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Cantu Construction

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CONTENTS

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02 The suitcase entrepreneur

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24 50 BRILIANT COMPANIES IN THE WORLD Tatia soluptur, sedist et hicius eat que excepelendel iur magnimpeles quo occus adiatur? Ficium eic temporit, sum dolor ad quisime nimusant ommod.

EDITOR’S NOTE

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“Tatia soluptur, sedist et hicius eat. Eratur, officiet, consedis ducia dolorio nsequianim untusaperunt laborum utem explibusam”. - Joe Stuart Business Adviser Magazine | 5


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10

Entrepreneurial Mistakes 1. Big Customer Syndrome If more than 50 percent of your revenues come from any one customer you may be headed for a meltdown. While it both is easier and more profitable to deal with a small number of big customers, you become quite vulnerable when one of them contributes the lion’s share of your cash flow. You tend to make silly concessions to keep their business. You make special investments to handle their special requirements. And you are so busy servicing that one big account that you fail to develop additional customers and revenue streams. Then suddenly, for one reason or another, that customer goes away and your business borders on collapse. Use that burgeoning account as both a cause for celebration and a danger signal. Always look for new business. And always seek to diversify your revenue sources.

2. Creating products in a vacuum. You and your team have a great idea. A brilliant idea. You spend months, even years, implementing that idea. When you finally bring it to market, no one is interested. Unfortunately you were so in love with your idea you never took the time to find out if anyone else cared enough to pay money for it. You have built the classic better mousetrap. Do not be a product searching for a market. Do the “market research” up front. Test the idea. Talk to potential customers, at least a dozen of them. Find out if anyone wants to buy it. Do this before anything else. If enough people say “yes” go ahead and build it. Better yet, sell the product at pre-release prices. Fund it in advance. If you don’t get a good response, go on to the next idea.

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vice companies, low price is almost never a

3. Equal partnerships

good idea. How do you decide how high? Raise prices. Then raise them again. When customers or clients stop buying, you’ve

Suppose you are the world’s greatest salesman, but you need an operations guy to run things back at the office. Or you are a technical genius, but you need someone to find the customers. Or maybe you and a friend start the company together. In each case, you and your new partner split the company 50/50. That seems fine and fair right now, but as your personal and professional interests diverge, it is a sure recipe for disaster. Either party’s veto power can stall the growth and development of your company, and neither holds enough votes to change the situation. Almost as bad is ownership split evenly among a larger number of partners, or worse, friends. Everyone has an equal vote and decisions are made by consensus. Or, worse still, unanimously. Yikes! No one has the final say, every little decision becomes a debate, and things bog down quickly.

gone too far.

4. Low prices

6. Out of Focus

Some entrepreneurs think they can be the low price player in their market and make huge profits on the volume. Would you work for low wages? Why do you want to sell at low prices? Remember, gross margins pay for things like marketing and product development (and great vacation trips.) Remember, low margins = no profits = no future. So the grosser the better.

If yours is like most companies, you have neither the time nor the people to pursue every interesting opportunity. But many entrepreneurs - hungry for cash and thinking more is always better - feel the need to seize every piece of business dangled in front of them, instead of focusing on their core product, service, market, distribution channel. Spreading yourself too thin results in sub-par performance.

Set your prices as high as your market will bear. Even if you can sell more units and generate greater dollar volume at the lower price (which is not always the case) you may not be better off. Make sure you do all the math before you decide on a low price strategy. Figure all your incremental costs. Figure in the extra stress as well. For ser-

Concentrating your attention in a limited area leads to better-than-average results, almost always surpassing the profits generated from diversification. Al Reis, of Positioning fame, wrote a book that covers just this subject. It’s called Focus.

5. Not enough capital Check your business assumptions. The norm is optimistic sales projections, tooshort product development timeframes, and unrealistically low expense forecasts. And don’t forget weak competitors. Regardless of the cause, many businesses are simply undercapitalized. Even mature companies often do not have the cash reserves to weather a downturn. Be conservative in all your projections. Make sure you have at least as much capital as you need to make it through the sales cycle, or until the next planned round of funding. Or lower your burn rate so that you do.


