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Friday, 31 October 2014 03:15
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Studies have shown that most successful female entrepreneurs tend to start their businesses as a second, or even third career. Because of this, most enter the entrepreneurial business world later on in life than their male counterparts, often at around 40–60 years old.

The women in this infographic bear that out:

  • Martha Stewart was a stockbroker until she was 35.
  • Julia Childs was a government file clerk until she was in her 30s.
  • Vera Wang only wrote about fashion until she was 39.

too-late-to-learn-late-bloomers-people-who-succeeded-infographic

Thursday, 30 October 2014 15:51
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So, I’m not very good with backing up.


See, I live deep in the mountainous wilds of Eastern California, where the internet is slow and the days are hard.

And, there’s a drought here, if you haven’t heard. I don’t have time for backing up.

And last month there was a fire. Not a house fire. But a forest fire. A big one. Came right for my house. Up the hill it came. Turned a little. And then rushed again straight at me.


So we grabbed all of the important stuff out of the safe, unplugged the backup hard drive, wrangled the pigs and the kids into the car, and drove away.

California-Wildfires

Thankfully, there were lots of firefighters. And firetrucks. And bulldozers. And airplanes.

And within a couple days the fire was out.

So we returned home.

And unpacked.

And put all the important papers away.

Put the kids and the pigs back where they belonged, mostly.

And I put the hard drive back on my desk.

A month ago.


The hard drive sat on my desk, wondering where its friend, Mr. USB plug was.

I wondered too, but knew he would turn up. Unless the kids or the pigs had run off with him.

And so the hard drive sat. And sat. And waited.


And then a new hard drive arrived in the mail from WD, a Western Digital company.

That jogged my mind, and I remembered something I’d completely forgotten since the fire. WD wanted me to review their <a href=”http://ooh.li/547c4f4″ rel=nofollow”>WD My Cloud EX2. It’s a private cloud in a box — basically a big, expandable hard drive thingy that you plug into your network and just forget about. That’s my kind of device. And, they wanted to pay me, too. Awesome!

So I plugged it in and told my Mac to start using the new network drive it created for my Time Machine backups.

And I promptly forgot all about it.

See, I told you I’m not good with backups.


And then today, someone pinged me and said, “Hey Dane, remember that <a href=”http://ooh.li/547c4f4″ rel=nofollow”>WD My Cloud EX2 we sent you to review? We need you to send it back, and we’re not going to pay you. Because you never wrote anything. You’ve been too busy redesigning your website and changing the world and all that.” Ok, so she didn’t say that last part.

Fuming, I said I’d have something up by the end of the day.

I’ll show them, I thought. I’ll give that little black box with the blinkenlights a review they’ll never forget. It’ll be so harsh, it’ll make ‘em cry.

that-infernal-thing-actually-backed-everything-up

So I looked in my Time Machine.

Holy moly — I had a backup! A bunch of them, in fact. It actually worked. That infernal device actually worked!

That little black box in the closet, so silent that I’d forgotten all about it, actually backed up everything up! And not just once, but more than a dozen times.

In my book, that’s really all you can ask for in a backup hard drive thingy.


I could read the manual and tell you all kinds of interesting facts and specs and technical mumbo-jumbo about the <a href=”http://ooh.li/547c4f4″ rel=nofollow”>WD My Cloud EX2, but let’s face, you’re not going to read it either. And you don’t care.

You just want something to back everything up.


Here’s a link to more info on the WD My Cloud EX2, if you want to know how many horses it has under the hood. But, if you’re like me, and not very good at backing up, and you’re in the market for something to help, I think you could do a lot worse than the WD My Cloud EX2.


Final Note: Since this is a paid review, I feel that it is only right and necessary that I share with you what I don’t like about the <a href=”http://ooh.li/547c4f4″ rel=nofollow”>WD My Cloud EX2: the name. I can’t imagine a worse example of a named-by-committee product in the history of “local cloud-based storage.” And yes, this kind of storage is new. So there haven’t been many opportunities for bad product names, yet. But mark my words, this product will be remembered for its name long after it’s been surpassed technologically. But until it is, I’m going to keep using it — until I forget to plug it back in after the next “act of God” threatens my kids and pigs.

