Google+ Followers

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The part the fits


I recently had an issue that may demonstrate something for small business. A manufacturer told me over the phone, that they no longer made parts for a unit they built over 20 years ago. They went on to tell me the current design included a part that could be used in the older system. In fact, while it was an “improved” part, it would be a direct replacement. On that basis, I was able to purchase the “improved” part and arranged to have a qualified mechanic replace the older part. The mechanic, however, was not as familiar as he needed to be. The new part required a slightly different attach method, and after almost four hours he was able to remove the older part but failed to be able to replace it with the “improved” part. In the end the “improved” part did not come with an explanation, manual, or directions reflecting any difference in the method of attachment. I had the old part put back with a slight change to improve its functionality. The manufacturer refunded the purchase price of the “improved” part. I had to pay the mechanic.

 

There are a number of lessons here I think:

 

New Parts can be designed to replace old parts, so the customer is not left without a solution.

When new parts are used, instructions should be provided as well.

This manufacturer stood behind his products for a long time.

Should the manufacturer offered to pay for the mechanic as well?

 

 

Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

 

 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Mobile Website's growing impact


  

Mobile websites continue to become more and more important for driving company sales.

 

Need some verification?

From Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday (Nov. 30), nearly half of Walmart’s online orders were placed through mobile devices—doubling the retailer’s mobile transactions from the same period a year earlier.

You can read the article on this trend at Quartz, a digitally native news outlet for the new global economy. 


 

Customers who view mobile website browsers tend to be purchasers while consumers who browse desktop websites tend to be browsers.

 

Keeping your mobile website up to date and looking fresh can be more important than keeping your desktop website up to date and fresh.

 

 

Tom Hyman, SCORE Counselor


 

How old is old?



In preparation for retirement, over 15 years ago (I retired young) my wife and I sold our house and either sold or gave away everything in it. We did not need much going forward and had another place to live. Among the items we gave away to one of my sons was an electric lawn mower, I used for at least 5 years. Now at least 20 years after purchasing it my son told me one of the things he did over one recent weekend was: “Lawn mow with your electric mower...getting old but still works. Had to fix a bunch of times over the yrs.” Wow, was I surprised!

 

How long do your products last?

 

 

Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Ethics and your business




 

Your business can suffer from perceived unethical behavior on your part, or that of an employee. It does not have to be real or illegal to hurt your business. Some of the illegal things are bait-and-switch, harassment, discrimination for various reasons or employee intimidation. Unfulfilled verbal agreements can be illegal, but even if they are not, the word spreads and your business can suffer.

 

So what do you do to minimize these issues? You develop a detailed business guide and be sure all employees and associates get it. You live by it yourself as well.

 

Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

50 Don'ts to Build Your Business #5 of 5..LAST OF THE SERIES


 

           

50 Don’ts to Build Your Business #5 of 5 LAST OF THE SERIES

 

41. Not staying in touch with customers or top prospects thru newsletters, email, occasional calls, even letters.

42. Not reading widely in books on business, marketing, and people management.

43. Not reading enough biographies. (Learning about the setbacks other people have overcome can’t help but strengthen you).

44. Overselling the virtues of your product.

45. Overselling the virtues of a job or your company to a prospective employee (they’re going to find out the truth the day they start).

46. Trying to do everything yourself: not delegating non-core tasks (e.g. Web development, maintenance)

47. Not pursuing international sales. With borderless Internet communication and global supply chains, there’s no reason you can’t target foreign markets.

48. Putting things off.

49. Being depressed by this list.

50. Instead, it’s meant to inspire you by encouraging you to acknowledge your mistakes and start fixing them. MISTAKES ARE OPPORTUNITIES WAITING TO BE SEIZED!

 

Hope you got something from the series…100 do’s and don’ts.

 

Marty Kahn, Score Counselor


 

Friday, November 13, 2015

50 Do's to Build Your Business #5 of 5


 

 

50 Do’s to Build Your Business #5 of 5

 

41. Understand the amount of debt your company can live with.

42. Never underestimate how much financing the sellers of a business might provide when you buy their company.

43. Always have a partnership agreement.

44. Manage clients’ expectations.

45. Double-check time charges from Consultants or time-tracked employees.

46. Negotiate with suppliers to get prices lowered.

47. Understand that someone, some day will probably sue you, so always carry Liability insurance.

48. Build good relationships with police, politicians, and regulators.

49. Document everything.

50. Dream large.

 

This is the last of the 50 Do's. Watch for one more Don't in the series.
 

