Friday, September 30, 2011

Effective Persuasive Speech

"Public speaking ranks as one of the top five fears. Knowing your topic well and focusing on the purpose of your speech can help alleviate those fears. The purpose of a persuasive speech is to persuade the audience to change or deepen their belief in your topic and influence them to take action as a result."

by me, Tiffany C, Wright
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Why Private Equity Is Good for America

I read an interesting article by Tony James, the president of Blackstone, a private equity firm most of you have probably never heard of unless you are an avid Wall Street Journal reader (although they do garner the occasional mention in Fortune and other business and financial press). Mr. James' provided his top four reasons that private equity can help with the economic recovery or, in other words, is good for America.

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Those reasons are as follows:

  1. Private equity firms help rescue troubled companies.
  2. PE firms provide (or can provide) growth capital to nascent companies.
  3. PE firms help pension funds meet the obligations they have to the recipents of those pensions.
  4. Private equity firms help developing economies grow.

Of course, not all private equity firms do all of the above, which Blackstone apparently does. Some focus on geographic areas or on specific revenue or EBITDA ranges or on a particular stage. Others, usually smaller PE firms, may not pursue pension funds, instead obtaining their funds from other, smaller institutions and individuals. Overall, however, I agree with the premise here. Whether or not one particular fund addresses all these areas, collectively, I believe private equity firms definitely do help as outlined in Mr. James' reasons and are, indeed, good for America.

To read the article in its entirety, go to Tony James' Top Four Reasons.

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rebuilt Alternator Business

"A rebuilt alternator business can be Internet-based or located at a traditional retail location, or both. These entities typically sell to do-it-yourselfers who repair their own vehicles and to mechanics and the shops they work at. A retailer can specialize in automotives (cars, trucks, commercial vehicles) or in other motorized equipment such as boats, industrial or construction equipment, or farm equipment."

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Rebuilt Alternator Business

"A rebuilt alternator business can be Internet-based or located at a traditional retail location, or both. These entities typically sell to do-it-yourselfers who repair their own vehicles and to mechanics and the shops they work at. A retailer can specialize in automotives (cars, trucks, commercial vehicles) or in other motorized equipment such as boats, industrial or construction equipment, or farm equipment."

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Using a Consultant: Advantages

"Consultants are not steeped in company culture or traditions and largely work outside of the client's office politics. As a result, consultants provide a refreshing, independent viewpoint that can help a company isolate problems, determine causes and identify creative or workable solutions."

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Temp Worker Usage: Pros and Cons

"Using temp workers provides flexibility. If the company does as well or better than expected for a period of time, the temp employee's tenure may be extended or he may be offered a full time position. If the company performs worse than expected or if a surge in business is only temporary, the temp employee can be released with little shock to the company's financials or morale."

 

Excerpted from, read more: Advantages & Disadvantages of Using Full Time Temp Workers | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/info_12005577_advantages-disadvantages-using-full-time-temp-workers.html#ixzz1Z7lT9jZ3

Click on the link to read more of the article I wrote for eHow.
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3 Benefits of Developing a Strong Product Brand

Successfully development of a strong brand for a product results in brand equity. With brand equity the brand now transcends the original product and flows over to the company or other products.

I wrote the article!
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Friday, September 23, 2011

The US Postal Service: My Thoughts for Profitability

Yesterday I uploaded a photo of a post office I visited but I neglected to finish the thought! The postal service is losing billions. What can they do to rectify the situation? For now, they've adopted an investment cash flow strategy to generate cash. Specifically, the US Postal Service will sell some of their properties in order to raise money. Some sales will be a sale leaseback. (You sell the property and lease it back under a long term lease.) That's a great way to generate cash in the short term and medium term, but what about the long term? The US Postal Service's operating model is currrently broken. They are hemorrhaging operational cash. Generating positive investment cash flow won't change that. This just buys time to fix the problem.

