Home Improvement Stores – An Overview

Thanks to the popularity of home improvement programming on television, the last boom in the housing market and an influx of home repair magazines and media, the home renovation retail business is absolutely thriving. After watching how-to design programs on television and reading how-to articles in design magazines, homeowners are rushing out for paint, lumber, wiring and anything else they need for their next weekend project.

Another factor contributing to the surging interest in DIY home improvement are the costs of labor and contractors. As the expense of hiring help goes up, homeowners are increasingly likely to take on a project themselves, thus sending them to their local hardware retailer to stock up on needed supplies.

These same local hardware stores have gone from small shops to major, national retailers with huge chain networks. Examples of some of the larger home improvement stores include Lowe’s Home Improvement, The Home Depot, Home Hardware, Canadian Tire, Ace Hardware, Do It Best and Fred Meyer. These retailers can be found almost all over the United States and continue to expand into Canada, Europe and Asia.

The Best and Biggest Home Improvement Stores

As the largest in the country, The Home Depot is the hardware retailer of choice for the United States. Headquartered in Georgia, The Home Depot employs over 350,000 people and operates over 2,100 stores all over the world, including China. Second only to Wal-Mart for retail power in the United States, The Home Depot is the giant of home hardware supplies.

Lowe’s is the second largest hardware and home renovation retailer in the United States. Focusing their business model on service, Lowe’s takes aim at retaining a local store feeling. The Lowe’s chain began in North Carolina in 1946 as a single store and now operates over 1400 stores in the U.S. The chain is looking to expand into Canada and Mexico.

Another competitor that focuses on customer service and local emphasis is The True Value Company. By concentrating on quality service and extensive how-to programs, True Value is attempting to win over customers from large competitors like Home Depot or Lowe’s. True Value is also unique because it operates as a cooperative, meaning it is owned by its members. Essentially, it is a member-owned wholesaler and therefore is often able to deliver lower prices.

Finally, there’s Ace Hardware. A leader in global sales, Ace Hardware is also a cooperative, meaning most of their stores are owned and operated by a local dealer who owns a financial stake in the larger company.

Home Based Business – Don’t Let it Ruin Your Health

It is quite common for people who are involved in a home based business to feel slightly displeased when looking in a mirror.

While running a business from home, you do not have to wake up and rush around to get ready to commute to work, fight the daily traffic and worry about the time clock. Hectic as these chores are, there are some physical health benefits to them, in that they force you to keep your body somewhat active. You are probably thankful for most of the benefits of owning your own home business, but many times the casualness of the business and the limited confines of a home office may cause or prohibit your attention to your physical well being.

It’s no wonder that the benefits and the freedom of owning a home business are attractive to you. However, it can also encourage less physical activity and it often promotes less than healthy nutrition. Allowing your health to suffer is a shame since working from home offers you the freedom and flexibility to keep yourself in good shape and stay healthy.

A healthy lifestyle has many side benefits including the ability to have more energy and focus. It will also improve the quality and productivity of your home based business activities by allowing you to work longer and stay more focused on your business.

So, make sure to schedule yourself for some regular physical activity everyday to keep your health and wellness in tip top condition. A simple 1/2 hour walk in the park every day, if nothing else, will clear your mind and give your body a physical break that will be noticeable in your physical well being.

Eat healthy snacks:

It is certainly difficult to resist those cookies and ready-to-eat snacks when you have an entire drawer full of them only a few feet away. However, your health is critical to your maintaining your business, so you should avoid them when ever possible.

Instead, pack your kitchen with fresh fruits and vegetables to snack on. Moreover, allow a designated eating and break time which should preferably be away from your home office. This will give you ample opportunity to stretch yourself and it will also prevent the all day eating habit to form.

Get an ergonomic chair:

Mobility is another health problem which a home business owner generally puts on the back burner. Sitting in one place for hours without any other physical activity might make you suffer with some of your biggest health issues. Apart from that you will also suffer from poor posture, back and neck pain etc. It can keep you away from an active lifestyle. However, this issue may be fixed with a supportive computer chair. Check out your local furniture store or even better you local office supply store where they normally handle ergonomic chairs. They can offer you great advice on which chairs will fit your needs and you can even try one out to make sure it fits you, your budget and your office decor.

Your health and wellness is very important for your business because you operate solo. You cannot afford to fall ill, after all, who will run your business if you are sick or disabled? Prevention is much better than the cure.

Take a break:

Your home business will generally be confined to one small area of your home and it may not provide you with much opportunity to move around. If so, then you will need to take designated breaks and go outside and take a walk or spend some time on a treadmill or other physical fitness equipment that you may have. This will also improve the blood circulation and your cardiovascular health.

You may even prefer to start your day with a run or a long walk which will not only keep you in good shape but it also will give you the energy to work for the whole day.

So, take advantage of your work-from-home-lifestyle and improve your home based business along with your health and wellness. There are two critically important factors which go hand in hand with your business success and which, if absent, could cause your business to fail or your health to deteriorate to the point where you will not be able to appreciate the freedom provided by your new business.

Finding a Low Interest Home Improvement Loan

When you want to make improvements to your home, the idea of a low interest home improvement loan comes to mind. After all, the major part of any loan is the interest rate, so if you can get a lower interest rate, the monthly payments and the total cost of the loan are going to be substantially lower. Don’t choose the bank where you have your mortgage simply because it’s convenient, but check around to find a low interest home improvement loan.

