Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Spanish Moss Removal


There's a plant that's common in Florida, as well as other parts of the southeast and Texas, known as Spanish Moss.

It's not really moss, and it's native, not Spanish. Apparently the Spaniards and Frenchmen were trading jabs at each other by calling it "French Hair" and "Spanish Beard". Well the French version, taunting the Spanish, won out, with the slight modification to "moss" instead of "Beard". 

Spanish Moss, Tillandsia usneoides, is a bromeliad, and epiphyte. This means it is not a parasite and does not steal from the tree on which it lives.

Deomossing for appearances only is generally not recommended. The effort to remove the moss can do more damage to the tree than it's worth.

A sick tree might allow too much Spanish Moss to grow. If that happens, moss thinning might be a good choice, but one should only remove enough to allow the tree to recover.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Gainsville Giant Balloon Rental

Gainsville Outdoor Advertising

I'd like to highlight one of my clients that offers Giant Balloon advertisement across the state of Florida. Specifically, I'd like to focus on the city of Gainsville.

Gainsville is best knows for the University of Florida, home of the Florida Gators.

Between 2 and 3 hundred thousand people live in the Gainsville metro area. That's a lot of potential clients. If you're a business owner in the area, you know the importance of getting the attention of the locals and the college crowd.

One way of doing that is with outdoor advertising.

Outdoor advertising includes Giant Balloons, Search Lights, Helium Blimps (offered with helium tank rental) LED signs, wind dancers and more.

When you're setting up a marketing campaign in Gainsville Florida, Consider Giant Balloon Rentals Outdoor Advertising.

Friday, November 25, 2016


Because of my client, Professional Piping Services, Inc., I am learning about piping systems.

Regardless of the type of pipes or what they carry, drinking water, waste water, effluent water, oil, gasoline, chemicals, gasses such as helium and oxygen, slurries and other substances, keeping them clean and at full flow is of great importance.

For oxygen / ozone systems, post construction cleaning is requred to ensure that the pipes and components do not contain oils, construction debris, contaminants, acids, solvents, welding slag, dirt, other foreign substance and that the pipe surfaces are not oxidized.

Failure to properly prepare these systems can result in dangerous, violent reactions inline with the potential to damage or destroy the system and equipment.

C.G.A. G-4.1

The Compressed Gas Association, (CGA), has issued a directive, C.G.A. G-4.1 to specify the implementation of oxygen service equipment cleaning.

My client, Professionl Piping Services Inc, ensures that all their oxygen system work is in compliance with C.G.A. G-4.1.
Their, personnel are trained & accredited to comply with OSHA29, CFR 1910.120, Health and Safety Training
PPSI uses specialize tools and equipment designed specifically to reliably and safely clean these sensitive gas piping systems.

Read more here

Friday, August 12, 2016

Thermal Equipment Industrial Burners

There's a client (another client) I used to work with at JH Studios who I've been working with from for a while now, but we just started working on his SEO. That client is Thermal Equipment Systems, Inc.

The products offered by are burners used in heavy duty industry and could include extremely high temperature incinerators, kilns or giant bread ovens.

These products wouldn't be complete without proper control devices and safety equipment, so of course those are on offer as well.

Ok Thermal, Let's do this!

New Client - Professional Piping Services, Inc.

I've written before that my previous employer, JH Studios, Inc., often refers clients to me. Depending on the situation, I'll host their site, or JH Studios might keep it, and I'll just do the work.

This is one where I'm just doing the work. I'm very satisfied with the way it turned out. The site was designed about 12 years ago by Virgil Mandanici's "Wizard Workz". It hadn't changed much in those 12 years, and as desktops and laptop screens got wider, and skinny smartphone screens became popular, the old design just didn't fit well.

I was given the opportunity to re-build the site to be more friendly to both wider screens, and mobile devices.

Here's what is used to look like:

I think the new design is very true to the original while making it mobile friendly.

As always, when I get a client in a new industry, I begin learning more about that industry. I'll be writing more articles about Professional Piping Services, Inc. soon, probably on my weebly blog.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Monty Hall Problem

I first heard of the Monty Hall Problem while watching the TV show "Numb3rs".

