Essential Information for a Pinball Machine Investor

If you are a pinball enthusiast, you may want to take your passion for the game to a while new level. You may have friends who’ve become involved in putting money into different types of collectable items as an investment alternative. For example, you may have colleagues you invest in such collectables as: 

  • wine
  • coins
  • stamps
  • automobiles
  • pins

With your enthusiasm for and interest in pinball, you may wonder you can make a go out of investing in vintage pinball machines. As part of contemplating pinball machines as a potential investment opportunity, you need to consider some essential information about the game and its history. 

The Big Three 

As part of your overall due diligence in advance of putting money into vintage pinball machines, you need to understand some basic facts about pinball machine manufacturers. Throughout the 20th century, when pinball was at its pinnacle in the United States and elsewhere around the world, there were three major manufacturers of pinball machines: 

  • Bally
  • Gottlieb
  • Williams

These three companies each came up with some unique derivations of pinball machines which remain collector’s items, and even potentially profitable investments. Gottlieb was established in 1927 in Chicago. The company produced one of the first tabletop pinball machines. The machine went on the market in 1931 and was called Baffle Ball. It sold for $17.50. 

Williams came up with a unique game in 1952 called Horsefeathers. This game allowed to players to play next to each other on the same machine. 

In 1966, Bally developed a game called Caperville. This pinball machine featured highly stylized spies found in an underwater world. 

Pinball Machines Through the Years 

By the 1970s, there was a major shift in pinball machines. The electromechanical pinball machines popularized in the 1950s and 1960s were replaced by solid-state ones. These newer pinball machines were able to compute scores instantaneously. Pinball machines in the 1970s featured an amazing array of sound effects. 

The rise of video games in arcades during the 1980s nearly wiped out pinball machines all together. In many ways, pinball was saved by creative licensing deals from movie producers. These licensing deals resulted in the development of movie themed pinball machines. Indeed, the post popular pinball machine of all time came out in 1991. The pinball machine was based on the Addams Family and was the brainchild of Bally. Over 20,000 units of the Addams Family pinball machine have been sold. 

These three major pinball players from days gone by are out of business. Thus, their machines oftentimes have increasing value because these companies will not be manufacturing any more. 

The leading manufacturer of pinball machines in the 21st century in the United States is Stern Pinball. Indeed, this really is the only major manufacturer of pinball machines in operation at this point in time. 

Although Stern stands alone, this may not be the situation in the not too distant future. In the past few years, there appears to be something of a revival when it comes to pinball and pinball machines. 

This revival is two-faceted. First, there is an increasing number of people who are taking up playing the game, which accounts for the fact that a company like Stern is enjoying steady business. 

Second, the vintage pinball machine collectors market is advancing as well. This is the market that you will need to be in tune with if you decide to include vintage pinball machines in your overall investment scheme. 

Pinball Machine Collectors and Investors Resources 

Thanks to the internet, there is a decent number of helpful and reliable resources for people who have an interest in collecting or investing in pinball machines. These include everything from websites at which pinball machines are bought and sold to informational resources that provide vital data about a wide array of different types of vintage and valuable pinball machines. 

There are also an increasing number of pinball collectors and investors groups forming. These are coming together in cyberspace but also in the brick and mortar world. For example, a notable number of larger communities are seeing the creation of Meetups dedicated to pinball enthusiasts, collectors, and even investors. This trend is expected to carry forth into the foreseeable future. 

A final note about using vintage pinball machines as an investment vehicle. You may be able to make money collecting and investing in pinball machines. However, you need to bear in mind that this type of investment is risky and should not be the only egg in your financial basket.

Jessica Kane is a writer for The Pinball Company, the best online source for new, used, and refurbished pinball machines, arcade cabinets, and more!

Should You Take Your Pooch on a Business Trip?

What can be fairly called a quiet trend among business travelers is an increasing number of people who bring their dogs along with them on business trips. If you are wondering about the advisability to taking a business trip with your dog, there exist a number of facts and factors to ponder.

Hotel Accommodations

An increasing number of hotels are becoming more pet friendly all of the time. This includes not only permitting pets to stay in hotel rooms, but offering other services for pets as well. It is these other services that can prove to be particularly important for you if you want to travel with your dog.

An increasing number of hotels provide access to “doggy daycare.” This sometimes is on site. In other situations, doggy daycare is in close proximity to a hotel. 

You really will want to be on the lookout for accessible doggy day care when you travel with your dog on a business trip. This will be a godsend to you and will help ensure that your pooch is properly tended to while you’re dealing with business. 

