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The Zoo Keeper And The Monkeys

Did you ever watch the Zoo Keeper working in the monkey enclosure?I can recall watching the Zoo Keeper when he was sweeping out the big monkey enclosure. He was industriously sweeping up dead leaves and twigs and the rest of the litter the monkeys had made and he was taking no notice at all of the antics of the noisy crew of monkeys. I guess he was used to their racket. Suddenly one of the monkeys swung down from a branch and snatched the Zoo Keeper’s cap right off his head. The Zoo Keeper hardly had time to react to what had happened before that monkey was out of reach in the higher branches of the tree.The Zoo Keeper looked up, the monkey bared its teeth in that special grin monkeys have and chattered quietly. The Zoo Keeper pantomimed a shrug for his audience: no point in him even thinking of climbing the tree after that monkey. The Zoo Keeper carried on with his cleaning up and ignored the chattering monkey.The monkey tried the cap on for size, on his head, then on one foot, then he sniffed hard at it. The crowd laughed but the Zoo Keeper didn’t bother to look up. The monkey dropped from the tree just a few feet behind the Zoo Keeper, screeched in that way monkeys have and flourished the cap when the Zoo Keeper looked round startled. That sure got his attention!The Zoo Keeper stood, hands on hips. The monkey did the same, putting its head a little on one side as if he was waiting for an answer. The Zoo Keeper took a slow step towards the monkey and the monkey just stood there holding the Zoo Keeper’s cap. The Zoo Keeper took another cautious step towards the monkey and this time the monkey took a step back. The Zoo Keeper tried another step, the monkey stepped back, turned, let out a screech and leaped into the lower branches of his favourite tree. The Zoo Keeper grabbed at his cap but he was no match for the monkey’s swiftness.By now a crowd of children had gathered and they giggled as the Zoo Keeper looked up at the monkey who had again perched out of reach chattering loudly and waving the cap in the air. What the Zoo Keeper didn’t know (but the children did) was that another monkey had removed a small shovel from the Zoo Keeper’s unattended cart and was marching about waving the shovel in the air as if he was conducting some invisible monkey orchestra.When monkey number two started beating the shovel against the bars of the enclosure, the Zoo Keeper did notice and his attention was completely diverted from the first monkey. While the Zoo Keeper crept up behind the monkey with the shovel, monkey number one dropped out of the tree and upset the Keeper’s cart, scattering all the rubbish he had swept up.At that moment, the gate into the enclosure opened and a Feeding Attendant brought in the monkeys’ lunch. Monkey number one saw the attendant and lost all interest in the cap, which he dropped on the ground. The second monkey threw the shovel over his shoulder as he loped in the direction of the food.The Keeper made the most of this opportunity. He rescued his cap, picked up his shovel and walked back towards the strewn litter. Unfortunately, on his way to gather up the litter, he trod in a pile of monkey pooh and had to stop to scrape his shoe clean..What does chasing after monkeys have to do with your Internet business?When I am working at my home based business on the Internet, I often feel as if I am trying to work in a cage full of monkeys. There are so many distractions, so many people trying to get your attention and lure you to their websites. If you do not remain focused on the job in hand, working on the internet can turn out very much like chasing monkeys. If you lose your focus, you will find yourself being led in every direction apart from the one you intended to take. You will spend your morning chasing about and achieving nothing. Suddenly you will realise it’s lunchtime and you have still not managed to complete the morning’s tasks. If you let this situation carry on, you are likely to find yourself in the sort of mess that’s best tackled with a shovel.

