Life : The Future

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Monday, July 31, 2006

Choosing A Domain Name

So you've decided to put a web site up on the Internet. In this article, we will discuss the best way to choose a domain name for your business web site, but many of the same principles apply if you are choosing a name for a hobby or informational site. So, let's choose a name for your little piece of the Internet.

The best way to avoid mistakes is to be aware of what kind of mistakes people make and learn from example. After all, your idea to have a website is to make sure that people can locate you on the Internet. So, first know the things you must avoid while choosing your Internet domain name.


1. Avoid using numbers

The basic mantra of naming your site is to avoid using numbers in your domain name. Many of the websites on the Internet use numbers either to save letters or to seem different. As an example, a person might name his or her website as www.fun4pets.com for a pet-related website. People who wish to access this site would have to make sure whether the 4 in this domain name is a number or the words 'for' or 'four'. This is how confusing it can get.


2. Avoid using a hyphen

The next point you have to keep in mind is to avoid using a hyphen in the domain name of your website. Most people do so thinking putting a '-' in their URL would make it easier to read. Our example stated above would become www.fun-for-pets.com. But this is assuming too much as people might or might not remember this and could type in the more obvious www.funforpets.com. Hence it would be better to give a domain name to your URL that is easier to remember and does not create any doubt. So go without hyphens.


3. Always use the ".com"

Now that you know what not to do, let's talk about some of the things you should do when looking for a domain name. First and foremost is to ALWAYS use the ".com" extension for domain names. This is the standard that everyone uses when typing in a URL to their Internet browser, and if you have another extension - .net, .org, .biz, etc. - you may be sending people to another site altogether. If the name you want is not available with ".com" then pick another domain.


4. Choose an easily spelt name

The next point you have to consider is to choose an easily spelt name for your site. The reason being that a name that could be easily misspelled would most certainly be. So if you choose a domain name www.specialoccassions.com, people may type in a number of variations of this name like www.spechulokashens.com. And this is not a joke, people type in domain names with fantastic variations of domain names. They make such bad spelling mistakes, so you have to be careful in this regard.


5. Keep the domain name short

It would also be prudent to keep the domain name short. Two to three words, and under 25 characters, are considered most acceptable. In this way, the chances of mistyped URLs could be avoided. The chances of people making mistakes and missing letters when you give a name to your website such as www.thebestwebsiteevernomatterwhat.com is quite high.

Obviously, these are general guidelines, and there are always going to be exceptions to the rules, but if you keep these in mind when searching for your business' domain, you will have a better chance that people will find your new web site, and your business will thrive on the Internet.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

10 Easy Steps to Set and Achieve your Goals... Guaranteed!

Goal setting and realization are a difficult task for most people. As simple as it may seem to be, thinking about and setting a goal is not really that easy. Just like anything else, there are steps and methodologies that have been used by successful persons - systematic approaches to ensure success.

Unbelievably, there are still those who do not succeed. The difference lies in the focus, or lack of it, of each individual. Analysts, motivational gurus and psychologists have discovered that successful people have developed a systemic process on how to realize their goals.

They put their goals down on paper - thereby giving themselves the motivation to achieve what they set out to do.

1. Attainable goals are DEFINITE and CLEAR. People are more focused on accomplishing something if it is clear instead of vague and ambiguous.

2. SIMPLICITY. Commit yourself to goals that are clear-cut and unambiguous; complex goals will surely result in zero accomplishments, if at all.

3. For goals to be attainable, they must be IMPORTANT. A goal must be personally important so you would want to exert every effort to achieve it. It must be worthwhile that you are willing to work very hard to attain it, otherwise, you may not even bring to bear the required effort to attain it.

4. PURPOSEFUL. For your goals to be achievable, make sure that they will provide benefits and comforts in your life. Make sure your goals will give you fulfillment, accomplishment and improvement.

5. Attainable goals are MEASURABLE. You have to set measurable elements in your goal so you can measure your progress towards its full realization.

6. For goals to be attainable, they must be REALISTIC. Your goal must be rational and not impossible to achieve. Your goal must make you raring to go to achieve it.

7. For goals to be attainable, they must be CONCRETE. Make sure that your goals are tangible - one that you can touch, hear or see. Do not take this in the literal sense; when you think of your goals or visualize them, make sure that they stimulate all of your senses.

