QuickBizBreak by david weaver

Take a quick break from your biz to ponder new ideas and strategies that will turbocharge your business.

-able

Posted by QuickBizBreak on August 17, 2010

Some of you may follow Scott Ginsberg, otherwise known as ‘That Guy with the Nametag’.  If not, you can learn about him in the link included later in this post.  Today, he posted about his new book titled, “-able”.   It’s a common suffix which, when added to a word, means “capable of or worthy of” according to the Mirriam-Webster dictionary.

Scott’s post got me thinking about what we really are capable of when we put our mind to certain tasks and goals.  Many of us are stymied, however, thinking we are incapable of controlling our own destiny.  Scott has a great theory about this, calling it his ‘theory of the universe’:

” Which is:  The only thing in life you have control over is yourself.

And that you can’t make anything happen – but you can (greatly) increase the probability of that thing happening …by making yourself more “-able.” “

A friend once told me that you have to make your own luck by being more ‘available’ – putting yourself in the best position to capitalize on opportunities.  While that’s true, Scott is saying it’s not just available, but also a bunch of other -able words such as:

Advanceable. Addictable. Bookable. Brandable. Breakable. Buyable. Buzzable. Callbackable. Checkbookable. Discoverable. Engageable. Googleable. Invokable. Meetable. Nameable. Needable. Non-nextable. Openable. Pursuable. Referable. Requestable. Retweetable. Revisitable. Sellable. Show-Up-Able. Sought-after-able. Spreadable. Successable. Superiorable. Trustable. Unbullshittable. Unequalable. Yessable – all words he addresses in his book.

After reading all these words, and assuming that you become more of what those words try to describe, I believe they can jointly make us more “free-able”, to make up my own ‘-able’ word.  Freeable to accomplish more, to profit more, to enjoy more, to build more, to share more, to gain more of whatever we are trying to accomplish in our business.  And after all, isn’t that really what we strive for in our business?

To learn more about Scott’s book, click here.  To learn more about Scott via his blog, click here.  And if you want to learn how becoming more accountable to yourself and others can help you commit and execute on all those -ables, give me a call at The Weaver Group, 678-620-3990.

By the way, in the spirit of full disclosure, I’m hoping to win a free book from Scott by writing this post.  It looks like a great read though, even if we have to pay for it!

Photo courtesy of RGB Stock
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Small Business Access To Capital

Posted by QuickBizBreak on July 7, 2010

When interviewing attendees of the North Fulton Business Expo in Atlanta, one key topic kept surfacing: Access to Capital. We all know that the credit markets continue to be tight for small business lending. The administration announced in February, two new SBA lending initiatives to help increase access to capital. One is a refinancing program for owner-occupied commercial real estate and the other is an expanded working capital loan program. There is also a call for a permanent increase of the maximum loan sizes for SBA’s 7(a) program.

To learn more about available programs, watch the interview with Wendy Armstrong, Private Banker with One Georgia Bank.

Loan Program Overview

SBA 7(a)

7-10 years full amortization term with 10-15% down payment which can include a seller take back and a tenant improvement allowance. With real estate, the amortization can grow to 20-25 years and can include blending amortization to extend payments. The maximum loan per person/per entity is $2 million but may increase to $5 million. Rates are variable and based on the Wall Street Journal prime rate but cannot be higher than 2.75% above prime. Usually, its around WSJ Prime + 2.25% to 2.50%. A $2500 packaging fee is required but the guarantee fee is currently waived.

USDA

USDA programs allow up to a 30-year amortization with 20% down payment. Loan amounts are available up to $25 million and require a 2% guarantee fee. Rates may be variable or fixed.

For more information, contact Wendy Armstrong, One Georgia Bank at 678-553-7039 or email her at wendy.armstrong@onegeorgiabank.com.


Microfinance Loans

Thanks to tighter credit standards and stricter regulatory scrutiny, many small businesses have found it difficult – or impossible – to get a bank loan.

A federal proposal to launch a $30 billion fund aimed at boosting lending could help.  But,  in the meantime, a growing number of companies that might not have been able to get a loan from a traditional bank have been flocking to microfinance institutions, instead.

Called community development financial institutions (CDFIs), these organizations include community development banks, credit unions, loan funds, and venture funds “dedicated to serving small businesses and others who are outside the financial mainstream”, says Mark Pinsky, CEO of Opportunity Finance Network, a network of microfinance groups based in Philadelphia.

Some provide loans of up to $35,000 to “anybody having trouble getting access to credit,” says Pinsky.  Others lend amounts of up to $200,000 to small businesses.

But, most important, the approximately 700 CDFIs in the U.S. have dramatically different lending criteria from the usual bank standards.  They include an eclectic mix of such factors as a good credit score and relevant industry experience.  You also need collateral, but often that can mean anything from a car to a television.

