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Comparing bids can be very challenging.  Consider choosing the printer who asks the most questions before doing the quote.  For example, I may ask you the purpose of printing this product.  Is it just informational?  Do you want a response? Who are the end users of this item?  Will it sit on a table in a waiting room somewhere or will the user read it then wrap fish in it to throw away?  There are so many kinds of paper designed for very specific results and printing your message on the wrong paper can lead to failure.  Statement stuffers need different paper than a company brochure or an Annual Report so chose a printer who knows and understands paper and you can't go wrong.

Chuck Head

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Sunray Printing Soloutions, Inc.

Direct: 320-257-2611

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Bitcoin is going crazy! Here's how to join the madness!

Everyone knows they need to manage their stress. When things get difficult at work, school, or in your personal life, you can use as many tips, tricks, and techniques as you can get to calm your nerves.

So here's a science-backed one: make a playlist of the 10 songs found to be the most relaxing on earth.

Sound therapies have long been popular as a way of relaxing and restoring one's health. For centuries, indigenous cultures have used music to enhance well-being and improve health conditions.

Now, neuroscientists out of the UK have specified which tunes give you the most bang for your musical buck.

The study was conducted on participants who attempted to solve difficult puzzles as quickly as possible while connected to sensors. The puzzles induced a certain level of stress, and participants listened to different songs while researchers measured brain activity as well as physiological states that included heart rate, blood pressure, and rate of breathing.

According to Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson of Mindlab International, which conducted the research, the top song produced a greater state of relaxation than any other music tested to date.

In fact, listening to that one song -- "Weightless" -- resulted in a striking 65 percent reduction in participants' overall anxiety, and a 35 percent reduction in their usual physiological resting rates.

That is remarkable.

Equally remarkable is the fact the song was actually constructed to do so. The group that created "Weightless", Marconi Union, did so in collaboration with sound therapists. Its carefully arranged harmonies, rhythms, and bass lines help slow a listener's heart rate, reduce blood pressure and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

When it comes to lowering anxiety, the stakes couldn't be higher. Stress either exacerbates or increases the risk of health issues like heart disease, obesity, depression, gastrointestinal problems, asthma, and more. More troubling still, a recent paper out of Harvard and Stanford found health issues from job stress alone cause more deaths than diabetes, Alzheimer's, or influenza.

In this age of constant bombardment, the science is clear: if you want your mind and body to last, you've got to prioritize giving them a rest. Music is an easy way to take some of the pressure off of all the pings, dings, apps, tags, texts, emails, appointments, meetings, and deadlines that can easily spike your stress level and leave you feeling drained and anxious.

Of the top track, Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson said, "'Weightless' was so effective, many women became drowsy and I would advise against driving while listening to the song because it could be dangerous."

So don't drive while listening to these, but do take advantage of them:

10. "We Can Fly," by Rue du Soleil (Café Del Mar)

9. "Canzonetta Sull'aria," by Mozart

8. "Someone Like You," by Adele

7. "Pure Shores," by All Saints

6. "Please Don't Go," by Barcelona

5. "Strawberry Swing," by Coldplay

4. "Watermark," by Enya

3. "Mellomaniac (Chill Out Mix)," by DJ Shah

2. "Electra," by Airstream

1. "Weightless," by Marconi Union

I made a public playlist of all of them on Spotify that runs about 50 minutes (it's also downloadable).

There's also a free 10-hour version of "Weightless" available if you want a longer listening experience.


"Where words fail, music speaks." -- Hans Christian Andersen

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  By Melanie Curtis Writer, activist |
100 of the Most Inspiring Business Videos on YouTube

There are already very good lists of startup lessons written by really talented, experienced people (hereand here). I’d like to add another one. I learned these lessons the hard way in the past four years. If you’re starting a company, I hope you have an easier path.


