Friday, July 27, 2012

Money from your Phone

A recent forecast by Gartner, one of the world's largest technology research and advisory firms, suggests that the number of mobile transactions will increase 61.5% from 2011 to 2012. A mobile transaction is a transaction made from a smartphone or other portable device. 2011 mobile transactions totaled160.5 million for $105.9 BILLION. Wow! That's a lot of transactions, mobile or not. The 2012 forecast is $171.5 Billion in 212.2 million transactions.

Additionally, Gartner suggests that mobile transaction volume and value will represent approximately 42% of the annual growth until 2016.

Clearly, mobile transactions represent a real market force. Are you getting your share? I'd be interested to know how many people use or allow mobile transactions for their business. If you're not getting your share, why not?

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What you post online matters

A recent CareerBuilder/Harris Interactive survey found that 34% of job candidates were rejected due to that candidates social media activity. That means 1/3 of job applicants that made it through the computer culling process and then the human culling process were rejected. We're talking about the cream of the crop of job applicants being rejected because of what they posted online. WOW!

So what did they post that was so offensive? Here's the top four reasons:

4. They badmouthed a previous employer.

Come on folks, are you really posting ugly comments about your former employer on your Facebook page? This isn't junior high, doesn't anyone use common sense anymore? Okay, that's a topic for a whole series of posts.

3. They had poor communication skills.

What were u thnkg OMG u so ttly made me lmao. Again, we're not in junior high anymore. If you're in the job market, will ever again be in the job market, have graduated from college or are above 20 years old, grow up and type and speak like a normal adult.

2. There was evidence of drinking or drug use.

How many pictures have you seen of high school or college aged young people with drinks in their hands or passing a joint? Again, isn't this just common sense? 

1. They posted inappropriate photos or information.

Pictures of you half-naked or passed out on the floor don't give a prospective employer a warm fuzzy feeling about your level of responsibility. They see these pictures and assume they'll have to call every Monday morning to wake you because you overslept. 

Every one of these four items goes back to common sense. I guess it's really not so common anymore. I try to use the WWMGT rule. That is: What Would My Grandmother Think? rule. If I'm not comfortable saying or showing something to her, I don't post it online. As a small business consultant that works with companies of all sorts, I'm even very careful not to mix my personal political beliefs, which are quite strong, into my business. Why? What if that next big client is of the opposite persuasion and decides not to hire me because of my recently posted rant on the current or potential President. 

That's not to say that you can't have different standards for your world than I have for mine. I expect most people will have a different standard. What I'm suggesting is that you have A standard. Think about what you're doing online and don't just post stupid stuff there without thinking about how it affects your reputation. 

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Small Business Credit (Cont'd)

In the last post we looked at days beyond terms for the five worst industries in Alabama. Now let's look at how Alabama stacks up with the other 49 states:

In the days beyond terms category of small business credit, Alabama isn't doing too badly. We're in the second best category. Georgia and Florida in the deep south are in the worst category. So we should feel pretty good about our position in that regard.

In the bankruptcies category, we're in the second to worst category, with Georgia and Florida doing better. Mississippi is in the best category for business bankruptcies. I wonder what they're doing in Mississippi that causes their businesses to fare so much better?

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Small Business Credit

Typically I write about the state of small business credit each summer based on the first quarters results. I thought I'd compare first quarter 2011 vs. 2012 days beyond terms. Days beyond terms is a measure of how slowly small businesses are paying their bills.  If a company has credit terms of 30 days, and they pay in 37 days, they are 7 days beyond terms. The top 5 worst industries in Alabama for 1Q2011 ranked in order of offense and the 1Q2012 rank are listed in the following table:

1Q 2011
1Q 2012
Δ Days
% Δ
Bankruptcy %
Business Services
List Average

The list of worst offenders is the same. However, the number of days beyond terms for this worst 5 list has dropped from 9.4 to 6.7. This is 2.7 days quicker payment for this group of industries, a 28.7% decrease in days. This is a significant improvement.

Does this mean that the recession is over? Well, no. Does it mean that the local Alabama economy is getting better? Maybe. What is does say is that these five industries are better able to meet their credit terms in the first quarter of 2012 than they were in first quarter 2011. Maybe this is a result of more financing availability. Maybe it's a weeding out of the worst offenders in the worst industries. On average, 2.1% of companies in these five industries go out of business in the first quarter of 2012. So it can be a little tricky assigning strict cause and effect to these figures. There are so many variables at work.

We'll look at bankruptcies by state and days beyond terms by state in the next post.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

New Business Ideas Anyone?

I have a coaching client that is looking to start a business. She doesn't know exactly what she wants to do, but after a career in teaching, she's ready to be an entrepreneur. We've discussed some options, but nothing is jumping out at her. 

In many ways, this is the ideal situation. You don't have to be tied down to that franchise you bought on a whim and now wish you could go back in time. You don't have to try to make a business out of a hare-brained idea. You are free to find an unsatisfied demand or create a niche in a larger market. But either way, you can find some area within a market that needs help. You can identify a business need, and satisfy that need. You get an opportunity to find a business, in which you have be passionate. That's not so hard is it?

Well, yeah. It is hard. That's why everyone doesn't do it. 

There are lots of you out there that have hundreds of ideas, but just can't get to them. I know, because you share them with me from time-to-time. Anyone have a great business idea? If you're not planning to develop the idea yourself, why don't you share it here?

If you don't want to share for the general public, shoot me an email:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fail Often

Anyone who's attended my workshops on entrepreneurship, business plans or marketing strategy knows that I'm a huge fan of Hugh MacLeod and Go to Hugh's sight and you can sign up for his daily cartoon, which really his running commentary on entrepreneurship, business, the world and life, and it happens to have an interesting drawing. Hugh uses a humorous drawing mostly to identify entrepreneurial truths in the business world. Hugh is also a genius marketer.

Anyway, one of his recent daily cartoons addressed the idea of failure. (Click on the link to view the cartoon.)  His point isn't that failure is good, but that we need to learn from our mistakes if we are to be successful entrepreneurs. I would add, we need to learn from our mistakes to be successful people. We all make mistakes, the key is, in the words of Fred Astaire from the 1936 movie Swing Time, can you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again?

Most successful entrepreneurs that I know readily admit to frequent failures in the beginning and even now that they have "made it". The key is learning from your mistakes and not making the same ones over and over again. An oft quoted SBA statistic is that over 80% of new businesses fail. Whatever the specifics of that statistic, the truth is that entrepreneurs are far more successful if they get a little guidance and education. Get a mentor, establish a board of directors or advisors, take a class in accounting or marketing. Heck, you could even hire me! Whatever your preference, get some help in the areas in which you are weak, and learn from your mistakes.

Do you any classic failures you'd like to talk about? Leave a comment.

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