Those with money save money


Last week I was in Beaverton, Oregon, visiting my wife’s family. No special occasion just decided to get away from our house on the few days we had off and we thought we could use a little rain in our life. Since it’s getting close to springtime the weather in Oregon was actually quite nice. My wife and I enjoyed many hikes and walks through downtown Portland.

One day we were hiking Opal Creek and I had a fatal accident. No injury to my body what so ever, but something worse, my cell phone. We were climbing up these rocks and my phone fell out of my pocket-landing splat on the ground. If you have ever dropped your phone before you know what I mean by the horrible feeling of panic when it drops. I quickly rushed down to see how bad the damage was. The phone landed on its face so the screen was cracked pretty badly. The phone was turned off from impact so I tried turning it back on. To my surprise it actually turned back on. The only thing broken was the glass and LCD screen. So looking at the glass as half full, at least my phone still worked and stayed somewhat intact. But every time I looked at my phone it irritated me to see the cracks on my screen and discoloring of the broken LCD. For those of you who don’t know the LCD is what displays picture or color on your phones screen.

Broken Phone

When we got home that evening I searched all over the web to purchase a new phone. I even called my cell phone carrier, Verizon and asked how much it would cost to buy a new phone from them. The common price for an iPhone 6+S would cost me 600 bucks to buy it just its self. I couldn’t get a deal on any of them because it wasn’t time for an upgrade on my plan.

I didn’t really want to pay 600 bucks to buy a new phone so I decided to look into getting it repaired. I searched all over Google for the right cell phone repair shop. A website with good reviews and a decent price. Many of the websites I found were just horrible. They gave barley any information on their services, pricing, and looked like they were built by a five year old. Then I found Beaverton Cell Phone Repair. This website was nice! It had everything I was looking for. The website wasn’t too spamy or complex. It was easy to navigate through, had lots of information on their company and what they offered, and they made it easy to find their contact information.

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Local succes


Recently I purchased myself a brand new 2016 BMW M3. Its a very nice car I love it. It has the right amount of luxury and sport all in one car. I love that this car has plenty of power to help get me to my destination in a timely fashion.

My BMW

 

It is springtime here in Grand Junction, Colorado, which means it’s almost back to 90-degree weather. The other day I was sitting in work traffic on the way home when I noticed how uncomfortable the heat rays were on my skin. My car wasn’t really that warm due to me blasting AC, but when the sun isn’t blocked and is just blazing on your skin you can still feel that heat. Plus I’ve heard its not that good for your skin. So I decided to have my windows tinted. Not only did I want my windows tinted for protection, but to add a nice sleek look to my new BMW as well.

So I started my search on the web for the right company to work with. I looked for those who had good reviews, prices, and seemed like they offered great service. Now if you haven’t noticed by now, I like to do my research before making any type of decision. I believe in finding the best of the best for a good price. I don’t just look for the cheapest thing out there because I do believe in you get what you pay for, but I try look for something that’s in the median. So of course I ran a thorough search and came across multiple companies before finding the right one.

When I finally found the right company I knew they were good just form the phone call. Their name was Grand Junction Window Tinting. I have to hand it to these guys they have the makings of a great company that will out last all of its competitors. When I came across their website (gjtinting.com) I was taken aback by how informative it was compared to others. By informative I mean it wasn’t just, “we do tinting x,y, and z, boom there”. They really take their time to explain their services and benefits of their product. Which really prevented me form asking a whole lot of questions over the phone. The design of it was simple, easy to navigate, but not too plain. It didn’t look like it was super spammy and tacky of a website.

Gj Tinting's website

 

I contacted them to receive a price quote and a very nice enthusiastic lady answered the phone, so that’s always a good sign. I forgot her name, but she provided great answers to my questions and was very helpful. She also contacted me the day prior to follow up on my appointment and as a reminder. Not only did they have great service online and over the phone, but in person as well. Their technicians were all so very nice to me and took time to chat with me about my car. They also took time to explain to me how they were going to tint my car, showing me what type of tint they planned on using, and also offered many examples of what different shades of tint looked like, so I could figure out how dark I wanted to go.

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Keep your company growing


Expand your business

Becoming an entrepreneur and starting your own company really forces you to shape up, find out whom you really are, and what your purpose on earth is. What many of us miss out on is finding our rhythm or beat. You need to find that one thing that is going to bring us customers and help us rank and bank quickly.

 

No matter what market you are in you need to seize the moment and expand your business toady. Let the market know that you are a force to be reckoned with.

Business exspanision

Here are eight helpful steps to take when expanding your business. Credit goes to entrepreneur.com.