8. For goals to be attainable, they must be WRITTEN. Write down your goals on a notebook that you keep by your bed; read it before you sleep and after you wake up. This way you will always stay in focus of your goals. This simple ritual significantly increases your chance of achieving your goal
effectively.

9. Attainable goals are SHARED. Sharing your goal with people you love will allow them to participate in its attainment by giving you support and encouragement.

10. Attainable goals are IN TUNE WITH YOUR PRINCIPLES IN LIFE. By making sure your goals are in synch with your values, there is a higher chance of success because it does not conflict with your values.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Some Fail to Set Goals...Discover Why!

There are people who still fail regardless if they followed all the goal-setting tips, tricks, techniques, and read lots of motivational literature. The investment of time, effort and countless days writing down their goals all been went down the drain and did not make them achieve their life's goals.

The reason is quite simple, as soon as they have decided what their ultimate life goal is, somehow they loose track of the rewards they will reap when they achieve their goal!

For example, when we buy new gadgets the first things we check out are how beneficial would the gadget be for me? Would it make my work easier? Would it make my life better? The very same reason why we have washing machines, clothes driers, and lawn mowers in our houses.

Most often, we buy things because we are convinced it would provide us beneficial advantages in our daily lives. We should use the same qualitative assessment in setting our goals and their accompanying tasks. Clear benefits of your goals have to be evaluated so that you will commit your time and effort to accomplish it. This will help you to focus your energy, time and resources towards its realization.

If you are aware of the advantages, you also become aware of necessary resources you need to allocate to your goals so that you will realize them one after the other. Not in one big leap, but step by step, one after another.

In anchoring your goals to their intrinsic rewards to your life, use the following checklist to make it easier:

1.~ personal gain
2.~ family comfort
3.~ respect in the community
4.~ social and peer group acceptance

Doing this provides you a mental picture of the benefits of your goal. This keeps you in focus because your goal's benefits become a catalyst towards its realization.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

How To Get Fear Off Your Business' Back

You want to know a secret? My clients and class participants all trust me to hold confidentiality with the most intimate details of their business, but I'm going to go public with one detail I know. I'm going to tell you the straight-up fact, the one that no one tells anyone else.

=== They all get scared. Gut-clenching scared. Scared witless. (And me, too.)

If you're going to be a business owner, especially in the early years of the start-up phase (yes, the start-up phase is not 90-days long- it's about three years- look for another article on that mythical subject coming soon) then fear is going to be your friend.

You hear all these buzz phrases about fear, such as 'Well, you know, fear stands for False Experience Appearing Real. So, just overcome your fear! Come'on!'

Baloney. Tell that to me when my mortgage is due in three days, and the money coming in is half what I need it to be. Who wouldn't be scared?

=== Anyone who is building a small business gets scared. It's normal.

Scared about the money. Scared about whether anyone likes what you're offering. Scared about whether you are doing the right thing. Just plain nervous, anxious, and frightened.

So, if it's so common, how come it's so hard to deal with it?

Well, the main thing about fear isn't that it's hard to deal with. It's that it's so hard NOT to deal with it. Avoiding fear is hard. 'Overcoming' fear is a herculean task. But it's easy to just be scared.

You are allowed to be scared. There is no one else who isn't scared at times. Give yourself time to be afraid (and it doesn't always have to wake you up at 3am in the morning because you didn't let yourself be scared during your work day.)

=== When scared, say to yourself: "This is normal. It's okay. I'm allowed to be scared."

What is fear? Did you ever have a friend, or a parent, or a spouse who, when you were about to rush out the door to an
important event, grabbed you and said, 'Hold it, don't forge your lunch, and your ticket to get in!' Fear is that friend.

Fear in business doesn't come up because you did something wrong, you're doomed, or you look funny. :) Fear comes up
because you're not seeing some gorgeous, valuable and much-needed jewel right where you're standing, and it will absolutely not let you go out that door without it.

Maybe, just maybe, instead of trying to 'overcome' your fear, you should listen to it?

But, there is a trick to listening to fear, without which you won't find what's right in front of your face. Want to learn the trick, and read an example of how it works?


Keys to Hearing Your Fear

* Notice the physical sensation of fear- and revel in it.

Fear has physical sensations- what are they for you? In other words, how do you know you're afraid? For me, my low belly has a hollow-dropped-out feeling. Then, my reaction to the hollowness is to clench my shoulders, my chest, and my jaw so I stop breathing as deeply- it keeps me from feeling the hollowness.

