How To Start A Business With Absolutely No Experience

One popular belief is that you need tons of experience, expertise, and knowledge to start a business. The opposite is true. While it helps to go to school and learn the tricks of the trade, it does not necessarily mean that you cannot start a business because you do not have a degree. The important things to remember are, you need to research, ask the right questions, and get the best advice you can.

What are the right questions to ask? Below are ten questions to ask to get you started. Of course there will be many more as you go, but at least you have something to start with. First, you should ask yourself, how do you start a business without experience? Next is, what are some things you need to do to get started? The third question is, what are the legal matters you must know in order to get started? Fourth, what do you need to know about your target audience?

Moving forward, five is, how do you commit yourself to a market solution, not just a small idea? Number six is, how do you choose your industry wisely? Seven asks how do you build street credibility (also what is it)? Eight is what free resources can you rely on? Nine is when will you know you need to see outside help? Last but not least, number ten is how do you put your strengths to work? Below I go more into detail with these questions.

How To Start A Business Without Experience?

Think about what you already know about business. Use your work experience as a guide. Maybe there are things you have witnessed or realized that was not part of your daily tasks which you can use for your business. For instance, have you ever listened to what others are saying while you are at the office? Whether you listen to coworkers or supervisors talking at work, there is most likely some bits about doing business that you have picked up on.

You may not even be aware of some things you learned about doing business. Maybe you have heard complaints about what went wrong in the workplace – something you may have a solution for. Or maybe you heard someone say, “I wish ‘it’ can be done this way”; even though “it” can be done their way, they may have been told they weren’t allowed to.

What are some things you need to do to get started?

Research is the most important thing to do. First, ask the right questions. This is all part of the research process. You may research questions you need to have answers for if you do not know what questions to ask. It is okay to search on Google or Bing and quickly search for important questions to ask when starting a business.

There are many resources on the Internet or your local library that you can use to get started. Make certain your sources are reliable however. If you are reading an article and you can sense the information is totally outrageous, then you can come to a quick conclusion that it is probably not the right source to use.

When reading any article, however, make a note of the different points it makes. Whatever is clear and understandable is fine, but whatever you do not understand, take that point and do more research on it. See if what was written was also said by somewhere else. Sometimes having a few people say the same or similar things can give you an indication the information may be something worth keeping in mind.

Another thing you will need to get started is legal advice. Never assume that what you learned where you work or what you think is okay is legal. Start off on the right foot and do business according to the law. You want to avoid being that person who did something illegal and now has a reputation as such plastered all over the World Wide Web.

What are the legal matters you must know in order to get started?

It is impossible to know everything about the law. Speak to a lawyer if they give free consultations and ask them what you should know. Ethics play a role here too. There are many gray areas which are prevalent in ethics. For instance, what do you tell a customer if you promised them a shipment by a certain date even though you already knew there is a possibility it cannot be fulfilled? You already promised it, but you know it may not happen.

If you say you are going to do something, you need to do it. That is the bottom line. Give your customers quality products in a timely manner. Do not always rush to get the job done. Sometimes there are moments when you have to rush, but don’t let it happen if it is not necessary. For the most part, the only time you will need to rush is when the customer requests it.

What do you need to know about your target audience?

What are their interests? Do some research and see if there are any typical or general interests the target audience has. If you already know them or know their interests, then you are ahead of the game. Of course, since you are the expert in your niche, or should be, you will know a lot about their interests already.

You can do some research on social media to find out what their interests are as well. Facebook has groups and so does Twitter. Find a group related to your niche and observe it to see what people are talking about. Use this as advice on what types of products or services to market as well.

The best advice for using social media groups to learn more about your target audience is not to join any group and post on there asking all kinds of questions. For instance, you don’t want to join a group and then ask everyone to give their opinion about their favorite game, or gadget. Just observe first, and then engage in the conversation as you would with a friend. Get to know people first, and then ask them questions here and there. It is all about patience.

How do you commit yourself to a market solution, not just a small idea?

You need to ask yourself certain questions before trying an idea to see if it works. What problems does your target market have? Once you can pinpoint the problem, then you can look for solutions. Most likely, you will not find any market without faults. There are plenty of problems that need to be resolved. Even the competition cannot resolve every issue out there.

Many entrepreneurs begin with a lot of “strong domain” experience but little to no business experience. Being in business is about finding solutions. That is what sets the strong businesses apart from the others. You do not want to sell just anything because you observe that it makes someone else nice profits.

You have to have a passion about it for one thing, and you want to give them something that will resolve an issue they may have. This issue can be from something they bought somewhere else, or it can be an issue they have had for a period of time and need a solution for it. There may not even be a problem, so it may just come down to differentiating your product from the rest.

How do you choose your industry wisely?

Choose something that does not just interest your target market. You should have an interest in it too. More than just a little interest, you need to like the products or services that are out there in the market. If you do not like the products or services the market has to offer, how will you feel when you are doing business with the people who are interested in them?

I would say you would not seem too enthusiastic to your customers and potential customers. People will pick up on that and it can break the business relationships you worked so hard to make. So please do yourself a favor and do not get wrapped up in an industry that you do not have an utmost passion about.

How do you build street credibility (cred for short)?

You need to let people know who you are. This pertains to building relationships with your customers, and since you are new with the business, you will build relationships with potential customers. Spend some time before launching your big business idea learning more about your industry and the people who spend money there.

You can always try selling other people’s products first – as an affiliate marketer and learn something new about the products you sell them. When you have enough knowledge and you are talking about the product online (such as on your blog), this will help build street credibility as the people who read it will feel you know what you are talking about.

What free resources can you rely on?

Networking is a great free resource. Talking to others in the industry and learning new things about it will be to your advantage. You should also ask for advice. Before you jump right in and start asking for advice however, break the ice with some small talk first. Get to know some people before asking a lot of business questions.

In fact, you can treat this more like a social outing because you do not want to only try to get information from people. This may actually turn them off and they will not want to give you any information.

Other than networking, you can also consider resources that are low cost instead of free. Sometimes Universities offer free or low cost coursework, books, or seminars. I would definitely look into this if you were not sure how to network. Here is where you can ask a bunch of questions because that is what is encouraged at school.

When will you know you need to seek outside help?

As you should realize, you will need a business plan. When creating your business plan, it is always best to ask for help with it. For example, a gentleman named Evan Solida founded a company called Cerevellum back in early 2009. His invention was a digital rear-view mirror for bicycles.

Naturally, Mr. Solida wanted to save money any way he could, so he used Internet resources to create his plan and also draft his legal documents. With much frustration and use of a lot of his time, he then decided it would be better to pay for a professional to help with both tasks.

The business plan needs to meet certain criteria; especially if this is a business you need a grant for or a small loan. Banks and agencies that approve grants want to see a solid plan before they take the risk to lend or give you money. It is the same thing when you or anyone else will invest in a company. You want to see their annual report, which gives you this information and more.