There are so many good ideas in the world, your job is to pick only the ones which provide superior returns in your focus area. Don’t spread yourself thin. Get known in your niche for the thing you do best, and do that exceedingly well.

and very costly at that. Plus, while you getting it right, the market is changing right out from under you. On top of that, your customers put off purchasing your existing products waiting for the next new thing to roll out your doors.

7. First class and infrastructure crazy

The antidote? Focus on creating a market-beating product within the allotted time. Set a deadline and build a product development plan to match. Know when you have to stop development to make a delivery date. When your time’s up, it’s up. Release your product.

Many a startup dies an untimely death from excessive overhead. Keep your digs humble and your furniture cheap. Your management team should earn the bulk of their compensation when the profits roll in, not before. The best entrepreneurs know how to stretch their cash and use it for key business-building processes like product development, sales and marketing. Skip that fancy phone system unless it really saves time and helps make more sales. Spend all the money really necessary to achieve your objectives. Ask the question, will there be a sufficient return on this expenditure? Everything else is overhead.

8. Perfection-itis This disease is often found in engineers who won’t release products until they are absolutely perfect. Remember the 80/20 rule? Following this rule to its logical conclusion, finishing the last 20 percent of the last 20 percent could cost you more than you spent on the rest of the project. When it comes to product development, Zeno’s paradox rules. Perfection is unattainable

9. No clear return on investment Can you articulate the return which comes from purchasing your product or service? How much additional business will it generate for your customer? How much money will they save? What? You say it’s too hard to quantify? There are too many intangibles? If it’s too difficult for you to figure, what do you expect your prospect to do? Do the analysis. Talk to your customers, create case studies. Come up with ways to quantify the benefits. If you can’t justify the purchase, don’t expect your customer will. If you can demonstrate the great return on investment your product provides, sales are a slam dunk.

Of all the mistakes, this might be the biggest. At some point you realize the awful truth: you have made a mistake. Admit it quick. Redress the situation. If not, that mistake will get bigger, and bigger, and... Sometimes this is hard, but, believe me, bankruptcy is harder. Assume your costs are sunk. Your money is lost. There is good news: your basis is zero. From this perspective, would you invest fresh money in this idea? If the answer is no, walk away. Change course. Whatever. But do not throw any more good money after bad.

OKay, everybody makes mistakes. Just try to catch them quickly before they kill your company. For more advice and tips visit our website at: www.BusinessAdviserMagazine.com

10. Not admitting your mistakes.

50/50

Partnerships

To paraphrase Harry Truman, the buck has to stop somewhere. Someone has to be in charge. Make that person CEO and give them the largest ownership stake, even if it’s only a little more. 51/49 works much better than 50/50. If you and your partner must have total equality, give a one percent share to an outside advisor who becomes your tie-breaker. Business Adviser Magazine | 9


careers

A Closer Look At Two Interview Questions

preparedness is the key

01

Yet, 78% of all candidates - regardless of the level for which they are interviewing - wing it! And frequently cause themselves to be weeded out in the process.

“Why do you want to work here?”

Here’s where you get to show off your research. Tell the interviewer what you’ve learned about the company, and why it’s appealing to you. SPECIFICS are the key here. Relate those specific examples from your experience to what you’ve learned about the company, their focus, and their market. Look to your personality and what motivates you and how that relates to any details you learned from the ad, your recruiter, your friend who referred you, or from where you learned of this opportunity. For instance, perhaps their ad stated that they were looking to establish a marketing department from ground up. If you thrive on growth, challenges, making things happen - there’s your answer - along with examples of how you have grown, established, or done market research in a parallel situation. Share what you can do and why you feel you can make a contribution and benefit the company. This question is about how YOU can benefit the company, not how the company can benefit YOU.

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02

Like so much of the interview, seemingly innocent questions can trip you up. You think you are answering them in a way that puts you in the best light, but you’d be surprised at how many people completely miss the boat. Merely to hope an interview has a positive result is not enough. That’s basically forfeiting your ability to drive up the percentage of a positive outcome.

