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Forecasting a Merry Christmas and a Profitable New Year

Uncategorized Dec 20, 2018

I love Christmas. I love the music, the lights, the time spent with friends and family, and of course the significance of the holiday for those of us who attempt to follow Christ. The crowded streets and stores I could do without, but the good comes with the bad and all in all, it’s a joyful time of year for most of us.

  
We’ve been working on our budget for LoCo Think Tank for 2019, forecasting continued growth in chapter membership and a couple more chapter launches projected. With our business model as a membership organization, it’s a fairly simple exercise - we know the revenues from each member, and the ratio of LoCo Facilitator expenses to that top line, and then we have our overhead expenses for office rent and tech spending, marketing and meals, figure in my meager salary and intern wages, and viola! We can project our profitability on a monthly basis, and budget when we can finally get a good office printer and Jill can have her inkjet back at...
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Profit isn't a Right or a Privilege, it's a Responsibility!

Uncategorized Nov 29, 2018

Did you know? - The second-largest (behind NRA, duh) and fastest growing gun-rights organization in the US is based here in Northern Colorado. Located in Windsor, the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR for short) was founded in 2000, and has grown to become a very prominent organization, with over 4.5 million members. One of my longtime friends used to work for them, and I’ve met the founder, Dudley Brown. For some reason I always remember one of their old T-shirt designs that proclaimed, “Gun ownership is a RIGHT, not a privilege”. So, as you might guess, their agenda is basically no compromise on individual gun ownership freedoms. It’s a complicated issue, and I’m not here to get myself a bunch of new haters - but I will say that I enjoy the simplicity of their message.  

 
The point I mean to address is that words have very precise meanings, and something small business owners can get confused about is profit. (As can their...
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Scary Jobs!

Uncategorized Oct 23, 2018

 

A job I had during my college days was working for the Fargodome - a sports and music venue in Fargo, ND.  It was very part-time, always under 20 hours/week, and often late at night or on weekends. About half my time was spent zipping in or zipping out the artificial turf - mindless and tedious work - but it paid pretty good on the per hour, and I worked with fun people.  

 

The remaining time was spent setting up or tearing down for music shows and other events.  Highlight: I met Ted Nugent in the parking lot one day - he was shooting his bow and arrow at animal targets, waiting for his crew to set up the show.  He was nice. The role I especially cherished - and nobody else wanted to do - was to climb the trusses behind the stage and adjust where the lights were pointing, and occasionally change bulbs or similar.  No safety lines, no training, no hazard pay - but I was an excellent tree climber and have almost no fear of heights - so it was...

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On Facilitation

Uncategorized Sep 18, 2018

Only years after founding LoCo Think Tank did I attempt to define the foundations of the business model.  My interactions with business members of Vistage and other peer advisory group models, and later membership in a Trusted Advisors chapter of Vistage, convinced me of the extraordinary power of peer learning.  Likewise, my involvement in Rotary Club - where our motto is Service Above Self - was an obvious element. The third foundational element actually preceded the others in time - my role as a Discussion Leader within an organization called Bible Study Fellowship when my wife and I lived in Colorado Springs.  Though over 30 at the time, I was new to matters of faith, and when invited to the role I protested that I didn’t know very much about the Bible. The response - you don’t need to! My mentor (and recruiter) shared that the role calls for a facilitator, not a teacher, and the duties required only that I maintain order in the conversation, and ask...

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On Leverage

Uncategorized Aug 21, 2018

Out with a friend and LoCo Think Tank member the other day, I was introduced to a business owner with whom he was acquainted - an inventor, custom builder, manufacturer, rental business, and online retailer.  Sharp guy, very interesting as you might imagine, with a clearly successful business. As we chatted a bit more, I learned that his multi-faceted business operation is a one-man band - no employees at all! Tried it, didn’t work out, so I just do a little bit of everything he says...

Gasp!  With an economics education and a banking background, this seemed to me a tragedy!  No employees means no leverage, and no leverage in business ultimately means modest impact and earnings and low growth...but I get ahead of myself.  

What is leverage, anyway?  And why and how is it important in business?  We all know the basics of a lever - you’ve got a fulcrum, and an object to be moved, and a handle for the operator.  Ancient...

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Share of Your Abundance

Uncategorized Jul 17, 2018

Ask of your needs and share of your abundance.  A philosophy of life in fewer than 10 words. Not THE philosophy of life mind you, but A philosophy of life that I’ve been pondering,  and the first value of LoCo Think Tank.

Ask of your needs…why is this so hard to do?  We see the signs around town and in major cities - hungry, they might say, or stranded, or anything helps.  And no doubt these signs are often true. But these folks are not asking for what they need which is often understanding, and to be loved – a walk alongside in life for a time, or someone who believes in them after they may have ceased to believe in themselves.  For many of us, we might not even know what we need, or we don’t acknowledge it. The bitter spouse, the anxious co-worker, the stressed-out new parent at church – humans struggle to ask for what they need. Because asking of our needs suggests weakness, weakness which is forbidden in the land of the...

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My business is very like a…

Uncategorized Jun 19, 2018

Many of us remember the old poem about the six blind men of Indostan who happen upon an elephant, and they wish to consider what type of creature it is.  Depending on what part of the elephant their hands fall upon, they find him to be very like a wall, a spear, a snake, a tree, a fan, and a rope. None of these things are very like an elephant, and the poem does well to demonstrate the weakness of limited perspective.  

In my observation, most small businesses are started by an implementer - someone who learned specific skills during a period of employment.  Over time, the electrician, the writer, or the insurance agent has gathered enough skills and knowledge (and guts) to “go out on their own”. And if they’re really good at this thing, they may soon have more demand than they can handle - so they hire a helper, and then another, and then another.  Soon, this founder/implementer is spending most of their time managing the...

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The 12 Essentials for Your Small Business Success Story

Uncategorized May 22, 2018

One of the things that holds folks back from pursuing any dream is their fear of failure. We hear the stories too often, see the Going Out of Business signs, learn about the loss of nest eggs or family member investments... small businesses do fail. But many succeed, and they create jobs, build wealth for the owners, and add to the vibrancy of the local economy. Small businesses are the foundation of a community in so many ways.

 

After nearly 20 years of getting to know small business owners, I've come to notice many similarities in the successes. Through this experience, I find there are 12 essentials to create success in a small business. If you're preparing to roll the dice on a small business enterprise, or you’re already a few chapters into your own small business success story, make sure you're equipping yourself with as many of these as possible.

 

A Plan. Gotta have a plan! It doesn’t matter if it's a one-page Business Model Canvas, or a 30-pager built...

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