high enough to make you a good product without pricing you out of the market. You probably won’t make a lot of money selling products priced very low because you won’t be able to build a large enough market quickly enough. Of course, there are people who have made fortunes with very inexpensive products, but it takes a bigger turnover volume than a beginner could likely manage.

Finding Your Passion

It’s not enough to choose a niche that is profitable. If you choose a niche you aren’t passionate about, or one that you find you truly dislike, your business is likely to turn into a drudgery very quickly.

A good starting point for niche research is to simply make a list of your own hobbies, interests, areas of knowledge, and needs. The more you know about a particular subject the better. You do not need to be an expert but some knowledge will help give people confidence in that you know what you are talking about.

It’s possible that you won’t have any interests that would be profitable, but it’s highly unlikely. Even if you like some relatively obscure things, there will usually be at least a decent number of other people who are also interested in it.

Going Deep

Once you have found a niche you believe has a lot of potential for both profitability and passion, you should try to drill down even further to create the tightest niche possible.

For example, let’s say you’ve decided you want to concentrate on the outdoor hobby niche. This might include things like camping, backpacking, hiking, hunting, and fishing.

This is a broad niche and it would be a tremendous amount of work for just one person, or even a small team.

Instead, it’s good to focus on a single area. It could be the area you are most interested in, or the one you believe will be most profitable (as long as you’re still interested in it). But it’s important to drill down to the tightest niche you can without going so tight that it would be difficult to find an audience or source products.

For example, instead of “outdoor hobbies”, you could drill down a bit to fishing. This may still be too broad, so you could drill down to fly fishing. This is pretty good, but you might even go a little further to specialize in a specific type of fly, or maybe into fly tying supplies for people who want to tie their own flies for fishing.

Keep drilling down until you reach a point when you can no longer find enough products to source or interest in the niche. You’d be surprised just how far you can go in many niches!

Once you have found your Niche it does not stop there.

You still have some important decisions to make…

Read my next article @ http://tellmequickandtellmetrue.com to learn more.

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Who Else Wants a Summer Activity for the Whole Family With Fun in the Sun and Amazing Marine Life?

What activity am I referring to this summer? There is no other recreational activity like snorkeling or scuba diving where you can take in nature, bond with family and friends and get exercise all at the same time.

If you haven’t tried snorkeling or scuba diving you are missing the State’s best attraction. Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm and some places in between are home to over 650 species of fish and coral.

Florida is the 3rd largest barrier reef in the world and Thee largest living reef in the North American hemisphere.

Which one should you try first? Snorkeling or Scuba Diving?

Good Question!

If it is your very first time I would suggest snorkeling. This article is for very first timers to snorkeling or those that learned from a friend or tried to wing it without much success.

Snorkeling is wearing a mask over your eyes and nose to see, a snorkel in your mouth to breath and fins on your feet to swim easier. You float on the surface with minimal and relaxed swimming on the surface while observing fish and coral only 6′ feet below the surface.

All this sounds wonderful but if this is your very first time to snorkel you can assure yourself of a good time by making good decisions that consider the following components:

Proper instruction from a Professional, not a friend or family member

Sufficient rest the night before

Good nutrition before you snorkel

Snorkeling within your swimming capabilities

Marine life familiarity to set your expectations without fear

Learning how to enter the water either by boat or from shore

Outfitting you in the right mask, fins and snorkel

This is just a “partial list” of factors and the reason you need a professional to guide you through the process for your ultimate safety and good time.

Just like you would never try to snow ski the first time without lessons, the same rule applies and holds true to snorkeling and scuba diving.

You are wise to seek out private lesson snorkeling instruction because of the attention to details from a professional that give you a pleasurable and positive memorable experience.

Too many times people express their hideous experience when they let their friend or relative try to teach them snorkeling. This article was written for your safety and ultimate well being.

Humor columnist Dave Barry says:

“There’s nothing wrong with enjoying looking at the surface of the ocean itself, except that when you finally see what goes on underwater, you realize that you’ve been missing the point of the ocean. Staying on the surface all the time is like going to the circus and staring at the outside of the tent.”

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Low-Carb and Keto Diet Fast Food Menu Choices: How to Eat Successfully at Restaurants

For those who eat low-carb or keto diets, there is almost always something you can eat in every fast food place or restaurant. Plan ahead. Before entering a restaurant, check out their menu and nutrition information online at home or using your smart phone. It’s always good to know the safe options before being tempted by menu items you shouldn’t have on a low-carb diet.

In order to make it easier to find a quick keto-friendly option, I’ve compiled a list of several restaurants and fast food places and those items that I’ve found to be the lowest carb (and most emotionally satisfying) choices. These are not all perfect options, but when you’re stuck with no other choices due to time or location constraints, they’ll do in a pinch.

It’s a huge help that fast-food places are required to post nutritional content. It gets easier to follow the keto plan every day. The carb count I’m listing is approximate and is NET grams.

In general, there is usually some salad option anywhere you are. At Burger joints, just remove the bun, and many places offer lettuce wraps instead. Chicken shouldn’t have breading.