The main character of the show is a math genius who frequently helps solve crimes using his math skills.

I don't remember the details of the episode, but they were talking about game theory and the Monty Hall problem came up.

It came to my attention again today while reading this StackExchange Question

Here's how it goes:

    Suppose you're on a game show, and you're given the choice of three doors: Behind one door is a car; behind the others, goats. You pick a door, say No. 1, and the host, who knows what's behind the doors, opens another door, say No. 3, which has a goat. He then says to you, "Do you want to pick door No. 2?"

    Is it to your advantage to switch your choice?

It turns out that, even if it doesn't seem intuitive, you are more likely to win if you switch. Mathematicians argued about it, but have finally agreed.

I wanted to write a quick bit of code to see what probability I came up with. My language of choice at the moment is PHP, so here it is:

You can run it here:
(Don't be confused. In that sandbox, instead of "doors", I used "cards" )




for ($i=0; $i <= 100000; $i++) {



$known_car=array_search('car', $doors);


//trying to write this made it obvious to me WHY you should always switch


unset($hosts_choices[$player_choice]); // The host cannot choose the player's door.

unset($hosts_choices[$known_car]); // The host cannot choose the car.



$hosts_choice=reset($hck); // at this point, the host will only have 1 or 2 doors to choose from.


if ($doors[$player_choice]=='car') {






echo 'Players who did not swap would have won '. $player_should_keep . ' times'."


echo 'Players who did swap would have won '. $player_should_swap . ' times'."



The funny thing is, I realized after I wrote it that I could comment out the biggest part of the logic, and the code still works. I never actually did anything with the edited version of the $doors array. I could, if there were a skeptic that needed to see actual guesses and actual outcomes, but it isn't really necessary.

Think of it this way, if I have a 1:3 chance selecting the car on the first go, there is a 2:3 chance I didn't choose a car. The host always removes a goat, so my choice is to believe that my 1:3 guess was right and stick to it, or to decide that I was probably wrong, and therefor switch. In the 2/3 of cases, where a goat was chosen and the other goat was removed, the only door left is the winning door.

Because I stepped through the logic in the PHP above, I could actually write a guessing routine, but I shortened it when I realized all I had to calculate was if the player SHOULD switch. Then, thinking about and writing this blog post made me realize how little of the PHP code I actually needed, and how obvious (retrospectively obvious) it is that switching is the preferred choice.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

there is no God the coffee pot

So, I was talking to my inlaws about CoWork Tampa, where I am a member, and about the fact that they have a single cup coffee machine. I was about to do a google search for "Flavia Coffee Pods" but I hit the microphone icon instead of the text box.

Google then did a search for the following text.
there is no God the coffee pot in there and everyone was so my mom a couple times but mostly just going to make up a single
We found this hilarious!

On my mobile phone, I could only see the first few words, so I visited where I could get the full text and actually listen to the audio it had recorded of me. I did my own transcript of what it actually overheard and turned into the above comical rant.
there is uh, they've got a uh coffee pot there, and every once in a while somebody will go make up a pot, but most people just go and make up a single cup.

The moral, be careful when you hit the google search box 'cause voice search is crazy!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Dark Roast Coffee is an insult to a good bean!

I am not a coffee aficionado. I like coffee ice cream. I like coffee flavored candy, but if you serve me Folgers, Maxwell House, or just about any coffee I've ever encountered, I have to smother it in cream and sugar until it resembles those previously mentioned tasty treats.

I thought that's just how it is! Some seem to take the idea of drinking darker and darker roasts as a challenge in the same way that I might inflict upon myself the delights of habeneros, ghosts and scorpions, or really strong sauerkraut or kimchi.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Wireless Fidelity?

This morning, as the WiFi signal waxed and waned from her tablet, my wife asked me "What's the 'fi' in 'WiFi' mean."

I told her it really doesn't mean anything, but it was intended to be familiar, thanks to professional audio equipment known as "Hi-Fi" for High Fidelity that means the output is as close to the input as possible, but that "Wireless Fidelity" really didn't mean anything.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Approaching 5000 total views

I started this blog a little over 8 1/2 years ago, on 8/31/07.

