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 With the onset of global trade, competition among businesses has been redefined as local firms face off with foreign firms. This has driven firms into adopting and implementing new and innovative approaches to trade such customer relationship management (CRM). CRM strategy enables a firm to remain ahead of its competitors by interacting with its clients better.

 

CRM is the best-suited approach to create and maintain a relationship with clients. This is because CRM creates a strong bond among different stakeholders, which drives businesses to new levels of success.CRM is the best-suited approach to create and maintain a relationship with clients. But why? Lee Flynn explains.

 

CRM is concerned with understanding both the current and prospective customers. In the education sector, for instance, students are the consumers of the services offered by learning institutions. The importance of an institution nurturing a relationship with students cannot be emphasized enough as it enhances the understanding of their needs and behaviors.

 

CRM allows a learning institution to react to the changes in students’ behavior by adapting to them. Apart from enabling the learning institutions to interact better with students, employing CRM in the education sector also play other important roles.

 

Target customer CRM

Since CRM is about understanding the customers, getting to know students better helps to fine tune education services. It also allows institutions to adopt strategies and products that match the needs of their consumers.

 

Through a targeted approach, CRM reduces the chances of an organization failing to meet its customers’ needs. It allows institutions to consider approaches in marketing that provide greater returns. Using CRM in targeting a group of consumers helps to improve the quality of products and services being offered. As a result, it can lead to higher sales and growth while increasing customer loyalty at the same time.

 

CRM creates superior communication channels

Technology has evolved to provide a variety of communication channels. This gives businesses an opportunity to choose the most appropriate channel to communicate with its consumers. There are both online and offline means that can be used.

 

A communication channel enables business organizations to interact with its consumers and address their needs. Having an effective CRM strategy in an organization is crucial if its management is to improve their customer's’ experience.

 

CRM improves customer experience

CRM is about improving and building vibrant relationships with the customers. This enables them to enjoy a positive experience when interacting with a brand. Customer experience is making sure that the business is acquainted with the experiences that customers have with a brand and their reactions to changes.

 

Using CRM helps to manage both the positive and negative customer experiences with the brand. This means that nurturing customer experience is part of the CRM strategy, which can also transform customer loyalty and improve the relationship with an institution as a brand.

 

CRM helps to set a firm’s focus

 

A firm is able to know whether it is offering what customers are looking for through a CRM system. This is because CRM allows an organization to know its current and prospective customers. CRM helps to answer questions to do with consumer changing patterns, which gives an organization access to information that would allow them to understand their customers’ needs. This enables the management to steer the brand in a specific direction. CRM gives organizations the up-to-date information about demand and consumer demographic, which is important for business growth.

 

CRM is a cost-effective reputation management strategy
 

 

Through CRM, an organization is able to address consumer needs, solve their problems, and respond to changes in their experiences, thereby increasing satisfaction levels. For instance, building the relationship with consumers by providing information about the company allows  Course Hero to understand and respond to their customers’ desires. Investing in CRM system provides better returns to the organization because it enhances customer loyalty and boosts their reputation.

 

More organizations seeking high levels of customer satisfaction, retention, and loyalty have adopted CRM strategy. Student relationship management is an emerging concept in the education sectors. It is usually oriented to both the student’s needs and their academic goals. This allows development of organization capability that enables educational institutions to understand their students and improve their retention levels. This implies that the role of CRM strategies in the education sectors is just as important as it is in the business world.

 

Lee Flynn is from the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, UT. After Lee spent years preparing himself, his home and his family, he decided he had to do more. In his free time, Lee helps educate those who want to do the same. Through small local workshops and articles, Lee trains and teaches others on home preparation, food storage techniques, wilderness survival and self reliance. After obtaining a bachelors degree from the University of Utah, Lee moved to the Salt Lake Valley where he now lives with his wife and daughter.

 

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When you’re dealing with secure customer information, it pays to be careful. If customer data is stolen from a company’s server, it can be disastrous for the business. Uber experienced a scare like this a few months ago. Fortunately for Uber, it turned out that there had never been a breach, but for a time, it seemed like someone had gotten into their servers and stolen come customers’ financial information.

