Friday, November 14, 2008

Actions of California Proposition 8 Opponents Disappointing

With the recent passing of California Proposition 8 upholding the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, it is disappointing to see the actions of the Prop 8 opponents who came up on the short end of the stick on that issue. With the recent attacks on the Mormon Church over their support of Prop 8, those attacking the Mormons are setting a bad precedent for the democratic process in our beloved country.

While the gay community preaches acceptance and intolerance by word, their actions are sending a completely different message. After losing the Prop 8 battle, what does the gay community do? They immediately single out the Mormon Church, picket at its sacred places of worship, vandalize church property, and smear the church as a whole just because the Mormon Church and many of its members happen to believe differently on the issue of marriage than homosexuals do.

The democratic process in our country allows for all of us to stand up for what we believe in and vote our conscience. And believe it or not, that right also covers Mormons! So to all those who are crying, whining and acting like a little child who did not get their way, take a little of your own medicine and embrace the principles of acceptance and tolerance. Because right now it appears that the gay community is not tolerant at all!

Liberals will always preach acceptance and tolerance for their lifestyles and policies, and upon being rebuked by a majority of voters, they immediately label their opponents as intolerant and accuse them of denying people of basic civil liberties. Did anyone notice the millions marching on Washington to illustrate their disgust with an Obama victory in the presidential election? I did not see it either. The silent majority of Americans have the decency and respect for their fellow citizens to practice acceptance and tolerance, where those who are screaming the loudest for acceptance and tolerance (the gay community) are the ones who are not practicing what they preach!

May God Bless America!

With all of the challenges facing our country today, the United States needs all of the divine help it can get right now. From tough economic conditions to dealing with the global fight on terrorism, there appear to be many things not going well in our country at the moment.

Although I do not agree with him politically, I congratulate President Elect Obama and sincerely hope that he can hold the fabric of America together while we all fight to lift America out of the tough spot we are currently in. I also hope that some fresh, true conservative leadership will spring forth to help guide our country back into the light.

Finally, I need to give a shout out to my good friend Steve Urquhart on a campaign run with class and integrity. Representative Urquhart (he has been serving in the Utah State House of Representatives for the past eight years) will now be Senator Urquhart with his resounding victory on election night. Steve is a brilliant, genuine person who deserves the praise he so often receives for his work in the legislature. Congratulations Steve on a job well done and good luck with your new post in the senate!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Free Web Hosting vs. Paid Web Hosting

Free web hosting or paid web hosting? Which hosting option is better and which will provide you the services and support you need? Over the past few weeks I have immersed myself in researching the pros and cons of free and paid hosting services because I have a new business we are trying to get online. It has been very educational to see the differences between the two types of hosting. And to answer the questions above, the best web hosting service may be different for all users due to unique factors, circumstances and needs of each user.

Through my research, and keep in mind that I am not the most technically savvy individual, I have found a few key differences between free web hosting and paid web hosting. For starters, the first difference is price. Even though most paid hosting services are very affordable, free web hosting is exactly that - it is free. So you ask, how can it be free? The web hosting provider has to make money somehow. Well, you are right. Most free web hosting services place advertisements across the top of your website to help generate money for their hosting business. Many business owners aren't comfortable having ads on their website, and others don't mind. It is a personal preference that each user can decide on their own. Additionally, most reputable free web hosting providers offer an opt out option on the advertising for a very minimal fee (in some cases, as little as $20 per year).

In addition to price, storage space on the server is a major difference. Most paid web hosting providers offer large amounts of disk storage space (generally 500 gigs and up), while free web hosting providers only allow you a small amount of storage space, which can be as little as 50 megabytes. If you intend to design and build a large website with a lot of features, you most likely will need to lean in the direction of paid web hosting since that type of website will take a lot of storage space on a server.

Another critical difference between free and paid hosting is the type and availability of customer support. Free web hosts generally offer email or online support only, where reputable paid hosts offer 24/7 phone support in addition to online and email support. Customer support is a nice feature for those of us that don't understand all of the terminology surrounding hosting and the Internet. I have found that most of the big paid web hosting providers do a pretty good job of helping their customers with questions and support issues.

Other things to look for when deciding between free and paid hosting is reliability, redundancy, and what additional features and tools are offered by the web host. These items are all critical to maintaining a successful online presence for businesses. However, for an individual who wants to create a web site for fun, these items may not be as much of a concern. You may want to do a search for web hosting reviews and see what independent reviewers and users are saying about all of the top web hosting providers.

In summary, the choice between free web hosting and paid web hosting is not a clear cut choice. Your best web hosting provider may be completely different than your neighbors since every one's wants and needs are different. Just keep in mind your needs, budget, and support requirements and you should be able to decide whether you will need to pay for web hosting or if you can use a free web hosting provider.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Credit Cards!

One bit of advice I always give to my clients is to use a credit card for business purchases, especially a credit card that offers rewards. One reason for this recommendation is obvious. However, there are more reasons than you might think.

First, using a credit card to pay for business purchases is a good idea because it buys you as much as 20-25 days of float before actually paying for the purchase. Most credit card companies offer a grace period for you to pay for your charges without paying any finance charges. Second, having a credit card gives you access to financing, as little as it may be, to help grow your business. Many small businesses only need a small amount of capital to get their business up and running. Third, using a credit card wisely can help you build a solid credit score. It is critical that credit card balances are paid in full each month, otherwise your credit card debt will grow quickly and soon will become overwhelming.