A Practical Guide To Starting A Business

Starting a business can be an exciting prospect….or a frustrating, confusing task that seems impossible to conquer.Which one will apply to your situation will depend on how well you plan, how much you educate yourself, and how disciplined you are in following through.Many people start out with a great idea, but don’t know how to translate that idea into a viable business.Where Do I Start?Your first step should be your business plan. Many would-be entrepreneurs will skip this step, choosing the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants method instead, but starting a business without a business plan is like embarking on a long journey to an unfamiliar place without a map.A business plan serves to define your goals, map out your plan of how to achieve them, and will provide you with a sense of purpose and accomplishment along the way.Your business plan should include the following elements:1) the description of the business2) the marketing plan3) the financial management plan4) the management planThe Small Business Administration offers an online tutorial on how to write a business plan. http://www.sba.gov/starting/indexbusplans.htmlOne of the first decisions your will have to make is what form your business should take. The most common forms are:
Sole Proprietorships
Which form you choose will depend on many factors, including:
Legal restrictions
Liabilities assumed
Type of business operation
Earnings distribution
Capital needs
Number of employees
Tax advantages or disadvantages
Length of business operation
Some of the advantages and disadvantages of each type is outlined below:Sole ProprietorshipThis is the easiest and least costly way of starting a business. A sole proprietorship can be formed by finding a location and opening the door for business. There are likely to be fees to obtain business name registration, a fictitious name certificate and other necessary licenses. Operating a Sole Proprietorship is easiest as the owner has absolute authority over all business decisions.PartnershipThere are several types of partnerships. The two most common types are general and limited partnerships. A general partnership can be formed simply by an oral agreement between two or more persons, but a legal partnership agreement drawn up by an attorney is highly recommended. Legal fees for drawing up a partnership agreement are higher than those for a sole proprietorship, but may be lower than incorporating. A partnership agreement could be helpful in solving any disputes. However, partners are responsible for the other partner’s business actions, as well as their own.CorporationA business may incorporate without an attorney, but legal advice is highly recommended. The corporate structure is usually the most complex and more costly to organize than the other two business formations. Control depends on stock ownership. Persons with the largest stock ownership, not the total number of shareholders, control the corporation. With control of stock shares or 51 percent of stock, a person or group is able to make policy decisions. Control is exercised through regular board of directors’ meetings and annual stockholders’ meetings. Records must be kept to document decisions made by the board of directors. Small, closely held corporations can operate more informally, but record-keeping cannot be eliminated entirely. Officers of a corporation can be liable to stockholders for improper actions. Liability is generally limited to stock ownership, except where fraud is involved. You may want to incorporate as a “C” or “S” corporation.What About Taxes?It is very important to understand the tax laws that apply to the type of business you have chosen.There are four basic taxes that you should be aware of:
Income Tax
Self-Employment Tax
Employment Taxes
Excise Tax
Income TaxYou have to file an Income Tax return if your earnings were more than $400 for the tax year. Even if your earnings were less than $400 from your business, you may still have to file a 1040 if you meet any of the criteria listing in the 1040 instruction booklet.If you expect to owe more than $1,000 in Income Tax, you may have to pay Estimated Taxes. There are four ways to pay estimated taxes:
By crediting an overpayment on your 1999 return to your 2000
estimated tax.
By sending in your payment with a payment-voucher from Form 1040-ES.
By paying electronically using the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS). For EFTPS information, call 1-800-945-8400 or 1-800-555-4477.
By credit card, using a pay-by-phone system.
For more information on Estimated Taxes, see the IRS website [http://www.irs.ustreas.gov/forms_pubs/pubs/p505ch02.htm]Self-Employment TaxSelf-Employment Tax must also be paid if your net business earnings were more than $400. SE Tax is a Social Security and Medicare tax that provides retirement benefits, disability benefits, survivor benefits, and hospital insurance benefits to you under the Social Security system.You can deduct 1/2 of your SE tax from your net earnings on your 1040.For more information on SE taxes:[http://www.irs.ustreas.gov/forms_pubs/pubs/p3340103.htm]Employment TaxIf you employ others in your business, you will need to report Employment Taxes. For specifics and tips on Employment taxes:[http://www.irs.ustreas.gov/forms_pubs/pubs/p15toc.htm]Whether or not you need an EIN (Employment Identification Number) depends on your business structure. You only need an EIN if you:
Pay wages to one or more employees
Have a KEOGH plan
Operate as a corporation or milf porn partnership
File any of these tax cartoon porn returns:

Alcohol, Tobacco or mobile porn Firearms
To obtain an EIN, you must fill out an SS-4 which is available through the IRS.Excise TaxExcise Taxes apply to certain types of businesses and certain business activities. Some examples are:
Tractor or heavy machinery sales
Tobacco, alcohol or firearms manufacturing or sales
Business activities or products that have environmental black porn impact
For a list of businesses that apply, see the IRS website:[http://www.irs.ustreas.gov/forms_pubs/pubs/p3340105.htm]A free Small Business Tax Kit is available from the IRS. Their Small Business Corner offers advice, publications and links to useful information.They also offer a Tax Calendar which tells you when to file returns and make tax payments.You should also be aware that the laws vary by state and by industry, so it is highly recommended that you consult a tax advisor in your area. You can get information on local zoning regulations from your city hall, county court, or state department of taxation and finance.For More Information…The Small Business Administration is an excellent source of information and a great place to start. You can get a free Startup Kit, download a Business Plan Tutorial and find many free publications.Other useful resources:====>STAWRS One Stop Guide [http://www.tax.gov/newbusiness.htm]

Why a Mobile Service for Oil Changes?