You know that investing in any company is a risk, but you should not want to take too much of a risk. You also do not want to risk that your business plan is of poor quality. Not just for your customers’ sake, but for the future of your business. All the financials and marketing need to be taken care of from the start. Otherwise, you will need to back track and it will waste a lot of valuable time which you could be spending making money.

How do you put your strengths to work?

Think about what your strengths really are. Is it planning the business, giving creative ideas, or being the solutions finder? Maybe your strength is marketing, but whatever your strengths are, put them to work for you. Work on the strengths first and when you have mastered one, then you can move on to another. Otherwise, it will take you much longer to get things running smoothly.

Putting a business together takes time and patience. Do not try to put it together too quickly. You want to be focused and organized, as this will help you to be “well planned.” A business with a strong plan is more likely to succeed than something you just threw together in an hour.

For your Information

Now you know at least ten questions to ask. These questions were given to you for basic information and a foundation to get started. Now I want to give you some ideas as to what goes into a business plan. This is so you know what to expect and you can at least try and draft one on your own. Remember, it is best to get a professional to do this for you, but you still need to know what goes into it so you know if the one written for you has everything it should.

Below I am going to list different sections of the business plan and explain a little but about each section. The more you know about the business plan, the better prepared you will be. Remember, if you want to start a business without experience, this is where you can learn much of the information you will need to get started. So let us move forward.

Not all business plans are created equal, but you will at least have basic information to include. Once you begin your plan, it will change over time and also remember; you will not know everything that needs to be included as to why I suggest getting a professional to help with it. Below are some sections you will want to include.

Executive Summary

The executive summary will tell the person reading the plan what you want for your business. A big mistake often made is burying this information somewhere else in the plan. The summary needs to explain certain things from the start so you need to be clear and concise in the very beginning.

Keep the summary short and businesslike and no more than half of a page. Depending on how complicated or detailed you need to be about how you will use your funds may make the summary a bit longer. As a general rule of thumb however, and since you are just starting out, you only need your summary to be half of a page.

There are some other key elements that need to be included in the plan. They are as follows: business concept, financial features, financial requirements, current business position, and major achievements. These are not the ones I will focus on too much, but just something to keep in mind.

Business Description

Not to be confused with the executive summary, you usually begin this section with a short description of the industry. So this is not really beginning with just your business, but rather how the industry plays a role in your business.

You will want to describe the industry and discuss the outlook and future possibilities of what will go on. This is all gathered from what happened in the past, so it is a prediction of what could happen or is most likely to happen because of business trends. Also, provide information about all the various markets within the industry.

So what you want to talk about is new products and developments that will benefit or affect your business in a positive way. Make sure to get the most reliable data for this part and always list your sources. I’ll talk more about sources later in this article, as they are important, but I want the focus to be on the different sections of the plan first.

How you will Profit

The main reason for having a business is to make a profit. All businesspersons need to ask themselves, “How do I make money?” When you ask this question, it should open your mind and help you realize the different ways to bring in income. You do not need a huge section just on this topic, but you want to explain factors, which you think will make you successful in making money.

Before presenting the business plan, you want to explain any equity and debt the business will incur and also explain how this will help make your business more profitable. Also include ways you want to expand your business or make it grow using the equity or debt. As an Internet marketer, you probably will not incur much debt or any at all. It depends solely on what you need to get started.

Defining your Market Strategies

Marketing strategies are based on a thorough study of the market. This will help you become very familiar with all parts of the market, including the target market. Defining whom your target market is will be very important so you can earn your share of the sales.

When you are defining your market strategies, you will need to, at some point, determine the pricing of your products and or services. A market analysis will help you to determine the pricing. It is also important to know how you compare to your competition and if you can beat them in pricing or not.

Market Share Projection

As mentioned earlier, when you are describing your industry of choice, you want to discuss the outlook and future possibilities. This information will be gathered on past happenings. So your projections are based on what happened previously in the industry.

Believe it or not, your market share projection is also based on your competition as well as promotional strategies. You can look at how much advertising is done, how it is done, and also research how much it will cost you to advertise the same way. You can always come up with different ways to advertise, but you need a benchmark to start out from.

Position of the Business

When talking about your marketing strategy, you will find it is impossible not to talk about the position of your business. What motivates your target and what they require will affect your company’s position in the market. Again, there are more questions that need to be asked and answered to understand this better.

A few questions to ask are: how are your competitors positioning themselves? What specific attributes do your products and services have that the competition does not have? What needs does your product fulfill for the customer? After you answer these basic questions, you can then begin to develop your business’ position in the market and write about it on the plan.

Pricing

I’ve touched a little about pricing earlier, but now I want to give you more detail about it. The price tag you place on your items, whether it is a product or service, will directly affect the success of your business. Strategies for pricing can be very complex, however, the rules are very basic and straightforward.

You must be able to cover costs, lowering costs will lower sales prices, and prices must reflect changes in the market and respond to the demand of your market. Prices must also be established to help assure sales. The longevity of your products, utility, and maintenance must be reviewed on a regular basis and adjust the prices according to the market.

Prices are used to keep the market in order, so this is the last, but not least important strategy to keep in mind when determining your prices. You do not want to just slap a price tag on something because you think people will buy it for the value of it. You have to be in competition with other businesses and play the game strategically.

Distribution

This part is for you, mainly if you are selling physical goods. Since there are many of you out there that may sell goods on eBay or your own website or blog, this is why I need to talk about this section. So what is distribution exactly? It is the entire process of when a product is manufactured to when it is in the hands of the end user – the customer. There are different channels that make up distribution.

Having a strong distribution of products definitely helps you get an edge in your share of the market. The fast the products can go from production to the customer the better. Make sure the products are of quality though because you do not want the customer constantly returning the goods.

Promotional Planning

Advertisements of any kind are all included in the promotional planning. How you distribute the communication about your business is also part of it. The way in which this is designed will result in attracting the right people to do business with.

Some other things that you may not be aware of that are part of promoting your business is how you package your products. Public relations are also included here. Most of the things you are familiar with are advertising, sales promotions, and personal sales. Each strategy is different in its own respect, but very important in the final outcome of the promotion.

Potential Sales

After thoroughly analyzing the market, you need to make a determination using a quantitative outlook, which concerns your own business’, potential. An initial projection in your plan must be formed based on the position of the product, price, distribution (for physical goods), sales strategies, and how the market is defined.

Competition Analysis

You first need to identify who your competition is. Gather a list of companies that sell the same products or ones that are very similar. For this section, you will make a statement of your business strategy and how it relates to your competition. The main purpose of this part is to pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of your competition. Knowing this will only help you improve the weaknesses for your own sake.

