Archive for the 'small business' Category

Thankful for entrepreneurs…

Stolen from facebook:

A boss plans, organizes, and coordinates. A leader inspires, motivates, and galvanizes. A visionary perceives an improved reality.

An entrepreneur does all of the above under great personal risk and sacrifice knowing for certain that they will never received praise or acknowledgement and having only the slightest possibility of ever receiving any financial reward.

True entrepreneurs are an economic and psychological anomaly. We do it for the thrill of the hunt and the adrenaline of the game. We do it to maximize of locust of impact to have a meaningful impact for our fellow men. We do it to find out if we can.

All of us should be grateful, as I am, that entrepreneurs continue to take unimaginable risks at illogically insane personal sacrifice to strive towards the vision of building meaningful improvements for us all. I can assure you that those who believe the government could ever do this have never really known a true entrepreneur.

Yes, thank God for entrepreneurs!

To All My Valued Employees

This kind of says it all, doesn’t it:

To All My Valued Employees,

There have been some rumblings around the office about the future of this company, and more specifically, your job. As you know, the economy has changed for the worse and presents many challenges. However, the good news is this: The economy doesn’t pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is the changing political landscape in this country.

First, while it is easy to spew rhetoric that casts employers against employees, you have to understand that for every business owner there is a back story. This back story is often neglected and overshadowed by what you see and hear.

I started this company 28 years ago. At that time, I lived in a 300 square foot studio apartment for 3 years. My entire living apartment was converted into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you.

My diet consisted of Ramen Pride noodles because every dollar I spent went back into this company. I drove a rusty Toyota Corolla with a defective transmission. I didn’t have time to date. Often times, I stayed home on weekends, while my friends went out drinking and partying. I was married to my work.

Meanwhile, my friends got jobs. They worked 40 hours a week and made $50K a year and spent every dime they earned. They drove flashy cars and lived in expensive homes and wore fancy designer clothes. Instead of hitting Nordstrom’s for the latest hot fashion item, I was trolling through the discount store extracting any clothing item that didn’t look like it was birthed in the 70’s.

So, while you physically arrive at the office at 9am, mentally check in at about noon, and then leave at 5 pm, I don’t. ! There is no “off” button for me. When you leave the office, you are done and you have a weekend all to yourself. I unfortunately do not have the freedom.

I eat and breathe this company every minute of the day. There is no rest. There is no weekend. There is no happy hour. Every day this business is attached to my hip like a 1 year old special-needs child.

Now, the economy is falling apart and I, the guy that made all the right decisions and saved his money, have to bail-out all the people who didn’t. The people that overspent their paychecks suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed a decade of my life for.

Unfortunately, the cost of running this business, and employing you, is starting to eclipse the threshold of marginal benefit and let me tell you why: I am being taxed to death and the government thinks I don’t pay enough. I have state taxes, Federal taxes, Property taxes, Sales and use taxes, Payroll taxes, Workers compensation taxes, and yes – Unemployment taxes.

Taxes on taxes. I have to hire a tax man to manage all these taxes and then guess what? I have to pay taxes for employing him.

Government mandates and regulations and all the accounting that goes with it, now occupy most of my time. On Oct 15th, I wrote a check to the US Treasury for $288,000 for quarterly taxes. You know what my “stimulus” check was? Zero. Nada. Zilch.

The question I have is this: Who is stimulating the economy? Me, the guy who has provided 14 people good paying jobs and serves over 2,200,000 people per year with a flourishing business? Or the federal government?

Here is what many of you don’t understand … TO STIMULATE THE ECONOMY YOU NEED TO STIMULATE WHAT RUNS THE ECONOMY. Had suddenly government mandated to me that I didn’t need to pay taxes, guess what? Instead of depositing that $288,000 into the Washington black-hole, I would have spent it, hired more employees, and generated substantial economic growth because I wanted to make even more money.

My employees would have enjoyed the wealth of that tax cut in the form of promotions and better salaries. But you can forget it now.

Business is at the heart of America and always has been. To restart it, you must stimulate it, not kill it. Suddenly, the power brokers in Washington believe the poor of America are the essential drivers of the American economic engine.

So where am I going with all this? It’s quite simple. If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, my reaction will be swift and simple. I fire you. I fire your co-workers. You can then plead with the government to pay for your mortgage, your SUV, and your child’s future. Frankly, it won’t be my problem.

I will close this company down, move to another country, and retire. You see, I’m done. I’m done with a country that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, will be my citizens! Hip?

So, if you lose your job, it won’t be at the hands of the economy; it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country, and will have changed its landscape forever. If that happens, you can find me sitting on a beach, retired, and with no employees to worry about.

