Pitch for a $Million

I am preparing a pilot sizzle for a business TV Reality show and I need volunteers for this.

1        I need people who have a good business idea that needs funding to pitch their idea to a panel of judges. If your pitch goes well you will be invited to pitch on the actual show.

2        I also need successful entrepreneurs to act as judges and mentors.

If you think you can meet the criteria then get in touch with me ASAP. All interviews will be via SKYPE. This sizzle will also be judging your ability to be on the actual show.

What you should have:

The ability to pitch your idea and know how to present it well.

To be a judge or mentor, business experience and success, a good personality and a great presence!

Documented experience that supports your business success showing you have the necessary skills to be a judge or mentor.

If you think you have the knowledge and personality then get in touch with me.

All information will be treated strictly confidential.


Why use a Business Consultant?

Businesses today use consultants more and more for a variety of reasons. The main reason is that every business will at some time come to crossroads and will not always be sure which direction to take.
Even though a person has been running a business for many years there always comes a time of uncertainty, caused by a decline in the business, or difficulties due to the economic climate.
Sometimes we all get a period in our life when we are drained of inspiration and new ideas and this is the time when an external consultant can be of great value.
Another reason for using a consultant is to get confirmation that what you are doing in your business is correct. This is a worthwhile exercise as it gives you renewed confidence in yourself and the knowledge that you are still doing a good job.
What a business consultant does is take a detailed look at a business without having the passion that often causes business blindness especially when harsh decisions are needed.
A simple analogy: how easy it is to tell another person their child is doing wrong when you can see no fault in your own child!
If you choose a business consultant who has experience in the business issues that concern you most then his advice should be helpful and put you in the right direction. Other types of consultants may be specialists in a particular industry, or in one particular aspect of a business.
Then there are general business consultants who have run a business and their knowledge differs because they know exactly what you’re going through, having been through the problems themselves when they were in business.
I have started, operated and sold many businesses in different industries. To me there is no difference in running a business irrespective of the industry as everyone has the same objective, to make money.
Business consultancy has grown rapidly over the years simply because they are providing a reality check, similar to having an annual health checkup to see that everything is working correctly.
Having a consultant look at your business is a worthwhile exercise; it is the checks and balances that every business should do from time to time.
Another way of using a business consultant is as a mentor. Many companies, after having an initial consultation period, use the consultant on a monthly basis either by an office visit, Skype, or telephone. Some even go further by making the consultant the chairman of the business so that he can give direction, not only to senior management but to the staff and overall business in all its operations.
Consultants bring with them not only their own business experience but the additional experience they gain on a regular basis from other companies they advise.
Using a business consultant is clearly a win – win situation for everyone.

Do you need a Business Partner?

People starting, or already in business often wonder if they need a business partner.
The answer will depend on two things, one of which is your temperament. Can you work alongside another person, or do you want to make all the decisions?
The other reason you may need a partner is because you have a specific ability, or skill, that is not in the entrepreneur mode. Because of this there will be certain business functions that you do not like doing, or cannot do; in this case you will more than likely need a partner.
Let me give you an example. You may be a designer who has come up a great product. But when it comes to financial matters, selling, marketing, etc., these are not your strong points. In this case a partner could be a valuable asset to you and your business.
If you decide to take on a partner you will need a person who can carry out the business functions that you are not good at. The important thing is that the partner must be able to complement your abilities. If the partner can bring this to the table it will make a perfect business partnership.
Having two people pull together in the same direction with each utilizing their own particular skills to obtain the finished job is the perfect balance. Sometimes it may require more partners depending on the complexity and size of the business.
The alternative to this is the one man band led by an entrepreneur who thrives on making decisions. A person who can motivate people, satisfies customers needs, sell, deal with suppliers, understands finance, the whole shebang.
This type of person is usually decisive, confident, full of self-belief, and lacks a degree of patience. Someone who is eager to finish the job quickly and efficiently. Hmmm, this sounds very much like me!