So how do they fix the problem? Some ideas:

  • Eliminate Saturday hours. I remember when postal delivery was only Monday - Friday. The USPS started Saturday delivery to make themselves more competitive. Well, it's not working anymore. We'll all adjust to not getting mail on Saturdays. This would save millions.
  • Install more postal processing kiosks in the lobby. You can weigh and send packages, certified mail, etc. from these but only the main locations and some branches have them. People understand self serve. And using these is so much faster than standing in line to get a postal agent.
  • Reduce personnel. It's always hard to lay off people but the USPS simply can't afford it. Utilizing options 1 and 2 will reduce personnel needs.

Additional ideas:

  • Partner with FedEx or UPS for next day delivery for small packages and letters. I used the post office twice to send next day air letters. One was delivered a day late, one was delivered hours late. While my experience may not be the norm, the USPS in numerous surveys does not meet the standards of its top two competitors. So partner with them and get a referral fee or do revenue sharing. This will help the USPS' perception also.
  • Analyze the cost of shipping for all non-first class mail items. For those that are losing money on an operational basis, eliminate the service, increase the price, or make significant process and management changes to reduce the internal cost. This is what cost accounting is all about. Make use of it.

That's my $0.44. Anyone have any other thoughts?

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Postal issues

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I took this photo outside a post office. Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Identified: People Rankings for Job Purposes

Want to find a good candidate for a job your company has? Well, now there's a new site called Identified which ranks people based primarily on the following criteria: work history, education, and social network. People will be publicly ranked (for now) on a scale from 0 to 100 based on how well they show in these areas. Currently the social network information is pulled from Facebook.

Personally, I know my LinkedIn network is much stronger than my Facebook network so my score may lag accordingly. Uh oh! What does that mean? Will I go from being a top ranked business commenter (lol) to languishing toward the bottom of the barrel? Hmmm.

The founders, Brendan Wallace and Adeyemi Ajao, are calling Identified "Google Page Rank for People." This may be fitting considering that the duo raised a portion of their $5.5 million in angel investment from Eric Schmidt's, former Google CEO, Innovation Endeavors.

Finish reading the post.

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Obama's Startup Funds Assistance Plan

There is a largely overlooked section of Obama's American Job Act that bodes extremely well for young entrepreneurs. According to one book I recently read, and I loosely paraphrase here, 20-somethings are the perfect entrepreneur candidates (assuming a number of other characteristics besides age) because they have the least to lose and the most to gain. One hindrance to this is if you quit your job before you've built sizable savings to enable you to focus solely on starting and building a business, you have no safety net. Awwwwww! That's the sound of young people falling to the ground and trying to figure out how to ask the parents can they move back into the house they so willingly left not long ago so they can avoid homelessness.

Obama's plan includes a provision that reforms federal unemployment insurance. No, I'm not talking about extending the length of unemployment to help the jobless and seeking. I'm talking about extending unemployment to ...entrepreneurs! The American Job Act would create a Self Employment Assistance (SEA) aprogram in all 50 states that provides unemployment benefits to self employed individuals, aka entrepreneurs, for up to 26 weeks.

Many entrepreneurs could use that money as a source of startup funds. And those funds could mean the difference between a young aspiring entrepreneur taking the leap now or waiting. The problem with waiting is sometimes that magic date never occurs. What was it Langston Hughes said about a dream deferred?

"Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?"

Excerpted from Langston Hughes' poem, A Dream Deferred

 

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Venture funding of non tech companies

I know tech gets all the press but other deals are receiving venture funding. From the Term Sheet, by Dan Primack of Fortune Magazine:

"TenMarks, a Newton, Mass.-based provider of personalized math tutoring via SaaS, has raised $3 million in Series A funding. Catamount Ventures led the round, and was joined by Birchmere Ventures. www.tenmarks.com"

Okay, this is tech related but the focus is more on delivering educational services (tutoring) using new methodologies that make it easier for the end user to consume, than on technology, per se.