Marty Kahn, Score Counselor


 

 

Friday, November 6, 2015

50 Don'ts to Build Your Business #4


 

50 Don’ts to Build Your Business #4

 

 

31. Not getting help perfecting your pitch. (Ask for feedback from friends, or colleagues, or consultants)

32. Treating all employees the same.

33. Not focusing on your core business challenges-driving yourself and everyone crazy by always chasing the next shiny object.

34. Feeling you have to know EVERYTHING, instead of asking people for help and advice more often.

35. Not setting up an Advisory Board focused on your business and its needs.

36. Not keeping proper financial records. (No shoeboxes)

37. Not articulating the mission, vision, and values for your company.

38. Charging too little for your time, products and/or services.

39. Putting off asking for the order.

40. Fear of raising prices (Losing price-sensitive customers isn’t always a bad thing).

 

 

Marty Kahn, SCORE Counselor


 

 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Safety



All small business must be concerned about safety, safety for yourself, your employees and your customers. Here are a few things to help:

 

Your Insurance company can help. Ask them.


Check the web site for the US Occupation Safety and Health Administration


 

Your Fire Department can help. Ask them to check your business.

 

Compliance with health regulations may be needed for certain businesses as well.

 

Keep your business safe.

 

 

Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

50 Do's to Build Your Business #4



50 Do’s to Build Your Business #4
 
 
31. Always hiring people who are good fits for their jobs.
32. Fire bad employees.
33. Always pay attention to good grooming and dressing. (You will never know the business you didn’t get).
34. You’ll get your best business ideas when you’re relaxing, running, or playing with your kids.
35. Always remember you are not the only game in town.
36. Be certain your planning allows enough time to become profitable.
37. Always be confident. Confidence matters.
38. Recognize that top performers for others are not necessarily going to be top performers for you.
39. Carefully monitor your receivables, never assume.
40. Use vendors as a source of cash during cash shortages.
 
 
Marty Kahn, SCORE Counselor
 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

50 Dont's to Build Your Business #3


 

 

50 Don’ts to Build Your Business #3

 

21. Thinking of all competitors as the ENEMY rather than potential allies or joint venture partners.

22. Not listening to the marketplace. Often the world is sending you clear signals, but the message isn’t getting through.

23. Expecting government assistance or even subsidies.

24. Not taking advantage of business-advisory sources, like SCORE or the economic development office.

25. Not joining peer groups of like-minded entrepreneurs to share experiences, problems, and solutions.

26. Dismissing Social Media when it’s an incredible, necessary tool for building your business.

27. Hiring people who are just like you, when people LESS like you can add more diverse skills that your business needs.

28. Not measuring the results of your marketing efforts.

29. Under-investing in marketing.

30. Waiting for a “Savior”-the perfect commission-only salesperson to appear and bail out your vision. Stop waiting and start selling!

 

Marty Kahn, SCORE Counselor


 

 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

50 Do's to Build Your Business #3


 

50 Do’s to Build Your Business #3

 

 

21. Make succession plans, or selling-your-business plans YEARS in advance.

22. Seek the best URLs and Twitter monikers for your business, whether or not you use them now.

23. Never compromising on new hires, but always waiting for the right candidate.

24. Hiring outstanding people when you meet them; create their job as you move along.

25. Always reviewing every idea, initiative, or sales pitch by asking  “What can we do to make this unforgettable?”

26. Always remembering to say Thank You to customers and staff.

27. Always “Trust, but verify” People on your team may mean well, but without guidance they can go off-track.

28. Always listen to those with more gray hairs than you.

29. Hire an experienced business lawyer, not just anyone with a law degree.

30. Provide solutions for your customers and your employees, and they will always be your customers and employees.

 

 

Marty Kahn, SCORE Counselor


 

Friday, October 9, 2015

50 Don'ts to Build Your Business #2




50 Don’ts to Build Your Business #2

 

11.Assuming everyone else is like YOU in their tastes, expectations, values and risk appetites.

