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Tips to flip furniture 
on a college budget
(StatePoint) College is an exciting time. Whether your child is starting as a freshman or returning for senior year, new friends, new roommates and new places to call “home” await.
   Ease the transition and save money in the process by helping decorate their personal spaces using these DIY tricks. Instead of buying new, you can turn used furniture into stunning and sophisticated statement pieces perfect for campus life.
Finders Keepers
  You’ve spent enough on books… how will you afford a bookcase or desk to hold them? For a great look without the hefty price tag, seek out items at flea markets, yard sales, thrift stores or simply ask relatives. You have a better chance of finding a one-of-a-kind piece, and you can haggle with the sellers for lower prices.
  As you shop, don’t let a “fixer upper” scare you. Wood furniture, even with a few nicks or stains, can easily be refinished or repainted for a “furniture flip” that meets your student’s style needs.
Be Space Savvy
  Chances are your college student is sharing a dorm room, apartment or house with at least one other person. Make the most of limited space by incorporating furniture that can pull double-duty. Instead of bulky chairs, grab a bench, which can offer both storage and seating. Nesting tables or stackable chairs are also a smart, space-saving investment.
  Be mindful of purchasing oversized pieces that may crowd living areas or won’t fit through tight hallways and stairwells. Students running out of room can use spaces under beds, couches and other furniture for extra storage.
Fix and Flip Furniture
  There are many ways to upcycle used or slightly damaged furniture pieces, transforming them from one person’s trash to your child’s personal treasure.
• Drab to Fab Drawers: Beautify drawers by removing dull, old handles or knobs and upgrade to something more contemporary -- or simply add a fresh coat of paint. You can also line the inside with decorative shelf liner for an added visual element and to keep things clean and organized.
• Exciting Exteriors: Adhesive shelf liner also comes in handy for freshening up the exterior surface of old, worn furniture. Embellish the front of a lackluster bedside table or the back of bookshelf cubbies with Duck brand Deco Adhesive Laminate, which comes in many designer styles, such as Rose Gold, Quatrefoil or Marble and is available at a variety of nationwide retailers, including Walmart.
• Paint Perfection: Create dimension and design when painting by using a premium painter’s tape, like FrogTape brand painter’s tape. Treated with patented PaintBlock Technology, FrogTape prevents paint bleed and delivers the sharpest paint lines possible, perfect for adding decorative patterns to boring and bland furniture. Try something bold and geometric on the top of a desk to make studying more enjoyable!
• Playful Pillows: Now, for the final touches. Find a funky, colorful fabric and DIY some throw pillows to create comfier living rooms.
  For more inspiration and ideas, visit DuckBrand.com.
  Whether students are moving into a dorm for the first time or decorating an off-campus apartment, you can help them create a place they are happy to call “home.” Plus, with all your DIY savings you’ll have a few extra dollars for tuition.

(StatePoint) With most Americans employed by small businesses, the success of these operations is crucial to drive the economy and grow the job market. But there are some obvious and not so obvious factors that can help small business owners and their employees thrive.
     When most people think of critical issues for business success, they gravitate to areas like improving marketing efforts or adopting new technologies. However, here are three surprising elements that can contribute to growing the bottom lines of small businesses in the U.S., according to market analysts.
A Smaller Focus
     Most small businesses think they need to do lots of things well to succeed. A smaller focus may be more beneficial, experts say. The most successful small businesses and start-ups are those that focus first on a single key performance indicator (KPI) before expanding their scope. It’s about identifying the key metric that is most important (such as selling your main product to one sector, adding subscribers, selling service plans, etc.).
    And once you have identified your metric, accurate measurement is critical. Quantify your success in this key area and be laser focused on driving this one KPI. Once you succeed in this crucial area, you can add additional KPIs in other areas to expand your business.
Going Global
     A staggering 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside America’s borders. So, raising the standard of living in other countries and expanding their middle classes is crucial to growing the market for products made in America.
  “When it comes to boosting the American economy, never forget strengthening the State Department and America’s international assistance programs. It’s just that simple -- American investments in global development and diplomacy open new markets for our nation’s companies and create jobs right here at home,” said Liz Schrayer president and CEO of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, which recently issued a new report exploring this issue, entitled “America’s Global Economic Leadership: A Strategic Return on U.S. Investments.”
  Each time the U.S. helps to expand access to a new market overseas, the USGLC points out, exports can soar, and America benefits -- especially small and medium sized businesses, U.S. workers, and state and local economies. And with millions of American jobs directly tied to exports, it’s easy to see how strong economies abroad can directly affect livelihoods and businesses in the U.S.
Faster Internet Elsewhere
  Most small businesses are familiar with their need for high speed Internet connectivity to efficiently tackle daily activities. But many may not realize that increased broadband penetration in other areas -- urban, suburban and rural parts of America -- can also assist them since this will help their customers to transact. For example, according to a recent report, the rural broadband industry contributed $24.1 billion to the U.S. economy in 2015, with 66 percent of that activity benefiting urban, rather than rural communities.
     When small business owners and employees contemplate the things they need to thrive, it’s important to consider both domestic and international factors that drive U.S. sales and jobs, say experts.

Things that can help 
small businesses thrive