Wednesday, April 30, 2014

How To Start A Residential Remodeling Business

Start-Up Tips for a New Residential Remodeling Business

Plan your business carefully when starting a home remodeling company.
Plan your business carefully when starting a home remodeling company.

Do you dream of starting your own business as a residential remodeling contractor? Even if you are handy with a hammer, there are still some very important issues to consider. As a small business owner, you would be responsible for all the details associated with running your venture. Being prepared for what lies ahead can help ensure a smooth start to minimize future problems.


Consider opening a remodeling franchise. Purchase an existing franchise that already has an active customer base and generate income right from the start. A franchise usually has the backing of a home office that offers marketing help, assistance with bookkeeping and even help in finding customers. Many franchises work in established territories, so check with the company to see if the territory you want to work in has a franchise available.


Starting a home remodeling business will require you to register your company with the local government office. In most cases, you will need to file a DBA or "doing business as" certificate. You will be able to establish bank accounts in your company's name and accept payments made out to your business, allowing you to separate your personal and business accounts. Many customers and contractors require you to have liability insurance to work on certain job sites. Discuss the proper coverage with your insurance agent. You may also need a contractor's license to publicly solicit remodeling work. Check with the local licensing office to see if you need a contractor's license to get started.

Networking with Other Contractors

You may be very good at putting up drywall, but you may not be as handy doing electrical work. Network with other remodeling professionals so you can take on a wider variety of jobs. General contractors often have smaller jobs come up from their customers, but would rather give those to a smaller remodeling company to handle. Make contact with the larger contractors in your area to create a steady flow of work.

How To Make A Secure Password


Image courtesy of (Stuart Miles) /

Remembering a unique login and password for every website you frequent on the Internet requires either a genius-level photographic memory or a really cool trick. Since these days I often forget what I was getting up to retrieve as soon as I leave the room, my vote goes to the really cool trick method. Here’s how to get unique AND easy to remember passwords for every website you visit.

The recently exposed “HeartBleed” bug is a coding flaw in the security and encryption protocol OpenSSL. It allows attackers to access passwords and personal information on affected websites. Open SSL is employed by more than half of all websites on the Internet. While most major websites (including Google, Yahoo, OKCupid, and Pinterest) have patched the vulnerability, the flaw has been in existence since December 2011, so any attackers that knew to exploit the hole before it was exposed could have already gained access to countless usernames and passwords. The recommendation of every potentially affected website is that you change your password.

Many people use the same username and password across most – if not all – of the websites that they login to regularly. This is a really dangerous habit as it allows a hacker to gain access to all your accounts by simply phishing one password from one vulnerable site.

Luckily for those that are memory-challenged, like me, Lifehacker published an article with a pretty amazing little trick that makes creating a different, hard to crack password for every site not only easy to make, but more importantly, easy to remember.

First, think of four to five letters that are easy for you to remember. It could be the first letters from the title of a favorite song or the punchline from a family inside joke, or the initials of your loved ones. Just make sure that it’s not an actual word so it’s hard to guess. For the purpose of creating an example, let’s use the oh-so-humble phrase “Nerd Chicks are Cool.” This means our base letters are NCaC.

Most sites require a number or character. Since not all sites support non alpha-numeric characters, next pick a favorite number. Let’s go with 13 for the sake of this example. Now we have NCaC13.
Finally, to make the password unique it’s just a matter of adding some letters from the site you’re creating the password for. Let’s say you’re creating a password at Google. The Lifehacker article suggests using the first two consonants and then vowels from the site name. For Google, that means your password would be NCaC13ggoo (your base NCaC + number + first two consonants, gg + first two vowels, oo). Your password at Amazon would be NCaC13mzaa.

You could alternatively use the first four letters in the site name, or the first two plus the last two. The secret is that you have only to remember the pattern to remember the password and you’ll have a unique password for every site you go to. Voila!

If that still seems too complicated, consider using a password management tool like LastPass. Install it on all the devices that you use to access the Internet. It’s free to install and use on all your computers and laptops, and there’s a premium version that lets you install it on your mobile devices as well for $12/year. Now you can have LastPass create your passwords for you – a seriously impossible to guess or hack monstrosity – or just have it store the ones you create. But really, why not take advantage of the password generator if you don’t have to memorize it or ever type it in?
Your passwords are encrypted and stored on your device. Data is synched across all the devices that share your LastPass login, so every device is kept up to date. However, nothing is stored at LastPass other than your LastPass username and password so a successful hacker attack to the LastPass server won’t compromise your login data for other sites. This means that once you start using it and get all your passwords stored, the only login info you will need to remember is the one for LastPass.

