Home Safety Tips For Women Living Alone

By Richard Armen

Living alone can be an exciting new experience for anyone. Living by your own rules rather than following someone else’s desires and routines can feel liberating, but it also comes with some important safety concerns. Especially if you are a woman, living alone requires more precautions in order to stay safe. In order to minimize safety threats, women living alone should follow these basic security principles:

First, do not advertise that you live alone. Be smart about the information you give out to the general public. Avoid making unnecessary comments about your living situation to anyone, such as the cashier at the grocery store or a new acquaintance you’ve met in any setting. Your mailbox should say only a first initial and last name; the same goes for avoiding identifying information on your answering machine. Keep the curtains closed. An open window giving view to a woman who is constantly alone will make you appear to be an easy target.

Call in for safety checks. Does your mother still say ‘call me when you get home’ anytime you leave her house? Do you ever follow through? If not, you should! The same goes for times when you’re heading out to a date, to the bar, or anywhere else alone, particularly at night. Even though you don’t have a roommate, you can check in with friends. Always make sure that a friend or family member knows where you are at night and when you plan to be home. Start this habit now so that someone will notice if you don’t come home when planned. If you have other friends who live alone, offer to do the same for them.

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Don’t let strangers into your home for any reason. If you must call a plumber or repairman, have someone come over so you’re not alone. Never let strangers in if they arrive unannounced, even if they seem to have a really good excuse. Even opening the door to say ‘no’ can be a dangerous threat to your home security, as they can easily overpower you and force their way inside.

Protect yourself and your home with security devices such as window and door alarms and pepper spray. These simple alarms will alert you to anyone trying to come in your home, while pepper spray will reduce your chance of becoming a victim of physical assault. Every woman should have these tools at her disposal, whether living alone or with others.

Date carefully. Never give out your home address to someone you’ve just met; instead, arrange to meet them in a public place, such as a restaurant or coffee shop. If possible, have a friend tag along; at the very least, let someone know where you’re going and who you’re meeting.

Be cautious when in common areas of the apartment complex. Gyms, mail rooms, parking lots, and laundry rooms can be relatively deserted, especially at night, and are often targeted by thieves and other criminals. Talk to the building managers if these areas are not well lit, and always pay attention to your surroundings when there. Never let strangers into your apartment building, and avoid fumbling with your keys by the door.

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Fail Proof Business

By Alex Rich

According to the US Small Business Administration 50% of all small businesses fail in the first year. 95% fail in the first five years.

Business researchers report several reasons for this dramatic failure rate:

1. Too little business experience.

2. Not enough money to sufficiently run and maintain the business.

3. Lack of understanding of competition in the business sector being entered.

4. Too much money invested in the wrong type of tools and products.

5. Too much money invested in permanent fixtures versus renting fixtures until business proves its stability.

6. Too many purchases made using credit and poor credit management.

7. Business grows too rapidly and entrepreneur does not have enough funds to meet the business expenses required by the rate of growth.

8. Slow sales.

9. Too little marketing to get the word out.

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10. Too much marketing to the wrong sector of potential customers.

So, now that you know the mistakes that lead to early business failure, lets look at the top ten tips that can help ensure your success.

1. Avoid Procrastination. Once you decide to start and grow your business, you will inherit a new set of responsibilities that are not as much fun as you anticipated. Putting off your paperwork and labor requiring tasks will eventually lead to the failure you are working to avoid.

2. Prepare yourself for the competition. Building a list of thousands of loyal customers requires that you provide the best quality of products and services in the marketplace. Surf all of your competitors sites and make notes on their campaigns. The bigger they are the more you will learn.

Pay attention to their guarantees, warrantees and pricing and be sure to emphasize these in your marketing strategy. Dont fail to think out of the box when it comes to out-promoting your business. When all else fails, copy the success of others in your industry.

