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Are your employees helping you LOSE money?

by Guest blogger, Chuck Vance, President, MaskMail.com

employee theft - CopyDo you know if your employees are stealing from you or, if a manager is sexually harassing one of his/her subordinates or, if you have an employee who is about to “go postal” at your business or, if you have people using illegal drugs while driving company vehicles?

Most business owners and managers would probably respond: “Of course, I talk to my employees and they talk to me, so I pretty much know what is going on. Besides, we are like family.”

Unfortunately, experts and statistics would tell you that that is your perception and not the reality. Let’s just take one category of what you don’t know, and it is the one that probably everyone thinks of first—- employee theft.

The FBI calls employee theft “the fastest growing crime in America” and adds that this trend is having a devastating effect on small businesses.  The U. S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that 75% of employees steal from the workplace and that most do so repeatedly. The Department of Commerce estimates that employee theft of cash, property, and merchandise may cost American businesses as much as $50 billion per year. That sounds like a lot, but consider if one of your trusted employees is taking just one pack of cigarettes per day (5 days per week), at your store—you lose, (in revenues), between $2,000 and $3,000, per year.

The average annual loss suffered by small businesses (fewer than 100 people) is $200,000, which is significantly higher than the average loss in any other category, including the largest businesses. Would you be surprised to know that it is estimated that about one third of all corporate bankruptcies are “directly” caused by employee theft? What if you had that $200,000, (or even part of it), back in the business? Could it have kept you out of bankruptcy?

You may be thinking, “That can’t be true; why would there be greater losses in a smaller business, where you know the people better, than in a larger company?” Let’s look at the factors that make small businesses especially vulnerable to employee theft and fraud. For one, small businesses generally have more limited resources to devote toward crime detection—they are busy focusing on trying to keep the doors open. When they do spend time and effort on theft deterrence, they think about protecting their company from external theft, not internal theft. In addition, small companies often include employees with multiple responsibilities (people known in baseball as “utility players”), who are not closely supervised. This provides them a greater opportunity to commit and conceal illegal activities. Furthermore, the family-like atmosphere of many small businesses may, believe it or not, lead to higher rates of employee theft—because owners of such businesses place too much faith in the belief that familiarity breeds honesty—which is not true.

And remember, thus far we are only talking about employee theft.

How about sexual harassment? Would it surprise you to know that in a recent survey taken of 782 U.S. workers that 31% of the females revealed that they had been sexually harassed at work—43% of those were harassed by a supervisor? The Business Forum estimates that over $20 billion is spent each year by businesses for litigation—and that does not include settlements or judgments.

There are other issues such as workplace violence, discrimination, alcohol or drugs in the workplace, and many more.

So, if we realize that we probably have problems in our business that we are not aware of, how do we find out about them? Do we meet collectively, or even privately, with our employees and say, “Come on, tell me what you know?” How effective do you think that that would be?  Most people will not step forward with negative information for a number of reasons:

They don’t want to be branded as “snitches” and they don’t want to be ostracized, ridiculed, or perhaps retaliated against by their peers, or even supervisors. They don’t think that their information is important enough to pass along and they don’t believe that management truly wants them to report issues—and make waves.

If these are their concerns, how do we assuage them? How can we get them to provide information to you that could, if unreported, harm the company and its bottom line?

There are anonymous reporting systems which are the proven, most cost effective methods to find out what is going on in your company.  A program is established for your employees to anonymously report information without fear of retaliation.  This is a program that you can establish, endorse and publicize to your employees, vendors, contractors and even customers— because YOU DO CARE, and, YOU DO WANT TO HEAR FROM THEM!

But should that anonymous e-mail and/or phone line go to someone within the company? If you were reporting that your boss was sexually harassing his secretary or that your office manager was taking free trips from vendors, would you e-mail or phone a tip to someone within the company and hope that your voice, or e-mail address, wouldn’t be recognized? Or, would you be concerned that you would be identified and that overtly, or covertly, you would be punished for reporting?

Far more effective, both from a quantity and quality of reported information, is for businesses to use a professional vendor, with a qualified and trained staff, as a 24/7 conduit between the employees, and them. Having a third party between the reporter and management, (with rapid transmission of the report), gives the reporter the confidence to fully and frankly report without being identified.