Originally published in OPEN Forum. To read the full article, click here.

The 9 Most Devastating Mistakes Entrepreneurs and Business Owners Make When Financing Their Businesses

Mistake #9:  Using personal credit to finance your business

Mistake #8:  Putting personal assets at risk

Mistake #7:  Contaminating your credit

Mistake #6:  Not paying your bills on time…100% of the time

Mistake #5:  Using your family’s money

Mistake #4:  Not setting up a corporation and building corporate credit – the right way

Mistake #3:  Rushing the process for building corporate credit

Mistake #2:  Not following up on the credit-building process

Mistake #1:  Not recognizing opportunity costs

Admittedly, this has a bias towards building credit and is written by a credit company but there are still some great insights.  Read the full article here.

Community Bank Loans May Be Harder to Get

Community banks have been a lifeline for entrepreneurs during the recession – one of the few places that small-business owners have still been able to get traditional loans.

But the Wall Street Journal not long ago took a look at how community banks facing increased federal scrutiny from regulators are also placing tighter scrutiny on their small-business customers.

Community banks typically hold less capital than bigger banks, don’t leverage themselves as much and rarely get involved in subprime mortgage lending–all of which helped them stay out of trouble. But eventually some did venture into this market, got into trouble and eventually even closed down.

Community banks also tended to be heavily involved in commercial real estate lending–a market that some experts believe is heading for a crash similar to that suffered by the subprime housing market a few years ago.

The problems have led to more scrutiny, with federal regulators demanding that community banks increase their capital and loan-loss reserves even further, call in the risky loans that are outstanding and be more cautious when making new loans.

To read more about what that means for business owners, read the full article here.

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How to Become a Relationship Broker

Posted by QuickBizBreak on May 19, 2010

What is a Relationship Broker? It’s someone who is always thinking of building relationships by brokering introductions. And not just any introductions, but the kinds that create synergy between people, drawing from the strengths of both parties. Those strengths may be tactical, possessing a needed skill for example, or they could be strategic, such as brokering further introductions within their own sphere of influence.

Now, who comes to mind when you think of a Relationship Broker? If you’re in Roswell, GA, that would be Steve Stroud. Listen in as Steve describes how he works within the community to the benefit of others and how that can work for you to build better relationships and more business!

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Using the Power of Process to Increase Your Sales

Posted by QuickBizBreak on April 27, 2010

Complimentary Webinar for Business Owners and Managers:

Using The Power of Process to Increase Your Sales

Wednesday, May 5th, 11am-12pm

Tara Lamboley, Integrated MARCOM Inc.

* Maximize new leads, close more sales with this simple 3-step process
* Start marketing with the end in mind
* Capitalize on the secret that 90% of your competition doesn’t even know about!

David Weaver, Advicoach Business Advisor

* Do you know where you are you taking your company and the process to get it there?
* Navigate to success and the one tool you need to guide you!

Bruce Hoelzen, Sales Effectiveness Inc.

* Protect and grow your profits by improving your negotiation process
* Get the sales you need and build strong business relationships
* Use a strategy for negotiating..instead of just ‘winging it’!

Click here for more info:  Webinar-LI-5-5-10

Click here to register:  https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/737205427

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What Atlanta Business Owners Are Saying

Posted by QuickBizBreak on April 23, 2010

I recently roamed the rooms at the North Fulton Business Expo here in north Atlanta, recording what business owners think is the number one issue for them today and how to address it.  What do you think was the number one issue mentioned?  Click here to find out!

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The Power of Process in Driving Sales Results

Posted by QuickBizBreak on April 21, 2010

What role does process play in planning and executing for success? I’ve been known to shoot from the hip at times and when I do, it tends to get me in trouble.  There is a lot to be said for having a defined process for much of your business.

We’re taking a much closer look at that topic in an upcoming webinar titled “Using the Power of Process to Increase Your Sales”.  While the subject is centered around sales it hits on several areas of process, including planning, marketing and negotiation.  What does negotiation have to do with increasing sales?  All it takes is to be on the ‘losing side’ of a negotiation with a client, a prospect or a vendor to understand the importance of negotiating skills.  Bruce Hoelzen with Sales Effectiveness, a negotiation and sales training specialist with a history of training IBM’s best, will give us some quick tips on following a process for winning negotiations at any level.

And what about marketing? There is a proven process and Tara Lamboley with Intergrated MARCOM will introduce us to the power of that process in managing campaigns and touch points. She will share a secret that 90% of your competitors don’t even know about that will blow you away!

No process will work without proper planning.  I’ve worked with many businesses that have good intentions but no defined plan, much less a process, to accomplish their goals. Wouldn’t it be great if you had a GPS where you could plug in your destination and then follow directions to your goals?  There is and I’ll show you where to find it and how to use it.

