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Review Category : Entrepreneur Series

How Marketers Manipulate Us To Buy More Stuff!!

Did you know that the highest paying job in America is and will always be marketing?  That’s right.  No matter how good your product is, it all doesn’t matter if you can’t get people to line up and make a purchase.   Marketers are smart.  Marketers are cunning.  Marketers (well some of them anyway) have learned the secret sauce that makes us want to buy more stuff even though we don’t really need it or even want it!   If you pay attention, you can learn the tricks of the trade but here are three ways that marketers learn how to separate you from your money: We Don’t Buy In Absolute Terms–   In one of my favorite books, Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely, he discussed the theory of relative pricing vs. absolute pricing.   Don’t confuse this with the idea of presenting you with three choices knowing that you’ll likely pick the one in the middle.  In the case below of the Economist ...

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How Much Should I Pay for a Custom Suit?

$399 for a custom suit? You may be surprised to hear that the price tag can be well beneath 4 digits. Many tailors in this space start their pricing around $1,000, but most of us in the X&Y generation don’t want to foot that kind of a bill to look sharp.  I’ve been fortunate to watch two Atlanta entrepreneurs start a custom suit business more “tailored” to our needs. Trio Tailoring https://www.triocustoms.com/ realized there was a big need for moderate to low priced custom suits in the market, and the concept has been well received locally and is gaining traction nationally.   Check out the tips below from the owners at Trio – Benjamin McMillan and Mike Hu: Fit matters more than brand. The cardinal rule of the Office Style Guide is that the fit of the suit trumps everything else. A three-piece from the Ferragamo Fall Collection isn’t doing you any favors when the jacket is falling off your shoulders. ...

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Retirement Assumptions: What’s Your Legacy Goal?

When you are building out your long term retirement plan, a financial advisor will often have to make many different types of assumptions. I have authored numerous articles around this topic. You need to consider market downside risk, interest rate risk, inflation risk, liquidity risk, tax risk, sequencing risk, and several others. Often, one major mistake made around the discussion regarding building a quality retirement plan is actually having the end in mind. What do you want your legacy to be when you pass on? This is a crucial conversation to have at the onset of your overall comprehensive financial plan. Consider this for a moment. If you tell your financial advisor nothing, he or she will likely build out your retirement plan analysis by using a ‘death age’. From the conversations you have with your planner or from some default number in the financial planning software, you will arrive a set age usually in the 85 to 90 range. ...

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Entrepreneur Series Lesson 10 – Passion, Persistence, and Perseverance

Lessons one through nine of my entrepreneur series were lessons extracted from my own business and other business owners across the country over the past twenty years.   Undoubtedly in your first year of business, you will make your fair share of mistakes like anyone starting a new venture.   There are so many valuable pieces of wisdom to learn as an entrepreneur, but here are my big three traits you must have to truly succeed in your business. Passion – Many business ventures people conjure up in their heads often revolve around the dreams of making a lot of money.  While building your wealth can be an outcome of a successful entrepreneurial pursuit, passion around your dreams is what will get you through the good times and the bad times.   When you get out of bed every day with emotions that are so compelling around what you are doing, it becomes easy to motivate others to get excited around that dream.    ...

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Is an SBA Loan right for my business?

Small business owners who are looking to grow their business through the purchase of a building, the purchase of equipment, the opening of an additional location or the acquisition of another business, are all faced with several questions; one of the first being, “Where will I get the capital for this project?”  Depending on the how long a business has been operating, how successful the business has been and the financial strength of the business owners there may be an overwhelming amount of options or an extremely  short list.  One of the options that is on most small business owners lists for financing no matter how long or short the list is SBA. The U.S. Small Business Administration is a federal agency committed to helping small businesses grow. One of the ways it does this is by guaranteeing loans to small businesses made through lending partners across the country.   The SBA does not make loans directly to small businesses. Instead, ...

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Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 9 – Execution

I remember growing my career in management with a large Fortune 500 company when my Executive Vice President told me something one day.   He said, “Ted, execution is the one thing that separates the good from the great.  Let me put it to you this way.   If you don’t execute, you’ll be executed.”   I guess it’s hard to forget that, but it still rings true in my mind today.   Some of the best leaders and managers in business don’t achieve peak results because they simply don’t execute the plan. If you like to read, I highly recommend that you pick up a book written by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan called Execution.  There is a wealth of knowledge in this book about execution, and how to be very successful at getting things done.    Here are three mistakes new entrepreneurs make when it comes to execution. Changing the plan too often– One of the sayings I love is that focus beats ...

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Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 8 – The Marketing Plan

Marketing your products and services is the lifeblood of a new business.   While you can ultimately have all kinds of long term business strategies, without having a steady stream of new revenue your new business venture can close up in a short period of time.   In my opinion, if you look at the three big areas of business: marketing, the actual product or service you are offering, and client service, marketing is the one driver that can help sustain a business even if the other two areas are slightly subpar.    There are really two parts to the marketing plan.   One section involves dealing with implementing strategies that will specifically drive new client acquisition.   The other arena is building the brand of your new company. Many new entrepreneurs substantially underestimate the time and money it will take do marketing in the first year of their business.    From a time perspective, your networking functions, community involvement, and meeting face to face with ...

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Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 6 – Poor Staffing Decisions

One of the first things I heard when I got into management in my career is the phrase “you have to put the right talent on the bus”. While I understood its meaning, it took many years to realize how important hiring decisions are to grow an organization the right way. I also felt the pain of making poor hiring decisions, and how much time and productivity you can lose from just one bad hire. No entrepreneur lives in the panacea of having zero turnover as sometimes they might like to make it seem, but certainly making the right staffing decisions by putting people in the right roles can allow your start up venture to get off on the right foot. One of the critical questions to ask yourself early in your venture is what role do you (the CEO/owner) play in your firm. If I was to use a baseball analogy, what jobs are you going to be a ...

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Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 5 – You Must Hire Professional Consultants

Since many new entrepreneurial ventures are often started on a shoestring budget, where you spend your financial resources can be a prickly situation. Far too often, I see new business owners who in some sense are really penny wise but pound foolish as the old adage goes. When is the right time to get yourself legal help? Do you really need an outside person to do your books or can you do it yourself? Does it merit having a financial person talk to about entity planning and business structure? Can’t you just figure this stuff out yourself? Even with many years of corporate experience, I faced these same questions when I opened my business. The costs for some of these professional feels like a waste of money when you need those precious resources for things like marketing, staffing, and technology. However, I will tell you that a big mistake in any of the areas below can be a brutal blow ...

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Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 4 – Avoid Rookie Mistakes

I am not a professional athlete.  However, I would imagine that the rookie year on any of the professional sports circuits has to be daunting in nature.   Not only are you in front of some type of large crowd, it takes some time getting used  to all of the decisions you have to make to be the best of the best in what you do for a living.   Far too often, new entrepreneurs can make first year decisions which can put a major dent in the first year of your new entrepreneurial venture.  Even someone who has a lot of corporate experience cannot understand the firefight of being a business owner until you have to meet your first payroll.One great idea my business partner and I have put into place in our business is the 48 hour rule.   We’ve set criteria around what a ‘key’ decision is for our business and once we have made a decision on the direction ...

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