Women Lead the Way in Making Decisions — Especially for the Home

DecisionRoofsCCarrie Bradshaw knows shoes. And according to experts, had she moved to the suburbs from New York City, she might actually know shingles as well. Ironically, (and as unlikely as it may seem), these two things — shoes and shingles — actually go together.

To explain, there is a shift going on when it comes to marketing to women. In fact, females make more than 80 percent of purchasing decisions, but it’s only recently that companies have begun embracing women consumers in ways that show they actually understand the societal changes taking place.

Avoid Fraud, Scams by Contractors in Wake of Disasters

The aftermath of storms and tornadoes as deadly as those that shredded Joplin, Mo., and more recently Moore, Okla., leave residents devastated and in shock. With their homes in ruin or lost completely, many are in no shape to make decisions.

Yet, they must.

Enter, contractors who are more than happy to line their own pockets at the expense of homeowners who are trying desperately to rebuild.

While contractor fraud abounds after almost every natural disaster, it was at a fever pitch after Hurricane Katrina pounded New Orleans in 2005. Since then, the feds created the Disaster Fraud Task Force. However, that didn’t stop one of 61 “contractors” that was recently netted in a New York sting operation for allegedly taking $80,000 from a Hurricane Sandy victim.

Military Families Get Relief in Roof for Troops

It’s a good thing no one joins the armed forces to get rich, because it turns out a higher percentage of military families are in debt than civilians.

And that has one New Jersey company ticked off enough to do something about it.

According to a report by the Financial Industry Regulation Authority’s Investor Education Foundation, 27 percent of military families surveyed admitted having more than $10,000 in credit card debt, compared to 16 percent of civilian adults. And while the foundation noted that “navigating the complexities of today’s economy can be challenging” for anyone, it singled out one issue — frequent moves and deployments — that “further complicate” military families’ finances.

Protect Your Home Against Winter’s Rush

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – You’ve probably never thought of it this way, but your roof is to your home what a 300-pound football guard is to his team’s quarterback: the first line of defense against elements — in this case, the harsh winter weather — that would pummel it mercilessly if otherwise left unchecked.
Just like football players look for holes in their competitor’s defense, homeowners should first be on alert for missing shingles or deteriorated flashing (those metal seals around bends and joints on skylights and chimneys). More than 90 percent of roof damage occurs in these two areas, and spotting it early helps prevent bigger and more expensive headaches down the road.
“It really does make sense, financially, to perform inspections at least twice a year,” says Bob Tafaro, president and CEO of GAF, North America’s largest roofing manufacturer. “The best times are in spring, after severe weather hits, and then again in fall before the temperature and wind become too brutal.”
Continuing the football metaphor, here are some more tips from the experts:
Know Your Opponent
Especially given the crazy weather we’ve been having, you’ll want to examine the roof edge for wind damage, weaknesses or rusted nails, and handle repairs before the winter weather hits.
Next, be on the look-out for any spots indicating mold, algae and mildew growth — especially if there’s debris on your roof. (Hint: telltale signs include dark spots and discolored shingles.)
Call the Right Play
By “debris,” we particularly mean piles of wet leaves, sticks and small branches. None of these are your roof’s friend.
In fact, not only can they cause water to back up and flow under a roof causing rain or ice dams, but they’re also a shelter for pests eager to eat through your home’s top. So, routinely clean all gutters and drains, make sure the gutters are securely fastened, and check that downspouts point away from your house.
What to do should you discover damage? If you’re at all interested in prolonging your roof’s life, it really does pay to consult a professional roof contractor who is insured and uses quality materials. A free service that makes finding one in your area easy can be found at www.gaf.com.

Make the Right Moves With Your Start-Up Business

Maybe it’s something you’ve been dying to do for years. Or maybe – like so many others these days – the idea of starting your own business only suddenly became attractive after you’d either lost your job or felt about as secure as a politician caught sexting in the one you now have.

Whatever the reason, know that while your passion for your product or service may be your best secret weapon – “The Wall Street Journal Complete Small Business Guidebook” says it’s “often the difference that hooks customers, lands deals and attracts investors” – that alone won’t guarantee success.

Block Winter’s Rush From Sacking Your Roof

Blue 42! Blue 42! Hike!

Get ready. Like a 280-pound defensive end seeking the head of an opposing quarterback, winter will be rushing your home’s roof. And if you don’t make the right moves, your home will get sacked!

You’ve probably never thought of it this way, but your roof is to your home what a 300-pound football guard is to his team’s quarterback: the first line of defense against elements – in this case, the harsh winter weather – that would pummel it mercilessly if otherwise left unchecked.

How to Avoid the Pitfalls of Starting Your Own Business

(NewsUSA) – Maybe it’s something you’ve been dying to do for years. Or maybe — like so many others these days — the idea of starting your own business only suddenly became attractive after you’d either lost your job or felt about as secure as a politician caught sexting in the one you now have.Whatever the reason, know that while your passion for your product or service may be your best secret weapon — "The Wall Street Journal Complete Small Business Guidebook" says it’s "often the difference that hooks customers, lands deals and attracts investors" — that alone won’t guarantee success.Herewith, then, some tips for avoiding the pitfalls ahead:* Use technology to stay lean. Clearly, one reason the average size of all start-ups has dropped to 4.9 employees today from 7.5 in the 1990s is that the web exists to help minimize your expenses. The National Small Business Administration reports, for example, that "most small companies" now buy supplies, pay bills and manage payrolls through web-based services. Even if it’s only your sister-in-law doing your books, you might want to rethink it.* Protect your ideas. If you think you’ve devised the proverbial "better mousetrap" and are looking for a financial backer to market it, take heed: Before sharing anything patentable with anyone, at the very least get a signed nondisclosure agreement promising they won’t steal it. "In the end," the Wall Street Journal warns, "the best way to protect yourself is by being extra cautious about whom you share your idea with."* Learn from what works. "Continuing to innovate has been key to our success," says Bob Tafaro, CEO of the New Jersey-based GAF (www.gaf.com). The company was already North America’s largest roofing manufacturer when it decided a few years ago to also embrace the whole green movement — a decision that (pay attention here, would-be entrepreneurs) not so incidentally resulted in glowing free press coverage of its "cool roofs" initiative even as it readied to celebrate its 125th anniversary.* Do your homework. For those looking for a shortcut to becoming their own bosses, buying into an existing franchise has become increasingly popular. But there are literally thousands of franchise systems operating in dozens of industries, and deciding whether any are right for you should include researching questions like: Is there a demand for the service in your neighborhood? Could it be just a fad?One last statistic for you: According to the Small Business Administration, small employers — led by start-ups — have generated 65 percent of net new jobs over the past 17 years. Among other things, that at least means you’re not alone.

Cool Roofs Take on Heated Cities

The summer heat has peaked, and blistering temperatures are especially noticeable on scorching city streets. Known as the “urban heat island effect,” this phenomenon labels the way urban environments trap more heat than nearby suburban and rural areas. As a result, increased energy demands and air pollution are often anticipated, yet unavoidable.

“All the concrete and the blacktop warms up faster,” says Lauren Nash, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “So it keeps the city hotter and it stays hotter longer.”