As a side note, it helps to have a knife and fork handy in your car or purse. Big, juicy burgers in tiny pieces of lettuce end up on the table – or in your lap. Small, flimsy fastfood plasticware also makes for difficult eating. Pull out your own sturdy utensils and enjoy!

Now for the food choices… here are some pretty obvious general rules to follow:

  • Skip the bun or wrap
  • Skip the pasta, potato, or rice
  • Salads – no croutons. Stick with low sugar dressing options – Caesar, Blue Cheese, Ranch, Chipotle. Look at the name which may give you a clue, things like “honey” in the honey dijon or “sweet” in the dressing name – these are usually not a good choice. Check the ingredient for items that are higher in carb content.
  • Chicken – Choose grilled or sauteed. Stay away from any chicken that is breaded.

McDonald’s – opt for any burger (zero g) or grilled chicken (2 g) without the bun and topped with cheese, mayo, mustard, onions, etc. No ketchup. Add a side salad (3g). The Caesar salad with grilled chicken or the bacon ranch salad with grilled chicken are 9g.

Burger King – same burger info as McDonald’s: burger (zero g) without the bun and topped with cheese, mayo, mustard, onions, etc. No ketchup. The tendergrill chicken sandwich without the bun is 3g. BEWARE – you might think the veggie burger is low, but it is 19g of carbs, so that’s about a full day of carbs on keto. Add a side salad (3g). The tendergrill chicken garden salad is 8g without dressing or croutons. The tendercrisp chicken salad is not an option. Do not attempt.

BONUS – dessert!?! – the fresh apple fries are not fried and are 5g net carbs WITHOUT caramel sauce.

Subway – Probably should skip Subway if you can. The buns and wraps are all high in carbs. I guess you could just have them throw the ingredients in a wrapper sans bun, but that doesn’t sound appealing. I have no info on what the carb count would be for each bunless sub, but you can probably figure it out – chicken or pepperoni is fine, but is “sweet onion” chicken okay? No idea. Stick to the salads, but realize you’ll only get iceberg lettuce (4g).

Carl’s Junior and Hardees – This chain offers “lettuce wraps” – your burger wrapped in a large piece of lettuce for easy low carb eating. (As I’ve said, I tried it and don’t love it. I like to carry my own fork instead.) Bunless options – Six dollar burger (7g), 1/2 thick-burger (5g), charbroiled chicken club sandwich (7g/10g at Hardees). Grilled chicken salad without croutons is 10g. Side salad is 3g.

Jimmy John’s – The unwich – a sandwich wrapped in lettuce – fits the bill here. Meats are fine, just make sure the ingredients are not carb-rich.

Wendy’s – Again, you can get your burger in a lettuce wrap or a box. Any burger with toppings. Mayo has corn syrup, and is 1g. The chicken grill fillet is 1 g. It can be ordered in the chicken club sandwich or the ultimate chicken grill sandwich. Best salads: chicken caesar (7g), blt chicken salad with grilled chicken. Side salads aer 6g or 2g for Caesar.

Pizza Hut and other pizza places – It is possible to get used to eating pizza with no crust. You need to eat twice as much, but if there’s a party or dinner out that you can’t avoid at a pizza place, just slide the cheesy toppings off and eat the big messy pile of cheese and toppings. A side salad is a nice addition. Otherwise, just opt for making pizza at home with a low-carb crust.

Mongolian Barbecue – YES! Load up your bowl with chicken, shrimp, onion slices, and mushrooms, then top with the Asian black bean sauce. I know beans have carbs, but this sauce label says 1 gram of carbs per ounce (each sauce is plainly labeled). Add a bit of garlic and wait for the griller to do his work. It goes without saying that you skip the appetizers, tortillas, and rice. Ask the wait staff not to bring them to the table.

Italian Restaurants – These take a little cunning, but they can be conqurerd! Ideas: how about chicken Marsala in an Italian place? Make sure it doesn’t come with pasta. Substitute broccoli or some other keto-friendly side dish – or a big salad. Chicken piccata is also a possibility.

Mexican and Chinese restaurants are the most difficult, because any low carb option is not the reason to go to the restaurant in the first place. At a Mexican restaurant, I tend to get a large burrito with no beans and spread the soft tortilla out like a plate. Eat the inner ingredients and toss the tortilla.

If you MUST go to a Chinese buffet (I attended a funeral dinner at one), you can find options, but they probably aren’t going to be your favorite General Tso’s. How about the salad bar choices? eggs? the insides of eggrolls, and I even ate the insides only of crab rangoons. Unfortunately, these ideas leave quite a pile of discarded shells and deep fried exterior pieces on your plate and makes it look like you really waste food.

Wings anywhere – Standard buffalo sauce is usually OK as well as garlic Parmesan

Convenience stores can be a good option, too! 7-11 has packs of hard boiled eggs, cheese slabs, slim jims, almonds, and pork rinds. Pork rinds come in a barbecue flavor and they’re ZERO carbs.

Remember, whatever you choose, hold the bread, potatoes, rice, noodles, fries, and tortillas. And watch out for the possibility of corn starch, bread crumbs, and other fillers. With proper planning and a good attitude, you can find healthy keto and low-carb options when dining out, and stick to your successful keto diet plan.

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