Business Quote of the Week

MONDAY FEB 4 ’13
“The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.” ― Peter F. Drucker

You have a choice of focusing heavily on either making money or acquiring customers. Those who focus more of acquiring customers usually do better. Treat your customers as the “engine” that drives your business. Give them a quality product or offer them impressive service. Very likely they will return for more and recommend you to friends and family. Word-of-mouth referral and repeat business will keep money flowing into your establishment.

© Tony Thomas

 

MONDAY JAN 21 ’13

“The person who starts out simply with the idea of getting rich won’t succeed; you must have a larger ambition.” – John D. Rockefeller

Successful business men and women often say “its not all about the money.” For many millionaires, the money is the “side effects” of a passion, a dream, determined effort and countless hours of hard work. Someone once said “Follow your passion and the money will follow.” Successful entrepreneurs immerse themselves in what they do, giving their best, changing lives along the way and reaping the financial rewards.

© Tony Thomas

 

MONDAY JAN 14 ’13

“When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom that profit loses.” ― Shirley Chisholm

For-profit corporations’ main goal is to make money. However when the quest to make money tramples certain basic rights, companies take a hugh PR hit. Case in point is GlaxoSmithKline, Britain’s biggest pharmaceutical company. The company has been accused of “corporate greed” by a small business group for extending the amount of time it takes to pay its suppliers to up to 90 days. This action hurts the “small business man and woman” who does not have the financial muscle of GSK. An aspiring entrepreneur need to find the right balance between making profits and supporting the business community that help keep his company in business. Read the story here

© Tony Thomas

 

MONDAY JAN 07 ’13

“The wayside of business is full of brilliant men who started out with a spurt, and lacked the stamina to finish. Their places were taken by patient and unshowy plodders who never knew when to quit.” – J. R. Todd

The very nature of business means there will be moments of success and moments of failure. There will be good times and there will be bad times. Acccept this as part of doing business and do not allow failures to derail your goals or dim your vision.

© Tony Thomas

 

MONDAY DEC 31 ’12

“Sometimes it’s hard to admit that the difference between you and your competition is your attitude.” – Y. Luke

We all have 24 hours in a day. We all have 7 days in a week. In some cases we have access to the same road, water supply, electricity and the same set of customers.

If Company A and Company B sells burgers at nearby intersections, the company with the better burger is not guaranteed to do better. Customers are influenced by quality and price but a negative attitude from employees can turn off some customers and affect sales.

Your attitude towards people and the way you deal with them are crucial to the success of your business. The following video is a story by motivational speaker Zig Ziglar about bad attitude and negative thinking or as he calls it “stinking thinking.” The video is about 9 minutes and well worth your time.

© Tony Thomas

 

MONDAY DEC 24 ’12
This week’s quote is from a very successful entrepreneur, inventor and visionary named Thomas Edison:

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thomas Edison

This quote reminded me of a story that shows the importance of not giving up too quickly. As Thomas Edison found out before he produced a practical and cost-effective incandescent electric light, many hours and days of patience can pay off in the long run.

This story is called “Acres of Diamond.” As the story goes a farmer in Africa heard that other farmers had made millions by discovering diamond mines. In an effort to get his hands on some diamonds he sold his farm and set off around the continent in search of diamond. His search turned up nothing and in frustration he committed suicide by drowning.

Interestingly, a strange set of events took place back at the farm that the farmer sold. The new owner was walking by a stream on the property when he noticed “a bright flash of blue and red light from the stream bottom. He bent down and picked up a stone. It was a good-sized stone, and admiring it, he brought it home and put it on his fireplace mantel as an interesting curiosity.”

Some time later a visitor noticed the stone, examined it carefully and almost passed out. He asked the farmer if he knew what the stone was. The farmer said no and said he thought it was a piece of crystal. The visitor told him “he had found one of the largest diamonds ever discovered. The farmer had trouble believing that. He told the man that his creek was full of such stones, not all as large as the one on the mantel, but sprinkled generously throughout the creek bottom.”

As the story goes this farm that the original farmer sold in his quest to find diamonds, had more diamonds than most other diamond mines in Africa. Right under his nose were acres of diamond that he had owned free and clear. He simply failed to take the time to inform himself about what diamonds really look like. (Diamond in its raw natural state needs to be carefully cut to display it full lustre.) SOURCE: Nightingale-Conant

Moral of the story is: don’t give up easily. Persist. Persevere. You may be “sitting” on a million dollar idea. Before you abandon the idea or sell it to someone else, expand your knowledge. Learn from great thinkers like Steve Jobs, Marc Andreessen, Eric Schmidt, Marcus Garvey, Leonardo Da Vinci, Albert Einstein and Galileo Galilei. Make sure you have exhausted all avenues and opportunities, before you decide to move on.