Other Dog Friendly Accommodations

With increasing regularity, a growing number of businesses in the United States and elsewhere around the world are becoming strongly pet-friendly. For example, an increasing number bistros permit dogs to join their humans in outdoor dining areas. Some stores permit dogs to join their humans inside as well. In other words, a dog owner has a great deal more flexibility in regard to what can and cannot be done with a dog, including while traveling for business.

Dogs that Tagalong

Although this is the exception and not the rule, in some situations, pooches can tagalong with their humans to certain meetings or functions associated with a business trip. More than a few entrepreneurs or business owners with different locations bring their dogs along on business trips. Moreover, they bring their pooches along with them to specific business related events.

Again, this is a narrow situation in which a dog can accompany a human to actual work-related functions. An employee of a company should never presume that this is acceptable. On the other hand, a business traveler should never absolutely rule out the possibility that this type of tagalong situation might be workable in limited circumstances. 

Lowers Stress

Time and again, people who bring their dogs on business trips make the same comment. They proclaim that having their pooches along keeps their own stress in check. 

Business travel can be stressful. For many business travelers, the level of stress is persistent until the jaunt ands and the person gets back home. 

Having a pet along provides a business traveler a much needed companion who can assist in relieving stress. That can come in the form of something as simple as taking walks with your furry friend while on a business trip.

Oftentimes Cheaper Than Boarding

When contemplating whether or not to take your dog on a business trip, boarding may be a consideration. When you travel for business, you may need to board your dog or hire a dog sitter. Even if you have a friend pop in on a daily basis to feed, water, and check on your pooch, there may be an expense associated with that assistance, particularly if you will be gone for more than a short period of time.

Research comparing and contrasting the cost of taking your dog on a business trip with you or boarding your canine companion indicates that it’s cheaper to travel with your pooch. You may pay upwards to $125 one way to bring your dog on a flight with you. However, boarding costs can run between $30 and $60 a night. This, unless your business trip is very short, you’ll end up saving money by bringing your dog along.

Plan Well in Advance for Pooch Travel

If you plan to travel with your dog on a business trip, you must be highly proactive. You need to undertake all associated due diligence and make suitable arrangements for your dog in regard to all elements of a business trip. This includes everything from confirming that a particular airline can accommodate your pooch and that there is room in the proverbial inn for your furry friend. 

Nothing can be left to chance of speculation. You simply cannot have a business trip tossed into turmoil because you failed to properly plan all aspects of the trip with your canine in mind. Transposing the cliché about your dog eating your homework doesn’t work in a business travel setting.

Jessica Kane is a writer for Handicapped Pets, your most trusted source for dog wheelchairs and harnesses.

The Rise of the Solar Powered Transport

In the five years there has been a marked increase in the incorporation of solar power into difference types of transport and vehicles. This is a trend that is expected to continue in the future as a growing number of people become more environmentally conscious and solar technology becomes less expensive.

Definition of Solar Vehicles

Solar vehicles are defined as being on that is powered completely or significantly utilizing solar energy. These vehicles typically utilize what are known as photovoltaic or PV cells. PV cells are contained in solar panels and convert the sun’s energy directly into electric power. 

The term “solar vehicle” typically means that solar energy is utilized to power a vehicle’s propulsion. In addition, solar power can be used to power communications, controls, and auxiliary functions.

At this juncture, solar vehicles are primarily demonstration vehicles. With that noted, what are called “indirectly solar-charged vehicles” are widespread. In addition, solar boats commercially are available.

Solar Cars

Solar cars rely upon PC cells to convert sunlight into electricity. The electricity in turn drives electric motors. Currently, design of a solar car is significantly restricted because of the amount of energy input from the sun into electricity to operate the motor. 

As of this point in time, even the best solar cells have limitations when it comes to collecting power utilizing the surface of a car. Therefore, solar cars currently in operation have ultralight composite bodies to reduce weight. Moreover, because of these design limitations, solar cars lack the safety as well as convenience features associated with conventional vehicles. 

The first solar family car was built in 2013. The vehicle was constructed by students in the Netherlands. This particular solar car is capable of traveling 550 miles on one charge when operated in the sunlight. The car weighs 850 pounds and comes complete with a 1.5kw solar array. The Dutch government and others in the Netherlands are working to commercialize the vehicle. 

Solar Powered Public Transport

There has been significant work done in regard to advancing solar powered public transport. Solar buses are prime examples of what is being done in this regard. 