12.Underestimating costs.

13.Overestimating revenues.

14.Not having a professional recent photo of yourself, for your website, the local press, Facebook, etc.

15.Not developing standard greetings and personal mission statements for when you meet new people or attend networking events.

16.Not having a networking STRATEGY for consciously finding, meeting and QUALIFYING prospects.

17.Neglecting market research that would help you understand customers’ needs.

18.Trying to do things on the cheap (clunky websites, bad product design and packaging, do-it-yourself accounting)

19.Not being able to articulate your business’s unique value proposition.

20.Not pursuing partnerships with likely organizations such as suppliers, promotional partners or non-competing peers (across town or three counties away).

 

 

Marty Kahn, SCORE Counselor


 

 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

50 Do's to Build Your Business #2



 
50 Do’s to Build Your Business #2


 


11.Be pro-active in selling job candidates on the virtues of your company.


12.Offer new customers extra incentives to build their confidence in your company.


13.Keep a SPECIAL notebook or a digital document to record ideas for new products and tactics.


14.Make sure you always have the right insurance coverage.


15.Know your banker better.


16.Pay attention to your customers’ personal interests, their support staff, even their children.


17.Tell your employees you have confidence in their decisions.


18.Remembering that great ideas are less important than how they are executed.


19.Understand the difference between LEADERSHIP (Where are we going?) and MANAGEMENT (What do we need to get done today?)


20.Set up development plans for key employees.


 


Marty Kahn, SCORE Counselor




 


 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Special Counselor of the Month

Special Counselor of the Month



We are delighted to shine the spotlight on a distinguished member of our staff who by his or her efforts brings great credit to our organization. This month we are honored to salute:


TOM HYMAN   

 

 
When Tom retired from a long, successful career as Regional Sales Manager for a major liquor distiller, he knew he possessed the skills to help others start a new venture, or grow their existing business. That reflection ultimately led him to apply for Membership in our Chapter. And what was an appealing outlet for Tom, became a real coup for Boca SCORE.
 It wasn’t long at all before Tom began displaying his keen analytical mind, the ability to determine crucial issues for his clients, and an open, supportive attitude that made clients feel more determined than ever in their pursuit of their personal dreams. That attitude, those sober, thoughtful ways are clearly measured in Tom’s annual Client statistics, which place him in the top echelon of all our members.
As you can tell, Tom enjoys responsibilities, so it was no surprise when he volunteered to be a Mentor at the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA), There he mentored Jordan Zietz, a 12 year old, who went on to win 3rd place in the National finals.
Tom has also become our Liaison to the Boynton Beach Chamber of Commerce, where he has earned the respect of the Chamber’s office team, and so now our eblasts offering various business courses are being fully disseminated to their members.

For all these things and more, we are honored to salute Tom on his election to Special Counselor of the Month for October, November, and December.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

50 Don'ts to Build Your Business #1

Don’ts To Build Your Business #1

 

 

  1. Not doing a business plan. (Even well established businesses should have a plan that outlines their market, products and objectives.
  2. Not understanding your break-even point.
  3. Underestimating the importance of cash flow.
  4. Not differentiating your business from your competition.
  5. Ignoring the powerful plus of having a mentor.
  6. Working alone when a partner could compensate for your weaknesses and triple your effectiveness.
  7. Undercapitalizing the business at the start.
  8. Not tapping into common sources of startup funds.
  9. Failing to inform groundfloor investors, typically friends and family, of the inherent risk of startups.
  10. Expecting venture capitalists to be helpful.

 

Marty Kahn, SCORE Counselor


 

 

Friday, September 18, 2015

50 Do's to Build Your Business #1




 

“50 DO’S TO BUILD YOUR BUSINESS”

 

 

  1. Pay attention to personnel problems.
  2. Read and interpret data or get a mentor to help you.
  3. Ask for referrals from every customer and every prospect.
  4. Empower subordinates to challenge and correct you.
  5. Take advantage of “green” solutions for cost savings AND branding.
  6. Make every deal one in which both sides win.
  7. Take time to explore other people’s ideas before shooting them down.
  8. Recognize that feedback from customers, suppliers, staff-is a gift.
  9. Set clear policies for accounts payable.
  10. Recognize that dissatisfied customers are opportunities rather than problems.