© Tony Thomas

 

MONDAY DEC 17 ’12
Here is a quote that you can apply to your business ambitions:

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” – Mark Twain

When McDonalds first started selling hamburgers through a drive-thru, many said the idea would not work. Fifty years later, the idea is hugely successful and it has been copied by many other fast-food restaurants. The McDonalds brothers did not allow the doubters to kill their ambitions. They challenged the way things had been done for many years, came up with a creative idea and made millions when they sold the business.

© Tony Thomas

The Benefits of Greenhouse Farming to the Jamaican Farmer

Greenhouse farming has become one of the biggest agricultural trends to hit Jamaica in recent years. After seeing the successful results of indoor farming by their neighbours, Jamaicans are becoming increasingly interested in learning how to get started with their own greenhouses.

Jamaica is no stranger to natural disasters and farms, in particular, can be devastated by even minor changes in weather. The greatest thing about greenhouse farming is that it minimizes weather’s potential impact. By moving all of the crops indoors, farmers no longer need to worry about wind and rain. Like traditional outdoor farming, there are many methods for indoor farming but the most important step is to get a good greenhouse.

If you’re thinking about farming indoors, your first step is to build a greenhouse. While the construction can be expensive, many people experimenting with greenhouses are finding that it pays off quite well. Not only are farmers producing more fruits and vegetables, they are also getting higher quality crops. With greenhouse farming, growers need less space than they do with traditional outdoor farming and they are able to increase their growing season by using controlled indoor conditions.

Studies have shown that greenhouses produce nine pounds per tomato plant versus the approximate three and half pounds of tomatoes typically grown from a single plant in the field. The ability to control the conditions inside a greenhouse, on top of the potential for year-round growing, has gotten people excited about greenhouse growing’s potential.

One of the biggest obstacles to greenhouse farming is properly planning your water source. Piped water can damage plants so your most cost effective route is to create a catchment system that allows rain water to be utilized. You will still need to plan for droughts and the potential cost of having water hauled in just as you would with outdoor farming.

Although the water supply is an issue, the ability to prevent pests has been a major benefit for greenhouse growers. The controlled conditions nearly eliminate the need for pesticides, which results in healthier food for consumers and cheaper growing costs for farmers.

USAID’s $18 million initiative, Build Back Better, is focused on helping Jamaicans rebuild after natural disasters and greenhouses are a major part of their plan. By creating a weather resistant environment, greenhouse farmers are able to work through even the worst of conditions and be less affected when disasters do strike.

Joining alongside USAID, the Agency for Inner City Renewal has gotten on board with the growing greenhouse movement in Jamaica. In 2011, they created a greenhouse in the centre of Trench Town. Their initial goal was to allow people within the community to start growing food in an effort to help them establish food security for their own families. The project, however, has completely exceeded their expectations. As the people of Trench Town became more engaged in greenhouse farming, they became able to meet their own families’ needs then sell off crops to actually make a profit.

The Jamaica Gleaner recently published an interview with Charmaine Palmer-Cross and Leebert Cross. The couple from Sanguinetti Clarendon, started greenhouse farming in 2010 and have been thrilled with their results. They began their venture with help from the Jamaica Greenhouse Growers Association. They started small with just a bit of Romaine lettuce and are now growing on a large scale with three employees. They’ve been thrilled by their success, particularly with lettuce, callaloo, tomatoes, and sweet peppers, and are now moving into an even bigger greenhouse.

The Palmer-Cross family is not alone in their love of greenhouse farming. With more than 22,000 people laid off in the past year and the regular threats to outdoor farming brought on by natural disasters, more and more people are turning to greenhouse farming.

If you think greenhouse farming might be for you, consider getting greenhouse technology training. The Ebony Park HEART/NTA Academy in Clarendon (987-1334-6) offers a certification programme in Modified Environment Agriculture, which will teach you everything you will need to know to get started. The programme is free and will guide you through everything from fertilisation to nutrition. When you are ready to build your own greenhouse, contact the Ministry of Agriculture (977-0322) for more information on low-cost building materials.

©Tony Thomas
(Do not reproduce in any form without expressed permission from the author.)

How I Set Up a Website to Generate Income

WorldWideWebI have been buying domain names for over 10 years. Some have been developed into websites and others are “parked” until I am ready to make websites for them or sell them.