“Tell me about yourself.”

Some interviews are lost right at this point. This is not an invitation to go on and talk about everything that has happened to you since you were five years old or since your first job out of college. Nor is it the time to shrug your shoulders and give an unplanned, one-sentence answer. Some people, especially those who haven’t prepared and have a tendency to talk when they get nervous, find themselves rambling. Put together a nice little 2 - 3 minute verbal bio about your career, your qualifications, and why you are interested. Know what you’re going to say in advance. A FEW POINTS TO REMEMBER In recruiting we used to say, “’A’ candidates for ‘A’ companies, ‘B’ candidates for ‘B’ companies and ‘C’ candidates for ‘C’ companies,” and a ‘B’ candidate is not only some one who’s talents and track record is only so-so, it’s also an ‘A’ candidate whose poor interviewing skills MAKE him a ‘B.’ Knowing who you are, what you want, what you have to offer and what you’ve accomplished - and having it all on the tip of your tongue - can make or break you for a job offer - not just for your perfect job, but sometimes for even finding ANY job.


CORE Business Solutions

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SUCCESS STORIES

Ask Them How to Be Successful

entrepreneur 1

entrepreneur 2

entrepreneur 3

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IT’S ALL ABOUT PASSION Passion is the main driving force behind every successful entrepreneur.

You can research successful entrepreneurs and will find that they had a real passion for their mission, business plan, and success in general. Passion invariably drives one to work harder and smarter. Successful entrepreneurs need long-term traits such as determination and focus. Determination to continuously improve your business is essential to keep the company competitive. Remaining focused throughout

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the life of your business creates a positive impact on your business, employees, partners, stakeholders, family and friends as well.

“To be successful, the first thing to do is fall in love with your work.�

-Sister Mary Lauretta


Rilemar Custom Homes

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a new level of luxury

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a real business car Breathtaking interior.

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Unparalleled safety features.

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MB of San Juan

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March of Dimes

cut expenses

One ketchup packet at a time.

There are many specific ways to reduce your business expenses, but the little things are what usually add up to large sums of money. I learned about business expenses at one of my first jobs. It was in a fast food restaurant, working as an assistant manager I was responsible for placing the orders for food and supplies. I noticed how many thousands of dollars we spent on ketchup, mayonnaise and other sauce packets. Then I watched for a while, to see how many the employees were handing out at the drive-through window. Pretty quickly, I realized that many of the employees were putting a handful of packets in the bag for customers - before even asking if they wanted any. It was time for a new policy, I decided. I informed all the employees that they were to ask the customers if they wanted ketchup, mustard or any other sauce packets. Then they were to either ask how many they wanted, or let the customer see them putting just a few in the bag, so the customer could ask for more if they wanted more. 16 | Business Adviser Magazine

The customers were happy, and fewer packets went out that window. How many fewer? I don’t remember exactly. What I do remember, is that after tracking our subsequent use of sauce packets, I discovered that the new policy was saving the restaurant about $2,000 per year. I later found a way to rework the schedule to save $15,000 annually on labor costs, while providing better customer service. These business expenses add up. It’s important to note that money saved is often pure profit. The owners made $15,000 more profit when my new way of scheduling saved them $15,000 in labor costs. To increase profits $15,000 from new sales, they would have needed $60,000 more in sales (after costs, profits are only 25% of sales in this particular business). In other words, finding ways to save money can be a powerful way to increase your profits.


Available

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The benefits of:

business credit One of the many difficulties of starting a small business is gaining access to capital during the startup phase. With the large growth in small specialty businesses across the country, credit card companies are beginning to design special programs to help this new breed of business achieve success. For even those small businesses that have access to capital, the perks and benefits associated with small business credit card programs, can still be useful to help you compete more effectively in the marketplace. Below are just six of the many ways in which a small business credit card can help your business to operate more smoothly and improve your bottom line.