 

 

Marty Kahn, SCORE Counselor


 

 

 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

100 Do's and Don'ts Watch this space

 

Over a 10 week period we will feature a series of Do’s and Don’ts for small businesses. The author is Martin Kahn, a SCORE Counselor, and a former small business owner. Marty owned his own business for over 40 years, and, fortunately, was able to successfully retire from it. But along the way, he made some mistakes too. He is willing to share his experiences with you.

 

There are 100 items in the series and we will present them10 at a time. Some of the articles will list the “Do’s”, while others will be the “Don’ts”.

 

So, tune in, maybe you will learn something from Marty.

 

 

Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Ethics and your business




 

Your business can suffer from perceived unethical behavior on your part, or that of an employee. It does not have to be real or illegal to hurt your business. Some of the illegal things are bait-and-switch, harassment, discrimination for various reasons or employee intimidation. Unfulfilled verbal agreements can be illegal, but even if they are not, the word spreads and your business can suffer.

 

So what do you do to minimize these issues? You develop a detailed business guide and be sure all employees and associates get it. You live by it yourself as well.

 

Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Liability




 

Your small business may have a liability issue develop at some point in time. Perhaps an employee, customer or someone else makes a claim. What do you do?

 

Check the exposure of your business and obtain the appropriate insurance coverage BEFORE any incident. Look at coverage for the product, facilities, directors and officers. Also be sure the form of your business protects your assets. Consult a good insurance agent/company.

 

Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Law & Regulation




 

Small business of all sizes have to comply with both federal and state labor laws. You must know the rules. Some of the issues are:

 

Definition of employees

Overtime

Harassment

Discrimination

Unions

Equal opportunity

Termination

Permits

Insurance

 

Is your business in order?

 

Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

A Bad Restaurant Example



My wife and I recently went to an upscale local restaurant. It is “upscale” because of the location on the waterfront, linen tablecloths, limited menu and its high prices, none of which was a surprise to us. Unfortunately even with all those things going for it, along with very good tasting food, the service took it down a number of notches. The waitress, when she finally arrived, was unable to respond to two simple questions. Question one: Could we be served a meal noted on the menu as not served after 6 PM? It was 6:30 PM. Question two: what was the price of a menu item noted as “market price”?

Oh yes, we ordered a bottle of wine while waiting for the answers. Ten minutes later she returned to our table with two wine glasses and an answer to question two ONLY. No wine and no answer to question one. Upon reminding her to get an answer to question one, she went away for another ten minutes. Then the wine showed up. Then an answer to question one…NO! We prepared for this with a backup item and ordered it, along with the high priced other item we selected. The waitress never came back to the table to pour any wine. We filled our own glasses, but did not finish the bottle. It is customary in this town to take an unused bottle of wine from a restaurant, sealed to your home. When the waitress was asked to package the wine she said: “we do not do that!” We said: “yes you do, ask the manager! She returned some fifteen minutes later with the appropriate packaging, but we had to ask her again to bring the bill. She did not return to the table to pick up the credit card. I walked to the bar to pay the bill, shorted the tip to make my displeasure noticeable, and left. We will not return or recommend this place to anyone.

 

What would you have done? If this was your business what would you expect to happen?

 

Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

 

 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Value of Service

 

You have a small business servicing the boating industry. Four years after you installed four of your products for one of your regular customers, he reports that three out of the four have cracked and water is leaking into his boat. The original installation cost the customer over $4,000.00, and he says either the material or the installation was inferior.

What do you do?

 
Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Condominiums and trees


So you finally set up your new business in a location that provides adequate internal floor space. The location also has as an exterior court yard with a beautiful shade tree near your door with seating for those friends and family waiting for your customers. After all, this is Florida and shade is important. You recognized that most of your customers travel through the area with friends and/or family, some not likely to purchase your products or service. For example, if you have a women’s shop these could be boy friends, husbands, children, etc. But you know you want that woman in your shop. Your shop could be one that a man would frequent, it could be the girl friend, wife, children, etc. that wait outside.

So your shop does well over a number of years and you are pleased with progress. A few years ago you accepted the offer to purchase the Condominium property you have rented.  One Monday morning, you show up and find that the beautiful shade tree has been cut off at its base, with the stump left at ground level. No notice, no discussion, just GONE. You recall that over the years there were Condo board discussions and meeting minutes that have addressed potential tree removal in other parts of the property, but not one word about your shade tree.