Vermont Farmstead Cheese Co., a South Woodstock, Vt.-based artisanal cheese and dairy company, has raised $2.5 million in Series A funding. No investor information was disclosed. www.vermontfarmstead.com"

For the uninitiated, Series A funding is the first round of venture capital funding. It comes after angel investment aka seed funding.

(Click on the term, if you want to subscribe to Term Sheet. It's an excellent resource for what's going on in the venture capital and private equity worlds.)

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Boxing Rules vs. Government Contracting Rules

Last night I watched the Floyd Mayweather vs. Victor Ortiz fight. My father and his friends watched it Saturday night but I went out on the town so he recorded the PPV fight for me. Great fight! I had to shake my head and laugh. You either love Floyd or not. He's definitely a character.

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In case you don't know, Mayweather knocked out Ortiz when Ortiz had his gloves down and was, apparently, looking at the referee. But the rule in boxing is "Always protect yourself", so officially Mayweather was in the right for taking advantage of Ortiz' confusion.

So that got me thinking about doing business with the government. (I was NOT thinking about the government while watching the fight. This was immediately after.) The government is very rules driven. If you submit a bid but don't follow the instructions exactly to the letter, your bid can (and, more often than not, will) be rejected. If you don't follow the rules explicitly when you submit your invoice for payment, even if it means you must reference CFR Part XX, your invoice will be rejected. Then you often can't re-submit until the next specified submission date (i.e, the 30th day of each month).

If you are a government contractor who incurs substantial costs before submission of an invoice, who normally then has to wait 30 days to receive payment, and you mess up... Too bad! You should have followed the instructions to the letter! By not doing so, you didn't protect yourself so if you get knocked down for another 30-60 days while you await payment, that's your fault!

I'm not weighing in for or against. I just think what happened in this fight is a great analogy! And you?

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Daily Deal Sites

Whenever a venture is highly successful, it invites competition. The more public that success, the greater the competition. This happened with the car companies in the early 20th century...and is happening now with so-called "daily deal" sites in the early 21st century. (Did you know that the sub brands such as Chevy and Lincoln were once totally separate car companies?)

Groupon is the market leader but LivingSocial is coming on strong. (I subscribe to both, although I am personally biased in favor of Groupon and take advantage of their deals more often.) In a Wall Street Journal article I read today, it stated that there were 530 "daily deal sites nationwide". 530!! Wow. I had no idea. The article also stated that ~1/3 of them, or 170 sites, have been sold or shut down in 2011. That was fast! I thought most of them were created in the past 1-2 years. Talk about a trajectory!

Anyway, it looks like Groupon is having the same problem AOL had some years ago. Paying more and more for subscribers. Their costs incurred in signing up a new customer have nearly tripled in the past year. Yes, tripled. With greater competition comes higher costs. It also helps to have had a ton of venture capital poured into your coffers in the past year. You can't spend what you don't have. (Well, not quite true. My mother said she didn't have any money but darned if she didn't show off her new Kohl's purchases. She had a Kohl's credit card. So yes, credit allows you to spend what you don't have.)

The concern is also that subscribers will get tired of getting numerous similar emails on a daily basis and subsequently, unsubscribe from the offers. (I mean, how many restaurant discounts can one take advantage of?)

The shake out in the daily deals market will continue. It's inevitable. Sometimes the first to market prevails...and sometimes they don't. I place my bet on Groupon.

WSJ article referenced: Get 'Em While They Last: 'Daily Deal' Sites Dying Fast

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Million Dollar Portfolio Challenge

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CNBC's Million Dollar Portfolio Challenge has begun! Thinking of selling your business and investing the proceeds? Participate in this challenge to see if that is wise (not the selling, but the personal investing!). Begins today, 9/19 and ends 11/25. 1st prize: $1 million. 2nd prize: 2012 Maserati. Go to www.milliondollar.cnbc.com for details. Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cash out with ESOPs

