Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Some Home & Garden Tips - Axes, Lamps & Log Siding

Not to get too far off the course of business, but I've made some additions to my home and office lately and thought it would be worth running them down as I've been very happy with both.

First, I added some new log siding to our guest house (which is laid out neatly in a wooded area) and it really does look fantastic. We added cedar paneling to three rooms and have been amazed how these subtle changes have really changed the look of the place. Town & Country supplied the materials and my in laws provided the labor. A fabulous addition for sure!

On the exterior we also added some gorgeous electric lanterns that add a certain majestic touch that it would otherwise lack. We've received nothing but compliments on this thus far and I'm also happy we chose to go with electric in stead of gas lanterns. I'm a bit of a fire-a-phobe, if such a word exists. Which brings me to my next point as someone who once escaped a burning building...

There is an issue about shattering toughened car window screens in accidents. However, I think there is also a case for tackling this problem in the home. Many doors and windows are made from toughened double glazing which makes it tremendously difficult to break through in the event of a fire.

Some thing like this emergency hammer is perfect for keeping under the bed at night just in case.

The features of this Draper Emergency Hammer include:

• Shatters automotive and domestic glass.

• Cuts through automotive seat belts.

• Hardened carbon steel hammer striking point with tough ABS plastic contoured handle for user comfort.

• Supplied with mounting rack and fixings.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Starting a new Business

Hey everyone! Sorry I haven't posted in a while! I have been busy doing research for my next business adventure!

I am going to be starting a bowling center! I think a bowling alley will be a great addition to my community! 

When I first thought of opening a bowling alley, I didn't know much about the bowling business. I have quickly learned the basics, but the bowling alley business is much more complex than I anticipated! Based on the little research I have done, I have decided to open a bowling franchise

The majority of my time is now spent deciding what bowling equipment and bowling supplies I need to buy which is leaving very little time for blogging!

I am really excited about how everything is progressing and I will keep you guys updated on the progress when I can! 

Friday, August 31, 2012

How to get a Marketing Campaign Going

LONDON - FEBRUARY 18:  Conservative party lead...
(Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

Extraordinary Marketing

Over time I have seen a multitude of marketing methods in our industry. I have seen the basic (direct mail, newspaper advertising) to the bizarre (sandwich boards, pony rentals) to the unique (well, it wouldn’t be fair to those involved to list those here). I have also seen some people spend more time setting up their computers, Web-sites, and letterhead than they do going out and getting business.

Awhile back, as part of a “state of the industry” address, I discussed marketing and my belief that you had two choices — to be either exclusive or unique. If you were “exclusive,” your potential clients would not necessarily be aware that someone else (other than you) could help them. If you were “unique,” you would manifest some quality that made you stand out from everyone else.

At this point I want to simplify my thoughts into one single message. Regardless of what cash flow you are going after — matter of fact, regardless of what business you are in, I am reminded of a basic thought that my mentor taught me 20 years ago.

Everything you do should be centered on this thought. If it is not — such as worrying about your logo or business card — understand that those types of behaviors or actions don’t get us any closer to doing deals (just doing them in a different way). I can hear you now, “Ok, Fred, what is the message?” It is only five words…

Get Your Phone to Ring

That is it. Everything you do, and I do mean everything, should be concentrated on getting your phone to ring. Whether you are focused on advertisements in the local free paper, a direct mail campaign, flyers, etc., etc. — everything should be about getting a person to call you. That is especially true if you have a Web site. A Web site is nothing more than a 24 hour a day presence for you and your business. Don’t get me wrong, I think a Web site is essential in today’s market — but it also has the goal of getting someone to call you.