If I slowly relax the clenching, and focus in on the hollow feeling I notice, hey, it's just a hollow feeling. I let myself get intimate with it- really feel that hollow feeling, get comfortable and familiar with it. Breath into it. Already you should start to feel more spacious and calm.


* What's the story the fear is telling, and what is the core of truth in it?

Your fear is talking to you. It's often saying things like, "You can't do this." "You shouldn't be doing this." "It will never work." Things like that.

The funny thing is, most of the time these phrases are TRUE- but incomplete. For instance, "You can't do this... alone." Or, "You shouldn't be doing this... right now." Or, "It will never work... if you don't rest."

A warning signal brings through an important message for you, but then you clamp down from the fear, and miss the most critical and helpful part of the message. Bummer. But, it's never too late to get the rest of the message.

How can you access this message? Once you settle into the physical part of the fear, accept the message you are hearing, "You can't do this..." as true, and then ask in your heart, with a willingness to be surprised, for the rest of the message. It may take awhile, so be patient.


* My example: "You shouldn't be here."

It was one of my first times co-teaching with Dr. John Wadude Laird, someone who has been a spiritual teacher of mine for years. Fear was telling 'You shouldn't be here,' and I was feeling small, awkward, and out of place. Scared witless, actually. I spoke up in the class to deliver a point, and immediately felt worse- the fear shot way up.

After class Wadude (it's a spiritual name that means 'The Loving'... I could've taken the hint, eh?) came up to me and
said: "I need to talk to you, after I talk to this person. " My fear jumped another ten notches. I wasn't imagining it- he was going to blast me! I went to the bathroom, washed, and came back, steeling myself for the firing squad.

Here's what he said: "Mark- it was a hard decision to hire you for this position, because other people had been around longer. But, after teaching with you, I absolutely know deep in my heart that we made the right choice."

Stunned, I thanked him, and walked away. What happened? I went through the two steps above, it took me about 30 minutes, but I eventually heard the whole message: "You shouldn't be here, in this psychological place of doubting yourself, because you are trusted and loved, and you are in the right position."

So, what message about your business has your friend Fear been shouting herself hoarse trying to get through to you?


My very best to you and your business,
Sumi Aningsih

Monday, July 24, 2006

Develop Superior Online Customer Service

Today, many startup companies utilize only one method of selling directly to their customers - and it is no longer a "Brick and Mortar" storefront. Instead it is via the Internet. In this fast paced global environment competition for every customer's dollar has become fierce. This requires companies to evolve and meet changing client needs while maintaining high quality products and customer service.

To achieve success, companies are looking to new technologies and techniques in key fundamentals. One of these fundamental areas is a solid foundation in the art of sales and customer care.


Tip #1 People First And Foremost

Individual customers as well as customer care providers can be easily overlooked in the big scheme of an online company. Lack of appreciation for the value of superior customer service may lead to a ceiling on your companies potential or possibly, even demise. The vast majority of customers visit internet stores without interacting with any member of the sales or customer care teams. This can be a successful model for a few very select products and services. However, for the majority, people must be first and foremost.


Customer Service not Customer Salvation

Many companies have lowered customer service standards by outsourcing this very important function to the lowest bidder or passed-off this essential task to under-trained employees. Frequently, customers expect the person answering the phone to not have the ability, training or authority to truly assist. This can result in lower consumer confidence and reduced sales. In addition, your customer service team may be reduced to a customer salvation team where a large amount of their time is spent correcting errors and re-aligning mismatched expectations. While after sales support is indeed an important component, activities with potential customers and assistance with current sales is also extremely important.

To ensure your customer care people spend their time adding value and sales, train them to become experts. Make sure your team has the training and knowledge needed to be a partner in the sale, rather than just being an order taker. Customer satisfaction as well as your employees' satisfaction will increase – both important keys to success.


There's No School Like The Old School

Do you know your customer? Do you recognize any names from yesterday's order list? Why did your customer come to you? What does your customer need?

Your customers should not be treated like a number and dollar figure. Each customer has made an individual decision to entrust you with their money and time. Take the time to determine your customer's needs and wants. Take a page from the old school and turn one sale into a relationship.


Your Leadership And Character

Another important component is you, the business owner. Your character will be the map which guides the ship that is your company. You are captain, your officers and crew will follow your lead.