Let’s take a look at one of my current websites: MyCanon7D.com

 

  1. I registered the domain name mycanon7d.com at GoDaddy.com on September 3 2009 just 2 days after Canon announced the release of the new camera. At that time the cost was US$10.69 for 1 year’s registration.
  2. I hosted the site at BlueHost.com where I host several websites for US$108 per year or about US$6 for each site.
  3.  I used WordPress software to develop the website for MyCanon7d.com. (WordPress is commonly used for blogging and is available for free through my web host.)
  4. For content I used reviews found online and comments and observations from the photography forum Photography-on-the.net/forum.
  5. I received my Canon 7D camera in April 2010 and started to share my experience using the camera. I shared photographs taken with the camera and information related to how the photos were taken.
  6. THE SOURCE OF INCOME for MyCanon7d.com is Google Adsense and Amazon Affiliate links. I signed up to Google Adsense about 10 years ago and Amazon Affiliate about 5 years ago. Click here to view one of my articles and notice the ads on the right and one on the left just above the article. The ad on the left is Google Adsense and there is an Amazon affiliate link on the right and another Google Adsense ad.

Let’s get into more details about this website and the money-making opportunities.

Why the domain name mycanon7d.com? The answer is related to my background. I was born in St Catherine and grew up near mountains, rivers, springs, bamboo trees, fruit trees and animals. I developed a great appreciation for nature which lead to photography as a hobby.

I bought my first Canon camera over 20 years ago. Over the years I have moved from the initial point-and-shoot camera to my current digital SLR camera, the Canon 7D. Right now this is one of Canon’s top-selling cameras. Many Canon supporters either own this camera or seriously considered buying it.

I thought of the domain name mycanon7d.com (canon7d.com was already taken) because of the popularity of the Canon 7D, my passion for photography and the fact that many people interested in this camera make daily searches using the terms canon7d, canon7d body, canon 7d camera, canon eos 7d, 7d canon, canon 7d review, eos 7d, buy canon 7d, canon 7d specs, canon 7d photo, canon 7d price, canon 7d manual, eos 7d body, canon 7d ebay, canon d 7 etc.

Photography is something I am good at. It is a subject I can talk about at length. I am passionate about photography. The website MyCanon7D.com gives me a chance to express that passion and at the same time help others who are interested in certain aspects of photography. In exchange I get a small monthly income when visitors click on the Google ads and when a purchase is made after clicking on an Amazon link.

Is there a subject you are very familiar with? Is there something you are passionate about? Can you talk about it in details? This is the basic premise for many successful online blogs/websites. The more successful ones deal with matters related to loans, money, investments, finances, health,weight loss, relationships, sexual performance, aging, fitness and travel.

Here is another example of someone who is profiting from his passion. His name is Bob Lotich. He describes himself as “a Christian first and someone who is passionate about helping people with their finances second. I had my life changed by God and the next major change in my life was a financial one. I still remember the moment when I realized that I HAD to get my finances in order…”

Bob is the creator of a highly successful blog called Christian Personal Finance – ChristianPF.com – that offers “money-saving tips, encouraging articles, and great ideas to help you get out of debt, earn more, and give more.”

ChristianPF.com gets hundreds of visitors per day. The ads on its pages are responsible for a good portion of the revenue that Bob collects.

Can you develop a compelling blog/website about money, health, travel, relationships or sports?

©Tony Thomas

WORTH READING

10 Things Every AdSense Publisher Should Know

Amazon Associates Program Operating Agreement

Are You Ready for the Challenges of Farming in Jamaica?

If you are considering farming, there are a number of factors to think about. The first step is to determine your resources. How much time can you devote to farming? How much space do you have? How much can you afford to spend? Different crops will require different amounts of space and can vary greatly in how long they take to mature and, in turn, make a profit for you. Once you’ve assessed your resources, you can begin to think about what type of crops you might like to grow.

After you’ve established the basics, you’ll need to determine your soil type. You can get a home kit or have a company test your soil’s pH level. Once you know your soil type, you’ll want to determine what type of crop will be best suited for your space. You can change the composition of your soil with additives but, typically, it’s best to work with what you have.

Some of the most commonly grown crops by small Jamaican farms are sweet potatoes and yams, beans, cassava and tomatoes.

If you’re considering sweet potatoes, you should have sandy soil and a large sunny space. You can grow 50 sprouts from the peelings of one potato so it’s a low upfront investment. They take about 16-18 weeks to mature and they need to be harvested as soon as they mature so don’t grow more than you can manage. The two biggest risks are water-logging and sweet potato weevils.

Yams are a good choice if your soil has a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5. They grow well at 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit, like a lot of compost, and require fertilization every two weeks. They take about one year to mature. The most common problems arise from fungal issues, which can be treated with fungicide.