S.W.O.T. Analysis

A S.W.O.T. analysis is very important for developing your business and keeps it running to its full potential. For those of you who are not familiar with what this is, “S” stands for strengths, “W” is for weaknesses, “O” is for opportunities, and “T” is for Threats. You not only need to learn about the strengths and weaknesses of your competition as you do with competitive analysis, but you also have to realize your own.

The opportunities and threats are more directly related to your competition. You can look at it as the opportunity you have in the midst of all the competition and what it is about your competition that can be a threat to your own place in the market.

Design Plan

Investors need a description of your company’s product design and also its development. Within the section, there needs to be a chart showing the development of the product or service. You will also need to include a budget showing how the company will reach goals.

Product and or Service Development Goals

If you are selling physical products, you will need to list the goals here. You can also list the strategies involved for reaching certain goals for a service business. Your goals should be centered on technical and marketing aspects of your products and or services. You need this as an outline for your business partners, or for yourself if you are a sole proprietor, so you know how to work on things to reach your goals.

Budget

Budgets are very important, as you want to make sure you have the funds available to do business in the first place. You also want to have a plan as you make money as to where the money will go in order to help your business grow and to continuously develop and improve it.

If you are designing a product, you need to account for all the costs that will be involved in creating the product, take it to production, and get it to the customer. As for service, you will need to make sure you have the money to get a business plan written, what equipment you may need to help you with your services, and if you need a brick and mortar building to cater to the needs of your clients.

Knowing how each dollar is being spent is very crucial. Proper planning can only help your business while poor planning is very destructive. I have learned that about half of all businesses started will fail within their first year. You can help avoid this with proper budgeting.

Risk Assessment

What risks are involved in either producing products or offering services? During the stages of development of your product or service there will be some risks you need to be aware of. Risks involved with the creation of products usually happen with the technical development of the product. For services, it is usually in the strategies for planning the types of services you offer.

Income Statement

This is a very simple and straightforward report, which shows your business’ cash generating abilities. It shows how well your company does in the financial spectrum and is a financial picture of when sales are made and when expenses occur. It helps you better plan for the future of your business as well.

The income statement is a multi-purpose report giving you a bigger picture of how your business is doing overall. Always use this as a guide from year to year and you will get an idea of what changes need to be made.

Other Sections

There are other sections that need to be written in the business plan. There is just no way to talk about all of them in detail here. I simply talked about some sections that I feel are very important to get started with. All the sections of the business plan play an important role in the overall planning of your business from start to finish.

Some other sections that were not mentioned above are as follows:

Procedures
Scheduling and Costs
Personnel
Operations and Management
And more
To find out everything you need in your plan, you have to talk to a professional and do a thorough research about it. You may not be able to include everything you want, and different business types require different information to be included in the plan.

Sources

You will need reliable sources to get the information for your business plan. Reliable sources do not include blogs or articles you found in article directories. You can use them to get some information, but you will need to research more on what they tell you. You should never list them as a source for your plan though.

Another source you can use to get basic information for this section is Wikipedia, but is should only be used as a base for the information. On sites like that, anyone can add and edit information so you are never sure how accurate it is, thus the reason not to list it as one of your sources.

Reliable sources are peer reviewed articles, information gathered from networking with other business professionals, and consulting a professional who has been in the business for a long time that can write your plan.

Checklist For Starting A Business With No Experience

Here is a checklist of the different things you will need to get started on your business in a box. The most important is the business plan because you need to know what goes into production and what you need to get your services up and running.

First, answer the following ten key questions:

How do you start a business without experience?
What are some things to do to get started?
What are the legal matters you must know in order to get started?
What do you need to know about your target audience?
How do you commit yourself to a market solution not just a small idea?
How do you choose your industry wisely?
How do you build street credibility?
What free resources can you rely on?
When will you know you need to seek outside help?
How do you put your strengths to work?
Also remember, the most important aspect to any business is to be well planned and prepared. The most important thing you can do for your business is to create a business plan. Ask yourself and answer these questions:

How do I write a business plan?
What are the sections to the plan?
How will each section help me?
Are all business plans created equal?
Where can I go to get a plan designed for me?
What else do I need to know?
Always be prepared as that is the most important thing to start a business. Think about how you learned to start a business with no experience by reading this article. If you read between the lines, all the information you need is out there. I have just gathered some information together to get you started. Nothing will happen instantly and everything you need to do will require some effort on your part.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Online Presence And Reputation Are Key Factors Behind Successful Businesses

Online directories can be quite beneficial for startups and small business firms. Business owners just need to understand how online business directories work. Online directories are site submission services which allow businesses’ sites to be added to particular categories where the websites become easy for interested visitors to search.

Web directories and their importance

Online business directories let the target traffic to search for businesses and websites which they want to know more about or find interesting. Adding a business’s site to an online directory can increase the site’s online visibility. Moreover, online business directories can make it simple and easy to find what people are searching for.

The concept of such business directories is a simple one. These directories are quite similar to the Yellow Pages. Online business directories are just listing places for business websites. Any kind of site can be listed in online directories. Some directories are enormous and cover all topics that people can create websites for. On the other hand, there are small online directories that cover only a particular niche.

Get listed in a web directory to improve your business performance

To keep it straight, online business directories can direct people to any site which they want to find. People just need to search for particular categories or different types of categories till they find the kind of sites they are searching for. When someone browses through an online directory, they will be given lists of sites which relate to their keyword. They will also be given a list of links to the sites. These links will also have short descriptions about the websites. People can go through these descriptions and decide which one they want to choose.

Online reputation is vital any business these days

Exposure is a vital requirement of all kinds of marketing strategies. In fact, when people are more exposed to a business, they most likely will make use of the business’s services. When a business doesn’t have a proper online presence and online reputation, even its existence might not be known to people. If this happens, then business has great chances to become a failure.

Listing businesses’ sites in online business directories can help sites in gaining exposure. Tons of online visitors get to make use of such directories for finding things that interest them. These are prospect buyers who actively search for sites which are related to services or products that one’s business may be all about. Web directories can expose businesses to the target visitors. Hence, websites will get an increased amount of target online traffic. Apart from getting listed in online business directories, it is also important for businesses to have positive reviews online.

What more you need to boost your business

There are a few important reasons why businesses should take advantage of reputable online business directories for getting more prospects. On a daily basis, prospective customers keep searching for different types of business for finding solutions to their problems. This is when they may come across online business directories that may list of the types of sites they are in need of.

Make sure your business has positive reviews online

When potential customers find businesses on the internet, they go through online reviews for making sure that they get in touch with the right company or people. When businesses have good reviews on the internet can build their credibility. Such reviews can also let people know that businesses are reliable so that they can trust them. In addition to increased online exposure and positive reviews, online business directories don’t bother people’s budget.