If you have time for character assassination or mud slinging against competition, then you are doing your customers, your employees and your company a grave disservice. For example, you may want to spend a bit more time concentrating on improving your business and more importantly providing your customers with better service. A merchant's metaphorical "ship" that focuses on delivery of goods will out perform others that fight unnecessary and costly battles. Your customers are smart and will choose to spend their hard earned dollars wisely.


Tip #2 Know Your Product

Next, let's take a look at what you are selling.


What Are You Selling?

Do you use your product? For example, would you buy a car from someone who doesn't drive? Yes, they may know all the technical specifics such as horsepower, torque, gas mileage and turn radius. But have does this person know if the car will truly meet your needs - on paper, maybe, but in real-life where your hard earned money is being spent, maybe not.

Can they tell you how the car feels when driving in conditions you experience most? How will the car perform now and in the future? What can you expect in one, two, five and more years?

Very simply, you, and your buying and customer service teams must know your product - not just trained as to what is on paper but actually use the products too.


Real And Honest Marketing Messages

Be honest about your product. Giving a product a misleading name can damage your reputation, your sales and can be potentially illegal. Online customers are smart and have access to unprecedented amounts of good information. Smart, savvy customers will support you and allow your product to stand on its own merits.


Tip #3 Location, Location, Location

Next, as more businesses no longer choose traditional "Brick and Mortar" storefronts, companies need to also consider the best places for offices and resources.


Your Customers

Part of making people your first priority is to understand your customers. Look to place your offices where your customers are located to help understand their specific needs and wants. For example, the tastes and needs of customers in New York can differ from those in California. Seek to hire and place resources to best understand individual markets as well as customers.


Your Product

Next, seek to understand the culture of your product. For some this means visiting that region of the world regularly. For others, this means placing actual and permanent resources on site. Visiting the region often, even with language capabilities, can earn you some knowledge, but this may be that of a frequent tourist rather than that of a local. Instead, seek to place offices and resources on a permanent basis on site. This will allow you to meet the needs of your customer better than a retailer selling a warehouse of stored goods. It will also allow you to anticipate and meet the changes in the marketplace as they arise. Understanding your products' origins as well as the people and culture will ultimately help you and your entire company better serve your customers.


The development of superior customer service requires commitment and planning. Companies must respect the value provided by a effective and efficient customer care team. Understanding your customer, their needs and your product are paramount. Be aware of the leadership within your company and have the necessary resources location in the appropriate location. Careful execution of these plans will result in the opportunity to differentiate your Internet store from the rest.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Internet Explorer 7.0 and CSS2

As many of you know, Microsoft has announced that it will be releasing Internet Explorer 7.0 this summer to those who are on the XP operating system in a project code named “Rincon”. The move is reportedly being done to improve the security of the IE browser. However, with browsers such as Firefox gaining market share, many people speculate that the new Internet Explorer will come with more than just security enhancements. Features such as tabbed browsing, built in anti-spyware, and RSS aggregating are all features that appear to be coming with the Rincon project.

The real question, however, for any website owner and developer is whether Microsoft will create a browser that interprets CSS2 in a standard way. Currently Microsoft does not support all of CSS2’s functionalities and also adds some functionalities that CSS2 never initially supported. The result is nothing more than a major headache for those developing a website that is accessible to all people, regardless of the browser they are using.

So will Microsoft finally adhere to the official CSS2 specifications? Don’t bet on it. A look at Microsoft’s history and their current position in the market place seems to point to the idea that they will continue to buck the open source development trend and try to mold the marketplace according to their vision.


Microsoft Views Incompatibility as a Competitive Advantage

Most website developers develop a website for Internet Explorer first, and for the secondary browsers second. The reason for this is obvious. If you have a website that works in Firefox, but appears broken in Internet Explorer, the site appears broken to over 90% of its visitors. On the flip side, if the site works fine in Internet Explorer, but not in Firefox, only a small percentage of your website visitors are inconvenienced.

Microsoft, being the vast market share holder in the browser market, can influence the behavior of website owners and web surfers. Because not every site is optimized for browsers such as Firefox, web surfers who try to make the transition to Firefox will find themselves on familiar sites that appear broken to them in Firefox, but not Internet Explorer because Internet Explorer does not follow a standard set of rules that any browser can comply with. The result is that these surfers who try to make the transition over to Firefox will go back to the more familiar Internet Explorer.


