Overcoming Financial Hurdles: A Practical Guide for Seniors

Overcoming Financial Hurdles: A Practical Guide for SeniorspastedGraphic.png

Financial hardship can strike anyone at any stage of life, but it can be particularly challenging for seniors. As you navigate your golden years, you might grapple with unexpected financial trouble. Here’s a practical guide to help you regain control of your finances, courtesy of Patriot Owned Businesses.

Reduce Essential Expenses and Save

Finding ways to trim unnecessary expenses is a key step in tackling financial challenges. Consider cutting back on dining out, canceling unused subscriptions, or opting for more cost-effective utilities. Your savings can be redirected towards essential needs or future savings. Remember, small changes can make a big difference in the long run.

Create a Budget That Works for You

Managing your finances effectively requires a comprehensive budget tailored to your individual circumstances. Take into account all sources of income, from Social Security to pensions, as well as both fixed and variable expenses. By visualizing your financial situation, you’ll gain clarity and identify areas where you can make adjustments. With careful planning and discipline, you can achieve your financial goals and secure a brighter future.

Here’s another tip: you can reduce stress by digitizing your important financial documents. That way, you don’t have to spend hours looking for a specific scrap of paper that got misplaced. You simply need a PDF scanner, then save your files on your devices so that you can access them whenever you like. This works great for medical information, as well!

Explore Options for Your Home

If you own a home, selling it could unlock a significant amount of cash, particularly if you’ve built up substantial equity. Equity is calculated by deducting the remaining mortgage balance from the current market value of your property. If downsizing or moving to a more affordable area is feasible, this could provide a viable solution. 

Get Personalized Financial Advice

A professional financial advisor can offer tailored guidance based on your unique circumstances. They can help you develop a financial plan, explore options like reverse mortgages or annuities, and navigate complex financial decisions. With their assistance, you can confidently make informed financial choices and work towards your long-term goals.

Discover Government Assistance Programs for Seniors

There are several government assistance programs designed specifically for seniors facing financial hardship. These programs range from Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to housing assistance. Researching and applying for eligible resources can provide valuable support during challenging times. Remember, it’s never too late to seek the help you deserve.

Consider Selling Your Business

If you own a business, selling it could offer a significant financial boost. However, obtaining a professional business valuation is crucial before making any decisions. A business valuation will clearly estimate your business’s worth, ensuring you receive a fair price. With this information, you can confidently navigate the selling process and make informed decisions. Remember, selling your business is not just a financial transaction, but also an opportunity for new beginnings and exciting ventures!

Relieve Financial Stress

Seniors can alleviate financial stress through self-care by prioritizing their mental and emotional well-being. Engaging in activities such as exercise, meditation, and spending quality time with loved ones can help reduce stress and promote a positive mindset.

Overcoming financial hurdles as a senior can be challenging, but with the right strategies and support, it is possible to regain control of your finances. By reducing expenses, crafting a personalized budget, exploring options for your home, seeking personalized financial advice, discovering government assistance programs, and evaluating the possibility of selling your business, you can navigate through financial challenges and secure a brighter future. Remember, taking small steps and making informed decisions can lead to significant improvements in your financial well-being.

Patriot Owned Businesses is here to bring together all the people who believe in hard work, dedication, and freedom. Call (214) 518-1254.

Health Benefit Options For Small Business Owners

Health Benefit Options for Small business owners:  


   This article is written for my home state of Texas so options may vary slightly in other states. Most of these plans will also work for individuals as well as small business owners with a couple of exceptions.  

  1. Work Sponsored Health Plan: Many business owners have a spouse that works and is offered a health plan through their employer.  In this case, this should always be a consideration, at least for the member of the family that is offered the work plan. 

Pros: Great option for employees since the company typically pays most of the premium. Usually, a PPO option is available too. Since it’s a group plan, the group has access to more types of plans than an individual does.

Cons: Many employers do not help pay for premiums when adding family members to the employer plan so this option can get pricey to add the family too. In this case, shopping for alternatives is recommended. 

  1. Individual ACA Plans: ACA stands for Affordable Care Act which I know is a dirty word in a group like ours. There’s no question that health plan prices skyrocketed after this law was passed in 2014. But, even so, this type of plan is typically a good fit for families who qualify for a substantial tax credit and/or have preexisting conditions that might make it difficult to qualify for other options. 

