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When Is It Time to Pull the Bankruptcy Trigger?

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Recently, it was reported that the average American has $16,000 in credit card debt. While $16,000 doesn’t sound like a lot of money, this number was only $4000 in 2008 and you still need to consider the income of the same average American. Four years ago the average was $40,000 a year and now it has declined to $35,000 a year. When you look at the amount of debt, add interest and living expenses, you have the makings of a financial disaster. Most of these folks are only making minimum payments as they are charging themselves into bankruptcy. At the end of January 2014, it was reported that consumer debt had surpassed $11.36 trillion. Add to that the student loan debt nationwide is now a whopping $1.049 trillion. The media keeps reporting that things are getting better but when you look at the debt ratios and reduced income, I see a different picture. The US government is no different than the consumers, the debt ceiling continuously has been lifted to make you wonder why they even have a ceiling at all. The federal government now owes over $17 trillion and really can’t even afford to pay the interest payments but is allowed to by printing money. The biggest purchaser of the US debt is now the Federal Reserve. That’s pretty cool to borrow real money and be able to print phony dollars to pay back the money they are borrowing. If you ask me, it’s complete craziness. If the US government would file bankruptcy and walk from all their debt they probably would. But instead, they have hung the debt on the heads of the American taxpayers making our grandchildren’s grandchildren obligated for this excessive spending.

The smart money will take a look at the overall picture and if necessary file bankruptcy to cut their losses just like all the corporations do. People buried under a mountain of debt should consider speaking with a bankruptcy attorney to see if filing is even possible for their situation. In most cases, the bankruptcy attorney will offer some kind of resolution that will be feasible. When a person should look for to see if they should consider filing bankruptcy is to add up all their debts and figure out how long it would take to pay them off if they stop charging today. If it takes longer than five years they should strongly think about filing bankruptcy. Although that sounds simple, creditors would like consumers to believe it’s a lot more complicated than that. They have spent billions of dollars on Madison Avenue to get their opinion across that changes the entire dynamic of the American consumer. They want Americans to feel bad about themselves if they use bankruptcy. Using the media, they have made the American consumer feel like a complete failure when they face financial trouble. What they don’t tell you is that corporate America uses bankruptcy as a way to make a company financially stronger. In today’s markets it’s very common for a corporation to file bankruptcy to eliminate the bad employment contract they’ve gotten themselves into with a union. If the unions won’t negotiate, they will first threaten them with bankruptcy and if necessary actually file to force the unions back to the bargaining table. Also when many bad investments are made, they could use this to clear the books and get a fresh start. When they use bankruptcy it’s smart business, but when you or I do it, were dishonest at and or a failure. That’s why we always need to remember who makes the rules. When the market virtually collapsed back in 2008 many people that never thought they would ever be, were faced with a bankruptcy filing. This helped to eliminate much of the stigma that it had in the past. People need to do what’s best for their families and not worry about what creditors say or think about them.

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How Can You Tan Through Your Shirt to Remove Your Tan Lines?

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Tan through shirts can be worn anywhere. You can even out your tan lines naturally and safely by just walking around town or watching a summer time parade or by doing anything outdoors. You could wear a tan through shirt to work and then head out to the park for a jog and enjoy the cool feeling this shirt can provide.

Tan through shirts are ideal for those who love outdoor tanning activities without having to spend hours at the beach or at the park flipping over, waiting, flipping over again and again. You now have the ability to tan through your shirt and get rid of the farmer’s tan look that has been haunting you for years! Now more than ever, with the popularity of tan-through technology increasing there will be many more styles and colors to choose from.

Tan-through shirts rapidly wick moisture through the fabric making you feel cool and comfortable on very hot days while at the same time working on removing your tan lines. The tan through material is made from a special knitting technology that creates millions of tiny pores in the fabric. These pores allow approximately half of the sun’s light to pass through to approximately the same degree as a medium level sunscreen so you never risk unprotected exposure to the sun. The fabric is smooth, and the porous nature of the fabric allows your skin to breathe, which keeps you cool all day long.

It is a simple (you just put the shirt on), yet complex technology. Remember to use an SPF6-10 under your shirt to build a base tan safely and naturally during your outdoor activities. One of the benefits of a tan-through shirt is that it is very lightweight and very easy to take care of which should make it number one on your packing list when going on vacation.

One example is the collared tan-through golf shirt: Picture yourself playing golf on the greens in 85 degree temperature and after 4 hours you still feel as cool as when you did back on the first hole. You should be able to enjoy a nice easy stroke without fighting the stickiness and perspiration that many golfers experience.