The issue came to light when a number of users received higher-than-expected charges. One Philadelphia woman’s bank account was charged more than $28,000. Because of the size of the charge, her bank flagged and blocked the transaction. Shortly after this event, the woman received an email from Uber stating that her account had been hacked.Philly's Uber Hacking: What Businesses Can Learn About Customer Security

The email she received stated that “[her] sign-in information seemed to have been compromised/phished from another website and then tested on [Uber’s] platform. . . This kind of fraud is highly sophisticated.” Just under a week later, however, she received another email informing her that her account had not been compromised, and that the source of the issue was a glitch in Uber’s system that led to a higher-than-intended authorization hold.

Fortunately, this story had a happy ending, with the woman’s information remaining secure the entire time. It does illustrate the risks companies face, however, with experts predicting the costs of cybercrime to rise to $2 trillion by 2019. To protect themselves from an actual attack, there are several steps businesses can follow.

Install proper security tools and protocols

Although experts advise companies time and time again to put data loss prevention tools like firewalls and anti-malware software in place, many businesses still don’t seem to realize how important these tools are. According to a recent study from the Ponemon Institute, 75 percent of the respondents admitted that they had no formal cyber security incident response plan applied consistently across their organizations. Even those who had a plan in place paid far too little attention to it, with 52 percent either not reviewing or updating the plan since it was implemented, or not having any plans to do so.

Security software is the first line of defense a business has against cybercrime, and to keep their data and their customers’ data secure, companies should have these tools in place.

Update security tools regularly

Installing data loss prevention software is not the end of the road, either. Cybercriminals are constantly working to improve their hacking tools and find new vulnerabilities in the firewalls businesses have in place. In order to protect against those threats, digital security providers regularly update their security tools and patch holes that hackers could exploit. In order to benefit from these updates, businesses need to regularly patch and update their security software.

Train your employees to use security tools and follow security practices

Just like if a company had a new sales program it would have a sales training program, Once a business has put a security plan in place, they need to make sure their workforce is properly trained so they are aware of and follow those protocols. This includes instructions on how to use the security tools as well as other business practices to follow to avoid putting sensitive data at risk. Proper use of email, instructions on how to formulate a secure password, and regulations on which devices are permitted to access the company network are all topics businesses should cover with their workforce on a regular basis.

Scan all devices before connecting to the network

Many employees will bring their own laptops and mobile devices to the office and use them to access the company’s secure network. Each of these devices can be an access point for cyber criminals to attempt to break into the network, so companies need to place secure practices in place to make sure these devices remain secure. A robust BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) plan can help to protect your network from unauthorized access. Regulating exactly which devices are permitted to access the network and scanning these devices thoroughly for malware can help to keep your customers’ data secure.

 

Lee Flynn is from the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, UT. After Lee spent years preparing himself, his home and his family, he decided he had to do more. In his free time, Lee helps educate those who want to do the same. Through small local workshops and articles, Lee trains and teaches others on home preparation, food storage techniques, wilderness survival and self reliance. After obtaining a bachelors degree from the University of Utah, Lee moved to the Salt Lake Valley where he now lives with his wife and daughter.

 

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Philadelphia is a great place to consider attending medical school. As the home to several medical schools and numerous universities, it will provide you with plenty of community, support, and opportunities as a student. The city is also a cultural and historical hub. When you have downtime between classes, you can explore the city’s rich history, its numerous museums, and its vibrant art scene. Philadelphia is a city that will keep a medical student motivated socially and academically.What Sets Philadelphia Apart When Attending Medical School

Academic City

There are lots of schools in Philadelphia and the surrounding region. Several medical schools are located here, including Perelman Medical School at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, and Temple University School of Medicine, in addition to many more universities and colleges. The Perelman School is one of the top medical schools in the nation, so you may want to get yourself one of the best MCAT tutors you can find.

As a medical student in Philly, you will be surrounded by other students engrossed in similar challenges and triumphs as you, and have access to expanded academic opportunities. You will interact with other medical students at your school and neighboring schools who can offer insight into the nuances of medical school. You will have access to resources at neighboring schools, such as classes, conferences, and connections. When you want a short break from your studies, you can easily roam around town, see several art and music institutes, and take advantage of the  unique campus attractions other schools offer have to offer.

