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New Online Business Provides Real Opportunity

The Wealth Magnet System is rising above all of the online marketing clutter providing a real opportunity to entrepreneurs who seek a online business.

June 2, 2007


(PRWEB) June 2, 2007 -- Thousands of searches for "home based business" are done on a daily basis. So it's not surprising that there are thousands of "home based business opportunities" pitching the latest and greatest money making technique. So how do you know what's worth spending time and money on and what is junk?

The Wealth Magnet System, launched on May 12th, 2007, is providing a welcomed breath of fresh air to the home based business industry.

Created by Jim Mack and Bryon Howell, The Wealth Magnet System may be the answer to frustrated entrepreneurs who have spent countless hours looking for a solution to earning a living online. Not only does the Wealth Magnet System provide a way to generate income, it also provides the tools and resources that are necessary to launch a successful online business, no matter what the product or service is.

In a recent interview with the founder of, M.J.Bacch said, "the key factor with me getting involved with The Wealth Magnet System was that the system provided the three main components that I look for with any online opportunity. These components are a valuable product, excellent support, and a genuine opportunity to make money."

Some of the services and tools that the Wealth Magnet System provide are a "million dollar rolodex" that gives contact information and website addresses for the essential tools that any successful web site cannot exist without. Some of these contacts include freelance programmers, advertising reps and keyword research tools. Also provided is a comprehensive step by step guide to driving visitors to your new business and the key components to success in any business.

Other tools that the system provides are an automatic web page generator for people who have little or not web site design experience and a webmaster tool kit, essential for any online business.

"I think the Wealth Magnet System is going to have tremendous growth over the next few months and those who get involved now will have the opportunity to earn a substantial amount of money." M.J. Bacch said.

For more information on the Wealth Magnet System you may visit M.J. Bacch's website or call 1-800-861-7915."


Business opportunity knocks down on the farm

Published on 01/06/2007


TWO farming brothers have launched a bid to attract cutting-edge businesses to a quiet Cumbrian town.

Alan and Stephen Ewbank, of Enterber Farm, Kirkby Stephen, are converting land belonging to their dairy farm into an industrial estate.

Longtown contractor RH Irving began work on the project, at Christian Head last week.

The first phase involves building the park’s entrance route, internal road and the first 5,000sq ft unit.

Alan and Stephen have already talked to a number of firms interested in taking space on the park.

Alan said: “It’s a three-acre site with planning permission for an office or light industry unit, a general industry unit and a warehouse and distribution centre.

“There is room to grow as demand dictates.

“Units from 500sq ft to 5,000sq ft will be available to buy or let. “We have had interest from local companies and from firms from away.

“We want to be able to provide high quality jobs for the Eden Valley, attract new companies to Kirkby Stephen and give local businesses a chance to expand.

“It’s a fantastic site with stunning views and everyone in the town has been very supportive of the project – there have been no objections to our plans.

“Jobs in Kirkby Stephen are still mainly in agriculture and tourism and we hope this project can help the town’s economy grow.

“It’s part of farm diversification for us, we are still very much committed to the farm.”

Andrew Peill and Co estate agent, of Kendal, is dealing with sales and letting for the park.


When the Competition Leaves

Don't just sit back and celebrate when a competitor folds. Cash in on all they left behind.

by Lena Basha | UpFront - April/May 2007


Mark Bright believes that one man's trash is another man's treasure--especially when it comes to competitors' phone numbers.

The owner of Tacoma, Wash.-based Northwest Auto Services has found a gold mine of new business by purchasing phone numbers of closed competitors--and recycling their old customers.

Bright came up with the idea almost two years ago when he heard that a rival had closed its doors after more than 20 years in business.

"Traditional advertising just wasn't doing anything for us," Bright says. "We weren't even regaining the cost of the ads. The phone number seemed like a good alternative--especially since the business had such good exposure. I didn't know if it would work, but I knew I had to try it."

A few phone calls later--one to the former business owner who offered the line for free and one to the telephone company to reroute it--calls from unsuspecting customers were pouring in.

