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5 ways to sell your business at a peak price in 2014

Richard T. Mindler, Jr. – Posted 10-2-14

5 ways to sell your business at a peak price in 2014

 

The BizBuySell Insight Report, published by the online business marketplace BizBuySell, found that the number of small-business deals that closed in 2013 increased by 41.7 percent in the third quarter compared to the same quarter in 2012, with restaurants and retail businesses seeing the most action. The median sale price for small businesses in Q3 of 2013 was $180,000—up 2.9 percent from the same time the previous year, though a little below the median asking price of $199,000. On average, selling prices were equal to 2.19 percent of cash flow.
This does not apply to Broadcast companies, radio stations, TV stations or newspapers due to the supply, it’s just not there and have a price in a different market. (Much Higher)The healthy selling climate seems likely to continue—which is good news for those who are eager to retire or cash out. Among mergers-and-acquisitions insiders, 68 percent expected the market to pick up strength in the 12 months following September 2013, according to a survey released in October by the law firm Dykema, headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich.

With interest rates still low, experts say many buyers should be able to access affordable financing. “You’ve got a pretty good window in 2014 where rates will begin to start to rise but still stay at historically low levels,” said Mitch Davidson, managing director of Post Capital Partners, a New York City private equity firm focused on the lower end of the middle market. “Debt finances a significant element of these transactions.”

(Read more: Where American entrepreneurs are striking next)

Of course, the market for any small business can be unpredictable, so owners shouldn’t sell just because there’s momentum now, say experts. There need to be other compelling reasons to put a business on the market, whether that’s the desire to move on to a new venture or to slow down.

“Market timing is always tricky, so I’m not sure that anybody should be waiting for just the right time to sell,” said Kevin O’Connell, a partner in the corporate department at Boston-based law firm Posternak Blankstein & Lund, who works in mergers and acquisitions.

If you are considering selling a business at some point in the near future, it is important to get it into shape to reap the maximum return on your investment. Here are five strategies experts recommend. The best part: None of these will be wasted efforts if you reconsider selling, because all will make your business stronger.

1. Get your books in order.

A recent Citibank Small Business Pulse report found that 25 percent of small-business owners expect to sell their company to a competitor or third party as an eventual exit strategy. But many business owners keep sloppy books, which can scare away buyers—especially sophisticated ones, like private equity firms. They want to see evidence of profit and actual or potential growth, said O’Connell.

To give buyers confidence, Davidson recommends getting audited financials for several recent years, which can be costly but makes a business more attractive. “It is a great investment to make,” he said.

Don’t put off getting your financials in shape, even if you’re planning to wait another year or two to sell. Often, small-business owners have to put their business on the market unexpectedly due to health problems, accidents or a family member who needs care, said Bill Watson, a former CPA. As owner of Advanced Business Group in Nashville, Tenn., he helps business owners build the value of their businesses and sell them. “Make sure you’re ready to sell at all times,” he advised.

(Read more: Buyout kings seek US partnerships as deal prices rise)

“Generally, if your business relies less on the owner, you get a higher selling price.” -Jock Purtle, broker, Digital Exits

2. Protect your intellectual property.

This can help you amp up the value of your business, but it’s not always a speedy process, so plan ahead. “If you need to get a patent for something, that’s something you need to consider very early in the process,” said Tatiana Melnik, an attorney in Tampa, Fla., who works with both start-ups and established businesses. “Spend the time trademarking your company name. Get copyright protection for whatever you are developing. All of that has value.”

Sometimes owners who do this discover that they have been infringing on the trademark of another business unwittingly. You’ll be much better off if you find out early and fix the situation before you’re in talks with a buyer. “A lot of times people don’t find out until they’re considering selling,” Melnik said.

3. Make sure the business isn’t dependent on you.

A business that depends heavily on the presence of one person to succeed—such as a creative services business where clients are paying for your personal talent or expertise—can be very difficult to sell to another buyer. “Generally, if your business relies less on the owner, you get a higher selling price,” said Jock Purtle, a broker of Internet businesses who runs Digital Exits, a Sydney, Australia–based firm that does 90 percent of its deals in the U.S. “If the operations are managed by staff or systems or technology and there’s less day-to-day importance of the owner, you’re going to get a higher price.”

(Read more: Start-ups take perks to new levels)

One of Purtle’s clients, Travis Jamison, founder of Supremacy SEO, located a buyer within about a month when he recently decided to sell an ecommerce store he launched to sell guides telling consumers how to “jail break” iPhones, a growing craze among the tech savvy. The process, which is legal but is discouraged by Apple because it can lead to problems like security vulnerabilities, lets the phones’ owners unlock the code so they can download apps from outside the iTunes store.

Jamison’s secret to finding a buyer quickly: “I built it to sell from the get-go,” the serial entrepreneur from Ashville, N.C., said on a call from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, where he has been staying. From the time he started the business in February 2013, he used his expertise in search engine optimization to make sure the store ranked high in Google. He automated virtually every aspect of the business, from taking orders to providing outsourced customer service in the Philippines. And he hired an employee to run it while he travels around the world—a sign that someone else could run it. And he kept good written records on his procedures. “You want everything to be written down in a process,” he said. “Otherwise, there will be questions and uncertainty about it.”

Due to the terms of the deal, Jamison could not disclose the amount of the sale, but he said that the ease of running the ecommerce store made it very appealing to the entrepreneur who bought it.