History, Culture, and Recreation

Philadelphia is an important cultural and historical city. Founded in 1682, this old American city served as home to many of the founding fathers. Although you will be busy studying, when you do have a chance to take a break, you will have immediate access to an abundance of cultural activities including historical sites, museums, and art. You can refresh your knowledge of American history at sites such as the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, where both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed. Museum options include the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Franklin Institute, and the Rodin Museum, just to name a few. Philly houses lots of outdoor sculptures and murals. If you are in need of nature, you can spend time outdoors in spacious Fairmount Park.

Access to the East Coast

Philadelphia’s location on the Eastern Seaboard offers easy access to lots of other east coast cities, like New York, Washington D.C., and Boston. If you like an occasional break from the city, rural countryside is not far either. As a busy student, it’s nice to be able to easily fit in a getaway to a nearby destination when you have free time. You will also be able to explore opportunities at medical schools in nearby regions. Train travel offers easy access to surrounding areas.

Dive Right In

Students studying in Philadelphia should spend some time here getting to know the city and seeing what it really has to offer beyond the normal tourist destinations. You will be surrounded by other pre-med and medical students in a similar position as you, as well as students in various other fields and stages of medical study. Now is the perfect time to enjoy a little more flexibility than you will have as a medical student to get out and see some sights, and take advantage of cultural events like concerts and performances. Set a strict study schedule that includes essential time off for fun. This will give you a good sense of what it’s like to be in Philly as a busy student with some free time to explore and get a feel for the city.

Philadelphia is a great place to spend this important time of your life. Though you will spend a lot of time inside the classroom and other favorite study spots, you will be doing so in one of America’s most historic and vibrant cities.

Greg Dastrup is a world traveler and professional writer with a passion for learning new languages. He’s spent most of his career consulting for businesses in North America.

 

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 As the world becomes more technologically advanced, so does the typical, American classroom. Rather, at least this classroom should use some of those advancements. Statistics indicate that most public school systems can spend as much as $3 billion per year on digital content and technology.

Therefore, it seems that education is slowly starting to remove itself from only using pen and pencil as a means of learning. There still are many challenges to achieve the goal of transforming education through technology, but it can be done with ease. Here is some information to consider about how technology will be the ultimate transformer in how a public school education prepares children for the future.Photo: Lewis Robinson

 

Technology Leads to Personalized Learning

One of the ultimate goals of using technology in the classroom is to help students personalize their learning experience as much as possible to meet their individual needs. Many digital devices, various types of software, and types of learning platforms are needed to make this happen. Many districts make this happen by assigning a digital device to each student, and in some cases, students are also allowed to bring their own technology from home.

As of 2014, only one-third of all students have an individual device provided by schools to call their own, though. This number is on the rise. About 89 percent of all high school students in school districts have access to items like Smartphones from home that they can bring to school for educational purposes, though. While personalized learning is at the baby stages of starting, it is quickly gaining ground, though.

 

Platforms for Students to Use

As mentioned previously, there are platforms available to teachers and students to help with transforming education through technology to create an educational experience that is more personalized. Some of these platforms are free, but most of them come at a relatively low cost per student. One such platform that is helpful to students is Course Hero. This platform focuses on providing study materials to students to prepare for tests. This program is easy for teachers to use as many study resources have already been created for them to use. At the same time, students can benefit from using this platform for homework help from tutors at any time of day on any day of the week.

 

Improving Student Engagement

Research indicates that students are more engaged in their lessons and studies so long as the technology is employed in some way. The current generation of students going through public schools at this point is extremely in tune with technology from a very young age as technology becomes more available in the form of tablets for children at home. Assignments must remain compelling, though, which technology cannot simply be a vehicle through which information is conveyed.

In short, students have to be asked to actually do something with their lessons instead of being shoveled information that is to be recalled at a later time. Assignments that avoid this type of spoon-fed education creates students who are able to think for themselves. Therefore, students are less likely to simply go out to the internet to search for and copy answers. This new type of cheating is very alluring, so assignments need to be made in a way that discourages such tactics as much as possible.