Military Veterans Back to Work

Leaving the military can be a daunting experience, how can we help get them back into business?
Statistics from www.military.com says the national unemployment rate for post 9/11 military veterans is up to 9%, and upwards of 30% for younger veterans. This is far above the national average.
What can be done to help these people who have served us so well, how can we repay their unselfish dedication?
Veterans have special skills that can be used in the business world. The first things that come to mind are dedication, experience and leadership acquired in the military. These skills make them ready for just about any challenge the workforce could possibly present.
The answer lies in us helping them use their skills and getting them back into the commercial world.
My way is to present a seminar talking about the things they can do and how they should go about creating a business career.
My seminar is being organized in conjunction with the Government’s SBA. I have set aside 2 ½ – 3 hours for this session to set out my ideas and business plan for Vets. I have also allowed time for an extensive Q&A. Here is the promo for the talk from the SBA:
Military Veterans going into Business
Presented by: Victor Green
This seminar is for Veterans who have left, or are in the process of leaving the military. Victor Green is a successful entrepreneur with vast experience in business turnarounds and start-ups. He will offer solutions to many business issues and give solid advice to all attendees. Come join the discussion, bring your questions and get some practical guidance to help you with your entrepreneurial future. There will be time allotted for questions at the end of the session.
To reserve your place contact; Email: christina.stace@sba.gov, Phone: (818) 552-3288
http://www.sba.gov/events click on February 19 to make an online booking.
I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at this seminar. Make sure you have your questions ready.

What is an Entrepreneur?

The best way that I can describe what an Entrepreneur is ‘Some people want it to happen. Some wish it would happen. Others make it happen’. That, to me, describes what a true Entrepreneur is.
Entrepreneurs have that special quality, the ability to reinvent something that may have been around for years but they put a new twist on it and make it different and attractive to an audience.
There are two examples that I can cite that will explain what I mean.
For many years kids grew up with a main attraction, the circus. Like many things in life it became stale and repetitive and the public starting losing interest. Then came along an entrepreneur with an idea and reinvented the circus, Cirque de Soleil, and the rest is history.
Coffee, a well-established drink in the USA but someone thought of selling coffee on every street corner, again the rest is history.
My point is that entrepreneurs think outside the box, they look at things from a different perspective. Too many people look at business in black and white, how about 50 shades of grey!
I had examples in my business life when I created businesses that were different, not necessarily new. I put a new slant on ideas and presented them in another form which was acceptable.
When I started my publishing business, the prime objective of a publisher of a trade magazine was to get a readership amongst buyers. I saw an opportunity to reach people who recommended products. This was a totally different approach to the other magazines but my idea was good as the people who made recommendations did so every day. This worked and the magazine was an instant success.
My finance company would be in competition with every bank, or organization, that offered money; a very competitive business. The idea we came up with was to target a specific audience and we choose lawyers. It may sound strange as lawyers earn good money, they do, but they are not too good at running a business.
We realized that and we designed a loan scheme specifically for them. They needed cash at certain times of year to pay their errors and omissions liability insurance and taxes. The amounts were in many cases very large, usually in the millions and had to be paid on time. We created a specific idea which addressed these problems and this took us away from the main core banking world. We set out to be seen as a specialist lender just for lawyers. It worked very well.
If you are, or want to be, an Entrepreneur you must think your idea through and see why you will be different and better to what is on the market. Create a new approach. The most important thing is that the idea must be good for your customers as well as yourself. To sell an idea it has to make money for those you sell to, this is the way to guarantee success.
A lot can be learned from observing and listening; going into stores to see what is happening, watching people’s habits, trends in an industry, looking for that idea, that gap in the market, or solving an issue that is causing problems and delays.
There is so much to see and learn simply by being observant. Entrepreneurs, like you, have eyes and ears for this purpose: they, and so should you, use them to the full.

Controlling Your Financial Risk

A major concern in business is controlling expenditure. Every business needs to know beforehand what a service or product will cost so there are no hidden fees. This allows you to budget your work correctly to insure that what you do is profitable.

Therefore it is essential that you have control of your expenditure so there are no surprises!

