Build Your Small Business Brand without a Big Advertising Budget

Big Ideas for your business? A lesson from Burger King’s new big idea…..

Big Ideas for your business? A lesson from Burger King’s new big idea…..

Is your new big idea simply an attempt to escape your poor execution of your last big idea?

I often see business owners trying to do too many things and they don’t do any particularly well.

Today I read a news report that burger king is experimenting with home delivery. My first reaction was…what a terrible idea. Then I gave it some additional thought and decided yep, it is absolutely a terrible idea.

Burger king has been an under performing biz for as long as I can remember. They seem to go from one idea to the next in an apparently useless attempt to hit the jackpot.

When I read the article I said to myself “really? Home delivery? How about you focus on getting me hot french fries at the drive in window. That would be outstanding!”

How good would it be know that every time you pulled into the BK drive-in you got fresh hot fries? I think that would generate real biz.

When I think about home delivery for BK I think…”why on earth would I want to wait for mediocre BK food when I can wait the same amount of time for decent food?”

The question for you is this. Does your business do a few things very, very well or many things all done poorly?

Circular Money and the U.S. Tax System

Circular Money and the U.S. Tax System

Listening to a financial radio station today I heard something that caused me to say…”what?” Here’s the outline:

First the Cash Source:
China has gobs of U.S. dollars that they get from selling us incredible amounts of stuff.
China is catching heat for owning so much U.S. Treasury debt, so they want to use the US Dollars for something other than lending it back to the US Treasury. So why not loan it to U.S. companies?

The Use of Cash:
A big U.S. company, that will remain nameless, pays 1.8% dividend on it’s stock. Note, this is important …Dividends for biz are not tax deductible, meaning companies pay dividends after they pay their tax obligations.

So what to do?
This company borrows US Dollars at 1.7% interest from China. The 1.7% interest is tax deductible which means the effective cost of the interest is about 1.2%…and remember the effective cost of dividends is 1.8% because dividends are not tax deductible. So the cost to the company for borrowing from China is 33% cheaper than the dividend cost.

The solution, borrow US Dollars from China, deduct the interest from taxes and use the cash to buy back the stock which eliminates the 1.8% cash dividend cost and replaces if with an effective $1.2% cash cost.

Incredible but true, another case of the perverted U.S. tax code. Borrowing is more tax effective than returning cash to shareholders as dividends.

Small Business – Management and Leadership Myths and Truths – Small Businesses and Good Employees

Small Business – Management and Leadership Myths and Truths – Small Businesses and Good Employees

Why do so many small business owners say “I can’t get good employees?”

The business owner’s assumption seems to start from the premise that good employees are either no where to be found or will only work for big companies. In my experience I find both of these assumptions to be incorrect.

There are many small businesses with good employees and I believe there are many people working in large companies who would rather be working in small companies…if….they could find the circumstances that permit it. What’s the problem? There are too many small business owners who have poor to terrible management and leadership skills. I meet with hundreds of business owners a year, I know small business owners.

If you want your small business to attract high quality employees here are the things I would focus on:

  1. Your integrity – Say what you’ll do, then do what you say.
  2. Always be respectful to employees and customers, even when you’re angry. Whatever anyone hears you say is what they assume you’ll say when they aren’t near.
  3. Even if you know the answer, help the employee figure it out.
  4. Let your employees make little mistakes and then show the leadership compassion when you unscramble the problem.
  5. Focus local  for employees, a short commute is high value these days.
  6. Don’t be afraid to hire people smarter than you…and…when you do hire someone smarter than you let them help you.
  7. Focus on total compensation not just the salary. Put in place bonus plans so that when the business does well, everyone does well.
  8. Hire slow, fire fast.
That’s a start. Get focused on getting better people and you will have the opportunities. Now the real question is, how do you become a business owner who deserves better people?