I'm still reading that Fortune issue. I read an article about Eileen Fisher, a clothing designer with stores throughout the US and Canada. They opted not to sell the business or go public. Instead, they used an ESOP. An ESOP is an employee stock ownership plan. It enables employees to participate in the ownership of the company while allowing the owner(s) to cash out some or all of his/her/their equity. It also conveys some tax benefits somewhat tied to deferred compensation and installment payments. If your employees have voiced interest in owning the company or in equity participation, or if you already provide stock options, this could be a highly viable option to cash out of your business. You need to install a professional management team so the company doesn't go to Hades when you leave. (Otherwise that could be considered a breach of fiduciary responsibilities. An ESOP is an administered program. ) Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile
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Saturday, September 17, 2011

You Can Still Flourish in a "Down Economy"

I am reading an excellent article in Fortune about Chipotle. Chipotle is flourishing despite all the negative news about the economy. (Actually, a lot of companies are doing well but they are not getting much press. Their performance goes against the "negative news". )

I am a huge fan of Chipotle's, especially since the advent of the burrito bowl. The service is fast and excellent. The food is fresh and tasty and lacking preservatives. The meat is without hormones and antibiotics. The article discusses the drivers behind Chipotle's initial and continued success. Read the article if you can. It has relevant information that any business owner can learn from. Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Aspiring Millionaires

What's behind the high number of aspiring millionaires in the US? The answer: there is no one answer. Different people have different motivations. Often people have a desire to be successful and they measure that success in net worth, financial terms. Others want to experience financial freedom and enjoy real security that releases the tether to a job. Still others crave flexibility and personal freedom they believe millions can provide.

Who wants to be a millionaire

(Photo is courtesy of the Disney/ABC show, "Who wants to be a millionaire?")

The path you take has something to do with your answer to the question, “How bad do you want it?” If you crave security over all else, your answer is, “Somewhat”. Hence, the best road for you as an aspiring millionaire is to work your full time job and invest in real estate, the stock market, or build an internet based business in the evenings and on weekends, or something else along these lines. This way you still have job security and a relatively sure means of paying the bills while you build your portfolio. If you really do want it bad but you have a family or others to support and you absolutely need the paycheck, then use all your free time to pursue one of these avenues. Learn as much as you can and quickly put it into practice. What makes the difference is not what you know, but what you do with what you know...

Read the rest of this post.

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fundamentals vs. Fear in Today's Stock Market

I just read in the Wall Street Journal that ~50% of the IPOs that listed this year are trading below their offering price. Wow! Didn't I blog about the great opportunities to go public over the next 12 months. Good thing I'm typing, not talking because it'd be hard to talk with my mouth full of all that crow!

Declining_char

Actually, I still stand by my belief. The fundamentals of the market are the same. However, fear runs rampant and that's what causing all the volatility in the market right now. Fear. The market performs based on underlying fundamentals over time...but in the short term it reflects the short-term fear (or exuberance) and negative (or positive) expectations of investors. This is why there are traders. People and companies trade on this volatility. Some traders, especially options traders, are making a lot of money right now.

So how long will this fear last? Not sure. I wrote yesterday about buying into all the negative press and the adverse impact it can have on your business. As you can see, it works the same with the markets. I'm best at analyzing trends and mid-term to long-term behavior. Short term...sorry.

The good news is that the entities going public have adopted a wait and see approach. They haven't scrapped their plans. They're waiting for the volatility to level off so they can get the highest subscription rate on the IPO at the highest offering price. Many of the companies that have gone public are good businesses with strong fundamentals. (Like Sesame Street, boys and girls, "fundamentals" is my theme for the day!) So investors are still interested. And investors are interested in the ones waiting in the wings.

Hah! I was just joking about eating crow. The venture capital market for later stage companies is still going strong. Capitalize while you can. And I'll keep my eyes on the market.

An aside: I missed out on all of the IPOs. I'm on no one's special list it seems. But I'm poised to take advantage of the price drop. Like any good long term investor, I focus on the fundamentals (that word again) and buy low, sell high.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I'm the Founder! I'm Fired?!!

