Category: Business - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle
Have you ever wondered if credit repair was something you needed? And if so, should you learn to do it yourself or hire a professional?
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. Following are insights on both options that may clear up some things about credit repair.
According to the Federal Trade commission (FTC) “everything a credit repair professional does legally to remove negative items from your credit report you can do yourself” and while that is agreed upon with the FTC, most consumers do not have the time, patience or know how to repair their own report, which is what makes credit repair specialist so attractive. You know you could change your own oil in your car, but one thing for sure is that most people will not do it.
Although some things are done better yourself, only you can determine if doing your own credit repair will work for you, which is why understanding the advantages of both sides is important.
1) REFERENCES: Any legitimate company or professional should be able to provide you with a least six references, and if local you should be able to call them. Ask friends or family members if they know a credit professional or company that has had positive results. Also, if your credit repair specialist is not attorney assisted or supervised, it may take longer to improve your credit rating since all correspondence will be looked at by clerks, not by decision makes.
2) CONTRACT: Unlike painting a house or doing some handy work, credit repair or restoration will vary in results of a very broad scale. Therefore, the use of a contract is important. Most likely your credit issues did not occur overnight and they will not be improved overnight. A good contract protects you as well as the credit professional or company by outlining what is to be expected from the service you are paying for.
3) PAYMENT: Those companies or individuals that have a monthly fee are falling well within the guidelines of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) that regulates credit repair professions and companies in mandating that payment be made after work is complete with the exception of an initial nominal set up fee.
4) CUSTOMIZATION: The most advanced and successful credit restoration practice is to customize all dispute letters and not use “boiler plate” correspondence. While this is the most effective approach, it normally comes with a higher cost.
If you cannot find someone to meet all the above criteria, then it is suggested that you take matters into your own hands and learn all you can to repair your own credit like a professional.
If you want to learn more or receive a free credit repair book, go to: www.goodcreditnow.com.
Last Updated on Thursday, 28 March 2013 00:00
Category: Business - Original Written by Britney Spear, Regional Content Editor
One of Detroit’s longest standing riverfront residences is getting a major upgrade.
Colorado-based Triton Properties just recently announced plans to renovate Alden Park Towers. Soon to be changed to simply “Alden Towers”, the property will get much more than a new name.
Since purchasing the buildings in August 2012, Triton has invested heavily in its restoration. The first phase of the project begins with the East Jefferson Avenue-facing Tower A. Developers plan to revamp each and every one of the residential units. The renovation will also include a major makeover of the on-site fitness and laundry centers, underground parking garage, expansive lobby and outdoor living spaces.
“Everything is being touched for cosmetic improvement... all of the amenities... every unit is being renovated. We're rebuilding original hardwood floors and installing new carpet. Nothing is not being renovated”, said Luke Davis, Director of Real Estate at Triton Properties.
Dir. Davis stressed the importance of maintaining the historic essence of the structures. Aiding in that process was notable Detroit architecture firm, Kraemer Design Group. Renovations will rely heavily on elements from its original era. Built in 1923, the building will keep such key features as a red brick façade and grey stone trim.
While the towers will mostly maintain original characteristics, newly renovated units will come equipped with state-of-the-art appliances, new flooring and fixtures, and improvements to the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom areas.
One of the finest aspects of the renovation will include the lobby. Triton summoned the consultation of Sharon Carlile of Royal Oak-based Italmoda to help with its redesign. Set to resemble that of an upscale boutique hotel, the lobby’s focal point will be a large fireplace. It will give residents and prospects a place to comfortably congregate. The lobby will most likely be the most modern part of the renovation, and include large sofas, work tables, benches and comfortable design-forward chairs. Wi-fi access will also be available throughout the residence.
Of the anticipated renovations, the company looks forward most to what is to come. April Sedillos, Executive Vice President, expressed excitement over starting on Tower B, which will also include the clubhouse, library and reading room.
With its new fancy fixings, you might be surprised to find the property still in your price range. Alden Towers looks to make luxury living affordable for Detroiters. Units will run as low as $649. It’s a excellent advantage that might keep more residents within the city limits.
The renovation project also brings added benefits to the local community. Triton plans to collaborate with businesses in the nearby area to provide several on-site concierge services. They include dry cleaning, shoe repair, car washing, house cleaning and grocery delivery services. VP Sedillos expressed that she envisions the project will positively impact the overall feeling of downtown Detroit.
