Excess Inventory

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

In uncertain economic times a major concern for companies is getting rid of excess inventory and making productive use of their increased downtime. Seth Godin has a useful article on effective ways to do this without degrading your brand.

Where to Focus in Uncertain Times

Friday, November 14th, 2008

Paul Herbert has written an interesting article with great advice on where to focus your energy during this uncertain economy. There’s a lot of panic out there right now and it’s all too easy to jump from one idea to the next in the hope that something will work. Staying focused on the right areas of your business is much more productive.

The Fastest Cure to America’s Economic Problems

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of the Mavericks and serial entrepreneur has written a fascinating blog entry on the best way to cure America’s (and indeed the world’s) economic problems.

He shows why the debate about tax cuts and capital gains is unproductive:

You can cut taxes for 95pct of Americans and raise taxes for the rest. You can cut taxes for businesses and retain the Bush Tax Cuts. You can increase or decrease the capital gains tax 5 or 10pct either way.  Under both programs the deficit for the country will increase,  we will borrow and print more money.  5 or 10pct variance either way, given the big hole our economy is in wont matter.

and:

We are in an economic mess right now. It doesn’t matter who caused it. It’s here. It doesn’t matter what our Presidential candidates and their economic advisors come up with. Its meaningless. 

His solution is what has always been the driving force behind the American economy:

The cure for what ails is us the Entrepreneurial Spirit of this country.  We are a nation of people who encourage , support and invest in those of any and all age, race and gender who will use their ingenuity and come up with a new idea.

Its always the new idea that re energizes this country.  Industry, manufacturing, transportation, technology, digital communications, etc, each changed how we lived and ignited our economy and standard of living. Tax policy has never done that.  The American People have.

So what is the specific solution? :

What we need is our candidates to stop yelling at each other and starting looking at the American people and encouraging the best of who we are.  That is who I want to get behind. That is what I would like to see for our country. That is what will energize and motivate people to create companies and invent products that will  turn the economy.

The best time for little guys to start a business is when the big guys are worrying about surviving in theirs. You dont need to raise money. You need to be smart and be focused.  I had no idea until this current financial crisis that when I started MicroSolutions, my first company, it was in the middle of a very bad recession. I had no idea whatsoever. I didnt know what the tax rates were, and I didnt care. I had an idea, a floor to sleep on and a lot of motivation.

Now is the time for Entrepreneurs to step up and do our part for our country. Its up to us to start businesses and create jobs. That is the cure to this country’s economic problems.

So there you go, starting a business or managing and growing your existing business will get us out of this economic mess and back on the road to prosperity.

I also recommend his other article: The Best Equity is Sweat Equity, especially for those concerned about raising startup capital in this tight credit market.

Business Lesson from the Japanese

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

A Japanese company (Toyota) and an American company (Ford Motors) decided to have a canoe race on the Missouri River. Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race. 

On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile. 

The Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to investigate the reason for the crushing defeat. A management team made up of senior management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action. Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, while the American team had 7 people steering and 2 people rowing. 

Feeling  a deeper study was in order; American management hired a consulting company and paid them a large amount of money for a second opinion. They advised, of course, that too many people were steering the boat, while not enough people were rowing. Not sure of how to utilize that information, but wanting to prevent another loss to the Japanese, the rowing team’s management structure was totally reorganized to 4 steering supervisors, 2 area steering superintendents and 1 assistant superintendent steering manager. 

They also implemented a new performance system that would give the 2 people rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder. It was called the ‘Rowing Team Quality First Program,’ with meetings, dinners and free pens for the rowers. There was discussion of getting new paddles, canoes and other equipment, extra vacation days for practices and bonuses. The pension program was trimmed to ‘equal the competition’ and some of the resultant savings were channeled into morale boosting programs and teamwork posters. 

The next year the Japanese won by two miles. Humiliated, the American management laid-off one rower, halted development of a new canoe, sold all the paddles, and canceled all capital investments for new equipment. The money saved was distributed to the Senior Executives as bonuses. The next year, try as he might, the lone designated rower was unable to even finish the race (having no paddles,) so he was laid off for unacceptable performance, all canoe equipment was sold and the next year’s racing team was out-sourced to India. 

Sadly, the End. 

Commentary: This story will ring true with many that have worked in the American corporate world (especially in these financial times). One way for American companies to regain the edge is to follow “The Toyota Way” – Toyota’s Principles they operate by every day. Also note that American car manufacturers have been complaining about American workers for decades, building plants overseas, yet Toyota seems to do just fine, building a large percentage of their cars in America now – it’s usually not the workers, it’s the management and strategy. 

Business Quote of the Week 9/2/08

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” — Jim Rohn

Commentary: I believe planning your life is as important as planning your business, yet many still put more thought into their wedding, their next car purchase, the lottery or their enemies than they do on actually making a plan for their life. If you don’t plan your life, you’ll simply wander through life aimlessly. In fact, Michael Gerber speaks about this in The E-Myth; designing your business around your life plan.

Why Most People Fail in Business

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

Shoemoney has a good post on why most people fail in business. He’s made a TON of money online and hosts regular Q&A for aspiring entrepreneurs who can’t seem to make it for one reason or another.

Reasons include:

  • Fear
  • Excuses (his #1 reason)
  • Stress (small business ownership is stressful)
  • Comfort (especially if you have an existing 9 to 5 job)
  • The Dip (the inevitable downturn of your business)
  • Motivation
  • Laziness and from the comments: Wasting Time on Instant Messaging, Games, MySpace, etc.

10 Ways to Instantly Improve Your Life

Monday, August 4th, 2008

Biz Opportunities:

Many of our problems come from within our own minds. They aren’t caused by events, bad luck, or other people. We cause them through our own poor mental habits. Here are some habits you should set aside right away to free yourself from the many problems each one will be causing you.

1. Stop jumping to conclusions.

2. Don’t dramatize.

3. Don’t invent rules.

4. Avoid stereotyping or labeling people or situations

5. Quit being a perfectionist.

To see the other 5, visit this link.

Business Quotes of the Week: 8/4/08

Monday, August 4th, 2008

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” -Wayne Gretzky

“The key is to just get on the bike, and the key to getting on the bike…is to stop thinking about “there are a bunch of reasons i might fall off” and just hop on and peddle the damned thing. You can pick up a map, a tire pump, and better footwear along the way.” – Dick Costolo – Founder of Feedburner.com

“We have no patent on anything we do and anything we do can be copied by anyone else. But you can’t copy the heart and the soul and the conscience of the company.” -Howard Schultz, Chairman of Starbucks

Business Quote of the Week – 6/30/08

Monday, June 30th, 2008

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” – Mark Twain

Small Business Story – The Farm

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Small Farm

A man owned a small farm.
 
The State Wage & Hour Department claimed he was not paying proper wages to his help and sent an agent out to interview him.
 
“I need a list of your employees and how much you pay them,” demanded the agent.
 
“Well,” replied the farmer, “there’s my farm hand who’s been with me for 3 years. I pay him $200 a week, plus free room and board.
 
The cook has been here for 18 months, and I pay him $150 per week, plus free room and board.
 
Then there’s the half-wit who works about 18 hours every day and does about 90% of all the work around here. He makes about $10 per week, pays his own room and board, and I buy him a bottle of bourbon every Saturday night.
 
“That’s the guy I want to talk to — the half-wit,” says the agent.

“That would be me,” replied the farmer.