You recognize that your business will be negatively impacted as a result of the missing shade tree. Upon asking the Condo board about it they tell you it was a dying tree, a message you find hard to believe as you saw it every day. You ask around, including the landscaping crew that took it down. You determine the tree had one dying branch that could have been pruned to save the tree. You also find that the plans do not include removing the stump and replacing the tree. Instead the plan is to plant a small tree eight feet away, and that much further away from your shop.  You also determine that this new tree will not shade your shop. The Condo rules prevent you from shading you shop front yourself.

What do you do?

 
Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Bait and Switch means trouble


As is normal for my wife and I during one of our many road trips, my wife selected a hotel for an overnight from a hotel guide. She called ahead and obtained an unsolicited price quote that was a few dollars less than the guide stated. Upon confirming the reservation and offering a credit card the clerk told her it was unnecessary as they had plenty of rooms available.

When we arrived the same clerk told her the price was 50% higher than he quoted on the phone an hour earlier. A heated discussion was then under way. As we were tired, I suggested we pay the higher rate and took obvious note of the clerk’s name tag. When he saw that move on my part he closed his computer screen and stated that “we will not have any room available for you now.”  He went on to state that he has a “right to select who to do business with.” We were agreeing to his raised price, but he was refusing service. He never said the hotel was filled or there were no available rooms. It was obvious he had been caught attempting to implement a bait and switch and was going to be reported.

We drove across the street to another hotel for the evening. Wrote a letter to the hotel chain corporate management and copied the BBB in the area, in each case identifying the clerk by name and suggesting that he be fired. Hopefully the firm did just that. In any event, we will not stop at that hotel again and we will let our friends know of it at well.


What would you do in a similar situation? How would your business react?

 

Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Beauty of this country

 

I have been reading a book on Global Warming.  One of the statements I came across

reminds me of one of those I would have posted on my office wall at work. It seems worth repetition for all businesses:

 
“The beauty of this country is that every time we’re pressed against the wall we come up with new things – we become the most creative force in the world.”

 
This statement is attributed to an energy entrepreneur.

 
What about those statements that make your business GREAT?

 

Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Accountability

 

Accountability does not just happen. You have to work for it.

 
Here are a few guidelines that can help:

 
The message from “the top” is key. When you get the message right “accountability” grows. It is just like a planting. A bit of topsoil, some seeds and fertilizer and you add some water. So plant some focus on “accomplishments”, set expectations, measure outcomes, provide feedback and enable ownership of issues.


Matching skills with tasks can drive success. Mismatching can demoralize others. So spend the time necessary to get it right and keep it right.

 
Rewards work. So reward those that demonstrate “accountability”. Others will see it as the right behavior.

 
Set performance goals with the “team”. When they “own” it they know how their part impacts the whole and will go the extra mile.


Stay engaged and monitor performance.

 

Hope this helps

 
Steve Koenig, SCORE counselor


 

 

 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Negative feedback can demoralize employees


Motivating employees is a skill all managers must have. There are times when negative feedback is necessary. Doing so with care is important for all managers. Here are some suggestions:

Do not focus on an employee’s character or personality. Deal only with behaviors.

Use data to support negative feedback.

Review the impact of the negative behavior.

Focus on one or two top issues, not an entire list.

Listen to the employee, you may learn something.

Identify methods an employee can use to improve.

 

Do not let bad behaviors hurt your business. You owe it to yourself and your other employees to be a good manager.

 

Steve Koenig,  SCORE Counselor

Visit us at: www.scoresouthflorida.net

 

 

 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Special Counselor of the Month

We are delighted to shine the spotlight on a distinguished member of our staff who by his or her efforts brings great credit to our organization. This month we are honored to salute:


EMMETT GUMM
   

28 YEARS OF SERVICE TO SCORE

 

VOLUNTEER – CHAIRMAN – DISTRICT DIRECTOR

REGIONAL VICE PRESIDENT – NATIONAL PRESIDENT

 
 
On June 23rd, Emmett Gumm will be retiring from SCORE.  On that day he will be honored at a Luncheon  at Gleneagles Country Club in Delray Beach.
 
