Uncategorized Archive

The American Dream: Immigrants and Entrepreneurs

The United States has long been the destination for people in pursuit of a better life. The “American Dream” draws immigrants seeking out freedoms including the opportunity for prosperity and success. These dreams include the chance to start their own businesses. The recent U.S. Census found that immigrants own 18% of small businesses in the U.S., a six percent increase from 1990. To put this into perspective, immigrants only account for 13% of the total U.S. population (Arora). Although immigrants have had to confront the poor economy and the lack of opportunities to secure traditional financing, they have proven themselves to be formidable entrepreneurs using determination and hard work to create successful businesses.The entrepreneurial drive demonstrated by immigrants was born through the sacrifices made coming to the United States. Leaving their country and family behind in hopes of finding a better life provides the drive to succeed. Jim Blaine, CEO of the State Employees Credit Union, said “Latinos are following in the footsteps of European immigrants a century ago. They all come in, and they have to be entrepreneurs” (Deconto). The numerous immigrants that I have interviewed over the past decade have shared that they have sacrificed to come to the United States in order to have the possibility of a better life for themselves and their children. They don’t mind working multiple jobs to support themselves and their families both here and back home while they also save up to start-up their own business. Although the current economy crisis has had a major impact on many within the United States, and many are fearful of the uncertain future, it is the immigrants who hold onto hope that even through these challenging times there is room for growth and a chance at a better life that what they left. There are many reasons for people to immigrate to a foreign land but most come hoping for the possibility to embrace a new life where they are in control of their destiny through certain freedoms that are afforded to all within the United States. These freedoms include freedom to: choose your own religion, operating in a capitalist society, seek out an education, and make a better life for your family.Even before the financial crisis started and funding became more challenging, immigrants faced the reality that seeking traditional financing would be difficult. Traditional lenders request a variety of documentation and proof of financial stability to support loans. This can be challenging for many immigrants. Any immigrant who recently immigrated would not have a credit score, nor access to credit or a solid job history, even if they earned a decent living in their home country. The culture of holding tight to family bonds and supporting each other collectively is what makes financing possible for many new start-up ventures of immigrants. Stieber writes, that although “there are many government resources available to would-be entrepreneurs, most still rely on family and friends for most financing and other forms of support” (Stieber).Interestingly enough, the majority of the immigrant entrepreneurs do not have college degrees (Arora). Even when immigrants have a degree from a higher educational institutions, their qualifications are often not recognized within the United States. Due to the limited employment opportunities, immigrants decide to start their own businesses and hire other immigrants to work with them and help run their businesses. However, an estimated 4.7 million U.S. workers are employed by immigrant owned firms gathering some $776 billion in revenues, according to the most recent figures in the Fiscal Policy Institute report (Koba). This observation that immigrants who do not have any formal higher education are able to start-up businesses in a foreign country is an example of how attitude and hard work go a long way in the entrepreneurial realm.History has shown that immigrants in the United States of America provide remarkable economic strength. The U.S. attracts immigrants with its pro-growth culture and outstanding universities who often stay and create valuable, fast-growing startup firms. The current fear surrounding the economic crisis has capped visas and green cards available to immigrants, which has led to a decline in foreign workers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. As a result, the U.S. is currently at risk of losing its footing as the “brain magnet” compared to other nations (Immigration & Entrepreneurship). What will the future administration decide in regards to immigration? One thing is for sure: the passion and drive that is required to be a successful entrepreneur can be found in many immigrants who come to the U.S. seeking out a better life.Sources:Arora, Rohit, Immigrants and the American Dream of Small Business Ownership, FOX Business. July 03, 2012.”Census Bureau Reports Hispanic-Owned Businesses Increase at More Than Double the National Rate” The United States Census Bureau. September 21, 2010.Deconto, Jesse James, “Small loans build Latino business dreams” News & Observer Newspaper, August 17, 2010.Immigration & Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship, Policy Dialogue on Entrepreneurship, Kauffman Foundation.Koba, Mark, How immigrants are changing US Businesses, CNBS.com, Sept 4, 2012.Stieber, Zachary,Immigrant Entrepreneurs Lean on the Familiar Government help available but families provide most support, Epoch Times.

