Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Turnaround

Did you catch CNN's TheTurnaround this morning? As I've mentioned before, if business appeals to you and in particular the thought of running your own business, you can't find a much better show for giving you lots of tips on how to make your business work. Today's show concentrated on helping a lady run a catering business out her house and to assist her in making her business profitable. Emma Tate had to be one of the nicest ladies you would ever meet , in fact she was so nice, she was practically giving her business away for free to charitable organizations. One of the biggest lessons she had to learn was the ability to say "NO". While it was hard for her to turn people away, she also learned that being profitable means you can create jobs for people, something she hadn't really thought about. (So for those who scorn business all the time for making profits, remember, that does create opportunities for jobs - it's only when the profits become excessive and end up in the fat cats' pockets, that trouble begins).

One of the other interesting bits of advise given to her by her mentor was to create an advisory board that would look at all aspects of her business, initially on a monthly basis and then quarterly. What a great idea! How many small business owners would think of creating an advisory board of people who could honestly evaluate the business and point out ways to improve? Think about how many small businesses fail today in the early years - far too many. Why? Because most try to go it alone and can't see the forest for the trees. Think if they could have the mentoring that is provided by this TV show - the success rate would definitely soar. It always comes back to education, doesn't it? And this is education done correctly - by applying principles to real situations, not idly theorizing in a classroom somewhere. These are the sorts of things that our teachers in our public schools could learn from.

If I were thinking of starting a new business, I'd tape every one of these shows and follow all of these tips. You're getting advice from people who are the very best in their industry - where can you get that for free?

P.S. Just learned that CNN is cancelling this show . Come on - how dumb can you be? And to top it off you dumped Dolan's Unscripted as well. You trashed it originally when you took it off daily programming and now you cancel it for good. How do you think the common man learns about wise investments and financial planning? And learning how to run a small business? Geez, CNN - don't you think America would like to be educated?

Financial Advice
When was the last time you checked out your credit report? Were you aware that you can now get them free? Yep, once every 12 months you can get your free report from Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. Head for . Eastern states have to wait till September 1st before this becomes available but for all the rest of you, you should definitely take advantage of this.

Mortgage Rates - I checked out the recent national averages - 5.8% for a 30 year fixed , 5.4% for a 15 year fixed. If you borrowed a 100K to buy a house, you'd be looking at $586/month payments on the 30 year fixed and $811 on the 15 year fixed. If you could figure out a way to come up with that extra $225/month for the 15 year fixed , you'd save $65,108 on buying that house. Of course you could take the difference ($225) and invest it, but then you have to do better than 5.8% and you have to calculate in taxes on the interest you earn on your investments, so in the end you'd have to be disciplined to invest that difference each month and you'd probably be shooting for at least a 10% return on your investment - something that isn't very easy to do in today's stock market. If it was me, I'd be searching awful hard for a way to come up with those extra bucks.

Quote of the Day
Mitch Hedberg - In England, Smokey the Bear is not the forest fire prevention representative. They have Smackey the Frog. It's just like a bear, but it's a frog. I think it's a better system, I think we should adopt it. Because bears can be mean, but frogs are always cool. Never has there been a frog hopping toward me, and I thought 'man, I'd better play dead. Here comes that frog ...' You never say here comes that frog in a nervous manner. It's always optimistic. Hey here comes that frog, all right. Maybe he will settle near me so I can pet him, and stick him in a mayonnaise jar, with a stick and a leaf, to recreate what he's used to. And I'm pretty sure I'd have to punch some holes in the lid, because he's damn sure used to air. Then I can observe him, and he won't be doing much in his 16-ounce world.

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