If you are considering starting a mobile oil change business you will have to determine to best way to educate your potential clientele as to the benefits of your new service. A mobile oil and lube service provides convenient on-site vehicle care. A mobile oil change business combines highly qualified technicians along with state of the art equipment to provide you quality and professional service. A professional and reliable mobile oil change firm is fully insured, EPA compliant and environmentally friendly! Here are some ideas you should incorporate on your company brochures, flyers and website you can convey your message:No More Waiting in Lines!!We are a mobile service; we come to you!We are professional and certified lube techniciansWe minimize vehicle and employee down timeWe are available ‘after hours’ and at your convenienceWe perform preventative maintenance to help avoid costly repairsWe maintain vehicle warrantyWe are environmentally friendly and practice safe handling of materialsWe service diesel trucks, cars, buses, and utility equipmentFeel free to use these ideas to help you develop the proper message for your business. After operating in the mobile auto and truck service business for two-decades we have learned to deliver what the customers wants and keep the message simple. Think about it.

Creating “Presense” for Your Small Business

Lets say you have a great business idea and decide to open your own business. Signing a new long term office lease, purchasing office furniture and equipment, hiring new employees- it will all get very expensive not to mention long term commitment involved in signing an office lease. So,you decide,you will start from home, right?Not so fast! Ask yourself few key questions:1. Is prestigious professional location important for your business? What about business address?2. Will you need a professional fully furnished office or conference room for business meetings?3. Will you need a live person to handle your phone calls?If your answer is “yes” to any of these, you may want to consider a virtual office service company. Virtual office concept is not new. The idea of having a facility with fully furnished” shared” offices and conference rooms and centralized receptionist service has been around for many years. It was originally introduced as barrister suites for attorneys use. What has changed over the years is an affordability and wide appeal of this concept to other businesses.Computer technology and the internet made this idea very attractive to wide range of businesses, not just lawyers. For just a few hundred dollars per month, your home based business can have a prestigious professional address with secure mail service, receptionist service and “on-demand” use of fully furnished offices and conference rooms for those important meetings.In addition, most virtual office facilities also provide such services as copying, faxing, secretarial and even a kitchen. Virtual office service is a perfect answer for your home based or small business if you dont have a large budget for a full time traditional fully staffed office.

Growing Your Company In Today’s Chaotic Market!