If there was ever a time to update your passwords, that time is now. Protect your data and personal information by reducing your exposure to the HeartBleed bug – change your passwords anywhere you store personal information like e-mails, credit card numbers, etc.

Custom Office Products

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

How To Come Up With A Name For Your Company

It’s All in the Name

Naming your business is much like naming your child. There should be as much thought put into the moniker that you'll eventually register and forever be known as, as you would your precious offspring. This is a commitment--make it count. Start by making a list, and remember that while being unique in business is great, your name shouldn't be complicated, already trademarked, or easily confused with another company.

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How To Create An Effective Patient Satisfaction Survey


In MGMA’s 2013 Performance and Practices of Successful Medical Groups report, 80% of the “better-performing” practices admitted to using patient satisfaction surveys to gauge practice performance.
By assessing approval ratings, these practices were able to gain insights into how patients viewed their practice in terms of wait times, appointment availability, quality of care and a variety of other vital areas.
Your practice can do this too as long as you know how to build an effective patient satisfaction survey. But before throwing a set of questions together, review the following basics and make use of our sample survey.

Patient Satisfaction Survey Basics

One of the most important rules to follow when creating a patient satisfaction survey is to not make it too long. Once patients undergo survey fatigue, they will start filling out answers hastily, throwing off the accuracy of your results.
Also make sure the survey is as easy to code as possible. Using a numbered scale from one to five is most convenient. The odd number of choices ensures there is a neutral point, and the short range of numbers reduces ambiguity. Furthermore, using numbers makes it easy to calculate results once results are submitted.
You want to avoid confusion when writing the questions too. Patients shouldn’t have any room to respond inaccurately. For example, don’t ask questions like “How do we rate in terms of appointment scheduling and call wait times?” They may feel one way about the former and another way about the latter. Stick to one subject per question.
Once the survey is complete, you’ll have to figure out which distribution method will garner the highest participation rate. If your patients are tech-savvy, use tools like Survey Monkey, which will tabulate the results for you. If not, it’s best to distribute them to patients during their visit. You can also mail surveys, but then you’ll have to worry about postage costs.
To help you, we’ve created a sample survey to get you started. It is only 15 questions long, so you can add questions specifically tailored to your practice. But avoid adding more than 10 additional questions or you may induce severe survey fatigue. Of course, feel free to use the survey in its current form if you think it’ll work well for you.

Sample Survey

To help us better serve our patients, please take a few minutes to complete the survey below. We appreciate your contribution toward improving [Your Practice’s Name].
The following categories are based on a 5-point scale, with one being the lowest score and five being the highest. Please circle the number that best corresponds to your opinion about our practice.
1) Easy to schedule appointments: 1 2 3 4 5
2) Return calls in a timely manner: 1 2 3 4 5
3) Time in waiting room: 1 2 3 4 5
4) Cleanliness of office: 1 2 3 4 5
5) Staff professionalism: 1 2 3 4 5
6) Explanation of billing charges: 1 2 3 4 5
7) Convenience of payment: 1 2 3 4 5
8) Physician professionalism: 1 2 3 4 5
9) Quality of care: 1 2 3 4 5
10) Overall experience: 1 2 3 4 5
Check the box that best describes you or write in a response if your option is not available.
11) How many years have you been a patient at [Your Practice’s Name]?
Less than 1 year ___ 1 to 3 years ___ 3 to 5 years ___ Greater than 5 years ___
12) How did you find out about [Your Practice’s Name]?
Word of mouth ___ Online search ____ Yellow Pages ___ Signage ____ Other ___________
13) Would you refer a friend to [Your Practice’s Name]?
Yes ____ No____ I already have ____
Please write in a response for the following questions.
14) What do you like most about [Your Practice’s Name]?
15) What do you like least? What are your suggestions on how we can improve?
Thank you for completing our patient satisfaction survey. We look forward to making improvements that will enhance your healthcare experience.
Slapping a patient satisfaction survey together isn’t going to do much good for your practice, so take your time. Once you have a quality questionnaire created, distribute it annually. The results will allow you to continue making improvements that will keep your patients happy and loyal.

