Monthly Archives: May 2011
Owning a business can be fun and rewarding, but it also unavoidably involves a lot of boring paperwork. Between invoices, ordering forms and contracts, many business owners wind up spending most of their time hunched over some inscrutable fine print instead of out meeting and greeting customers. But of all the myriad forms a business owner must keep track of, none is quite such a pain in the neck as the contract. It’s within the contract that a business lays out its interaction with other individuals and businesses, so everyone is on the same page regarding obligations and duties. Businesses need to keep contracts with their employees, of course, but it’s also essential to keep contracts with property owners from whom the business rents, the business’ suppliers and the business’ customers.
Contracts are essential, but they are by no means simple. Making an original contract is hard enough, but through the standard course of business, certain situations are bound to arise that will necessitate some changes to the contract. Keeping track of a contract’s original requirements and subsequent changes, and actually adhering to them, is a Herculean task to say the least. A business owner needs all the help she can get to not mismanage any contracts, a mistake that can lead to a sour end of the relationship between a business and its customers, employees or suppliers.
Who Needs Paper?
These days, a big filing cabinet with disorganized stacks of paper is about the worst way to keep track of important business documents. With the right contract software, a business can move all those papers into one convenient digital file. This will keep them better organized, and free up some floor space in the office.
Help With Every Step.
Good contract software can help you with every step of the contracting process, from contract creation to contract tracking to contract termination. Don’t reinvent the wheel every time you need to work on a contract or write a new one: simply log on to your computer and easily locate whatever contract you need, then let the software take care of the rest. Doing it this way can help a business avoid costly mistakes resulting from errors on contracts, misplaced contracts or contracts that were poorly written in the first place.
Sometimes, not every party has the same memory of the stipulations of a contract. It can be something as simple as when a delivery was to be made, or something rather serious like an employee’s salary. Contract management software can not only help you easily locate each and every contract, but will enable you to share information via the Internet, eliminating the need for silly “he-said, she-said” battles.
Most of us have given up beating our women over the head with a club, and dragging them off by the hair. I believe we call this evolution. The hit on Buster Posey has got me thinking about the evolution of baseball. I think it’s about time. Football has evolved. It you make a helmet-to-helmet hit it will cost you $100,000. Why? Because it is dangerous, and we like to think that it matters not to kill our athletes. This is not the freeking Roman Coliseum people, and these “gladiators” get to live to play another day, or game in this case.
My favorite story about a pig of a human being, betting or not, is about Pete Rose; baseball’s all-time hit king. It is a home-plate collision with catcher Ray Fosse in the 1970 All-Star Game that gave the National League a 5-4 win in extra innings. That play — in an exhibition game, no less —screwed up Fosse’s shoulder permanently and changed the trajectory of his entire career.
TB’s Elliot Johnson took out Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli on a play at the plate and that resulted in broken wrist.
With Marlins catcher Brett Hayes blocking the plate, Morgan put his head down and delivered a solid shot, dislodging Hayes’ shoulder from its socket.
I still think giving yourself up when you are obviously out is better than throwing your forearms into the shoulder/head/neck region of the catcher. Again, you can’t do this at any other base, it is clearly against the rules (this wasn’t really any different than the ARod slapping the glove play), so why is it allowed in the first place.
The NFL recognizes that some plays are not in the best interest of player health or the game and try to cut them from play (though they can go overboard)…..MLB has this false sense of nostalgia about such plays, which no one can remember happening in the old days because players were required to slide.
Also, the argument that players will have to be retrained is silly. This type of play is allowed no where but in pro baseball in the US….not in HS, not in college. Players are already taught to slide when they learn the game….and MOST of them continue to do so or you would have 1/2 dozen of these collisions every single day of the season.
Buster Posey’s agent Jeff Berry: “If you go helmet to helmet in the NFL, it’s a $100,000 fine, but in baseball, you have a situation in which runners are [slamming into] fielders. It’s brutal. It’s borderline shocking. It just stinks for baseball. I’m going to call Major League Baseball and put this on the radar. Because it’s just wrong.”