Ease Your Cash Crunch A small business credit card can ease your business’ cash woes. Through the development and implementation of a sound financial plan that utilizes a credit card you can guarantee that your business will always meet payroll, be able to purchase inventory on an as needed basis, and manage both seasonal and business fluctuations without depleting your cash reservoir. Another added advantage is the cash advance feature, which allows you to withdraw cash from an ATM to cover emergencies and other unanticipated expenses. Unlike a personal credit card, a business credit card also provides a business size credit line, which is substantially higher.

Keep Track of Business Expenses Through the use of a credit card, you can, with little to no effort, separate your

business expenses from your personal expenses. This allows for easy identification of tax deductions and filing of accurate income tax returns.

Secure Multiple Cards You can also secure more than one card through small business credit card programs. This allows you to give employees the authority to make purchases while freeing up your schedule for more pressing issues. You can also do this with ease since you are also given the ability to set spending limits for different employees, which will further help you to control your expenses.

Access Free Business Resources Anything free is good! Some credit card companies also provide clients with a wealth of resources to help manage cash flow and develop good record keeping procedures free of charge. Extensive reporting is conducted on both a monthly and bimonthly basis to help you track your expenses down to the penny. Additionally, free business checks and electronic funds transfers are also available. In addition to that, you can also access reports, data and advice on developing business and marketing plans, conducting market analysis, and pricing products through a company’s web site. You can also increase your knowledge of other products and services like software programs that can help your day-to-day operations run more efficiently.

Build Credit to Qualify for Larger Loans Obtaining a credit card and using it wisely can also be a stepping-stone to help your business qualify and secure a loan with a major bank or venture capitalist firm. By establishing a good relationship and credit history with a company that also offers other products and services, it’ll just be a matter of time before other cost-saving services are thrown your way.

Perks and Rewards Perks and Reward Programs designed especially for small businesses are by far one of the best features of a small business credit card program. Small businesses can earn airline points and cash back rewards just like the big boys. Discounts are also available through select merchants like FedEx and Staples, which can result in huge cost savings for supplies and other operational expenses. Some companies also go an extra mile by providing rental car and lodging benefits.

Apply

for a business credit card today

Business Adviser Magazine | 19


management

can you hear me?

We all think we know how to listen, yes? The fact is that very few people know how to truly listen. In our earnestness to serve, we get pulled out of a conversation by preparing for the answer while the other person is still talking. We wait for a pause and when the person takes a breath, we jump in to improve or remedy the situation. When you listen to a customer (or co-worker, spouse, significant other), your brain is constantly making hundreds of assumptions. Each word, inflection, and tone of voice is interpreted, but not always as the speaker intended. Research shows that 2/3rd of all employees feel management isn’t listening. We all think we know how to listen, yes? The fact is that very few people know how to truly listen. In our earnestness to serve, we get pulled out of a conversation by preparing for the answer while the other person is still talking. We wait for a pause and when the person takes a breath, we jump in to improve or remedy the situation. Or, we worry about the question that we may be asked that we might not be able to answer intelligently. Will we know the answer? Will we be able to respond appropriately? What if I am asked a question I don’t know the answer to? What if I don’t understand the question? What if they find out that I’m new on the job/

on the equipment/at this company? What if they get angry at me? What if I frustrate them? What if, what if, you fill in the blank. We are anywhere but listening to the other person.

Hearing and listening are not the same, though many people use the words interchangeably. Hearing is a physiological process whereby auditory impressions are received by your ears and transOur intentions are good. We want mitted to your brain. to give the best response we Listening involves interpreting and can, hopefully the right answer. understanding the significance of However, if we are not present to the sensory experience. the conversation, the other person feels not heard, unimportant, The derivative of listen is ‘list,’ ripped off, and the like. If there which means to lean toward one was no upset on their side to side. Have you ever noticed how begin with, it now exists big time. you lean in when someone is talkFact: if you are not listening to ing to you, or vice versa? Even on the customer, there is no way you the phone? can answer the question. The truth is you probably haven’t even When you listen, you win and heard it. the other person wins. But it is not enough to just listen, you Listening is our least used and have to communicate to people weakest communication skill. that you’re listening. Sometimes None the less, great customer people don’t think you’re listenservice professionals are first and ing when you are because you’re foremost great listeners. Acnot communicating that you’re tive listening forces us to tune in listening. to what the customer is saying, instead of trying to think of what our responses will be.