  • If you can’t get to ramen profitability with a team of 2 – 4 within six months to a year, something’s wrong. (You can choose not to be profitable, but it must be your choice, not something forced on you by the market).
  • Split the stock between the founding team evenly.
  • Always have a vesting schedule.
  • Make most decisions by consensus, but have a single CEO whose decisions are final. Make it clear from day one.
  • Your authority as CEO is earned. You start with a non-zero baseline. It grows if you have victories and dwindles if you don’t. Don’t try to use authority you didn’t earn.
  • Morale is very real and self-perpetuating. If you work too long without victories, your investors, employees, family, and you yourself will lose faith. Work like hell not to get yourself into this position.
  • Pick the initial team very carefully. Everyone should be pleasant to work with, have at least one skill relevant to the business they’re spectacular at, be extremely effective and pragmatic. Everyone should have product sense and a shared vision for the product and the company.
  • The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. Pick a small set of non-negotiable rules that matter to you most and enforce them ruthlessly.
  • Fire people that are difficult, unproductive, unreliable, have no product sense, or aren’t pragmatic. Do it quickly.
  • Some friction is good. Too much friction is deadly. Fire people that cause too much friction. Good job + bad behavior == you’re fired.
  • Fundraising

  • If you have to give away more than 15% of the company at any given fundraising round, your company didn’t germinate correctly. It’s salvageable but not ideal.
  • If you haven’t earned people’s respect yet, fundraising on traction is an order of magnitude easier than fundraising on a story. If you have to raise on a story but don’t have the reputation, something’s wrong.
  • Treat your fundraising pitch as a minimum viable product. Get it out, then iterate after every meeting.
  • Most investor advice is very good for optimizing and scaling a working business. Listen to it.
  • Most investor advice isn’t very good for building a magical product. Nobody can help you build a magical product — that’s your job.
  • Don’t fall in love with the fundraising process. Get it done and move on.
  • Markets

  • The best products don’t get built in a vacuum. They win because they reach the top of a field over all other products designed to fill the same niche. Find your field and be the best. If there is no field, something’s wrong.
  • Work on a problem that has an immediately useful solution, but has enormous potential for growth. If it doesn’t augment the human condition for a huge number of people in a meaningful way, it’s not worth doing. For example, Google touches billions of lives by filling a very concrete space in people’s daily routine. It changes the way people behave and perceive their immediate physical surroundings. Shoot for building a product of this magnitude.
  • Starting with the right idea matters. Empirically, you can only pivot so far.
  • Assume the market is efficient and valuable ideas will be discovered by multiple teams nearly instantaneously.
  • Pick new ideas because they’ve been made possible by other social or technological change. Get on the train as early as possible, but make sure the technology is there to make the product be enough better that it matters.
  • If there is an old idea that didn’t work before and there is no social or technological change that can plausibly make it work now, assume it will fail. (That’s the efficient market hypothesis again. If an idea could have been brought to fruition, it would have been. It’s only worth trying again if something changed.)
  • Educating a market that doesn’t want your product is a losing battle. Stick to your ideals and vision, but respect trends. If you believe the world needs iambic pentameter poetry, sell hip hop, not sonnets.
  • Products

  • Product sense is everything. Learn it as quickly as you can. Being good at engineering has nothing to do with being good at product management.
  • Don’t build something that already exists. Customers won’t buy it just because it’s yours.
  • Make sure you know why users will have no choice but to switch to your product, and why they won’t be able to switch back. Don’t trust yourself — test your assumptions as much as possible.
  • Ask two questions for every product feature. Will people buy because of this feature? Will people not buy because of lack of this feature? No amount of the latter will make up for lack of the former. Don’t build features if the answer to both questions is “no”.
  • Build a product people want to buy in spite of rough edges, not because there are no rough edges. The former is pleasant and highly paid, the latter is unpleasant and takes forever.
  • Beware of chicken and egg products. Make sure your product provides immediate utility.
  • Learn the difference between people who might buy your product and people who are just commenting. Pay obsessive attention to the former. Ignore the latter.
  • Marketing