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

How to Write a Short Bio About Yourself


Use a personal bio on your website to introduce yourself to readers.
Use a personal bio on your website to introduce yourself to readers.

Write a brief biography to introduce yourself, highlight achievements, list credentials and any notable projects with which you are involved. Bios should be short and concise, listing only relevant information. Avoid listing personal statistics, such as family and hobbies; instead angle the bio to the intended audience, whether for a personal website or a professional networking website.

Introduce Yourself

Begin the bio by introducing yourself, and always write in the third person. For example, write "Jane Smith is a freelance writer" rather than "I am a freelance writer." State what year your relevant work experience began, such as "has been writing professionally since 1999" or "worked as a consultant since 2001," and list any areas of specialized expertise.

Education and Credentials

List your education after the introduction sentence, including the name of any degrees you have earned and the institution you attended. Include any other relevant experience, such as additional certifications earned as well as the names of any professional organizations that count you as a member.

Notable Achievements

State any notable achievements or awards earned. Keep the information relevant to the intended audience of the bio. Authors can briefly list the names of any publishing houses or magazine titles where their work has been published. Business professionals can highlight awards or other recognition achieved in their careers.

Closing Statement

Conclude the bio by briefly stating any current or upcoming projects, such as a new book coming out. The last sentence should state where you reside, such as "Jane Smith lives in Orlando, Florida." Adjust the bio as necessary when your education, expertise or achievements change to reflect the most current information.

How To Find The Right Balance Between Productivity and Quality of Care


According to a 2013 Physicians Practice survey, approximately 28% of physicians claim their pay is entirely dependent upon productivity, while only 8% cite quality and cost of care as the sole factor influencing their earnings. This means a vast majority of physicians fall somewhere in the middle, relying on both the quality and quantity of care they render when it comes to achieving financial success.

But it can be tricky to realize improvement in one area without seeing a drop off in the other. For instance, rushing patients through visits may cause an increase in misdiagnoses; whereas spending too much time on each patient may lead to fewer billable visits overall.

The following tips should help you strike that perfect balance between treating more patients and improving quality of care.

Outsource Your Medical Billing

The Practice Profitability Index, a survey of more than 5,000 U.S. physicians, revealed that 58% of doctors spend the equivalent of one full workday a week completing paperwork rather than seeing patients. With outsourced medical billing, you’ll no longer have to worry about billing-related administrative duties.

The only paperwork you’ll have to take care of is the check you send to the billing company at the end of each month, which is typically a small percentage of your monthly collections. The rest of your newfound time can be spent on treating new patients.

Extend Your Operating Hours

Drastic changes like opening on weekends may lead to physician burnout, which can lead to a decrease in quality of care. But small adjustments, like opening 30 minutes earlier, will allow you to see more patients without dramatically altering your lifestyle.

If you schedule appointments in 15-minute intervals, you could see an additional two patients everyday. Over the course of a full year, this could equate to almost 400 additional patients.

Create an Operations Manual

Constantly having to reinstruct your staff on standard tasks and procedures is a surefire way to kill productivity. Many questions can be avoided with the creation of an in-depth operations manual.
The manual should contain a sensible table of contents, clear-cut job descriptions and step-by-step instructions for completing key tasks. The extra effort of writing an operations manual now will save you from frequent interruptions down the line.

Reduce Patient No-Shows

Nothing is more unproductive than waiting around for a patient who never shows up. Combat this by getting patient no-shows down to a bare minimum.

Simple ways to do this include asking patients when they’d like to come in instead of assigning them the first available slot, which has been shown to improve the likelihood of patients showing up by 30%. Another is adopting practice management software that sends automatic reminders via text or emails, allowing your staff to focus more on the patients in the office rather than those you’ll be seeing later.

Utilize Non-Physician Practitioners (NPPs)

Bringing in another full-time physician may be ideal for increasing patient visits and ensuring top-notch care but it can be very expensive. Hiring or better utilizing existing NPPs is a relatively low-cost alternative. While not an absolute replacement for a licensed physician, NPPs can handle most of the more basic patient visits, freeing you up to treat patients with conditions that yield higher returns.
In this era of declining reimbursements, it’s becoming harder and harder for physicians to earn as much as they anticipated when going through the rigors of med school. But by focusing on tactics that will improve quality of care while increasing productivity, you can get closer to your financial aspirations.

Medical Practice Supplies

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