Education paradigm is changing every day to take into consideration the technological advancements becoming more readily available to students. Personalizing their education as much as possible and keeping assignments aligned in ways that teach students to think for themselves are absolutely essential to achieving a proper education in today's world.

Lewis Robinson is a business consultant specializing in social media marketing, CRM, and sales.  He's had the opportunity to manage his own startup businesses and currently freelances as a writer and business consultant.

 

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Photo: Lewis Robinson



Spring is a great time of year. The snow is mostly gone, the weather warms up, and all over Philadelphia, people are more willing to step outside of their homes.

Of course, it’s also an opportunity to take a fresh look at those homes and dust off your home improvement chops. Whether you are looking to build an addition to your home or simply trying to maintain it, there is a lot of work for homeowners to do once spring rolls around.

Landscaping

3 Spring Renovations for Philadelphia Homeowners

After months of being buried under snow and ice, odds are good that your lawn could use a little bit of work after the snow melts. If you want to change things up in your yard, though, spring is also a good time to update the landscaping around your home. Spring gives you a blank slate to work with. 

Whether you are looking to put in new flowers, add a hedge, or even install a water feature, spring is the time to do it. New greenery will have the opportunity to grow and develop its root system so that it can survive harsh weather once winter rolls around again. Meanwhile, if you’re installing new features and areas, it’s best to get them in while there’s very little to damage. Make sure to do your research to find out which plants will do best in Philadelphia’s climate.

Inground Pools

Spring is here, which means that summer is just around the corner. Unfortunately, summer also brings sweltering heat. In order to beat that heat, many homeowners will have a pool installed. Since it usually takes several weeks to finish installing a pool, springtime is the time to get the project started.

When you’re deciding on a construction company to build your pool, be sure to do your research beforehand. A simple web search for “pool builders near me” should bring up a wide array of local builders to start with. Sometimes cost is the most important thing, but in many cases, quality is worth investing a little bit more. Don’t just look at prices, though. Pay attention to the company’s  online reviews across several different sites before you decide on a contractor.

Roof Repairs

Unfortunately, some renovations are more about keeping the house from falling down around you than they are about a fun, new addition.Philadelphia winters are notoriously harsh, and it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the status of your roof before and after winter hits. Depending on the materials it’s made of, as well as the weather it’s endured, a roof can last anywhere from twenty years to more than fifty. Because of that, it’s important to be proactive and visually check your roof on a regular basis. If you don’t keep an eye on it you could end up needing a very premature roof replacement.

You should inspect your roof about twice a year—once in fall, before the cold weather hits, and once in spring, when it’s over. Keep an eye out for curling or buckling shingles, particularly in the areas that get the most direct sunlight. If shingles are missing, that’s an even stronger warning sign.

Pay special attention to the roof valleys, where roof segments come together, as well as the flashing around the chimney. Check for small pieces of shingle in the gutters, as well, as they can begin to lose granules as they reach the end of their lifespans. Speaking of lifespans, make sure you’re very careful when you’re up inspecting your roof. If you don’t have great balance or your roof’s pitch is really steep, you may want to hire a professional.

Spring is a time of change and opportunities to make things fresh and new. As you come out of the harsh winter, look around your home and pick a few projects that you can adopt to make it just a bit nicer. Whether it’s simple home maintenance or a big installation, simply take at it as an opportunity to improve your home

Greg Dastrup is a world traveler and professional writer with a passion for learning new languages. He’s spent most of his career consulting for businesses in North America.

 

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While Philadelphia’s not particularly known for having a temperate winter climate, spring is just around the corner. That being the case, our minds are starting to wander to the outdoors, figuring out how to capitalize on the warmer weather. Many homeowners are investing in turning the exteriors of their homes into welcoming places where they can relax and enjoy the outdoors. Current Outdoor Trends to Keep an Eye On

Meanwhile, those who are planning to sell their homes in the upcoming busy real estate season are looking for outdoor improvements they can make to boost their curb appeal and attract buyers. Here are just a few that we have seen growing in popularity recently:

Fire Pits

Sitting around a warm fire is an appealing thought even this early in the season, because it grants a chance to enjoy the outdoors while still staving off the extreme cold. Installing a permanent fire pit provides an excellent place for friends and family to gather and enjoy each other’s company, whether staving off the last chills of winter or breathing in the cool air of a summer night. Some may prefer to run a gas line out to fuel the fire, while others will prefer the old fashioned method and build a simple, walled-off area to build a wood fire.