“We’re trying to focus on bringing quality back the community, and making it feel like home... like a place where people want to live.”
Interested in the new and improved Alden Towers? The leasing office offers scheduled walk-throughs Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. For more information or to set up a tour, call 313-824-1310 or visit www.aldentowers.com.
Last Updated on Thursday, 28 March 2013 00:15
Category: Business - Original Written by Roz Edward, National Content Director
Just as with Black history month, the concept of solidarity among members of a race, class or gender is based on shared conditions, experiences and concerns. Following the Michigan Chronicle’s recent recognition of Women of Excellence and now at the conclusion of Women’s history month, an examination of the sisterhood of women is more than appropriate.
No doubt one of the more lauded characteristics of womanhood is the caring nature of the fairer sex, which at times may appear to be a contradiction or a shortcoming in what was traditionally considered a man’s world, particularly in the business arena. But in actuality women's special abilities as sisters, daughters, wives and girlfriends, lend themselves to developing their capacities as businesswomen. In short, women share a unique quality for cultivating relationships that could easily morph in profit making venutures.
“I think that women come into business intuitively,” says Kimberly Seals Allers, an award-winning business journalist and author of The Mocha Manual for Turning Your Passion to Profit. The former writer for Forbes and Essence magazines - like most women of color who want to enjoy maximum living - admits that getting started in business was frightening and sometimes exhausting, but ultimately worth it.
“Many times I had to invest money that I couldn’t necessarily spare, or give up sleep and my free time on weekends to get my venture off the ground. This is the life of the side hustler. We work our 9-to-5, and then we go to work again four ourselves.”
Fortunately for aspiring and established entrepreneurs, there’s a little thing called social media and once you’ve identified your “passion,” public relations specialist Sholani Burke says women should consider a couple of simple steps to make that hustle pay off:
Create Networking Opportunities
Don’t underestimate your own community. If you’re seeking mentorship, invite a local businesswoman to lunch. There may even be a group that already meets – if not, start one!
Social events like Tweetups and Meetups are a great way to engage women entrepreneurs and other professionals in your area.
There are over 500 pages and groups for women business owners on Facebook. Join and engage with them online. It’ll be a good resource for making contacts and learning about events.
Don’t Exclude Men
Don’t exclude men from the conversation—their stories and experiences can provide valuable insight. Providing your own perspective can enlighten others as well as facilitate informative exchanges and business strategies.
The bottom line is just knowing that there are others who you can turn to with questions or support can take some of the pressure off of being a business owner. As for many things in life, you will rarely find yourself alone.
So reach out and network, engage and cultivate relationships with others. You’ll find your sisterhood does make a difference.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 March 2013 08:10
Category: Business - Original Written by Britney Spear, Regional Content Editor
For over 150 years, women have celebrated their most prestigious accomplishments during the month of March. A group once limited by the dictates of discrimination now endeavors to set a new standard of excellence that far surpasses expectations.
Women are changing the face of several industries, and the automotive world is no different. By thinking outside the box, they are creating their own lane in a field previously reserved for men.
In honor of Women's History Month, General Motors hosted more than 100 Detroit high school students to promote education in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The "Women in Electrification" panel consisted of four of GM's top female employees who transformed their interests into careers. The event held at the company's world headquarters was moderated by Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley.
Each panelist spoke about her personal journey, and how an initial interest in science and math served as preparation for her career. The women have used their extensive backgrounds, knowledge and experience to set a new standard at GM by promoting technological advancement and innovation.
Panelists answered several questions, providing advice on how to navigate the engineering world. Serving as trailblazers, they encouraged students to be unafraid to follow in their footsteps. They also described what they consider the amazing benefits of working in the field.
"It's the smartest decision you can make for your future... the possibilities are endless... you can work in all areas and even travel across the world", said Britta Gross, Director of Advanced Vehicle Commercialization Policy.
Going against the grain pays off, and each panelist described the many perks of deciding on such a career. One thing all panelists could agree on as one of the major benefits of working in engineering rested on it's variety, and a wide range of options.
"There are a lot of different careers, and a lot of different things... engineering opens the doors to many things. Almost everything today is built on technology, so having that type of background would serve you very well", said MaryAnn Jeffers, Assistant Chief Engineer for Electrification.
Alisyn Malek, a release engineer for charging components, also expressed the advantages of developing her area of expertise. She called attention to being able to profession "hop".