Also, businesses can tailor the questions that they would like the vendor to ask a reporter and require that the vendor support many different languages so that reporters will feel comfortable communicating in their native language. In fact, because the communication through the vendor is anonymous, the vendor can facilitate an open dialogue between the reporter and the company, increasing the comfort level of the reporter and the likelihood that an incident will be reported.

Business owners and managers can ask follow-up questions through the vendor to gain additional insight and further their investigation.

So, is the anonymous reporting program, with submissions by e-mail or voice mail, monitored and relayed by trained professionals around the clock, 365 days of the year, in almost any language, expensive?

Surprisingly, no. And such a program is easy to incorporate into your business.  At the program’s inception there is a small, one time, start-up fee to get your company set up in the vendor’s software. Then your business and your employees are provided with posters (to be placed in strategic areas around the workplace), wallet size cards (giving URL for the reporting website and the toll free number). You, as the boss, designate who you want to receive the reports. After the start-up charge, you have a very reasonable monthly fee (based usually on the number of employees that you have in the company). That rate remains the same through-out the term of the agreement, no matter how many reports and responses you have each month. The start-up charge and monthly fee could easily be recouped by your company just by detecting and correcting one issue (e.g., someone stealing from you). The deterrent effect alone of such a program will probably save you enough money to more than offset the expenditure.

As an added bonus, an anonymous reporting system also qualifies as one of the reporting methods mandated by the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act of 2002. In fact, some insurance companies have given premium discounts to businesses that utilize an anonymous reporting system. So, both the government and insurance companies must believe that such a program is an effective deterrent, and an effective self-policing tool.

Sound easy? That’s because it is. You go about doing what you do best for your company. When issues are reported, depending on their nature and seriousness, you resolve them knowing that you probably caught them early, before they became a more expensive and endemic problem.

So, as we’ve shown, you really can’t know everything that is going on in your company, no matter how small or large it might be. Then why not find an excellent vendor and enroll your company in an anonymous reporting program? Companies that have, see positive results. Their employees feel good that they have a way of communicating with management and reporting issues, even making minor suggestions, or voicing complaints—without revealing their identity. Management knows that by having a reliable, effective method to anonymously receive reports, they will probably get an early “heads up” about issues that they would otherwise not see or hear of. Even contractors, vendors, and customers will feel good because they know they are doing business with a company that has an effective tool for dealing with inappropriate behaviors.

So, don’t you think that it is time for you to enroll your business in an anonymous reporting program so that you’ll never have to say, “I wish that someone would have told us about that!”?

October 21, 2013   No Comments

Helping others is what we’re all about

Pinelake IndiaIf you know anything at all about DollarDays, then you know we always like to help others in need.  And we love to hear about others doing the same and thought we’d share a story of a customer who is devoted to helping others.

Pinelake Church, with several locations in Mississippi, is helping people in Punjab, India who are in need.  Teams from Pinelake Church travel to India and offer a Compassion Kit that is a good-sized box filled with practical living items like soap, toothpaste, t-shirts and other basic items.  The Kit is a gift that also shares the story of Jesus and gives the opportunity for a person to begin their own story of knowing Jesus.

DollarDays feels fortunate to be Pinelake Church’s wholesale connection for the contents of the Compassion Kits. It’s projects like these that make us feel like we are making a difference too.

Keep up the good work, Pinelake Church!

October 9, 2013   No Comments

Selling on Auctions Vs Fixed Priced Marketplaces

Online_Auction_Buttonby Marc Joseph

Auctions have been an integral piece of the Internet since the beginning. AuctionWeb (which became eBay) was founded in San Jose, California in 1995 by French born Iranian-American computer programmer Pierre Omidyar. One of the first items sold on AuctionWeb was a broken laser pointer. When Pierre called the buyer to ask why he bought a broken product, the buyer told him he was a collector of broken laser pointers. This answer helped reinforce the idea that the Internet was made up of lots of little niches of interest and a robust auction site could bring them all together.

As eBay grew, so did the fees that were charged the sellers (those listing products). EBay generates revenues from all kinds of fees. There are fees to list a product. There are fees when the products sell and optional marketing fees to sell products. To the long time sellers on eBay, the increase of fees over the years has become quite disheartening. So out of this frustration, several alternative auction sites sprang up.

The auction site DollarDays sees as the fairest site for both buyers and sellers is http://dollardays.com/landing/auction . Sellers pay only $8 a month and they get a free storefront and can list up to 8,000 products. Sellers don’t have to worry about any other hidden charges. This site seems the best way to move overstocks, shelf pulls, leftovers and end of season inventory. Hundreds of thousands of interesting products from coins to collectibles help drive committed buyers to this site.