"The line had been dead for almost two months, but we still got 10 calls the first day," he says. "After that, the leads just started coming in. The jobs were small, but it was definitely enough to justify the $14 a month charge from the phone company."

Bright says it's important to keep your ears open to the buzz in the community, which is how he landed his second phone number a few months ago. "I overheard somewhere that another automotive repair shop was closing after four years in business, so I looked in the phone book and saw that the company had a full-page ad," he explains. "Talk about some leads."

Bright approached the owner and made an offer he couldn't refuse: In exchange for the business' phone number, he offered to take over payment of the ad.

"He immediately said yes," Bright says. "I pay $550 for the ad each month, but I make that back in a week with the new jobs we're getting."

To turn a folding business into a business opportunity, you have to be on good terms with the business you're looking to cash in on, says Kevin Stirtz, a Minneapolis-based business consultant and author of Marketing for Smart People (Kaplan Business, 2006).

The way you handle the new customers is also important. Bright drafted a script for his receptionist to use when calls come in from his new lines. "The first thing we do is introduce ourselves and ask who they're trying to reach," he says. "If it's one of the other businesses, we explain the situation and let them know we can offer the same services. At that point, there's no confusion. It's seamless."

In fact, business is so good that Bright plans to hire new technicians this year to keep up. "I've been very lucky," he says. "I always say that if it looks like a great idea, then try it. Don't be afraid to try something--or you never know what you'll miss.”


Big Investors Jumping Back Into Shaky Home Loans

By VIKAS BAJAJ and JULIE CRESWELL | Published: June 1, 2007


The subprime mortgage business is in tatters: loan volume is plummeting, defaults are rising and some of the biggest lenders have cut back or shut down.

So what is the smart money — private equity, hedge funds and investment banks — doing? They are swooping in and taking over those battered businesses, seeing opportunity amid the wreckage.

“There is a lot of money pent up,” said Steve Probst, national sales manager with Fairway Independent Mortgage, a lender based in Sun Prairie, Wis. “And a lot of people are betting that the market will snap back quickly.”

It is a risky proposition.

In many parts of the country, there is a glut of unsold homes. Defaults and foreclosures are rising, putting further pressure on home prices and mortgage lending. Some housing industry officials worry that the new infusion of capital may refuel aggressive and risky lending to people with poor credit, known as subprime borrowers, delaying a much needed winnowing of the business.

Those dark clouds do not faze the new money in subprime. Among those making the biggest bets is Cerberus Capital Management, which first made its name investing in distressed debt. One of the country’s largest private equity firms, Cerberus has a record of making risky contrarian bets, including its recent agreement to take control of the troubled Chrysler Corporation for $7.4 billion.

Cerberus acquired control of the subprime lender Residential Capital last year, when it led an investment consortium that bought a 51 percent stake in G.M.A.C., the finance arm of General Motors. And in April, Cerberus, which also owns Aegis Mortgage, a subprime lender based in Houston, announced plans to acquire Option One, the troubled mortgage subsidiary of H&R Block.

Taken together, these acquisitions would make Cerberus the biggest subprime lender in the country, far ahead of large mortgage giants like Countrywide, Wells Fargo and others, according to first-quarter lending statistics from Inside Mortgage Finance.”


PowerPoint 2007 Presents a Strong Case

By Gerry Blackwell | May 31, 2007


Our look at changes, good and bad, to major components in Microsoft Office 2007 continues with a look at PowerPoint 2007, the latest version of the popular business presentation program.

Like Word 2007 and Excel 2007, which we reviewed earlier, PowerPoint uses the new Office user interface, which the company is now calling the Microsoft Office Fluent interface. It replaces menu and tool bars and vertical text menus with a "ribbon" and tabbed panels that drop down and stretch across the screen, graphically depicting groups of functions.

In the other reviews, we expressed reservations concerning the new interface. Suffice to say here that, while it may in the long run increase productivity and creativity by making it easier for users to find and interact with commonly used — and also little used but valuable — features, it will also require some re-learning, and entail some frustration, for experienced users of earlier versions.