Pros: If you are a Patriot Owned Business owner who is just starting out, this may be a good place to look for coverage until the business takes off and income is more stable. Case in point, a family of 4 in Collin County with parents in their early 40s and 2 kids under 18 that makes $100k adjusted gross income can qualify for a plan starting at $178.65 a month. The cost would be even lower if income is lower. Also, by law, ACA plans cannot exclude covering preexisting conditions so this may also be a good option for those with these conditions or expensive medications to cover. 

Cons: Going this route can be pricey for families that do not qualify for subsidies. The same family example from above with a much higher income would have to pay $1032 a month for this same plan. In this scenario, the family would likely be best off looking at other options before committing to such a high premium. The other issue is in Texas only HMO or EPO plans are available on the individual ACA market. These plans have narrow networks so checking the network coverage is essential to finding the right plan. 

  1. Indemnity PPO plans: These plans are typically lower cost because they are underwritten meaning you must be overall healthy to qualify. They are also limited in what they will cover. For instance, most of these plans have a 1-year limitation on covering preexisting conditions. They typically also have other limits such as how much will be covered each year per person and the number of doctor visits allowed per person so these factors must be considered and understood before signing up. For healthy families who do not qualify for a subsidy, this may be a good option. The family of 4 from the ACA example could get a plan like this with a million dollars per person in coverage for about $600-$700 a month instead of paying over $1000 for a high deductible ACA HMO. 

Pros: Lower cost and wider network since most of these plans are PPO and are accepted by most providers. Many of these plans have low or no deductibles unlike the ACA plans that have high deductibles unless you pay even more for a low deductible plan. 

Cons: Not a good fit for anyone with serious chronic health conditions or who may qualify for a lower cost ACA plan. It’s important to understand the limitations of the plan and get a plan that has adequate coverage. 

  1. Small Group Health Plan:  If you have at least one employee for your business, you may want to consider getting a small group health plan instead of an individual health plan. 

Pros:  Offering group coverage can help you compete with bigger businesses in attracting employees by offering benefits such as what an employee can get working for a bigger company. Offering a group plan also opens a lot of possibilities. For one, there are many more carriers available to groups than individuals. You can get a PPO plan and gain access to many low-cost carriers that only do group coverage. 

Cons: This can be expensive but with many options to choose from, it’s important to consider all alternatives before writing it off as unaffordable.

  1. Health Sharing Plans:  In Christian and patriotic communities such as ours, Health Sharing plans can be popular. The first thing to note is that Health sharing plans are not insurance. It is a group of like-minded individuals that gather based on common interests/goals and share health related costs. This sharing is typically facilitated by a company that manages the transactions and charges monthly membership fees to cover the costs. These plans can be purchased at the individual level, and many do offer small group sharing plans as well. 

Pros: Like Indemnity plans, these types of plans tend to be lower cost for families that do not qualify for an ACA subsidy. They also typically do not have a network so a member can choose providers as they see fit. 

Cons: This is not actually insurance so there are no guarantees expenses will be covered. These plans also tend to only cover big expenses and not small things such as an occasional doctor’s visit and a yearly physical etc. They also often have pre-existing condition clauses, so these plans are best for people who are overall healthy to begin with. 

  1. Other ways to save:  There are many ways to save money while ensuring adequate coverage. One thing to consider is purchasing a high deductible plan to protect against catastrophic health issues and bundling it with low-cost ancillary plans such as accident and critical illness plan to cover costs before your deductible is met. There are even several telehealth only plans that will cover doctor and mental health visits that can make overall premiums and costs more affordable while still meeting your day-to-day needs. 

  Although the choices available can be overwhelming, the most important takeaway should be that health insurance is not one size fits all. There are pros and cons to every option and what may be a good fit for one family or business owner may not work for another. Finding a knowledgeable agent that has your best interest in mind can help you navigate what solutions would be a good choice for your situation.  