As a seller, the other way to move your products through Internet sales is to get involved in marketplaces. Online ecommerce marketplaces are sites where the platform of a site containing sellers products, is provided by third parties and transactions are processed by these third party marketplace operators. Some of the most well-known include Amazon, Newegg and Rakuten (previously known as buy.com) If you own your own products, all you need to do is contact these sites directly and add your products. These sites take a percentage of all sales, so make sure you have built enough margins into your pricing to cover these expenses. If you don’t own your own goods and want to sell on these sites, become involved in a drop shipping program which is a technique where you do not keep the inventory in stock, but transfer customer orders and shipment details to a company like a manufacturer or wholesaler who stocks the goods and ships directly to your customer. I obviously recommend our drop shipping program at http://www.dollardays.com/aboutus/dropship.htm

Don’t kid yourself. Both listing and selling products for auctions and marketplaces takes work. The philosophy of “build it and they will come” does not work on the Internet. You need to have the right products, at the right price at the right time and then find the right venue that has the right amount of customers shopping for your goods. The easiest way today to see if you have the right products at the right price is to throw them up on http://dollardays.com/landing/auction . At $8 a month, how can you go wrong and if it does not work, just shut it down…but if it does work, laugh all the way to the bank as you think about how much those poor sellers on eBay are paying just to get their sales!

 

October 7, 2013   No Comments

Brother, Can You Spare A MilkBone?

marc oct blogBy Marc Jospeh
reprinted from The Huffington Post

The effort in the recent Colorado floods shows our rescue missions for animals have come a long way since the pet loss disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans where people would not evacuate for fear of leaving their pets. CBS reported that some helicopters rescuing people in the Colorado flooding carried more dogs, cats and fish than people. Rescuers, using zip lines to evacuate people over the enlarged raging rivers, also risked their lives to make sure the animal members of the families were safe. The National Guard took the posture that including the pets in the rescue helped convince reluctant residents to leave their homes. Once the pets were on dry ground, the Red Cross shelters had water bowls, on-site kennels and other supplies so the already anxious evacuees would not have to be separated from their pets.

If we can rally around a disaster to ensure our four legged companions are safe, why can’t we do the same in our day in day out regular life? You have an ex-marine in Glennie, MI accused of torturing 5 dogs and 6 horses. In August we had the second largest dog fighting raid in US history affecting 372 dogs in Alabama, Mississippi, Texas and Georgia. These dogs ranged in age between a few days and 12 years old; and were left to suffer in life-threatening heat with no visible fresh water or food, while some were tethered by chains and cables to cinder blocks and car tires. And then you have an animal control officer in Long Island facing multiple charges because he had 850 snakes in his house and garage. When does our morality of the sacredness of kindness in life kick in?

There are success stories. In Monticello, KY, 80 dogs were rescued from a puppy mill. The Brown County Animal Center, near Cincinnati, was going to have to euthanize 8 dogs at the end of the week, so they started a campaign for adoptions and 10 dogs were adopted in time. But in all reality there are just not enough success stories to brag about.

The fourth quarter of the year is when we celebrate all kinds of holidays that reinforce our commitment to each other. We also should be taking care of the cats and dogs that are not as fortunate to have secure homes. We can help those suffering in Colorado from people to animals. Here is a link that lists many of the agencies and foundations responding to the flood victims. Also, Global Animal is taking donations to help rescue animals from the Colorado flooding. And if you actually want to volunteer to help all animals in all cities, The Humane Society has a wonderful program to join their animal rescue team where you can help save animals who are the victims of illegal animal cruelty and natural disasters. At DollarDays on our Facebook page, we are giving away $5,000 in products to animal shelters, so make sure you nominate your favorite shelter that can use our help.

In 2012 according to Statistic Brain, there were a little over 5,000 animal shelters in the USA. Five million animals entered these shelters and 3.5 million were euthanized. This affected 60% of the dogs and 70% of the cats. Fifteen percent of the dogs and 2% of the cats were returned to their owners. Taxpayers pay $2 Billion annually to round up, house and dispose of homeless animals. Sixty three percent of US homes have a companion animal, which is 70 million homes. All of these numbers are mind boggling. Yet, we only think about these poor victims when there is a flood in Colorado or a dog fighting raid in Alabama. Since the majority of us are pet owners and pet lovers, these blameless animals that need our help every day should be at the top of our minds. Helping to support animals in need is the core of our decency. These innocent animals give us much happiness; let’s do everything we can to eliminate their pain and suffering and get them into loving homes.