If you need to sub-contract work to another business which provides you with a service of product, you must agree beforehand exactly what it will cost. By doing this you will be able to add your profit knowing that it will be a profitable deal.

Too often businesses get a verbal or rough price, and when the bill comes in it is different. Don’t let this happen to you. Get a firm price, confirmed in writing, so there will be no dispute later on. You can simply send an email agreeing the fixed price.

The method of a predetermined cost for sub-contract work is well used in the construction and building industries. Contractors get paid a fixed amount for a job irrespective of how long it takes. This is by far the best method of doing a deal, as you will know exactly what a job is going to cost and therefore cuts out the unknown factor.

A fixed fee, or price, will make every estimate spot on. If you are the middle man in a deal, you will know that there will be no hidden charges which could affect your profit. Try to do this with every vendor, especially lawyers and CPAs.

If you don’t, the charges may run away from you and get out of control.

Patents should you have one?

People often think if they patent their idea there is nothing more to worry about as no one can copy it. This is wrong. A patent does not offer complete protection to stop someone from doing something very similar to you. The saying, “There are many ways to skin a cat” comes to mind!
I regard a patent as getting undressed in public. Everyone can see exactly what you have!
In reality, a patent is a full ‘open’ disclosure of what you are doing. When your patent is published it will be possible for others to see, in detail, your idea. If they like your idea they will find a way around your design and make alterations so that they can compete with you.
A patent does not make your idea succeed, it will only succeed if it is a good idea which can be produced and sold. Think long and hard before you apply for a patent because it is costly and may not give you the protection you are looking for.
Patent applications take time and cost a lot to obtain. During the period of a patent pending application, that is before it is granted, others can see what you have designed. If they like your idea, they will try to find a way to beat your patent by making changes to it.
Because of this it is important to get your patent agent to do a thorough search to see if there is anything similar to your idea. This can save you time and money. If the search shows a similar idea, you can then change your features or design, so that you do not clash with what is available.
Unless you have designed something that is ‘really’ revolutionary, it may be best to test the market with your idea to see if there is any commercial interest in it. If there is, then investigate the cost and timing of a patent application.
To protect your idea, when you show it to someone, you should get them to sign a confidential non-disclosure agreement.
However, a good Patent Attorney should be able to guide you on the best way forward and also carry out searches to see if there is a similar patent covering your idea.

Enjoy Your Work and Your Life

Work and life and are to be enjoyed. Because of this you must always take care when choosing a career as you will be spending most of your life there.
To succeed in business, you need be happy with your work so that it becomes your hobby and not an obsession.
When you really enjoy what you do, the day goes quickly. It provides immense happiness, contentment, satisfaction, and, of course, financial rewards. These feelings will rub off on your family and friends, as they will be a part of your success, allowing them to also enjoy your “hobby.”
A contented business person will have the perfect situation; a supportive family and friends.
Working in a job that brings no satisfaction is like having a tooth pulled every day; very painful. I have always advocated that a job must be one you really look forward to because you spend more time there than you do in any other place.
If you wake up on a Monday morning saying, “Back to work,” stay in bed and find another job that inspires you.
Consider the time you spend at work and relate this to the time you spend at leisure, or at home. For example, you have a 9–5 job where you spend 40 hours a week.
You wake up, let’s say, at 7 a.m. to get ready and leave home at 8 a.m. to get to work. That means on an average day, you have one hour at home in the morning.
You then spend one hour traveling to work and eight hours at work, plus one hour returning home, so ten hours a day is spent in connection with your job.
You arrive home at 6 p.m., you then have options. You can eat at home, watch TV, and go to bed at 10 p.m., which gives you four hours awake at home. The remainder of the night you are sleeping. You could come home and go out for the evening and return at 10 p.m. Either way, you are spending more time at work than at home.
This is the reason why I say get a job that you really enjoy, since that is where you will be spending most of your time when you are awake.
Success comes from being happy with your life and yourself. If you are not happy and become a success in business, it will provide money and possibly misery. Yes, I know some say it is better to be sad and rich than happy and poor. I hope you do not have to find out if this is true.
All I can add is that none of us were put on this Earth to be sad and unhappy, because that is a very lonely existence.