Solar buses are propulsed using solar energy. All or part of the solar energy is collected via stationary solar panel installations on the bus. An example of a solar bus is the Tindo, which is 100% solar powered. It is used as free public transport in Adelaide City in Australia and is an initiative of the community’s city government.

Buses that a partially powered by solar energy also have solar panels installed on the roof. These panels are intended to reduce energy consumption and prolong the usability of a charged battery. These types of buses are in growing use in China. 

These types of solar buses are distinguished from conventional buses in which certain functions, but not propulsion, are powered by solar energy. These types of buses in which systems, but not propulsion, are powered by solar energy are in existence and operation in a number of U.S. states. 

Solar Powered Boats

As mentioned previously, solar powered boats are available around the world at this time. Currently, these are smaller water craft intended for recreational use. With that said, the application of solar energy to boats is likely to expand more broadly during the coming decade.

Solar Energy and Light Rail Trains

Many public transportation systems in the United States and elsewhere rely on what are called light rail trains. These essentially are subway-like trains that operate above ground. Light rail trains have been widely utilized in different cities in the United States for the past three decades. 

These trains are beginning to incorporate solar energy into their systems in some locations. By this it is meant that solar panels are being incorporated into the overall power grid that supplies these trains. In other words, currently solar power is adding to the electricity that powers these trains, but is not the primary source of energy for operation. In addition, some public transport light rail trains do obtain at least some of their electricity from distant solar energy farms which feed into the overall electrical grid. 

Research is expected to continue apace into ways in which solar energy can be more broadly incorporated into different transportation alternatives. The net effect of this movement ultimately will be cheaper and cleaner vehicles of different types. Finally, expect more aggressive efforts in the incorporation of solar energy into public transportation systems in many countries around the world, including in the United States.

Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Federal Steel Supply, Inc., a leading steel tubing suppliers of carbon, alloy and stainless steel pipe, tubes, fittings and flanges.

5 Key Reasons Having a Clean Business Location is Vital

A variety of elements underpin creating and maintaining a successful business. For example, a successful business has solid customer services, an effective sales strategy, and steady financial management. If a business operates in the brick and mortar world, the location of that enterprise is well maintained and clean. 

By way of this article, you are provided with an overview of the keen importance of maintaining a clean business. Indeed, there are five primary reasons why maintaining a clean business location must be a top priority for you as a business owner. Paying attention to these primary reasons works to ensure that you enjoy consistent success with your business. 

Attract Loyal Customers 

First impressions matter in life. This includes when it comes to a patron entering your business for the first time. The moment a customer or client enters your business, the appearance of the venue will have an immediate as well as a lasting impact on that patron. 

If your business is not in a clean state, the possibility exists that a customer or client will turn around and exit directly after walking in the door. An unclean store will immediately leave a potential customer to conclude that that the quality of items sold at your business are questionable. 

A clean business space leaves customers comfortable to make purchases from your enterprise. In addition, a clean store will leave a first time patron far more likely too come back and do business with you again in the future. In addition, it is also likely that a patron who enjoys being in your store — in part because it is clean — will refer friends and family members to your business. Referrals of this nature can prove to be very helpful when it comes to growing your business. 

Maintain Health Code Compliance 

Depending on the type of business you operate, maintaining a tidy, clean establishments ensures health code compliance. The reality is that health code violations are detrimental to a business in a number of different ways. 

If you receive a health code violation, you can receive fine as well. In addition, you face the prospect of having your business closed down until an issue is rectified and the establishment is re-inspected. Not only does this result in a loss of revenue for your business, it sends terrible message to the public. Indeed, this can result in last or even permanent damage to your business. 

Legal Considerations 

As a business owner with a venue in the brick and mortar world, you are subject to what is known as the legal doctrine of premises liability. What this means is that if someone is injured at your place of business, you can be held legally responsible for those injuries. You can be required to pay financial compensation for losses associated with those injuries. 

You can lessen the likelihood that someone will be injured on your business’ premises by keeping your store or office clean. Clutter and a lack of attention to cleanliness can make a business at least somewhat, if not significantly, more dangerous to customers or of clients. 

Save Money 

If you do not properly tend to keep a business clean and in good condition, the establishment will experience wear and tear at an accelerated rate. You save money on more significant repairs over the long term by keeping up with cleaning and maintenance on a regular basis. 

Indeed, you may even want to consider investing in the services of reputable professional cleaners. Yes, this requires the payment of funds by your. However, because it will reduce the prospect of more long term (and expensive) issues down the road, paying professional cleaners likely will prove to be a wise and cost effective investment. 