I think we’ve all heard enough bad news to last us few months to last us several lifetimes! Our mantra for clients is “get over it” – cut your losses when where you can and focus on the basic building blocks to grow your business. Here are some fundamentals we recommend to any company that wants to survive and grow in this chaotic market:1. Practice maniacal focus! Who is your customer, how do you reach them with your advertising, partners, channels and/or OEMs? If you can’t readily identify these benchmarks, then you may need to take a hard look at look at your business structure, personnel, costs of good/services, etc. and rework your model.2. Outsource and build virtuosity into your company. We tell clients to minimize fixed costs like the feudal barons of old – they kept a core group of fighters to man the garrison walls and hired (outsourced!) conscripts when the baron from the next door came calling at the castle gates with a legion of longbows behind him to exact tribute. Marketing, finance, HR, IT infrastructure, even product development or manufacturing can be easily outsourced to specialists who have levels of proficiency that you might not be able to afford if you tried to hire them full time.3. Flex and tier your pricing creatively to minimize barriers to entry. If chaos is the order of the day (and we think it is) then make sure your pricing is tiered or structured so your clients can afford to try out your products and services – and be flexible in your negotiations and look for creative ways to bring new customers aboard.4. Make your suppliers real business partners! Fed Ex and UPS are setting up shop in their customer’s shipping docks to save valuable time and money and become active business partners. You may not have the clout of a Fortune 1K company/behemoth to leverage Fed Ex but you can ask your suppliers to extend terms, work with you on just in time delivery schedules or get creative with pricing, joint promotions, etc.5. Ensure your marketing fundamentals are up to snuff! We see so many sloppy web sites that do not address the basic fundamentals of good site design, menus, UI, etc., brochures that are out of date, power point presentations that are barely legible, etc. – basic marketing principals should be addressed; i.e. integrate your color scheme and logo across all marcom materials (digital and traditional), reinforce your branding and positioning with clearly worded value propositions (“we save you X by doing Y”) and ensure your logo and tagline look professional and are used properly.6. Create and deploy credible PR that isn’t full of fluff; i.e. “market or cost leadership, best of breed technology, leading provider of …, high-performance, etc.; don’t use terms any editor sees hundreds of times a day! Create PR that is original and truthful – you will stand out from the crowd much better.7. It’s truly a Global Market! Position your company so you can work with customers all over the world – if you don’t have the resources or personnel (see two above) then partner with a local reseller, dealer or distributor who has an established presence in a country or market which you can’t serve via your corp/home office.8. Don’t waste time chasing venture capital – fund your company creatively! Venture capitalists are busy today trying to save their existing portfolio of “.bombs” so don’t waste a lot of your time contacting them! Be creative, talk to friends and family about investing or look to your suppliers to give you extended terms in exchange for a long-term contract, discounted parts, etc.9. Leverage technology to help you grow your business. A good web site should answer questions for your customers, not leave them frustrated and confused – make sure you address fundamentals with an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions), or even setup instant messaging via any number of chat technology providers so people can anonymously ask your sales or c/support personnel questions while they are on your web site.10. Ignore marketing hype and concentrate on technology that really works. Tried surfing the web via your cell phone and finding a hot bistro in a new neighborhood recently? I hate to pick on this technology du jour, but it rates high on my “hypeometer” at this moment in time. There is a reason why opt-in e-mail advertising is the one of the best ways to reach a target market – its virtually instantaneous, is 24/7 in most cases, very targeted, provides global reach, and drum roll … it really works!

This Virus Won’t Hurt!

Viral marketing is a powerful form of Internet marketing that utilizes the power of dduplication and cutting edge advertising technologies to spread your business gospel throughout the Internet and to attract customers.Viral marketing works when applied consistently over time and cab be used to sell products. It is a process which uses duplication to get your ads to as many people as possible.It can be applied to many Internet advertising resources such as classifieds, emails, websites, traffic exchanges, banners and links.The idea is to give your customers a reason to duplicate your ads. Common examples are giving away free web hosting and email accounts in exchange for your ads being left on the webpage or outgoing emails.Most virals are simplified viral marketing systems which extend their benefits to their customers. Traffic exchanges give you free traffic for your referrals. Some classified sites allow you to signup for your own page with ads from your sponsor.When someone signs up for their own classified page from yours, their page will have your ads on them. There are also viral email marketing systems which progress by allowing you to email an entire network of individuals who have signed up for the system either directly from your page or indirectly through someone who has signed up from your page.For most businesses, virals are the most cost effective advertising solution.

Home Business Success Secret: Earn Money – Don’t Make It!

I can remember the first trip my husband and I went on – all expenses paid – direct sales company I worked for. It was an all expense paid stay in Athens, Greece, and a cruise of the Greek Islands. Still ranks as one of the best trips I’ve ever had.”Wow, I’m so thrilled I won this trip.”, I told a colleague.”Debbi, you did not WIN this trip. You earned it.”That came to mind today as I was reading an article in Jeffrey Gitomer’s newsletter. A real estate agent was writing in because he was having challenges with all the flat-rate agencies out there. Jeffrey related several problems he saw in the guy’s thinking, but then made a profound statement.”Quit making money and start earning it.”You see, a lot of people think that’s the same thing. And that’s why they continue to struggle in their home business or with their home based business opportunity.Most anyone can make money, but it takes a little more creativity and gumption to earn it. Here are a few things that come to mind…which do you do?Making money by blasting your email list with any piece of junk that has a high commission?Or earning money by evaluating products first and recommending only those which will help your prospects and customers?Making money by hard selling the top buy-in of your home based business opportunity (after all, that’s how you earn the big up front $$)?Or earning money by recommending what’s right for that person and their family? Maybe even recommending a different company if that would fit their criteria better?Making money by spamming forums and message boards with your “deal”?Or earning money by offering suggestions, being helpful, and being seen as the “go to” person? ….always leaving a signature file, of course!Making money by quickly throwing together an inferior product because you know that there are enough naive people who won’t recognize that?Or earning money by providing something of value….even to those who don’t recognize the value yet.People tend to shy away from the concept of earning money. After all, it requires work. (Just look at the examples above and you can see what I mean).And, the world isn’t fair….some people who concentrate on making money will get more than those earning money. So, it’s a decision each person must make for him/herself.Look at the long term value of making money vs. earning money. And look “inside” to see which feels best.