(Read more: Getting a high sales price for your company)

4. Know what your business is worth.

One of the first steps Watson recommends to owners who seek his help in selling a business is to get several independent valuations done by reputable firms so his clients know where they stand. If they have the energy to make a push to increase the value of the business, he works with them to identify strategies that will help. Sometimes this may mean going after bigger contracts to increase the “sellable cash flow.” In other cases, it could mean making strategic investments in the business that will make it worth more.

“I had a client that needed a $60,000 computer upgrade,” he recalled. “They could have leased that product from someone, or they could go out and buy that product and depreciate it. As far as the cash they spent, it was about the same either way.” However, each route would have a different impact on the firm’s value. “On the market, if you lease it, it’s an expense of the business,” he said. “That $60,000 comes straight out of their cash flow. They increased value of $180,000 by buying the computer upgrade. It had a tremendous effect on their value.”

5. Don’t keep secrets.

“Buyers do not like surprises,” said Posternak Blankstein & Lund’s O’Connell. “Don’t hold back on that uncomfortable litigation that has been filed against you. Whatever skeleton you have in the closet, be prepared to talk about it early. The longer you wait, the more disappointed the buyer will be. The greater the likelihood you will spoil the deal.” If you’re involved in litigation, have toxic goo buried in the backyard or are grappling with employee unrest, you may need to resolve those problems to get the best selling price. Regardless of what the market does in 2014, it will be easier to sell a business that’s thriving.
Check back soon for more informative facts from- Richard T. Mindler, Jr.

iPhone 6 vs. Android

September 17th. 2014

 
iPhone 6 vs. Android: 9 Signs You’re A Samsung User Who Should Switch To Apple!

Posted By: Richard T. Mindler, Jr.

  • 2014-09-09T174542Z_1_LYNXMPEA880WA_RTROPTP_4_APPLE-IPHONE
    Mindler  
  • RTR45NS7
    Here are some reasons to pick the new iPhone over an Android device. Reuters
  • Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president, speaks about the iPhone 6 during a company event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, California, Sept. 9, 2014. Reuters/Stephen Lam
  • Here are some reasons to pick the new iPhone over an Android device!

Your move, Samsung. For years, big-screen smartphones powered by Google Inc.’s (NASDAQL GOOGL) Android operating system have been chipping away at iPhone’s market share, particularly in emerging markets. But with the introduction of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) just copied the killer feature of most Android phones: (Big Screens)

 

 

Pre-sales of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus ahead of the devices’ Sept. 19 launch are breaking records. How many of these iPhone buyers are Android converts? We’ll have to wait for the sales data. But if you’re Apple fan living in an Android world, here are some signs that it might be time to switch:

You only chose Android for the large screen. Devices powered by the Android operating system have dominated the large-screen market for some time, with manufacturers commonly releasing devices with displays that surpass 5 inches and some that even surpass 6 inches. The previous protocol was: If you wanted a large phone, you likely opted for an Android device because Apple stubbornly released device after device with 4-inch displays.

Now, the iPhone 6 features a 4.7-inch display and the iPhone 6 Plus features a 5.5-inch display. Both devices cater to two very important sectors of the market. Analysts say that devices with displays larger than 4 inches but smaller than 5 is currently the fastest growing market, while devices over 5 inches are a vital niche market that does not have many devices at premium price points and specifications. It is believed that with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Apple is trying to win back the Android users it previously lost due to device size.

You find Android interfaces too difficult. Apple’s iOS operating system is known for providing a simple and streamlined user experience, while the Android operating system is more focused on customization and ongoing development of applications and other features. Many programmers and hackers often opt for Android for this reason, but the variation in the software might be too much for a layman user.

The Android user experience can also vary depending on the brand of the device due to the custom software that manufacturers add on top of Android. There is pure Android found on Google’s Nexus line, the TouchWiz UI for Samsung (KRX: 005930), the Sense UI for HTC (TPE: 2498), the Optimus UI for LG (KRX: 066570) and many others. But the Apple user experience will be the same on the iPhone 6, iPhone 5s and so on.

You’re frustrated by infrequent Android updates. Apple is also completely in charge of sending software updates to all its supported devices, which means that updates become available for all iOS devices at roughly the same time. The process for receiving Android updates is much different since for most devices, the software has to go through device manufacturers and mobile carriers before they reach users. This often leaves devices without updates for several months following the release of a new Android system version. In particular, this could leave users with unfixed bugs and other issues for an extended period of time. Though Google is making an effort to fix this issue by optimizing its latest system version to be compatible with more devices, most Android devices still run a much older version of the operating system.

Your entire electronics ecosystem is Apple except your phone. Somehow you own a MacBook, an iPad, an iPod; all of your music is on iTunes, yet you have an Android smartphone. Dual fans of Apple and Android know all too well the stringent incompatibility between the two platforms. Connecting an Android mobile device to an Apple computer will prompt the Android File Transfer feature, which allows users to manually move files from one device to another — instead of automatically syncing files. This is only one of many roadblocks of having incompatible devices. Tried and true Android smartphone fans with Apple computers will be accustomed to this, but if it’s too much of a hassle for you, it may be time to switch to an all-Apple device lineup.

You’re concerned about safety. Despite the major iCloud hack during which intimate photographs of several celebrities were stolen, Apple’s software is considered some of the safest on the market. Apple encrypts both its software and hardware, so that all information on its devices is confidential. The Android platform is considered open source, which means anyone can access the system’s code and modify it to their liking. While most developers and programmers use this ability for good, there are many that do not. The Android operating system reportedly contains 97 percent of all malware on the market. The truth is, no software is completely safe and it is quite easy to protect an Android device from malware threats. But for some, owning an Apple device gives an extra sense of security.