Desktop Management: Saving Your Small Business Resources!

Table of ContentsIntroduction……………………………………………….1Importance of PC Management…………………….1Effective PC Management……………………………2Alternatives for Acquiring Good Tools: Build, Software as a Service, Outsource…………………………………………………………2Building an Internal PC Management Infrastructure…..3Software as a Service……………………………………………3Outsourced PC Management………………………………….4Morton & Morton’s Perspective……………………………..4IntroductionPersonal computers have delivered on the promise of productivity for knowledge workers. As a consequence, desktop and laptop computers have proliferated to almost every knowledge worker in a company. Advances in network bandwidth and the availability of wireless connectivity options have radically increased the number of home and remote workers. However, the increased use of personal computers and remote access has added significant workload and coordination to the already busy IT schedule.For many companies, desktop management is not a core competency and there are other IT tasks that are considered mission critical or more strategic. Yet for many knowledge workers, the desktop is mission critical. Schedules, correspondence, contact lists, presentations and work in progress all live in the desktop for most office workers. Take away the desktop and work stops until the desktop is back up and running.Most small and medium businesses do not have the IT staff and tools to treat desktop management issues with the attention they deserve. IT shops in small and medium sized companies are generally over-taxed and doing the best they can to keep the IT infrastructure running smoothly. Budgets are much smaller than those of their large enterprise counterparts, staffing is limited, and toolsets are few and far between. Too often manual processes and “just enough to get by” scripting is the answer to desktop management in the small and medium sized company. Individual users can be left to handle minor issues for themselves, and pseudo power users often get themselves into trouble and require IT staff assistance to resolve problems they have created through their self-help efforts. It is no longer a viable answer for small and medium sized business to treat desktop management casually.Importance of PC ManagementThe task of PC management has become too large and too important to be handled on an ad-hoc basis with limited tools. The number of personal computers is significant. There are many versions of operating systems and many different software applications. This is also complicated by the number of employees working from remote offices. The scale has become rather large, even in a small to medium sized business. Now add in the constant stream of Microsoft patch updates (security, operating system and application software updates), periodic operating system upgrades, user initiated software installations and configuration changes, antivirus updates, and IT configuration changes. The rate and volume of change is significant, if not overwhelming. Not to mention the problem of Microsoft phasing out their support of old office applications and operating systems. Windows 95 is no longer supported and 98 is now no longer going to be supported.The risks of doing a poor job of desktop management are now quite high given the security risks to every PC every day. Left unprotected, PCs are subject to Trojans, Keyloggers, Root Kits, Spyware and Viruses. One of the best ways to be protected is to apply all patches to operating systems and applications in a timely fashion. However, coordinating, staging and testing these patches is time consuming and something that should not be left to end users or ad hoc processes by the IT team. Every desktop needs Anti-virus software that is constantly updated, and users cannot be trusted to keep their virus data files current. Mobile users should also be protected with personal Firewall software, but again, users cannot be depended upon to install and keep such software current. Leaving this to chance can put the entire network and subsequently the entire company at risk.
