Having a Budget Can be Life Changing

by Kevin February 24, 2014 11:44

Do you have a budget? Many people say yes and then can't really tell you how much money they alot each month for even the basic things like groceries, gas for the car, or eating out.  Actually having a budget that is written down and followed each month is vastly different from having an idea of what you think you spend each month.

I was a fool for years thinking I 'had a budget'. It wasn't until going through Financial Peace University from the Dave Ramsey folks and applying the principles that our family's way of life was changed.

Amazing to think that some basic planning and committment can allow a family of two incomes to drop to one income just by keeping track of where they spend their money each month and sticking to it.  Yep, that is our family.

Now, that we've been faithful at it for almost 18 months it's exciting to share it with other folks and encourage them as well.

Their are many money managment tools and resources online but I would encourage you to check out www.davereamsey.com with many resources and fanstic advice on all areas related to money.

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Category: Family

Observe to Learn and Confirm

by Kevin October 22, 2013 07:50

A recent hospital visit reminded me of a few things and how important it is to observe so that we can both learn and confirm.

The first example came after I had decided to visit the cafeteria for a hot cup of coffee.  A seemingly considerate, young gentlemen that worked at the hospital was passing me in the hall and politely asked 'how are you'?  My pre-conditioned response was simply ... 'good, thanks' and then immediatley my mind recalled the story of the dad on the train with the three young children who were running around, yelling, screaming, and the dad just sat in a daze staring at the subway tunnel lights not seeming to care at all about his unruly children.  A few fellow 'caring' passengers made eye contact and traded looks of disgust at this parent who didn't care about the way his children were acting.

One of the 'concerned' passengers finally couldn't take it any longer and sternly asked the dad if he was going to get his children under control as they were disturbing several other passengers.  The dad snapped out of his daze and apologized for his lack of attention and poor behavior as they had just left the hospital that afternoon  where their sickly mother had passed away.  He collected his children up and held them close as the deeply embarrased, 'concerned citizen' shrunk into their seat, lowered their head, and stared at the floor.

So, this young polite gentlemen had really asked me a loaded question ... 'how are you'?  He was intending no ill will at all but here I was in a hospital, and he having no idea whatsover of my current circumstances.  Thankfully, my hospital visit is merely for my wife's minor surgery and all has gone well.

A good reminder to me that it's important to understand the circumstances before assuming a position.

My second observation was in the cafeteria itself.  Gossip can be such a cancer in anyone's life and especially at work.  We work hard at InteractRV to promote a no gossip policy.  negative's should always go up and positives should always go down.  A group of nurses were sitting next to my table and I coudln't help but listen into their conversation, believe me I didn't have to strain my ears too hard at all.  75% of their conversation was about other people or their working conditions and I'm pretty confident that none of them was hte 'supervisor' so their concerns weren't going up.  Made me grateful for my team and their desire to keep gossip out of their conversations.

My last observation came from the processes during surgery to make those in the waiting room comfortable and confident with how their loved one's surgery is going.  When I arrived at the waiting area I was greeted by a receptionist who took our info and promptly handed me a pager to carry with me that worked anywhere in the hospital and was a way to reach me if I was needed at all before, during, or after the surgery.   So about 30 minutes after my wife headed to the OR my pager goes off summoning me to the desk where I have a phone call from the OR nurse letting me know she fell asleep fine and the doctor is about to begin.

An hour later I get another buzz, summons, and again over the phone the OR nurse lets me know she is being moved to recovery and the doctor will be out to give me an update soon.  Needless to say I was impressed.  Was it completely necessary? Did it probably increase my health care costs?  Do either of those questions matter when a loved one is in surgery?

A good confirmation and reminder to me that the little things we do for our clients, even if they cost a little more, are worth it.

I truly didn't expect to learn anything this morning at the hospital, but that's what I get for observing ... we should all try it a little more:)

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Category: Business | Personal

The Power of a Story

by Kevin July 3, 2013 23:28

Have you ever heard someone present their company, an idea, their ministry, or their invention?  I can guarantee the ones you remember are the ones that told their story.

Stories are powerful if told honestly and correctly.  Yes, even a truthfully story told poorly can leave people listening with boring stares.  So, how do you tell a good story?  Afer reading a newsletter from EntreLeadership.com and I came across a useful article on story telling.  Here it is in summary...

1. Get Personal - Get personal and share your dreams, mistakes, and humble beginnings. Dump the powerpoint and tell it from the heart.

2. Plot it Out - Begin with a goal or dream. Include the obstacles you faced and how you overcame them. Then the lessons learned on the way to success.

3. Practice Makes Permanent - Wash, rinse, repeat your story.  If a section draws weird looks, re-write it.  Tell it to yoru friends, your colleagues, even yoru mirror.

Link to article here

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Category: Business

How Customer Service Strategies Change

by Kevin November 2, 2011 13:25

As we all know business models and service strategies can evolve over time, and at the end of the day is it about the almighty dollar or the greater good?

You can swing to the almighty dollar and service begins to stink.  Or you can focus on the greater good and not making any money.  I think there is a middle ground and to be successful you have to find it and stick with it.

InteractRV, the rv website design company I co-founded in 2003, has used Rackspace.com as their hosting partner for years.  In the beginning they were a smaller, privately held company bending over backwards to make sure things were right and easy to use.  Then a couple of years ago they went public and they just didn't focus on the fantastic service any longer.  The account managers began treating us as a number and their product/service offerings began evolving into a one-size fits all approach.

I'm not sure if they did it for the dollar, but my gut tells me as much.  What the whole process did do for me was open my eyes to make sure that as InteractRV grows servicing more customers that we are sure to maintain our premier level of service.

We will learn lessons and products/services will continue to evolve.  Some may make sense and we'll continue and some may not.  But at the end of the day we need to be available, listen to our customers, and help each one be successful in the best way for them.

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Category: Business

Slapped by a Panda

by Kevin July 28, 2011 13:29

InteractRV, the company I co-founded in 2001, does alot of search engine optimization and other Internet marketing strategies/tactics to help clients improve.  We also run a handful of consumer facing websites like www.RVingPlanet.com and www.UsedRVsForSale.com.  RvingPlanet focus on rv sales and reviews of new RVs while UsedRVsForSale focuses on just used rvs.

Back in February the traffic on RVP took a nose dive ... it was a panda slap.  Google had updated its search algorythmn in an attempt to get better quality site rankings.  Unfortunately, it also affected good quality sites.  We are following their suggestions for getting our site whitelisted and I'm confident we will achieve that.

What good came out of the whole thing is that there now is a list existing of what a site needs to do not to get panda slapped.  The better side to the list is alll the things to do to get ranked better by search engines.

If interested you can read all about in this great article here.  Best of luck!

 

August 18, 2011 Update

Another great article here

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Category: Business