About the Author:  Theresa Struckmeyer has been a health insurance broker since 2013 and offers health, dental, life, Medicare, and ancillary plans in Texas, California, and Florida. She has lived in McKinney Texas since 2020 with her husband and 2 kids. Besides helping families navigate health options, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, and exploring new places.  She can be reached at [email protected] or 714-244-8761. 

The Importance of CPR and First Aid Skills Training


The Importance of CPR and First Aid Skills Training

Many medical emergencies require quick action from a trained bystander to save a person’s life. You are talking with your grandfather and his face suddenly droops and his speech slurs. You are out to dinner and your mother starts to choke. Your allergic friend just mistakenly ate a bar with peanuts. Your father complains of indigestion and chest pain. Your toddler is playing with a now-empty pill vial. Your co-worker gets shocked by high voltage. Any of these situations could represent an emergency in which time is of the utmost importance.

According to the American Heart Association, more than 356,000 cardiac arrests occur outside a hospital in the U.S. each year. Overall survival rates remain low,and most studies indicate that around 1 out 10 will survive to 30 days. CPR started prior to the arrival of paramedics has repeatedly been shown to be associated with survival rates 2–3 times higher compared with no such rescue attempt. The sooner you start CPR and get an AED if one is available the better the survival rates.

Other examples include workplace accidents which can quickly lead to shock if immediate steps aren’t taken to control severe bleeding. Alternatively, a severe allergic reaction can become deadly within minutes without treatment (e.g., epinephrine autoinjector).

Knowing what to do in the moment is critical to a safe and efficacious response. What can and should you do in a medical emergency?

  1. Make sure the scene is safe for you to approach the victim? E.g. Has there been a chemical spill or is there a live electrical line?
  2. Call 9-1-1
  3. Start CPR is the victim is not responding.
  4. Stop bleeding with direct pressure or a tourniquet is necessary.
  5. See Recognizing Medical Emergencies from the National Library of Medicine for more information.

First aid certified people have the training to provide appropriate first aid care for everyday life, as well as during life-threatening situations where professional help from emergency services might be delayed.

Full CPR, AED and First Aid training gives students the knowledge and confidence to respond to a variety of medical emergencies. This includes but isn’t limited to:

  1. Sudden cardiac arrest
  2. Heart attack or stroke
  3. Seizure
  4. Choking relief
  5. Diabetic medical emergency
  6. Asthma attacks
  7. Burns
  8. Eye injuries
  9. Poisoning
  10. Heat and cold emergencies

At Rockwall CPR we teach CPR/AED and First Aid training courses for both healthcare professionals (BLS) and lay people.


Rockwall CPR

Dr. Steve Horwitz, DC

“We don’t Skip a Beat!”








Safety Tips For Teens Headed To College

7 Tips for Teens Going Off To College

1. Stay aware: Be alert and trust your instincts.
2. Secure belongings: Lock up and protect valuables.
3. Use campus safety resources: Know emergency protocols.
4. Drink responsibly: Set limits and never leave drinks unattended.
5. Buddy system: Stick together for safety at night.
6. Stay connected: Keep loved ones informed of your plans.
7. Take a COBRA™ Teen Safe and College prep self-defense course to gain confidence with basic techniques and strategies.

Michael Alban
COBRA™ Self Defense Instructor #552

10 Self Defense Tips For Real Estate Agents


  1. Unless you have sought out formal self-defense training you will have no way of knowing how to defend yourself. Realizing that you lack in personal safety knowledge is a critical first step.

  2. Understanding what you look like to a criminal is paramount. Real estate agents are the ultimate soft target (easy opportunity). You can be called by anyone, at any time and requested to meet this person, generally alone and in an empty property. They know what you look like already thanks to social media they can quickly find out a great deal about you in advance. Do you look wealthy, weak or wear a lot of jewelry? This gives a criminal a chance to profile you for added value.

  3. Every real estate agent should avoid thinking they will call 911 or download a safety app on their smart phone. No matter what you do, you will have to physically deal with an attacker for 5 to 15 minutes while the police are dis- patched. This is assuming you have accomplished the incredibly difficult task of call 911 under the stress of a life threatening attack. We have tested the action of calling 911 under duress and it takes an average of 50 feet to get the phone out and to hit three buttons.