Great article at Inc.com entitled, Why Founders Get Fired. (I love Inc. magazine. It's a great strategic financial resource...and general business resource too.)

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The premise of the article is that the Larry Ellisons (Oracle) and Bill Gates (Microsoft) of the world are rare. Most founders of high growth companies are replaced. Obviously, if the company is acquired (see my comments yesterday on Selling to Large Companies: The 1-3 Year Lockup), the founder will is replaced, though not immediately. However, many companies that experience rapid growth outgrow the capabilities of their founders.

According to the article, "what helps a founder become so successful in launching a company—his or her passion—can also detract from big picture managerial skills it takes to scale the company."

and more: "The person who took that company from nothing to $5 million has done a daunting job, but that person, in the view of the VC, is very often not the person that will take them from $5 million to $100 million."

Why? The skill set needed to get from 0 to 5 is very different from the skill set needed to get from 5 to 50...or higher.

If you don't have investors in your company telling you someone else needs to head the company to make it larger, you could be your company's bottleneck to growth. It's hard to make such a self assessment, but it can be done. Sara Blakely is Spanx's founder and still the majority owner. Yet she ceded the CEO duties to someone else a few years ago. She realized she was the startup entrepreneur and now she focuses her energies on building the brand and relationships. She brought in an experienced CEO as a strategic, financial resource to help her build a sustainable enterprise. You may want to take a tip from her and the people quoted in the article and "fire" yourself. Your business may thank you for it.

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The Small Business CFO's Opinion on Negative Economic News

Ok. I'm here to provide the small business cfo's opinion on all the negative economic news out there. But first. PLEASE BEWARE. Everyone, especially business owners like to think that nothing strongly influences them without their consent. Not so. Studies show that people surrounded by negative thinkers tend to think negatively. And vice versa. Although the news is not a person, reading, listening to, and watching the same negative information over and over provides the same adverse impact on one's psyche as repeatedly engaging with and listening to a bunch of naysayers. What do most self-improvement books say about naysayers. You have to let them go! The same goes with the news. Don't let all that negativity wear you down and wear you out.

Worn_out_figure

As a small business cfo and business owner, I believe wholeheartedly in keeping my pulse on what's happening around the world financially and economically. But most of what the news is now is not reporting but pontificating. It's not: "The 2010 Census reported a xx% decrease in income." It's: "The Census' report means that income is trending downward and expected to do so for the next xx years." Comprende? 95% news. 5% opinion. If you ever read Freakanomics, you'll know that the vast majority of the economic pundits quoted in the news are wrong! Of course, you don't know they're wrong until 1,3, or 5 years later (the term of their predictions). By then most have forgotten what the pundits said. But Freakanomics tracked it. And so do I. (To a much lesser extent!)

From a small business cfo perspective, what you believe is what you get. People and businesses rise to the level of expectation. Your company finances will begin to reflect your thoughts.  If you allow all the negative reporting -including negative spin on positive results - to sink in, it could adversely impact your business. You may concede or give up. Remember, someone (or someones) is always doing well no matter how the economy is doing.

Any comments?

 

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Selling to a Large Company: The 1-3 Year Lockup

"Realize your business life is going to be different as a division of a big company; you can no longer make decisions unilaterally. You have to get used to working as a member of a team and occasionally putting the team's needs ahead of your own." Excerpted from the article "Inside the Mind of a Billion Dollar Acquirer"

I like this excerpt because it's so true. I've seen it over and over again. Most entrepreneurs with businesses sizable enough to sell to a Fortune 1000 entity are not corporate managers who made the leap into entrepreneurship after decades in corporate America. All that security suppresses the entrepreneurial urge. Most business owners who sell their companies to strategic buyers (which most corporate acquisitions are) started and ran the business for a number of years. S/he is used to being the head honcho. To now have to be a part of the team and use democratic decision making is usually very difficult.

I've seen business owners who can do so for one year, maybe two. After that they chomp at the bit. The malcontent rises and they often blame it on the acquirer when it is often their own issue. It's a misalignment. Entrepreneurs are not corporate managers. They can pretend to be so for a while, longer if they are given autonomy, but eventually clashes will occur.