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Available

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business lifestyle

How Do You Measure Success?

Have you ever stopped to think what real success is? It is having a yacht and a paid-off home or is it a peace of mind and tranquility?

How Successful are you? It all depends on the way you look at your life, and what you consider to be truly successful. It also depends on what you use to measure these different valued achievements. Certainly we all have our own priorities, lifestyles, and goals, but there are ways to measure success in your life that are healthier than others. For example, would you consider a person who is extremely wealthy, with a mortgage paid off, three luxury cars, a pool, a tennis court, and a high-status job to be successful? What if that same person had a terrible disease or suffered from chronic pain? What if the anxiety from the job that gave the person so much money felt like slow torture? What if that person spent so much time earning money and making luxury purchases that s/he never had enough time to enjoy those items, or even meet a potential spouse?

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Conversely, would you consider a person successful if he or she was living under the poverty line, and never knows where tonight’s dinner will come from, let alone how rent will be made at the end of the month? What if that person was married to the love of their lives, was working their dream job, had lots of friends, was as healthy as anyone could be, and didn’t mind a bit of financial risk? It’s funny how the results change when you look at the different details, or from a different light. The primary misconception that many people have is that money or monetary gain is synonymous with success. But when we look at things from another angle, it’s easier to see the successes in one’s life for what they truly are. Instead of thinking about dollar amounts, try looking at the following three powerful measures for your success:

Living your life’s purpose Planting seeds of hope, inspiration, and encouragement in others Making the most of every day to achieve your true potential When you consider a successful life on these terms, it’s much easier to find the motivation that you need in your life both at home, and in your business. Then again, changing your entire life view of success isn’t something that is entirely easy ñ unless you know exactly how to do it.


from the words of a successful entrepreneur:

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Farmer’s

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Available

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Marketing

10 1

You don’t make people feel safe when they order. Remind people that they are ordering through a secure server. Tell them you won’t sell their e-mail address and all their information will be kept confidential.

2

You don’t make your ad copy attractive. Your ad lists features instead of benefits. The headline does not attract at your target audience. You don’t list any testimonials or guarantees included in your ad.

3

You don’t remind people to come back and visit. People usually don’t purchase the first time they visit. The more times they visit your site, the greater the chance they will buy. The most effective way is to give them a free subscription to your e-zine.

4

You don’t let people know anything about your business. They will feel more comfortable if they know who they are buying from. Publish a section called “About Us” on your web site. Include your business history, profile of employees, contact information etc.

5

You don’t give people as many ordering options as possible. Accept credit cards, checks, money orders, and other forms of electronic payments. Take orders by phone, e-mail, web site, fax, mail, etc.

6

You don’t make your web site look professional. You want to have your own domain name. Your web site should be easy to navigate through. The graphics should be related to the theme of your web site.

reasons people don’t buy from you

7

You don’t let people read your ad before they get your freebie. When you use free stuff to lure people to your web site include it below your ad copy or on another web page. If you list the freebie above your ad they may never look to see what you’re selling.

8

You don’t attract the target audience that would buy your product or service. A simple way to do this is to survey your existing customers to see what attracted them to buy. This information will help you improve your target marketing and advertising.

9

You don’t test and improve your ad copy. There are many people who write an ad copy and never change it. You have to continually test and improve your ad copy to get the highest possible response rate.

10

You don’t give people any urgency to buy now. Many people are interested in your product but they put off buying it till later and eventually forget about it. Entice them to buy now with a freebie or discount and include a deadline date when the offer ends.

take

the online marketing quiz Scan the code below.