Berry said that he talked to both Joe Torre, leader of on-field operations for Major League Baseball, and the players’ union about the play on Thursday morning. Being that Torre is a former catcher, that must have been an interesting conversation.
The play was perfectly legal under the current rules, of course. But should it be? Should we be running into the first baseman to see if we can make him drop the ball? If you hit the ump with your bat after you strike out can we keep them from giving the “strike” sign? We have a $200,000 reward for senseless violence after a game, but encourage it during the game? Lets drop our swords and shields and have a clean, pleasant contest. The Pete Rose moves really don’t add to the game, and tend to “harsh my mellow.”
Grow up and leave the testosterone to the WWF or Arnold. This is supposed to be a sport.
To establish a new business or expand an existing business is a particularly costly process, requiring large amounts of capital. This capital must be supplied from within the company itself, by investors in the company or by borrowing from a financial institution. However, with the current unfavourable economic conditions that are being experienced around the world capital can be particularly difficult to come by. Financial institutions are more cautious than ever when lending money and reduced profits result in reduced internal capital. Therefore, establishing a new business or expanding an existing business can be severely hindered by a lack of capital.
However, many companies are presented with another option when capital is scarce: to outsource services. The vast majority of expenses that are incurred when establishing a new business or expanding an existing business are due to the need to establish infrastructure. Moreover, once this infrastructure has been established it must be operated and maintained in order to be used effectively. The costs associated with establishing, operating and maintaining a significant amount of infrastructure are considerable but they can be removed altogether by outsourcing essential services such as mailing fulfilment and website payment processing services.
By outsourcing such services companies save vast amounts of money, thus rendering business plans viable that were previously considered to be impossible. Mailing fulfilment is a prime example of this. If a company were to provide such a capability internally it would need to purchase extensive storage facilities to house all of the stock required for a period of operations. Moreover, it would also need purchase extensive equipment to manage the dispatch and stock control processes. The initial outlay would be extensive. Furthermore, the company would need to employ staff to operate such systems and would also need to maintain such systems. The combined cost of initially establishing this infrastructure and also operating and maintaining it would be enormous.
However, if the same company were to outsource its mailing fulfilment services its costs would be considerably simplified and reduced. First and foremost, the initial acquisition costs for that particular service when either establishing a new company or expanding an existing company would be eliminated entirely. Thus, the company’s requirement for capital would also be eliminated. Secondly, the costs that would be incurred by the company when operating and maintaining the service would be replaced by a single outgoing. This outgoing would pay for the outsourced service and would represent the only expense for the service for the company.
Outsourcing critical processes within a company can ensure that a business plan is viable and attainable either when establishing a new company or expanding an existing company. Outsourcing such processes can eliminate acquisition costs entirely as well as considerably reduce regular ongoing costs. This can deliver considerable cost savings to the company and reduce the overwhelming pressure upon the company to source capital for the new venture. Outsourcing services can present an extremely attractive option and simplify and reduce regular outgoings.
This article was written by Amy Fowler on behalf of Hallmark Consumer Services. Amy writes on a variety of topics including mailing fulfilment services and other ways to reduce business costs.
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO — Catcher Buster Posey has torn ligaments in his left ankle which probably will require surgery, along with a broken bone in his lower left leg, the Giants announced Thursday.
Yet the club resisted declaring that Posey will be sidelined for the entire season. Giants medical personnel wants to finish consulting specialists for additional opinions on Posey’s condition until outlining a recovery timetable for the National League’s reigning Rookie of the Year.
Giants head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner admitted that the three torn ligaments in Posey’s ankle constitute a “severe” injury. Groeschner also acknowledged that Posey’s ankle “most likely” will require surgery and he “could be [sidelined] awhile.”
Groeschner was less concerned about Posey’s fractured fibula, noting that it should heal normally. Posey, said Groeschner, underwent MRIs on his knee, ankle and lower leg to give Giants doctors a thorough look at the afflicted area. Groeschner said that Posey’s knee is fine.
Posey, 24, was hurt during Wednesday night’s 12th inning as he absorbed a home-plate collision with Florida’s Scott Cousins, who scored the tiebreaking run in the Marlins’ 7-6 victory. Florida completed a three-game series sweep of the Giants on Thursday with a 1-0 victory.