Money matters at the end of the day

There are loads of online directories which can be used by business owners for free to list their businesses. This is one aspect that makes online directories one best marketing strategies, when it comes to running a business successfully. Any small business owner who wants to improve the online reputation and presence of his or her business may utilize the service of an online business directory.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Double-Digit Growth in a Slow Economy – A Few Great Businesses Are Doing It

Slow market growth leads to a great deal of uncertainty for business leaders. One thing that is certain is the need to find growth on the earnings line of your business. In the period of 2013 – 2015 the topic was topline growth. Our economy had been sluggish for long enough that we were all eager to get back to growth and a few critical sectors began to grow at an encouraging rate. Pent up demand was a source of optimism. Housing, one of the larger engines for overall economic growth was coming back at growth rates of 15-20%. Automotive had been recovering as well and companies started doubling-down on growth in their top line after several years of stagnation. Enjoying the rising tide is a good start, but growth only when the economy gives it to you isn’t a recipe for long-term success. You are a genius on the rise and most blame external forces on the decline. Being well positioned for the economic lifts and lulls is critical, but outperforming the market is where your company stands out.

Growth in a flat market? Yes. In fact, there are opportunities that exist in that environment that make it very achievable. The sheer fact that competitors may limit their investments can actually open up opportunities, but you have to be in a different mindset than those competitors. One of the example companies we will discuss had experienced a revenue decline over three consecutive years reaching an overall decline of 37%. The timing was such that the economic news covered what was actually occurring, share loss in the core of the business. Using the techniques in this series of articles this business roared back to a growth oriented business with growth rates of 19% annually and EBIT growth of 5x. The success in revenue gains was so rapid, the company reached 100% market share with its number one and number three customers and 60% with its second largest from a base of 7% share with that customer. The economic growth of the category during this period… 4%. The leading competitor was later divested as a business from a very successful publicly traded company. This is what winning looks like with the right goals, processes, organizational structure, development, and… leadership.

Investors would have been satisfied with 4% growth in line with economic factors, but the best businesses take share from others. Very few are winning right now and it comes down to the investments or lack thereof that were made to prepare companies to be winning today. The seeds are planted 18-24 months earlier. If you aren’t taking share today, you probably weren’t making the right investments 1-2 years ago. While we can’t hop in a DeLorean and go back in time, we can start now for 18-24 months from now. Some leaders feel boxed in by the lack of growth. It limits the amount that can be diverted to initiate growth plans and many companies are reducing growth investments as we speak. Will they gain share in 18-24 months or will their competitors? If they all behave in the same way, the current share-stalemate will likely continue in their category. But, what if one makes a few well positioned investments? What happens when a company from the competitive set starts to take market share? Two things, first one or more of the set are then losing share. Second, they have momentum. Momentum that takes a lot of energy to catch up with by those who decide to compete for that market share. Being in a holding pattern, waiting for the next budget cycle, etc. means you are positioned to be at risk as one of the market share donors to a growth oriented competitor.

Is growth possible in a slow market?

I was appointed President of a company that had declined in sales of 37% in three years. The change in strategic direction led to growth of 75% in the 3 years following. While the leadership change was a critical component it was more about making a shift in strategic direction rather than just making a change in the leader of the organization. How did a modest sized company of $180m in sales take $60m in business from the largest competitor in their industry with multi-billion dollar scale? They certainly didn’t outspend their rival. In fact, this gain was achieved without making an acquisition, without adding to facilities, and by adding only a staff of 3 incremental people. Our first revenue began just 12 months after the concept was developed and reached $60m in 3 years. To the scale leader in the industry, the $60m loss represented approximately 2% of sales. On the surface it sounds irrelevant, but what if the economy is only giving 3-4% growth and you lose 2%, well it means you underperform expectations. Think about the flipside at the $180m company that earned growth of 33%? They are truly creators of value for their investors.

There is no single recipe for this kind of performance. You have to use all of your tools. You have to focus on the entirety of your business. This series will discuss all of those areas and results oriented approaches to achievement.

Optimism for pent-up demand has started to wane in 2016. Businesses I speak with are now in a transitional state and confused in many cases. There is an evident shift toward indecisiveness and cost reduction. The obvious truth is that it should never be a choice between growth and cost. This is where “And” comes in. We have to drive high yield revenue and better business efficiency consistently. Too often we limit our businesses by believing it is one or the other. Suggesting that one or the other is more important, takes half your team off the field. If cost is emphasized, are sales leaders striving as hard as they should for new revenue? If revenue is the single thrust of the company, is operations really driving costs as low as possible? Is SG&A drifting out of control if revenues slow? Perhaps.

Growing in a slow economy is entirely achievable, but typically only for a single competitor in the competitive set. The competitor that positions themselves to grow. You should be able to identify one or more specific initiatives that are driving growth in your business. This should be a literal connection rather than speculation. If you launch new products and sales increase you may assume it is from the launch, but I suggest digging into the data and knowing where the sales gains are actually coming from. If you have an initiative to enter new customers and you can track the addition of new customers and the associated sales to those customers, you are on the right track. So long as there aren’t offsetting losses somewhere else, you are likely growing share at someone else’s expense. If you cannot tie the growth in the business to one or more specific initiatives, you are probably just going with the flow. Rising when the market rises, declining when the market declines. It is possible you will gain if your competition falters, but it is as likely you could lose if your competition steps up their game.

This series of articles is not focused only on revenue growth. It is focused on earnings growth. Earnings growth is the measure of achievement. Lower costs, increased revenue, new customers, new products, and the list of favorable topics we often discuss are good indicators, but how often do we see great signs, yet a disappointing fall through to the EBIT line? It is all too common. So, step one for the CEO, division President, or COO is to set the right goal. A singular goal of the EBIT line. Everything else is a Key Process Indicator (KPI). KPIs are wonderful tools and discussed at length in this series. KPIs, however, are not currency. Nor are ratios. Ratios like return on sales, return on invested capital, return on assets, gross margin, etc. are measures of the businesses efficiency at producing… EBIT dollars. Dollars are currency, fuel, and appeal for your investors. Too often we lose sight of the singular goal and drive for achieving our KPIs and ratios. While important, if we hit 6 of 10 do we have the optimum EBIT generation? Maybe.

Even respected managers and Vice Presidents are often misguided by the ratios we use. I frequently encountered resistance to new business initiatives as President of these companies because an initiative appeared “dilutive” to the business as a whole. This comes from living the ratios rather than living the EBIT. A business with a 15% operating income looking at adding sales that deliver 12% operating income would see these new sales as dilutive to the overall business operating income. Perhaps it drops to 13.5%. However, there are more EBIT dollars in total. Imagine, turning away profitable sales just because they are slightly less profitable units than your current units. That is what we do every day when we live the ratios. It happens frequently at all levels of organizations when they are not focused properly. This leaves available business for our competition to pick up and limits some of our growth. There are measures your investors care about and EBIT is the basis. Earnings per share are not influenced by revenue, but by the creation of EBIT dollars. If you are a private company it won’t be value in EPS, but in the multiple applied to value the business. More EBIT dollars times the multiple leads to a higher value of their investment in the business. When we have management focused on the ratio rather than EBIT we have them focused on something not entirely aligned with our investors. When I hear a business unit President or CEO describe a business as a 15% business I know that cascades through the management team as a company led by the ratios not by the earnings.