The quality of a tan through shirt is perhaps a bit more than a regular sports shirt. Tan-through shirts keep you very cool and they’re comparable in price to any fine sportswear brand. You are also receiving so much more in return in regards to the services that the tan-through shirt provides to you.

So the next time it’s going to be a hot sunny day, try a tan-through shirt. Not only will you get all the benefits of a regular sports shirt, but the tan through aspect will help you even out your tan lines, keep you cooler and stay lighter on your feet all at the same time.

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What Are the Advantages of Using Website Templates

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What they see is what they get

Creating a website with the use of a ready-made template does not require imagination since people can expect how the finished product will look like even if there will be changes and iterations along the way and whether or not their web developer of choice understood their requirements. They can customize a website template by changing the text, colors and pictures to make it look a little different from the original.

Speed

Time is valuable. Websites created with a template will be operating only a portion of the time needed to develop a custom website as long as they have the pictures and content needed to customize their website template that will suit their needs. It can take months to develop a custom designed website, depending on how complex it is. This time-frame can be compared to the few days/hours for a template to turn into a fully developed website.

Cost

People can pay as low as $30 to $65 to get a striking, professionally-designed website. On the other hand, a custom-designed website can cost up to $5,000. In addition, they can choose from a wide variety of free templates but with limited design and functionality plus they cannot expect technical support whenever needed.

Choice

Due to the stiff online competition, people can now choose from the several, different designs and packages that are suitable for their needs. On the contrary, a custom-built website offers only 2 to 3 choices. With regard to website templates, people are spoiled with the numerous choices on the internet.

Looks

A website must be visually appealing to draw visitors to it. Professionals design both ready-made website templates and custom templates. So, people can make use of top-notch quality designs without paying the high costs associated with custom design. They can choose from a multitude of striking template designs online. Since some companies offer higher quality templates than others, they should be cautious and not just give in to the aggressive sale pitches on other sites. They should use their right judgment in choosing the web template that will reveal a great deal about their company.

Functionality

Website templates that are designed by professionals have standard pages such as “about”, “home’, “contact’ and “services”. Some templates provide additional features to display a portfolio, photo gallery and/or communication or community networking features such as a blog, bulletin board or newsletter. Still, the more complex website templates as well as e-commerce websites present dynamic features such as live chat, online ordering and credit card processing. It is important to keep in mind that such features will need the support from their web host so these can function well.

Navigation

The look of a website template is only part of the big picture. What is more important is the way it works. Is it easy for customers to find the content they need? Are the navigation links consistent all through the site? Do visitors know where they are, where they will go next and how they will get back to where they started? Website templates give them a feel of their site’s navigation.

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Cease and Desist – What To Do (Besides Panic) Upon Receipt of This Letter

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When clients need to create marketing tools for their businesses which include trademarks, advertising, brochures, direct mailers, websites, signage and other highly visible digital and printed communications, they are often oblivious and sometimes dismissive about the stringent laws protecting copyrights and trademarks against infringement. However, if a rights or mark violation is detected by the owner of record, he may commission his lawyer to draft a “cease and desist” letter which usually shocks the recipient into an immediate state of panic with only days in which to respond.

Such letters serve to notify the alleged offender that a lawsuit may follow should the offending activity continue and that “damages” may be determined by how much revenue/profit was generated as a result of such activity.

Since I am in the thick of it as the creator of the marketing items mentioned above, my clients share such notices with me in the hopes that I can somehow help them out of trouble. Equally shocked by such news since I never intentionally engage in any kind of infringement activity, I first inform my clients that I am not an attorney and therefore cannot legitimately advise them of their legal rights or ramifications of such a letter. And, since work with my clients is very much a team effort, involving instructions, guidance and ultimately approval from my clients before proceeding with printing or publishing any final marketing efforts for them, my surprise at the receipt of such a letter cannot be masked. I do share with them previous experiences and my suggestions about how best to proceed.

On a recent such occasion, my client decided after much anguish and disbelief, that the best course of action would be to consult a trademark attorney for expert representation. While I have often written letters for clients to successfully support their legal stance, I could not argue the virtues of this decision because of one undeniably important fact. Although my client and I are both individual business owners, the client behind the cease and desist letter was a multinational corporate behemoth with very deep pockets using a nationally based law firm with offices in Manhattan.

This did not surprise me since the work I do for my clients has powerful marketing strength, with highly attractive graphics and equally compelling messages, vaulting them to the top of Google rankings which result in stellar sales and incredible notoriety. It is no wonder that such a large corporation would fear the threat of competition from my client, both of whom are selling to the same market. What was puzzling about this situation was that my client’s marketing is extremely supportive of the corporation in question since my client’s items are meant to enhance this corporation’s products. Without the corporate products, there would be no market for my client to serve.