This is not to say that a purchase which requires you to work for the strategic buyer is a bad thing. Just make sure you negotiate to keep the timeframe down to 1-2 years of active duty. If the acquirer needs more support, agree to do so on an as needed, consulting basis.

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Monday, September 12, 2011

New Social Sector Prize – Applications Open

 What: Barry & Marie Lipman Family Prize, administered by the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania

Who is eligible: A social sector organization (nonprofit, NGO, civil society, social enterprise, etc.) building a successful track record towards creating sustainable solutions to significant social and economic challenges — with an emphasis on transferability and impact of practices. Organizations from around the globe are encouraged to apply ,

Prize: $100,000 to the winner + a non-monetary award package that includes educational opportunities and other supports.

For the winner, this prize will help bring its work to a larger audience, attract new potential donors, and provide resources that will help it scale the work or improve its organizational sustainability.

Deadline: Apply by September 30, 2011.

This is the first year of a new annual prize.

For more information, click here.

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Want More for Your Business? Strengthen the Financials

"The price an investor is willing to pay for an asset relates to how risky he or she perceives the future stream of profits to be: the riskier the investment, the higher the return an investor will demand." Excerpted from "The Math Behind Your Company Valuation"

When pursuing financing or the sale- whole or partial- of your business, please keep this excerpt in mind. You may think your business is an amazing investment. However, try to look at your company from an investor perspective in order to determine if this belief is based on concrete information or just on your love of the business.

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Another excerpt: "But when buying one relatively risky business rather than a balanced portfolio, investors will expect a much higher return on their money. For illustrative purposes, imagine an investor is looking for a 50 percent return for buying your business because he or she deems your future stream of profits to be very risky (or the likelihood of you meeting the targets very uncertain)."

When individuals and companies buy companies, they typically pay for businesses based on their past performance. However, they are buying because they think they can command a fairly high return on the business either through cash flow (rare) or through the increase in price when they sell the business or take it public. And yes, the riskier the business, the higher the expected return.

"In the end, as a business owner, you have three levers to manipulate in order to increase the value of your business for a financial buyer: how much profit you expect to make in the future, the rate of growth of your profit each year, and the degree of risk associated with your future profit stream." Excerpted from "The Math Behind Your Company Valuation"

If you want to position your company for sale at an optimal price for you as the selling business owner(s), whether it's to a financial or strategic buyer, an individual or a larger company, or to an ESOP, you need to strengthen your financials. Buyers look at trends. Using the above, if you can increase your profit margin from 7% to 12% before you sell, you increase the cash flow now. Cash flow is what largely determines the sale price. (There are industry exceptions to this rule.) This also increases future profits, making the buyer more comfortable and warranting today's higher price tag. If your revenues grew from $3 million to $5 million as your profit margins increased, you now have a much higher bottom line growth rate. If you then also expand your customer base and reduce your reliance on your top 5 customers from 60% of the revenue to 45%, you've reduced the risk of a significant adverse impact if you lose a customer, thus lowering the risk of the future profit stream.

Check back tomorrow when I provide some basic valuations to further illustrate the point.

 

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Friday, September 9, 2011

Raising Money: "They Want My ..."

Yesterday I was speaking to a friend and former mentor of mine. We were discussing raising money, both from the business owner's perspective and from the angel's perspective. (My friend has been both a business owner and an angel investor.) The outcome is that I will be interviewing her and her husband in the next few weeks and posting those interviews for all to see and learn from. She is a consummate start-up and growth phase entrepreneur. Her husband is the growth phase to sell CEO type. This friend, Sharon, is a hoot and uses quite colorful language.

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One comment Sharon made that I'd never heard her express before was the following, "I didn't know they would want my panties." LOL Yes, that was my initial reaction. What the f__? Who and why? Did we change the subject from talking about raising startup capital and pursuing angel investors to something else I wasn't sure of? I said as much to Sharon and she explained, "I didn't know they (angel investors) would want so much from me. They wanted to lock up all they could." In other words, it felt like they'd take her underwear if she allowed them. Whew!