My advice is to use KPIs to measure achievement of goals cascaded through the organization and ratios when you are measuring your efficiency. Keep the ratios in the boardroom and with investors. Keep the KPIs with your management team and cascading as far as you can in the organization where points of control exist for that KPI. We will talk in this series much more on setting goals, cascading goals, establishing and measuring KPIs, and aligning responsibilities in later sections.

Organizations can become distracted by their KPIs and charts and lose focus on the actual results. It is imperative we not get distracted by activity and charts and not realize bottom line impact.

A few good… ideas

KPIs alone lead to no growth or profit improvement. You need ideas. We can set a goal for growth with a given customer and measure it monthly, but without an idea it may be a waste of time. Now, perhaps your team has been idling by and not putting forth full effort. The mere setting of a goal and tracking it might stimulate extra effort and create some movement. I suspect that is not often the case and I doubt it is a sustainable growth strategy. Remember, you have to build on today’s growth. The “work harder” strategy is a one-timer. You need an idea, preferably a few good ones. They can come from anywhere, but if the organization is not accustomed to having them or not accustomed to running with them, it will fall on the CEO, President, COO, senior VP, etc. to get the ball rolling.

There are natural idea people. Hopefully you have a few, but you likely don’t know who they are. Most likely they are people who propose things in meetings that get dismissed. That thing that was dismissed… was probably the beginning of that idea you need. They were probably onto something that others were overlooking. Listening is the start of an idea followed closely by looking. The senior leadership of your organization needs to embrace ideas, foster them, and leverage them. Listening can start with listening to customers, coworkers, competitors, the people in your plants, and surrounding your business. Often times the ideas are incomplete and have to be pieced together. It is rare that an idea just pops in from nowhere. It often starts as a statement of a problem with no following solution. The solution is where your idea fits in. Embracing problems leads to embracing ideas for growth.

The growth idea hierarchy

Level – 1 Permission to grow

This is a focus on fixing your own performance problems that could limit customers’ willingness to award you new business. Your employees and customers can identify these problems. They are areas of delay and underperformance in your business cycle. They often start with “it takes too long to… “. It may be that your delivery performance is average or your customer call center is closed by 3:00 on the west coast. Or, that your return policy is complicated. Or, that you have damage in transit. Or, that you take a long time to process information like invoices, credits, etc. The list goes on and on, but until your business is a good business partner, desirably the leader in these attributes, you do not have “permission to grow” from your customers. They are not likely to shift a portion of their business to a poor performer. If they have to make a move for some reason they will possibly try someone new over a so-so performer already supplying them.

Level 2 – Opportunity knocks

Where are the soft spots in the market. Is there a struggling competitor? Who is in the news? Is your customer struggling? Jumping in to aide a struggling customer is a great growth lever. We did just this in the hardware category and it led to great growth. The customer’s struggles were not financial, they were performance based. Their sales comps were erratic. The merchant needed more consistent performance. We listened and returned with an idea. We built a rapid deployment promotional model to be dropped into 500 stores on a moment’s notice. If the merchant was seeing soft demand, we were the only supplier with a ready to ship promotional program to lift sales within a few days. It infused value and lifted category sales and we got the call every time. It formed a relationship that led to reaching 100% share with the customer.

Level 3 – Unmet needs

What can we listen for in needs? On a single occasion I listened to a customer express a need to the person sitting next to me and within 60 minutes, my company was set in motion to build a new program that reached $60m in sales. While the person next to me was saying “no thank you”, I was sketching out an idea. There were any number of unattractive things about the need expressed, but each one could be overcome if you stopped to consider how. The combination of eliminating those barriers ended up being a better idea for the product overall and when the new idea hit stores… it sold at a rate 18% better than the program it replaced. Before you knew it, it was in 2,000 stores lifting customer sales and ours.

Level 4 – The thing no one even thought to ask for

While leading a faucet business’ commercialization effort I discovered we had an interesting technology in our R&D team, but it was nearly doomed because of cost and perceived complexity. Not to mention no one was asking for a faucet you could turn on by a touch or bump of the wrist. Once we had matured through all the levels of idea generation, we needed that next level that no one asked for. It gets harder as you go and level 4 is the most challenging. The touch-activated faucet would be the most expensive faucet we made. It would be the first to integrate electronics into a faucet meant for the home. It would challenge the plumber or homeowner to not only install the faucet, but to install the necessary electronics, which were likely foreign to them. It would be the first of it’s kind, so likely we would live through the debugging phase along with our customer. Not to mention we had never been asked by a homeowner, a plumber, a retailer, or anyone for that matter to create it. It was a great idea. We just didn’t know it yet. Remember when I said that your idea generators are likely those people who tossed out an idea that was dismissed in a meeting? The touch faucet died 100 deaths in meetings. It was a terrible idea and everyone knew it, just ask around. Fortunately, a few people actually spent the time to research it. We found that no one asked because they couldn’t conceive of it at the time, but once shown it, they wanted it. In our research sessions “where can I buy this?” was the most common question. The consumer had no idea what a bad idea this was. Most of our team applied their filters and logic, not the end user’s.

The touch-activated faucet was one of the biggest game changers to hit the market. Surrounded by a solid advertising campaign it drove demand for people to replace faucets that were perfectly good just to get the feature. I visited a Home Depot one day and I was listening as usual. I stopped to talk to the plumbing associate, you know, the guy in the orange apron. I told him who I was and whom I worked for and that I was just looking at the aisle to see what was going on. I did this often. I said “let me know if you need anything.” He did. He said “I need those touch faucets”. We had not shipped the first unit yet. We had been advertising because we thought it would take some time to create a little demand. I asked why he needed it. He then let me in on the fact people had been in asking for it and that he had a list of people to call when they came in. I had to know. I had to know how many were on the list. It was 11 people who were waiting. 11 people at one store. There are over 2,000 stores. Not all stores had 11 on a list, but there was demand. The best part they knew and the plumbing associate knew what brand it was. It was a key building block of pushing a brand from third place to first place in just a few years.

Once you are listening, start looking… closely.