 

  1. Give your business everything you have: Prepare your team and yourself to give a ton of effort. The amount of effort to get things started will have to continue and increase to accomplish much greater things.
  2. Don’t focus on your problems, but your solutions: You should look at problems as opportunities to learn. Don’t run away or avoid them. Take time to solve them and learn from them so when the same problem arises in the future, you will be prepared.
  3. Adapt to the changes: Your old business strategies will soon loose their edge. Every year the economy changes and so should your company if you want to survive. You need to learn how to adapt.
  4. Participate in uncommon practice: Try to stand out from the crowd. Look at what your competitors are doing and try to do something different. Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean you have to.
  5. Don’t drop your company prices: In a bad economy don’t drop your prices. If you think about it, you are still going to have a low sales volume and at an even lower price. So instead of focusing on your pricing, focus on how you can get up the sales volume.
  6. Be unreasonable: When your business is in a rut, there’s no time to be reasonable. You have to go against what is “proper” or common. While your competitors are all doing the same thing you have to focus on dominating.
  7. Keep learning: You are never too old or too big to learn new things. The economy is always changing so there is always room for you to learn and improve. This will keep your team and yourself sharp, aware, and on your toes. Prepared for any curve ball the market throws at you.
  8. Avoid negative things: Avoid the naysayers and negative thinkers. The media and news is filled with bad news. Certain people around you live in negativity and try to infect the others around them. No matter what you do, avoid all of it.

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7 great habits to have as a small business owner


Succesful business habits

When looking into an industry, there are always a few businesses that stand apart from their competitors. So what is it that makes those few stand out, ahead of the pack? I would say that a great deal of it has to do with how great their management and leadership is. Owning a small business can be very difficult endeavor and there is no secret or one way to run a successful business. If there were a sure way to make your self a successful business owner it would entail these seven habits. Note that I did read this article in Forbes Magazine, but this is my spin on it.

 

  1. Take care of your self: Smart business owners understand that in order to have or prolong a sharp mind it begins with the body. They pay attention to their eating habits and make sure they are consuming healthy product. They make time for physical exercise. Lesser business owners would think of this as a waste of time, but its necessary actions to take in order to keep a sound mind.
  2. Have a life outside of the business: Spending too much time focusing on your business or work is bound to lead to a mental breakdown. This means make time for other interest outside of work. Get out side of the office or step away from your place of business for the day and give your brain a break from work. You never know you might stumble upon a great idea for your business.
  3. Look Forward: To own a small business means you have to be a great leader. To be a great leader means you have to be bold and innovative. Sometimes you have to dare to take proven business strategies past their limit. Some of the best small business owners are those who experiment, pioneer, and look for new ways to do things. You have to be willing to take chances.
  4. Organized: Sometimes you can have a million of innovative ideas, but you don’t know which one to run with first, leaving yourself scattered. There is difference between a smart business owner who fails to put their ideas in to action and smart business owner who comes up with an idea and follows through with it. Keeping your meetings, deadlines, and business plans on highly organized schedule is what will separate you from a poor business owner.
  5. Nurture your relationships: When running a business it’s so easy to get caught up in work and forget to step away from the office every now and then. It is important to make time to stay in touch with clients and professional associates.
  6. Make Decisions: As a small business owner you have to be decisive. You can’t sit around wasting time, out weighing your options, or questioning your actions, your job is to lead your company and make decisions that will benefit your company. You just have to be confident and believe in yourself. Whenever you feel in doubt remind yourself of your past achievements and tell yourself you are the expert.
  7. Cut the fat, Slim the process: Business owner need to be proactive. Constantly looking for parts of their business that they can improve upon. Which vendors or suppliers you can switch for greater ones or how to divide work accordingly. Be organized; know how your company’s time, workers, and financial resources are distributed. Making sure that your process remains efficient at all times is how you stay ahead of the game.

Enjoy success

In a previous blog I write about common traits of a failing business. Both blogs have a similarity and show you the difference between a successful business and failing business.

Radio Shack going down


Radio Shack

Radio Shack, one of the most popular electronic retailer stores in America, until 2015. Growing up many of us has come accustomed to seeing a radio shack located in most shopping squares or malls. When I was a child that’s where my family and I went for all of our electronic needs. One of my uncles even owned two of them at the height of their success. But as time went on the customers needs have changed and other electronic retailers have been raising the bar and Radio Shack hasn’t been able to keep up. This post will look into the main reasons why Radio Shack has gone down under.