  4. Real Estate agents who work alone and meet stranger’s everyday should employ smoke and mirrors with potential clients you feel uneasy about. What does that mean? Let’s say you are called to a property, it’s late in the evening, you’re alone and it’s empty. Let the prospect know when you and “your partner” will arrive. Perception is reality and if this was a criminal you’ve just put them on notice that you’re not alone. In a criminals world this changes every- thing. Clearly the best option is to actually travel with a partner.

  5. Make it a good practice to tell everyone that your boss or partner will be meeting you here any minute if you are un- fortunately unable to travel with a partner. Whether it’s true or not it creates a valuable safety hurdle for you.

  6. Always insist that your client walks in first, you should also arrive early to unlock the door. Always step aside and allow the client to go in first. Many people are attacked by doors in buildings and by cars because criminals know you will be pre-occupied with the lock. You will be fumbling with your keys and your head will be down, it gets even worse if you’re on the phone. If you walk in front of someone it’s easy for your would-be assailant to lock the door and proceed with the attack. This is common in active shooter situations, the gun man will often lock the door before they start.

  7. Ask your client to stand at the back of their own vehicle and with your smart phone take a picture of the client includ- ing their vehicle and license plate in the photo. Let them know its policy that you do this and that you must to send it to your boss/office so they know where you are at and who you are with. When sending the photo to your trusted contact be sure to keep your client in sight as to not distract yourself. By taking this picture and sending it off you have told this person that everyone will without a doubt, know who you are with. If it’s a criminal with bad intention it almost guarantees that they will not get away with what they planned to do. They can find another victim that gives them a chance of getting away with it, you’re not the one. It is advised to alert the client of this policy prior to arrival at the property and mention the latest attack involving real estate agents.

  8. Every real-estate agent should be told that these self-defense myths DO NOT work and that relying on them to keep you safe is extremely dangerous. • Putting your keys between your fingers to fend of an attacker • Carrying pepper spray for self-defense • Kicking an attacker in the groin • Carrying a gun or having a concealed weapons- permit • Thinking moves you see in cage fights will work in real life • Having 911 on speed dial These and many more are ideas many hold as their “holy grail” of personal safety. Actually they are very ineffective choices to rely on in real life. We show you in detail and through live demonstrations why they don’t work when you sign up for a membership at www.SelfDefenseCollege.com or when you train with a Certified COBRA Instructor.

  9. Every Real estate Agent should learn anti-abduction techniques. The possibility of kidnapping using the agents’ vehicle is not only viable but likely. Your car arrives at the location stocked full of useful property a criminal may need including transportation, credit cards and/or cash. If the criminal plans on transporting you to a different loca- tion our life saving anti-abduction techniques are second to none. It’s common to see our Cobra locations in the news all over the nation after a high profile kidnapping. The media reaches out to the top authority on personal safety.

  10. Finally, if you value you what you do and your own personal safety, seek out training immediately! We have already established that real estate agents are soft targets with little to no training in self-defense so why not get started as soon as possible. We are paying insurance on material items that depreciate every minute like a car, phone or an ap- pliance so why not insure the most valuable asset. You are the most important person in the world, so get started.

Each tip or piece of advice is just another tool for real estate agents. Always keep in mind that there are individuals who prey on others for a living, it’s all they know and what they constantly think about. It’s better to be insured and never have to use it than it is to need it and not have it. By that time it’s too late.

Michael Alban
COBRA™ Self Defense Instructor #552


You’re financially free when you’re no longer afraid. Imagine what that could feel like!

You’re not afraid of emergencies. Between life insurance and your fully stocked emergency fund, you and your family are prepared for the financial ups and downs of life.

You’re not afraid of losing your job. You have enough saved for retirement already that you don’t depend on your paycheck. Besides, you may even have a side source of income (or three) to help make ends meet!

You certainly aren’t afraid to splurge on yourself. That’s right—you can spend your discretionary funds on the things you love and care about, footloose and fancy free.

You’re not afraid of your future. Why? Because you have a strategy in place, and you’re sticking to it. And you’re on track to retire with wealth instead of want.

Sure, there are metrics and benchmarks and numbers you should be concerned with. Ask a financial professional about what those would look like for you and your situation. They’re different for each person.