If you’re thinking about growing tomatoes, you’ll need to start by growing them in pots filled with potting soil until they are three- five weeks old so plan for more upfront costs than you would with sweet potatoes or yams. They’ll also require stakes once they grow to about two feet tall. They grow best when watered every other day and fertilized every three weeks. They mature after two to three months. Pests are always a risk and regular weeding will be required.

There is a type of crop that will work in nearly every condition but it can be difficult to decide what will be best for you. Before you make a commitment to growing a particular crop, you need to determine: the required soil type, ideal temperature/ light range, necessary irrigation, yield and maturation time, potential risks, and total costs involved.

Like most things, it’s best to start small. If you think you might want to grow tomatoes, just start with a few pots. This will give you a very good idea of how much time and money you’ll need to invest.

©Tony Thomas
(Do not reproduce in any form without expressed permission from the author.)

WORTH READING

How to take Soil Samples

Cost of Production – “The cost of production estimates are used to guide and inform new and existing farmers as to the potential costs associated with various crops.”

Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries

Agricultural Business Information System

Operating A Profitable Small Farm (by University of Maryland)

Opportunities for the Jamaican Entrepreneur in 2013

Can You Make Money in the Product Review Business?

(by Tony Thomas Tue Jan 8th 9:05 PM)

dollar200 Dave was in the market for a new camera so he visited his local camera store and chatted with one of the salesmen. Over the years he has gotten good advice from this particular salesman and he has grown to trust his opinions. The salesman recommended a high-end camera from one of the top Japanese camera manufacturers. The “specs” were very good, the camera felt just right in his hand and he could afford the asking price. He bought the camera but within 3 weeks of using it he noticed strange dots on his photographs. Cleaning did not help. He later found out that there were numerous complaints about dust and oil splatter on the camera’s sensor.

Some photographers who were considering buying this new camera, read reviews and were alerted about the dusty/oily sensor problems. Some waited until the problem was corrected while others looked at similar cameras. But Dave endured weeks of frustration as he struggled to get his new camera to work properly.

What’s the point of this story? Dave could have avoided weeks of headaches if he had read the reviews and complaints that were easily available online.

In today’s technology-laden world, most people have easy access to information on a desktop computer, a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone. Surveys have shown that consumers are using these media to find reviews about products and services before spending their money. So it is safe to say that reviews are influencing customers’ buying decisions.

Websites have been developed to cater to this habit. Going to visit Disney in Orlando? Check out the hotel reviews at TripAdvisor.com. Want to see reviews about an online store? Check ResellerRatings.com. Want to try something new for dinner? Check out the recipes and reviews at Epicurious.com. Customers are also checking out the reviews at Amazon.com, Walmart.com, BestBuy.com, BHPhotoVideo.com, TigerDirect.com, OfficeDepot.com and other online stores.

However it has been noted that some reviews are written by persons with links to the product, place or service being reviewed. In other words, not all reviews are from customers who bought products and services and gave their honest opinions. Another issue with reviews is the fact that some popular products like the “EatSmart Precision Pro – Multifunction Digital Kitchen Scale” have over a thousand reviews. These challenges offer an opportunity for the creative entrepreneur.

One company based in Seattle Washington has invested heavily in the product review business. The company uses its “patent-pending machine learning and text mining algorithms on billions of price points across millions of products, blog posts, and articles on the web to enable shoppers to make the best buying decision possible.” Basically the company has taken the online reviews and opinions of several shoppers and use what it considers as the better reviews on its site.

There are millions of products bought and sold each day. Some of these have at least 5 reviews. The creative entrepreneur can help potential buyers by selecting the better reviews and featuring these on a website or in a video. Some Amazon Affiliates have created websites for specific products sold at Amazon and have used the reviews to help sell the products.

A very practical idea for an entrepreneur in Jamaica is the creation of videos for visiting tourists. For example a video of Montego Bay with images of the restaurants, shops, nightclubs, beaches, and other points of interest would be well received if done professionally. To stand out among the other videos about the City of Montego Bay you could mention recent developments in the area and upcoming events such as the 2013 Jazz and Blues Festival. The video could be featured on YouTube or Vimeo.

You can monetize the video by partnering with YouTube. Details here.

Another business model related to reviews is Angie’s List. “More than 1.5 million households nationwide check Angie’s List reviews to find the best local service providers, like roofers, plumbers, handymen, mechanics, doctors and dentists.”

Angie’s List is supported by paying members in the USA and parts of Canada. The reviews they write are checked before they are published. This ensures a fair and objective appraisal of services rendered and prevents service providers from writing reviews about themselves. It also prevents companies from writing negative comments about their competitors.

A model like Angie’s List for the island of Jamaica could be a big success. Will you be the first to make it happen?