Also, like the other programs in the Office suite, this new version of PowerPoint doesn't give you as much opportunity as earlier versions to customize the way the program works. You'll need to jetizon some existing customizations, including macros, in the transition to PowerPoint 2007. Finally, the program stores presentations in a new format that takes up less space — but cannot be opened by earlier versions of the program.

Significant Improvement
With that out of the way, let's turn to the good news. PowerPoint 2007 does include some substantial changes and inarguable improvements.

Some are Office-wide features that we've talked about in previous reviews. Changes to Microsoft Office spell checker, for example, make it easier for semi-literate presentation authors to avoid embarrassment — it now catches misuse of homonyms (sound-alike words with different spellings), and it lets you enter a list of words or phrases to avoid using, and flags them when you do.

You can now save slides and presentations as PDF or XML Paper Specification (XPS) files within PowerPoint. (XPS preserves your formatting and ensures that data cannot be changed easily by others with whom you share the file.) New security features let you add a digital signature to a presentation, strip out private meta data before publishing and mark a presentation or slide as final version so that it's read only.

Other changes are more specific to PowerPoint or have more specific application in this program. Here's a list of what seems to me most important:

  • New SmartArt graphics let you create editable designer-quality diagrams and charts.
  • One-click universal application of themes, layouts and Quick Styles makes it easier to create good looking presentations with a consistent look and feel.
  • The capability to create custom slide layouts makes it easier to customize presentations while preserving consistency.
  • A new Presenter view lets you show a presentation to the audience on one monitor while previewing upcoming slides and reading speaker notes from another screen.
  • Storing slides in a library on a Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 means users can share and reuse slides, and avoid re-inventing the wheel.

Smart Graphics
In earlier versions of PowerPoint, you could create custom charts and diagrams by laboriously combining clip art, shapes and text, but for professional-looking results you'd have to go out to a designer. The artwork you got back would look nice, but typically could not be changed or edited. With SmartArt, you can create lists, diagrams and charts with a polished, designed look — and the text and graphics elements can be changed at any point in the authoring process.

Choose SmartArt in the Insert menu, and select the diagram you want from the pop-up dialog. When you click on a piece of SmartArt, you see an enlarged view of it and a description of its intended use. You'll find art for lists, processes, cycles, hierarchies, relationships, matrices and pyramids — with a few designs for some categories, several for others.

When you click OK in the SmartArt dialog, PowerPoint inserts the selected art in the slide and pops up a dialog beside it with fields for entering text in each diagram element. Also, the Design tab automatically drops down from the ribbon. Enter your text, resize the diagram if necessary by dragging the handles in the corners of the bounding box and drag and drop to relocate it if you don't like the default centered position. You can also change color scheme and other attributes by choosing pictured options in the Design tab.

PowerPoint 2007 also makes it easier to apply themes, the master designs that determine font, colors, text formatting, graphic treatment and so on for an entire document, slide or presentation. In the past, you had to change colors manually for charts, diagrams or graphics to ensure they matched the theme selected. Now when you choose a theme it automatically applies to graphics elements as well. You can select themes visually from the Design tab — and Microsoft has added new themes with PowerPoint 2007 — or download them, as in the past, from the Web.

Consistent Look and Feel
One other way earlier versions of PowerPoint helped give slide presentations an all-important consistent look and feel was with master slide layouts, templates for positioning elements — titles, text and graphic elements — on a slide. You selected a master layout and simply typed or clicked in the "placeholders" to insert content. But in the past, you could only choose pre-designed slide layouts.

Now you can create your own from within the Slide Master tab, which automatically drops down from the ribbon when you select Slide Master in the Presentation Views group on the Views tab. You can delete, resize or reposition the few placeholders in the basic default master and add, size and position new elements by selecting Insert Placeholder, choosing a category of placeholder (text, picture, chart, table and so on.) and drawing a box in the slide window where you want it to appear.

