If you happened to have had a bad day during the Great Recession, the odds are you’re rebuilding your credit. If your credit score took a major hit, or if you’ve filed bankruptcy, it’s quite possible that you’ll get an offer in the mail from a company that wants to help you on your financial ‘comeback’. The company will tell you they “think a loan should be convenient and on your terms”, and they’ve “changed the way you borrow money”. Rocky Balboa’s face, strong and determined, is prominently displayed in the advertising copy.
You can start your comeback by filling out a simple application for a pre-approved $3,500 loan. This money will be deposited directly to your bank account. The rate may be steep in the beginning, but it will decrease as you show your ability to make payments. After all, there is a risk to providing you credit, but the company wants to help restore you as a respected member of the financial community.
The company dying to help you is RISE, a brand of Think Finance, who packages itself as an ‘emergency non-bank lender’. This is just double speak for a sophisticated form of predatory lending. The APR on their loans range from 36 to over 360%. A recent offer carried an interest rate of 199%. For the privilege of receiving $3,500, you’ll pay back $10,800 in payments of $289 made every two weeks. Instead of Rocky Balboa, their promotional icon should be Tony Soprano.
Sitting down — and the sedentary lifestyle it encourages — is killing you, slowly but surely. The problem is, standing desks aren’t for everyone. Making the switch is a big deal. I love mine but it took a week of pain and suffering to go from seat to feet, and it still feels pretty tough on calves and soles after a full day-long standing stretch.
So here’s a third way: Cubii is a sitting exerciser that’s been designed to fit under an office desk so those who are stuck in their office chairs can push its pedals while they work and get some exercise, rather than being entirely sedentary.
The Cubii is a pretty simple elliptical trainer but the design has been tweaked so the trajectory of the pedals keeps the user’s knees low enough not to bang the underside of the desk.
It also includes a Bluetooth radio and there’s a companion app — so your underdesk mileage can be quantified. Top marks for tapping the zeitgeist there, Cubii.
Customer service should be a top priority for any company. Customers keep your business going, and making them happy is the best way to ensure that they’ll continue to come back. In today’s world of social media and 24/7 connectivity, it’s easier than ever to keep the lines of communication open between you and your customers.
“We live in an age when everyone is constantly connected to each other via the digital universe across email, Twitter, chat, etc.,” said John Joseph, co-founder of data solutions provider DataGravity. “Technology gives [businesses] the ability to correspond with customers more efficiently, and companies — especially startups — need to take advantage of the tools they have to communicate with customers.
Forget about the politicians in Washington and don’t count on Corporate America to get our struggling economy going — it’s America’s entrepreneurs that will prove to be the saviors. American entrepreneurs, through their creativity, innovation, and willingness to embrace risk, are the real engines that power our economy.
So often we look to the huge, multinational corporations as the drivers and guardians of our economy when the truth is the millions of small businesses across America deserve the credit. A strong, vibrant economy is the result of America’s entrepreneurs embracing the risk of self-reliance and venturing out to create their own opportunities. New small business startups create over three million new jobs each year. The solution to getting this country back on its feet and moving in a positive direction won’t happen because of the government. It requires the fruitful minds and determined drive of everyday citizens who enthusiastically embrace risk and begin the entrepreneurial journey.
Want to be part of the solution? Here are four ways that entrepreneurs can help revitalize our sagging economy:
Data from the downed Malaysian jet’s black boxes has been successfully downloaded a week after the tragedy in east Ukraine, with the examination of bodies also under way as crash experts seek evidence of a missile strike.
The U.K. Air Accidents Investigation Branch gained access to the Boeing Co. 777’s flight-data readings today after yesterday retrieving cockpit-voice recordings, according to Dutch authorities who are leading the probe in recognition of the fact that almost 200 victims were from the Netherlands.
Specialists from the Dutch National Forensic Investigation Team are working in Kharkiv in government-controlled Ukraine after some of the 298 dead were moved there by train, with bodies being flown on to the Netherlands. While the flight recorders may reveal evidence of a missile attack, the fragmentation warhead thought to have been used will have peppered the 777’s fuselage and potentially its occupants, leaving the probe less dependent on an examination of a crash site that’s been heavily disturbed since the July 17 incident.
The fit on earbuds varies wildly, largely because each person’s earlobe is a unique and beautiful snowflake. Okay, maybe not beautiful. But if a pair of earbuds matched the exact shape of your ear, the days of painful buds that fall out too easily could be numbered. That’s the concept behind OwnPhones, a San Francisco-based start-up that has created 3D printed wireless earbuds that are custom fitted to the shape of your ears.
The startup isn’t alone in the 3D printed earbud space. A few weeks ago, Normals came out of the shadows with a similar concept. And in much the same way, OwnPhone users upload video of their ears, which will be converted into a 3D mold. The company offers a number of customization options, including the ability to choose the color, style and even earbud material, but OwnPhones doesn’t elaborate on what those materials are.
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“Non-delegator” sounds so much nicer than “control freak” or “know-it-all,” but truth be told, that’s just semantics. Delegating can be scary — especially if you’ve been burned before and if you know exactly how you like things done — but I probably don’t have to tell you that it’s a crucial part of moving up the ladder.That said, that instinct to hold some projects close to the vest isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes you really should keep a project on your own plate. The trick is knowing when you should pass a task along hint: the correct answers go way beyond when you’re too swamped to care how it’s done and to whom.So, take a deep breath, have faith that your colleagues and employees are capable of doing a great job, too, and use the guide below to discern if you’re keeping a project because it’s the sensible rather than territorial choice.