Signed,
Your boss

Austin losing two Starbucks

Just a quick note to say that according to HuffPo’s super simple searchable list, Austin will be losing two Starbucks locations:

6403 S CONGRESS AND ACADEMY 1007 S CONGRESS AUSTIN TX
14121 MOPAC & SLAUGHTER 5000 W SLAUGHTER AUSTIN TX

Sucks, but those were shitty locations anyways.

PR Spammers

I don’t know about the rest of you, but if you’re a blogger, you’re likely getting spammed by PR agencies. I know I am…

And so, in celebration of that fact, and hopefully, so I can make some money off the spam I receive, while also letting everyone know what the latest stupid Press Release I got was, I’m unveiling:

Unsolicited PR

Yep. It’s stupid, but simple…

And hopefully I’ll continue to get PR spam from stupid PR companies that aren’t paying attention to how they got my damned email address…

Ugh…

Why it sucks to outsource your technology sometimes

Just a quick note for all of your Feedburner users (I’m talking to site owners here). For two days now, Feedburner has been sporadically throwing errors… not actually redirecting people to the sites they want to go to:


Click for larger

Sucks for the site owners, and for me. This kind of thing is why I just don’t rely on any outside party, other than my hosting company, to host anything for my sites anymore… There’s nothing more frustrating than clicking a link in my RSS reader and getting an error…

12 Important U.S. Laws Every Blogger Needs to Know

12 Important U.S. Laws Every Blogger Needs to Know

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Hackers Guide to Investors

Hacker’s Guide to Investors

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Hoffman’s Rule

Interesting quote:

A common rule of thumb I tell people is to target their performance goals in application design and coding so that their infrastructure (not including people) is ≤10% of an application’s revenue.

Does that mean if I’m spending 5% of revenues on application infrastructure, I’m way underspending, or making more money?

Going into Business?

Are you thinking of taking your photography to the next level, and making a business out of it? If you are, bookmark PhotoBusinessForum and excellent blog about making a run at being a professional photographer.

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Note to JobSeekers: Don’t save your resume in Office 2007 format

I’ve got two job openings that I’m trying to fill:

A Sales Manager position and an Account Manager or Coordinator position (if you’re looking in Austin, shoot us your resume … contact info on those job postings – or if you can find my email address on this site (it’s on here somewhere, but I don’t want to get more spam), email me.)

Anyways, I’m trying to fill this position. And someone just sent us their resume in Office 2007 format.

I don’t have Office 2007. In fact, I’d make a bet that most people don’t have Office 2007. I’m still using Office 2003 on Windows, and Office 2004 on my Mac. So, I try to open their resume (which looks weird with the .docx extension by the way) and Word prompts me to download and install some Office 2007 backwards compatibility stuff. So I hit Okay. And the installer makes me restart my computer.

“What the fuck?” I think to myself.

And I’m thinking about hiring this person? They just cost me 20 minutes of my day. Nope, next.

So, lesson to all of you that might be job-hunting. Save your resume in a format that’s really portable. Use an older Word format, or even better… save is as a Rich Text Format (.RTF) file. That’s totally cross platform compatible, and will open in just about any text-editor, or in Word, and it’ll still look good.

Don’t use Office 2007 to send out your resume… it won’t impress people, it’ll just waste their time. Impress them by sending it in RTF.

And BAAAAD Microsoft making me restart my computer to install a converter utility.

Don’t make a bad deal

Don’t make a bad deal – good advice about starting a business from Seth Godin.

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New Apple Stuff in time for the Holidays

I just wanted to take a moment to recommend that you buy one of the new MacBook Pro’s, a new MacBook, or a new iPod shuffle for the holidays, if you’re shopping for a geek that’s looking for a new geeky item this winter.

I have an older MacBook Pro right now, and this thing is awesome. It’s soooo much faster than my old G4 PowerBook that it’s rediculous. I mean sick fast.

I use it everyday at work, and on the road, and I even run Windows on it inside a virtualization application called Parallels. With that combination, I use Outlook to manage my work email, and my work documents, which, actually also live harmoniously on my Mac OS side of the machine, so that I can work natively when I want to.

Apple’s really doing a great job with hardware right now, so take a look, these latest machines are truly awesome, and are not only some of the best laptops Apple’s ever built, they’re quite frankly some of the best laptops ever made, in general.

Cufflinks.com

Microchip Cufflinks – great geek gift for Christmas at $50/pair. They’ve got lots of other cools cufflinks too.

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Top Sixteen Lies of CEOs

Top 16 Lies of CEOs

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One Lucky Advertiser

My friend Mike Orren is offering a crazy promotion to drum up some advertising dollars. And the crazy thing about it is that it just might work.