Thursday, 30 October 2014 09:19
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200407260-001It is best to choose your business partner, just as you would your spouse – or so they say. You’ll spend more hours in the office working with your business partner, than you will likely spend at home caring for your spouse. Therefore, you want to make sure that you have someone who you can openly communicate with, shares the same passions, has a great work ethic, and has a great level of experience and expertise in the industry.

However, just as people often forget to ask their fiancabout their past credit issues, most business owners fail to learn more about their partner’s ability to manage money. One overlooked question that should be asked before choosing a partner is, ‘Are they fiscally responsible and creditworthy’?

Credit Scores Reflect One’s Ability to Manage Finances

Let’s face it; one of the biggest parts of running a business successfully is having the ability to manage finances. While your partner might talk a good game, their credit history can really reveal a lot about how they manage finances. If your partner can accurately manage their own finances, what makes you think they’ll be any better at handling the company’s? A poor credit history shows that they do not know how to manage money, budget, save, or make timely payments.

Good Credit = Company Growth

When you and your partner have great credit scores it opens the doors for various lucrative opportunities for your business. One of the main opportunities includes the ability to secure various means of financing that will help you to develop, expand, and grow your business a lot faster than trying to secure the funds on your own.

Taking Steps to Rectify the Matter

Al-right, so let’s say your business partner, aside from their poor credit history, seems to have what it takes to help you run this business. You’re going to need to be proactive in taking steps that will help your business in the long run. Such steps might include:

  1. Transfer of Ownership
  2. Establish Business Credit
  3. Start a Personal Credit Recovery Plan

Transfer of Ownership

This step should not be done without the help and advice of a business attorney and accountant. However, if you and your partner currently have a 50/50 stake in the business, you can simply allow your partner to transfer 100 percent of the business over to you. This will help you while applying for lines of credit and allow your partner time to boost their credit history. Once they have improved their credit score, you can then transfer their part of the business back to them.

Establish Business Credit

If you have an established business and are looking for financing options as a means to expand, you can always opt to establish business credit. There are various lending providers out there that are willing to offer your business credit based on the history of financial success your company has. If you’re going to go this route however, it is imperative that you maintain a good payment history.

Start a Personal Credit Recovery Plan

Lastly, before you apply for any type of funding, your partner can come up with a personal credit recovery plan. They can utilize financial services such as debt consolidation, and even credit repair services for discrepancies.

Credit Repair Tip:

If your partner is going to take this route, it is ideal that they take the time to research each company before working with them. For example, looking up credit repair services from a law firm would require your partner to look up and read legal firm testimonials.

No one ever links their personal credit history with business lending opportunities until they get rejected. Be proactive in talking with your partner about the various options there are and determine which one makes the most sense for your business and its continued growth.

Thursday, 30 October 2014 08:57
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TGA operates the leading after school golf and tennis program in the United States. Their franchised school-based sports model, gets kids off the couch and introduces PreK to 8th graders to sports and sportsmanship. TGA currently has 77 franchise locations in the United States, Canada and Spain.

I recently spoke with the founder and CEO, Joshua Jacobs.

My questions are below in bold. Enjoy!


joshua-jacobs

Hi Joshua. Where did the idea for franchising TGA come from?

The idea came from people calling us for our advice on how to bring golf to schools. After 4 years of honing the model, creating enrichment curriculums and growing the business to over 50 schools, a couple thousand participants a year and four summer camp locations throughout Los Angeles, it hit us like a ton of bricks after researching it didn’t exist across the U.S. We had no vision to franchise the school based model after starting the company in 2003.

How did you bring it to life?

The franchised model was brought to life by identifying the needs of our customers. Schools needed before, during and after school programs that were extensions of the classroom, education and character development based, not just sports. Parents wanted the convenience of programs at schools and the ability to drop off or pick up their kids an hour before or after school. Students wanted to be able to experience and be introduced to new sports at their school and participate with their friends. We put together a business and program that satisfied these three needs in the community.

Where do you see your franchise in five years?

Continuing to be the strongest school based model in the country leading to growth in additional golf and tennis markets, as well as adding other sports. The great companies concentrate on what they are best at, what their single economic driver is and what their passion is. For TGA, it’s school based programs impacting youth through sports.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

Be more selective with awarding franchises and create a more disciplined and results oriented culture sooner.