YOU MAY WANT TO KNOW: Consumer Reports - the foremost product review company – has about 3 million online subscribers and 4 million subscribers to its famous magazine. Members pay over US$100 million dollars per year to the company. Some of this money is used to buy the products they test including the 2013 Honda Accord which they raved about recently. I mention the Accord because it has faced stiff competition from the Hyundai Sonata, Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion recently and Consumer Reports have been vocal in urging Honda to return to their prestige of decades past.

WORTH READING
Yelp Reviews Ruled Free Speech Until Proven Defamatory. Right Call?

6 U.S. States Forbid Employers to Ask to See Your Private Facebook Info

Over the past few years some employers have been engaging in the unsavory practice of asking potential employees for their facebook login details so that they could snoop around and view their private details and postings. In some cases the information found on social media sites – like facebook and twitter – have been used to disqualify them for the job. In other cases when potential employees refused to give over their login details, the employers simply refused to hire them.

Starting in January 2013, California and Illinois have joined the ranks of Michigan, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware in passing state laws designed to prohibit employers from requiring an employee or job applicant to provide their username and password for social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

This legal trend is expected to spread to other states. Employers who are not limited by these state laws should think carefully about asking to see a potential employee’s private social media information. Attorneys have pointed out that this is a clear case of violation of one’s privacy.

WORTH READING

Maryland is first state to ban employers from asking for Facebook passwords

Calif. law passed to halt employer snooping on social media

If You Work In California Or Illinois, Your Boss Can’t Ask You For Your Facebook Password Anymore

Facebook Password Ban Among New State Laws Going Into Effect In 2013

 

Farming as an Opportunity in Jamaica

FARMING
(by Tony Thomas Fri Jan 4th 12:15 AM)

During my lunch break on Monday I was listening to the Caribbean program “The Open Line” on WAVS 1170 when a caller related a true story about farming in Jamaica. He was driving by a property in Clarendon when he noticed that it was overrun by weeds and thick grass. He remembered that this property was once a thriving piece of land.

He visited the owner to find out why he is no longer producing any crop and found out he was very ill. Apparently he was not able to care for the land or find someone he could trust to do so. He asked if he could lease the property for 15 years. Arrangement was made with the owner and his son in the UK and he (as an experienced farmer) went about clearing the land and producing cash crops like pepper.

He encouraged others to seek out run-down or forbidden properties, find the owners and try to make similar arrangements. The demand for fresh home-grown crops is great right now. Fresh produce can be sold at the local market and at hotels and restaurants across the country.

According to a recent Ministry of Agriculture report “The dilemma is that although there are a lot of underutilized lands across the island, a high portion of food is still being imported. For example, 50-80% of the food used in the hotel industry is imported. There are a variety of reasons for this but none are insurmountable. Reliability, quality, seasonability and quantity are the main issues.” (Source: http://www.moa.gov.jm/jam/jamaica2.pdf)

In the January 2nd issue of the Jamaica Observer it was reported that “…major farm projects that are on the drawing table could mean a big boost for agriculture this year, while continued expansion in the use of greenhouse technology seen in 2012 may carry through to 2013.”

“Key among the projects is Red Stripe’s plans to establish commercial agreements with farmers to cultivate over 2,000 acres with cassava and sorghum to replace imported barley for input into its beer.” (Read more)

The website for the Ministry of Agriculture offers a wealth of information about farming opportunities in Jamaica including the cost of production of certain crops, the projected marketable yield and the time it takes a plant, fruit or vegetable to mature. Here are a few estimated costs of producing certain crops:

SWEET POTATO
Cost of production: $15 per kg
Crop Maturity: 3 Months
Projected Marketable Yield: 12,955 per kg

SWEET PEPPER
Cost of production: $85 per kg
Crop Maturity: 3 Months + 4 months reaping
Projected Marketable Yield: 14,108 per kg

PUMPKIN
Cost of production: $23 per kg (in Clarendon)
Crop Maturity: 3.5 Months
Projected Marketable Yield: 8,182 per kg

TOMATO
Cost of production: $57 per kg
Crop Maturity: 3 Months
Projected Marketable Yield: 6,545 per kg

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Agricultural Business Information System

Rural Agricultural Development Authority

DiscoverJamaica.com: agriculture

Good-bye banana, hello pepper

St Ann man gives up minibus for farming

Farming and the food crisis

Husband and wife take on greenhouse farming

Online Course: Grow to Greatness: Smart Growth for Private Businesses, Part I (Jan 28 2013)

Grow to Greatness: Smart Growth for Private Businesses, Part I by Edward D. Hess

Next Session:

Jan 28th 2013 (5 weeks long) Sign Up
Workload: 4-6 hours/week

About the Course

Most entrepreneurship courses focus on how to start a business. Few focus on the next big entrepreneurial inflection point: how do you successfully grow an existing private business? This is the focus of this Course. It is based on the instructor’s research and thirty years of real-world experience advising private growth companies.
This Course will challenge how you think about growth; give you tools to help you plan for growth, assess the preconditions to grow, and manage the risks of growth. You will study stories of how five different private businesses faced their growth challenges.
Growth, if not properly managed, can overwhelm a business, destroying value and in many cases even causing the business to fail. However, the research shows that every growth business faces common challenges. You can learn from others’ experience—you do not have to “reinvent the wheel”.
The Course format is case based. Each case tells a compelling story. You will learn from Julie Allinson, Susan Fellers, Dave Lindsey, Parik Laxinarayan and Eric Barger. In addition, each week, we will discuss a different content theme. In Weeks and 2 and 5, you will engage in Workshops where you will be asked to use and apply the Course tools and concepts to create growth strategies for two different real-life businesses. You will have the opportunity to create a Course Community of fellow-students to learn from each other as the Course progresses.
You will learn about the: “3 Myths of Growth”; the “Truth About Growth”;  why growth is like “Mother Nature”; the “Gas Pedal” approach to growth; the all important “4 Ps” of how to grow; and how to scale a business strategically.

About the Instructor(s)

 Professor Edward D. Hess is a Professor of Business Administration at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, and an Executive-in-Residence at Darden’s Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Before joining Darden, Hess  spent more than 30 years in the business world. He began his career at Atlantic Richfield Corporation and was a senior executive at Warburg Paribas Becker, Boettcher & Company, the Robert M. Bass Group and Arthur Andersen. He is the author of ten books, over 60 practitioner articles, and over 60 Darden cases, etc. dealing with growth systems, managing growth and growth strategies. His books include Hess and Liedtka, The Physics of Business Growth: Mindsets, System and Processes (Stanford University Press, 2012); Grow to Greatness: Smart Growth for Entrepreneurial Businesses (Stanford University Press, 2012); Growing an Entrepreneurial Business: Concepts & Cases (Stanford University Press, February, 2011); Smart Growth: Building Enduring Businesses by Managing the Risks of Growth (Columbia Business School Publishing, 2010); Hess and Goetz, So You Want to Start A Business (FT Press, 2008); The Road To Organic Growth (McGraw-Hill, 2007); Hess and Cameron, eds., Leading with Values: Virtue, Positivity & High Performance (Cambridge University Press, 2006); Hess and Kazanjian, eds., The Search for Organic Growth (Cambridge University Press, 2006).Smart Growth was named a Top 25 2010 business book for business owners by Inc. Magazine and was awarded the Wachovia Award for Research Excellence.His current research focuses on the Darden Growth/Innovation Model, the challenges of managing private company growth, growth systems and behaviors. Hess has taught in Executive Education programs for Harris Corporation, Cigna, Timken, United Technologies, Genworth Financial, Pitney Bowes, Unilever Russia, Westinghouse Nuclear, Alpha Natural Resources, Alegco-Scotsman, FTI Consulting as well as IESE (Barcelona) and the Indian School of Business.

Hess’s work has appeared in Fortune magazine, JiJi Press, Washington Post, the Financial Times, Investor’s Business Daily, CFO Review, Money magazine and in more than 250 other media publications as well as on CNBC, BusinessWeek.com, Fox Business News, Forbes.com, Big Think, Reuters.com., Inc.com, WSJ Radio, Bloomberg Radio, Dow Jones, MSNBC Radio, Huffington Post.com, Business Insider.com and Chief Learning Officer.com.

Prior to joining the faculty at Darden, he was Adjunct Professor and the Founder and Executive Director of both the Center for Entrepreneurship and Corporate Growth and the Values-Based Leadership Institute at Goizueta Business School, Emory University.