 

October 7, 2013   No Comments

SMALL BUSINESS = HUGE FINANCIAL HEADACHES

small biz headachesby Marc Joseph

You have just opened your business and you are very proud. Only 10% of entrepreneurs who say they want to go into business for themselves actually have the guts to follow through and open the business. There are all kinds of reasons why the 90% don’t make it to the goal line. The number one reason is they can’t secure the funding.

Cash to open businesses usually comes from several different sources. Self-funding is the most common. You may have been working overtime in your current job or had a couple of jobs to stash away a few bucks. You may have been able to save money in a 401K and felt it was time to put it to better use. At one time before this great recession, many people had equity in their homes to borrow against.

Using the credit on your credit cards is another scarier way to raise cash. Borrowing from family or friends is also used frequently. If there is any way to avoid using either one of these methods, for your long term sanity, please circumvent them. Credit card interest rates will haunt you for years to come and a relative you can’t pay back will haunt you for the rest of your life.

Getting a loan from your local bank plays out well in movies, but in today’s world where so many banks went under during the great recession, actually getting a bank to show an interest in what you do is another long shot.

In the headlines we read about these successful venture capital groups financing all these large companies, but in reality you really don’t see them on Main Street America. Many communities do have Angel Investors, which are usually people who have made it big and are looking to help out other entrepreneurs. Like the TV Show “Shark Tank”, they usually want a nice chunk of your business for the funding.

But I regress talking about all the financial reasons why entrepreneurs can’t get started. If your business is open now, you have figured out how to fund it. The key is once you are up and running, how do you keep the cash flow going so you can continue to keep the lights on and buy products to sell? Ideally, every business should establish a line of credit with their local bank to help with the seasonality of the ups and downs of sales ebbs. But most businesses have the same problem when they were trying to get funding to open in the first place – banks just aren’t as generous as they once were.

That is one reason why DollarDays worked so hard to establish a strategic partnership with First Bankcard to help offer credit through the new DollarDays Business Edition Visa card to the 23 million small business owners throughout the country. Having a credit card like this enables businesses to better manage their cash flow throughout the year and rewards the businesses for all of their purchases. Small businesses can now earn reward points on all of their DollarDays purchases, as well as earn three points for each dollar spent on certain types of qualifying business expenses important to small businesses. The rewards points can be redeemed as cash back as a credit to the account, for travel, merchandise or gift cards. Here is a link to this valuable financial solution.

Funding your business from the beginning through the day in day out sales has always been the most challenging part of running a business. Just look at the issues our government has been trying to overcome the last several years; and if we ran our business like they do, we would all be out of business.  If you have deep enough personal pockets to pay your bills during the lean times; than more power to you. But since most of us don’t have this luxury; finding the right partners to fund you during the down times is crucial to long term success.

October 7, 2013   No Comments

Announcing a great way to sell excess inventory

sold

Most people look at DollarDays and think we are just the largest online wholesaler in the US. While this is exactly correct, there’s something else we’d like people to know about us.

We want our customers, the small businss owners, to know we go to great lengths to provde tools and assistance to help businesses not only grow, but keep up with technology that will make doing business a little easier.

If you read a few posts before this one, you know we just launched a credit card for small business owners. Great tool to help with inventory or whatever your needs might be.

Today, the big news, or tool, we’d like to share with you is our new online auction platform. We believe the best way to move overstocks, shelf pulls and end of season inventory is right here, through our zero-fee online auction.

You can sell new, used and even returns! There are no selling fees, no listing fees and no commissions to pay out—you pay $8 per month and you can sell up to 8,000 items at a time. You even get a free storefront, and best of all, the customer service is five star.

If you need way to sell inventory fast and make extra income, please take a look at our new online auction tool! Start today, make money tomorrow!

What do have laying around, clogging up your warehouse? Sell it today!