The Surest Way to Boost Sales If you have a small business and you are looking to boost your sales and make the public aware of your business, how do you going about doing this? There is one sure way that I know to boost sales and create awareness. It may not be sexy, but it WORKS! The best way to “start” marketing any business is to develop a marketing plan. And before you decide you don’t have the time or expertise to create a plan, I urge you to understand why it is so important. Creating a plan will force you to determine who you want to make aware of your business - it really is not just “the public.” You need to identify who can most benefit from what you are selling. If it’s a retail store, how far can you expect people to travel to do business with you? This will in part depend on what other stores can fill their same need. You also need to identify who these competitors are. Creating a marketing plan will ensure you understand these basic facts BEFORE you do any marketing. Why is this important? Because it is the only way you can ensure your marketing will be effective. No one wants to waste valuable marketing dollars. But that is exactly what many businesses do when they don’t take the time to figure out exactly who they should be marketing to and what they should be saying. Without this you are just doing “random” marketing and hoping someone will respond. Why not do “laser” marketing designed to reach exactly the type of people who are most likely to respond, and with a message that speaks directly to their needs?

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Yoko’s

health column by health columnist writen by. contributor

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vollatq uatius cum qui doluptist volorae lat imolo eaturi dolupis trundam sequam commodi dolorerumque molorest officimus, opta cuptatu scitatiis sequi ullenducima dem des consequi veres quod ut alitat eaquam fuga. Everisquis aut lab illam et ab isqui doloria con pelibus dolupitae peditiant reicimus sit entibus maximus ut modiora ereperum, te deles simus. Obitatus aut aut et repera et autamen dandis ma et quidis et millit, quis rest qui tem doluptur? Ehendel iquisci cuptate nonsed magnimilit quam si beruptas doluptaque sum, cuptaque que plibus sunti ducid quia que voluptam, con esed eatecest, nissi venem doluptas est ut re lab inciet harcia quo to quibus et offictur molum, untis el is dus, cum inveriti nullate provitas ut prorum nis de es maxim alicia et voluptibus dita que venimus danihic iandiorrum quae ape vel inveliq uuntias magnatia sa sit quatur? Udigent. Ut rem et quid mostioriat. As ent endebis excearc hilitaecti dolores sit qui blandellabor sinvenistia idignihiciae nonsecto et perumqu iassequae. Business Adviser Magazine | 27


weird inventions that made someone money

IN FACT

Alarm clock that uses voices. Here’s one of those easy inventions, and it isn’t even that weird. Use one of the “sampler” chips that are found in electronic keyboards. Push the button to record a short message-alarm. Wake up to your own voice, or record a wake-up message from a sexy friend for more motivation. Have it say what you want. “You’re late for work!” might work, or might just give you a heart attack.

Furniture that glows in the dark. Perhaps it would be more practical to have just the edges trimmed with a glow-in-the-dark material. No more bumping into the coffee table in the dark, and a nice party atmosphere too.

Wind chimes made from bones. There are a lot of people out there who like the morbid side of life, and I’ll bet they buy wind chimes too. Of course, they don’t have to be human bones! 28 | Business Adviser Magazine

someone Made millions selling rocks Gary Dahl, a California advertising man came up with the idea of a pet rock in 1975 after a conversation with friends about cats, dogs, and birds being too much trouble and costing too much money. He said a pet rock was an ideal pet - easy and cheap. Dahl spent the next two weeks writing the Pet Rock Training Manual - a step-by-step guide about taking care of it and how to train it. He went to a builder’s supply store and found a Rosarita Beach Stone that sold for a penny. He packed the stone in a box shaped like a pet carrying case along with the book.

Pet Rock Millionaire The Pet Rock was introduced at a gift show, where the store, Neiman-Marcus ordered five hundred. After a news release showing Gary surrounded by boxes of his Pet Rocks, Newsweek did a story and within a few months was shipping ten thousand Pet Rocks every day. He even appeared on The Tonight Show twice. By Christmas that year two and a half tons of rocks had been sold, three-fourths off all the newspapers in America had run Pet Rock stories. A million rocks sold for $3.95 apiece in just a few months making Gary Dahl an instant millionaire. The story of the Pet Rock is a neverending source of inspiration to create new crazes that sweep the nation and make millions for the genius who thought of them.


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