The new Presenter view is potentially a huge improvement for managing presentations. Many modern laptops support a dual-monitor mode that lets you attach a second monitor and display information on both the laptop screen and the other monitor. With the new Presenter view in PowerPoint 2007, you can show different information on each. The second monitor, which the audience sees, displays only the slides. The laptop screen displays Presenter view, which shows a film-reel preview of the next slides in the presentation and previews the text that will appear with the next mouse click — either the next slide or the next bullet point on the current slide. Presenter view also displays the speaking notes in large, clear type making them easy to read. It shows the elapsed time in your presentation, and it lets you select slides out of sequence.

The Corporate Slide Library
The capability to store individual slide files in a corporate or departmental slide library could also deliver important benefits, but you need to be running PowerPoint 2007 and be connected to a network server running Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. It won't work with earlier versions of either product.

This feature lets you "publish" your slides to a library so they're available for others to use. You can also add slides from the library to your presentation. When you do that, the slide remains linked to the library, and if an author changes the slide — updates the sales data in a chart, for example — the system automatically updates the slide in your presentation, too.

This offers two benefits: You're assured of having up-to-date, accurate information in your presentation, and authors can reuse each others work to avoid repeating effort.

There are some additional minor changes. You can now format text with all the standard options available in Word — all caps, small caps, strikethrough, double strikethrough and double or color underline. Microsoft has redesigned tables and charts and made them somewhat easier to work with — though this is mainly a function of the new Fluent interface.

Bottom Line
If your business life revolves around giving PowerPoint presentations, PowerPoint 2007, which you can purchase on its own as an upgrade for about $100 or as part of one of the various Office 2007 bundles ($150 to $680), is definitely worth considering. The Presenter view on its own could be a godsend. And if your organization has several people giving presentations who sometimes need to use the same slides, the capability to set up a slide library on an Office SharePoint server could also be worth the price of admission. On the other hand, f you only occasionally use PowerPoint, you can probably live without the new version.”


Connections For Business

Through his professional network, hamet watt strengthens his business and helps others along the way

By Matthew S. Scott


Hamet Watt has always had a passion for entrepreneurship. He has held down a job since the age of 14 and has always pursued entrepreneurial activities. As an undergraduate at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, Watt formed a company to move and store the furniture of other students over the summer. He also bought two single-family homes off-campus and rented them to students.

After graduating and doing a small stint at a boutique investment firm in Maryland, Watt, 32, became a partner in North Carolina-based venture capital firm New Africa Opportunity Fund, where he helped many black- and minority-owned companies secure much needed financing to start, grow, and sustain their businesses. And what's more, the Washington, D.C., native has made it a point to support organizations that support black- and minority-owned businesses.

At this point in his life, Watt has a lot of personal entrepreneurial experience and has worked extensively with other business owners. He says that a lack of capital and a lack of mentoring are two of the most challenging issues facing minority entrepreneurs who are trying to build successful companies. "It's surprisingly difficult to find mentors that have built successful businesses, especially technology-related businesses," says Watt. "I think mentorship is a key aspect of building a business."

Mentorship was important to Watt four years ago when he started NextMedium Inc., a company that provides information products and technology solutions to the entertainment and advertising industries and helps them respond to the changes in the way people consume entertainment. The company helps those industries respond to the challenges brought on by personal recording devices and digital recording devices, such as TIVO, which allows consumers to skip commercials. It also helps the industries benefit from product placement. Television is a $60 billion a year industry, so missed commercials would be an understandable concern. Watt believes he has a great opportunity to benefit from helping these industries deal with that problem. But he knows he wouldn't have been so fortunate landing that opportunity had he not been diligent about creating relationships with people who have been valuable resources for his business. His goal is to help other business owners do the same.....”


Wachovia-A.G. Edwards deal may inspire more mergers

By Christine Dugas, USA TODAY


Wachovia's (WB) bold move to acquire A.G. Edwards (AGE)— and create the second-biggest U.S. retail brokerage, by number of advisers — could spur further consolidation in the brokerage industry, analysts say.