The employee desktop today contains significant corporate data, both data taken from corporate repositories for use on the desktop as well as work-in-process data not yet stored on a secured and backed-up repository. Employees handle important and sensitive data that needs to be protected. This can include price lists, customer lists, customer data, human resources data, strategic plans, product plans and corporate financial information. Security breaches, viruses, and spy-ware can lead to stolen, lost or corrupted data. Regular backups can mitigate the risk of lost or corrupted data, however most users are not disciplined enough to perform regular backups. Mobile and remote users complicate the backup problem and render home-grown backup scripting ineffective.Dealing with the disruption and potential data loss of security breaches can represent significant productivity loss. Work-in-process data on the desktop can represent weeks of effort and may be difficult or impossible to recreate. The loss of such data can affect project time-lines, which in turn can cause customer satisfaction issues and/or contractual penalties. Desktop data loss can also affect revenue if a desktop problem interrupts critical timeframes for customer proposals.Another factor driving the need for good desktop management is the increasing regulatory compliance issues that are affecting businesses of all sizes. Consumer and patient privacy laws such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and the wave of trend setting privacy laws out of California affect businesses of all sizes. Sarbanes-Oxley compliance includes rigorous asset management, change management and other controls for IT. This should be of concern for more than just the public companies covered by the law. Many small and medium sized businesses are working toward an eventual acquisition as an exit strategy, and most such acquisitions are by companies that are subject to Sarbanes-Oxley. It is much easier and faster to work through the due diligence phase of the acquisition if the company being acquired has implemented the types of controls required by Sarbanes-Oxley. Good desktop management can assist a company in certain aspects of regulatory compliance.Effective PC ManagementEffective PC Management begins with knowing what you have to manage. Complete and accurate asset and license management is key. Knowing how many machines of what type, their location, memory, hard drive, processor speed, etc., is a big step forward for many small and medium sized businesses. Tools available today have automatic discovery capabilities and excellent management reporting which can assist IT staff in establishing and maintaining good processes for asset management. With an accurate picture of the installed hardware base, it becomes much easier to assess operating system and business suite software upgrades.Keeping track of software licenses and where they are installed is another important function. Accurate information of which machines have which software installed is a major starting point to effectively manage PCs across the company. This information can minimize the number and duration of on-site visits by IT support personnel. It can also ensure that software licenses are appropriately managed; paying for only those copies of a particular software that are needed and reducing the risk of fines in a software license audit.Another good practice is to keep software installs to the minimum required for each employee to do their job. This will shorten install time, reduce updates and patches required, and use fewer resources leaving more capacity for each user’s needs. Some systems administrators will attempt to make things easier by standardizing the desktop to one image for everyone. PC management is one place where “one size does not fit all.” Overcomplicating the software image for every user by installing all applications everywhere will increase work in the long run and make everyone unhappy. A better practice is to define unique user types by department or job function, and to define a standard image for each user type. This can limit the time to upgrade applications and allow for better service for each user.With an accurate inventory of all hardware and only the software needed on each desktop, the next step toward effective PC management is to automate software distribution. Automated software distribution minimizes the number of onsite visits IT staff must make. This lowers the cost of support and allows for more frequent updates. This can be applied to virus data files, operating system patches as well as updates and new versions of application software. Changes should be staged in a separate environment for testing and then rolled out based on individual or group user profiles.Automated software distribution is the first step in remote management. Full remote management includes the ability to remotely control the desktop and make all required configuration changes through a networked connection. This is a critical function as the number of remote and mobile workers has increased. IT staff must be able to perform administrative functions from their office as if they were sitting in front of the PC of remote and mobile workers.When considering how to implement desktop management best practices, companies need to acquire management tools to automate the management tasks. Companies can license tools and build an in-house management infrastructure, access management tools through a hosted Software as a Service (SaaS) model, or outsource the entire desktop management process. Each of these alternatives is explored in more detail below.Alternatives for Acquiring Good Tools:Build, Software as a Service, OutsourceA company with as few as 2-20 employees can strugglewith manual desktop management processes. The moredesktops to be managed and