You’re interested in Apple Watch/Apple Pay. Apple also recently announced its new device Apple Watch and its new service Apple Pay. Consumers shouldn’t be surprised that these new products are compatible only with other Apple devices; so if you want to use either, you’d have to bite the bullet and get an iPhone.

You can’t decide on which Android device you want. Samsung recently announced its Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge smartphones; there is also the Sony Xperia Z3 and the Motorola Moto X (2014) among the latest Android-powered devices. In addition, there are many Android devices that released earlier this year, such as the Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8 and LG G3. The question becomes which do you choose? If you’re unsure, an easier question might be: Do I choose the large iPhone or the larger iPhone?

The new iPhone will be available in just a few days. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will be available for purchase on Sept. 19 and the devices are already available for pre-order. Not only have the new iPhones sold more than 4 million pre-orders, they are expected to surpass 10 million handset sales during their introductory weekend. The iPhone 6 launch is expected to be the largest in Apple history. Additionally, mobile carriers are offering several deals in order to get customers to purchase the new iPhones on their network.

You want the new U2 album. While many iOS users are trying to figure out how to delete the new U2 album “Songs of Innocence” from their iTunes library, perhaps you’re still a fan on Bono. Notably, the album was sent to users for free during the iPhone launch event last Tuesday. This might be a sweet deal for some — buy the iPhone 6 and get the new U2 album free.

Running Your Buissness

Posted By: Richard T. Mindler, Jr. – September 1st, 2014

https://twitter.com/rmindler

Richard T. Mindler, Jr.

 

Taxes and Bookkeeping

Step Description Resource
1 Learn the rules for paying estimated taxes. Paying Estimated Taxes
2 Find out the details of federal employment taxes. Tax Savvy, by Frederick Daily
3 Learn about the various federal tax deductions related to salaries and business expenses. Deduct It! Lower Your Small Business Taxes, by Stephen Fishman
4 Familiarize yourself with the basics of business taxes for your legal form of business (Partnership, LLC, S Corporation). Tax Savvy, by Frederick Daily
5 Get small business guides from the IRS. IRS website
6 Learn about depreciation and Section 179 of the IRS Code. Deduct It! By Stephen Fishman
7 Find out what to do if you owe money to the IRS. How to Deal With the IRS
8 Familiarize yourself with the audit process. How to Prepare for a Business Audit; What Auditors Look For
9 Consider hiring a bookkeeper or accountant if your business has grown big enough or you need someone else with the right expertise. Legal Guide for Starting & Running a Small Business, by Fred S. Steingold
10 Know what financial records to keep–and for how long. How Long Should You Keep Business Records?
11 Learn how to handle your taxes if you are operating at a loss. Tax Savvy, by Frederick Daily
12 Become aware of the key tax issues for employers. The Employer’s Legal Handbook, by Fred Steingold

Insurance

13 Find out about possible ways to save money on your business insurance. Obtaining Busness Insurance
14 Know how to make a claim if you suffer a loss. Small Claims Court and Business Disputes

Contracts and Leases

15 Make sure your contracts are legally valid–and try to write them in plain English. Contracts 101: Make a Legally Valid Contract
16 Learn how to amend an existing contract. Sample Amendment to Contract
17 Get the best possible new lease when moving to a new location. Signing a Lease or Rental Agreement FAQ
18 Avoid creating or signing unfair or illegal contracts. Unenforceable Contracts: What to Watch Out For
19 Learn the basics of your state’s business contract laws. Contracts, by Richard Stim
20 Become more familiar with business-to-business contracts. Contracts, by Richard Stim
21 Find out what you need to do when the time comes to sign a contract. Ten Tips for Making Solid Business Agreements and Contracts
22 Investigate whether it’s better to buy or lease business equipment. Business Equipment: Buying vs. Leasing

Loans, Financing, and Cashflow

23 Learn about ways to cut costs if your business is short of cash. How to Cut Costs and Spend Less in a Cash-Strapped Business
24 Find out how to increase your business’s cash flow. How to Create More Cash Flow for Your Business
25 Learn how to keep your cash in your business. How Small Businesses Can Hoard Their Cash: 9 Ideas
26 Find out how to collect on your debts. Collecting Business Debts
27 Find out about alternative ways to borrow money. Alternative Ways to Borrow Money When Your Business Needs It
28 Learn about ways to deal with bankrupt customers. Customer Bankruptcies: Ten Tips to Minimize Losses
29 Figure out if you should pursue a bankrupt customer. Deciding Whether to Pursue Payment by a Bankrupt Customer
30 Know more about why you should pay your bills on time. Why Businesses Should Pay Their Bills on Time if at all Possible
31 Lower your energy costs. Reduce Energy Costs for Your Small Business
32 Familiarize yourself with the rules for late fees and finance charges. When can I charge late fees or finance charges?
33 Obtain financing from loans or equity. Raising Private Money: Gifts, Loans, and Equity Investments
34 Look at various, less traditional sources for raising money. Alternative Ways to Borrow Money When Your Business Needs It; Peer-to-Peer Lending (P2P) for Small Businesses
35 Make sure to document money you receive. Promissory Notes
36 Know how to extend credit but still get paid. Invoicing Customers and Extending Credit
37 Learn the laws about consumer credit. Consumer Credit Laws and Your Business
38 Familiarize yourself with options for collecting what you’re owed. Illegal Debt Collection Practices
39 Learn about your state’s debt collection laws. What to Expect When Your Debt Goes to Collection
40 Be prudent about using credit cards and checks. Credit Repair, by Margaret Reiter