If you’re a Dallas area advertiser looking for a great way to reach people in the DFW Metroplex, you should take a look at PegasusNews and TexasGigs.com. This promotion would be a great way to stay in front of a truly passionate audience for a long time.

The Five Most Common Lies in Business

The Five Most Common Lies in Business – An irreverant look at some of the things I’ve heard in business over the past 10 years. Totally agree with these statements. If you hear yourself saying these things, check your BS meter.

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Blinksale

Blinksale – The Easiest Way to Send Invoices Online!

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Membership has its priviledges

I just became a Daring Fireball member. I did so because I hadn’t done it before, though I wanted to… just didn’t feel like John was putting out a product that was worth it as a part time job.

Now that he’s doing it full-time, I’m super excited about reading his full-time posts… and I figured I should support his efforts.

I even bought a t-shirt.

Good luck John. And thanks.

Got $20? Go become a member. Got $30? Buy a t-shirt too. Support a good cause.

Why Your Employees Are Losing Motivation

Why Your Employees Are Losing Motivation – good read for managers and management.

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Nine tricks buyers use to “steal” your company

This one goes out to a former boss of mine: Nine tricks buyers use to “steal” your company. Good lessons.

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transparent Scott

This post: Dear Mike, from Scott Johnson is a great example of transparency… which we’ve sort of stopped talking about in the blogosphere… can’t wait to see Ookles launch Scott!

The Personal MBA

The Personal MBA – great idea.

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downloadable forms

Forms, contracts, pricing guides and more

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Urban Legend: 80% of Business Fail

This one is for Scott Johnson: Urban Legend: 80% of Business FailScott always says “Yes, I know 80% of small businesses fail” in his podcasts (which are excellent by the way)

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Mac’s Moment

Mac’s Moment from the WSJ – an interesting article talking about how now may be the time the Mac makes a move into more businesses… not sure I agree or disagree, but who knows. I’m linking to it because I interviewed with Chuck, who’s quoted in the first section, back when I got out of the Army some 5 or 6 years ago… cool… Chuck’s a great guy.

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what sort of bonuses should you pay?

It’s not about the money – great little post about what kind of bonuses you should pay. I agree with this for every field except for salespeople that are highly motivated by dollars.

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look busy

from Looking Busy : “It’s more important to look busy than be busy.”

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The Name Game

Guy Kawasaki’s take on naming a company: “The Name Game”. Good read, as always.

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20 Questions to Develop Your Business

20 Questions to Develop Your Business

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VCs Don’t Sign NDAs

Why Most VC’s Don’t Sign NDAs – from Brad Feld. Great read.

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S-Corp, C-Corp, LLC?

A few light links on which type of company structure to choose if you’re starting a company: What’s The Best Corporate Structure For An Early Stage Company?, and a follow up: S-Corp’s vs. LLC’s and this little gem Why the LLC is the Ruby on Rails of legal entities

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Paying Yourself

Paying Yourself: From Startup and Beyond – “Determining your salary is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a business owner. Here’s how to do it.”

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What do newspapers do???

What do newspapers do???? – Wake up newspapers. This is your wake up call.

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Bootstrapping

The Art of Bootstrapping – required reading for anyone looking at starting a business without funding. (and probably good reading for those of you with funding too).

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Caring for Your Introvert

Caring for Your Introvert – the funny thing is I’m a sales person, which normally requires people to be pretty extroverted, and I’ve always considered myself an introvert. Good read for managers, btw. (Hat tip: Andy Bourland’s about me page)

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Need Representation?

If you’re building or launching a new website, and want someone to sell the ads for you (that is, to represent your site) you might want to look at this list: ABC’s of ad networks. Not 100% comprehensive by anymeans (there are plenty of niche networks out there like Active Athlete Media and the Travel Ad Network – just two good examples) but it’s a good list to start with.

How to do what you love

How to do what you love – one of the best essayists around, Paul Graham, teaches us how to do what we love to do. Love it Paul!

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Always be ready to pitch

I learned something this week about pitching your business idea to an Angel: “One of the rules I’ve learned about being an entrepreneur is that you have to always be ready to pitch” from Scott’s Accomplishment of the Week post.

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Guy Kawasaki: The Art of Innovation

The Art of Innovation from Guy Kawasaki, one of those guys I’ve always wanted to call a mentor.

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The Mailroom Guy

I just love our mailroom guy at my company. I just got this email from him:

Ladies and Gents:

I’m writing this note to inform you that in our constant duty to keep cost down on Fedex’s, we’ve came up wit a system although not perfect, but then again what is? that will make everybody here more aware and conscientious of Fedex’s expenses which by the way are very high and this needs to stop, and in the long wrong start saving money to the company by limiting the frequency on outgoing Fedex’s. So please do consider the following underlined rule and iformation herein.