 Emmett’s retirement provides all of us the opportunity to recognize and salute him as one of the true giants of SCORE. He has served at every level, distinguishing himself by his extraordinary ability to help clients, establishing ever-higher standards for training and educating new members, guiding chapters across the country, and serving with distinction as SCORE National President.
 
 Legions of SCORE members and clients have benefited from his gentle guidance, his cheery wit, and his welcoming smile. Through all the years of his outstanding service Emmett  brought an intense curiosity for everything new (he was one of the first Chapter members to purchase an iPad), and an unquenchable desire to keep on learning. To all of us, he was and is Mister 412.
 
 We join in wishing Emmett and his treasured wife Annette all the best in life as they prepare to head to their new home on the west coast of Florida.
 
Our loss is sure to be offset by all those who will come to know and treasure their friendship, as we have for so many wonderful years.
 
 CONGRATULATIONS EMMETT, ON A JOB VERY, VERY WELL DONE!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

3D Printers and your business

 

Did you know that a 3D printer was used aboard the orbiting space station to create a needed tool? Organizations are working on putting these printers on yachts and ships.

GE is working on creating parts for aircraft engines as well. What is next?

 
How will this impact your business?


Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Getting Your Share?


 
Florida 2014 Income was UP 4.6% vs US average of 3.9%!!!

 
How about your business income?

 

Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Florida among the fastest growing



According to Census Bureau data for 2013-2014, Florida has more residents than New York!  We also have 6 of the top 20 fastest growing metro areas! WOW!!

The state ranks third in the country, behind California and Texas.

 
How is that impacting your business?

 
Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Phone and your Business


I recently looked up a specific local doctor (read as your type of business) and called the phone number listed via a number of Google searches.  A different doctor’s office answered the phone. I checked multiple times with the same result. The office that answered was in a different location, but had the same medical specialty (read as a competitor). After much additional effort, I found that the doctor I wanted moved, and somehow this other firm obtained the phone number. What a way to get new customers?

 
Can you learn something from this for your business?

 
Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Florida Economy Diversity


You would think it is Tourism and Retirees that drive the Florida economy. Well there are other growing elements according to a Well’s Fargo report. Transportation, Logistics, Technology and Life Sciences are on the move. Growth in these industrial sectors have added over 9%  to employment in engineering and architectural services, almost 5% to computer systems as well as good growth in financial and business services. All of this keeps Tourism. Retail  and Housing on a growth path as well. Government is growing too, so keep your eye on the ball here as well.

 
What does this mean for your business?

 
Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Future is NOW


A recent article in FA (Financial Advisor) by Ric Edelman focused on the future caught my interest. One of the points made in the article is: “It is unlikely that children under the age of 5 will ever drive a car.” When I consider the fact that the first self-driving car is currently trekking across the US continent this seems more realistic.

 
The article goes on: “Google’s test vehicles have cumulatively driven nearly 1 million miles with no accidents, and they are legal for street use in five states. They’re already permitted on every major highway in the United Kingdom.”

 
This could mean: “…you’ll never park a car again, run errands, fuel up or shuttle kids to soccer practice.” “Forget Uber. . self-driving cars will cause Uber—currently accused of threatening the livelihoods of cabbies—to itself become extinct.”

“… taxi drivers (will) be gone, so too will truck drivers… With no human drivers making long-haul trips, no greasy-spoon joints will be needed. … chiropractors; no more auto accidents means far fewer back injuries”

 
“Hospital emergency rooms will have far fewer patients …the entire automobile insurance industry might disappear; and… police officers can’t issue citations for traffic violations anymore (speeding tickets alone generate $6.2 billion in annual revenue for local governments, according to the National Highway Safety Administration).”

 
And more….will change.

 
How about your business? Are you planning ahead?

 
Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor

 





 

 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Why Florida for business?


Here are some of the reasons Florida is right for business:


  1. Innovation can start and flourish here
  2. Market Access - domestic and international - large population and ports
  3. Skilled Workforce
  4. Quality of Life – keeps drawing even more growth

How do these reasons impact your business plans?

 
Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Bartering Value

 
Not to long ago Bartering was a very popular approach used by some small businesses. Maybe it still has value for you. So consider some of the items you may use and/or need.

