1. I exist to …
2. My business exists to …
3. My closest relationships and I exist to …
I dare you.
The results will be amazing.
According to a St. Louis Post Dispatch article, The Missouri Development Finance Board has approved changes where certain small businesses can borrow up to $50,000. The loans are approved through the Department of Economic Development.
According to the article, small businesses with up to 15 employees are now eligible under this loan program. Previously, only businesses with up to 5 employees qualified.
For more information about this program:
1. Visit the Missouri Department of Economic Development to learn the requirements.
2. And check out the application here.
This morning, I met with a couple energetic business people wanting to start a new business venture. Near the end, I had one of them pull out a scratch piece of paper and make a tri-fold. For each section, I had them make column headings as such:
We kept the list to about 3 or 4 items.
Setting priorities and acting. It’s that simple.
1. Best case (which is still possible where all assumptions hold true)
2. Bankable (we hit these no matter what)
3. Gloom and Doom (we miss our most important targets by 5 to 10 percent
You need to do this so you can plan your cash accordingly over the next year. I know it seems obvious, but many SME’s just don’t do this.
Here are a few of the new tax rules passed this month:
√ The new tax law raises bonus depreciation to 100 percent for qualified assets. This is for the period September 8, 2010 through December 31, 2010. After that, bonus depreciation drops to 50 percent.
√ The research tax credit is renewed for 2010 and remains in place through 2011.
√ The Work Opportunity Tax Credit remains through 2011. It’s worth 40 percent of the first $6,000 in wages for the eligible employee during the first year of employment.
√ Eligible employers who provide childcare facilities can continue to claim a tax credit through 2012.
I’ve been using dual monitors since 2004. I even take a second monitor with me when I hit the road. Working with just one is painful.
If you use a laptop, just plug it in, make a small setting change in Windows, and you are ready to rock n’ roll.
If you use a PC, you’ll need a video card which is very cheap. The labor to install is minimal.
Don’t be pound foolish on this decision. Productivity rises with that second monitor.
As I was watching this, I started wondering what I believe in.
I still believe in the sanctity of the family–one mom, one dad, and children they dearly love. The family, the oldest institution since the dawn of mankind, gives birth to business leaders all over the world. And I believe it will continue to do so in spite of the fragility of this sacred institution.
I still believe in our children and the next generation that will run national and global affairs. I believe this generation truly knows right from wrong. It’s just that many suppress true truth. For those that choose to accept true truth, families, businesses, and nations will continually have the opportunity to prosper.
I still believe in capitalism and the business leaders that take advantage of this concept that can positively impact so many. And more importantly, I still believe in the men and women who run the great businesses that stand behind a mission that transcends more than a profit, but instead follows a mission that’s bigger than them that’s full of meaning. Yes, I still believe that.
I still believe in one nation under God, but only if it starts repairing the foundation that the separtists of the 1600′s started building in their pursuit to follow a vision that very few could ever see.
I still believe in my own family, my friends, and the people who are in the busines who believe other people can truly change.
I still believe in myself. While my doubts sometimes weigh heavily on me, I still believe I have the capacity to make a difference in a few people’s lives. That’s why I do what I do.
What do you believe in?
A few days ago, my daughter Emily was talking about a movie that had a great line in it from The Italian Job. It’s shown below.
What a great line albeit comes from a thief, “The ones who steal to enrich their lives, and those who steal to define their lives. Don’t be the latter.”
As Emily and I were discussing this I started thinking about business owners. Why are they in business? Are they trying to make a mark in the world? Make a difference? Is the business planned and purposed to enrich the lives of the customers they serve? Their employees?
But I also know business owners are doing their thing because it’s all about the money. It’s their life. Without it, they are nothing. I know. I’ve served those types of owners before.
So here’s the question. Does your business enrich your life? Or does it define your life? Below is a simple framework that Emily created to compare the two.
Who Is Emily Gandy?
Emily is a sophomore in college majoring in English and wants to be an English teacher. And she’ll wind up being one of the best in what she does. I could probably replace any CEO running a $5 million company and she could outperform them any day of the week. Biased? Of course. Accurate. Absolutely. And as mentioned earlier, yes, she’s my daughter.
On the other hand, whatever happened to Pong? Or Cabbage Patch Dolls?
Some toys have stood the test of time. Others were here one day, gone the next.
I’m still amazed at Lego and their longevity. The toy came out around 1950. When I was a kid, they were fun, but there was not much of a selection. As I got older, it seemed liked Lego had every type of set imaginable–based on movies, based on size, based on model type and so on.
If you check out their website, there are many activities for the Lego enthusiast. My favorite is where you can design your own Lego model and they will deliver it to you (maybe an idea for next year’s Christmas gifts).
So what’s the secret to Lego’s success? Their longevity? Why would Warren Buffet call Lego a sustainable business?
I think the answer is simple. They know their customer, and they know how to deliver on that brand promise. Do you agree?
Bulging? Slim? Bottlenecks? Consistent and steady? Too much?
I’ll keep it short and to the point with just a few questions.
1. Do you have a process for managing the sales pipeline?
2. Do you set targets or objectives for keeping the pipeline full at all times?
3. Do you have a system for evaluating your close rates with steps to improve the performance?
4. Do you have tools to support and manage the customers you ultimately sell to?
5. If you rely on leads through your website, is it easy to navigate?
Bottom line, if sales are inconsistent and customer service lagging, you need to embrace a sales pipeline mindset and create a simple framework for managing the sales pipeline. Diagram the process from suspect, to prospect, to qualified lead, to customer. Develop a simple system to manage the process, measure it, and repeat.