  • Product comes first. If people love your product, the tiniest announcements will get attention. If people don’t love your product, no amount of marketing effort will help.
  • Try to have marketing built into the product. If possible, have the YouTube effect (your users can frequently send people a link to something interesting on your platform), and Facebook effect (if your users are on the product, their friends will need to get on the product too).
  • Watch Jiro Dreams of Sushi, then do marketing that way. Pick a small set of tasks, do them consistently, and get better every day.
  • Reevaluate effectiveness on a regular basis. Cut things that don’t work, double down on things that do.
  • Don’t guess. Measure.
  • Market to your users. Getting attention from people who won’t buy your product is a waste of time and money.
  • Don’t say things if your competitors can’t say the opposite. For example, your competitors can’t say their product is slow, so saying yours is fast is sloppy marketing. On the other hand, your competitors can say their software is for Python programmers, so saying yours is for Ruby programmers is good marketing. Apple can get away with breaking this rule, you can’t.
  • Don’t use supercilious tone towards your users or competitors. It won’t help sell the product and will destroy good will.
  • Don’t be dismissive of criticism. Instead, use it to improve your product. Your most vocal critics will often turn into your biggest champions if you take their criticism seriously.
  • Sales

  • Sales fix everything. You can screw up everything else and get through it if your product sells well.
  • Product comes first. Selling a product everyone wants is easy and rewarding. Selling a product no one wants is an unpleasant game of numbers.
  • Be relentless about working the game of numbers while the product is between the two extremes above. Even if you don’t sell anything, you’ll learn invaluable lessons.
  • Qualify ruthlessly. Spending time with a user who’s unlikely to buy is equivalent to doing no work at all.
  • Inbound is easier than outbound. If possible, build the product in a way where customers reach out to you and ask to pay.
  • Development

  • Development speed is everything.
  • Minimize complexity. The simpler the product, the more likely you are to actually ship it, and the more likely you are to fix problems quickly.
  • Pick implementations that give 80% of the benefit with 20% of the work.
  • Use off the shelf components whenever possible.
  • Use development sprints. Make sure your sprints aren’t longer than one or two weeks.
  • Beware of long projects. If you can’t fit it into a sprint, don’t build it.
  • Beware of long rewrites. If you can’t fit it into a sprint, don’t do it.
  • If you must do something that doesn’t fit into a sprint, put as much structure and peer review around it as possible.
  • Working on the wrong thing for a month is equivalent to not showing up to work for a month at all.
  • Company administration

  • Don’t waste time picking office buildings, accountants, bookkeepers, janitors, furniture, hosted tools, payroll companies, etc. Make sure it’s good enough and move on.
  • Take the time to find a good, inexpensive lawyer. It will make a difference.
  • Personal well-being

  • Do everything you can not to attach your self esteem to your startup (you’ll fail, but try anyway). Do the best you can every day, then step back. Work in such a way that when the dust settles you can be proud of the choices you’ve made, regardless of the outcome.
  • Every once in a while, get away. Go hiking, visit family in another city, go dancing, play chess, tennis, anything. It will make you more effective and make the people around you happier.
  • Thanks to Michael Glukhovsky for reviewing this post.

    If your working on a project and need fonts, photos, graphics, videos, sounds; check out this website.  Lots of free stuff for you to use. You'll want to bookmark this site:


    This site gathered all the best, honest, practical, no bullshit pieces of financial advice from thousands of business and self-help books here in one article.

    1. If you rely on earning a wage or salary to put money in your pocket, you will be forever caught up in the vicious cycle of needing money, earning money and spending money.

    2. People who drive Lamborghinis and jetset around the world did not get there because they “Got Rich Slowly” by investing in mutual funds, clipping coupons, and maxing out their 401(k)s. Those techniques are not an effective road to wealth.

    3. The “Get Rich Slowly” approach is faulty because it takes a lifetime of work, it’s dependent on getting lucky with your investments, and even if you do get rich, you’ll be too old to enjoy it.