I posted less then 20 times that year, and even less frequently in the following years, until I started running my own business and blogging about my clients, in addition to my own opinions and ramblings.

About a year ago, I posted that I had hit 3000 veiws, so getting to 5k (a 2k improvement) in just over a year is again encouraging.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Tampa Land Clearing

Not all tree trimming is as straight forward as showing up with a truck and chainsaws. There may be environmental concerns such as sensitive wildlife or nearby creeks, streams or rivers. Perhaps there's work to be done near a grand oak or other protected tree and the weight of heavy equipment might compact the soil or otherwise damage it's roots.

Whatever the issue, there are times when hand-clearing is needed. When that time comes, trust a professional to do the job right, to protect the environment, to protect old growth trees, and to get your lot looking just the way it should.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Tampa Business Coach

If you own a business, or are thinking of starting a business in the Tampa Bay area, the opportunities that exist in a young, growing city are plentiful. Daily, more and more people move to Florida, as they are drawn to the great attractions, professional sports teams, and beautiful weather. This increase in population gifts you many new customers and possibilities for business growth.

No matter whether you are a new business owner, a veteran in the industry, or just have a great idea, you always will have an advantage of partnering with a business coach.

A business coach can help you in ways you never imagined, in addition to increasing sales and profit margins. A coach will teach you specific skills in marketing your business, identifying your customer base, and steps to reach out to new business. An organized plan of action created by your business coach will outline the steps you need to take in growing your company. You will receive not only give you steps to grow outward, but will help you develop as a manager, a leader, and a role model to your employees.

Your coach will help you identify practices that hurt your business, and institute procedures that ensure your business runs efficiently. While accountability systems will also be established, it is important to remember that the effort to grow your business must come from you as well! Your plan will be outlined, but it is only as good as its execution.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Don't wait until tax season

Don't wait until tax season to choose an accountant or CPA.

Sure, if you are a single person with very simple situations and can file an EZ form, then you might not need to consider this, but entrepreneurs and small business owners will want to get the best advice from the beginning of the year, and throughout.

Remember that your CPA isn't just thinking of minimizing your taxes. That's part of his or her job, but if you fully leverage their expertise, you may find inefficiencies and opportunities for improvement, thereby reducing your operating costs and increasing your profits.

Your CPA may be able to help analyze the financial health of a company where you are considering making an investment, and show you how decisions you've already made have impacted your earnings, positively or negatively.

Another good reason to develop a good working relationship with your CPA early is so that when the tax rush begins, he or she already has your info, they are already familiar with your situations, and you will likely have already discussed all the correct documents and you'll have either already provided them, or at least you already know how your CPA needs the files to be delivered.

Choose a skilled CPA now. Don't wait for tax season.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

YouTube Channels

I now have 2 YouTube channels.

The older one, TecBrat,  has a few videos from my clients (Actually JH Studios clients), and one I just made with the webcam built into my laptop. I'll probably add more on a wide range of topics.

Edit: I uploaded a great video on how to monetize your YouTube content:

Today I created a new one, TecBrat Drives around Tampa Bay. I made it really just to play around with monetizing YouTube to see what happens.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Tree Planting Season

As we shift into spring, it’s a great time to plant a tree.Tree Services Sacramento tree experts say it’s the best time to plant because the trees can establish themselves now before the hot weather comes. How do you decide what trees to plant in your yard? There are many different factors to think about before planting on your landscape, including what function are they going to serve? Do you have a suitable growing site? Are you going to shade a patio? Do you want to hide an ugly view? Do you want to enhance the overall look of a landscape with a tree? Should I have a tree service company give me their opinion on what I want to do?

Tree Services Sacramento advises would-be tree planters to consider the following factors when selecting a tree:
  • Moisture - What are the moisture requirements for the life of the tree?
  • Maintenance - Are there maintenance requirements for the life of the tree, and am I able to fulfill the requirements?
  • Hardiness - What’s the plants ability to survive extremes of winter cold and summer heat, and sudden temperature swings?
  • Growth - Do you know the growth rate above and below ground, and do you have the space for the tree?

