Thursday, September 8, 2011

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Planning for 2010

Planning for 2010

This blog has been inactive for a few months as I built a following on two other blogs and recorded our early retirement activity on another. My genealogy blog now is approaching 100 followers and my book blog is approaching 50 followers.

I am also nearing publication of my first fiction book, which has a family oriented, farm based, family succession and alternative revenue sources set of themes, among others. In an attempt to focus my whole body of work, this blog, as noted in the revised mission statement above, will henceforth focus on:

1. Family succession planning, especially for farms and ranches, and

2. Alternative revenue sources for farms and ranches.

Now, recognize that most other business related topics can be related to the above two priorities, so, the work continues.

I am getting this first blog post on the records so that a few of you will pick up my priorities on a Google Alert or search and perhaps leave me a note.

I would be especially interested to hear from you if you are within 100 or so of the Branson, MO, area in SW MO (that would be SE Kansas, NE OK, and northern Arkansas as well as SW and Central MO. I hope to, perhaps, be available to put on workshops or seminars starting in the summer, for clubs or organizations. In addition to my professor background in business, my work with the Kansas Flint Hills Tourism Coalition over the past five years and more are very applicable. These will all be spelled out in more detail here over the next few months.

Please leave comments. One other thing - who do you know that is out and about doing good work in this area in this region? I'll be learning this, myself, but your referrals would be most useful. Neil Harl, at Iowa State University, was our guru in Western Iowa in the 1970s and 1980s... who is yours, now? I'm the new guy... but I love to work with the experts!

What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear from you!

Dr. Bill - I love to share, I hope you do to! ;-)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Where do I get a loan in times like these?

Many small business owners in need of loans feel they have been left out of the various government stimulus programs during this recession. The hard truth, of course, is that loans to small business are difficult to obtain in the best of times. Lenders are even more cautious and conservative during downturns.

Here are a couple of things to think about, however. First, a 2009 study by the Kauffman Foundation found that more than half of the Fortune 500 companies were launched during downturns. Perhaps that should be obvious… half during downturns and half during good times? The point, of course, is that good business concepts with good planning and good execution will find the financing needed, regardless of the economic environment.

Fortune Small Business magazine, September 2009, p.25, reports that this year’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act added $50 million in loans to the SBA’s $21.4 million microloan program (for loans up to $35,000), as well as $24 million in technical assistance for these loans. Further, the senior vice president for commercial lending at the American Bankers Association reported, “Small businesses that go to small banks have higher loan-approval ratings.” Small, local, conservative banks are still generating funds that need to be placed in loans to approved businesses with demonstrated needs. That is the business they are in.

You are still going to have to demonstrate that you have the assets to use as collateral if you default on the loan. Also, you must demonstrate that you will have the cash flow to service the loan. This is standard practice. It just seems more onerous in “these times.” It is not. It is what commercial lending should be in order for financial institutions to be as successful as we each want to be.

Is your business prepared to meet these standards? If so, there is likely a financing source available for your business.


What are your thoughts? I'd really like to hear from you!

Dr. Bill - I love to share, I hope you do to! ;-)


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Most overrated businesses... a new list

The Yahoo Small Business Answers Center sponsored by Bank of America has a recent article by Kelly K. Spors and Kevin Salwen titled: The 7 Most Overrated Businesses
It is a good update of what my business and university business school teaching has suggested to me, with some updates. What do you think?

In an earlier post, I mentioned that recessions can be a great time to start a business... but it must be a right business for you, and where you are. They mention this circumstance, as well. Here are their 7:

1. Restaurants - has always been my first, as well, along with bars. They quoted "60% of restaurants close in the first three years" (2003 study at Ohio State University) vs. roughly half of all start-ups in five years - the classic small business statistic.
2. Direct Sales - hasn't everybody tried this, at one time or another?
3. Online Retail - one of the "new" ones - by the way, there are millions of them...
4. High-End Retail - SBA notes they fail at much higher rate than non-specialty stores.
5. Independent Consulting - their quote: "A successful consulting firm needs people to find the work, grind out the work and mind the work. Unless you know you can do all three yourself, you potentially expose your business to great risk." I concur, from personal experience.
6. Franchise Ownership - a 1995 study by a researcher at Wayne State University found that 62% of franchises were open for business after four years, they note, and franchises were also found to be less profitable in those early years. I've been there, done that. True!
7. Traffic-Driven Web Sites - another new one. To have any chance of success, a $50 million investment is a minimum, one start-up consultant says. Does that, perhaps, eliminate most of us??

I enjoyed this update of one of my favorite subjects.

What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear from you!

Dr. Bill - I love to share, I hope you do to! ;-)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Are these words outdated for the office?

A recent article provided by Business Week, by Carolyn Duffy Marsan, suggests there are now:
"12 Words You Can Never Say in the Office" without looking out of date. What do you think?
[Ref: http://finance.yahoo.com/career-work/article/107602/12-words-you-can-never-say-in-the-office.html]

1. Intranet
2. Extranet
3. Web Surfing
4. Push Technology
5. Application Service Provider (ASP)
6. Personal Digital Assistant (PDA)
7. Internet Telephony
8. Weblog
9. Thin Client
10. Rboc
11. Long-Distance Call
12. World Wide Web

What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear from you!

Dr. Bill - I love to share, I hope you do to! ;-)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Getting Down to Business

The students in my online Entrepreneurship class were recently asked the following questions, that I took from the text, noted below:

“Getting Down to Business”
1) Can you handle uncertainty?
2) Are you energetic?
3) Do you believe in yourself and your abilities?
4) Can you handle reversals and failures well?
5) Are you passionate about your goals and vision?
6) Are you good with other people?
7) Are you adaptable?
8) Are you willing to take risks or leaps of faith?

[From page 32-33 of the text: entrepreneurship: A Process Perspective, 2e; by Robert A. Baron and Scott A. Shane; 2008; Thomson*South-Western Publishers; ISBN 0-324-36558-6]


How would you respond to these questions?
Do the answers help you evaluate whether or not you might be good at starting a new business? Why or why not?

What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear from you!

Dr. Bill - I love to share, I hope you do to! ;-)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Entrepreneurship

As I prepare to teach my fall on-line class on Entrepreneurship I cannot help but wonder if the current economic environment will again be a natural incubator for entrepreneurship - or will the severity and indeterminate length of this downturn be more of a deterrent to the formation of new ventures? Only time will tell, of course, but speculation is a worthwhile activity to assist in monitoring the upcoming activities.

My first thought would be that many start-ups have been delayed, but as the recession continues, with the signs of the end we are beginning to see... even though down the road a bit, we will begin to see a sharp upward increase in new ventures. There is built-up desire and need; will there be some particular "event" that will trigger the final decision? Are financial institutions ready to support new business; business expansion? Are customers prepared to "take a chance" on new businesses?

What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear from you!

Dr. Bill - I love to share, I hope you do to! ;-)