    4. “Think about it. Have you ever met a college student who got rich investing in mutual funds or his employer’s 401(k)? How about the guy who bought municipal bonds in 2006 and retired in 2009? I wonder if that guy driving a $1.2-million car can because of his well-balanced portfolio of mutual funds? These people don’t exist because the youthful rich are not leveraging 8% returns but 800%.” (Source)

    5. People think that working hard for money and then buying things that make them look rich will make them rich. In most cases it doesn’t. It only makes them more tired.

    6. Rich people believe that financial freedom is more important than displaying high social status. You can display high social status all you want, but if you’re still dependent on active income then you’re one very vulnerable fella.

    7. If you think you can afford it, you can’t. When you buy something cheap, like a candy bar or a pair of $10 sandals, you never ask “can I afford this?” or “how can I make this purchase work?”. If you are trying to justify a large purchase to yourself, then you can’t really afford it.

    8. Your debts are parasitic because they force you to work harder and longer. Your mortgage, car payment, credit card bill, etc. all force you to work more than you had to if you bought less stuff. Having to work limits your choices. When you’re making a big purchase, consider its time cost. Is that $50k BMW worth 1 year of your life?

    9. The key to controlling parasitic debt is to control instant gratification. It’s much easier not to eat chocolate cookies if you don’t bring them home from the grocery store, and it’s easier to avoid debt if you don’t buy useless things. When you’re thinking about buying something, think about whether you really need it, whether you’ll still be using it 6 months from now, and so on.

    10. In general, jobs suck because you have limited leverage (being more productive will not get you a raise) and limited control (what if you’re fired? What if your company is doing poorly and forces you to take a pay cut? etc.) General problems with jobs: you’re selling your time (and your life) for money, the experience you accumulate is limited (you’d learn much more running your own business for a month than working for someone else for a year), you’re subject to the whims of your boss/employer, you have to deal with office politics, and you have almost no control over your income.

    11. Take advice from people who have lived what they wrote. If they are primarily writers and public speakers, and that is their business model, toss the book and move on. The best advice comes from people who have lived it. Don’t waste your money on expensive ($3k+) seminars and workshops. Those make the speakers rich but are rarely worth the money for attendees.

    12. Amateurs have a million plans and they all start tomorrow. Professionals work hard on a single plan detail by detail. Thinking big is overrated. Ninety-nine percent of success is to get the work done.

    13. Find a need, create a business to meet it and affect millions (or fewer but for lots of money per sale), exceed expectations, plan the business to lead to a major liquidation event down the road, sell, let that money earn for you for the rest of your life and live off the income. The more your money works, the less you will have to work.

    14. The vast majority of millionaires became rich by being in their own business.

    15. People don’t pay to satisfy your need to do what you love, they pay for you to solve their problems.

    16. When you’re not a pushy asshole, people trust you. When they trust you, they do business with you.

    17. Most businesses work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated; therefore simplicity should be a key goal in design and unnecessary complexity should be avoided.

    18. Use the wisdom, knowledge, and skills of other people to further your own cause. Not only will such assistance save you valuable time and energy, it will give you an aura of efficiency and speed. That’s how billionaires are made.

    19. People are frugal in guarding their personal property; but as soon as it comes to squandering time they are most wasteful of the one thing in which it is right to be stingy.

    20. Unsuccessful people procrastinate by giving up on their long-term goals for immediate gratification. Procrastination is like an addiction. It offers temporary excitement and relief from boring reality.

    21. Being wealthy is not about money, fancy cars, expensive vacations, or vacation homes in Fiji. Being wealthy means being healthy, being surrounded by great friends and family, and the freedom to live life how you want to live it.

    22. The more scared we are of a work to improve our business, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.

    23. Process, Not Product. If you find yourself avoiding certain tasks because they make you uncomfortable, there is a great way to reframe things: Learn to focus on process, not product.

    24. Clarity about what matters the most in your business provides clarity about what does not.

    25. Use the 80/20 rule. Give 80 percent of your effort to the top 20 percent (most important) activities. Another way is to focus on exceptional opportunities that promise a huge return. It comes down to this: give your attention to the areas that bear fruit.