The Giants must confront the reality of trying to remain in first place in the NL West and defend their World Series triumph without their most important position player. Though the Giants rank last in the NL in scoring, Posey had lifted his batting average to .284 with a 13-game hitting streak.
“You just don’t replace a Buster Posey,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s not only your catcher handling a great staff, but he’s also your cleanup hitter. Hopefully the other guys will step up. Right now we’re not doing what we are capable of doing offensively, and they need to turn up the volume on their play.”
“When such a key part of your team gets injured, it’s definitely a shock,” right-hander Matt Cain said. “You just keep replaying the situation over and over. … It’s one of those things where we’re hoping this can all go by quickly so he can go back to [being] Buster.”The Giants weathered the absences of outfielders Cody Ross and Andres Torres earlier this season, and they’ll remain without third baseman Pablo Sandoval for at least two more weeks. But though players have grown accustomed to such comings and goings, Posey’s injury left them more somber than usual.
“This club has dealt very well with adversity,” Bochy said. “We’re still a very good ballclub.”
For the immediate future, Eli Whiteside will ascend from his backup role to replace Posey as San Francisco’s No. 1 catcher. The Giants purchased the contract of Triple-A Fresno catcher Chris Stewart to provide depth.
Whiteside is batting .185 in 15 games, including eight starts. Posey had started 41 of San Francisco’s first 48 games.
“I’m not going to try to be Buster,” Whiteside said. “He’s our four-hole hitter and playing every day. I’m just going to go out there and do my best.”
Bochy didn’t rule out trying to obtain more help at the position.
“That’s something that [general manager] Brian [Sabean] and I will talk about,” he said.
The Washington Nationals, one of the few teams with a glut of catching, are known to be dangling Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez and Jesus Flores. Rodriguez, 39, had a particularly strong game against the Giants on May 1, going 2-for-4, driving in two runs and throwing out fleet Darren Ford on a stolen-base attempt. Otherwise, quality catching is a rare commodity, largely explaining why Posey has been so highly regarded.
“There’s nobody available out there,” one Major League scout said.
In an attempt to compensate for the loss of Posey’s bat, the Giants recalled first baseman/outfielder Brandon Belt from Triple-A Fresno. Belt, San Francisco’s Opening Day first baseman who returned to the Minors after hitting .192 in 17 games, was hitting .337 with four homers, 21 RBIs and a Pacific Coast League-best .470 on-base percentage.
Bochy believed that Belt will be better prepared for a second stint in the Majors. The 23-year-old has addressed a mechanical flaw in his swing and played outfield more often to increase his versatility.
“He should have a little bigger sense of comfort,” Bochy said. “I’ll find ways to get him in the lineup to help us out.”
The Giants also purchased the contract of infielder Brandon Crawford from Class A San Jose while placing infielder Mike Fontenot (left groin) and Ford (right ankle) on the 15-day disabled list.
None of the Giants accused Cousins of intentionally trying to steamroller Posey, who could not fully gain control of right fielder Nate Schierholtz’s throw. But, asked whether he considered it a clean play, Bochy declined to give an unqualified endorsement. He instead suggested that rules be considered to protect catchers from bearing the brunt of such collisions.
“It’s part of baseball,” said Bochy, a former catcher. “I understand that guys run into catchers. I do think we need to consider changing the rules here a little bit because catchers are so vulnerable. … Here’s a guy [Posey] who’s very popular in baseball. Fans want to see him play and now he’s out for a while. So I’d like to see something considered where we can protect these guys a little bit more. They just don’t have that protection to take a guy coming in full speed with that kind of force.”
The current harsh economic climate has created an environment whereby it is exceptionally difficult to establish a new business from scratch. Lenders are more cautious than ever to provide start-up businesses with the necessary capital to enable them to establish the infrastructure that is required to begin trading. Moreover, a reduction in disposable income in general has significantly reduced the amount of money that consumers have to spend on any given product. This in term has created tougher competition between companies even in different market sectors.