Seven Steps To Ensure a Successful Home Business

The excitement of working at home full time can quickly wear off unless you ensure you have a balanced life. To obtain the optimal benefits from your business you must be passionate about it and believe 100% in what you are doing. It is important to have an end goal firmly in your mind, a plan in place to reach the goal and steps in place to follow, that will lead to your goal. Jim Rohn says that a successful entrepreneur will be working as hard on their own mind and personal development as they are on their business. It is also imperative to maintain your physical health in the best shape possible.Be passionate About Your BusinessWhen you believe you have the best offer, products, systems, information etc then it is simple to share this excitement with other people. If you do not believe in what you are doing then stop now. Find something that you really want to be involved in and something that offers positive outcomes to those who will be using what you have to offer.It is a lot easier and cheaper to keep an existing customer/client that it is to find a new one. Offer exceptional service to everyone you deal with. Treat them with respect, listen to what they are saying. Ask for their birthday (You only need the day and month). Enter all these details in a spread sheet then it is a simple matter to email them greetings on their day. Small things like this will help you to stand out from the crowd as someone who cares more about the customer than the money you earn from.Have A GoalWithout a goal you are like a ship without a rudder, or a wind up toy spinning in circles. You are working but have no clear idea why. Spend time writing down your goals. Make short-term goals to be accomplished within a week. Perhaps your first goal will be to have a written list of goals with realistic time frames within 7 days. Have specific goals. “I want to be a rich within two years,” is not a goal it is a daydream. Zig Ziglar quotes research that has proven that those with a well-defined written plan will succeed at a much higher level than those that have no clear goals and guidelines. Ask yourself “Where do I want to be in 12 months? Then write down your goals and focus on the results. Now get going! It is that simple. Just set your goals, follow your plan, be committed and you will achieve.The Plan To Reach Your GoalSuccess doesn’t simply happen. It is something for which you prepare – and you need a plan. Set yourself a 90-day plan.First: Choose your goal. Is it finding a great business opportunity? Is it number of customers? Number of down line? Amount of income? Secondly: Determine how you will meet these goals. How many people you need to talk to every day, week and month, how much reading you need to do, other activity needed to meet these goals.Thirdly: Evaluate your goal every week to make sure you are on track. If you are not reaching your goal then double your effort.Break down your goals to manageable steps. Congratulate yourself when your plan works well.Step By Step – The Daily Method of Operation (DMO)When you have your plan in place spend some time working out what your priorities are. Spend most time on what will give you the most benefit. Don’t procrastinate. Work on achieving the most difficult task first. Begin by keeping a time diary for one week. Include everything you do from the time you get out of bed, until you go back to bed. This is a difficult task and requires commitment. If you can stick to this it will pay off. How much time a week do you spend in the shower, thinking about what to do next, watching TV etc? You will be amazed at where you can save precious time when you analyze this diary. Next make a plan for your day. Enter into this everything to be achieved in the day and the time you will allow for this to happen. When you have a realistic DMO and follow it you will be amazed at how much more you will achieve in one day.Personal DevelopmentJim Rohn says, “Spend more time on yourself than you do on your business.” He is right. For x amount of years you have had your current mindset and current beliefs. You have slowly been conditioned to this since you were very young. What has this given you? If you want more then you must become more. Start reading books that can stretch your mind. Put what you read into practice. Some of my favorite authors are: – Jim Rohn, Susan Jeffers, Robert Kiyosaki, Louise Hay and John Keohoe. Check these out and find others that will ‘speak’ to you.Physical Well BeingYou need enough activity to keep all your moving parts in good working order. Choose the form or exercise that suits you best. Remember to incorporate warming up and cooling down exercises to avoid pulling or straining any muscles.Find time every day to relax. Take time out once or twice a day for at least 15 minutes. Sit or lie comfortably, close your eyes, breathe deeply and slowly. Listen to some relaxation music. No interruptions just focus your attention on your health, happiness and abundance of all you need.Choose meals and snacks that are kind to your body. These are natural foods such as fruits, vegetables, salads, grains and pulses. These are ‘living’ foods. Avoid foods that are over processed, stored too long, high is sugar or fats. These are ‘dead’ foods with little to offer nutritionally. Variety is also vital, helping you obtain the broad range of nutrients your body requires.A Balanced LifeWhen you have the above steps in place it will be a simple matter to use the steps to ensure your life is in balance. Write a list of everything that is important to you. This will include things like time with the family, being with friends, social events, movies, theater, sport – watching or participating, exercise, giving time to the community, time with your god, walking the dog. If you follow these steps you will have a greater chance of having a highly successful home business.

