Monday, November 22, 2010

Blue Rain Innovations opens at 16 Main

My friends Andy and Kristy Stewart opened a studio at the art community 16 Main Gallery at 16 Main Street in Madison.  Blue Rain Innovations studios opened on Saturday, November 20th.  Their work is primarily based on antique and old silver dinnerware crafted into a variety of artful objects, jewelery and uniquely unusual usefulness.
Andy, who by day owns Mission Ready Supply ( a service disabled veteran owned  HUBZoned certified small business) does the heavy lifting of preparing the pieces with a collection of hardware and tools that would make Norm Abram proud.  These tools seem more mechanic shop than art gallery, but in the right hands they craft beauty out of what was once discarded. 
Once the rough cutting, heating and reshaping is completed, Kristy takes over.  Real creativity is on display as she takes a common eating utensil and turns it into a clever slide necklace, earrings, napkin rings or a soon to be perfected photo/recipe holder.  I just don't have that kind of artistic vision to be able to see the final piece.  Creative souls like Kristy can see the finished product in her heard and make it come to life.  Where I see spoons and beads and wire, she sees unique and lovely adornment.  This is why my wife and I are in business but spend so much time admiring the work of folks like Andy and Kristy Stewart. 

If you have a chance, spend a little time on next Saturday at the 16 Main Gallery and see what Andy and Kristy are up to as well as the other artists, photographers and potters.  There is an interesting mix of artists and mediums on display and something is sure to pique your interest.

Monday, November 8, 2010

More Top 10s for Huntsville

Huntsville ranked 7th among the top 15 regions in the latest Site Selection magazine survey of site selection consultants.  Huntsville is one of the smallest cities on the list, but is still recognized as an attractive location to locate a new business or expand an existing business.  The survey queried the site selection consultants on their pick for the top metro areas for investment.  The top 10 cities on the list were:

1. Dallas, TX
2. Atlanta, GA
3. Charlotte, NC
4. Houston, TX
5. Indianapolis, IN
6. St. Louis, MO
7. Huntsville, AL
8. Charleston, SC
9. Greenville-Spartanburg, SC

In addition, Alabama was ranked 10 in the top 10 states with best business climates as ranked by Site Selection magazine.  While Alabama was bested by other southern state like North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia and Louisiana, landing in the top 10 is still a prized location.  Alabama ranks especially well in the aerospace, automotive, wood products and green energy industries. 
As an entrepreneur and one who works with and watches the entrepreneurial community, these rankings confirm the positive environment that residents of Huntsville recognize as business as usual in Alabama and especially in Huntsville.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Let the Tsunami Begin!

No, not the destructive wave of dark water that destroys everything in its path, but the wave of start-ups that will spring up all over the country bringing jobs and creating wealth.
With the change in political direction brought on by the mid-term elections, expect to see a change in attitude and expectations from business owners and potential entrepreneurs alike.  As I coach with business owners and speak with entrepreneurs, the thing I’ve been hearing over and over is their fear of the unknown and how they are waiting on the sideline for a more certain future before investing their cash.  In fact, I’ve heard more than a few times an even more dire fear from business owners about the direction of the economy and our tax structure based on the actions of our current congress.
The new Congress will not be seated until January, but the change in direction coming will give some certainty to business owners who have had none lately.  Business profits have been generally good but we haven’t seen the investment in new plant and equipment or expansion that typically follows because of that uncertainty.
While I’m a strong conservative, this site is not about politics.  It’s about helping entrepreneurs turn their dreams into profitable businesses.  The political climate has cleared a little and the future may seem a little brighter for business interests this morning.  The key for hopeful entrepreneurs is to continue to do your research and test your idea for viability.  Don’t think that just because the political environment has changed that you’ll automatically be successful.  It doesn’t work that way.  And a bad idea is still a bad idea even in a great economy.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Elevator Pitch

What's your elevator pitch?  Do you have an engaging appeal?

Most entrepreneurs have really lousy elevator pitches.  They drone on and on listing the services they offer without ever truly engaging the recipient.  What they fail to realize is IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU.  It's about your client and what's important to them.  If you are listing services and features, you'll put your potential customer or contact to sleep faster than reading the Windows program manual.

Every once in a while I'll hear a really good elevator pitch.  Think yours is good?  If you live in North Alabama, why not enter it in the BizTech Elevator Pitch Contest on November 19th.  You'll need to get your entry in by Today, so get to it.  You can download an entry form and get all the contest rules by going to .

Don't feel like entering the contest or don't live in North Alabama?  Then let's hear them here.  Send me the link to you giving your elevator pitch on YouTube and I'll give you some feedback.  If it's a real winner, I'll post it here on my blog.

Let the pitches begin...