Keep the Advantage, Eliminate the Disadvantages

There are a few reasons for people making the switch from Internet Explorer to Firefox. There is the obvious group of people that truly believe Microsoft is evil, so they will do anything to avoid a Microsoft product no matter how much it inconveniences them. Microsoft is not worried about these people so much because they will always represent a small group of people. What Microsoft does need to worry about is the real advantages of making the switch to Firefox.

Security
Security is probably the top reason people make the switch to Firefox. Now that most people have been introduced to spyware, awareness of PC security is becoming a bigger issue. Any person who does a little research will quickly realize that most spyware programs focus on the vulnerabilities of Internet Explorer, since that is what most surfers use. Making the switch to Firefox not only gives surfers new security features that are not available with Internet Explorer, but they also remove themselves from the target of spyware creators.

Since security is the one of the biggest reasons people leave Internet Explorer, the people at Microsoft have decided to make security a major priority. And, in the interest of giving credit where credit is due, they should be commended for finally looking to improve the security of their browser. Who knows how many countless computers were infected with spyware programs due to the vulnerabilities Internet Explorer presented.

Features
Firefox also offers unique features that users cannot get with Internet Explorer. Features such as tabbed browsing, RSS Aggregation, and others have proven to be more than just nice ideas or some programmer’s pet hobby. Unfortunately for Firefox, they have proved to be the market testing for Microsoft, without Microsoft having to spend any money on development. Look for Microsoft to continue to copy the successful features of Firefox in the future, and ignore those features that are not successful.


Back to CSS2

What is CSS2 really? CSS2 is nothing more than a set of recommendations for controlling layout and design of websites put forth by the World Wide Web Consortium. The W3C’s goal for their recommendations is to avoid market fragmentation on the Internet, thus creating a more uniform and more enjoyable surfing experience for web users. Ironically enough, Microsoft and the W3C have the same goal, although Microsoft would like to have uniformity on the web as a result of everyone using Internet Explorer.

As long as Microsoft is able to hold onto its market share through segmenting the market, they will do so. They will have this ability as long as they have an overwhelming majority of the market share. Unfortunately for those who make their living designing and developing websites, there are only two hopeful outcomes to make life easier: either Microsoft loses enough market share that they decide to adopt the W3C’s recommendations, or Microsoft successfully eliminates all browser competitors and is the only option for web surfers. Until one of these two options occurs, expect Microsoft to continue to interpret the web as they see fit, and in a way that will keep users on Microsoft products.

A Smart RSS

Ask.com now displays RSS Smart Answers for web searches on the names of popular blogs or news sources; the three latest posts from a site's RSS feed will appear atop the Ask search results.

Gary Price and Ryan Massie at Ask formally announced the latest feature in the expanding Smart Answers program. This one, RSS Smart Answers, gives the searcher a little more content in response to their queries.

A typical search result on a website's name usually returns links and short text summaries from those sites. Since RSS distribution has become so widely used among news sites and blogs, the new feature looks well-suited to match the increase in RSS usage.

Price and Massie detailed how RSS Smart Answers will work on Ask:
Now, when you conduct a web search for many of your favorite blogs, RSS feeds, or news sites, it's likely that at the top of the web results list, you'll find the last three posts from that site's feed. New items appear very quickly after the publisher hits the publish key. Of course, you'll also find a direct link to the blog or news source to see the entire post.
Examples of that can be seen in Ask searches for blogs like BoingBoing and TechCrunch, and news sites like Digg. Ask has based its selections of sites for this treatment on the most popular feeds chosen by users of its RSS reader service, Bloglines.

Ask plans to add more RSS feeds to the list over time, and make it more comprehensive. While the RSS Smart Answers are geared toward people making web searches on blog or news site names, another service from Ask focuses on searching through blogs or feeds instead.

Called Ask Blogs & Feeds Search, that service looks through the postings made on blogs. Its features allow the searcher to preview a post's blog or site by doing a mouseover of the binoculars icon, when available.

From the blog and feed search results, dropdown menus for each result enable a couple of actions for the user. The Subscribe feature allows the visitor to quickly add a site to a selection of RSS reader services, like Bloglines or Google Reader.

Another option called Post To lets the searcher quickly add a search result as a post to sites like Digg, del.icio.us, or Reddit. Ask combined technology from Bloglines and its web search service to create the Blogs & Feeds Search, which debuted in June.