Marketing and Working with Customers

41 Draft an effective business plan. Write a Business Plan
42 Find out how to increase customer recommendations. Encourage Customers to Recommend Your Business
43 Be clear on your business’s target market. Define a Target Market for Your Small Business
44 Try to do some market research. Doing Market Research
45 Improve and grow your business image. Your Business Image: Ten Ways to Build and Market It
46 Figure out the best marketing strategy for your particular business. A Marketing Strategy for Every Business
47 Find ways to advertise through e-mail without sending out junk. Email Marketing Without Spam
48 Use your website to market you do and what you sell. Market Your Products or Services on Your Website
49 Learn which types of list advertising are effective for your business. Listings: Advertising That Works
50 Create ads that stay within the law. Avoid Unlawful Advertising: Seven Rules for Your Business
51 Create a social media policy that really works. Drafting An Effective Social Media Policy
52 Show potential customers what’s special about your business. Your Business Image: Ten Ways to Build and Market It
53 Innovate by learning to produce–and copy–good ideas.
54 Know how to target the right customers. Define a Target Market for Your Small Business
55 Be creative in your marketing. Marketing Without Advertising, by Michael Phillips and Salli Rasberry
56 Learn the legal ins and outs of warranties. Breach of Warranty Cases in Small Claims Court

Selling Goods & Services

57 Figure out the best way to sell your products — retail, wholesale, or consignment. Retail, Wholesale, and Consignment Sales
58 Understand the basics of consumer protection law. Consumer Protection Laws and Your Business
59 Understand the basics of consumer credit laws. Consumer Credit Laws and Your Business
60 Know the law on shipping products and giving refunds. Shipping and Refund Rules for Businesses
61 Decide whether it’s better to lease or buy your business equipment. Business Equipment: Buying vs. Leasing
62 Learn when and how to invoice your customers, and whether to extend credit. Invoicing Customers and Extending Credit

Websites and eCommerce

63 Learn about what terms and conditions should be posted on your website. Website Terms and Conditions
64 Make sure to get proper permission when you use other people’s work. Getting Permission to Publish: Ten Tips for Website Managers
65 Familiarize yourself with search engine optimization and get more traffic to your site. Increasing Traffic to Your Website
66 Know who owns a website created by independent contractors. Who Owns a Website Created By Contractors?
67 Learn the proper way to license and get paid for your creative work. Licensing Artwork: Negotiating and Monitoring Royalty Payments
68 Familiarize yourself with the best ways to license your work. Questions to Consider Before Licensing

Legal Matters

69 Find out how to handle business disputes and small claims cases. Small Claims Court and Business Disputes
70 Learn about the mediation process. Mediation for Small Businesses
71 Know whether you need to hire a lawyer. Business Lawyers: Do You Need One?
72 Learn about your state’s Small Claims Court rules. Everybody’s Guide to Small Claims Court, by Ralph Warner
73 Find out how to change the legal form of your business.

Having Employees and Being the Boss

74 Find out the right way to advertise a job and handle interviews. The Job Description Handbook, by Margie Mader-Clark
75 Create an effective employee handbook and know how to discipline employees for infractions. Create Your Own Employee Handbook, by Amy DelPo and Lisa Guerin
76 Ensure you’re meeting requirements for record-keeping and payroll withholding. The Manager’s Legal Handbook, by Lisa Guerin and Amy DelPo
77 Decide on what kinds of employee benefits you want to offer. Employment Law: The Essential HR Desk Reference
78 Be prepared for health and safety inspections. OSHA: Complying With Workplace Health and Safety Laws
79 Understand illegal discrimination. The Manager’s Legal Handbook
80 Approach terminations the right way–avoid wrongful discharge lawsuits. Illegal Reasons for Firing Employees
81 Understand employer recordkeeping requirements. The Manager’s Legal Handbook, by Amy DelPo and Lisa Guerin
82 Consider not showing off in front of your employees.
83 Try not to overwork yourself.
84 Work with, not against, the best competition.
85 Respond quickly when bad things happen. The Manager’s Legal Handbook, by Am

FDA approves new sleep drug

For Immediate Release: Posted By- Richard T. Mindler, Jr. / August 14th., 2014

FDA approves new type of sleep drug, Belsomra

(For Immediate Release)

Release:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Belsomra (suvorexant) tablets for use as needed to treat difficulty in falling and staying asleep (insomnia).

Belsomra is an orexin receptor antagonist and is the first approved drug of this type. Orexins are chemicals that are involved in regulating the sleep-wake cycle and play a role in keeping people awake. Belsomra alters the signaling (action) of orexin in the brain.

Insomnia is a common condition in which a person has trouble falling or staying asleep. It can range from mild to severe, depending on how often it occurs and for how long. Insomnia can cause daytime sleepiness and lack of energy. It also can make a person feel anxious, depressed, or irritable. People with insomnia may have trouble with attentiveness, learning, and memory.

“To assist health care professionals and patients in finding the best dose to treat each individual patient’s sleeplessness, the FDA has approved Belsomra in four different strengths – 5, 10, 15, and 20 milligrams,” said Ellis Unger, M.D., director of the Office of Drug Evaluation I in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Using the lowest effective dose can reduce the risk of side effects, such as next-morning drowsiness.”

