ENT630Expand Engage!

I wanted to initiate this blog with a short introductory post indicating the philosophy of this blog.

This blog will be fun and informative. Irreverence and professionalism are compatible. Iconoclasts will inherit the planet.

Help me jump barriers to communicate, to innovate, and to thrive.

I will post topics of my choosing on this page. Additionally,  I have been asked to respond to some specific questions, and those posts will be found on the Q&A page.

I will attempt to use categories more than tags, so please take a look at the category list.

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Front Leaning Rest Presentation at American Legion Post 526 Meeting

The following topic will be addressed in this post:

Front Leaning Rest: Entrepreneurship for Veterans

My social entrepreneurship venture has a working title of Front Leaning Rest (FLR). In this venture, I promote entrepreneurship with veterans. Former military personnel have many entrepreneurial traits plus leadership and organizational training that augment their inherent skills. Additionally, as a result of their service, veterans have access to many programs that can support business formation.

In this video, I present the Front Leaning Rest concept to the members attending a monthly meeting of American Legion Post 526 in Asheville, NC. This video was shot on August 16, 2011.

By the way, for those not in the know, the Front Leaning Rest is the push-up position. Not restful. You know you are about to start some hard but productive work when ordered to the Front Leaning Rest.

“Pain is Just Fear Leaving the Body, Soldier!!!”- anonymous multitude of Drill Instructors

The file size required that I break the video into two parts. For some reason the files take a while to buffer. The file type is a .wmv

FLR presentation part 1

FLR presentation part 2

 

 

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I Can See the Future and It Has Value

The following topic will be addressed in this post:

How do managers use the concepts of Present Value and Future Values?

Managers of firms study many concepts and must make many decisions based upon their academic knowledge and their business experiences. Among the most important decisions are investment strategies. Should the firm purchase a new piece of equipment? Should a firm expand a line of business or enter new lines? Decisions like these materially affect the firm. Sometimes, these decisions require forecasting decades into the future.

How can managers make these decisions with confidence?

If managers can predict that money spent today will create an acceptable rate of return, sometimes referred to as Return on Investment (ROI), then they should make the investment. To assist these decisions, managers rely on concepts such as Present Value or Future Values of money. At their essence, these concepts are calculations based upon compound interest formulae. Albert Einstein has been anecdotally noted to have said something about compound interest being the world’s most powerful force. While Dr. Einstein may be misattributed, no one doubts that compound interest and the related concepts flowing from it have shaped the current business environment. Continue reading

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Repatriate Me!

The following topic will be addressed in this post:

Multinational firms have billions of dollars in profits from their operations outside of the United Sates. They are requesting relief from the 35% tax burden in order to return those funds to the United States. What should we do?

At the outset of this post, I want to emphasize that this website is devoted to business. I am not expressing political or partisan viewpoints. I enter this discussion and make the following proposals because I believe they could be helpful to our national and global economies. My viewpoints are not perfect nor are they the complete solution to our economic and social difficulties. I will be happy to receive any feedback that readers want to communicate.

According to estimates, American firms hold about one trillion dollars in profits from operations outside the United States. Many people opine that repatriating these funds would invigorate the sluggish U.S. recovery and reduce the 9% national unemployment figure. Unfortunately, firms are reluctant to repatriate those profits because they dislike the tax rates, which can reach 35%.

Can we resolve this impasse? I offer these thoughts.

For reasons too numerous to list, many people hold a dim view of corporate behavior. As a result, they view the current repatriation debate as simply another example of firms strong-arming pliant political actors at the expense of the American public. Indeed, we faced this same scenario in 2004 and the tax holiday allowed to the corporations generated mixed results.

While I empathize with the sentiments of the skeptical public, I believe that we should contemplate a permanent but targeted tax rate of 15% for repatriated profits. Let me explain my perspective. Continue reading

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Appreciating Depreciation

The following topics will be addressed in this post:

The concept of depreciation. The components of depreciation. Techniques to record depreciation.

Capital investment signals economic growth. When firms make long-term asset acquisitions, the financial implications are communicated through a concept called depreciation. Firms use depreciation for tangible assets such as land improvements, equipment, and structures. Depreciation communicates that these asset values decline over time as they are used (Epstein, 2009). Additionally, depreciation communicates the rate that the firm will expense the asset in their financial statements (Kimmel, Weygandt, & Kieso, 2010). Fundamentally, depreciation minimizes the effects of large purchases on the net income of a firm during a period and on the tax receipts of government authorities.

Depreciation entails multiple components: cost, useful life, salvage value, and depreciation calculation method (Kimmel, Weygandt, & Kieso, 2009). Each of these components will be discussed in turn.

Cost comprises all the expenses of acquiring the asset and readying it for use. Most often costs are purchase price and transport. In the case of unique or custom made assets, cost may also contain design and manufacture expenses. Moreover, costs for preparing the location for an asset may be included, such as additional electrical needs, structural modifications, and the like. Continue reading

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Commodity Prices on the Rise

The following topic will be addressed in this post:

The impact of rising commodity prices on business.

Commodity prices are on the rise. Some industrial and agricultural products have reached record highs. Commodity prices are global so they affect all markets. These price increases can have significant impacts on businesses in both microeconomic and macroeconomic terms.

Why have prices risen?