How about slow moving inventory bartered for some painting or construction your business may need? Consider bartering lawn care, office or window cleaning for a product or service you have on some regular schedule. Like dinner for two (if you have a restaurant) once a month for cleaning service. You can check on line for bartering services or talk to your current providers.

 
Try it, you may like it. But remember, if it is ongoing, to predefine an exit plan as well. For example the plan can end with two weeks notice.


Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

 

 

 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Cuba and your business


In December 2014 the Sun Sentinel published an article looking forward into 2015. Among the items to watch was this one”

Cuba: Few foresaw President Obama's go-it-alone approach to normalize U.S. relations with the island nation. His directive drew mixed reaction in Florida, from hostility in parts of Little Havana to anticipation from Florida business owners. While Rubio promises to block the naming of an ambassador and any funding for an embassy in Havana, all eyes remain fixed on the Cuban government for signs of political and economic change. On just one measure, can you imagine the difference unfettered Internet access would make in one of the world's most unplugged nations?”

USA Today published an article in January 2015 that said in part:

“Opening trade with Cuba not only provides U.S. businesses a new market where telecom, construction, agriculture and tourism firms could flourish, but it also will improve U.S. trade with the rest of Latin America, which would view the move favorably, said Paul Johnson, vice chair of the recently-formed U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba. The group, consisting of more than 30 firms, plans to lobby Congress to end the embargo. "We have the momentum," Johnson said. "We're carrying it forward."

Even if the embargo were to end tomorrow, huge doubts linger on doing business with Cuba, said John Kavulich, senior policy adviser to the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council. For starters, all trade transactions still go through the Cuban government, not individual Cubans or companies, making business cumbersome. Also, Cuban officials will only allow as much telecom infrastructure and free market leeway they feel they can control, he said. "They're not going to embrace something that's going to put them out of businesses," he said.

The island of 11 million — roughly the size of Ohio — has little-to-no dispensable consumer income and the government also defaults on contracts, making it a less-than-attractive choice for U.S. firms now, Kavulich said.

"This is not Dubai 93 miles south of Key West," he said. "There needs to be meaningful commercial and economical change in Cuba before anything that the president announced is going to be beneficial to U.S. exporters."

 
What plans do you have for your business?


Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Phishing with the best (or worst) of them


On line security is a major concern for most companies. Employees are often trained to minimize some exposures. Just like a fire drill, repetition is often the best way to teach.  I can attest to this first hand as a real fire in a building I was in that had a number of “drills” (not all intentional) enabled everyone to exit safely.

There are businesses that can help you teach and repeat. One of the methods they use is Phishing. Phishing is the attempt to acquire sensitive information using malware under cover of a trusting email. Your teaching surely encourages your employees and yourself to watch out for these possibilities. But people forget, or become careless or haven’t had the training, etc. So, you could hire a business to keep on top of this for you. They will send Phishing emails to your employees to see if they can get someone to “take the bait”.

Then you can provide better and targeted training.

 
If this interests you, search out an organization or do it yourself, but consider doing it.

 

Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Robots Are Coming


We have all heard of robots that help build cars. I have even been among the teams of people that help implement those applications during my career. There are even robots that can move items in a warehouse or vacuum carpets. Now the big robot manufactures are working on making more “people friendly” robots. These robots may do more intricate tasks, usually left for humans, and may even work alongside, and learn from, humans. Keys to these robots are the environmental sensors they contain. Consider that repetitive intricate tasks handled by humans today on a production line could be handled by a robot. Leaving the human free to “think” (an old IBM tag). 

 
What can this mean for your business?

 
Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

2015 Top Technology Issues


Inc. has published an article defining four top technology issues for small business in 2015. They are:

 
Cloud computing

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device).

Device crossover.

Security management

 

Are you thinking about these as well?

 

Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

 

 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

UN Millennium Development Goals


The United Nations Global Compact has published the following:

“The UN is in a process of determining its future development framework as the targets of the Millennium Development Goals expire in 2015. Defining a post-2015 development agenda is Member State-led with broad participation from different stakeholder groups, including businesses and investors. This is an opportune moment for business and the UN Global Compact to help shape the future priorities of the UN and to prepare for supporting the implementation of the results of the post-2015 process, which is anticipated to include Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Global Compact is conveying the voice of responsible business through key intergovernmental processes. This includes milestones such as the Third Financing for Development Conference in July 2015. The results of the post-2015 process will be launched at a UN summit in September 2015. “

Perhaps this is an opportunity for your business.