FEDEX’S WILL ONLY GO OUT EVERY TUESDAY AND THURSDAY. However, if you have a Fedex that really has to go other than on those days please let me know and I make sure that it does go out that day. So please let’s make sure that something’s really has to go out before we send it out, as a matter of fact to give you an idea as to how high Fedex’s expenses are, let me just let you know that if this was war we would’ve been losing it hands down. So let us stop the bleeding and be more smart about sending stuff out and in the long wrong we will come out on top and win this expense war, sort of speak. Remember the note that I sent you out yesterday on the new rates for the U. S. POSTAL SERVICE? and the reason behind it, because of the waste and we are the ones ending up paying for this, every year they cry trying to always justify a raise on stamps, and it’s amazing how they play with our heads with this new 39 cents stamp, always leaving room to go to the next step, and that is to increase it into in the 40 cents.

Because ladies and gentlemen, if we don’t watch out our expenses not just here but in our personal lives as well, what sense would it make in trying to become a big of a company as I know we will or a successful person; if you are to waste it all away? entire nations and empires have gone down throughtout history because of this type of reckless behaviour not just for the crazy ways on expending moneys but the irresponsible dominoe effect that it has on people’s lives. So think about it. This is all for now thanking you in advance for your cooperation on this matter.

The prose is eloquent, and totally on target.

Don’t you think it’s more fun to read that email than one that just said “We’re changing our mailing policy, see me if you have questions.”

I’m really glad our mailroom guy cares as much about his job as he does, and I wish more people did the same (not just at my company, at all companies).

The world would be a better place!

Does everyone in your company care this much about where the company is heading? Are they doing their part to make sure it gets there?

Starbucks Economics

Starbucks Economics – I’m going to have to start ordering short cappucinos, not because I’m cheap, because I really like the little powerful versions I’ve had in more European coffee houses.

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M and M and M

It’s all about the middle: M & M & M – “In most things it’s how you start and how you finish that seem to matter most. What I’ve come to realize is that in software development it’s all about the middle. The middle is about morale, motivation, and momentum. It’s easy to get excited when you first start something, and even easier to get excited when you’re about to launch something, but if you can’t maintain that excitement during the doldrums, then you’re in deep trouble.” Good read

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Tips for Increasing Sales

Small Biz 101: Tips for Increasing Sales – Part 4 of this Small Biz series. Basics on sales, but basics are always good.

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Why I Quit Entrepreneurship and Got a Real Job

Why I Quit Entrepreneurship and Got a Real Job … and what I learned from the experience. – great post. Very insightful nuggets in there… go read it.

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Corporate Weblog Policy Links

Angelina JolieI answered a question on a listserv today about corporate weblogging policies, basically pointing the person that asked the question to a host of links either about weblog policies, or directly to some policies. Here’s a list of the links, in case you’re looking for a list of good weblog policies because you’re building your own:

While this isn’t an exhaustive list of weblog policies or the like, it’s a good start point… if you’ve got other examples of good weblog policies, post a link in the comments and I’ll add it to the list.

The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint

This is definitely something I’m going to adhere to…

The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint:

“It’s quite simple: a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points.”

Why? Because it’s smart, and it works. Every presentation I’ve ever given that was more complicated than a couple of slides was a waste of my time and the audience’s… back to the basics folks.

Build to Flip = Build to Fail

Build to Flip = Build to Fail – must read [via xplane]

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Flipping Your Startup 101

Looking at starting a company, so you can flip it to get rich? Read this: Flipping Your Startup 101

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Hilarious LearnFree.com Video Outtakes

If you’ve got 10 minutes to spare this morning, you’ve got to watch these Video Outtakes from LearnFree.com. My buddy Josh used to be a video editor, and he saves these old outtakes from his first job out of college. Man I remember back when I thought he’d made it forever, because he worked at a real “dot com” and was going to have plenty of stock options. Those were the boom days. Lesson learned. In 1999, people didn’t pay for online training videos that weren’t all that good at training you. What’s really crazy is you could buy Vidbook.com for $2888 as of this morning… that’s insane knowing what once went into building that domain originally. Make sure you watch this one … it’s the funniest one, but Josh pulled it down because his grandmother might not like it … heh.

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Small Biz 101: Masterpieces

No one starts with a masterpiece” is the latest in 37 Signals Small Biz 101 series. Go read it for more tips if you’re looking at starting your own biz (or already did and want to read some tips that might apply to you too): “Every successful business has a dirty little secret: They didn’t know if they were going to be successful when they started.”

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