Belsomra should be taken no more than once per night, within 30 minutes of going to bed, with at least seven hours remaining before the planned time of waking. The total dose should not exceed 20 mg once daily.

The most commonly reported adverse reaction reported by clinical trial participants taking Belsomra was drowsiness. Medications that treat insomnia can cause next-day drowsiness and impair driving and other activities that require alertness. People can be impaired even when they feel fully awake.

The FDA asked the drug manufacturer, Merck, Sharpe & Dohme Corp., to study next-day driving performance in people who had taken Belsomra. The testing showed impaired driving performance in both male and female participants when the 20 mg strength was taken.  Patients using the 20 mg strength should be cautioned against next-day driving or activities requiring full mental alertness. Patients taking lower doses should also be made aware of the potential for next-day driving impairment, because there is individual variation in sensitivity to the drug.

The effectiveness of Belsomra was studied in three clinical trials involving more than 500 participants. In the studies, patients taking the drug fell asleep faster and spent less time awake during the remainder of the night compared to people taking an inactive pill (placebo). Belsomra was not compared to other drugs approved to treat insomnia, so it is not known if there are differences in safety or effectiveness between Belsomra and other insomnia medications.

Like other sleep medicines, there is a risk from Belsomra of sleep-driving and other complex behaviors while not being fully awake, such as preparing and eating food, making phone calls, or having sex. Chances of such activity increase if a person has consumed alcohol or taken other medicines that make them sleepy. Patients or their families should call the prescribing health care professional if this type of activity occurs.

Belsomra will be dispensed with an FDA-approved patient Medication Guide that provides instructions for its use and important safety information. Belsomra is a controlled substance (Schedule-IV) because it can be abused or lead to dependence.

Belsomra is made by Merck, Sharpe & Dohme Corp. of Whitehouse Station, N.J.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

Smartphone vs PC ?

Why Your Smartphone Will Be Your Next PC

The basic idea is that the smartphone itself is your PC!  Various technologies have emerged that could make this vision a reality relatively soon.

586_Atrix

Posted By:   Richard T Mindler, Jr.                                      July 7th. 2014

Motorola’s Atrix smartphone and Lap-dock accessory.

 

About 20 years ago, when I was lugging around a 9-pound laptop on trips all over the world, I kept thinking that there had to be a better way to compute while traveling. At the time though, we only had the technology to deliver heavy and clunky portables. If you wanted to work while on the road, this is all anyone had available to them back then.

On one of my trips to Key West, I started envisioning what I would want in a portable computer if we had the necessary technology to make a more portable computing vision come true. While I could have envisioned a lighter, thinner and sleeker laptop, my actual vision was much more far reaching in concept.

As I was sitting on that flight, I began wondering, “What if the back of the seat in front me of had a screen on it and the tray table could flip over and have a keyboard built into it for input?” I then envisioned what I called a CPU brick, which I could plug into the keyboard. It would power this PC shell, and more importantly, it would have all of my personal user interfaces, content, email clients and everything else I needed. In other words, the brick would be my personal computer and I would just plug it into some kind of dock connected to screens on planes, trains, and in hotel rooms and airport lounges.

(MORE: Your Smartphone Will Become the Hub of Your Digital Lifestyle)

While the idea of having screens and keyboard docks available everywhere no longer makes sense, there is a similar concept emerging that in a way turns your smartphone into that CPU brick and makes various screens available for viewing your content. Early attempts at this came from Motorola with its Atrix smartphone and Lapdock accessory. Along the same lines is the Asus Padfone.

The basic idea here is that the smartphone itself is your PC and then docks into the back of either a portable screen or some type of laptop shell. At the time these products were released, smartphones really were not powerful enough to deliver a serious PC experience. But since then, various technologies have emerged that could make this vision a reality relatively soon.

The first key technology is based on the new mobile quad-core CPUs by Qualcomm, Nvidia and Intel that are found in almost all new smartphones. Although they are low-voltage processors, most of them clock in at between 1.5 GHz and 2.1 GHz , which gives them PC class computing power. Sure they aren’t as powerful as CPUs with much higher processing speeds, but they all have graphics cores built into them and they all do a pretty good job of delivering personal computing functionality on a smartphone.

The other technology is called Mobile High-Definition Link, or MHL, which is a mobile audio/video interface standard for connecting portable electronics devices to high-definition displays. This is an important spec that is supported by dozens of industry companies and is already deployed in over 100 million smartphones. The major company producing specific MHL chips that go into televisions, home theater systems and all types of mobile devices is Silicon Image.

(MORE: The Future of Personal Computing: Cloud-Connected Screens Everywhere)

Last fall, Korea Telecom announced its Spider Laptop shell that can connect to an Android smartphone. It uses an MHL 2.0 cable for the connections currently. At the moment it uses its own Android phone for the connection, but the company has plans to make the Spider Laptop shell work with other Android phones in the future.

Samsung is also working on something like this, using the Spider Laptop shell reference design and working on tying it to the Samsung Galaxy III smartphone. Both versions use an MHL cable from the smartphone to the Spider Laptop shell to power it, but they could just as easily create some kind of MHL dock or even build a dock into the Spider Laptop shell over time.

While standalone laptops powered by their own CPUs and GPUs won’t go away, a new computing paradigm could emerge in which the smartphone actually becomes the center of our personal computing universe.