Setting Employees Targets

To give your employees incentives you have to set clear and achievable targets they can understand and accept as obtainable. Always give targets that are just above a sensible and realistic number which makes them stretch to achieve them. The point is to make the targets reachable.
Offering a target which, in reality, is too high or unachievable can be non-productive. If the target appears impossible to achieve, this will cause employee uncertainty and the feeling they are not doing a good job. Suggesting an impossible target will cause more harm than good to your business.
Instead of the impossible dream, make it the possible dream and let it come true. Everyone needs a carrot, and it is important that everyone gets the opportunity to have a bite of it. The incentive of a financial reward is most effective.
When I interviewed someone for a job, I asked a lot of personal questions. There were two reasons for this. One, to get to know more about the person and understand the type of personal life they had. Two, to learn about their financial needs; what were the mortgage payments, how many kids at school, if the wife worked, etc.
From this I could assess what salary was needed to pay their bills and eat. There is no point in employing someone who has insufficient money to pay bills; if you pay too little you may lose out on getting good staff that will stay with you and be loyal.
The most important thing is to give your employees peace of mind so they can concentrate on your business. This does not mean pay staff whatever they want, but pay an amount which would stop them moonlighting, or perhaps resorting to illegal activities, to get the money needed to survive. If you cannot pay what they require, you know that they would not be suitable for your business.
Detailed knowledge of my staff’s financial needs helped me devise bonus incentives based on performance. I offered financial bonuses linked to profits but my staff would see the bonus targets through their sales figures, which they could easily identify with.

Leadership in Business

To be successful in business you need to be a leader. By necessity, some are born to lead and others to follow; this is the way of life.
To be a success in business you need to set an example that others will want to follow. Every business person needs staff, and to get good staff you must show leadership qualities.
You must be enthusiastic, able to motivate others to follow your lead. You must demonstrate your commitment to what you are doing; your dedication will enthuse others. This is how you reach your goal.
When you come to the stage of employing staff, make sure you choose people who are really good at doing a particular job. Don’t try to get someone to do everything, as they will only be doing a bit of every job and will not satisfactorily complete any individual task. You will be cutting corners that might lead to failure. This would be a mistake
Good business management is knowing how to get 100% productivity from your staff. If you employ people who specialize in a particular job function, such as, accountant, designer, production, sales, you will build a strong team.
Successful business people and entrepreneurs know every aspect of their business and can perform every function within it. If you start a business, then you will, or should, know everything about it.
This knowledge enables you to judge the performance of your staff, because you can do their job you will know if they are good at it. This gives you peace of mind if anyone left or were sick, your business would not suffer since you could perform their job function in any emergency.
Detailed knowledge of your business is your insurance that insures you cannot be held ransom by anyone, or stop production, because a person is on vacation or ill.
With you as the boss, knowing all about the business, and with a carefully selected team, you are heading toward 100% functionality.
When appropriate give instructions by example, leadership, and good business practices start from the top.
If you are seen to act in a positive and professional manner, they will follow suit. If you have a very casual business attitude, they will see this as the way that they should act. If you continually stop for coffee breaks and take a long lunch break, go home at 5 p.m. and come in at 10 a.m., then you are setting the stage.
Be polite and firm with your staff. Never shout or raise your voice, always give clear instructions and make sure they understand what you have asked of them. Treat them with respect, as without them you may not have a business. Let them know they are appreciated for their good work. Always say please and thank you.
Never ask your staff to do anything you would not do.
A good boss will know how to assess and understand the ability of each person they employ. It is important to stretch your employees within their capabilities, not yours. Learn how to motivate your staff by example and never put them down in front of others. Show them respect and you will get it back.
However, a word of caution. Remember you are not their friend and that familiarity will breed contempt. There is a fine line between you and your staff. They must learn where that line is early on by you showing a positive professional attitude towards the business and what behavior is acceptable.