the more mobile and remote workers to support, the more difficult it becomes to deliver good service with manual processes. The severity of issues that can arise from poor PC management requires that the problem be taken seriously and therefore automation should be given significant consideration.There are now many options available to automate some or all of the PC management functions, and some of these options are cost effective even for small and medium sized companies. However, tool selection should be made carefully to ensure that the necessary functions are addressed by the tool, to keep training time to a minimum and to avoid selecting a tool that requires more effort to administer than it saves. As with any decision, all of the alternatives should be considered before making the decision. PC management is no different, and it can be accomplished through several approaches: management tools deployed in-house to internally manage PCs (the “build” approach), using a Software as a Service hosted management tool with internal staff, and outsourcing the management of PCs to a third party.Building an Internal PC Management InfrastructureThis traditional approach to management involves identifying tools to purchase, purchasing those tools, deploying the tools, training IT staff on how to effectively use the newly deployed management tools, and staffing sufficiently to manage the PC infrastructure on an ongoing basis. One of the advantages of this approach is that the IT organization retains full control of the management infrastructure and functions because the solution is an internally deployed solution. However, the control also brings with it the responsibility to manage the management system/software itself.The build approach typically requires a larger initial budget outlay for purchase/licensing costs, with on-going maintenance fees, and any investment in additional hardware that is required to run the
management infrastructure. In addition to these initial licensing costs, it is also important for IT organizations to realize that there is an associated cost of management. The IT staff is naturally responsible for managing the IT infrastructure, but in addition, they are also responsible for managing the IT management infrastructure itself. For example, in the case of internally deployed management software tools, these costs reveal themselves in deployment costs of the management tools, maintenance of the management tools (upgrades, patching), support personnel for ongoing operational support, management tool consulting services, training, software licensing costs (both initial purchase and recurring maintenance costs), hardware costs for additional hardware that is required to run the management software, and the cost of integrating tools in-house.The cost of management depends on several factors; the ease-of-use and ease-of-deployment of the management solution, the stability of the management code, the frequency of new releases, and the maturity of the IT organization. Most of these factors translate to IT staff time that is required to manage the management infrastructure. In addition to these direct costs, maintaining a help desk to assist users with PC issues is another additive cost of management. For geographically dispersed companies, the help desk may be required to operate 24×7, which adds significantly to the cost of ownership.Software as a ServiceAnother way for IT organizations to employ PC management functionality is through management software delivered as a service. This option shifts the responsibility for the management software deployment and maintenance to the service provider. Software as a Service (SaaS) results in eliminating the following costs for enterprises: deploying the tool, maintaining the tools, consulting services to deploy the tool, software licensing, internal tool integration, hardware to run the management software, and troubleshooting when the tool is not working properly. Instead of these costs of ownership, the cost of the hosted software is in the form of fixed monthly subscription fees.PC management SaaS can bring additional advantages beyond the features of the tool. Virus protection and automated update of virus data files is a feature often available. Some services include significant coordination of new patches; simplifying the staging, testing and deployment of patches. The service may include automated backup and offsite storage features providing excellent data protection with little additional effort or hardware costs. Hosted software solutions also provide news and information on new practices and trends which can assist the small to medium enterprise IT staff.Some IT departments may be concerned over the loss of control by using a management infrastructure provided as a hosted service. The quality of the service provided must be excellent and the reputation of the service provider is critical. However, only the infrastructure itself is under third party control in this alternative. Company IT staff remain in control of the actual end user interface and the actual processes and actions taken on individual desktops.The SaaS model provides access to a full suite product without the upfront license and setup costs. It allows the IT staff to maintain control of the desktop management process without the effort required to setup and maintain the management environment. It does require training and good internal processes. It also requires a way to track service requests and problems. To provide effective support, a help desk is useful, and for some companies a 24×7 help desk is necessary.Outsourced PC ManagementThe point of acquiring good PC management tools is to provide effective PC management. There are a number of full service outsource options available to small and medium sized businesses for desktop management. This