Keep in mind that the smartphone has all of your personal data, personal user interface and personal apps, and all you would need to have is a laptop shell or a desktop monitor connected to an MHL docking stand, which then mirrors all that’s on your smartphone.

(MORE: Why the iPhone Has a Head Start on the Future of Personal Computing)

Instead of buying a pricey laptop, various vendors could create laptops like the Spider that just have some basic screen technology, power supply and connector that can receive what the smartphone sends to it. Perhaps some internal storage or just an SD Card slot could be added in order to boost what can be stored on the laptop shell itself for future use.

Depending on the costs of the screens, these laptop shells could be priced as low as $129, although they’ll most likely cost closer to $179-$199 in the near future. Even more interesting is the fact that since the shell does not have to sport a lot of technology inside, it could be relatively thin and light as well — although in some models, it would be nice to have an extra battery in the shell to extends usage hours.

In some ways, my 1992 vision of a PC brick is coming true, although not quite as I had envisioned it. Rather, the brick itself will perhaps be a smartphone, and laptop shells, TVs and other screens will be the go-betweens for displaying our digital content and applications. We’ll have the option of using keyboards, mice, voice and gestures to interact with these screens, too. If this happens, then the smartphone really could become our main PC, in many ways changing the way we think about PCs in the near future.

MORE: What Is a PC?

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What will happen to Radio?

Posted By: Richard T. Mindler Jr.  June 24th. – 2014
C.E.O of WGPA SUNNY 1100AM ~ http:www.wgpasunny1100.com     

Richard T.Mindler, Jr.

Richard T. Mindler, Jr.

What Will Happen to Radio?I think that corporate radio needs to realize that their audience can’t simply be pigeonholed into the few standard formats that they typically support. With the rise of the internet and the continued diversification of popular music, there’s now a whole new generation of music fans who’ve cast off radio, simply since they don’t play what they want to hear!  Diversity in radio is not a bad thing, and the homogenization of the airwaves alienates a lot of people. Just as the music industry in general needs to deal with the reality of the internet age, radio does as well. More and more people are now looking for more than just the same spoon-fed crap that most radio provides, since more and more people now have easier access to it and know that it exists. Also, it seems like American corporate radio has forgotten the value of the taste-maker DJ; its rare to find on major stations any DJs that are allowed to play what they personally want to hear, as used to be common. It’s obvious that the few celebrity DJs left (Ryan Seacrest and his ilk) are being told what to play, since it’s the same thing you hear everywhere else. Maybe corporate radio should look to how things are done in the UK, where a vast number of taste-maker DJs still dominate the airwaves and a much wider range of music is played commercially.
The fact that we’ve survived this long and have seen things move in the right direction despite heavy odds gives us big reason for hope. There’s still a lot of good will out there towards WGPA; many simply don’t even know that we’re on the internet. We get lots of love from listeners from around the world who’ve never even heard of us, yet love what we’re doing and have no prejudices based on what we used to be. Our major obstacle is accessibility; as it gets easier to get online away from a computer, internet radio will only grow.

Not everyone has the time or the energy to dig and dig for the most cutting edge music, so radio will continue to exist as a practicality. The question isn’t so much whether radio will continue to exist, but rather what the medium will be.
I feel like a lot of people are hopping on the bash radio bandwagon and I’m really not buying it. I still catch myself on long road trips always going back to the radio for the personal connection that you can’t get from your MP3, iPod, Satellite, etc. As much as we think we can take the human aspect out of so many parts of our lives and be cool with it, I think we innately still want to have that contact and connection to someone playing our favorite songs and or local programing, I think it will always come back to that!
It’s already evolving with the evolution of Twitter, Facebook, and all of the other social networking options. It’s opened up a whole new world for everyone, especially media outlets. It’s bridged a lot of gaps that radio has had in the past in regard to connecting with listeners.  Listeners get a peek behind the curtain which never happened in the past. Something that I’ve always admired about WGPA SUNNY 1100 AM is taking the time to really understand what our listeners like in terms of music, and working really hard to bring them a lot of variation, including local business and sports!  I’ve always admired that the people in charge, including myself care about whats getting played and will play what’s actually GOOD as opposed to what is in the Top 40 and gets the most rotation. Search the radio stations around the country and you won’t find many stations that play the depth of what we play, and all of the local flavor that exists. It’s really a gem and I hope people know that. I know I’m biased, but I also really believe it and can speak from experience!

There is no harm in giving us a try on your home radio,  around the valley, across the Nation and around the World!
Thanx again, Richard !  On Twitter ~ https://twitter.com/rmindler

5 Keys to Leadership

Posted By: Richard T. Mindler, Jr. – 5-29-14

5 Keys to Inspiring Leadership, No Matter Your Style

5 Keys to Inspiring Leadership, No Matter Your Style

Image credit: acaben

Steve Jobs
 
 

 

The #5 Keys Series
  • 5 Keys to Inspiring Leadership, No Matter Your Style

Forget the stereotypical leadership image of a buttoned-up person in a gray suit hauling around a hefty briefcase. Today, standout leaders come in all shapes and sizes. She could be a blue jeans-clad marketing student, running a major eCommerce company out of her dorm room. He might be the next salt-and-pepper-haired, barefoot Steve Jobs, presenting a groundbreaking new device at a major industry conference.

 

“Our research indicates that what really matters is that leaders are able to create enthusiasm, empower their people, instill confidence and be inspiring to the people around them,” say Richard T. Mindler, Jr., chief executive of WGPA SUNNY 1100 AM, in Bethlehem, Pa.