After more than a decade of working together, my client would be the first to admit that my marketing efforts are largely responsible for his rise to fame which ironically includes sales to divisional units of this same corporation. Many of these corporate units have recognized the value of my client’s products to adorn their brand as a way to improve their own sales, not deter them. But it seems the members of the corporate elite at the helm of this company’s Asian headquarters worry that my client is attempting to take business away from them, clearly a misunderstanding on their part.

What was the nature of the cease and desist letter? The corporate lawyer itemized a number of alleged infringements:

1. Use of a typestyle to identify their products which was not their logo but was close enough to possibly cause market confusion.

2. Failure to obviously differentiate our products from theirs, the difference being aftermarket vs. original equipment manufacturing, respectively.

3. A number of stipulations about size of text used on the name of this corporation (too large!), size of text used in our disclaimer information (too small!) and use of their corporate name within photos of their own products on which our products can be used. (Do we detect envy here?)

4. Use of the corporate name on our products, an erroneous assumption made by the corporation based on the use of their name on their own products within some of our photos. Note that the corporate lawyer clarified that we were not infringing on any rights by using their name or showing their products to sell our goods which are designed and manufactured to complement and accessorize their products. This is quite legal. What they were protesting were our alleged “unfair business practices” which possibly were taking business away from them.

At my client’s request, I provided his lawyer with extensive research I had done in support of my client showing similar instances of the alleged offending citations; examples of disclaimer text size used on countless other websites, including the corporation’s own website (which is much smaller than that used on my client’s website!); and proof that none of our products display the corporation’s logo or any facsimile of it whatsoever. These examples were forwarded to the corporate lawyer with a sentence or two from my client’s attorney.

In the meantime, allowing the lawyers to speak to each other in their own language on their own schedule had bought us extra time in which to implement any necessary changes. Since my client had given me free rein to address all complaints as I determined necessary, I decided that compliance would be the best route to curtailing any further action which could involve more than a decade’s worth of my client’s annual revenues. Despite knowledge that my client felt 100% justified in the use of the corporate name in the tasteful manner in which we had done to date and was peeved by having to make so many changes for no apparent gain, I decided that a total marketing re-design could satisfy the corporation while elevating my client’s brand to a new level of excellence. In essence, why not capitalize on a seemingly grave situation to transform it into a positive opportunity for growth and profit?

Luckily, my client did not have a problem with emphasizing that his products are truly aftermarket in nature (meaning not OEM or original equipment manufacturing) because OEM products are frequently perceived as overly expensive and sometimes of inferior quality in comparison and my client’s aftermarket products are often sought as a better alternative to OEM at a better price! Furthermore, replacing the corporate name with my client’s company name was a giant step forward to stronger branding for my client’s business, something he had been timid about doing for the majority of his years in business for fear of overshadowing the corporate name on the products for which his items are made.

So, I began the arduous task of redesigning every page of his website, his printed materials and signage; rewriting text to comply with the corporate requests (verbatim!); removing their name from every photo of their products showing use of our products; and lengthening our already very comprehensive disclaimers to include every detail of their verbiage including statements that we “do not sell original equipment manufacturing” and that “we are in no way affiliated with, authorized by or connected with” the corporation in question. I made sure that these changes were made on every one of our more than 90 web pages and countless other marketing items!

Once this work was complete, our lawyer informed us that our new presentations had passed muster with the corporate lawyer and his clients, satisfying all alleged transgressions and terminating any further action at this time.

Since we had never previously mentioned the term OEM or original equipment manufacturing anywhere within our material, I informed my client that the use of such terms repeatedly on every page of our website would increase the likelihood that Google searches would now list our pages in response to those search terms, in addition to our excellent ranking for aftermarket searches, opening up a new market for awareness and possible sales. It seems that the corporation’s complaints were in fact helping my client while simultaneously shooting themselves in the foot, so to speak!

With this knowledge, my client celebrated not only the relief of legal rectitude but triumph in defeat! Granted, he may have paid his trademark lawyer handsomely for delivering my messages to the corporate lawyer, and paid me for all my work to correct his supposed infractions, in the end he benefited greatly with better branding, legal fortitude and the prospects of bigger profits to come, not just from his worldwide consumer market but also from the now ingratiated corporation who probably feel the victory was theirs alone. Who knew cease and desist could translate as win-win?

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