A tree services company with an arborist can help you decide which trees perform well in your local area. A tree service professional will analyze the planting area to determine the compatibility of the tree to the site. Environmental determinations may include:
  • Soil conditions, such as poor drainage, high or low pH, and soil nutrition are all important factors one should know before planting a new tree.
  • Disease and insect problems can limit your selections.
  • The presence or absence of channelized winds may be a huge factor in deciding to plant a specific tree species.
  • The location of utilities, both above and under ground are a must know before planting a new tree.

A Tree Services Sacramento Arborist can assess your landscape and work with you to decide the best trees to plant on your property. Call a Tree Services Sacramento arborist today at 916-900-1167.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Kissimmee Outdoor Advertising

About a year ago, I wrote on another blog, about using searchlights and LED signs from my giant balloon rental customer to advertise your company.

If you frequent my blog, you are no doubt familiar with Giant Balloon Rental out of Orlando, Florida.

Right next to Orlando is a town called "Kissimmee". This is where many people choose to stay when visiting the Disney World parks or Universal Studios.

It's proximity to Orlando, and therefore the theme parks, makes Kissimmee a great place to do business. There is a  13-mile section of West 192 that got a great makeover a few years ago, helping the tourism industry here to thrive.

All this opportunity also brings a lot of competition. In order to be heard among the noise of a busy tourist city like Kissimmee, you need something big, colorful and unique.

A giant character balloon and perhaps several giant helium balloons are a perfect way to get someone's attention.

When the sun goes down, bring out the searchlights! Seen from miles away, these giant spot lights are recognized as a sign of something major happening. Let that something be your business!

Giant Balloon Rental also offers helium tank rental, photo booths, and wind dancers.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Preserve your trees

In taking care of my client's sites, I often learn new things. Today I was learning about stress in trees.

I'm not talking about an angry boss, or worrying about how to pay for college tuition. I'm talking about things that might harm your tree or make it unhealthy.

Give your tree the best fighting chance!

When a tree is obviously damaged by wind, lightning, a car-crash, fire, or root destruction by construction equipment, It's clear that action needs to be taken to either nurse the tree back to health, or to remove it if it is irreparable and dangerous.

There are other issues that might stress your tree and give no clear indication that there's a problem. For example, the soil may become compacted, preventing proper water absorption, the water drainage might be changed, your tree might be affected by airborne pollutants or salt water. Some signs of this subtle stress are yellowing leaves, smaller than normal leaves, dropping branches or limbs, developing a staghead or deer antler appearance.

Once a tree has suffered some kind of stress, whether quick and severe or more chronically, it can fall into a stress cycle, much like a sick person who becomes less capable of fighting off infection. Bacteria, virus, insects and fungi that wouldn't normally pose much of a danger to a healthy tree may find a foothold on a stressed tree, thus introducing even more stress, until ultimately the tree dies.

Just like human medicine, the best treatment is prevention, but when that fails, trust a certified arborist to asses your trees, save them if possible, or safely remove them if necessary.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Protect your reputation

Trust is earned. When you get a new customer, they actually loan you a bit of trust that you have to pay back over time by being trustworthy and providing excellent service. When you've finally reached a positive balance of trust with that customer, you don't want anything to upset it.

One of my favorite articles on the website of my customer Cynthia, of Common Sense Business Solutions, talks about the "Referral Bomb". If there's a company that you trust, and you suggest them to your customer, and they take good care of your customer, then even if it doesn't give you any cash, it earns you more of that precious trust. BUT, If your referral flops, or worse yet, defrauds your customer, then you have proverbial egg on your face and your customer will BLAME YOU for the failure of your referral. Because of the potential upside, you will probably want to consider some referrals, but you MUST understand the risk they pose. 

At Common Sense Business Solutions, Cynthia's main service is as a business coach. Her clients trust her explicitly because she refuses to refer anyone that she hasn't thoroughly vetted herself. She's earned my trust and I'll gladly loan a bit of that trust to anyone she refers to me.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Prevent Tax ID Theft

In the U.S., the tax deadline is approaching. Many wait until the last minute to file.