Join us on May 5th at 11am for this information-packed webinar – “Using the Power of Process to Increase Your Sales” – to find out how and when to utilize process to improve sales results. This one hour can change the way you do business!

Click here to register today.

To your success,

David Weaver

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Video Repost: What Kind of Song Would Customers Write About Your Company?

Posted by QuickBizBreak on March 31, 2010

If a typical customer of yours were to write a song about your company, what kind of song would it be?  Positive? Negative? Funny? Sad?

Assuming that it would be positive, would any of your customers love your company, products or service so much that they would actually follow through and write it…and record it…and post it on YouTube?

The video here is part of a comedy routine, but think about it seriously for a moment.  What would your customers be willing to do to promote your company or your products?  Would they spread the word to their friends?  Would they act as a referral?  Would they submit an on-line testimonial?  Would they promote your business at all?

Perhaps the bigger question is, what are you doing to deliver the kind of products and service that would make a customer want to do extraordinary things to promote your company?

David Weaver, Advisory Services, 678-620-3990

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Time for a Checkup!

Posted by QuickBizBreak on March 30, 2010

You received an audio message. Click here to play it.Each quarter, the experienced business owner reviews their annual strategic plan to see if they are on track towards achieving their annual goals.  The numbers (otherwise known as Key Performance Indicators) should actually be tracked daily and reviewed at least weekly and monthly. However, the quarterly check-up is a more extensive review against budgets and forecasts to see what may have changed significantly as it relates to overall strategy. Has there been a market shift? Has business changed significantly that might cause a strategy or direction to be revised?

Don’t get caught up in managing your business daily without a wider view of the past and future. If you see a trend, do what is necessary to change it if it is a negative trend or take advantage of it in some way if it’s a positive trend.

This is also a great time to bring the team into the know to help them gain focus on company direction and to get everyone on board towards achieving the next quarter’s goals.

Don’t know where to begin with strategic planning or review? Give me a call or email me for resource information.

David Weaver, Business Advisor, 678-620-3990

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The BBC is Coming to Atlanta!

Posted by QuickBizBreak on March 29, 2010

BBC

Ah yes, the BBC – home to Alistair Cooke, Doctor Who, and who could forget Monty Python?  Even post-Python, the comedy hasn’t stopped.  Along with beautiful documentaries such as BBC Earth, the network also produce a high-budget quirky show for gear-heads titled Top Gear. The crew may test a $1 million Bugatti and then drive a Rolls Royce into a swimming pool. Full of water.

Did you know the BBC is coming to Atlanta?  No, not that BBC. This one promises to be even more exciting!

Introducing Business Boot Camp Atlanta.

I hear over and over how business owners desperately want to grow their business and how they could use the proven methodologies and systems that a business coach can provide, not to mention the accountability towards achieving goals. For solopreneurs and micro-businesses, however, it may be difficult to make the transition in their mind from business expense to business investment for coaching services. Even with examples of revenue growth of 100+%, it may still be difficult to make the financial commitment for one-on-one coaching.

Business Boot Camp Atlanta provides a format for a limited number of participants,  to participate in group mentoring and coaching at a fraction of the cost of one-on-one coaching. Each session will be split between coaching from AdviCoach Business Advisor David Weaver, a leader in growing start-ups, on proven business methodologies and strategies along with peer-to-peer discussions with other business owners in the group. These discussions will allow us to review specific challenges within the group, discuss various approaches and how to apply the strategies that have been presented to drive success.

No more than 8 business owners/managers may participate in a single group and no business classification will be duplicated, so no need to fear that someone will ‘borrow’ your trade secrets. The boot camp is structured over a 12-week period and requires a two-hour meeting commitment per week. This is an intensive program that requires full participation. The results will be equally impressive for each participant!

Topics Covered in at Business Boot Camp Atlanta:

  • Are you a Small Business Owner or an Entrepreneur?
    • Determining what kind of business you are and really want to be
    • Setting your own personal goals as it relates to your business
    • How does that affect how you run your business?
  • Differentiating Your Products/Services in a Crowded Market
    • Commodity or Targeted
    • Pricing Options
  • Strategic Planning
    • Develop your Strategic Vision
    • Develop your Strategic Plan to take you through the year, quarter-by-quarter, based on your long-term vision
  • Time Management
    • How to prioritize your day and your business activity
    • Understanding yourself and your natural tendencies
  • Human Capital
    • When should I add an employee?
    • Employee, Contractor or Outsourcing?
    • What about back office work?
    • How do I find the right person?
    • How do I set the expectation and define the position to set up the employee for success?
  • Measuring and Monitoring for Success
    • What makes sense for me and my business?
    • Specific measurements and why they are important
    • Goal-setting and how to accomplish them
  • Understanding the Financials
    • What should I really be looking for?
    • Do I need a bookkeeper, an accountant, a CPA, or any of these?
    • An easy tracking system that will allow you a view of where you are and where you need to be
    • Where and how can I get operating capital?
  • Sales & Marketing
    • What’s the difference between the two?
    • Choosing marketing programs and tracking the results for success
    • Determining a marketing budget
    • How do I find time to sell?
    • How do I get customers to buy?
    • The difference between selling and buying
    • Sales Management Systems
    • Understanding the current market and how to tap into new revenue streams
    • Up-selling/cross-selling/raising the average selling price
    • Referral-based marketing
  • Operational Efficiencies
    • What you can learn from franchising
    • If you are a franchisee, what you can do that is different