Unique Front Doors

While curb appeal is always important, front doors are trending lately. When someone drives up to a home, a boldly colored door with a unique design can make a big impact. Strong jewel tones are particularly popular. Painting the door a different color than the shutters and siding can set it apart and give a burst of color to your entryway.

Using a Wide Range of Greenery

While a perfectly-cut lawn with every blade of grass cut to a uniform height may have been popular in the past, the current trend is to use a variety of greenery in your lawn. Different textures make your lawn and garden more interesting. Bounding shrubberies can divide your garden into distinct sections, and border plants like lilyturf make your growing areas feel more alive. Choosing the proper landscaping for your home can boost its value, too. According to lawn care experts at Lawn Doctor, a well-maintained landscape can give your home value a bonus of as much as 15 percent.

Landscape Lighting

Of course, once you’ve built that landscape, you want to be able to show it off as much as possible. By installing landscape lighting, you can highlight particular areas of your yard. Experts are calling this popular trend “nightscaping.” Look for specific areas you want to focus on, then put the lights at just the right angle to show off your yard’s best features.

That “Hygge” Feeling

The word “hygge” refers to a concept from Denmark. Hygge emphasizes a cozy and simple environment. Place seating close together to encourage intimate conversation. Plant sweet-smelling flowers nearby. The concept of mindfulness goes hand-in-hand with hygge, promoting meditation, deep thought, and relaxation. Create a cozy, distinct space for reflection or close-knit socialization. Water features are popular additions for these spaces, as they add to a more natural atmosphere. These outdoor havens are inviting places where people can set aside the cares of the world and take a few moments to breathe and recover.

Quality Over Flash

Back before the recession, the popular trend was over-the-top displays of excess. Flashy displays that showed you could afford to overspend were in vogue. These days, a bit more discretion is appreciated. Rather than focusing on quantity and bling, homeowners are leaning towards quality. Durable, natural materials show a more refined taste and an ability to look beyond just a shiny exterior. It is more desirable these days to appreciate the natural beauty that already exists in the materials used. Rough-cut cedar posts and natural stone are more appealing than over-processed, synthetic-looking versions of the same materials.

Greg Dastrup is a world traveler and professional writer with a passion for learning new languages. He’s spent most of his career consulting for businesses in North America.

 

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Many people are curious about how to make it rich. They do not know how, for it is clear that most of us are not billionaires. To learn how, we must turn to the wisdom of the wise few who made it to the top. There are many points to keep in mind on the road to success. They should not be hard for the careful financial practitioner to remember. Photo: capify.com


Buffett's Law

Warren Buffett summarized his investing career quite well with an interesting philosophy. Loving what others avoid, avoiding what others love. This practically means that most people are wrong. Why? They pursue what their friends pursue in every matter, including investing. When the flock runs to Apple stock, the goose follows with them. Buffett indicates that the billionaire is the ugly duckling that stays by the pond munching seaweed when the others run straight into the fox's mouth. Or the goose that runs from the pond when the fox decides to stay and munch ugly ducklings.

 

How can you discern when to buy out another company? Buy at the opposite times to when everyone else is buying. Small business bookkeeping should teach you that if you buy something that is universally popular, it will also have a higher expense than something unpopular will. You will mortgage yourself up to the hilt trying to pay for it.

 

Humility is Better Than Debt

If you really want to hit it big, you have to start small. Go sniffing for something that your peers are afraid to look at. The Harvard Business Review notes how many business students totally avoid looking to buy a small business because they do not like the risk and uncertainty. This is why most of the Harvard graduates never become billionaires. They become highly indebted millionaires who send our nation into more debt.

 

The best deals will be found in risky, bankrupt, auction, old, minority, foreign, strange, hard, stupid, long term, painful, dangerous, and smelly businesses. You can usually snatch these up for pennies on the dollar during a recession. Wise hedge fund managers do this kind of thing for their breakfast. It will be hardest to buy businesses that are safe, capitalized, trading, new, white, Western, normal, easy, smart, short-term, pleasurable, safe, and sweet.