There's a reason to file early that becomes more and more important each year: Tax ID Theft

Sure, you shred all your documents, keep your anti-virus up to date, and do business with reputable companies.

BUT! Even reputable companies and the U.S. government and local agencies can get HACKED!

One of the best ways to defeat a tax id fraudster is simply to beat them in the race to get filed. The IRS will flag a second hit on the same SSN and the fraudster will likely move on to easier targets.

I've covered this concept before, but I think we need to look at it every year to keep each other vigilant! See more at

Orlando Photo Booth Rental

Orlando is a popular wedding destination, as is the entire state of Florida.

One fun thing to add to a great wedding reception is a photo booth. All your friends and family can have fun sitting in the booth and goofing off and taking fun pictures.

At the end of the day, you can get a DVD of all the great pictures they took. Everybody gets to enjoy the fun!

Don't be fooled by the name: offers SO MUCH more than giant balloons for fun family parties or corporate events.

According to their page on the topic: Photo Booth Rental, they will price-match anyone in Orlando if the booth is the same type. They'll also go anywhere in the state if you need them to.

So, looking to rent a photo booth, give them a shout: 407-354-2300

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Emergency Tree Service

If you're in or around Tampa, Florida, there's a good chance you've witnessed the tremendous power that our local thunderstorms carry. Dropping huge amounts of rain, strong winds and arguably the most lightning strike per year of any city in the country, there's plenty of opportunity to have a tree damaged or destroyed.

If one of these damaged trees falls on or near your house, you'll need a professional arborist to evaluate the situation and get it removed without causing any (additional) damage.

Don't go near the fallen tree until it's been inspected! You never know if it might fall further or drop large limbs.

Working in the Tampa area for decades, Mid-Florida Tree Service has plenty of experience providing this type of emergency tree service.

Testimonial Gold

Customer reviews and testimonials are like gold. When  a customer goes online searching for information about your company, positive reviews and testimonials can make all the difference in capturing that business.

If your customers have taken the time to tell you how great you are and how much they appreciate the job you do, take full advantage of that and put it on your website.

My customer, Cynthia Alloway of Common Sense Business Solutions, is a good example of this.

Her customers LOVE her. She gives them excellent service and they reward her with amazing testimonials like this:

For anyone considering hiring Cynthia Alloway, your efforts, time and money will NOT be wasted. Cynthia is one of the most "on task" persons I have ever worked with. She gives an amazingly thorough evaluation and analysis of your business...
And this:
 I just wanted to take a minute and say Thank you for your time and wisdom. It really opened our eyes on the complexity of a partnership. ... You are an awesome resource and as I go through clients, I will keep you in mind as a referral.
So, don't be afraid to ask for testimonials and, once you have them, make sure you include them on your website!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Tampa Corporate Taxes

When it comes to a home for your business, Tampa Florida has a lot to offer. It has consistently been rated among the best for cost of doing business. There's a great talent pool of skilled professionals. The climate is inviting and there's plenty of entertainment and culture to keep your employees satisfied.

Florida has no state income tax and a reasonable sales tax rate in comparison to other large cities.

For consumer oriented business, there is a diverse market of middle and high wage earners.

Once you've decided to open your business in the Tampa area, you'll need to consider some of the professional services you'll use.

An important choice is your CPA who may serve as your personal and corporate tax expert.

My client, Tanya Higginbotham of Accountability Team LLC, may be just the person you're looking for. She has years of experience in Tampa and the surrounding towns. Give her a call for more information: 813-689-6413

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Orlando Searchlight Rental

Whether you call them "Searchlights", "Seach lights" or even "Spot Lights", those swirling lights we've all become so accustom to seeing have an automatic "wow" factor.

If you're a business owner or event coordinator looking for a huge impact, consider skytracker searchlights to do just that. If you're in a highly competitive market like Orlando, Florida, you know that ordinary just doesn't cut it.

If you REALLY want to make an impact, rent several 4 beam trucks to highlight your grand opening gala or other event.

Of course, you need to know who to contact about this: Giant Balloon Rental offers so much more than balloons. If you're looking for any kind of outdoor advertising, check with them first!