In February 2015, Radio Shack had filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It was obvious that the company had too many store locations that only thrived due to the success of few others. One of their biggest mistakes, which is the same as every company that goes bankrupt, was failure to adapt. Electronic sales were shifting to online and Radio shack was stuck with the same brick and motor location stores. In 2013 the company had switched their focus to selling cell phones. Which accounted for half or more of their sales and produced not so good profit margins. Over past few years Radio shack has been in a scurry to turn around its company, making frequent changes in management and direction. I also herd they took out a huge loan in 2013 from Salus Capitol that caused many of their locations to close down.

Store Closing

  • Store Location: In 2014 it was recorded that RadioShack owned operated 4,300 stores in North America. But many of these stores were located too close to each other. For example, I read in this article that stated there were 25 stores in Sacramento, California, most of them only 25 mile away from each other. It gets even worse, seven stores in Brooklawn, New Jersey, were found within 5 miles of each other. Now what convinced them to make so many stores located close to each other, I don’t know beats me. Doesn’t sound like a good idea to me. Having so many stores located close to each other caused a significant drop in profits and inventory problems as store traffic dwindled.
  • Weak Online Presence: Over the past five or six years electronic retail has made a huge shift to online. RadioShack was slow to make the change and was relied solely on their brick and motor store locations. They began to experience drops in profits and sales. Due to majority of consumers going to online retailers like amazon and eBay for their electronics. People didn’t have to leave their house to shop anymore and could find electronics and parts for a better price online.
  • Product Concentration: In the early 2000s Radio shack had decided they were going to start selling cell phones to up their profit margins. For a while this proved to be a good idea, until the release of the iPhone in 2007. With cellphones making up 50% of their total sales it seemed like it was dangerous aspect. Many cellphone wireless companies began to start selling cell phones at their stores, which made things even worse for RadioShack. Many cell phone carrier companies reduced their payments to RadioShack, to bring down the cost of their cell phones. As a result, their profit and sales margin began to dwindle.
  • Problems in Management: RadioShack was in a frantic to turn its company around and in doing so their management was in a state of constant change. From 2005 to 2015 the company change CEO’s seven times. In 2013 they made they Joseph Magnacca their CEO, in hopes he would turn things around for the company. It was their goal to make all of their wrongs right by 2015. However, as Magnacca started making changes, Radio Shack began to plummet ever faster, due to rising cost, numerous changes in management, orders on short notice, and unclear commission structures.
  • Loan of Disaster: RadioShack was experiencing negative profits since 2012, they new they needed help in order to stay a float. In 2013, they obtained a $585million loan from Salus on one condition; they could not close no more than 200 store locations, unless Salus said so. In 2014 RadioShack’s profits plummeted even more causing them to try and close more than a quarter of their stores to keep from going bankrupt. Salus said no to the idea, due to a lack of trust that RadioShack’s plans would work.

 

There is a lot to learn from this post. If you haven’t noticed from my previous post on extinct companies, there seems to be a constant similarity between businesses that fail to stay a float. I would argue that it’s the failure to adapt and change with the consumers needs.

From genius to fool


Block Buster Post

Hey you guys remember Block Buster right? Remember how crazy it was to see them leave. I remember growing up as a kid almost every weekend my mother and I would go to the local blockbuster in town to rent a flick for the night. I always enjoyed browsing the gazillion movies they offered, trying to find the best movie for the night. Not to mention buying a snack or two on the way out. Soon that all came to an end once Netflix came in the picture. No more did you have to drive down to the store to buy a big clunky VHS or DVD. You could just order a DVD from online and it would come to you. I know right, how could Block Buster not have thought of that brilliant idea.

 

Apparently in 2000, the founder of Netflix, Reed Hastings, flew to Dallas to offer a partnership or a company merge to John Antioco, former Block Buster CEO. The deal was Netflix would advertise Block Busters brand online and vise versa, Block Buster would promote Netflix in stores. Hastings was laughed at and shown the door.

Netflix is the best

Well the rest is history, ten Years later Block Buster filed bankruptcy and Netflix grew to be a $28 billion dollar company, ten times as much as Block Busters value. Antioco went down as fool and Hastings a genius. Now don’t get me wrong Antioco was a brilliant man. Known for being a very great executive with a long history of success. But when it came down to it he failed to see that networks of unseen connections would bring his downfall.

 

If you think about it, Block Buster was dominating the video rental industry. At one point they had thousands of locations and millions of customers they were at the top of the market. So it’s not that surprising that Hastings was denied back in 2000.

It wasn’t obvious at the time, but Block Buster had a weakness no one realized. Majority of the company’s profit came from charging its customers for late returns, which was a vital part of Block Busters model. The worst thing about this business model is that they most of their money from punishing their customers, which is not good.

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What happened to Borders book stores?


