Hello! I have a set of specific questions to answer on this page of the blog. Those posts will appear over the coming weeks. I would love your input and perspective, so please reply. Stay tuned!

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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19 JIT Kune Do

The following topic will be addressed in this post:

What are the pro’s and con’s of JIT inventory control?

Empty your mind. Be formless, shapeless, like water. Now, you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.- Bruce Lee in a Longstreet TV episode

In some ways, Just in Time (JIT) inventory control follows Mr. Lee’s advice. Since time immemorial, firms have needed to manage their inventories so they could have the correct products for their customers. For almost as long, firms have managed inventories by warehousing large quantities of products. With the advent of things like powerful computer systems, enterprise resource planning (ERP), six sigma quality control, and rapid transportation, however, firms are able to take a leaner and more nimble approach to their inventory management. One of these lean business approaches is JIT.

JIT allows businesses to greatly reduce their need to maintain and manage large inventories. But all is not wine and roses. Like any business process, JIT has positive features and potential pitfalls for the firm and the customer. Continue reading

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13. 14. & 17. I’ll Gladly Pay You Tuesday…

The following topics will be addressed in this post:

How does the extensive use of credit cards by their customers affect small businesses? Describe three methods for limiting the risk for a company that extends credit to its customer? Explain the four C’s of credit. Which is the most important and why?

“Cash is King” vs. “The World Takes Visa”

The first phrase has dominated business transactions throughout known experience. In most societies and across the globe, some form of hard currency has been the transaction medium for commerce. The second phrase, however, is becoming more prevalent. Indeed, the world now revolves on revolving credit.

As customers use credit cards more frequently, businesses must adapt to new situations. Among the new realities, businesses need modern equipment and services to process credit transactions that increase convenience as well as costs. Also, customers do not have to physically come to the business location, so out-of-state and international transactions are easier. Now, credit cards help the continuity of cash flows because the banks are extending consumer credit rather than the businesses. On the other hand, electronic crime increases so businesses must maintain secure databases as well as verify identities to prevent loss due to chargebacks. These are just of few of the many business considerations in the new age of credit cards. Continue reading

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12. C’mon, Man!

The following topic will be addressed in this post:

Explain the scope of fraud and why it impacts small businesses to a greater extent than large businesses. What should the owners or managers do to prevent fraud from occurring in the first place?

Unfortunately, criminal behavior exists in business. Among the various classes of criminality we have fraud. In legalese, fraud is defined as “the intentional use of deceit, a trick or some dishonest means to deprive another of his/her/its money, property or a legal right” (Law.com). This definition is broad and includes many activities, but the most important aspect is conscious deceptive action.

According to fraud investigator Tracy Coenen:

“It’s no secret that on-the-job fraud is expensive, costing American businesses an estimated $652 billion each year. The typical occupational fraud will cost a company between $10,000 and $500,000. But this represents only the money taken by the thief, not the other costs that can quickly mount. Continue reading

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9. & 10. The New Frontier

The following topics will be addressed in this post:

Why is environmental scanning a management concept, NOT an entrepreneurial concept, and what process do entrepreneurs practice which takes its place?

What are the pros and cons of doing business entirely online without a physical storefront or presence? Consider this question from the perspective of selling a tangible product.

Traditionally, management is divided into four major functional categories: planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. Here, I will discuss controlling, which can be defined as monitoring performance and making needed changes. Specifically, I will focus on two issues of controlling: environmental scanning and using a completely on-line presence. I place these in controlling because I take the perspective that the firm is currently operating.

Firms exist in highly competitive business environments. The world is constantly changing. New competitors arise daily. Technology improvements are creating new processes and functionalities. All of these factors and more create uncertain and tumultuous business environments. Consequently, firms must overcome or at least adapt to the uncertainty by using techniques like environmental scanning. Continue reading

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6. & 7. Passing the Baton

The following topics will be addressed in this post:

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of buying a business as opposed to starting one from scratch. What two ways can one buy a business and which is preferable ? Why?

Is there such a concept as “good will” in reality and is it transferable? Why or why not? Give an example.

Ladies and gentlemen, step right up and get your existing business here! We have all sizes and shapes to suit! We have small ones and large ones! We have retail, wholesale, service, and more! Yes, indeed, get your existing business with positive cash flows, an established client base, oodles of goodwill, and an owner willing to assist your financing! Don’t miss this opportunity!

The preceding hawker’s cry is not entirely in jest. Not every entrepreneur needs to start from scratch. Plenty of businesses change hands daily. Buying a business can be a great way to avoid start-up hassles and get right into the business of doing business. With Greatest Generationers and and now Baby Boomers retiring daily, acquiring an existing business might become the normal transfer model during the next couple of decades. Continue reading

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5. Franchise Player

The following topics will be addressed in this post:

What is typically provided by a franchisor to its franchisees? Why would these be valuable to a nascent entrepreneur? Why is the failure rate lower for franchisees than it is for independent businesses?

Some people might not consider franchising truly entrepreneurial because it involves less risk and already established business practices. One colleague calls “pure entrepreneurship” when you do something that no one else is doing. More broadly, entrepreneurs are often defined by traits including risk taking and innovation. I would insist that the entrepreneurial spirit exists in franchising through proper execution of customer service, inventory management, personnel management, and other business skills. Moreover, even franchises carry risk: Sbarro’s declared bankruptcy, Taco Bell had some bad press recently, and auto dealerships suffer from recalls and recessions.

Franchisors have a great deal of self-interest in their franchisees because good franchisees will add revenue and help expand the brand while bad franchisees can do just the opposite. A franchisor will, therefore, have an interview and selection process for potential franchisees. After selection, the franchisor may help with site selection and financing but not always. The franchisor will provide training, manuals, and other support to assure franchisor standards are met. Franchisors will provide product and service development, marketing campaigns, management guidance, and other corporate level functions. Sometimes franchisees are asked to participate in these processes through financial contributions, local innovation, or some other means. Finally, franchisors usually provide ongoing support and inspections to assure the franchisee is functioning at proper levels (AllBusiness.com). Continue reading

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4. The Franchise Tag

The following topics will be addressed in this post:

What is the difference between a franchisee and a company owned store within a franchise chain? Why might one prefer to be the franchisee or the manager of a company owned store?

A franchise may be defined as “a legal agreement that allows one business to be operated using the name and business procedures of another” (Katz and Green). One of the many ways entrepreneurs can enter the business world is through the franchising process. Indeed, my paternal grandmother owned a sole-proprietorship restaurant, but my maternal grandparents chose to purchase a franchise from Western Auto. They operated the business for over two decades and ultimately they sold it upon their retirement. During this time, they employed dozens of people and extended credit to hundreds of people.

Generally, franchising firms have some company stores and some franchise locations. Company stores are wholly owned and operated by the parent organization. In the company stores, the parent organization hires the staff, develops the goods and services offered, conducts marketing research and campaigns. Moreover, company stores fall under the legal and financial aegis of the corporation. The revenues and expenses are part of the parent organization operations and some profits can be returned to shareholders (Nickels, McHugh, and McHugh). Continue reading

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3. Entrepreneurial Self-Examination

The following topics will be addressed in this post:

Do I have the stuff it takes to be an entrepreneur?

Honestly, it’s an open question.

I am intelligent and I am acquiring skills through training and education. I am passionate about my current entrepreneurial path (please see the My Venture page). I believe my proposition adds value to my community and to society in general. Further, this program aligns with the goals of our country, namely promoting national development through commerce and personal development. Continue reading

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