But the feeling is always the same—the end of fear, and a sense of peace. You’re ready to focus on the people and things that matter most.

Are you financially free? What steps have you taken to eliminate fear of emergencies, losing your job, treating yourself, and preparing for your future?

It makes sense. Life is hectic. Schedules are full. Sometimes, you feel like you hardly have a second to brush your teeth, much less have time to sit down and enjoy a heart-to-heart conversation with a friend. And so important decisions get pushed further and further into the future.

That’s fine in some cases. Do you need to decide how to organize your garage right now, at this very moment? No, probably not.

But with something like your finances, procrastination can cause disaster. Why? Because time is the secret ingredient for building wealth. The sooner you start saving, the greater your money’s growth potential. Likewise, the sooner you get your debt under control, the more manageable it becomes.

And with your money, the stakes couldn’t be higher. After all, it’s your future prosperity and well-being that could be at risk. Procrastination is downright dangerous.

That urgency, however, doesn’t make it easier to start saving. In fact, you may have noticed that finances suffer more from procrastination than anything else.

There’s a very good reason for that. Procrastination is driven, above all else, by perfectionism. Failing feels awful, especially when you know the stakes are high. Your brain sees the discomfort of trying to master your finances and failing, and decides that it would feel safer to not try at all.

It’s a critical miscalculation. Making an attempt to master your finances can at least help move you closer to your goals. Procrastinating never does.

Think of it like this—50% success is better than 0% success.

The key to beating procrastinating, then, is to conquer the perfectionist mindset and fear of failure. It’s no small feat. Those habits of mind are often deeply ingrained. They won’t vanish overnight. But there are some simple steps you can take, like…

Break big goals down into small steps. This relieves the overwhelm that many feel when facing important tasks. As you knock out those small steps, you’ll feel empowered to keep moving forward.

Don’t go it alone. Procrastination thrives in isolation. Seek out a friend, loved one, or co-worker to help hold you accountable and share the load—even if it’s just a weekly check-in to see how each other are doing.

Work in short, uninterrupted bursts. Set a timer. Put down the phone. Work. After about 15 minutes, you’ll notice something strange happening. Time starts to either speed up or slow down. Distracting thoughts vanish. The lines between you, your focus, and the task at hand start to evaporate. You feel awesome. This is called a flow state, and it’s the key to productivity. Make it your friend, and you’ll probably notice that procrastination becomes rarer and rarer.

Now that you know the cause of procrastination, try these tips for yourself. Set a 30 minute timer. Then, break your finances into tiny action steps like checking your bank account, automating saving, and budgeting. Work on each item in a quick burst until you’ve made some progress. Then, talk to a friend about your results!

Just like that, you’ve made serious headway towards beating procrastination and building wealth. Look at you go!

Ingroup Preference: A Patriotic Perspective on Unity and Loyalty

In today’s increasingly interconnected world, it is essential to appreciate the values of unity, loyalty, and patriotism. A fundamental aspect of these values lies in the concept of ingroup preference, which refers to the tendency of individuals to favor their own group over others. While ingroup preference can manifest in various social contexts, such as cultural, religious, or ethnic groups, it can also be viewed from a patriotic standpoint, fostering a sense of national pride and unity.

The foundations of ingroup preference are rooted in our natural inclination to trust and feel comfortable with those who share similar backgrounds, beliefs, or experiences. As a patriotic sentiment, this preference can inspire citizens to stand together in solidarity, promoting a sense of belonging and shared identity. This collective identity is strengthened by the common values, norms, and expectations that define a nation, fostering a spirit of unity and loyalty among its people.

Patriotic ingroup preference can also contribute to the principle of reciprocity, encouraging citizens to support one another in times of need. This reciprocity bolsters the fabric of society by creating a network of mutual aid and cooperation, essential for the overall well-being and prosperity of a nation. By prioritizing the needs and interests of fellow citizens, individuals can contribute to the common good and ensure that their nation thrives.

In my personal experience, collaborating with other patriotic companies and communities has yielded varied outcomes in terms of their commitment to achieving these positive goals. The majority possess a solid foundation and noble intentions; however, I must admit that I sometimes become complacent in carrying out these practices. Factors like overnight free shipping and cost reduction tend to influence my decisions, whereas I ought to dedicate more time to seeking out genuine patriotic alternatives. By acknowledging and addressing this complacency, we can ensure that our patriotic values are reflected in our everyday choices and actions.