The $6.8 billion cash-and-stock deal, announced Thursday, will form a powerhouse known as Wachovia Securities. It would have 3,350 brokerage locations across the USA, with more than $1.1 trillion in client assets and 15,000 financial advisers, second only to Merrill Lynch and just ahead of Citigroup's Smith Barney.

Several other financial firms have signaled that they, too, would be interested in acquiring a regional brokerage firm, says Richard Bove, an analyst and managing director of Punk Ziegel & Co. But there are only a few left, such as Raymond James and Piper Jaffray.

"In the next 12 to 18 months, virtually all of them should be gone," Bove says.

The transaction is expected to close in October, and the effects on consumers aren't yet clear. But some analysts say the combined firm's economies of scale could ultimately benefit retail customers.

"It has created a one-stop shop for financial services," says Jennifer Thompson, an analyst at Oppenheimer. "To the extent that they can offer better pricing, that is a good thing for consumers."

In a statement, Wachovia CEO Ken Thompson called the deal with A.G. Edwards, the nation's largest independent brokerage, a long-term growth opportunity. It will "further enhance our scale and relevance," he said.

Wachovia, the USA's fourth-largest bank, said its offer values A.G. Edwards at $89.50 a share — a 16% premium over the stock's closing price Wednesday.

"It's a unique deal because it's a combination of a top retail bank and a top brokerage firm," says Alois Pirker, an analyst at Aite Group.

But others questioned whether the acquisition is a wise one for Wachovia, which combined with Prudential Financial in 2003 and last year bought a major mortgage lender, Golden West Financial.

"It's entering into too many mergers, which may make sense from a business standpoint, but it makes no sense from a financial standpoint," Bove says.

It's also possible that many of A.G. Edwards' top-producing brokers will be lured away. Such mass departures typically occur after such mergers, notes Jaime Peters, an equity analyst at Morningstar.

Wachovia stock barely changed Thursday, while A.G. Edwards surged $11.01, more than 14%, to $88.16. Stocks of other regional brokerages jumped on speculation they, too, might be acquired.”


Search heightens for Nordstrom Manhattan site

May 31, 2007


Upscale retailer Nordstrom on Wednesday said it has hired Madison Retail Group to find a location in the highly competitive and costly Manhattan market.

Nordstrom has long sought to open a store in Manhattan, but its largest barriers have been finding enough space (it needs at least 200,000 square feet), and at a price per square foot that enables it to turn a profit.

In an earlier interview, President Blake Nordstrom said the company won't enter the market blindly, "because it's so expensive to do business there. But if the right opportunity availed itself, it's our No. 1 priority. We think it's important on a lot of fronts to be in Manhattan."

When the retailer opens a Boston-area store this fall, Manhattan will remain the last major U.S. market where the company doesn't have a presence.

Stonepath Group
Dismissal sought of bankruptcy case

Stonepath Group has asked a bankruptcy judge to throw out an involuntary Chapter 7 case that three trade creditors filed against the Seattle logistics firm.

In papers filed Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., Stonepath asked Judge Christopher S. Sontchi to dismiss the bankruptcy filing, saying it was made in bad faith because the companies aren't creditors of Stonepath.

The three — Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based staffing firm Spherion and two Minnesota shipping companies — claim Stonepath owes them $1.1 million.

Stonepath said the companies are actually creditors of a company called MGR. According to court papers, Stonepath owns Stonepath Logistics Domestic Services which in turn owns MGR.

Unlike Chapter 11, whereby a company reorganizes under a bankruptcy court's supervision, in Chapter 7 a trustee is appointed to liquidate a company's assets.


Joint project works on flash memory
Microsoft, Intel and Dell are working together to develop technology that helps flash memory speed up personal computers.

The three companies are forming a group to work on improving software used to control so-called Nand flash memory, according to a joint statement.

Flash memory chips, already common in consumer electronics and mobile phones, are being used in more PCs. While flash devices can access data much more quickly than magnetic hard-disk drives and use less power, adjustments to computer hardware and software may help make better use of the technology.

Some applications now work offline

Google on Wednesday introduced a way to move its online software applications off the Internet, hoping the flexibility will encourage more people to use the free services and extend the company's clout beyond its ubiquitous search engine.