The reasons are complex and differ among the commodities. I will mention a few factors here. First, we have the simple economics of supply and demand. For example, some of the agricultural products have suffered poor growing seasons, thereby reducing global supply. Also, the growth of emerging markets has increased demand for some commodities where supply is not able to be increased quickly, such as oil. Second, the Fed’s accommodative money supply policies play a role. Because commodities are dollar denominated, a weaker dollar can inflate commodity prices. Third, trading speculation surely has some impact on commodity prices. People trading these contracts and items want to make money and they see opportunity to test what the market can bear because global growth requires these commodities. Fourth, investor uncertainty has created a “flight to safety” in precious metals. Quite simply, people feel that precious metals and similar commodities will hold value and can be traded as currency in the event of stagnant or recessionary conditions. As I said previously, these are only a few of the factors affecting prices and they affect different commodities in differing ways. Continue reading

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Book Review: The Betrayal of American Prosperity by Clyde Prestowitz

This post will be a review of the book The Betrayal of American Prosperity by Clyde Prestowitz.

Not Made in the USA

We hear incessant reports about the demise of manufacturing in America. Moreover, we constantly see jobs outsourced, trade deficits rise, and the national debt increase. All this while we continue to have the largest economy of any country by far and we are still the world’s premier manufacturer. What is happening and why? In his book, Mr. Prestowitz endeavors to explain our past and how it differs from our current predicament.

About the Author

Mr. Prestowitz is a former counselor to the Commerce Department and negotiator with Asia for the Reagan administration. Currently, he advises companies on foreign relations. Using his past and current experience, Mr. Prestowitz explains the conditions that led to American economic primacy. He also outlines the factors driving the economic surge of emerging market nations. Finally, Mr. Prestowitz offers some guidance for American business and government leaders to chart a course for continued American prosperity rather than decline.

Book Summary

Mr. Prestowitz covers a broad range of topics in his book. He gives a synopsis of world history from the 18th Century to the present. He comments on natural resources and their impact on the economic landscape. He analyzes some important U.S. public policies and their ramifications. He also analyzes the national strategies of some of our international trading partners. Mr. Prestowitz concludes his text with some suggestions for American success in the future. Continue reading

Posted in Book and Article Reviews, Business Practices | 2 Comments

Composting: Best Practices

The following topic will be addressed in this post:

In some respects, composting is the easiest process in the world: you place trash in a pile and let it rot. On the other hand, composting for commercial sale involves precision activities to create a safe and effective product. Moreover, commercial composting requires coordination with many parties and constituencies to succeed. I will offer some thoughts on how I plan to conduct my business.

The Composting Process

To begin, the basic process for composting has four steps: acquiring inputs, initial input breakdown, creation of the final compost product, and product sales and distribution. The two primary components of compost are carbon and nitrogen. Compost can contain smaller amounts of many other elements and compounds to enhance its effectiveness as a fertilizing agent. These elements are found in a wide variety of sources, such as food waste, leaf litter, yard clippings, some packaging materials, and many more. Compost is really a recipe because the inputs and their proportions can make a batch of compost more or less efficacious to users. A poor recipe or process can result in insufficient input breakdown, which wastes time, or the production of hazardous wastes, such as polluted liquid run-off, that violates government standards and is costly to ameliorate. Moreover, if the final compost does not create the desired results for the end user, they will refuse to make future purchases. Therefore, while composting is a simple and natural process, creating a top-notch, value-added commercial product requires careful planning, coordination, and execution.

Stakeholders

For a small garden or landscaping project, an individual or a few people can manage the entire composting process. On the other hand, commercial-scale compost production requires many people. In fact, several different businesses can be involved in a commercial-scale endeavor. Direct process constituents include input providers, government regulators, wholesalers, retail customers, as well as staff and partners. Ancillary constituents include the neighboring community and service providers, such as equipment repairers, grinders for large inputs, and product testing labs. Continue reading

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Local Business Leader Interview: C. Smith, Composter

Interview with Compost Producer C. Smith

Origins

Ms. Smith was a rancher and sent her manure as an input to a composter in the region. Initially, she passively learned the composting process through her interactions with the composter. She became interested in the process and started actively seeking information. She realized that she had the land space, equipment, and inputs to create compost. Also, she was far enough away from the other composter that they would not be in competition. She reached out to some potential compost buyers and learned that she could sell large volumes of final compost product to them. Continue reading

Posted in Entrepreneur interviews, My Venture, People in Business | 1 Comment

22 The International

The following topic will be addressed in this post:

If there were a market for it, would you consider entering an international market for a product/service which you offered in your own enterprise? Why or why not?

International commerce. Would you engage in it? Good question. Many businesspeople dream about becoming international moguls, expanding across the deep blue seas. With current technology, international sales are just a few mouse clicks away.

On the other hand, with current technology, counterfeiting and reverse engineering are simple, too. Unfortunately, our government agencies have not been as aggressive as possible when enforcing intellectual property claims internationally. This situation is not the fault of the agency personnel per se, but for the last century our top legislative and executive leaders in both political parties have prioritized other topics at the expense of our innovators’ intellectual property. In his book The Betrayal of American Prosperity, Clyde Prestowitz masterfully discusses this process. Continue reading

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20 Hell’s Kitchen

The following topic will be addressed in this post:

Discuss an example which you have experienced or witnessed where quality control gone awry.

The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection– Lexus tagline

Top businesspeople understand the negative effects of mistakes and waste on the bottom line. As a result, they try to curb mistakes as much as possible (eliminating mistakes is impossible). To help in this mistake reduction process, managers use concepts such as Total Quality Management and Six Sigma management.

Can managers become too obsessed with perfection? Yes, it happens constantly. Many managers do not understand that mistakes cannot be totally eliminated. Some managers are pressured to perform from other sources. Some managers have obsessive compulsive personalities or some other internal factor that makes them seek perfection. The reasons for quality control gone awry are many and varied.

In this post, I will address quality control gone awry. Instead of a negative instance, however, I will discuss awry quality control that I think benefits the customer. Continue reading

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