In today’s market, “contact” is important. At least 80 percent of your time should be spent searching for business. That’s right, 80 percent of your time should be spent trying to get your phone to ring. Everything else can be done by others. If you find too many deals, someone else can fill out worksheets, someone else can type offer letters, and someone else can go to the bank and deposit money (although you may want to reserve that one for yourself). My point is, no one else can do your marketing — that is your job.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Most Powerful Women Business Leaders

Ellen J. Kullman - World Economic Forum Annual...
Ellen J. Kullman - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2009 (Photo credit: World Economic Forum)
Women have played an increasingly powerful role in the corporate world, and there are no signs of that slowing down. According to CNN Money, here are the top ten most powerful women in the world of business:

1. Irene Rosenfeld
2. Indra Nooyi
3. Patricia Woertz
4. Ellen Kullman
5. Angela Braly
6. Andrea Jung
7. Ginni Rometty
8. Ursula Burns
9. Meg Whitman
10. Sherilyn McCoy

Congrats to all of these leaders, and we hope to see quite a few new names added to the list in the coming years.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Microlenders only source of funding for many small business owners

Prospective business owners are always concerned about where they will find money to start their business. Consider this...

Several years ago after Merlinda Sedillo Welch's chile and salsa both won blue ribbons at the New Mexico State Fair, she decided to turn her grandmother's secret recipe into a business venture. But when she approached the bank where she had maintained all her financial relationships for close to twenty-five years with a loan request, they turned her down flat.

"I still remember how devastated I was after that experience," Ms Sedillo Welch said during a recent telephone interview. Today, Merlinda's chile and salsa products are sold in many stores throughout Albuquerque, New Mexico and via her web site. How did she do it?

After the bank turned her down, she contacted Accion New Mexico, a micro-lender that makes funds available to entrepreneurs in several cities in the United States and Latin America. Within two days of meeting with Accion loan officers, she had the $500 she needed to get the business off the ground and hasn't looked back since.

Her story is not unusual. For many small business owners, micro lenders are the only hope for funding. Traditional lenders often do not have the time or inclination to service small loan requests, low income, older and/or minority applicants.

The Small Business Administration's (SBA) Microloan Program, originally authorized as part of the Commerce, Justice, State and Judiciary Appropriations Act of 1992, was made permanent in 1997 under the Small Business Reauthorization Act of 1997 ( PL.105-135). The program provides loan funding to many non-profit entities nationwide. They in turn act as intermediaries and provide short term, fixed rate loans to small and disadvantaged businesses in their operating area. Maximum loan amount is $35,000 and maximum loan term is six years.

Each micro-lender establishes it's own lending and credit criteria. According to a spokesperson from Accion New York, in making loan decisions, the applicant's good character and commitment to making the business a success is looked at more closely than the credit record. Similarly, at the Lower East Side Federal Credit Union in New York City, "the credit history of the business owner is very important, but does not by itself determine loan approval or denial" says a credit union spokesperson. In cases where an applicant has no credit, the credit union may request an alternative credit history such as rent and utility bills payments.

Some micro lenders require that loan applicants be in business for a period of time before requesting financing while others consider new business owners and provide help with business planning and referral to training programs, sometimes as a prerequisite to loan approval. All SBA intermediaries are required to provide some form of technical assistance.

Microenterprises are flourishing in America as a result of these programs. According to the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), the most popular microenterprise undertakings include: specialty foods, jewelry, arts & crafts, gifts, daycare centers, clothing, textiles, computer technology and furniture.

To find micro lenders in your area:

I. Search the Association for Enterprise Opportunity's list for microlenders. The Association for Enterprise Opportunity is a national association dedicated to micro enterprise development in the United States. Its members include many organizations that serve low income communities.


II.Contact your local credit unions to find out whether they offer microloans.

The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions has a list of credit unions by state athttp://www.cdcu.coop/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=833

The National Credit Union Administration also has a searchable database here:

III. Check the SBA's site. They used to provide a list of Microloan lenders here:

Additional links to sites mentioned in this post:

Merlinda's Chile

Accion International, - one of the largest microlending programs in the United States lending in communities of greater New York City, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, throughout Texas, New Mexico and in some areas in Latin America.

Lower East Side People's Federal Credit Union -a community development credit union on the lower east side of New York City. Membership is restricted to those living or working on the Lower East Side of New York City.

This article was written by Amanda M. Gladden and originally appeared here