I urge everyone to examine their intentions and outcomes, and begin by fulfilling our personal expectations. By doing so, we can gradually progress towards a more unified community where our ingroup preference is substantiated through our actions, financial investments, and dedicated efforts. Embracing this mindset will enable us to create a stronger, more cohesive society that genuinely reflects our patriotic values.

Rodney Rindels
Accuoss, LLC
OSS Integration and Development
(505) 710-3909
[email protected]

Is your Phone Making you Money?

So, your Patriot Owned Business is up and running. Inventory is set, signs are outside, website is great, social media is… social; you are ready for the phone to start ringing… or are you?

How you interact with customers when they call is just as important as the steps that it took to get them to call, are you prepared? Take a look at some basic customer phone skills that every Patriot business in the should be aware of.

Hello? Is it me you’re looking for?

How many had a Lionel Richie flashback! Now think about to consider how you answer your business phone. “It’s just so amazing how people answer the phone at a place of business,” quoted from Rick Brewer, small business counseling specialist; “it blew me away when people answer the phone like they’re talking to their spouse or best friend with a hello, what’s up attitude.”

Even in the digital age, the phone is your single greatest marketing tool and line of communication for your customers. If not used correctly, it can cost you a sale without the customer even stepping foot in your Patriot Owned Business. Here are some simple, easy to follow guidelines when answering the phone to go over your team with:

  1. Before you answer the phone, pause… collect yourself and answer the phone line calmly and confidently. When you answer a phone in a frustrated or hurried tone the customer can pick up on that.
  2. Identify the name of the business and YOUR name. This helps establish a personal connection with the customer and makes them feel more at ease.
  3. “I can help you” not “how can I help you”. Let your customer know by this simple phrasing that you are the person that can take care of their inquiry. Industries with the highest customer satisfaction scores have incorporated this simple phrase report the highest customer satisfaction indexes in their industry. (examples: Lexus and Honda)
  4. Ask their permission if you need to place them on hold. At the end of the day it’s about treating your customer with a level of respect. We’ve all been on the phone with the “call center mentality”… How did that make you feel? Just like a number right? Well think of the impression that will make when you asked them: “Would you mind if I place you on hold for just a moment, I promise I’ll be right back”.
  5. Never leave them on hold for more than 30 seconds. While it may take more than 30 seconds for you to find the answer to their question, you should check back with them every 30 seconds to let them know that you are working on the solution.

This next phone answering tip brings us to our next category:

Ask For The Sale!

The phone for your business should never be treated like a triage helpline. This is the mindset of helping the customer answer a question fast enough to free up time for the next caller. Your team must appreciate that the person that is on the phone is currently your single most important customer at that very moment.

If you have answered their question in a satisfactory manner, ask them when they might come in? Or ask if you can hold the product? Agree to a time or book an appointment? Look for some level of commitment that will help encourage the customer to follow through and come do business with you.

Many auto parts retailers will offer an incentive to hold a product for their customers, further reinforcing the opportunity for the customer to come in. With competition for many retail and service level businesses, asking for the sale may be that one technique that keeps them from calling your competition.

A Little Bit Goes a Long Way

We all know about overhead, employees cost money. However, not having enough employees to properly give your customers the time and respect that they need will cost you much more. By empowering your team to take that little extra time to properly care for your customers over the phone, will project a quality mindset that will extend into the store. This type of one-on-one sales/service approach is echoed in those companies that consistently identify with the highest customer satisfaction scores in their industries.

Author Note: Customer service will become the main reason why people frequent a business. Post Covid customer service, lowering of expectation and task oriented lackluster employees will make a customer friendly business stand out. People will GLADLY pay a little more for a better shopping experience. Remember my fellow business owners, you are paying your employee as a representative of your company. This means the MUST respect and identify with your company standards and methods for the appropriate treatment of your customers. To lower that standard to get a warm body to fill the need, may help in the short run; but will cost you much more in the long run.