Employee Retention 

Maintaining a clean business renders it more attractive to your employees. In the final analysis, no matter how much your own team of employees may like working for your company, an untidy, unkempt work place will be detrimental when it comes to your relationship with your workers. 

In addition, if you do not maintain a clean business, you will also find that you will have difficulties in recruiting top notch employees going forward. Quality people are not inclined to gravitate towards an employer that does not maintain a clean workplace. 

Vendor Relations 

You also need to be concerned with vendor relations when it comes to your business. You want to maintain professional relations with your vendors. This includes setting the proper tone when it comes to the look, feel, and appearance of your workplace. Part of that process is to keep your business in a clean state. 

Conclusion 

When the cleaning of a business is kept up with on a daily basis, it becomes a manageable task. A business is placed in a consistent tip-top shape for customers, clients, and employees.

Jessica is a professional blogger who writes for Faxage, a leading company that provide Internet fax service services for individuals and businesses.

How to Differentiate a Successful Business Owner from One Who Struggles

Entrepreneurship is a challenging endeavor. There are some factors that differentiate successful business owners from those who struggle or even fail. 

Planning 

The stark reality is that planning is a recurring reason differentiating between successful business owners and those who struggle or fail. Many people presume that planning is a major task for all business owners. While it should be, it oftentimes does not happen. 

A successful business owner engages in short term and long term planning. Planning includes the delineation of milestones and achievable goals and concrete results. 

Differentiation 

Another reason some business owners are successful and others are not is because of product or service differentiation. In the grand scheme of things, having a great product or service is not enough to place a business on the pathway to success. Rather, a business needs to establish aa unique value proposition for its products or services. A business needs to set itself apart from the competition because of its unique value proposition. 

Leadership 

Business owners who enjoy marked success have strong leadership abilities. Some aspects of leadership may be innate. However, when it comes to comparing successful business owners and those that are not, those who are successful are entrepreneurs who avail themselves of guidance from mentors, including learning about leadership practices and techniques. 

Capital 

A successful business owner understands the vital importance of having an appropriate level of capital. This includes operating capital, an element of enterprise operations that is sometimes not properly focused on by a business owner. The epitome of a struggling business owner is one lacking in an appropriate level of operating capital. He or she is a business owner that has issues paying bills on time and lacks the resources necessary to grow and expand a business. 

Learn from Failure 

Failure is a part of running a business. Rare is the business owner who doesn’t experience some type of failure here and there. The issue is not the fact that something or another didn’t work out as initially desired. Rather, what separates successful business owners from the pack is that those that succeed get beyond mistakes and learn from them. 

Scaling 

Properly scaling a business is another tactic of a successful entrepreneur. What that really means is that a successful business owner knows when to begin growing his or her enterprise. Premature scaling will end up throwing a business off the rails and put it on course towards failure. 

Profit 

A successful business owner keeps his or her eyes on profit. Simply, revenue is not the same as profit. Profit is what allows for growth and success. Only 40 percent of small businesses are profitable. 30 percent break even. 30 percent of all enterprises lose money. 

Inventory Management 

Another attribute of a successful business owner is the ability to establish protocols to properly and effectively manage inventory. Too little inventory harms sales. On the other hand, too much inventory harms profitability. 

Focus 

A successful business owner hones his or her ability to focus. An unsuccessful business owner is one who loses focus when a problem arises or something goes somewhat awry. Because he or she loses focus, what starts of as a more minor issues can end up being a major problem inn a fairly short period of time. The inability to focus also results in a business owner not being able to make necessary adjustments when needed. 

Pivot 

A business owner who enjoys success if also one who is able to pivot. By that it is meant that he or she is able to readily make a move from a strategy that might be less effective than initially anticipated. 

Money 

A successful business owner doesn’t turn a business account into a personal piggy bank. Rather, a successful business owner is structured and responsible when it comes to the management and utilization of business account funds. 

Unexpected Events 

A difference between a successful business owner and one that is not centers on the an ability to respond to unexpected events. Perhaps the only thing that you can be certain about in business is that unexpected events will occur in the operation of a business enterprise. 

Believe in Yourself 

Yet another quality of a successful business owner is a belief in his or her self. A successful business owner has a fundamental belief in his or her abilities. 

Mission 

Not only does a successful business owner establish a mission for the enterprise itself, but he or she as personal mission as well. A successful business owner has his or her mission and associated milestones that mark the pathway to achievement.

Jessica Kane is a writer for Every USB, where you can create your very own custom usb drive for your brand or company.