Course Syllabus

Please see Syllabus for further detail on weekly reading and assignments.
Week 1: The “Truth About Growth”:The common beliefs that all growth is good; bigger is always better; and businesses must “grow or die” are not true. Growth can be good and growth can be bad. There is no scientific basis for the axiom “grow or die”. It is a fiction. You will lean from Julie Allinson, the founder of Eyebobs, who has built a successful business selling stylish “reading glasses for the irreverent and slightly jaded.” Julie approached growth realistically and understood its value creation and destructive powers. You will learn how she faced manufacturing, sales, and people challenges while building a high growth business—a cool story.
Week 2: Workshop—“Are You Ready for Growth?”:  Using the Growth Decision Template and Growth Risks Audit tool from Week 1, you will meet and advise Susan Fellers, the founder of 3 Fellers Bakery. Susan started a business baking gluten-free products when she was diagnosed with celiac disease. Her start-up was successful, and she needs your help because she has had so many growth alternatives and she does not know which to pursue. You will be asked to create a growth plan for her.
Week 3: The 4 Ps of Growth—Planning, Prioritization, Processes and Pace: Using the Defender Direct story, we will learn to better manage the chaos of growth; find a business’s strategic focus; how to choose which daily “fires” to put out first; how to create replicable processes—“leave a fire extinguisher behind”; and how to pace growth letting “up on the growth gas pedal”. Dave Lindsey is our business builder this week, and you will trace his story from starting his business in his home to today being a national, privately owned home installation company generating well in excess of $300M (USD) in revenue with healthy profit numbers.
Week 4: The Four Ways To Grow a Business: This week you will learn about the different ways to grow—improvements, innovation, scaling, and strategic acquisitions—with a focus on growth boosters: how to get more customers and sell more products and/or services to existing customers more efficiently. Enchanting Travels, a travel company based in India, is our story this week. You will learn how they built the foundation of their business to scale their focused customer value proposition so they could grow geographically to Africa, South America, and Asia. The story presents a big decision for you: should they franchise their business?
Week 5: Workshop—“Creating a Growth Plan”: This week you will read about Eric Barger’s challenge: how to take a business that has had little growth selling a commodity product and turn it into a high growth business. You will be asked to create a growth plan for Eric. And after doing that you will learn what Eric did to quadruple his business in three years.

Recommended Background

The only prerequisite for this Course is an interest in learning about how privately-owned entrepreneurial businesses grow. The following people will find this course helpful: students at all levels, private business owners, managers of private businesses, employees of private businesses, and people interested in growth, economic development, and job creation.

Suggested Readings

All of the required Course readings are listed in the Syllabus and will be provided for free by the University of Virginia Darden School Foundation.
Additional reading that you might find helpful for the Course include:
1. Edward D. Hess, Grow to Greatness: Smart Growth for Entrepreneurial Businesses. Stanford, CA: Stanford Business Books, 2012, which is the book that this Course is based on.
2. Edward D. Hess and Charles F. Goetz, So! You Want to Start a Business? Upper Saddle River, NJ: FT Press, 2008. This book was written for people who want to start a business. It focuses on the eight common reasons why start-ups fail and how to increase your probability of avoiding those mistakes.

3. Edward D. Hess, The Road to Organic Growth: How Great Companies Consistently Grow Marketshare From Within, New York: McGraw Hill, 2007. This book is based on a study of consistent high organic growth U.S. public companies and their defining characteristics—the six keys to their success. Company stories include Sysco, Stryker Corporation, Outback Steakhouse, Best Buy Co., Inc., TSYS, Tiffany & Co., and American Eagle Outfitters, Inc..

My additional list of good reads (not required):
1. Peter F. Drucker, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, New York: HarperBusiness, 1993.
2. Michael E. Gerber, The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It, New York: HarperCollins, 2001.
3. Neil C. Churchill and John W. Mullins, “How Fast Can Your Company Afford to Grow?” Harvard Business Review, 79, no. 5 (2001): 135-42.

Course Format

Videos and Workshops
Each week consists of 90 minutes of videos made for the Course in short segments of 10 to 15 minutes each. The videos discuss the articles and case studies to be read prior to the class. There are tests embedded within the segments to evaluate your understanding of the concepts. You may proceed at your own pace.
There are also Workshop exercises, in which you have the opportunity to use the concepts discussed in the readings and videos to determine a course of action for a real, private business growth challenge. After completing the exercises, you will learn what action the business actually took and whether it was successful.

There is a (non-optional) final exam of multiple choice and short answer questions.

Course Communities
You may choose to create a Course Community, which will allow you to learn from your classmates. Communities can be formed based on your country of residence or based on the type of business you own or want to learn about. The purpose of the community is to provide a forum for you to learn from each other. It’s an opportunity for you create and grow together.
Instructor Engagement
I will hold “office hours” every Wednesday morning during the Course from 10:00am to 11:30am EST where I will be on the Course Discussion Forum to answer questions, chat and respond to other conversations.