 

September 26, 2013   No Comments

Making the Most of your Holiday Charity and Donations

charity-giftby Jackie Eldridge

Most non-profit organizations, such as churches, charities, shelters and schools, have special missions, outreach or service projects planned for the Christmas holidays to help those in need. We find that at his time of year, non-profits like yours are preparing to help provide food, clothing and holiday presents to children and families, as well as helping the homeless. And we also find they need to stretch every penny.

We provide needed items in bulk to hundreds of organizations and one of the most popular and practical items we see to help the homeless at Christmastime is the purchase of bulk wholesale plastic shoe boxes and filling them with dozens of bulk wholesale health and beauty supplies such as tooth paste and brushes, soap, first aid, shampoo, wet wipes, aspirin, deodorant, combs, toenail clippers, razors, snacks and other items to help maintain hygiene and health. Buying the shoeboxes and the health and hygiene items at wholesale makes it possible for organizations to stretch their dollars and help more people. One of the things that our non-profit organizations enjoy about the clear plastic shoe boxes filled with health and hygiene items is that their organization has to create an event to bring their members together to pack the boxes. This provides a deep sense of service and camaraderie. Once packed, distribution begins and that true spirit of the season lasts and lasts. They are making a true difference in the lives of those less fortunate.

The homeless in particular have many needs to make it through the cold winter. Some organizations buy wholesale sleeping bags, fleece blankets, coats, hats, gloves, shoes and boots, as well as socks to distribute to shelters and to those living on the streets. In fact, to emphasize the importance of socks, the Boston Health Care for the Homeless program believes “clean, white socks are a staple of homeless health care and make a real difference in the lives of their patients.” Needless to say, we sell tens of thousands of pairs of socks each holiday season.

Then we have to think about the children. While there are many organizations, such as Toys for Tots, that provide toys for kids, local schools, churches and organizations make the children a priority by having toy drives. One of the best values for buying toys is buying in bulk at DollarDays.com. Instead of buying one toy, you can purchase a lot of 12 and often the cost for 12 toys wholesale is what you might pay for one toy from a retail store.  We have hundreds of small community organizations buy toys in bulk, as well as some of the larger organizations such as Salvation Army.

If your organization would like additional help with donations, DollarDays has a WishList program where we give you a WishList page, with your name and logo on it, and you can select the items from DollarDays you’d like people to donate to your organization. Donors visit your WishList, select the items you need and we ship them to you.  The program is free and it includes a toolkit to help your organization promote it in your community.

September 24, 2013   No Comments

9 tips for writing sticky SEO content

google worldby Jackie Eldridge

Let’s face it, Google DOES rule the world. Or at least our online world of e-commerce where we constantly fight an uphill battle for search engine rankings. If you don’t keep up with Google’s algorithm changes, you may be headed backwards, instead of climbing that hill.

Google recently announced its latest algorithm update, Google Caffeine, which is a completely new way of indexing. It’s important you understand that the freshness of your content is going to be more important than ever before. This means that you need to post as often as you can and constantly update on trending topics related to your business, if you want to climb that hill to higher search engine rankings.

Two other updates prior to Caffeine (Panda and Penguin) focus on the uniqueness of content, fresh content and social media. Penguin will penalize you, even blacklist you, if you copy (plagiarize) content and also wants to see at least 60% unique content site-wide. Let this be your guide for creating content that will organically improve your search engine rankings, which will ultimately improve your sales and revenue.

So, what is search engine content, exactly? The most effective search engine content appeals both to readers and search engines. It can be tricky (like talking out of both sides of your mouth, sometimes!), as you are basically writing articles and reviews for readers, but at the same time it’s search engines that monitor your content and feed it to readers through searches. It’s not enough just to create a website anymore. A website’s content development and visibility to search engines is much more important. I’ll be outlining nine recommendations, that will help make your e-commerce store or sales on third party marketplaces more successful. That said, it’s a given that you need to create your “own voice” and write in a manner that, depending on your business, is memorable, maybe funny but for certain, credible.

1. Choosing the Right Keywords
Search engines identify your website content with the help of keywords. These are usually very closely related to the search terms that are entered by the users in search engines. Before writing any topic for your website or blog, you will need to conduct a thorough research on the keywords that are closely associated with the topic. You could make use of keyword research tools like Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner  to find the most popular keywords. Just Google AdWords Keyword Planner to learn more.

2. Readability
Please remember that you are writing for your readers and not search engines. You might find it difficult to use some of the popular keywords grammatically, but you cannot really afford to skip it all together. Although search engines look for the keywords in particular, they would want the readers to read quality content. Therefore, you will need to make sure that the content is interesting and adds value to the readers, instead of just stuffing it with overused keywords. Keywords should not stop the content flow.