It also pays to look. Growth of the EBIT line is not just from revenue, but improving the yield of all that revenue we already have. I refer to it as our business efficiency. Most refer to it as cost. To me cost leads us down other paths like cost of goods and SG&A. Important ones to be sure, but not the same as business efficiency. Business efficiency to me is the elimination of waste. Duplication of inventory, extra labor, extra movement, higher transportation costs, delays that increase our lead-time, any one of 1,000 things that make us less financially efficient beyond just our cost of goods sold. Looking is how we tend to uncover these inefficiencies. Could a person actively look and discover $8m in cost inefficiencies in a business of $180m? Yes. More significantly, the organization already thought they were the picture of efficiency. This is because they were more efficient today than yesterday. They used the wrong yardstick. They measured off of previous performance, not optimum state.

A hardware company I was appointed to as President had a number of business inefficiencies, but was improving. Every day was a bit better than the previous, so we were on the right track. We were just not aiming high enough and not looking closely enough. I found three key areas that led to enormous business efficiency gains by looking first hand. Walking our distribution center I found several pallet locations that were occupied by one tiny carton. I asked if there was another location in the DC for that exact SKU. There was. In fact there were many. Looking at those, they were all partially used. I also found cartons in other areas covered with dust. The first clue in how old the inventory was. Observation number three came when looking at incoming containers from Asia. There was empty space. Why? We could have stuffed it with anything and that anything would have shipped essentially for free. With these three visual observations I started investigation warehouse utilization, excess and obsolete inventory, and container utilization. When I first asked, I was told we were world class in all three. It would have been easy to accept that point of view and say, “thanks for looking into it.” I wasn’t looking to be a little better than yesterday. I wanted to eliminate these three waste streams and take it to the EBIT line. Or, I could choose to use it as pricing power to gain some business. Anything is better than applying those dollars as we were, in waste.

Warehouse utilization – After analysis by a few bright minds, we set a goal to empty 20,000 pallet locations from a total of 50,000. We might have been the first management team ever that set a goal to use less of our fixed overhead. That’s right, we wanted to empty out 40% of our warehouse and leave it empty. Once we achieved that we could consolidate a second warehouse into our primary and we could even take on a tenant in the remaining space. Closing the second DC resulted in $2m saved. Bringing in a tenant resulted in $1m in benefit by distributing a sister company’s goods using our fixed overhead. Later, the luxury of this new found space allowed us to enter a new business selling a new category of products without having to add fixed overhead, so it facilitated our growth. Not bad for just the first of three visual observations. A $3m improvement in business efficiency.

Excess and Obsolete inventory – We peaked at $15m in E&O at one point. There were all kinds of reasons, but all manageable. From my broader observations which included looking at customer level P&Ls, inventory reports, monthly adjustments for E&O led me to the realization Rome was built in just a few days. A few days a year created the mass of E&O. They were events that could be managed differently. We set an E&O goal not to sell it off, which was our previous goal, but to minimize creation of new E&O. I set the figure at $100k per month in new E&O, which would be a maximum of $1.2m per year. I was met with warm smiles and one party who told me it wouldn’t be possible because our best ever was $5m. We set the goal. We measured it monthly. We had a variety of people accountable to physically report out each month on their area of ownership in E&O creation. Our inventory planning group stepped up with great analytics and reduced our risk by better planning and management. The real tipping point came from the sales team. One lucky sales leader had to show a $400k write off in their review one month. Just the opportunity we had been waiting for. An event we could learn from. In this case a large customer discontinued an item and decided to do it immediately. We had $400k in inventory on hand and no other customer. E&O was born. However, we did something about it. We discussed with our sales lead that we needed to go back to the customer and firmly suggest they take the inventory and sell it through. It was reasonable, but we hadn’t always done this. We acknowledged that a discount may be necessary, but we had to get it sold through before it was gone from shelves. That is when the real dust builds up in the warehouse. She held 3 calls with the customer and sold all of the inventory through giving a reasonable discount to move it. The result of this one example? Not a $400k write off on our P&L, but revenue of $600k. We were on our way. Two years later after I moved to another division, I visited and went straight to the E&O keeper. I had to know what the number was. Was it $1.2m as we set in the goal? No, it was $800k. The company had eliminated a waste stream of $14.2m that spanned years. In a single year it was work approximately $3m in EBIT.

Container utilization – A partially filled container is hardly a smoking gun, but it did led me to wonder about the thousands of containers we brought in annually. How full were they? Were they partial because of weight restrictions? Could we manage inventories so that we could cube them out? The first answer was that it wasn’t a big problem and that we were “very good” at managing container utilization. OK, lets keep looking. I looked at a dozen over a week. I saw too much air inside. I asked for the data and found we were 85% utilized. Every 1% utilization was worth $300k per year in freight costs. Getting to 95% would be worth $3m in essentially free freight. We set a goal of 95% then put people in place who were accountable for reporting their plans and progress monthly. The first 5% was achieved through great management by our team in Asia that worked with suppliers and photographed each outbound container. Inventory planners placed orders that more aligned with filling a container rather than a convenient order size. The next 5% required more effort and a broader team. This is the important part. Someone had to lose in their KPI for the company to gain. The next 5% was essentially taken up by pallets loading the goods. Taking out the pallets and floor loading was going to help our container utilization, but hurt our labor productivity unloading. This became a team win, not an individual one. We experimented with a few containers and methods of receiving, while there was additional labor in receiving we found methods to keep it in check while driving a net savings. Rather than saving $3m we saved a mere $2.5m.

That is $8.5m saved in business efficiency from looking. It requires curiosity. If you look at your distribution center or factory and see boxes, you walked by too quickly. I saw dust on some. I saw small cartons in some. I saw air space in containers. You have to wonder why in each case or you get nowhere.

Achieving our goal of EBIT growth is the combination of driving business growth that not only takes advantage of market growth, but incremental share gain and the highest level of business efficiency. This series will discuss in depth how to achieve this goal by driving high yield growth and discover greater business efficiency in organizations who will be positioned to deliver greater than expected value for investors.

About the author

Rick has led four businesses through rapid growth and profit expansion in his 27 year career. Rick is an accomplished executive having led four distinctly different businesses through significant transformation to become the leading companies in their categories. His history is one of creating and executing business plans that drive overall business performance and EBIT growth through a series of processes that optimize costs and business efficiency along with significant growth, a combination that maximizes EBIT performance.

Rick led Marketing and commercialization efforts for Carrier’s $2.5 billion dollar residential appliance business driving a decade of leading innovation and channel expansion. Carrier became the undisputed leader in efficiency and environmentally sound products transforming the HVAC appliance industry. The impact of this work was captured in a Harvard and Darden School of Business case studies.

Rick led Delta Faucet Company into a rapid growth curve by defining a new path and trajectory. These efforts took Delta from a distant 3rd place in the industry to a clear leader and number one overall. More than doubling EBIT through innovation, product development, R&D, and channel expansion. Rick developed and implemented a rigorous process for business and innovation planning that led Delta to explosive growth for not only its industry leading Delta Faucet brand, but also the luxury brand, Brizo. Delta’s growth trajectory was so strong with growth of over 60%, the company was taken beyond the core faucet business and into bath fixtures as an added element of growth.