I've heard from a lot of entrepreneurs that raising capital is difficult. Sharon raised a lot of capital during the pre-revenue stage where you typically give up more because you have less to show. I spend most of my time working with transitioning businesses, not startups, so it was interesting to hear this perspective. Funny how you know someone well for 14 years but still get surprised.

Any comments on your own early capital raising experiences?

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Logistics in the Information Age: Complexities in the Retail Supply Chain


The Wharton Club of Atlanta
is pleased to forward the following invitation from the
MIT Enterprise Forum of Atlanta

Logistics in the Information Age: Complexities in the Retail Supply Chain


Date: Thursday, September 8, 2011

Agenda: 5:30 p.m. VIP Reception
6:00 - 7:00 p.m. General Networking
7:00 – 8:30 p.m. Program/Webcast

Venue: Georgia Public Broadcasting
260 14th Street NW
Atlanta, GA 30318

Sponsor: Manhattan Associates


Consumers today have more choices & information than ever.  From online shopping to in-store promotions, technology has become tightly intertwined.  Come be part of the studio audience to explore how retailers react to consumer base that is increasingly demanding.  How do they craft offers that cut through the clutter and influence the buying decision?  Most importantly, what are the implications for managing a global supply chain amid so much complexity?

Event speakers will share their insight on how technology can be used to help solve the complex supply chain challenges found in today’s global markets. The featured speakers include:

  • Mark Holifield, Senior Vice President of Supply Chain, The Home Depot
  • Brian Kinsella, Senior Director of Product Management, Manhattan Associates, and
  • Damon Schechter, CEO, Shipwire.

More details and registration for this Atlanta event: www.mitforumatlanta.org.

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Today, 9/8/11: Small Business Financing Q&A Call

Join me, Tiffany C. Wright, your cash management CFO, on Thursday, Sept. 8 for our inaugural monthly Small/Medium Business Finance conference call.

Question_mark
This 1st call will be a 1-hour Q&A session where you can ask any business financing or related questions you can think of. Can't think of any? Join in and listen to others' questions ...and the answers. It just may give you the information you need for your own business financing or cash management needs.

When: Thursday, September 8, 2011, 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Where: Dial-in Number: (209) 647-1000
Participant Access Code: 318632#

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Business Financing Q&A Call

Join me, Tiffany C. Wright, your cash management CFO, on Thursday, Sept. 8 for our inaugural monthly Small/Medium Business Finance conference call.

Question_mark
This 1st call will be a 1-hour Q&A session where you can ask any business financing or related questions you can think of. Can't think of any? Join in and listen to others' questions ...and the answers. It just may give you the information you need for your own business financing or cash management needs.

When: Thursday, September 8, 2011, 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Where: Dial-in Number: (209) 647-1000
Participant Access Code: 318632#

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Tiffany C. Wright Explores Business Financing Options in New Kindle eBook | PRLog

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Tiffany C. Wright Explores Financing Options in New Kindle eBook

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Toca Family Business Services

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http://www.tocafamilyservices.com *e-mail: info@tocafamilyservices.com

(404) 642-0509  * Fax (801) 407-0381

 

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Toccata Murphy

Office: 404-642-0509

e-mail: info@tocafamilyservices.com

 

Tiffany C. Wright Explores Financing Options in New Kindle eBook

 

Entrepreneur and author Tiffany C. Wright spent the last several years advising small and medium business owners about company finances. It is their biggest concern according to her experience. Her prospects and clients cite working capital and expansion capital as their number one issue. Now she takes that experience in a book that speaks to many of the concerns businesses have. “Solving the Capital Equation: Financing Solutions for Small Businesses” is written in the same easy manner in which the author speaks.