Your management team should regularly observe, test and train employees on proper telephone etiquette and sales tactics. This will help to ensure that they are adhering to your guidelines. If an employee has an inappropriate attitude or is unwilling to adhere to established guidelines, then this individual is costing you more than an hourly wage; they may be costing you a sale and a potential long-term customer. Patriot Owned Businesses can’t afford that.

Websites by Patriots Award Winning Customer Service

Let’s face it, website developers are not known for their customer service. It’s the call most people even dread to make. Websites by Patriots has worked hard to have a knowledgeable team that can also provide the customer attention and support that customers deserve. So much to the point that the parent company has earned the highest marks in customer service through Angie’s List for 10 years straight! Need a website? Give us a call and experience the difference.

You’ve Got a Rep to Protect – Facts about Review Resources

In today’s ever-changing internet market, everyone gets an opportunity to have their say. As a Patriot Owned business, accepting this reality will benefit your business in both the short and long-term success. With so many resources available on the internet for potential customers to both use and abuse, is important to understand a little bit about these review resources and how they can both benefit and hurt your business. Below are a few of the most common customer resources used to review your Patriot Owned Business.

Using Google Reviews

While Google did not pioneer the review process they certainly did make it one of the easiest to utilize. By providing an established path for your customers to review your Patriot Owned Business through Google it will make it easier for little Google bots to use the geo locator program to tie your location, website, reviews and more together. This makes it easier for customers to find you both online and at your place of business. The more Google reviews you have the more popular your Google listing will be, therefore allowing your website to perform better in search engine rankings.

USER BEWARE: While Google is the easiest way for your customers to leave you a review, it is also the most dangerous. Google does not validate reviews meaning that bogus reviews, no matter how damaging; will not be taken down because of their content. While Google does have a path to challenge the review however, most businesses online report that Google rarely will take down a review even if you can prove that the review is bogus.

Verified Collective Review Sites

Verified Collective review sites are those membership services that advertise that they validate real, honest reviews. The most popular of these collective review sites would be Angie, Home Advisor and Yelp. The natural advantage of these types of review sites Patriot Owned Businesses is the fact that they validate the review, establishing a level of trust between you and your customer before they even call. These sites are free for their users to look up information (as of the time of this article) but charge the company, or advertiser, for the use of their service.

While these sites have the validated review system there are not as easily accessible as Google. Angie, for example, will only provide a couple of reviews without you logging into an account; the others are similar by not displaying all available information unless you are signed into that particular company’s account.

BEWARE: While these companies promote themselves quite well (TV & Radio) they don’t do the best job of promoting their clients, unless you’re paying big money for them to do so. Their “validation” process also leaves much to be desired as they don’t really validate a review unless you challenge it. That challenge process can take upwards of six weeks for them to “investigate”. In the meantime, you may have a very damaging review on your account that may cost business. You will want to make sure that you have these companies on speed dial as you will have to call them frequently to make sure that changes, corrections and updates are done in a timely manner.

The Better Business Bureau

An old-school leftover of the review system is the Better Business Bureau. Still viewed by some as the ultimate review source, few actually utilize it as a place to leave positive reviews. For years the Better Business Bureau has been identified as a reporting service rather than a review service, in some circles it is even perceived to be connected with a government agency. In actuality, the Better Business Bureau is no different than Angie, Home Advisor and Yelp; where companies pay to provide customers with an outlet for reviews.

For years the Better Business Bureau’s claim to fame was that they certify businesses that are listed with their agency, which is false. The Better Business Bureau does not interview, validate or certify businesses; they are simply a paid collective review resource.

BEWARE: Because of the representation the Better Business Bureau has projected many consumers will use this as a threat to a Patriot Owned Businesses saying “I’ll report you to the Better Business Bureau!” … While the Better Business Bureau does provide avenues for customer disputes, remember it’s not a governmental agency; it’s a nonprofit reporting agency.

The Better Business Bureau has no power to levy fines or force a company to do anything that it does not feel is acceptable. This author echoes the Better Business Bureau’s advice to take all customer complaints seriously however, understanding the limitation of these reporting agencies will help you in just how far you take a customer’s threat. (Especially if you didn’t do anything wrong)

Websites By Patriots knows the Internet!