That’s a tall order. However, as different as leaders are today, there are some things great leaders do every day. Here Mindler shares five keys for effective leadership:

1. Face challenges.

Great leaders are brave enough to face up to challenging situations and deal with them honestly. Whether it’s steering through a business downturn or getting struggling employees back on track, effective leaders meet these challenges openly. Regular communications with your staff, informing them of both good news and how the company is reacting to challenges will go a long way toward making employees feel like you trust them and that they’re unlikely to be hit with unpleasant surprises.

“The gossip at the coffee machine is usually 10 times worse than reality!   “Employees need to see their leaders out there, confronting that reality head-on.”

2. Win trust.

2. Win trust.

Employees are more loyal and enthusiastic when they work in an environment run by people they trust. Building that trust can be done in many ways. The first is to show employees that you care about them. Take an interest in your employees beyond the workplace. Don’t pry, he advises, but ask about an employee’s child’s baseball game or college graduation. Let your employees know that you’re interested in their success and discuss their career paths with them regularly.

When employees, vendors or others make mistakes, don’t reprimand or correct them in anger. Instead, calmly explain the situation and why their behavior or actions weren’t correct, as well as what you expect in the future. When people know that you aren’t going to berate them and that you have their best interests at heart, they’re going to trust you.

3. Be authentic.

If you’re not a suit, don’t try to be one!   Employees and others dealing with your company will be able to tell if you’re just pretending to be someone you’re not!   That could make them question what else about you might be inauthentic. Have a passion for funky shoes? Wear them. Are you an enthusiastic and hilarious presenter? Get them laughing. Use your strengths and personality traits to develop your personal leadership style…

4. Earn respect.

4. Earn respect.

When you conduct yourself in an ethical way and model the traits you want to see in others, you earn the respect of those around you. Leaders who are perceived as not “walking their talk” typically don’t get very far. This contributes to employees and other stakeholders having pride in the company, which is an essential part of engagement! Also, customers are less likely to do business with a company if they don’t respect its values or leadership.

5. Stay curious.

5. Stay curious.

Good leaders remain intellectually curious and committed to learning. They’re inquisitive and always looking for new ideas, insights and information.  The best leaders understand that innovation and new approaches can come from many places and are always on the lookout for knowledge or people who might inform them and give them an advantage.

“The most successful leaders I know are truly very curious people. They’re interested in the things around them and that contributes to their vision!”

Most of all leaders are ready to take the heat in decision making even if a wrong choice is made, they take responsibility and don’t pass blame, the buck stops here!

You can follow me on Twitter here @ https://twitter.com/rmindler

 

 

Traditional Radio vs Web radio: Who wins?

Posted By: Richard T. Mindler, Jr.  May 15th., 2014

Traditional radio vs Web radio: Who wins?

The internet is accessible pretty much everywhere you go these days. Whether at home, work, in our cars or just going for a stroll in the city, the internet is just a push of a button away.  And so is the radio.

The popularity of streaming radio stations has been steadily increasing since its introduction years ago yet the traditional AM/FM radio remains the most popular way for people to get their daily fill of music, news, and entertainment.  A study that was conducted by MediaVest and Clear Channel Media & Entertainment, the largest radio company in the United States, where they surveyed 2,000 people in the U.S. and more than half say that they listen to the AM/FM radio at least once a day.

This surprising result, however, doesn’t take away from the fact that new technologies are being used more and more every day. 24% of the people surveyed say that they watch music videos on online services such as YouTube on a daily basis. Streaming apps offer fans of traditional radio stations the possibility to stream through their computers or mobile devices but only 13% of computer users and 11% of mobile users do so every day. Streaming music services such as Pandora, Spotify and Rdio got around 22%, while 14% of people use satellite radio. Clear Channel and MediaVest say that all these online services have increased in popularity since last year.

Executive vice president of research at MediaVest, David Hoffman, said “It’s not about cannibalization; it’s about growth.” The many new ways to listen to the radio aren’t replacing the traditional one, they’re helping to increase the popularity of one of our favorite pastimes overall.

What’s your favorite way to listen to the radio?

Mine is listening to WGPA SUNNY 1100 AM on the NET!- https://twitter.com/wgpasunny1100

You can follow me on Twitter @  https://twitter.com/rmindler
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Visualizing Radio’s Future

Posted By: Richard T. Mindler, Jr.   April 26, 2014

https://twitter.com/rmindler

Richard T. Mindler, Jr.

Radio’s problem is that it doesn’t look very good. It sounds fine but, compared to newer online audio services that give users a visually rich experience, AM/FM radio needs to up its game. 

The good news is that several potential solutions to radio’s lack of visuals were presented at the Digital Strategies Exchange for Radio 2013, a day-long session at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show in Las Vegas.

Internet Radio and Cars: The Future is Now – Or Else

Richard T. Mindler, Jr., Chief  Executive Officer understands radio’s need to be visually appealing. “The average person looks at their smartphone 45 to 60 times a day. We need to give them something to look at.”

Mindlers Next Radio app, which uses FM chips in smartphones to pull in over-the-air radio signals, can supply users with album cover art, station logos, host pictures and other information when synched with a station’s programming. “I work for a radio company. We thought about what radio is and tried to visualize what it looks like.”

