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Are these words outdated for the office?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"12 Words You Can Never Say in the Office" without looking out of date.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?

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


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! ;-)