"You can work on everything from how a car rides, to phone apps, to sales, and all that's in between... and I think those opportunities are what makes this industry attractive. The ability to look over the course of a 30- plus year career and say, I can do a little bit of everything... that's really cool."
Positions might vary, yet one thing engineers can always count on is financial stability. Malek talked about the importance of financial freedom. Her current salary provides her with enough money to pay off student loans, keep up with current bills and operate an art gallery in the Metro-Detroit area.
Tips on navigating the world of engineering might have been the primary focus, yet panelists shared advice that applies to life in general. The common theme among their words of wisdom encouraged students to remain passionately invested in whichever field they choose.
"When you're looking at what you want to do when you grow up... what business you want to be in, you have think about what you're passionate about. You have to be interested and have a natural curiosity toward it because your career is going to be very long, and you need to have that energy behind it", said Marketing Director Cristi Landy.
Having the right energy is key, and panelists stressed that STEM students must remain committed to making a difference. Another important lesson panelists shared with attendees is to embrace mistakes as a natural part of the process.
"Don't stress too much about making the wrong decisions. If you're interested in doing engineering, just pick one and go for it", said MaryAnn Jeffers.
Unique challenges do exist for women in engineering. Panelists recalled incidents of discrimination earlier in their career, but acknowledged that changes in society have reshaped how people think about workplace diversity. Those who have encountered prejudice stated they overcame obstacles by allowing their work to speak for itself. Cristi Landy stressed that sticking to the facts, and presenting one's case is the best strategy to fight against prejudice.
"If you know your stuff, that's going to take you a long way."
Success requires hard work, and putting forth the required effort. Panelists have witnessed that younger generations are more open to diversity than earlier ones. So much so that women in engineering can profit from pushing the envelope.
"There are so many pluses to entering a male-nominated industry. Number one, we're special. We stand out... so if you do the work, and stick to the facts...you will really stand out and have so many opportunities", said Britta Gross.
The GM women stressed that pursuing goals that others might shun away from creates an expertise that pays off in the long run. For students interested in STEM-related topics yet unsure of their specific focus, panelists encouraged them to think outside the box.
One of the largest and fastest-growing automotive markets, GM boasts a front row ranking when it comes to workplace diversity. It currently employs over 5,700 women, and continues to provide tremendous incentives to those interested in engineering. The Buick Achievers scholarship program annually gives millions of dollars to STEM students across the country.
Challenging the norm is never easy, and sometimes an extra push is needed to step into a new standard of greatness. Events like "Women in Electrification" willfully accept that responsibility. It's a responsibility more organizations must take on in order to steer our future generations toward innovation and excellence.
For more information on General Motors, visit www.gm.com.
Last Updated on Thursday, 28 March 2013 00:00
Category: Business - Original Written by Cornelius Fortune
Your smartphone just got smarter.
As we depend more on technology for the simplest tasks from recipes to finding directions, our smartphones are an integral part of our lives, and shouldn’t we be able to see what’s going on at home even if we’re hundreds of miles away?
That’s the concept of Belkin NetCam with Night Vision, which is now available from Verizon Wireless.
The Belkin NetCam Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision makes it easy to check in on your kids after school, or keep an eye on your room while you’re away, and the camera connects to your Wi-Fi router without the need of a computer.
Think of it as a stand-in for your home monitoring system. Although the box doesn’t come with multiple cameras, you can at least set it up in a “hot spot” of your choosing.
Simply download the free NetCam app on your iOS or Android device to keep an eye on your home anytime, anywhere. The camera’s wide-angle video captures large spaces while its clear digital audio keeps you from missing conversations or noises. With night vision for recording in low light, NetCam is also ideal for baby monitoring.
With access to your home from wherever you are, this camera is not only a cool gadget to add to your arsenal of gadgets, it has plenty of practical applications worth diving into.
It also lets you save video directly to your mobile device, so you can share your favorite memories. NetCam requires a Wi-Fi router with an Internet connection and an Apple device with iOS 4.2+ or an Android device with version 2.2+.
While the Belkin NetCam certainly wouldn’t replace your home security system, it does function as a plausible add-on worth considering if you’re looking for something unique, or even a conversation piece over dinner, the NetCam is obviously ground zero for a bigger technology round the corner.
Last Updated on Monday, 25 March 2013 11:14
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