The system is also interactive working with the phone’s geo location, web, calendar and SMS functions. Events promoted by the station can be added directly to the listener’s calendar, text-to-win contests can be entered with one touch and advertisers can provide coupons and directions to their nearest location.

Mindler says in addition to working with mobile companies, Mindleronline is in talks with some car manufacturers to bring the system to the automotive world but another system appears to be leading the charge to enhance radio’s appearance on the digital dashboard; HD Radio.

The long maligned technology originally touted as broadcast’s answer to the challenge of satellite radio may have finally found a home in cars with connected entertainment systems because its digital delivery system affords broadcasters enough bandwidth to transmit additional visual data and provide interactive functions consumers are beginning to expect.

Mindler, says initially car manufacturers didn’t understand HD Radio. “Was it about [the digital signal] or the extra channels?” But in recent years the system hit a turning point with 300 models currently featuring HD Radio, “it is headed toward 100% inclusion.”

While those two solutions could make over-the-air broadcasts more compelling, radio also needs to continue improving apps that deliver station streams. Richard T. Mindler, Jr C.E.O. of  Mindleronline , says “early station apps were just streamers but now it’s important that stations keep up with what is considered state-of-the-art.”

His company is building apps with unique functions ranging from news, weather and traffic interfaces to trivia games, phone wallpaper featuring major recording artists, the ability for listeners to record and upload sound files to the station and one-touch pizza ordering. “The game is how to stand out in this space. There is so much clutter now that even stations with a great brand have to stand out in some way.”

 Follow me on Twitter   rmindler

How to Start a Small Business in a Few Hours

Posted By: Richard T. Mindler, Jr. –  March – 30th. – 2014

How to Start a Small Business in a Few Hours

Starting a business is surprisingly simple–you just need to take the first step. Here’s how to get through the administrative hurdles faster than you think!

Keep in mind, I’m only talking about setting yourself up to do business: I’m not talking about writing a business plan, sourcing financing, developing a marketing plan, etc. The goal is to get off Square One and get on to the fun stuff.

Here’s how:

1. Get over the company-name thing.

Many people agonize endlessly over dreaming up the perfect company name. Don’t. If you’re waiting until you come up with the perfect name, you’re also waiting to start making money.

Instead, at least for now, forget branding and unique selling propositions and all the business-identity stuff. And don’t worry about finding the perfect URL or website design or promotional literature. You’re putting those carts way before your business horse, too.

Just pick a name so you can get the administrative ball rolling.

Remember, your business can operate under a different name than your company name. (A “doing business as” form takes minutes to complete.) And you can change your company name later, if you like.

2. Get your Employer Identification number (EIN).

An EIN is the federal tax number used to identify your business. You don’t need an EIN unless you will have employees or plan to form a partnership, LLC, or corporation.

But even if you don’t need an EIN, get one anyway: It’s free, takes minutes, and you can keep your Social Security number private and reduce the chance of identity theft, because if you don’t have an EIN, your SSN identifies your business for tax purposes.

Note: If you’re using an online legal service to set up an LLC or corporation, don’t use it to get your EIN. Instead, apply online at the IRS website. You’ll have your EIN in minutes.

Now it’s time to head to your locality’s administrative offices.

3. Register your trade name.

If you won’t operate under your own name, your locality may require you to register a trade name. In most cases, you’ll get approved on the spot.

4. Get your business license.

Your county or city will require a business license. The form takes minutes to fill out. Use your EIN instead of your Social Security number to identify your business (for privacy reasons if nothing else).

You may be asked to estimate annual gross receipts. Do your best to estimate accurately, but don’t agonize over it. You’re just providing an estimate.

5. Complete a business personal-property tax form (if necessary).

Businesses are taxed on “personal” property, just like individuals. Where I live, no form is required for the year the business is established.

If you are required to file a business personal-property tax form and you plan to work from home using computers, tools, etc., that you already own, you won’t need to list those items.

If you purchase tangible personal property during your first year in business, you will list those items when you file your business personal-property tax form the following year.

6. Ask your locality about other permits.

Every locality has different requirements. In my area, for example, a “home occupation permit” is required to verify that a business based in a home meets zoning requirements.

Your locality may require other permits. Ask. They’ll tell you.

7. Get a certificate of resale (if necessary).

A certificate of resale, also known as a seller’s permit, allows you to collect state sales tax on products sold. (There is no sales tax on services.)

If you will sell products, you need a seller’s permit. Your state department of taxation’s website has complete details, forms, etc., if you decide to apply online, but most localities have forms you can complete while you’re at their administrative offices.

8. Get a business bank account.

One of the easiest ways to screw up your business accounting and possibly run afoul of the IRS is to commingle personal and business funds (and transactions). Using a business account for all business transactions eliminates that possibility.

Get a business account using your business name and EIN, and only use that account for all business-related deposits, withdrawals, and transactions.

Pick a bank or credit union that is convenient. Check out your local credit unions; often they provide better deals than banks.

9. Set up a simple accounting spreadsheet.

Worry about business accounting software like QuickBooks later. For now, just create a spreadsheet on which you can enter money you spend and money you receive.

Bookkeeping is simple, at least at first. All you need are Revenue and Expenses columns; you can add line items as you go.

Instead of spending hours playing with accounting software, dreaming up potential expense and income categories, and creating fancy reports with no data, spend that time generating revenue. As long as you record everything you do now, creating a more formal system later will be fairly easy. It will also be more fun, because then you’ll have real data to enter.

And now you’re an entrepreneur, with all the documents to prove it.

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