 

Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Top 5 economic issues for 2015


Because we live and do business in a global economy, businesses of all sizes should understand the things that can have impact. In December of 2014 The Gardian published an article outlining the top 5 global economic issues for 2015. In summary they are:

1. Russia, the Ukraine and the Russian economy

2. Oil prices

3. China and its economy

4. US and interest rates

5. Eurozone and the Euro

Consider the impacts on your business.


Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor

Visit us at: www.scoresouthflorida.net

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Special Counselor of the Month

   

We are delighted to shine the spotlight on a distinguished member of our staff who by his or her efforts brings great credit to our organization. This month we are honored to salute:


OWEN KOFF

 

Our Chapter is blessed with a staff of some very extraordinary people. And one member who is truly extraordinary is Owen Koff. After a rough start at the Chapter where he had to deal with unexpected health issues, Owen has zoomed to the top. Among his significant contributions to the Chapter are his many, many hours of mentoring and coaching at the YEA (Young Entrepreneurs Academy) program, his “teaching” stint at Lynn University, where his classes on Sales Methods have attracted the respect and attention of the University’s Business School, and are attended by packed classes. Then there’s Owen’s service as Liaison to the West Boca Chamber of Commerce, where, very quickly Owen has ingratiated himself both with leadership and the members, a number of whom are becoming SCORE Clients.
 None of this should come as a surprise, because when you get to know Owen, you quickly realize he is a “go-to” person, unafraid of challenges, a person whose cup is never too full to take on an additional duty. And thanks to the understanding and patience of his lovely wife Terri, Owen spends countless hours each month fulfilling the SCORE mission.
 There’s little doubt but that Owen is headed for bigger and better things in our Chapter, for he is a born leader. We are so proud to call him a Member of our Team, and we doff our hats in salute, Owen. Jobs very well done, and we proudly congratulate you as our Special Counselor of the Month for April, May, and June.

Visit us at: www.scoresouthflorida.net

Friday, April 3, 2015

Trade Shows and your business

Trade shows in the U.S. are not designed specifically to write orders at the booth.  The exhibitor is there to show the line, “meet & greet” and plan customer visits to “talk turkey” later.  Overseas the thrust is to close orders that have been planned previously.

The exhibitors in the U.S, are the producers who mfg. the line.   Overseas the exhibits are frequently the distributors of the line.    They are the mainline of getting your product to be seen by the attendants who visit the show.  They write business ON the show floor.

In the U.S. the fabricators time the show well in advance of the buying cycle in order to gear up for delivery on time.
Overseas the shows are timed so that orders written ON the floor will be delivered at the time the product is in demand during the buying cycle.

PRE-SHOW PLANNING
Since the foreign mfg’s. write business ON the floor, the U.S. marketing plan has to be adjusted accordingly.   A thorough canvassing effort has to be undertaken to introduce your line to prospective as well as existing customers.

A well prepared e-mail, snail mail, webinars, texting, social media info, etc. goes out NOT necessarily to elicit a reply, rather to start the ball rolling with what you have to offer.  In tanded with that the sales team has to fan out with door busting personal visits to BOTH prospects at well as existing clients.  

IMPORTANT:  Invitations to be sent out via any means MUST be directed to the decision maker.   It is indeed an “invitation” and the customer expects to be treated as a guest.    Since you will expect to close some deals, all the more important to make it into a quasi hosting.

Overseas trade shows are always open to the public, either prior for a day or post show for a couple of days.   Purpose is to engage the end users - this is true whether or not it is a consumer goods show or an industrial equipment show.

We’ve talked this before:   1.    Catalogs in local language;    2.    Pricing as specific as possible (CIF is best - C&F is essential);    3.    Clear terms of sale - i.e. L/C, S/D, etc. and    4    Spelled-out logistics.

Do you want more help?   Contact:  Hank Samuel;  Certified SCORE counselor at:   dutchuncle2@gmail.com=

visit us at: www.scoresouthflorida.net