alternative solves the effective PC management problem by turning the work over to a service provider. The service provider is responsible for tool selection, deployment and operation. The service provider also brings trained staff and proven procedures.Like the SaaS model, the outsourced model eliminates the costs of licensing the management tool, deploying the tool, consulting services to deploy the tool, integration costs, maintenance costs and hardware costs. Additionally, the outsourced model eliminates the costs of internal staff for PC management and the costs of an internal help desk function for PC management. Outsourced PC management is typically charged on a per desktop per month fee. It is more expensive than a SaaS model as the service includes the staff and the help desk functions.Outsourced PC management brings good tools and good processes to the problem of PC management, protecting the assets of the company while providing professional performance enhancements to maintain top performance expectations from the PC. Some businesses have experienced higher individual user costs for desktop management as individual users can spend more time attempting to solve their own problems rather than look to the third party provider for help.The quality of the service delivered by the service provider must be excellent, and the services must be flexible enough to fit in with the way the company works. A collaborative working relationship must be established. This can require a different kind of management oversight than exists in some small and medium sized businesses. An outsourced service may bring improved service by providing a 24×7 help desk, a tremendous resource saving feature for a small business productivity need.Morton & Morton’s PerspectiveDesktop Management is a critical business practice that, when done well, can keep employees productive and keep external threats to the company network in check. The traditional approach to managing PCs has been to deploy the management software in-house or use manual methods. Most companies now realize that manual efforts are no longer viable given the number of desktops, the frequency of changes and the risks to employee productivity and data. However, outsourcing the process to a competent third party company is by far the best method to reduce the cost of the company’s resources and protect the intellectual assets of the company at all times.We will provide you the best protection of your assets and reduce your small business resource requirements to manage the desktops and keep the performance level up the expected user level for the best productivity and do it at a cost that you can afford.L. P. Morton, Ph.D.Morton & Morton Inc. (www.morton-morton.com)820 Northwood rd.Fort Worth, Tx [email protected]

Spa And Resort Management Careers

Job OpportunitiesDue to the continuous growing demand for physical beauty and an extravagant lifestyle, job vacancies in spas and resorts are increasing dramatically. Although no basic qualifications are necessary to enter in this profession, a formal training program will help you to acquire a better pay and position. There are numerous job opportunities available in this field, ranging from manicurist -pedicurists specialists to masseurs and therapists to cosmetologists.Beside these positions, you can also apply for positions such as electrologists, skincare specialists and beauticians. There are numerous beauty schools offering training programs and courses that will help you to build a career in this field of hospitality. While working in a spa, you can also enroll in other courses related to the spa. This will only help you to grow in your career.Job RequirementsAs a spa professional, your main objective will be to provide your client with supreme royal treatment and ultimate pampering. In order to do a satisfactory job, you should also be able enjoy what you are doing. If you are able to satisfy your customer completely, only then can you expect them to return to your spa, time and again. People go to spas in search of peace and revival of the body, mind and soul; and return back to the real world rejuvenated.As a spa professional, it is not only your duty but also your responsibility to ensure that the customer attains complete ‘nirvana’. Your disposition should reflect positive energy and your vibrant spirit should be able to immediately put the customer at ease. As your job profile largely requires you to provide healing through touch therapy, do not let other aspects of your life interfere with your work, otherwise this will hinder your performance.Popularity And Future Of The Spa IndustryThe spa and resort industry is growing at an alarming rate and very soon will be the global retreat choice for millions of people, all over the world. They are famous and renowned for providing natural remedies and therapeutic water treatments like ‘balneotherapy’. The concept originated from the Belgium town of Spa where people with iron deficiencies were given ferruginous water to drink. However, in today’s modern world it has a broader scope. Depending on the treatments provided, spas can be categorized as destination spa, a health spa, a day spa or a spa town.As with any other job, you also need to seriously consider the positive as well as negative aspects of a career in the spa industry. Better still, you could consult a career counselor to guide you.As a spa specialist, you will be highly appreciated for providing relief to people from their daily grind, but there will be times when you too will need to take a break and unwind in the spa. Although managing a spa can prove to be quite tedious at times, it is a very rewarding and enriching profession as you are not only acclaimed for your miraculous healings but also get a chance to interact with the rich and famous from all over the world.