Searchlights employ super bright bulbs to create magnificent beams that sway through the night sky. Clear or cloudy, the search beams continue to attract attention from a distance.

Giant Balloon Rental does not limit themselves to the Orlando Florida area. One would expect them to cover Kissimmee and St. Cloud, but they also cover all the way from Pensacola to Tampa to Key West, Miami, Daytona and Jacksonville. If you need to rent a searchlight in Florida, they've got you covered.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Christian Metal - No Screamo

I enjoy heavy metal music. I am a Christian, so naturally I'd like to hear some Christian bands play heavy metal music.

So often I'll start listening to a new Christian metal song, really enjoying the heavy drums and wailing guitar and then the vocalist starts growling and screaming and I turn it off.

I've heard a few bands like Skillet, Kutless & Pillar. Decyfer Down Is really good too, but I'm really trying to find more.

I started a collaborative playlist on Spotify. I hope some people will find this post, be interested, and help by adding a few songs.

If you're a Spotify user, a Christian, and a heavy metal fan, feel free to give it a try.

AKA TecBrat.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Guake clone / Quake like console for windows command prompt

Guake is a linux terminal that works in the Gnome and similar desktop envirionments. The concept comes from first person shooter games where a hotkey would open a console to type commands or chat with other players.

I searched for a similar program to replace the windows command prompt (cmd.exe).

I found a program called "cmder" and had it just about where I wanted by tweaking around with autohotkey. As I was then tweaking around the cmder settings, I noticed a checkbox under Main->Appearance that said "Quake style slide down".

OH! Guess I don't need that autohotkey anymore.

I selected that and then, as suggested by a hover-tip, went to the top level of "Keys & Macros" and the top option is "minimize/restore (Quake-style hotkey also)".

I selected that, set my preferred Hotkey and I was ready to rock!

BONUS! includes some BASH functionality, mostly geared toward interacting with GIT.

I didn't like the appearance settings in cmder as much as I do Guake, but I got it close enough to what I wanted after messing with it for a while.

If you're looking for a Quake console or "tilde" style terminal for windows, I think cmder is the way to go.

A common use-case for me is simply pinging a URL to verify what IP it's on. This is important when moving a website from server to server or otherwise adjusting it's DNS. I found it very convenient to simply hit my hotkey and have a console directly available instead of having to find and run cmd.exe. I'm certainly glad I installed this.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

CoWork Tampa

If you are the owner of a very small business and you're currently working out of your home, you may have considered how you might remove yourself from the distractions of home to make yourself more productive.

If you live in one area but frequently have to work in another, you may be accustomed to going to a library or coffee shop to do a little work. These have opposite problems. In the library, you can't make a phone call because you might disturb the patrons. In the coffee shop, you can't make a phone call because the patrons might be too loud and disturb your call.

The solution to either of these issues is a co-working space.

 The space I have chosen is elegantly named "CoWork Tampa". Not much on naming creativity, but it gets the point across. The plan I'd suggest for most single person companies is just $77/month and allows you access to the facility during business hours. (9-6) but they also offer round the clock access for another $20/month and a dedicated desk where you can leave your stuff for $147/month.

The co-working space is currently 9 round tables with overhead extension cords so you can sit down and plug in. They have a decent WiFi system and it doesn't get too loud.

If there's an exception to "doesn't get too loud", then wearing some earbuds and jamming to your favorite music is a decent work-around.

There's free parking, free coffee and a pool table (free, not coin op)

If this sounds like an advertisement, maybe it is a little. Let them know you came through me and I'll get a little kickback.

OH, They also have small offices from $650/month to $1200/month +$77 per extra person.

Check them out if you fee like it.

The prices I mentioned are accurate as of 2016/01/14 but are subject to change at any time.

Here's my current situation.The CoWorking area is occupied this week, so the owner lets coworking members take over an office or dedicated desk. I pulled up their web-page on my browser for the pic, you can see the $400 price. That's the office I'm in.

Pretty cool. When the time comes that I actually NEED an office, I think $400/month is a good deal considering I don't pay for electricity, internet or COFFEE  

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

New Business Owners, Don't Get Scammed!