By installing a plug-in into Web browsers, Google Gears opens an offline door to software programs that until now have been inaccessible without an Internet connection.

That will change with Gears, which will enable users to synchronize their computers with online applications and then use the programs offline.

"This fills a gap for us," said Jeff Huber, a vice president of engineering at Google. "The Internet is great, but you can't always be plugged in to it."

Initially, only Google's "reader" application for collecting the latest content on blogs and other Web sites will work offline, but the company plans to add other programs to the mix, Huber said. He cited Google's e-mail, calendar, word-processing and spreadsheet programs as logical candidates for offline access.

If word processing and spreadsheets become available offline, they could become even more viable threats to Microsoft's Office software suite, a major moneymaker that traditionally has been installed directly on computer hard drives.


Corporate parent buys Photobucket

The parent of MySpace is buying the media-sharing site Photobucket for about $300 million, bringing together two of the Internet's most popular hangouts.

The deal announced Wednesday will give MySpace and sister sites under News Corp.'s Fox Interactive Media access to Photobucket's photo and video technologies, while Photobucket gets Fox's resources to accelerate development of its tools.

Peter Levinsohn, president of Fox Interactive, said Photobucket also would be able to incorporate advanced slideshow generators and other editing tools from Flektor, which Fox also announced Wednesday it bought.

"Together, they represent a powerful combination and we are thrilled for them to join our network," Levinsohn said.


Another top exec leaves company

Internet search-engine company Yahoo! said Chief Technology Officer Farzad Nazem has resigned, leaving two of the top executive posts at the company unfilled.

Nazem will leave June 8, Yahoo said Wednesday in a regulatory filing. Co-founder Jerry Yang will oversee Yahoo's technology group on an interim basis, spokeswoman Joanna Stevens said.

The company has yet to name an executive to oversee an audience, or products group.

"They need all the best minds that they can have," said Brian Bolan, an analyst at Jackson Securities in Chicago, who rates the shares "sell" and doesn't own any. "They're fighting tooth and nail against Google and almost everyone else."

Nazem left the company "absolutely of his own accord," Stevens said. The move had been planned for "a number of months," she said.


Company to shed 4,000 more jobs

Cellphone maker Motorola said Wednesday it will cut another 4,000 jobs as part of a plan aimed at improving sagging operational results.

The company already is eliminating 3,500 jobs as part of a two-year cost-cutting plan to save $400 million. Those layoffs, announced in January, are to be completed by June 30, Motorola said.

It said it will save another $600 million in 2008 by cutting 4,000 more workers, prioritizing investments and putting controls on discretionary spending and general and administrative expenses.

The company said it expects to take a restructuring charge of $300 million, or 8 cents per share in 2007, from severance and related expenses from staff cuts.

Motorola shares fell 2 cents to $18.28 Wednesday, then gained 17 cents in after-hours trading.


Baby computer joins smartphone

Palm on Wednesday introduced a compact portable computer to accompany its Treo smartphone, seeking to regain its competitive edge in the crowded high-end handheld-device market.

The new "Foleo" is about the size of a hardcover book and, at 2.5 pounds, half the weight of other small laptop computers. It is designed to be used with a smartphone, to help business travelers better manage their e-mail and documents by offering a 10-inch screen, full keyboard and wireless technology.

Foleo will be priced at $599 beginning this summer.


Higher tax slows boom in China

China's move to raise a tax on share trades, aimed at slowing a boom that could lead to a possible market bubble, seems to have worked, at least for now.

The main Shanghai composite index tumbled 6.5 percent Wednesday after hitting a record high Tuesday. The Shenzhen composite index for China's smaller second market fell even more, closing down 7.2 percent.

The retreat in Chinese shares came after the Finance Ministry tripled the "stamp tax" on stock trades from 0.1 percent to 0.3 percent, effective Wednesday. The ministry was trying to "cool [the] stock market," the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Despite the drop, Shanghai's benchmark index is still up 52 percent for the year, following a 130 percent jump in 2006.