Lastly, a credit card is one that can offer some type of reward or benefit for using the card. Many of the best credit cards offer travel rewards, points for use at retailers, cash back awards, and much more. Some issuers offer low APR credit cards. Regardless of the reward type you choose, why not leverage your business purchases and get something back in return!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Getting Your Business Online

Many small businesses are struggling to catch up with the wave of changes that have affected the way we do business - specifically engaging in ecommerce. Many business owners are intimidated by the new technologies they see and some may not fully comprehend the benefits of taking their business online. There are many benefits for getting your business online and I will detail a few benefits, as well as how to get started, below.

Business owners create websites for their businesses for many different reasons. And the reasons you should get your business online will depend on the type of business you operate the industry in which you operate in. Many businesses are looking for general awareness, while others are strictly trying to sell goods or services through their website. Some of the benefits that come by getting your business online include establishing a corporate presence on the Internet, being able to sell goods or services over the Internet, gathering data for potential customers on your website, and having an online location for your customers to be able to go to in order to get information about your products or services.

So if your business in not online yet, the question is how do you get started? Getting your business online is not as difficult or costly as you may think, if you know where to go. The general steps include designing and building your website, creating a web hosting account, and getting your site live. Most of these steps involve contracting with specialists to complete each item. For example, you will need to locate a knowledgeable and reliable web designer/programmer to design and build your website. The programmer you select will most likely be the one who will update and maintain your website as you have new information to post on your website. Most designers/programmers provide their services at an hourly rate of between $50 - $100 per hour. Most designers/programmers also can provide valuable services such as search engine optimization.

Creating a web hosting account is very easy and extremely affordable. In simple terms, web hosting is basically renting space from a company that has servers directly connected to the Internet. For your customers and potential customers to be able to find your website, your website must be located on a computer that has a direct connection to the Internet. You can generally get a web hosting account with a top provider for as little as $5 per month. For a list of the best web hosting companies, there are many web hosting directories that evaluate and rate the numerous hosting companies.

Once your website is built and you have signed up for a web hosting account with the host of your choice, your programmer can upload the files to your web host's server and your website will be live for the whole world to see.

As a small business owner myself, I understand why many business owners are slow to change and catch up with the online world. However, I have also come to realize the benefits and necessities of getting my businesses online. I hope that all other business owners can embrace the latest web technologies and help propel their business to even greater success.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Blogging and Politics

It is interesting how much of an impact bloggers have on the news we read each day. The main stream media has embraced blogging, but they use it as another tool to influence their readers rather than to have open dialogue on issues affecting their readers. I believe that independent bloggers are having a much larger influence than the main stream media on our news because of their desire to bring to light the true story of what's happening behind the scenes of a news story.

For example, in discussing his frustration with misinformation regarding an issue that came before the Utah Legislature, Representative Steve Urquhart specifically points out bloggers (along with special interest groups and big media) as having an impact on the information that filtered down to the public.

The beauty of blogging is it gives ordinary citizens, like me, a voice on issues that are important to me. I can share my thoughts and feelings about issues from my own unique perspective. The point - don't underestimate the power of the blog.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Utah's Struggling Housing Market

Since reaching its peak, in terms of average sales price and units sold, the housing market in Utah has gradually fallen off its highs of a couple of years ago. In light of this slowdown, it's quite remarkable how home prices have held up even as the slowdown worsens. However, according to Mark Knold, a senior economist for the Utah Department of Workforce Services, stated that Utah's housing market may still be in for the worst.

In noting that Utah trailed behind much of the country in the housing run up, Mr. Knold believes that Utah is trailing much of the country in feeling the effects of the housing crisis. I concur with Mr. Knold's analysis and also believe that Utah's residential real estate market won't stabilize until home prices fall an additional 10-15%. Although I am no expert on real estate, I would venture to say that the stabilization won't occur until late 2009. Noticeable growth in the housing sector will probably follow in 2010.

According to Mr. Knold, one positive for Utah's housing sector is the fact that Utah does not have mounds of finished, unoccupied homes, like many other cities and States across the U.S. Because there is not a glut of inventory, Utah should be quick to recover when the stabilization occurs.

I think I can speak collectively for all business owners in saying that the housing crisis cannot come to an end soon enough. The impact of the housing crisis is felt through almost every sector of our economy. Obviously, a large part of the construction industry lives and dies by the success or demise of the housing market. When the construction industry is suffering, retailers, restaurants, and trucking companies also feel the effects.

Even though it may seem like the sky is falling down all around us, Mr. Knold offers some hope that the Utah housing market will rebound in coming months. We should all be optimistic and hopeful that we will see improved economic growth by next year.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Business, Finance and Politics

For all of you who may have stumbled onto my blog, you can tell that I am new to this blogging thing. I figured that I would start a blog to give myself a forum to discuss business and political issues important to me.

The issues I will focus most on will be small business finance, business development, politics and occasionally I will mix in a few personal or funny items to entertain. Although I will discuss national and international business developments, my blog will slant toward local and state issues affecting the businesses in the great state of Utah.

I am a certified public accountant specializing in taxation as well as a small business owner. As a result, I have a great interest in and a desire to share my thoughts about the areas of finance and the politics affecting the business community.

So if you are interested in the opinions of one small business owner when it comes to issues relating to the business environment in Utah and around the U.S., please stop by often and see what I have to say.