    26. Assume and expect every project will take 10x the resources and put effort into it accordingly. Literally, the amount of resources you think a project will consume, multiply that by ten and that is what is required. (Source)

    27. Opportunities are everywhere, people just don’t see them. Whenever you hear people complaining or you observe inefficiencies, those are great opportunities to start a business!

    28. If you have a great idea but someone is already doing it, don’t worry and do it anyway! There will always be competition, and you should aim to be better than them, not to run away from them.

    29. Forget chasing big ideas and instead try to take something and make it better. Starbucks, McDonald’s, Walmart, etc. are all iterations of ideas and businesses that had existing for many years.

    30. The price of freedom is money. Whether you want to buy a nice car, start a non-profit foundation, or work on your personal dream project, not having to worry about money is what lets you focus on those things. Figure out what you want so that you can work backward and figure out what you need to get there.


    Step by step instructions to creating a business plan

    Looking to start a business this year?

    Many people think that starting a business in the midst of a recession is a crazy thing to do.  

    But the truth of the matter is, that if you have what your potential target market is wanting, then it’s not such a crazy thing to do.

    If what you offer fills truly a need or provides goods or services at lower price or higher quality than the existing players in the market,  then your business will stand a much better chance of surviving in a recession or downturn than the longer established businesses.

    Businesses like Fedex, Microsoft, CNN,  Burger King, HP and GE were all started in recessionary times.

    If you still need convincing  as to why now is the right time to start a business,  think about this:

  • Customers are looking to get better deals from their suppliers
  • Costs of setting up are lower in a recession
  • Workers, through no fault of their own, maybe forced into unemployment and available for work
  • Government incentives and support are greater in recessions as they try to get the economy moving
  • If you’re unemployed, doing something has got to be better than doing nothing.
  • If you want help in creating a business plan you can download a free template to get you started:


    By Brooke Preston, Manta Contributor - June 29, 2017

    Facebook Insights is a free tool that gives you lots of useful information about your audience. Here are the metrics you should pay attention to.

    Facebook is a great way for small businesses to build a social following, generate new leads, and turn followers into paying customers. Why? Because that’s where your potential customers spend their time online. According to Pew Research Center, 68% of all U.S. adults use Facebook.

    But do you know anything about the type of customer you’re attracting to your page or how much engagement you’re really earning? Facebook Insights can help you find out—and it’s easy to understand, even for those of us who aren’t data analysts.

    Facebook Insights is a free, built-in tool which shows you all kinds of statistics about your Facebook business page. It’s only visible to you (the page administrator), and it can help you judge how well your page is performing.

    The amount of info can be overwhelming if you’re not sure where to start. Here are a few simple metrics from Facebook Insights that business owners should pay attention to, according to Dennis Yu of BlitzMetrics:

  • Your top posts. This shows which posts have earned the most impressions, clicks and likes. It can help you see what kind of content resonates best, and can also help determine optimal posting times/days for your audience.
  • Who your best fans are. You can see demographic information for your most-engaged followers — like geographical location, age, interests, and more — which can further help refine your content strategy to reach the most likely customers.
  • How you fare against competitors. In order to get insight on your competitors’ performance, you should find five other competitor pages to benchmark against in “Pages to Watch.” Then you can look at how fast they’re growing in fans and engagement so you’ll know if you need to boost your social media
  • To learn more about building an audience on Facebook and turning followers into customers, check out Manta’s complete guide, “Facebook for Small Business: 23 Expert Tips to Reach More Customers on Social Media .”

    Worried about what to post on social media? Don’t stress! Let Manta help manage your social strategy. Get started with a FREE Social Media Report for your business.

    Here are some amazing words of wisdom from some of the top entrepreneurs in the world.

    Here are five books that can change your life!
    Simplifying your daily routine
    Start a business and make money doing something you love!
    Meet America's Greatest (and Most Inspiring) Entrepreneurs This Year
    Use these seven email templates with a virtual assistant so you'll have more time to work on the projects that really matter.
    Trying to sell something via email? Here's a great article for that!
    Every salesperson needs to read this.
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