 

Buffett's law can be memorized simpler. Think in terms of buy low and sell high. You should buy when others are selling crazily out of emotion. You should sell when others are buying crazily out of emotion. The market gurus have mastered this strange art.

 

Now, some might have objections. "This is all well and good for you, but I have found success doing my own thing." What their own thing usually is? It is buying high and selling high. This method, though often preached at home and school, is the high road to a life of slavery and debt. Your income will be high, for you are selling well. Your expenses, however, will also be high, for you are buying poorly. You are getting the luxury car when the import beater would do. You are demanding the cracker box mansion when the apartment would be fine.

 

The same thinking applies for buying another business. Ignore the so-called experts of the financial industry. Take the narrow road that the elite have taken for thousands of years. You will not be disappointed. You will suffer more, like the football team owner who still uses a flip phone. Your wallet will not.

 

Conclusion

If someone is trying to buy your business from you, you should decide what to think about it. If you do not want them to, make it look trashy. Most people are emotional. They will only buy something that looks beautiful, no matter what the cost. When the investors are done ignoring your business, it will still be yours. If you want to sell the business, make it beautiful. Sell high. Make the storefront shine. Sell the marketing universals to the masses until every big name in finance is slobbering to put cash in your corporation. Make sure you do not refuse to be brave.

Lee Flynn is from the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, UT. After Lee spent years preparing himself, his home and his family, he decided he had to do more. In his free time, Lee helps educate those who want to do the same. Through small local workshops and articles, Lee trains and teaches others on home preparation, food storage techniques, wilderness survival and self reliance. After obtaining a bachelors degree from the University of Utah, Lee moved to the Salt Lake Valley where he now lives with his wife and daughter.

 

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Restaurant chains seem like a uniquely American idea, even though they've spread all over the world. Once upon a time, though, the very idea of a restaurant chain was laughable.


As times changed, though, these chains became dominant - and each of the three chains below helped shape that industry.

 

Pizza HutPhoto: http://visitoxfordms.com

 

Why Pizza Hut? It's certainly not the only pizza chain in the US, and it's arguably not even among the best. It is, however, the first - and that means quite a bit. Not only did Pizza Hut lead to a chain or other imitators and competitors, but it importantly brought pizza to most of the US. The way Americans eat was forever changed by this chain.

 

Pizza Hut can be thanked for doing a number of other things to change how chains work. It is responsible for improving, if not outright inventing, concepts like the assembly line pizza kitchen. Pizza Hut made delivery a major factor outside of major cities, and it arguably even helped to popularize the buffalo wing outside of the Northeast. The company may not provide gourmet pizza, but it certainly popularized America's love affair with the food.

 

McDonald'sPhoto: Twitter

 

If you live in a city in the United States, there's a very good chance that you're within driving distance of a McDonald's. These ubiquitous restaurants are fixtures of the American landscape, and they've moved across the world.

 

While the country's relationship with the chain has certainly changed over the last fifty years, there's absolutely no doubt that it's the single most influential American dining establishment. It's not the food that makes it special, but rather the consistency - when it comes to McDonald's, you always know what you are going to get. Whether you eat in New York or California, McDonald's is the go-to example for how a fast-food chain works.

 

What's special about McDonald's, perhaps, is that it is always evolving. While it has weathered many fads over the years, something about the chain has always been dependably of the moment. If you see something succeed in another chain, there's a good chance that McDonald's has already tried it out. It's a special bit of Americana, something that might throw on a new identity in the same way a homeowner might try a bit of kitchen cabinet refacing, but nothing fundamentally changes with the concept. For good or ill, McDonald's is here to stay.

 

Olive GardenPhoto: Yelp

 

Olive Garden is, at least at its heart, nothing particularly special. It is neither the first Italian chain in the United States, nor was it the first casual dining chain the country. You can get almost anything on the menu somewhere else and most fans of Italian food will tell you that it barely qualifies as ethnic cuisine. Despite all that, though, Olive Garden was truly one of the first casual dining locations in the United States to become a dining destination, forever changing the way that restaurant chains in the US would advertise themselves.