And all at a fraction of the cost of one-on-one coaching.  Not $3,000 per month, not $2,000 per month, not $1,000 per month, not even $500 per month.  No, it’s only $375 per month!  And no open-ended agreements that might go on forever.  This is a 12-week boot camp that will bring you back to the basics of running a streamlined, focused business designed to energize you as well as your profits! To qualify for this boot camp, you must have  3 or less employees in your company. If you have more employees than that, let’s talk about what you really need to focus on for your business.

Boot Camps are forming in Roswell, Johns Creek and Cumming, Georgia.  If you live in another part of metro Atlanta and wish to participate, give me a call so we can judge the interest level in other areas.

We don’t have Bugatti’s or Rolls Royces and we don’t talk science or science fiction.  But we do talk business!

Find out more at an informational meeting to be held on Thursday, April 1st at 6pm, Doubletree Hotel-Roswell, 1075 Holcomb Bridge Road, Roswell, Georgia, 30076.  To confirm attendance, please call 678-620-3990 or email dweaver@advicoach-atlanta.com today.

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Your Signature Dish

Posted by QuickBizBreak on February 16, 2010

Perhaps it’s memories of my young adulthood that are haunting me, but does locating a business in a ‘strip retail center’ sound like most of the walk-by traffic will be happening after midnight?  Of course the terminology has been around for ages, filling those strips of roadside land with retail leasing clients.

Some of those retail centers are looking quite ‘bare’ in the North Atlanta area and I’m sure all over the country.  Driving past one such retail strip on the way to my son’s school confirmed another dark storefront where once stood another quick-serve sandwich and pizza shop.  My wife mentioned she’d never eaten there, was never attracted to it and never heard anything about it from friends.

As obvious as it appears that there was a lack of marketing, that wasn’t all that was lacking.  The place was actually recommended to me by a food distributor friend so I stopped by for lunch a few months back.

The interior was plain, at best; nothing memorable.  I was hoping for a better experience with the food.  Although the quality of the meats was top-notch, there was nothing really outstanding about the way the food was prepared or served.  A young girl stood at the register, obviously filling a part-time position.  The owner didn’t appear to be around nor a manager nor anyone who wanted to engage me in conversation.  “How is your meal?”  “Is this your first time here?”  “How did you hear about us?”  “Can I tell you about the weekly specialties we run?”  “We’re really well-known for our special <home-made whatever> recipe…people love it!”

Nope, none of that.  And the food alone was, well, just average.  The more I thought about it, the places our family likes to visit for meals are the ones with:

  • A great atmosphere – not stuffy, but clean and friendly, a place you’d actually like to sit down and spend some time with friends
  • Great food – give me some signature dishes that make the meal special!
  • Friendly staff – our regular hangouts know us and we know them, we ask about each other’s kids and discuss sports teams, we feel like family
  • Value pricing – a place I’m comfortable eating at regularly without breaking the bank

Value means different things to different people, of course.  I may want a high-end meal to celebrate a special occasion.  But even there, present a signature dish or special paring that makes the evening special.

Another friend of mine is a local sub shop franchisee (Bruce at Lenny’s Subs).  His franchises have the potential of being average if he approached business like most other sub shop owners.  But he doesn’t.  While the food is definitely fresh and presents good value, I don’t believe that is what is driving his growth.

Bruce’s signature dish isn’t really about the food, good as it is.  It’s Bruce and his team networking throughout the community that really has driven his business – that is his ‘signature dish’ (OK the “Best of” awards don’t hurt).  It’s reaching out through community, business and sporting events, providing great food at great value, regardless of where the customer may be.  Bruce has gone well beyond the four bullet points listed above.

And what is your ‘signature dish’?  Is it a great company culture that ensures the customer is always taken care of, regardless of the situation?  Is it finding a new way to serve a market that makes you stand out as unique?  Is it providing a level expertise that is unsurpassed at no extra charge?

If you were to present a menu to every person who walked through your door (even if you are not a restaurant), what would you feature as your signature dish?  What would you want people to expect – not just expect but look forward to – from you and your business?

Answer that and we might just keep more businesses thriving and in the process, keep those strip centers from becoming bare…

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