A great looking website is only the first step of getting your name out on the internet. Proper content, structure, saturation values, citation, rep score, reviews, listings and waaaaay more ALL come into play. Websites by Patriots has been building quality websites for years. We know the in’s and out’s of the internet and SEO/SEM performance. we even offer courtesy classes to our customers to ensure you get the most out of your website. Call us today and put our years of experience to work for you!

5 Things every Patriot Owned Business Should Have

At Websites by Patriots, we have been in the business arena long enough to see Patriot Owned Businesses come and go. Many great businesses failed even though they had great service at a reasonable price but lacked the business structure needed to sustain. With that in mind here are a few things we see that are a must for every Patriot Owned Small Business to get started:

1. A Planned Focus

We’ve all heard the adage: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” ~Benjamin Franklin. As we said before, there are many people that have a great product or service; but did not sit down and lay out their business plans or mission focus. By thinking through where you want your business to be in six months, one year, five years and 10 years; you can help yourself set achievable goals with an established structure. Simply going with a day-to-day “let’s see how it goes” mentality, will have you spending wasteful dollars chasing ideas; rather than thinking the process through toward your desired goal.

2. Establish a Budget

We’ve met so many Patriot Owned Businesses over the years that simply live “out of the cash register”, meaning that they don’t establish a budget; rather making purchasing decisions based upon surplus. This type of budget will doom you to fail as impulse purchases can quickly drain the surplus leaving you broke, when a true need is present. When setting up your business be sure that you lay out an appropriate budget. Determine in advance what you will need to pay yourself, your employees, your marketing, your overhead (rent and utilities) as well as any necessary insurance, licenses or permits that are required for you to responsibly be in business.

3. A Logo

A logo, for any business, can be the focal point for branding and marketing. It is part of what people will remember your business by and associate with; because it is so important – don’t skimp. So many Patriot Owned Business startups will use stock logo generation programs, or Microsoft publisher to slap together a cheap logo; with no thought of the branding or impacted that a logo might have. Consider hiring a professional through a local sign company, or marketing agency that has top-quality talent; and ask to see examples. A well designed, simple and descriptive logo can be one of the primary things that sets you apart from your competition.

4. A Business Card

It might sound old-fashioned, but a business card is still one of the fastest and easiest ways to get the message out about your Patriot Owned Business. A business card is literally a first impression of your business, so make it a good one. Make sure that the design of the business card matches the branding characteristics that you have laid out for your company. Use a quality business card supplier that can provide you with a thick 16 PT business card at a reasonable price. Stay away from cheap and fast places like Vista Print and support fellow Patriot Businesses. You might pay a few $ more, but will go a long way in supporting the Patriot Owned Business movement!

5. A Website

A website in today’s business climate is your digital business card, but it goes beyond that. A website is the platform that ties all your other marketing approaches together, literally the landing pad for the visual impression that you want to give. When customers see that you have a cheap cookie cutter website it sets the climate or impression that you can reflect to your customers. Using a WIX or GoDaddy site may be inviting as a way to save money, but these free website builders lack the infrastructure for proper search engine optimization and market branding. Support for these types of services either cost way more than you think, or are simply non existent.

When choosing a web developer, note that there is a difference between the web development company, a search engine optimization company and a marketing company; each offers the other’s services, but only specialize in one of the three. That is why we recommend choosing the best of each: Hire the best web developer, then hire the best search engine optimization service and then wrap it all up with hiring a good marketing company. If each of these three services are at the top of their game, they should be able to work together to provide you with the web presentation that you’re looking for as well as being a powerful lead generation tool.

Websites By Patriots

Websites by Patriots is made up of a diverse group of liberty loving people who actually enjoy what they do. This hand selected team consists of former businesses owners, public safety officers, disabled veterans, lifelong patriots and even a former Baptist pastor who have all come to call Websites by Patriots their home. We’ve been on both sides of the business market, so we just don’t read about it in a history book; WE LIVED IT!

We seek to work with small business owners who have a drive and passion to provide excellence in the products or services they supply to their customers. With our assistance, they will be able to achieve greater results based on years of experience in the web development industry. Coupled with our “work around” skill set we have been able to find affordable (and sometimes free) solutions that save time and money for those who need it the most.