 

Olive Garden's focus on family and a fine-dining atmosphere made it stand out among its competitors. While the inside of the restaurant is about as fancy as a good couch cleaning, its unified theme and quasi-Tuscan architecture make it stand out regardless of where in the country it is located. Olive Garden took ethnic dining and made it a special experience, not confined to strip malls or ethnic enclaves. It is the predecessor not just of the popularity of fast Italian food in the US, but arguably helped pave the way for other casual-dining ethnic restaurants across the country.

 

The three restaurant defining chains helped to popularize certain types of food, change the way that chains work, and even define the cuisine of an entire nation. Without these restaurants, it's hard to say what dining would look like in the United States - or even around the world. While the impact of each chain might be waning today, they are all still very historically important.

 

Lewis Robinson is a business consultant specializing in social media marketing, CRM, and sales.  He's had the opportunity to manage his own startup businesses and currently freelances as a writer and business consultant.

 

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Pizza Hut photo: visitoxfordms.com 

McDonald's: Twitter 

Olive Garden photo: Yelp.com



Removing debt involves removing the causes of going into debt. We go into debt because we demand immediate gratification of our human desires. Debt empowers us to get something we want now, rather than later. Finance: How To Steer Clear of Debt

 

However, it puts us in slavery to the person or organization we are indebted to. Many Americans go through life enslaved to debt. They accept it as a fact of life, and do not have the financial freedom they could.

 

Your decision to be set free from debt requires identifying your underlying desires that are contributing to it. An example might be a car loan. You borrow $30,000 because you have to look good and be comfortable in your daily commute. Is this really necessary? All that you really need is to go from point A to point B. Is it really worth borrowing year's worth of money to brush up your ego a little for 1 hour a day?

 

In the car example above, how could you get a ride that you enjoy without borrowing immensely for it? The key word is prioritization. What do you actually have to have in a car? Something that gets you from point A to point B reasonably safe. Try not to add much more than that besides cup-holders. You then have your pick of cheap and used vehicles that are fairly efficient to choose from. Your friends might laugh, but they are still in debt, and you are not.

 

Avoid Scarcity Prejudices

Eliminating debt requires eliminating scarcity prejudices that are guiding your actions. Prejudices like, "I have to do what my friends are doing." Another might be, "I have to get exactly what I want exactly when I want it." These prejudices are irrational, and they are hurting you in the long run. The toddler that screams for 10 cookies immediately becomes fat and sickly. The toddler that spreads their 10 cookies out over a month is healthy and happy. You have to learn patience and discipline if you want to be free of debt.

 

A lot of people do not like to hear direct warnings about their personal issues. They find it insulting. Refusing to learn, however, has drastic consequences. The fat man who keeps borrowing money on his credit card to buy potato chips is dooming himself to a lifestyle of a bloated waistline and a bloated credit line. It is easy to see the problems that other people have, but examining our own issues is very important.

 

Small business bookkeeping methods can help you and your organization or your family. Set up a piece of paper. Have a column for debts, or income. Have a column for credits, or expenses. You should be balancing both columns.

 

Be Honest With Yourself

Use the SWOT method. Examine your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This tool used by strategy specialists can help you uncover your blind spots that are putting you in unnecessary financial dilemmas. Using the SWOT method requires honesty. Some people are afraid to see what scares them. Be brave, and figure out what is going wrong. It can transform your life.

 

Enlisting professionals can help you as well. There are many competent people out there who have gone through this journey before you. Many are willing to guide you in areas where you feel concerned.

 

Another thing to do is to budget your expenses. What will you absolutely need to be buying? Have some extra money for fun activities. Do not twist your budget to make it do what you want. Abide by your budget. Budget planning can make you a more focused person who is more careful.

 

Another great tip for eliminating debt is getting accountable. Compete with your spouse or friends to eliminate debt. Set targets for your group to meet. You will find that being on a team encourages debt elimination. You can all buy pizza with cash when you are done, grinning at the credit card fanatics next in line.

 

Lee Flynn is from the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, UT. After Lee spent years preparing himself, his home and his family, he decided he had to do more. In his free time, Lee helps educate those who want to do the same. Through small local workshops and articles, Lee trains and teaches others on home preparation, food storage techniques, wilderness survival and self reliance. After obtaining a bachelors degree from the University of Utah, Lee moved to the Salt Lake Valley where he now lives with his wife and daughter.