In view of such a climate it is important that start-up businesses take advantage of every cost saving available in order to reduce the initial investment required to establish the business and to ensure that the business is competitive. One way in which this can be achieved is through outsourcing some or all of the company’s critical processes. For example, by outsourcing a company’s storage and dispatch systems through ecommerce fulfilment a business can remove the need to purchase, maintain and operate extensive warehousing property and specialist dispatch and packing equipment.
Moreover, ecommerce fulfilment can offer considerable savings for businesses that make extensive use of direct website sales. By utilising an outsourced shopping basket and payment processing system companies eliminate the requirement to produce, implement and maintain their own system. Such website infrastructure can be exceptionally costly to develop, test and implement, therefore outsourcing provides an extremely attractive alternative. Tried and tested systems have the advantage of being refined through practical use and modified according to feedback. Moreover, they can be implemented immediately without the time consuming development and testing period. Outsourced website payment infrastructure offers considerable advantages in terms of both time and money to companies who provide direct sales through their website.
By selecting outsourced services businesses do not have to directly employ nearly so many staff as they would otherwise due to the reductions offered by using outsourced storage property and equipment and using outsourced website infrastructure. Company employees would not be required to operate and maintain the storage and dispatch facility and would likewise not be required to design, test and implement website infrastructure. As employees are one of the most expensive outgoings for any business, ecommerce fulfilment offers considerable cost savings when outsourcing services as opposed to providing such processes internally.
By outsourcing critical business processes businesses can enjoy large cost savings over providing the same service internally. The primary advantage is the reduction in initial investment required to setup a new business. This is followed by the time, effort and expense saved by utilising systems that are already in place and ready for immediate use. Moreover, a business that outsources its requirements for product storage, dispatch and website payment infrastructure takes advantage of the considerable experience accumulated by the service company over many years. This means that the client company does not need to begin at the start of the learning curve as regards these processes but can build on existing tried and tested processes.
This article was written by Amy Fowler on behalf of Hallmark Consumer Services. Amy writes on a variety of topics including ecommerce fulfilment and ways to reduce business setup costs.
Maybe Baseball will change the barbaric rule now!
By Grant Brisbee -
You might think Giants fans are devastated by the season-ending injury to Buster Posey. You might not know how devastated, though.
May 26, 2011 - Buster Posey was probably going to be about a four- or five-win player this year. He’d accumulated two WAR already, so if the Giants were going to finish 94-68 this year, now they’ll probably finish around 91-71.
And that’s that.
Yeah. No. I’m sure there’s a statistical angle to take, and it’s rare that the loss of one player can completely eliminate a team from contending, but that’s not where Giants fans are right now. Give us a week or so. Let us get caught up in the inning-to-inning routine, and maybe we’ll start worrying about what this means for the Giants. They don’t have a hot catching prospect. They have a bunch of replacement-level types.
You want analysis? The Giants will replace an All-Star catcher with a scrub, and it will cost them some wins.
But that’s not why most Giants fans feel nauseous right now. Giants fans were in love with Buster Posey.
When Buster Posey was a prospect, lighting up the Pacific Coast League, he was blocked byBengie Molina, the Least Exciting Player in Baseball. You can argue about his value to the club, but it’s hard to argue that he wasn’t the least exciting player. He was the slowest player in the game, he regularly made outs on bad pitches, and a good portion of what was to supposed to make up his value was invisible — handling a pitching staff well and calling a good game weren’t the sort of the things that showed up in the box score. Well, except for that “runs allowed” section, which didn’t change when other catchers were playing, but that was nitpicking.
So you had an unexciting player doing unexciting things, with a perceived value that was something like a tiger-repellent rock. And there was this young guy, tearing up the minors, just begging for a chance to hit. The Giants kept saying things like, “Wait a sec, we’re talking about catchers. You can’t just replace catchers mid-season. Those guys are more than players; they’re leaders, field generals, pitcher-whisperers.”
It was a bit of a cultural divide. But as Molina’s on-base percentage sunk toward .300, and as the Giants kept losing because they couldn’t hit, the Giants realized that they needed to make a bold move. Molina was traded, and Posey started.
So here’s the progression:
- Giants fans were bombarded with organizational propaganda about the value of a catcher. They were told that not just anyone could step in and catch, that catchers were the most important position on the team. The manager was a former catcher, and was at least a deacon in the Church of Catcher.