As President of Liberty Hardware, Rick used a balance of business efficiency and his business development processes to lead Liberty though a series of rapid growth cycles reaching a rate of nearly 20% year over year, while the market was nearly flat. With a renewed focus on growth and development, Liberty expanded its business rapidly and extended into a new platform of products. With revenues nearly doubled and the business processes driving new efficiencies, Liberty saw EBIT growth of 5x.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Is a Business Incubator Right for Your Business?

What is the Purpose of a Business Incubator?

Business incubators are organizations that nurture the development and growth of businesses in the early phases to help them persevere in their most vulnerable stages. Incubators provide numerous resources and support services to aid in the development of businesses. The general purpose of incubators is job creation, business retention, enhancing entrepreneurial climate, growing local industries and economies. Approximately 93% of North American incubators are nonprofits focused on economic development. About 7% are typically set up to receive returns from shareholders investments. (Business Incubation FAQs)

What to Expect

It is important to conduct research on the incubator(s) and consider the advantages and disadvantages before embarking upon the application process and working with an incubator.

Conduct Ample Research: It is important to understand that incubators will have their own set of unique offerings for their entrepreneurs. The package offered should help meet the needs and goals of the company. The location of the incubator should allow for a flourishing business, with a market that can sustain the business for the duration of the term of stay. The mentors and specialists available should also have experiences and networks beneficial to your business.
Related costs: Some incubators will charge monthly fees, like a typical leasing agreement. However, other incubators may accept in exchange for equity. It is beneficial to consult with an attorney to review the terms and contract.
Speak to alumni: If the incubator has a list of previous tenants, speak to them about their personal experiences. This first hand testimony will give you further insight and help you determine if the incubator is right for your business.
Prepare your proposal: If you decide to apply, be sure to prepare and rehearse your pitch and distinguish yourself from other businesses and business owners. Incubators want businesses that are sustainable. In your proposal, be sure to discuss how your business will succeed with accompanying financial projections.
What are the main business models?

As mentioned previously, each incubator will have a unique set of offerings. The list of business models below should give you an idea of what to expect as you conduct your research.

Rent Model: Rent is charged to businesses which can help incubators be self-sustainable. In some cases initial rents are subsidized. The subsidy rate usually declines over time to gradually introduce commercial discipline to the business.
Equity Model: Incubators take marginal stakes in the business, usually in exchange for low rent periods.
Royalty Model: Royalty payments are made based upon the amount of revenue earned by the business.
Deferred Debt Model: The services offered to the business, as well as the overhead is charged at a decided upon future date as an incubation fee. The incubator could decide the repayments (partial payments or lump sum) are due when the business leaves the incubator or when the business reaches an agreed upon financial target.
What are the main advantages and disadvantages?

Advantages

Low cost workspace allowing for reduced overhead
Offered resources such as mentorship, capital, office space and services
Offered curriculum and business development programs
Mentorship and networking
Disadvantages

Constant networking and coaching could alter focus
Meticulous and competitive application process
What does the Research Reveal?

Business incubators profess to be beneficial to businesses and aid in their future success. However, what does the research show about whether incubators are effective. According to Emily Fetsch, incubators may not be more effective at creating success than non-incubated businesses. On average, an incubator will have less than two full time staff serving approximately 25 businesses. This level of service may be inadequate for this number of businesses. (Fetsch)

The research available does not compare incubator businesses with similar non-incubated businesses, which would aid in confirming whether incubators positively affect businesses. Research available shows that there are minimal performance differences in incubated and non-incubated businesses. Incubated businesses have slightly higher employment and sales growth, but have slightly lower survival rates after incubation. (Fetsch)

Where can I Find Incubators

A good resource for locating an incubator is the International Business Innovation Association’s Organization Directory. Also, for incubators located near you, check your local directories.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Shoe Repairs And Several Other Things When I Was 7

Shoe Repairs And Several Other Things When I Was 7
My Dad repaired most of our shoes believe it or not, I can hardly believe it myself now. With 7 pairs of shoes always needing repairs I think he was quite clever to learn how to “Keep us in shoe Leather” to coin a phrase!

He bought several different sizes of cast iron cobbler’s “lasts”. Last, the old English “Laest” meaning footprint. Lasts were holding devices shaped like a human foot. I have no idea where he would have bought the shoe leather. Only that it was a beautiful creamy, shiny colour and the smell was lovely.

But I do remember our shoes turned upside down on and fitted into these lasts, my Dad cutting the leather around the shape of the shoe, and then hammering nails, into the leather shape. Sometimes we’d feel one or 2 of those nails poking through the insides of our shoes, but our dad always fixed it.

Hiking and Swimming Galas
Dad was a very outdoorsy type, unlike my mother, who was probably too busy indoors. She also enjoyed the peace and quiet when he took us off for the day!

Anyway, he often took us hiking in the mountains where we’d have a picnic of sandwiches and flasks of tea. And more often than not we went by steam train.

We loved poking our heads out of the window until our eyes hurt like mad from a blast of soot blowing back from the engine. But sore, bloodshot eyes never dampened our enthusiasm.

Dad was an avid swimmer and water polo player, and he used to take us to swimming galas, as they were called back then. He often took part in these galas. And again we always travelled by steam train.

Rowing Over To Ireland’s Eye
That’s what we did back then, we had to go by rowboat, the only way to get to Ireland’s eye, which is 15 minutes from mainland Howth. From there we could see Malahide, Lambay Island and Howth Head of course. These days you can take a Round Trip Cruise on a small cruise ship!

But we thoroughly enjoyed rowing and once there we couldn’t wait to climb the rocks, and have a swim. We picnicked and watched the friendly seals doing their thing and showing off.

Not to mention all kinds of birdlife including the Puffin.The Martello Tower was also interesting but a bit dangerous to attempt entering. I’m getting lost in the past as I write, and have to drag myself back to the present.

Fun Outings with The camera Club
Dad was also a very keen amateur photographer, and was a member of a camera Club. There were many Sunday photography outings and along with us came other kids of the members of the club.

And we always had great fun while the adults busied themselves taking photos of everything and anything, it seemed to us. Dad was so serious about his photography that he set up a dark room where he developed and printed his photographs.

All black and white at the time. He and his camera club entered many of their favourites in exhibitions throughout Europe. I’m quite proud to say that many cups and medals were won by Dad. They have been shared amongst all his grandchildren which I find quite special.

He liked taking portraits of us kids too, mostly when we were in a state of untidiness, usually during play. Dad always preferred the natural look of messy hair and clothes in the photos of his children.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Comments Off

What Are The Greatest Changes In Shopping In Your Lifetime

What are the greatest changes in shopping in your lifetime? So asked my 9 year old grandson.