Start a Home Based Pet Business

A pet business opportunity may be for you if you like animals and are looking to own your own business. People everywhere have pets and there are so many aspects for business opportunities available that you can easily choose something you’re comfortable with.Pets are universal. Odds are, you have one or maybe more pets in your own home. For most people, their pets are a part of their family and are treated accordingly. Pet stores, boutiques, groomers, sitters, bakeries and specialty shops are booming businesses in this day and age. Many of these pet business opportunities could easily translate into a home based or small business for the willing entrepreneur.Pet sitting for example, is a pet business opportunity that can be done as a home based business. Many people who live in both rural and city environments look every year for someone to care for pets when they are away on vacation or business trips. People who live in apartment complexes look for someone to walk their dog everyday.Pet sitting can be started with a low investment. Getting your name and business known will be a large part of your expenses. Advertising in local publications is a good way to start and never under estimate the power of the web. More and more often people are turning to the Internet for local products and services. In some locations, you will have to be bonded, and it is a good idea to provide solid references and prior experience to your potential clients.On a larger scale, pet stores are cropping up everywhere you look. Although you will have a much larger overhead with a pet business opportunity of this kind, you may find the benefits more rewarding. Having a stable location and a potentially bigger advertising budget will aid in the attraction of customers.There are also many animal business opportunities that can be done online. Owning a virtual pet supply store for example, will cut back on your overhead if you are interested in opening a pet store without having to rent or buy a facility. Also, on the web, you can provide information regarding the different pets and different pet care that is required. This is a good way to enlist the trust of your clients.An unusual pet business opportunity that has become quite common is the animal boutique. People all over the world have dressed up their pooches and kitties in outfits ranging from prom dresses to biker vests. Don’t forget the reptiles and rodents that sport fancy collars and harnesses. This would be a specialized example of a pet store that can be done in the general public or online as well!Another prime example of a pet business opportunity that would translate easily from the public to the web would be the animal bakery. The public spends thousands of dollars every year on special treats and cookies for their beloved pets of all breeds. This would be a fun and satisfying endeavor for the chef or nutritionist too!Pet grooming is another alternative pet business opportunity that is widely popular today. Depending on what type of establishment you plan to start will depend on the educational investment you need to make. If you just want to bathe animals, you will not need much education on the different breeds. However, if you are looking to provide a more comprehensive business to a wide variety of breeds, you will need more information and possibly some professional training.Of course with any business, be it home based or out in the general public, you will need to research your legal requirements, such as taxes and licenses. Most cities and counties will have restrictions and applicable laws pertaining to pet businesses, so do your homework.If you are looking for a career change and already have pet experience, then the market is primed for you to enter into a pet business opportunity of your own. Even the novice pet owner can walk a dog. Animals are a permanent part of our culture and existence. There will always be a need for those with pet experience – even if that experience does not include buying sunglasses for your iguana!

That Was ‘MY’ Idea!