When you start a new business, there are a lot of people that want your money.

You may have to pay state, county and even city taxes. You have to prepare for federal income taxes. Let's not forget your employees and vendors.

There's another group of people that would love to separate you from some of your hard earned dollars. They may skirt the edges of fraud, but I'll certainly call them scammers.

These are the folks that send solicitation for "services" that are disguised as government fees or domain registrar notifications.

Let's tackle the domain registrar issue real quick. If you have a website, then you should own your domain name. If you have a strong relationship with your web developer and he owns it for you, that might be okay, but make sure that either way, you know who the registrar is. (GoDaddy, Network Solutions, Active-Domain...)

Expiration Notice:
Scammers will check publicly available information, see that your domain expires soon, and try to trick you into switching to them at an unusually high price. If you get a domain expiration notice from someone other than your registrar, ignore it. If you get a notice from your registrar, have your web developer or webmaster verify the information.

Alternate Domain Names:
Some scam companies will send out letters with language that you can almost hear the frightened tone in the text, warning that your domain name is available in other endings. (We technicians call these "TLDs") Those TLDs are quite often obscure and foreign. So, you have to ask yourself, do you CARE if your domain is registered with ".asia" or ".kr" at the end? Unless you are trying to do business in areas covered by these TLDs, you probably don't. If you do, check with your current registrar or a trusted business coach to get the correct domain at the best price.

There's a variant of this with slight misspellings of you name. Registering those might be a good idea, but be sure to do it with your own trusted registrar.

Compliance Posters:
The U.S. Department of Labor and your own state government will require you to post certain information visible to your employees. You can print your own, or one of your vendors, perhaps your payroll company, might offer them for free as a bonus. You can find legitimate companies to purchase them from as well. Don't get suckered in by an official sounding letter that threatens fees or fines if you don't comply. Ask your business coach for more details.

Annual Meetings:
I know of this from a Florida specific viewpoint. Please confirm the details for your own state.

You may be required to have an annual meeting, but you don't have to pay to file it. You keep it for your records. You file an annual report each year between 1/1 and 4/30 to keep your business active. (Corporation or LLC). The cost, as of 2016, is $150.00 or $138.75. This is done at the state website,

The wording of these scams vary, but the theme is that they try VERY HARD to look like government documents. They offer you the "service" of preparing your Annual Meeting Notes. Don't be fooled. Be ever vigilant and ask your business consultant before you pay any fee that you don't recognize.

Certificate of Status:
Very similar to the annual meeting scam, there really is something called "Certificate of Status" and it costs about $5.00 or $8.00 at Companies will offer to obtain one for you at a cost of $60 or more. Quite the bargain! You may never need one anyway, but if you do, just visit and get one there.

These companies stay in business because the skirt the law. They are right on the edge of trickery and fraud. If you read carefully, you may see their disclaimers.

One day soon, I'll write about those that don't care about the law and disclaimers. Those that will outright steal from you and disappear into the night.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Avoid fraud when doing business abroad

There may come a time in the progression of your business that the United States just isn't big enough for you any more and you need to reach across the border to Mexico, Canada or even across the ocean to Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Each destination has it's own challenges. One considerable challenge is international fraud. You don't want to become a victim and you don't want to innocently get pulled into a fraudulent scheme.

Do your homework. Know the U.S. laws and the foreign laws concerning the type of business you do before you get started in the other country.

Read more about this and other issues here: Small Firms Doing Business Abroad

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Buy a Giant Balloon

In Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville or even way down in Miami, if you're looking to rent a searchlight or giant balloon, I've already written about my client, Giant Balloon Rental, where you can rent these items and more.

What I haven't mentioned is that Giant Balloon Rental also sells balloons.

My suggestion is that you start out by renting a balloon. Once you've determined the best style and size of balloon for your product and location, buying a balloon will likely save you money. Once they are deflated, that are compact and easy to store.

You can also purchase wind dancers, also called "wind tubes", to advertise your business.

If you've decided to buy a giant balloon, consider a custom made advertising inflatable to match the branding of your business.

Visit for all your outdoor advertising.