As I thought of the question the local Green Grocer came to mind. Because that is what the greatest change in shopping in my lifetime is.

That was the first place to start with the question of what are the greatest changes in shopping in your lifetime.

Our local green grocer was the most important change in shopping in my lifetime. Beside him was our butcher, a hairdresser and a chemist.

Looking back, we were well catered for as we had quite a few in our suburb. And yes, the greatest changes in shopping in my lifetime were with the small family owned businesses.

Entertainment While Shopping Has Changed
Buying butter was an entertainment in itself.
My sister and I often had to go to a favourite family grocer close by. We were always polite as we asked for a pound or two of butter and other small items.

Out came a big block of wet butter wrapped in grease-proof paper. Brought from the back of the shop, placed on a huge counter top and included two grooved pates.

That was a big change in our shopping in my lifetime… you don’t come across butter bashing nowadays.

Our old friendly Mr. Mahon with the moustache, would cut a square of butter. Lift it to another piece of greaseproof paper with his pates. On it went to the weighing scales, a bit sliced off or added here and there.

Our old grocer would then bash it with gusto, turning it over and over. Upside down and sideways it went, so that it had grooves from the pates, splashes going everywhere, including our faces.

My sister and I thought this was great fun and it always cracked us up. We loved it, as we loved Mahon’s, on the corner, our very favourite grocery shop.

Grocery Shopping
Further afield, we often had to go to another of my mother’s favourite, not so local, green grocer’s. Mr. McKessie, ( spelt phonetically) would take our list, gather the groceries and put them all in a big cardboard box.

And because we were good customers he always delivered them to our house free of charge. But he wasn’t nearly as much fun as old Mr. Mahon. Even so, he was a nice man.

All Things Fresh
So there were very many common services such as home deliveries like:

• Farm eggs

• Fresh vegetables

• Cow’s milk

• Freshly baked bread

• Coal for our open fires

Delivery Services
A man used to come to our house a couple of times a week with farm fresh eggs.

Another used to come every day with fresh vegetables, although my father loved growing his own.

Our milk, topped with beautiful cream, was delivered to our doorstep every single morning.

Unbelievably, come think of it now, our bread came to us in a huge van driven by our “bread-man” named Jerry who became a family friend.

My parents always invited Jerry and his wife to their parties, and there were many during the summer months. Kids and adults all thoroughly enjoyed these times. Alcohol was never included, my parents were teetotallers. Lemonade was a treat, with home made sandwiches and cakes.

The coal-man was another who delivered bags of coal for our open fires. I can still see his sooty face under his tweed cap but I can’t remember his name. We knew them all by name but most of them escape me now.

Mr. Higgins, a service man from the Hoover Company always came to our house to replace our old vacuum cleaner with an updated model.

Our insurance company even sent a man to collect the weekly premium.

People then only paid for their shopping with cash. This in itself has been a huge change in shopping in my lifetime.

In some department stores there was a system whereby the money from the cash registers was transported in a small cylinder on a moving wire track to the central office.

Some Of The Bigger Changes
Some of the bigger changes in shopping were the opening of supermarkets.

• Supermarkets replaced many individual smaller grocery shops. Cash and bank cheques have given way to credit and key cards.

• Internet shopping… the latest trend, but in many minds, doing more harm, to book shops.

• Not many written shopping lists, because mobile phones have taken over.

On a more optimistic note, I hear that book shops are popular again after a decline.

Personal Service Has Most Definitely Changed
So, no one really has to leave home, to purchase almost anything, technology makes it so easy to do online.
And we have a much bigger range of products now, to choose from, and credit cards have given us the greatest ease of payment.

We have longer shopping hours, and weekend shopping. But we have lost the personal service that we oldies had taken for granted and also appreciated.

Because of their frenetic lifestyles, I have heard people say they find shopping very stressful, that is grocery shopping. I’m sure it is when you have to dash home and cook dinner after a days work. I often think there has to be a better, less stressful way.

My mother had the best of both worlds, in the services she had at her disposal. With a full time job looking after 9 people, 7 children plus her and my dad, she was very lucky. Lucky too that she did not have 2 jobs.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off

What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

The results of this past election proved once again that the Democrats had a golden opportunity to capitalize on the failings of the Trump Presidency but, fell short of a nation wide mandate. A mandate to seize the gauntlet of the progressive movement that Senator Sanders through down a little over four years ago. The opportunities were there from the very beginning even before this pandemic struck. In their failing to educate the public of the consequences of continued Congressional gridlock, conservatism, and what National Economic Reform’s Ten Articles of Confederation would do led to the results that are playing out today.. More Congressional gridlock, more conservatism and more suffering of millions of Americans are the direct consequences of the Democrats failure to communicate and educate the public. Educate the public that a progressive agenda is necessary to pull the United States out of this Pandemic, and restore this nations health and vitality.

It was the DNC’s intent in this election to only focus on the Trump Administration. They failed to grasp the urgency of the times. They also failed to communicate with the public about the dire conditions millions have been and still are facing even before the Pandemic. The billions of dollars funneled into campaign coffers should have been used to educate the voting public that creating a unified coalition would bring sweeping reforms that are so desperately needed. The reality of what transpired in a year and a half of political campaigning those billions of dollars only created more animosity and division polarizing one extreme over another.

One can remember back in 1992 Ross Perot used his own funds to go on national TV to educate the public on the dire ramifications of not addressing our national debt. That same approach should have been used during this election cycle. By using the medium of television to communicate and educate the public is the most effective way in communicating and educating the public. Had the Biden campaign and the DNC used their resources in this way the results we ae seeing today would have not created the potential for more gridlock in our government. The opportunity was there to educate the public of safety protocols during the siege of this pandemic and how National Economic Reform’s Ten Articles of Confederation provides the necessary progressive reforms that will propel the United States out of the abyss of debt and restore our economy. Restoring our economy so that every American will have the means and the availability of financial and economic security.

The failure of the Democratic party since 2016 has been recruiting a Presidential Candidate who many felt was questionable and more conservative signals that the results of today has not met with the desired results the Democratic party wanted. Then again? By not fully communicating and not educating the public on the merits of a unified progressive platform has left the United States transfixed in our greatest divides since the Civil War. This writers support of Senator Bernie Sanders is well documented. Since 2015 he has laid the groundwork for progressive reforms. He also has the foundations on which these reforms can deliver the goods as they say. But, what did the DNC do, they purposely went out of their way to engineer a candidate who was more in tune with the status-quo of the DNC. They failed to communicate to the public in educating all of us on the ways our lives would be better served with a progressive agenda that was the benchmark of Senators Sanders Presidential campaign and his Our Revolution movement. And this is way there is still really no progress in creating a less toxic environment in Washington and around the country.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off