3. Along with readability comes Content Relevancy
Make sure that you make use of keywords while maintaining the relevancy to your content. Search engines employ a number of algorithms to detect content that has been created with the sole purpose to obtain good ranking. This type of content will increase your chances of your website getting blacklisted by search engines, which is the equivalent to a slow death. Plus, readers can identify content that has been created for keywords and it will turn them off and you will lose credibility with them…and search engines.

4. Keyword Placement
Now that you know NOT to overuse keywords, the best way to use them is in the beginning of paragraphs and subheads. In the other parts of your content you can use synonymous phrases instead of the keywords.

5. Keep it short
Users hate reading big blocks of copy. Big blocks of copy turns readers off —they want short, succinct information blocks that can help them learn something, solve a problem or make a buying decision. Four to five lines in a paragraph is plenty.

6. A little bit of magic: Use Bullets and Numbering
This is a complement to short paragraphs. In today’s world, people do not have time to read everything they see on the web.  That said, it’s up to you to make it as simple as possible for them to grasp your message by using bullets and numbering, so they can get the gist of your content in a quick scan to decide if it is of real interest to them. If it is, they’ll read it in its entirety.

7. Subheads are a proven tool to boost readership
If you have to hyperlink any of your content to another page, make sure the links are relevant to the content.  If the page you are linking to is not relevant to your content, you will lose credibility and the search engines will hate you for “link spamming.” Readers hate being redirected to spam links too. Once you lose a reader or your search engine ranking, it’s hard to get them back.

8. Be sure your links are relevant to your content
If you have to hyperlink any of your content to another page, make sure the links are relevant to the content.  If the page you are linking to is not relevant to your content, you will lose credibility and the search engines will hate you for “link spamming.” Readers hate being redirected to spam links too. Once you lose a reader or your search engine ranking, it’s hard to get them back.

9. Proofreading!
If you’re like me, you are bound to make mistakes while writing. Make sure you proofread your articles or posts carefully before publishing them. Use spellcheck!  If you have someone else who can read it for typos, clarity and grammar, that would be ideal.

 

 

September 20, 2013   No Comments

DollarDays launches small business credit card

dollardays visa card

New DollarDays Business Credit Card

DollarDays International, a premier Internet-based product wholesaler to small businesses and local distributors, and First Bankcard, a division of the First National Bank of Omaha and a leading provider of credit card and small business solutions, today announced the launch of a new small business credit card that was specifically designed with the small business owner in mind. The DollarDays Business Edition® Visa®card, which will be available to the more than 23 million small business owners throughout the nation, enables cardholders to better manage their cash flow and rewards them for all their purchases.

Small businesses can now earn reward points on all of their DollarDays purchases, as well as earn three points for each dollar spent on certain types of qualifying business expenses important to small business owners, such as phones and phone service, dining and cable television services. The rewards points can then be redeemed for cash back as a credit to the account, for travel, merchandise and gift cards. Also included is a free and simple way to track and manage expenses 24/7 online, as well as Visa SavingsEdge®, which offers product and service discounts to small businesses.

“We’ve always prided ourselves in providing DollarDays customers with the buying power of larger organizations. Now, with the new DollarDays card, cardholders can save even more money and realize greater value,” said Marc Joseph, CEO and President, DollarDays. “First Bankcard truly understands our customers and has worked with us to create a program specific to small business needs.”

According to Stephen Eulie, President of First Bankcard, the new program is a natural extension of First Bankcard’s commitment to support small businesses through value-added credit card solutions. “Small businesses help drive our economy, and we’re dedicated to helping them succeed. The new DollarDays credit card offers cardholders the rewards, services and tools they need, so they can focus on growing their businesses.”

Phoenix-based DollarDays is a leading online wholesaler of general merchandise for small and medium-sized businesses and nonprofit organizations. The organization’s more than 3.5 million registered customers have access to a wide range of business supplies at below-wholesale or bulk prices — from consumer products and household goods to apparel, electronics and seasonal merchandise, enabling them to manage their businesses economically and efficiently.

For more information on the new DollarDays Business Edition Visa card, visit www.dollardays.com/creditcard.