Ms. Wright thinks the timing of the book is highly relevant. “I’ve read numerous articles about how difficult it is for small and medium business owners to obtain a bank loan or access other large corporation options. It is true that there are fewer small community banks due to the financial meltdown that started in early 2007 with the housing debacle. However, a large number of debt and equity financing options still exist, some which did not exist a few years ago.”

Ms. Wright sees business owners adopting the same doom and gloom perspective on the economy portrayed in the media, despite evidence of improving revenues for small and medium businesses. But she warns them to be careful. “Most business owners are by nature financially conservative. There is a lot they cannot predict so they act accordingly. It is easy for business owners to adopt the same gloomy outlook for their small and medium businesses. However, they must resist this tendency. These owners tend to be very creative and solution-oriented in other areas of their business. They must bring this same creative can-do approach to their business financing.”

Solving the Capital Equation: Financing Solutions for Small Businesses is now available on Kindle. The ebook offers 25 real-life case studies and examples of traditional and creative financing including community bank loans, co-operative funding, supplier and seller financing, and bartering.

This is Tiffany C. Wright’s first Kindle book. She is the president of Toca Family Business Services, an interim C-level management provider and business advisory firm. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia wither her Rottweiler Shaka.

eBook Statistics

Title:                    Solving the Capital Equation

Subtitle:               Financing Solutions for Small Businesses

Author:                Tiffany C. Wright

 

Category:            Business/Finance

Length:               168 pages

Retail price:         $14.95

Additions:           Checklists, websites, appendix, index   

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Beware: FTC Email is a Malicious Scam

I received the malicious FTC email earlier today so I thought it important to pass this on. Fortunately, I was not a victim of the scam. I now always check the link before I click on it. I make sure that what the link purports to connects to is exactly what it does connect to. When I did that, I saw that the link sent you to some crazy long website address with a bunch of letters and numbers that had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the FTC url it claimed to send you to. I recommend that you do the same checking, if you don't already do so.

Here's an excerpt from a Mashable blog post about this malicious email.:

"The email’s subject line says “URGENT: Pending Consumer Complaint!” The body reads:

“Dear business owner, A consumer complaint has been filled against your company. Your company is being accused of trying to commit fraud against the complaint’s filling party. The full text of the complaint file can be viewed on the FTC website, in PDF format, by visiting the following link.”

After a malicious link, the reader is urged to call a FTC help hotline, use a secure online complaint form or email complaints to the FTC. It’s likely that people worried about their business’s supposed fraudulent activity would be most likely to respond to the message.

“One business owner said when they clicked on the link their computer immediately froze — that’s never a good sign.” Torok says, demanding a careful examination.

The FTC posted advisories on its phone line, social accounts and blog, saying the email message is a scam and warning recipients not to open the message."

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Opening a New Location? Consider This

Trying to figure out whether or not you should open another location? Well, here's an excerpt or two from an Inc.com article on the subject. My, my, how timely, eh? The article had some good pointers.

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"You have a reliable person to run the second location.

Since opening a second location is actually more like starting up an entirely new business, Loos believes it's important that the owner is present during the early stages of the second location to help it launch."

I agree with this, to some extent. If you have a manager or member of your executive team who is passionate about the business and, you surmise, needs a continual challenge to stay fully engaged, by all means have that individual go open up the new location. But don't abdicate. Provide clear goals, expectations, and guidance at the outset and be available to support him or her as needed or wanted.


"You have sufficient cash flow."

Open up a new location when you have the operational or financial cash flow to do so. If you are expanding rapidly, you may be generating insufficient operational cash flow to support physical expansion. But if that new location is strategically vital to your company's objectives, then you may have already tapped a bank line of credit, investors, etc. to support your rollout. If not, do so. Sometimes new locations do become self-supporting within a month but that's rare. Be prepared to lose money the first 6-9 months by ensuring you have sufficient business cash flow from another source. That way, you or your team won't feel compelled to pull the plug right before the new location takes off.

For more thoughts on opening a new Location, check out the article, When to Open a New Location on Inc.com.

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