The importance of research

Just like any other loan, you want to be sure to do some research before you choose a lender. Failing to research before you obtain your loan can make the difference between finding a low interest home improvement loan and paying a higher rate of interest.

One of the worst mistakes that borrowers make is thinking that every lender charges about the same rate of interest, especially within the same regional area, and this is far from being factual information. First, different types of lenders have different interest rates.

For example, a finance company is going to charge a much higher interest rate than a bank, thus the reason it is easier for those with bad credit to obtain a loan from a finance company. On the other hand, many credit unions charge a lower rate of interest than banks.

Choosing a lender

If you want to find a low interest home improvement loan, you will need to do some research outside of your local or regional area. That doesn’t mean that you will find the lowest interest rate outside of your regional area, but if you don’t do the research, you will not know if you have the lowest rate on a home improvement loan that is available. In addition, sometimes you can present a lower quote to a local lender, and in order to keep your business, they will match the lowest quote you received.

If you have good credit and are a long time customer of a particular lender, they will not want to lose your business to someone else over a difference in the interest rate. You want a low interest home improvement loan, and they want to maintain your business, so you have a tool for negotiation.

Is the best rate always the lowest rate?

When you begin to research lenders, you have to look at every aspect of the cost of the loan and not just the interest rate. Of course, the interest rate is the first thing you will see when looking for a low interest home improvement loan, but you have to look at everything that adds to the cost of the loan. For instance, one lender may charge a lower interest rate but has an application fee and prepayment penalty.

Another lender may have other kinds of additional charges, such as required insurance, that will add to the cost of the loan. Researching every aspect of the loan in order to find a low interest home improvement loan that also has a low overall rate is your goal when you conduct your research.

Pinpoint Your Home-Based Business Strengths With These 8 Power Questions

In order to successfully grow a home-based business in network marketing, one must practice the art of self-motivation. You don’t have a boss telling you what you have to do, so you have to be responsible for your activity. Every activity can be translated into a number and this is how we get statistics. Statistics are how we as business owners can evaluate our own personal level of activity.

Another part of the equation though, is that unlike a regular job, you do not have to rely on the numbers game to find success. The more activity you do does not mean the more successful you will be in network marketing. It just means you are filling up your busy time with activity that is probably not moving you forward. When you can pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses, then evaluate and build on your strengths, you will begin to see your business grow without spending 18 hours a day “working.”

You can begin this simple process by asking yourself the following 8 questions every Sunday evening before you go to sleep. This is the best time to evaluate your activity because it gives you a chance to think about how you can make a fresh start before you begin your work week.

1. How Well Did I Follow My Schedule For The Week?

It is not easy sticking to a schedule, but if you are making any kind of improvement from week to week, it will not take long for you to get into the groove of it. Things happen to all of us, so do not worry about it. Just get back on track and commit to doing better in the week ahead.

2. What Was My Connect Rate And How Can I Improve It?

This refers to the people you actually talk to as you dial through your list each day. Your ultimate goal for this should be around 30%. Ways to improve it could be to make more dials each day, do your dialing during a different time. Do not leave messages for people as they usually do not return calls. Just call them back at a different time.

3. What Was My Invite Rate?

This obviously refers to the people you actually had a connection with. As you develop your skill set over the telephone, you will see this percentage automatically begin to increase with experience. You will always come across people who are just not interested in even listening to you, but those who are need to be told the benfits of your invitation to hear an presentation call in a way that will interest them.

4. What Was My Confirmation rate?

If this rate is low compared to your invite rate, start thinking about what you can do to attract the right audience. This could be purchasing better qualified leads, or your willingness to elminate reminder calls. When you get the right audience on the other end of the phone, this rate will automatically go up.

5. What Was My Closing Rate For The Week?

When your confirmation rate increases, this will also begin to increase assuming you are well adjusted to handling objections and showing people how your product or service can benefit them. Ultimately you only have once chance to close a person, and once again, your ability to properly justify the opportunity will make a big difference.

6. How Long Before I reach My Goal Based On My Current Rate Of Building?

You’ll have to do a little bit of calculating on this one. Just take your numbers and place them out in front of you as if you were predicting the future. If you have been closing 2 people a month since the beginning of the year and your goal is to have 50 new distributors by the end of the year, your rate of activity is too slow.

7. What Do I Need To Change To Reach My Goal Withing The Next 10 Weeks?

This could be anything from changing your presentation to spending more time dialing leads on the telephone. It is all up to you and it has to be. You are the only one who can find the magic formula for your own business. Everyone is different. You have to go through this trial and error to find your strengths.

8. What Excuses Did I Make This Week?

Did you find yourself saying that you did not close enough people because your telephone headset is outdated and you need a new one? No matter what you tell yourself, you cannot escape the truth because your business will not move forward if you lie. You deserve to tell yourself the truth. You don’t need a new telephone, you need to improve your skill set. Be responsible for your own business. No else is going to but you.

Start to see this evaluation process as an adventure or experiment. Only through process of elimination and pinpointing your strengths can you begin to see your results improve. You have to realize that no matter how much you pay for leads, they all stink. (Remember this the next time your upline tries to convince you to spend $25 per lead. The same leads are available online for about ten cents!) And since they all stink, that means that you will only get about 5-10% results.

Understanding this frees you from the frustration of everything working out 100% perfect so you can focus on improving your skill set. Tweaking and listening to people will become fun. This is how you will find the right audience as well. If your company does not teach you how to market properly (yes, it’s quite different than simply distributing a product), strongly consider seeking education where you can find out how to do so.