About DollarDays International, Inc.
DollarDays International, a division of America’s Suppliers (OTC Markets: AASL), is a Web-based virtual warehouse, where small business owners and charities can find great deals on small business-sized orders for more than 290,000 consumer products — from toys and household décor to apparel, electronics and seasonal merchandise. Due to its innovative business model, DollarDays prices are not only often far below those which most small businesses are accustomed to, but the offerings include many name-brand products as well as rock-bottom pricing on overstocked and closeout items. DollarDays International helps its customers to select those items, both seasonal and everyday, which sell quickly to promote both a higher inventory turn and better margins. DollarDays’ prices are among the lowest available to small businesses. Membership is free, and any small business is eligible to shop at www.dollardays.com.

About First Bankcard
First Bankcard, a division of First National Bank of Omaha, is a leader in consumer and business card solutions. In the credit card partnership arena, First Bankcard serves more than 400 financial institutions, co-brands and affinity partners nationwide. For 60 years, First Bankcard has offered quality products and superior service to help its customers achieve their goals. Visit www.firstbankcard.com for more information.

About First National Bank of Omaha
First National Bank of Omaha is a subsidiary of First National of Nebraska, which is the largest privately owned banking company in the United States. First National and its affiliates have $17 billion in managed assets and nearly 5,000 employee associates. Primary banking offices are located in Nebraska, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota and Texas.

September 18, 2013   No Comments

It’s Too Expensive to go to College Anymore

marcs blog sept 17According to the  Census Bureau, there are 59 million people 25 years or older who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. Business continues to be the most popular major with 12 million grads, while Education was the second most popular, with 8 million. The median income for high school grads who never went to college is $28,659; for those with some college but no degree, it is $32,036; those with a college degree $49,648; and those with professional degrees $87,356. This translates to lifetime earnings of $3.3 million for a doctoral degree, $2.3 million for a college degree and $1.3 million for a high school diploma.

According to  College Data, the average yearly budget to attend an in-state public university is $22,261. The average at a private college is $43,289.  CNN reports that the average college student in the class of 2013 faces $35,200 in debt. Putting that into perspective, the profile of the average US household consumer debt shows we all owe $15,263 in credit card debt, $147,591 in mortgage debt and $31,646 in student loan debt. In total, American consumers owe $11.15 trillion in debt of which $994 billion is in student loans, a 4% increase from 2012.

In an article in The Huffington Post this summer, they predicted that student loan debt will exceed the median annual income for college grads by 2023. This is on top of the wages of college graduates actually dropping 5.4% over the last decade. Considering that Congress finally agreed this summer, after months of haggling, to stabilize the interest rate for college loans (which translates to roughly 3.86% for undergraduates and 5.42% for graduate student loans),at least the uncertainty of future interest hikes has been eliminated for families facing this huge debt.

Just about every parent (94%) says they want their child to attend college. So, with that encouragement, nearly 68% of high school graduates started out for college (44% of these kids to community college). Compare that to 43% of Americans attend church regularly and 50% of adults are married. College is now more popular then religion or spouses!

In the end, only 54% of these kids actually graduate within 6 years of starting college. So we have all these students with high hopes and dreams going in, but only about half graduate and join society with crazy student loan debt.

We would all love scholarships for our kids, but that does not happen to most. This weak economy of ours is forcing institutions to limit their generosity in scholarships and financial aid, so the average student takes on more debt than the generation before. Anyone wanting to go to college needs to explore every option for help.  The Council for Opportunity in Education is a nonprofit organization established in 1981 dedicated to expanding college opportunities for low income, first-generation students, veterans and students with disabilities. Sites to help find money and scholarships include Fast Web, FinAid and Student Aid Alliance.  If you want to help fulfill kids’ dreams of going to college, look into Scholarship America to help with a donation. At DollarDays on our Facebook  page, we are giving away $2,500 in products to college students; so make sure you nominate a student who could use our help.

America is the land of dreams and opportunity. Anyone who is passionate enough to want a college education should be afforded the opportunity to at least try. It would be just great if we could make a college education free just like we do a high school education, but each of us in our right mind knows this is a pipe dream. So the $35K in student debt will turn into $45K for the next generation and so on. A college degree is worth a million dollars more than a high school degree over your lifetime. Being well educated is priceless. I guess the risk of adding to your debt may be worth the reward of being a strong contributor to our economic future. I just wish it did not hurt so much.

September 17, 2013   No Comments