Online Course: Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies (Jan 28 2013)

Next Session:
Jan 28th 2013 (6 weeks long) Sign Up
Workload: 5-7 hours/week

About the Course

This course assists aspiring entrepreneurs in developing great ideas into great companies. With strong economies presenting rich opportunities for new venture creation, and challenging economic times presenting the necessity for many to make their own job, the need to develop the skills to develop and act on innovative business opportunities is ever present.Using proven content, methods, and models for new venture opportunity assessment and analysis, students will learn two key skills: (1) how to use a business model approach to analyze each part of a company, and (2) a customer development orientation to see if anyone really wants the product.  Value propositions, customer segments, strategic alliances, and business modeling are core elements taught in the course. The initial steps to creating a business plan, and raising financial capital to launch the firm, are examined as well. Our goal is to demystify the startup process, and to help you build the skills to identify and act on innovative opportunities now, and in the future.

About the Instructor(s)

Dr. James V. Green leads the education activities of Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) as the Director of Entrepreneurship Education with responsibilities for designing and teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in entrepreneurship and technology commercialization, leading seed funding programs and select business plan competitions, and managing residential entrepreneurship programs for students. In 2011, he earned first prize in the 3E Learning Innovative Entrepreneurship Education Competition presented at the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) annual conference to recognize college educators who have created new and challenging learning activities that actively involve students in the entrepreneurial experience. Prior to the University of Maryland, Dr. Green held founder, executive, and operational roles with multiple startups to include WaveCrest Laboratories (an innovator in next-generation electric and hybrid-electric propulsion and drive systems), Cyveillance (a software startup and world leader in cyber intelligence and intelligence-led security), and NetMentors.Org (the first national online career development eMentoring community). Dr. Green earned a Doctor of Management and an MS in Technology Management from the University of Maryland University College, an MBA from the University of Michigan, and a BS in Industrial Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Course Syllabus

Week One:
Identifying and satisfying real market needs
Understanding customer adoption of innovations

Week Two:
Selecting the right industry
Identifying valuable opportunities

Week Three:
The business model canvas

Week Four:
Patterns of business model generation
Designing business models

Week Five:
Strategies for business model generation
Process for business model design

Week Six:
Developing the business plan
Raising financial capital

Recommended Background

This introductory course is designed for those interested in learning about innovative idea generation and new venture creation, and does not require a background in business or any specific area.  A desire to build your knowledge and capabilities are the only requirements for entry.

Suggested Readings

Although the class is designed to be self-contained, students wanting to expand their knowledge beyond what we can cover in this class can find further coverage of these topics in the recommend readings, to include “Business Model Generation” by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur, and “Finding Fertile Ground” by Scott Shane.

Course Format

The class will consist of a series of video lectures each week, which are between 8 and 12 minutes in length. These contain 1 to 2 integrated quiz questions per video. There will also be standalone assignments and a final exam to apply learning and reinforce key methods and models.

10-30-60 Marketing Rule Tells How Much To Advertise

By Kevin Nunley

How much should your business spend on marketing? Where should you spend it and who should you target?

Everybody who has been in business for a while has their own ideas about this, yet many of us could use a little guidance. Fortunately there is the old 10-30-60 marketing rule that has made decisions easier for decades. And it still works. 10-30-60 works like this:

 
1. Dedicate 10 percent of your ad budget on everyone. These should be untargeted ads. You wan to reach as broad a market as you can. You never truly know for sure where customers are going to com from, so cast a wide net. For example, an ad in a daily newspaper, on TV, or a very general keyword on Google Adwords. A press release is also a great way to reach a large audience.

2. Spend 30 percent of your ad budget on interested prospects. These are people who have shown an interest in your business, product, service, or idea — yet sill haven’t bought. You might keep track of everyone who has called or emailed asking questions, then send them a series of emails asking if you can answer more questions and pointing out your best deal. You can also consider people who often buy products and services like yours, yet don’t yet know about your business. Opt-in email lists, ezine ads, and targeted online ads are good examples. SEO work on your site also does the job of reaching interested prospects who don’t yet know about you.

3. Spend 60 percent of your ad budget on your current and previous customers. Nobody believes in you more than your customers. They are already sold on you. Your customers should be the first to buy from you again and again. So don’t miss an opportunity to answer their questions, create new products for them, and keep them up to date on what your business is doing. Right at the top of the list is having your own email list, newsletter, or updates that can keep current and past customers informed and excited.

Most businesses get 10-30-60 backward. They will spend most of their budget going after new customers. If you’re a new business that is exactly what you SHOULD be doing. But for an established business, 10-30-60 is the smart way to go.

One easy way to save money: Always ask if an advertising outlet has a cheaper rate or a special deal. Many do, especially in these trying times when every customer is appreciated. Those lowest rates won’t be revealed to the general public, but only to those who ask.

Get more of Kevin Nunley’s free marketing tips at http://DrNunley.com. And see his super cheap marketing services, like $5 ads and $40 sizzling sales letters, custom written for you at http://www.CheapWriting.com.

SOURCE: EzineArticles.com/7432507