PC-maker to keep direct-sales focus

Dell will keep the direct-sales focus that turned it into one of the world's top computer makers, even as it moves into the retail market, its chief executive said Wednesday.

"The direct model was a real revolution in the computer industry, but it's not a religion," Michael Dell told reporters in Toronto. "We're going to expand the number of places and ways that people can buy our products."

Company founder Dell spoke after last week's announcement that the company plans to start selling personal computers bundled with accessories through Wal-Mart in North America in June.

He said consumers should expect to see new product releases over the next few months, with a focus on industrial design and usability, but would not provide details.

Ernst & Young

4 current, former partners charged

Four current and former partners of the giant accounting firm Ernst & Young were charged Wednesday with fraud and other crimes relating to tax shelters that helped the wealthy escape taxes on incomes exceeding $10 million.

All four worked in a group the company set up in 1998 to develop tax shelters, according to an indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. The men allegedly defrauded the Internal Revenue Service from 1998 through 2004 by designing, marketing and selling fraudulent tax shelters.

Prosecutors charged Robert Coplan, 54, a Plano, Texas, lawyer who once was a branch chief in the IRS' Legislation and Regulations Division; Martin Nissenbaum, 51, of Brooklyn, a lawyer; Richard Shapiro, 58, of Rye Brook, N.Y., also a lawyer; and Brian Vaughn, 39, of Calhoun, La., an accountant.

They were charged with conspiracy to defraud the IRS, tax evasion, making false statements and impeding the IRS.

Compiled from Seattle Times staff, The Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Reuters, Dow Jones Newswires and Bloomberg News.”


How to Research a Business Opportunity

Protect yourself by learning what a business opportunity really is, how the government regulates them, and the steps you should take to ensure you've found the best opportunity available.


Just what is a business opportunity? That question has plagued a great many people trying to decide whether to buy a current independent business, a franchise, or what we'll refer to in this text as a business opportunity. To allay the confusion, we offer a simple analogy. Think back to elementary school when your teacher was explaining the difference between a rectangle and a square. A square is also a rectangle, but a rectangle isn't necessarily a square. The same relationship exists between business opportunities, independent businesses for sale and franchises. All franchises and independent businesses for sale are business opportunities, but not all business opportunities meet the requirement of being a franchise nor are they in the strictest sense of the word independent businesses for sale.

Making matters even more confusing is the fact that 26 states have passed laws defining business opportunities and regulating their sales. Often these statutes are drafted so comprehensively that they include franchises as well.

Not every state with a business opportunity law defines the term in the same manner. However, most of them use the following general criteria to define one:

1. A business opportunity involves the sale or lease of any product, service, equipment, etc. that will enable the purchaser-licensee to begin a business.

2. The licensor or seller of a business opportunity declares that it will secure or assist the buyer in finding a suitable location or provide the product to the purchaser-licensee.

3. The licensor-seller guarantees an income greater than or equal to the price the licensee-buyer pays for the product when it's resold and that there is a market present for the product or service.

4. The initial fee paid to the seller in order to start the business opportunity must range between $400 and $1,000.

5. The licensor-seller promises to buy back any product purchased by the licensee-buyer in the event it cannot be sold to the prospective customers of the business.

6. Any products or services developed by the seller-licensor will be purchased by the licensee-buyer.

7. The licensor-seller of the business opportunity will supply a sales or marketing program for the licensee-buyer that many times will include the use of a trade name or trademark.

The laws covering business opportunity ventures usually exclude the sale of an independent business by its owner. Rather, they are meant to cover the multiple sales of distributorships or businesses that do not meet the requirements of a franchise under the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rule passed in 1979. This act defines business offerings in three formats: package franchises, product franchises and business opportunity ventures.

In order to be a business opportunity venture under the FTC rule, four elements must be present:

1. The individual who buys a business opportunity, often referred to as a licensee or franchisee, must distribute or sell goods or services supplied by the licenser or franchisor.

