Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2011 Top States for Doing Business

Area Development magazine has issued its rank of states based on their survey of top location consultants. The consultants were asked to name their top-5 state choices in 12 site selection categories. The final ranking is:

  1. Texas
  2. Georgia
  3. Alabama
  4. South Carolina
  5. Indiana
  6. Louisiana
  7. North Carolina
  8. Tennessee
  9. Mississippi
  10. California

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pray for Noah

Since my bout with cancer, I am much more aware of cancer all around me. While surfing the web one evening I found this site: Pray For Noah. Noah is almost 4 years old and is a sweet boy. He is battling with brain cancer and has already suffered more than most adults could stand in a lifetime.
Check out Noah's site, get a bracelet, or make a donation. But please leave a comment of support and include Noah in your prayers. 

Anyone who likes Curious George is a friend of mine.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Know what you don't want to sell

Most companies know what they want to sell. They create elaborate marketing strategies to promote their business and products or services. They spend enormous amounts of money to advertise.
I'm not saying that any of that is right or wrong. It really depends on the situation.  But here's the real question: Do you know what you do NOT want to sell? Most companies have products and services that are offered, or are in the catalog, or listed on the website that they don't really want to sell. It may be for financial reasons. It may be for personnel reasons. It may be manufacturing efficiency related or even product component availability.
If you don't want to make the product or you don't make any money offering the service, why do it?

Do you need to offer the product or service due to competitive forces? Maybe you'd be better off not offering the product and referring customers to other manufacturers or service providers. I know, this sounds like the rantings of a crazy man, but maybe not. Carefully consider dropping those products and services from your offering. It may be a "we've always done it that way" kind of thing. If you rarely sell it and don't make any money off the product or service, perhaps you can just quit doing it. Can you buy it from your competitor and just get out of the market all together? Consider a manufacturing agreement with your competitor to buy the product from them and offer it for resell on those rare occasions when you actually need the product. 
If a manufacturing agreement won't work in your situation, think of other options to buy or otherwise acquire the product or service. Maybe you'll find that your customer can use a different product just as well. Maybe, if you sit down and discuss the situation with the customer and find out what their real needs are, you'll come up with a different solution that better suits their needs and your bottom line. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Don't Be a Drop-out

We’re talking about some of the key questions entrepreneurs should ask before deciding to start a business.  We’ve already discussed figuring out how much cash do you have to invest in your new business and how much cash you need to survive while you’re starting your business whether getting a different job or a part-time job might not accomplish you goals.  In this post I’ll discuss whether going back to school would help you accomplish your goals rather than start a new business?

Would increasing your education provide you the income you desire?

Chris, why are you trying to talk us out of starting a business?  One of my main goals in my professional life is to keep people from throwing away their life’s savings on a harebrained idea.  You’re worked, by definition, all your life saving up that money so you can retire in a comfortable lifestyle.  Don’t throw it away without knowing what your options are and looking at all those options for meeting your goals.  For many people, starting a business will never help them reach their goals.  I’ll say it again, unless you have a burning desire to start a business that just won’t go away, look at other options.

One option to consider is going back to school to upgrade your education so you can get a better job or qualify for a higher salary at your current job.  How much does it cost to go back to college?  What does it cost to go back to college?  What sort of salary increase might you expect from an advanced degree?  Compare that equation to the amount of money you’re going to have to invest in a new business and the expected profit over the same time frame.

Going back to school is a whole lot less risky than starting a business.  Maybe getting an advanced degree will help you accomplish your goals.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Maybe You Should Just Get a Job

We’re talking about some of the key questions entrepreneurs should ask before deciding to start a business.  We’ve already discussed figuring out how much cash do you have to invest in your new business and how much cash you need to survive while you’re starting your business.  In this post I’ll discuss whether you’d be better off financially getting a different job than starting a business?

For many people, their dreams could be accomplished without having to start a business.  Could you accomplish the same goals by getting a different job or trying for a promotion at your current place of employment?  Would spending an extra couple of hours a week at work give you the advantage you need to get the promotion?  That might be a better strategy and one that probably has significantly less risk.
This question really goes back to the question in a previous post, ‘why do you want to start a business?’  Well, why do you?  If the answer is to create more family income, there may be an easier way to do it than starting a business.  What about a part-time job on Saturday mornings?  What about teaching a class in the evenings for a local community college?  Do you have any special skills that will allow you to generate other cash for your family?
Unless you have a burning desire to start your own business, then try to figure out other options for generating income.  For many people, starting a new business means taking a pay cut, not getting an increase.