3. Poorly thought-out marketing. Dont be afraid to venture into areas of marketing you havent tried. No one becomes successful in business by being timid. Make your marketing decisions quickly and get into action.

Even if you make a mistake youll be able to correct your process and re-start in the opposite direction. Inactivity is your enemy. Be sure to review the top level sites in your industry and make a list of all the best practices you observe. Keep your products active and selling through effective marketing ideas and practices.

4. Pay attention to your customers. Create surveys and use them regularly. Their feedback is critical to your success. Even when customers dont respond they get the idea that you care and that translates into dollars in your bank account.

Work hard to stay tuned into your customers needs and desires. Marketing creates desire and communication with your customers builds strong relationships. Relationship marketing is the key to your success.

5. Incompetent employees. Hire only workers who are essential to your operation. When you do hire employees, make sure they’re well trained and able to complete the tasks expected of them. And remember that happy employees make good workers try to create a work environment that keeps your staff happy and motivated.

6. Dont be afraid to Walmart your business. When youre going to build a business you must learn to study the big guys. Subscribe to industry newsletters, regardless of the industry as long as it is retail.

Copy the major player’s strategies and learn how to negotiate. Big W is known to play hardball when it comes to the prices they pay for goods they retail. They are big enough to make or break a company due to the volume of goods they move on a daily basis.

While youll be starting at a much different level you too can play the game better by watching the bottom line with your purchases. Make every dollar do at least ten dollars of work or produce ten dollars worth of sales and youll do just fine. You must build a mind-set that is outside the box in every way.

7. Position yourself appropriately. It is not unusual to surf the net and see ads on a variety of products and services that have nothing to do with the information you are reviewing.

While this can be a great strategy once youve build strength into your business, it is not the most efficient starting path. Fine tune your targeting toward the biggest source of potential customers for your specific products and/or services. Dont use a shotgun approach to your ad placement when with a little more work you can pitch yourself to a huge market of thousands of customers looking for exactly what you have to offer.

8. Watch your budget. Advertising is the most important investment for the early stages of your business with quality customer lists in a second place position on your must have agenda.

In any case you will want to add an accountant, or a good business accounting program to your budget so you can accurately track and review your expenditures. Most businesses fold because they dont have enough money to keep going.

Faulty planning is a culprit in this process but failing to have a good money flow tracking system is high on the list. It doesnt hurt to have a friendly investor or two on the side to help with unexpected events. Often a family member or close friend can fill that spot for you.

9. Keep yourself open to opportunities. Because you have read this far you are most likely someone who believes in doing the research and planning that is a must do for any business. In addition to reading business tips you will also want to try an approach a good friend and self made millionaire shared with me.

My friend found a business college in his town and promptly walked into the placement office and asked if they could refer him to one of the top senior graduate students in the school of business. He fine tuned it by saying if the person has a marketing major it would be even better.

The office manager was happy to give him a list of names and he immediately camped out in the student union. We used to laugh about how much he learned for the prize of a couple of pizzas.

Dont be afraid to stretch your mind to areas outside your normal range of contacts.

Young minds are out there just waiting for an opportunity to grow with a new business that offers an exciting idea or two.

10. Plan to succeed, dont plan not to fail. It all begins with a written plan of action. If youve ever done any research on business plans youve probably spend a few hundred dollars on aspirins.

A business plan is absolutely mandatory if you want to plan to succeed. Starting out on a path to build a successful business without a business plan is like planning not to fail. The focus is all wrong if you truly want to succeed.

The best suggestion I can offer is to download a very simple and basic business plan template from Microsofts website.

Just going through the steps of answering the questions, even if you dont complete the business plan, will clarify the important items for you to add to your pre-start-up list of things to do and things to know.

Do not fail to plan for your business. Otherwise you will find it easier to hit the next lottery jackpot than to build a business that will last for more than 12 months.

About the Author: Alex Rich PhD is a personal and business coach. Did you know Internet businesses can cost the same to start as offline businesses?

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