2. The licensor or franchisor must help secure a retail outlet or accounts for the goods and services the licensee is distributing or selling.

3. There must be a cash transaction between the two parties of at least $500 prior to or within six months after the licensee or franchisee starts the business venture.

4. All terms and conditions of the relationship between the licensor and the licensee must be stated in writing.

You can readily see that the sale of business opportunities as defined by the FTC rule is quite different from the sale of an independent business. When you're dealing with the sale of an independent business, the buyer has no obligations to the seller. Once the sales transaction is completed, the buyer can subscribe to any business operations system he or she prefers. There is no continued relationship required by the seller. Business opportunity ventures, like franchises, are businesses in which the seller makes a commitment of continuing involvement with the buyer.”


Business buzz: Napa Community Bank promotes Meagher to assistant vp

Protect yourself by learning what a business opportunity really is, how the government regulates them, and the steps you should take to ensure you've found the best opportunity available.

May 31, 2007


Dennis Pedisich, president/chief executive officer of Napa Community Bank, announces that consumer loan and compliance officer Karen Meagher has been promoted to assistant vice president.

A 14-year banker and third-generation resident of Napa, Meagher joined Napa Community Bank in December 2002. She was in the bank’s loan administration department prior to being appointed consumer loan officer in 2004.

She specializes in consumer lending, including home equity loans and lines of credit. She has previous experience in branch management and real estate lending.

In the community, Meagher is active with the FFA and 4-H Livestock Loan Program, which helps FFA and 4-H members obtain loans to purchase livestock that they raise and sell at the Napa County Fair.

NV Opera House hires Baldwin as director of major gifts

Robin Baldwin recently joined the staff of the Napa Valley Opera House as director of major gifts.

Baldwin comes to the Opera House from Fayetteville, Ark., where she served as president of the Fayetteville Community Foundation.

As director of major gifts, she will play an important role in developing new relationships and nurturing existing partnerships with supporters of the Opera House.

“Robin brings a rich background of fundraising knowledge and a strong set of professional talents to the position. In addition, she has the business background and leadership experience that will help us continue to build a viable performing arts center in Napa,” said Evy Warshawski, executive director of the Napa Valley Opera House.

Baldwin has extensive experience in the development field. In addition to serving as president of the Fayetteville Community Foundation, she has served as director of development for the Sam M. Walton College of Business and the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas. In addition, she brings more than a decade worth of experience in management, marketing and non-profit expertise to the Opera House.

She holds a master’s degree in Health Science and a bachelor’s degree in psychology, both from the University of Arkansas.

Over the past 17 years she has served as a volunteer for a number of community and civic organizations.

Most recently, Baldwin worked with the Walton Arts Center, the Junior League of Northwest Arkansas, the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce and the American Heart Association.

FASTSIGNS opens in AmCan

A new FASTSIGNS sign and graphics center at 100 W. American Canyon Rd., Suite K-8, is now open under the ownership of two husband and wife teams, Walt and Karen Perlic and Warren Krasman and Lisa Brown.

All four of the owners come from backgrounds in the software engineering and telecommunications fields. The partners were seeking to invest in a business opportunity that would allow them to move away from the corporate environment, yet would still enable them to use their combined engineering backgrounds and expertise. The business philosophy and structure behind FASTSIGNS was a perfect fit.

“We researched several opportunities and were most impressed with the FASTSIGNS franchise model and the enthusiasm and expertise of the corporate team and other franchisees,” said Walt Perlic. “We have access to a broad network of colleagues with years of experience in the sign industry in addition to a team dedicated to researching and testing the newest technology and trends in the business.”

“We chose to open in the American Canyon/Vallejo area because it’s such an exciting opportunity to be part of the transition this area is experiencing,” said Krasman. “The redevelopment in Vallejo and new focus on American Canyon will expand the local opportunities for the residents. We know that our center will fulfill a need within the community with high-quality products and unparalleled customer service.”

The new FASTSIGNS of American Canyon can be reached by phone at 552-0110, by fax at 552-0112 or on the web at”


monthly residual income and easy setup with this business opportunity

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