 

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All life on earth depends on water and most of the water sits in our oceans. They’re big. They’re vital. And, we’re killing them. It’s not just ocean fishing taking most of the good stuff like fish out. We dump tons of toxic stuff into them every year, too.

Some of that comes in the form of point-source pollution, things like waste oil, that we know how to regulate. Unfortunately, a lot of crud enters the oceans as non-source-point pollution, hard-to-regulate things like greenhouse gases, plastic bottles, and even minor-seeming things like cigarette butts kill the fish, too. Short of successfully enforcing some sort of global climate change treaty, which our politicians frankly seem too gutless to do, some individual activism might still be in order.

Threats to the Marine Environment Because of Humans

Why Care?

Well, other than that pesky all-life-on-earth thingy, maybe you actually like eating shrimp and other fish and you’d like to keep on eating them for the rest of your life. Trouble is the greenhouse gases we release every day don’t just pollute the air. Basic chemistry says that those gases dissolve in the water and make it acidic.

No, not like Aliens. It’s just acidic enough that most of the fish we like to eat can’t tolerate it. Scientists are already warning of unusual blooms in one thing that can, jellyfish. The Chinese will happily tell you that jellyfish have medicinal value, but even they don’t much like eating them. If you haven’t tried it, it’s a bit like fishy, gummy bear, spaghetti. It’s gross, but if you like seafood, you may be getting used to it.

As Jelle Bijma of the EuroCLIMATE programme said, you’d have to go back 35 million years to find the equivalent partial pressure of carbon dioxide in the oceans that we have already. For perspective, in the 1950s, the effects of greenhouse gas emissions were noticeable, but weren’t yet significant. We’ve done almost all of this damage in a few decades. That’s 300 times as far back as the Stone Age. Thirty-five million years is 12,000 times that. The reefs are already struggling to cope with the acid and the fish aren’t far behind.

What else? Oh, well, how about mercury poisoning? If you don’t already know that there are calculators on the web telling us how much fish of various kinds are safe to eat, you should. Right now they would warn you against eating swordfish (basically never) or tuna more than once per week. And, that assumes that your liver, kidneys, and lungs are still healthy enough to clear mercury from your body.

 

What to Do?

Some things are obvious. For example, you can calculate the safe mercury threshold and rein in the types and amount of seafood you eat. That’s depressing, but at least you know what to do. Also, you can organize to fight against what the EPA says is the main source of mercury pollution, coal fired power plants.

You can also use either organic fertilizers or apply chemical fertilizers sparingly enough to make sure that they end up in the veggies rather than running off into the oceans where they create coastal dead zones. Go ahead. Look those up. NOAA keeps track of the coastal dead zones from our annual agricultural runoff. You can see it from space. Also seen from space … those giant whirlpools of trash floating in the oceans. They kill, too, so reuse and recycle. And, of course, drive less. Walk or ride a bike more. Use Energy Star appliances. Shut off the lights. And so on.

 

You’ve Heard Those Before so, What Else?

One thing you may not have thought about or even heard yet concerns the growing movement to stop cigarette butts from getting to the water. For example, see the Cigarette Butt Pollution Project to see exactly how bad this is for the ocean. Non-biodegradable, cigarette butts are also loaded with poisons including things like arsenic, acetone, ammonia, benzene, cadmium, formaldehyde, lead, and toluene. 

  • As they say, some things on the legal horizon for dealing with the problem include:
  • Increasing fines and penalties for littering butts
  • Monetary deposits on filters
  • Increasing availability of butt receptacles
  • Expanded public education
  • Outright bans on the sale of filtered cigarettes

 

Of course, they leave out the obvious. Why produce cigarette butts at all when you can use e cig juice? That might be the only remaining choice soon enough anyway. As a study by Elli Slaughter at San Diego State University showed, a single cigarette butt with a bit of leftover tobacco stuck to it per liter of water kills half of the fish swimming in it. Technological solutions are easy, and they’re not all bad.

Greg Dastrup is a world traveler and professional writer with a passion for learning new languages. He’s spent most of his career consulting for businesses in North America.

 

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