Dead Company

Today I will be talking about Borders, a bookstore company that had closed its doors permanently in 2011. Borders use to be very popular and a dominant figure in the book store industry. It had become so popular that it seemed like every town you went to there were a McDonalds, Walmart, and Borders. Growing up I was a big fan of books and comics . To hear of Borders announcement  of going out of business came as a big shock to me. I remember back in high school and even college I would often go to Borders. Some times to study for class, but usually I would spend hours loosing my self in the countless shelves of books. So you could say that I was a little up set to hear that Borders had closed its doors for good. It was kind of funny because only after Borders had closed did begin to notice the numerous unique bookstores around me.

It has been 45 years since Borders opened their first bookstore in Ann Arbor, Michigan. When they first entered the industry of books, the market was different then. For years Borders had acted as if nothing had changed, they were oblivious to the need for change. In Borders final days they even tried to buy out a competitor of theirs, Barnes and Noble. But it only made them look desperate and everyone knew that they couldn’t really afford to buy them out.

Here are some reasons as of to why Borders went bankrupt and Barnes and Noble thrived:

Borders on Fire

  1. Borders didn’t implement eBooks soon enough: Borders was blind to the rise of eBooks becoming a big thing in the market. Companies like Amazon and Barnes and Noble saw its value before Borders, jumping all over the portable eBooks like Kindle and Nook. Borders on the other hand only opened up an eBooks store online a year before their business was ran into the ground.
  2. They were too big: Borders expanded too large for their company to handle. At one point they were employing 19,500 people. Everywhere you went you would see a Borders books store. Most of their stores were competing with local Barnes and Noble bookstore, even though Borders offered a wide variety of books, people still took to the internet to purchase their reading material.
  3. Too late to gain an online presence: For a while Borders had outsourced its online book selling to Amazon. Anytime you visited their website you were redirected to Amazon. At first this seemed to be a good idea because Amazon was a fast growing prominent online company, but this was a bad idea. Amazon had damaged Borders branding strategies and stolen a good portion of their customer base.
  4. Stuck in dept: For years Borders had carried a huge dept and when the recession hit in 2008, things didn’t turn out so well for them. In 2008 they had attempted to drag themselves out of a $350 million hole, by reconstructing their business twice. Sadly to say their efforts were futile, they never could manage to ascend due to the damage their poor business practices had put them in.
  5. Invested too much into selling music: In the 90s Borders wanted to not only sell books, but also become a multipurpose entertainment store. So they began to invest a lot of money into selling CDs. Turns out this was another bad decision, no surprise there. Around this time people had began to loose interest in CDs and began purchasing and downloading music offline, either for their new mp3 players, like iPod. This forced Borders to eventually reduce their music inventories, making them realize their expensive retail space was more than what they needed.

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Common traits of a failing business


As some of you may already know, my blogs will consist of my dissection of why a business has died. I will also study those who have been able to thrive and remain ahead of their competition. If you would like to learn more about this, read my short autobiography.

Common Mistakes

Whenever I research extinct companies, I always look for common mistakes they have all made. Most of these mistakes seem like a no brainer thing to watch out for, but you will be surprised of how many businesses actually fall prey to them.

  • Expecting competitors to do nothing: No matter if a business is dominating a market or at the bottom of the chain. They should always be on their toes. Constantly innovating and improving their product or services. If your company isn’t doing this, you better start ASAP. What makes you think that your competitors are doing nothing? It’s a dog eats dog world and the first one to the bone takes home the bacon. This can give the smallest of businesses an edge over their biggest competitors. Those who sit around doing nothing have already lost and might as well start closing shop. It takes consistent work to get ahead or keep your spot in the market. Even companies that are dominating a market aren’t safe if they stop progressing.
  • Keep reusing old ideas instead of inventing new ones: You may have invented something new today, but after a month its old news already. Just because it worked before, doesn’t mean it’s going to keep the fire burning. If you want people to remember your product, you have to keep up with the changes everyday. Falling back on an old idea can bring about a swift end to a company. There is an old saying, “In this world you’re either growing or you’re dying so get in motion and grow” – Lou Holtz. You should never encourage your colleagues to stick with the old. Instead encourage them to be in with the new, think differently, and question themselves, everyday.
  • Falling for the “flavor of the week” trap: Yes, as a company you should be always keeping up with the times, constantly changing your product to better fit your customers. These types of changes are what can separate a good company from a great one. It can make your product stand out or even dominate its competitors. Nevertheless it can also be a trap. Just because something is popular doesn’t mean you have to change every single time or invest in it right away. You should always try to find or refine your expertise, rather than always trying to appeal to the masses. Those companies who are always in a constant change can potentially lose would be faithful customers.

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