- Buster Posey stepped in, revived a moribund offense, and led his team and pitching staff to the first championship in San Francisco history.
The first point had an effect on how big the legend grew. It had to. For almost a year, the Giants were resolute that not just anyone could catch. It took a certain experience, a je ne sais catch that took years to learn. And this fresh-faced kid from Mt. Olympus didn’t just step in and win Rookie of the Year – he wrangled a pitching staff that people said would be impossible for a rookie to wrangle. He took the franchise somewhere that Mays, McCovey, Cepeda, and Clark did not.
And suddenly the idea that a catcher was an all-important team leader didn’t seem like hokum. Now it seemed like it was true, and that Buster Posey was a rookie who did it better than anyone else.
Add to this that the Giants hadn’t developed an All-Star position player since Matt Williams became a regular in 1990. That was almost 20 years of development, and the best position player to come up through the system was Bill Mueller. The second-best was Marvin Benard. This is why the area went nuts for Pablo Sandoval, and it’s why they went especially nuts for Buster Posey, who was almost certainly going to end that All-Star drought this season.
There will never be a perfect storm like this again: Posey is a guy who helped break an organizational drought for hitters and championships, he played a position that the fans were repeatedly told was almost impossible to do well, and he is possibly the most likable personality on the team, combining perfect amounts of seriousness and charm in a goofy clubhouse.
Does this read like a fan-boy’s love letter to Buster Posey? Good. It’s supposed to. This is why losing Posey goes beyond wins and losses, beyond a lament that the Giants might not make the playoffs now. Baseball was far, far more fun with Posey than without him. He added a mythology for Giants fans that would be hard for any player to add to any team. He was a guy who was going to get a statue out front of AT&T Park someday, but only if fans didn’t first spontaneously gather and build one themselves out of kisses and melted-down pennies.
Some players, like Tim Lincecum, get the “Franchise” tag because they symbolize the hopes and dreams of an entire organization. If Giants fans had come up with a nickname for Posey, then, it should have been something like “The Essence Of Everything Good About Baseball And This Guy Is The Best Thing Ever About Baseball And Oh Please Please Stay Healthy Forever And Ever.” If that was too clunky, TEOFGABATGITBTEABAOPPSHFAE would have worked just fine.
Now Giants fans have a year or so to hope he’ll be the same player when he returns. Injuries are inherent in sports. But cripes, this one stings. This one stings a lot.
Get better soon, Buster. You are already missed.
Most everybody chooses to project a positive image of themselves. Who wants to walk into a business meeting and announce that they are scared to death of speaking in public, not really sure if they can do the job if they get it, or really upset because their dog just died? Not many. Yet all of these things are going on around us all the time, in people who come across as confident, competent people. We know that these and thousands of other feelings are going on in us constantly, yet we tend to take the “up beat” show must go on attitudes of those around us as fact.
We all have insecurities. There are frequent days that I feel so overwhelmed with my situation that it is tempting to just get numb and hope it all goes away. Some turn to drugs, alcohol, work, food, sex, exercise, or any of a thousand other vices to distract them from that feeling of impending doom. Admit it; it happens to all of us: the sleepless nights that we wake up to use the bathroom at 2:30 and stay up for two hours considering every possible permutation of world holocaust and financial ruin. Perhaps that is why most of the recent tornadoes in the south seem to happen at night. It seems that the morning news, for those of us masochistic enough to watch, is always recounting some horrible tragedy that happened “last night.” It is probably more an effect of the fact that nighttime is usually our longest period of down time, so it just seems like more happens overnight than at any other time.
Therein lays the beautiful argument for faith. For eons humans have felt this overwhelming sense of impending doom. In many cases and circumstances that sense is very real, immediate, and accurate. The flood victims in Mississippi, the earthquake tsunami victims in Japan, Tornado victims, Holocaust victims, all had very real and immediate motivation to want to believe in a better life somewhere else, bye and bye. The key to most of the world’s religions has been to give hope, hope of a better existence. This hope allows for a transcendence of the pitiful nature of human existence: the fact that we are not always kind to each other, we hurt each other, we rip the fins of sharks for their use in soup and throw them back into the ocean to die a slow and painful death, we seem to enjoy attempted genocide now and again. We kill and torture and commit acts of terrorism in the name of our “Loving God’s.” We do this all in the belief that somehow; when we die we are “going” to a better “place.”