What does your typical day look like?

Exercise early in the morning or early evening. Office hours between 7:45am and 5pm picking work back up between 9pm and 11pm. If I’m traveling, which is a decent amount the days usually run between 8am and 1am between working with a partner or franchise along with the normal day to day.

What is one trend that really excites you?

Using technology to educate parents and customers on programs children participate in.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I wouldn’t classify any of my four jobs that I’ve had as the worst. The job I learned most from was my first job at Fox Sports straight out of Emory University. It taught me that corporate life at the time was not for me. Apparently being too ambitious in a large corporation isn’t always the best frame of mind.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do, too?

Constantly move things forward. After you or the company pick a direction to head in or set a goal, keep things heading in that direction. Don’t stray or stay stagnant.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

One failure of many is that we didn’t put the right people on the bus or the right people on the bus in the right seats. We overcame it by learning to quickly identify if employees were right for TGA’s bus and if they were in the right places in the company. It also helps to get to know your employees and speak to them at least quarterly about their goals at the company and for their career.

What is one business idea that you are willing to give away to our readers?

Think of everything as real-estate and look to own it.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?

For people say hello to each other when walking down the street. We’ve gotten away from the simple social interactions. I try and change it by saying hello, even if they are looking down, away or at their phone. Ironically, we apply similar thinking to TGA programs.

What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?

  • Twitter – Love that its short and concise keeping me informed of the industry we are in as well as the world in a timely manner.
  • Listen 360 – Allows us to learn daily what our customers think of our programs.
  • My Custom Event – Provides a stop solution for every business aspect of our model to be run efficiently.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Good to Great. It simplifies a very complex business world while helping you create a clear vision and direction you or your company need to head.

Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?

  • Alan Shipnuck (@alanshipnuck) – Brutally honest and sarcastic twist on the truth behind the golf industry.
  • Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) – Great reads and a solid inside look to the sport of tennis.
  • Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) – If you love sports, they always find the best video to show.

When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?

During the scene in The Skeleton Twins movie when Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader lip-synced “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”. It cut the tension of a somber and serious movie and brought us back to remembering the best of times even in the worst of times.

Who is your hero?

Every entrepreneur who started from scratch turning their passion into a business.

Do you (or did you ever) have a mentor?

Not one specific mentor.

I have tried to emulate the best traits from many people who have influenced me over the years. Steve Tanner (PGA of America), Darrell Crall (PGA of America), Scott Schultz (USTA), Lee Warner (Mission Pak), Michael Jacobs (Pacific Fruit Processors), Joe Hollday (Hollday and Associates), Jason Friedman (Drive Safer) to name a few.

Where can we find out more about your franchise?

www.franchisetga.com

Where can we find your TGA on social media?

@TGAJuniorGolf and @TGAyouthtennis

Thanks for participating Joshua!

Thanks again for the opportunity!

TGA_CorpLogo_Tag_CS4

Thursday, 30 October 2014 07:33
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A decade ago Terry Powell, founder of career-coaching franchise The Entrepreneur’s Source, hadn’t fully grasped the implications of the transparent world of social media. That changed when he got into a dispute with 14 of his franchisees who were resisting a switch to a digital marketing system.

“This group was working outside the system and falsifying their marketing reports,” Powell explains. “They realized that if the system was automated, it would expose them.”

The dispute led to a 2004 class action and an attempt by the rogue franchisees to hijack The Entrepreneur’s Source marketing committee.

Customers are rarely aware of this type of internal corporate struggle. But in this case, a few of the angry franchisees began posting negative comments about The Entrepreneur’s Source in several places online.

“I love free speech,” Powell says, “but they started posting things about our reputation and expanded into fraudulent statements, lies and speculation. It caused our franchisees to lose business and impacted our efforts to recruit new franchisees.”

The dispute was resolved in 2007, but those comments live on. It has taken Powell millions of dollars and almost a decade to recover from the negative attacks that for years popped to the top of search results for his Southbury, Conn.-based company. Powell estimates that the online spat has cost him and his franchisees millions of dollars in business.

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