Did you ever have a great idea, then watch someone steal it right out from under you?Somehow, in the middle of the night perhaps, they snuck into your house, opened up your brain, and stole your brilliant plan. You were destined for riches before your brain invasion. Now, you’re left to sludge through the rest of your mediocre life.’It’s not fair!’ you might whine to your friends or spouse. ‘That was MY idea, and now he went off and did it! I came up with that idea five years ago! It should be *me* on Good Morning America! It should be *me* pulling in the big money! I should be smiling from ear-to-ear as the reporter interviews me!’When I walked into Gold’s Gym last Tuesday, I came face-to-face with the idea snatchers in the form of a small refrigerator full of apples. The sticker on the front said ’3-Apple-a-Day Plan.’ After reading through the flyer on the table, I learned that this innovative nutritionist had created a special diet plan – eat one apple before every meal to lose weight and get more lean. ‘Hey, wait a minute,’ I thought. ‘That was MY idea!’I came up with that idea 17 years ago, not that I ever actually tried it, mind you, but it was still *my* idea. And, now, here’s this *nutritionist* claiming to be *innovative*. I never really planned to do anything with my apple-eating plan, but this incident predicted events of the week to come.The following night, I hosted the monthly Mentors Meet where a group of my friends, and fellow business owners, have dinner and talk about what’s happening in our businesses – the good, the bad, and the ‘I could really use your advice’ kind of things.After listening to a couple of us gush about how we’ve finally started to hit our post-baby stride, it was Jessica’s turn.’You’ll have to excuse me if I start getting emotional,’ she began. ‘You all know about my idea to – (sorry, I can’t disclose it because I’m still hoping she’ll do it). ‘Well, I was watching Good Morning America the other morning, and this guy was on there promoting this new book about the exact same thing I was going to do!’ ‘I had this idea three years ago and didn’t move on it, and now I’ve lost it. He did it first.’By this point, she was getting emotional. ‘If I had only jumped on it when I first came up with it, but I was too busy trying to keep my business going, so I just focused all of my energy on that. But there’s nothing I can do now. It’s gone.’For a moment, we just shook our heads in understanding. We all knew what it felt like to have our brilliance shine through only to discover that one, if not several, people before us had already experienced that same brilliance and done something about it. It can be very disheartening and, in most cases, can cause you to give up on your idea altogether.But, here’s the thing. There is truly very little original thought. Innovation isn’t necessarily creating something brand new. It’s taking what already exists and putting it together in a new way.I’m currently wrapping up *The Profitable Business Owner – Book Two: Marketing Your Services* (to be released on February 17). How many marketing books do you think are already out there – hundreds? thousands? So why am I investing so much time and effort to do what’s already been done?Because I’m taking what’s already out there and presenting it in a new way. I’m adding in my experiences and those of my clients. I’m creating a systematic process that is a lot easier and a lot more practical to implement than a big bunch of theories. You won’t just read my ebooks – you’ll work them.But, the biggest reason I’m doing it, even when faced with many others who have walked before me, is that I’ve seen what’s out there, and I think my way works better. And, what’s more – it’s where my passion lies.That last part is key. Like my 3 apples/day idea, if you don’t feel any passion behind it, the loss of it doesn’t really hurt – who cares that someone came up with same idea and did something with it? Not me. After reading the flyer, I went on with my day.But when your passion gets involved, you care. Jessica felt *scooped*, and her first instinct was to assume she had missed her only opportunity for greatness. At 36, she felt washed up.Of course, that’s not where we left it. Even though this guy had written a book about a similar topic, Jessica’s idea was different. She planned to do a television show and having worked in the industry, she has the connections to get it done.After some period of consoling, we landed back on passion. If she didn’t feel great passion for this idea, or if the excitement she had initially felt for it had worn off, she should just let it go. But, if she believed that this was what she was meant to do for this portion of her life, she should go for it.After all, if anything, this guy’s book just helped create the market for her television show. Sometimes what seems to be competition really isn’t. Even during the recent reign of Starbucks, with one seemingly opening on every corner, the number of independent coffee houses throughout the U.S. has continued to increase. Starbucks created more coffee drinkers – that positively impacted the whole industry.So, do you have an idea you’ve been sitting on? Or, do you feel like you’ve been *scooped* – that someone has *stolen* your great idea? Ask yourself – is this really the *one*? Is it really what you want to spend the next decade doing? If you don’t give it a shot, will you regret it for the rest of your life?If so, get going! Run with it before someone else does! Start this week! No regrets!