Is your business prepared for a disaster?

A couple of years ago the world watched as New Orleans almost became the ‘Lost City of Atlantis’. Hurricane Katrina almost completely destroyed this historic city on the Mississippi. Homes, lives, and businesses were lost in the matter of just a few days. Many of those businesses had enough warning to enable them to move vital information to secure spots. Unfortunately, many more chose to ‘stick it out’ in hopes that the storm and surge would pass by them. Most people who live along coastal waterways know there is the possibility that they will be subject to some kind of

Business Costs

When starting a new business, many have problems deciding how much money they need. They may have a figure in mind, but if they have never owned their own venture before, they may have no idea about hidden business costs. These can be small, or they can be very large and troublesome. Most figure out what they know, but far too many fail to do proper research before they take out a loan to start their own company or service. This usually means they will fail because they run out of money. Business costs can be something like Monopoly money.

Innovation in the Family Business

A danger in any business is stagnation. As our business becomes more successful, we become more comfortable with our surroundings and less motivated to change from existing practices. Family businesses are no exception: Starting out on an entrepreneurial high, family businesses are widely recognized as a major source of technological innovation and economic progress. But somewhere in the process we lose the drive, the desire to continually bring innovative practices and products to our organization. Owners may become more concerned about the risk of losing their business, than the prospect of growing it into a larger and more successful entity.

What Really Makes My Business Tick? 8 Questions Every CEO Should Ask

The US Army’s motto of “Be all you can be” served them well for years. But it applies equally well to any businesses, organizations, and even families for that matter. Many organizations see themselves as somewhat contented with the way things are, but of course it’s hard to think of anything else when there are real issues to be discussed. Still, for our businesses, we aspire for something deeper and more meaningful. In our businesses, we all have issues and challenges to overcome. But that should not keep us from striving to become not only all that we can be,

The 80 – 20 Rule – Don’t Abandon the 80

The 80/20 rule, otherwise known as “Pareto’s Principle” is going through a revival. Marketers, business analysts, and academics are all calling for an increased focus on this seemingly, set in gold, business and life ‘standard’. In simple terms, what the 80/20 rule says is that 80 percent of the work done, or sales made, or service given (depending on your industry or point of view) is performed by 20 percent of employees, customers, or clients. In other words, from a business perspective, the vast majority of your revenue, and hence profit, should be coming from a mere 20% of your

Is an Online Education Right For You? Choosing an Online Education, Part 1

Whether you know it or not, you have spent your whole life learning. You just may not have a fancy printed certificate hanging on your wall to show for it. Is now the time to make that step to get your degree? Taking that step in the past was a scary, and for many, impossible, feat. You don’t have the time to attend classes at night, you cannot afford the tuition and travel expenses, or maybe you are uncomfortable in a classroom setting. With the advent of the internet, learning online may be the key to achieving your goals and

Will rising fuel costs spur an increase in telecommuting?

The dream of working from home in your pajamas has probably been on the back of almost every ‘white collar’ worker at some point in their career. Not having to hassle with spending an hour or more in the car every day just to get to and from the office has always sounded pretty good. But that dream has never turned into a reality for most people. Even as recently as 2006 some suggested that there was more myth than reality to the idea of telecommuting and flexible work schedules (Gragg, 2006). However, as gas prices have risen past the

What is Management Consulting?

The world of management consulting at times appears to be clouded with uncertainty and confusion; it can require the patience of Job and the Wisdom of Solomon, the serenity of Gandhi and the confidence of Churchill, all at the same time. It can also be the most rewarding experience outside of family that a person can have. Seeing the impact a successful project implementation can have on an organization, even beyond the monetary rewards, makes the headaches and frustrations all worth it. The experience of being part of something that not only impacts your own life but the lives of

If it ain’t broke you may need to fix it

Normally, the old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is a well heeded thought. Unfortunately that is not always the case when it comes to technology. Recently a client brought to us a computer that was extremely old. This computer had been working for many years and was used to control equipment used in a manufacturing environment. There had been no need to monitor how this equipment was functioning, or the software it was running, because it ‘simply worked’. The problem that now surfaced was that this particular computer was failing. Simple enough to solve; or at least

10 Things You Should Know Before You Bid On a Business Product from an Online Auction

Recently I spoke with someone who had purchased a car through an online auction house. Unfortunately they found out too late that the car was not what it was supposed to be. They attempted to cancel the check, they wrote, before it was actually sent from the bank, but it was too late. Buying something on an auction site can be a thrilling adventure. You may have the opportunity to buy something at a price far below the normal cost of that item. You may also find items that are not available through normal stores and retailers. You also need

The 1st Year is the Hardest

Who doesn’t dream of owning their very own business? John is a successful small business owner, making a tidy profit off of ownership of a chain of restaurants in Chicago. He is living the American dream, you might say, but getting to that point was like a nightmare.

It’s been a tradition in his family to own small businesses – or at least to try. His uncle ran a small construction company, another uncle ran a furniture store, but when John started his business, times were so lean that neither of them had any work for his cousin who was looking for a summer job. His cousin was in high school, but there wasn’t much for him to do but follow the mind-numbing American tradition of flipping burgers that summer – that is, until John called him.

At the time, John showed off, pretending he had charmed the money to start the business out of a bunch of wealthy investors. Now his cousin know that he probably just got a small business license, but he was so taken by his finesse growing up, that he believed him. The first month of work was just getting the shack he rented up to health code. There were birds nesting in the walls and rats in the floor, but finally it was sparkling clean and ready for business.

The first week, nothing worked out. Opening day was deserted, the fryer broke, the power even went out once for six hours! It seemed John’s small business had a small run. All summer was spent just trying to get the place on its feet. Finally, his cousin had to go back to school.

So what worked for John? Plain old persistence. He worked day and night, posted flyers all over town, sent out circulars, and made connections everywhere he went. There was never a “big break”, but rather, a series of little ones which added up to success. He was featured once in the entertainment section of the local newspaper. He sponsored a little league team, and found his place soon patronized not only by them, but by several of their rivals every week after practice. Soon he was opening up a second restaurant on the other side of town, and then a third. It took him years of hard work, and twice he almost went under. But he’s always told his counsin that hard work just made the success that much sweeter.

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