Blogs

Free Websites for Maryland Business Owners

The Maryland Office of the Governor has teamed up wtih Google to offer free websites for Maryland small businesses. It's a pretty sweet deal. The website says:

What you get:
Free, easy-to-build Intuit website
Free customized domain name
Free web hosting for one year
Free online tools and training

You can go to an in person meeting on the seventeenth of this month to get the skinny and get going.

July 17, 2012
9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Legg Mason Tower
100 International Drive, 4th Fl.
Baltimore, MD 21202

Make sure you register for the event.

http://www.gybo.com/maryland/

Apps That Function as Credit Card Readers

The Small Business Administration has a nice rundown on three apps that allow merchants to accept credit card payments via a cell phone. They include Square, PayPal Here and Intuit GoPayment. There is a description of the cost of using the products and some of the advantages.

http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/payments-go-–-turning-your-mobile-device-cash-register

It's about time that we had these kinds of options here in the US. An associate of mine has been using them in Europe for years.

Free Rapid Screenings for Kidney Disease

The Kidney Trust is offering free screenings for CKD, chronic kidney disease, in different parts of the country. http://kidneytrust.org/what/free-rapid-screening-ckd/

Twelve percent of the people they have screened have had CKD. Often CKD has no symptoms so early detection is important. There are things you can do to slow your progression of kidney failure, like cut down or cut out animal protein, but knowing you have it is the first step. Common risk factors include hypertension and diabetes. You can read a lot more about protecting your kidneys at the website. http://kidneytrust.org/learn/protect-kidneys/

Christmas in July - Christmas Tree for Fifty Bucks

Home Depot is having a nice sale on an artificial Christmas tree. Marked down from more than two hundred dollars, you can get it today for fifty.

http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?produc...

The official name is Home Accents Holiday 9 ft. Pre-Lit Wesley Pine Tree Clear. Get it while it's hot!

Free Plus Size Fashion Croquis

Lucis7 at DeviantArt has released six fashion croquis that are plus sized and free. They are for non commercial purposes only and Lucis7 found them of particular use when they were a fashion student.

http://lucis7.deviantart.com/art/Plus-size-Fashion-croquis-306781184

Some Independence Day Celebration Ideas

Our National Parks are great places to celebrate Independence Day. Here's a nice rundown of which parks are doing what. http://www.nationalparks.org/connect/npf-news/national-park-foundation-u...

If you happen to live near Maryland you might want to head over to Fort McHenry for the bicentennial of the War of 1812. Also if you happen to live near Fort McHenry, like I do, and you're a pet owner, like I am, you might want to make sure your pets are secured as you do not want them getting frightened by the fireworks and running away. It's a scary time to be a dog or a cat. (Or even a grown up human, depending on who you are.)

Free Classes for Baltimore Artists

Baltimore Artists have an exciting opportunity to take three free classes designed to help them live a sustainable life. From the website "focuses on building a sustainable life as an artist through planning, long-term thinking, and problem-solving."

Seats are limited and classes start next week so get in touch now.

http://www.bakerartistawards.org/blog/2012/06/artists-u-comes-to-baltimo...

Claim Your Local Business Listing

I've read quite a bit recently about the importance of businesses claiming their local listings online. This blog post from SCORE is particularly good.

http://blog.score.org/2012/sba/how-to-stand-out-on-the-web-using-free-on...

One thing you need to keep in mind that is that you should know what people are saying about your business. You don't just need to be easily found, you need to be a company that can gain trust. I personally changed my mind about eating at a new restaurant this week because it only had three reviews, all bad (in fact all used the word "nasty" - which is not a word I want associated with my meal.)

I've also steered clear of hotels because the reviews said they had bedbugs.

Claim and monitor your listings. Correct problems as people talk about them and you'll see that the time you spent was an excellent investment.

Three Great Short Stories

In this week's Quality Time Weekly column I talk about, and link to, three free fantastic short stories. They're mostly science fiction oriented but they're all really about people and the heart. One is by Jennifer Egan, one is from Neil Gaiman and one is by George Saunders.

http://qualitytimeweekly.com/content/black-box-and-jon

Lots of Free Stuff to do in Baltimore

If you're looking for free stuff to do in Baltimore you'll be super happy to read this list of thirty things to do that cost nothing. There's everything from volleyball at Rash Field to outdoor movies at Fells Point to story time with the Urban Pirates.

http://baltimore.org/30-free-things/

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