What if we all had to come to grips with our realities? Our own internal realities, not our comparison to what we think is going on around us. What if, as one of my great teachers Wellington Boone suggested, when you die your relationship with “God” doesn’t change? What if you don’t “go” anywhere at all? What if Buddhist philosophy and Christian philosophy are actually the same and “God” was inside you all along? What if there is no heaven or hell, just cause and effect, or “karma?”
What would the world be like if we stopped comparing our insides to the facades that comprise our perception of our fellow man? Could we stop for a moment and consider that we all have far more in common than we have differences? Is it possible for us to admit our fears and have compassion on the fact that the brother who just cut you off on the freeway was also doing the best he can with his life?
There is no excuse for some of the actions of others, but we have no control over them. Probably everyone reading this is among those really fortunate of us who have roofs over our heads, full bellies, a reasonable education and “luxury issues.” By that I mean that a crisis for me is sometime a thing as critical as the fact that my daughter attending the University in Santa Barbara doesn’t call me as often as I think she should. Keeping that in perspective, when I feel these fears and insecurities I wake up in the morning and write about it. I make a list of all of the terrors of the wee morning hours, break them down into their more simple component parts, and write down a plan to attack the items on that list that I have control over. I make a second, mental list of all that I have to be thankful for and then a third list of all of the things that are out of my control. That last list is the one that requires prayer and meditation, acceptance, and compassion. It doesn’t seem to me that there is really anywhere to “go” to get away from these issues.
“Wherever you go – there you are.”
Many small business start-ups fail to recognise the importance of their communication lines. However, telephone systems for small business should be at the forefront ofany initial setup. With the World Wide Web playing such a vital role in business survival, the last thing a new business wants is to suffer from poor and unreliable internet and server connections.
Without a doubt, the core to business success is its line of communication. Nobody wants to connect with an online business if the response is slow and unrewarding. When initiating a new business venture, the first thing you need to set up is a fast and reliable communication platform that can deal with any eventuality. With so many modern technologies relying on internet connections, reliable telephone systems for small businesses is an absolute essential. However, with so many new technologies available, many new business owners are overwhelmed with the amount of choice they have.
If you’re looking to network with several different offices and need reliable communication connections, then turning to MPLS could be highly beneficial for your company. In simple terms, MPLS stands for multi-protocol label switching. So how exactly can MPLS help a small business? Quite simply, it is a great way to make sure your data gets to where it’s supposed to be. If your business has plans to use a VPN or wants to cut telephone costs by using VoIP or simply plans to work on a wide variety of platforms, then you will most definitely need to consider using a reliable telephone system. Small Business platforms are turning to MPLS providers to ensure that their lines of communication stay open, free and above all fast!
The Business Benefits of MPLS
There are many benefits that come with using a MPLS provider, these include:
- Enhanced performance and lower running costs from your line of communication
- Priority for your business traffic
- Improved Security for your lines of communication
- Your MPLS requirements can be frequently changed to meet your growing needs
- Simplified administration
These are just a few of the benefits that MPLS can bring to a small business. In truth, each new business will find a way that MPLS can be of benefit. With the web fast becoming an intricate part of any small business, reliable routes of online communication are vital for growth and survival. When first starting out, it is vital that you assess your communication needs and set aside a realistic budget to achieve your goals. If your business is looking to grow and you need to connect various sites and offices, or plan to use VoIP as a way to communicate with your customers, then it is wise to invest in a reliable MPLS system from the very beginning. Failure to set up the correct system could ultimately lead to loss of business or provide you with added complications that any new business could do without.
In conclusion, telephone systems for small business are of extreme importance. MPLS is an ideal solution for instigating secure and reliable connections between the various platforms that your business may use.
This article was written by James Harper on behalf of Maintel. James writes on a variety of topics including business telephone systems for small businesses.