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Archive for May 2010

Songs Of Summer

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There is something special about summer time and the songs that serve as a sound track for the warm weather festivities.  I was thinking about that this weekend and thought it might be interesting to jot down a few all time great summer themed songs.   Here is my list, I am sure I am forgetting a lot.  I would be interested in what you have to add.  In no particular order:

  • School’s Out – Alice Cooper
  • Night Moves  – Bob Seger
  • Goin’ Up The Country –  Canned Heat
  • Saturday In The Park  – Chicago
  • Boys Of Summer  – Don Henley
  • Sunshine Superman – Donovan
  • Summertime Blues –  Eddie Cochran and many others
  • Surf City –  Jan & Dean
  • Margaritaville  – Jimmy Buffett
  • Cheeseburger In Paradise –  Jimmy Buffett
  • Dancing In The Street  -Martha & the Vandellas
  • In The Summer Time – Mungo Jerry
  • San Francisco  – Scott McKenzie
  • Summer Breeze – Seals & Crofts
  • Soak Up The Sun  – Sheryl Crow
  • Hot Fun in the Summertime – Sly & the Family Stone
  • Surfin’ USA  – The Beach Boys
  • California Girls  – The Beach Boys
  • Kokomo  – The Beach Boys
  • Sail On Sailor –  The Beach Boys
  • Good Vibrations –  The Beach Boys
  • Under the Boardwalk  – The Drifters.
  • Sunny Afternoon  – The Kinks
  • Summer in the City – The Lovin’ Spoonful
  • Wipeout-   The Safaris 
  • Theme from Hawaii 5-0 – The Ventures
  • Groovin’ –  The Young Rascals
  • Ice Cream Man –  Van Halen
  • Low Rider –  War

Have a great week.


Written by pacelinebiz

May 31, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Money, it’s a hit…

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Next Monday is Memorial Day and the unofficial beginning of summer.  Today will be my last business related blog topic until after Labor Day.  I will continue to post an occasional business related topic during the summer but will take a break and keep the weekly topics lighthearted for the most part. 

 Today, let’s talk about a big problem that plagues many businesses and especially so during an economic slowdown.  It is especially difficult today when credit has been very tight due to the banking crisis of 2008-2009.  We are still feeling those effects today.   The problem is undercapitalization.  It takes many forms and effects large corporations as well as mom and pop businesses. 

Here are some warning signs that you (or your customers) are lacking the capital needed to run your (their) business.   

  • You have less than a month’s cash needs available in your checking account (assuming your operating cycle is 1 month)
  • You have to wait to pay your bills until you get paid by your customer.
  • You would like to take advantage of good deals on new equipment but can’t afford to pay cash and you can’t get a loan.
  • Your equipment is past its life cycle.
  • You have deferred maintenance on your equipment that is past its life cycle.
  • You have stopped paying yourself.
  • You are behind on your payroll tax payments (this is a sure sign the end is near)

What can you do if you are in this position?  The best thing to do is not start a business without adequate cash or equity in your business.   If a slow down occurs, the capital you have can help you get through a tough period.  You also must realize quickly when there is a problem.  Stay on top of your receivables. Also, make sure you instruct your staff to pay bills according to your terms instead of your vendor’s terms.  I am not advocating abusing your relationship with your vendors but to make sure that you take as much lee way with your vendors as you are granting to your customers.  The best case scenario is to have your receivables collected faster than your are paying your payables.  If you are in an extended slow period and you have excess equipment, downsize your equipment in the same manner you would with your employees.  Always track your expenses so you never get to the point that there is any fat to cut.

 Don’t let your inventory expand.  If you have too much inventory, not only does it hurt cash flow but it can be stolen or become obsolete.  Think of inventory the way old-time college football coaches felt about passing the football.  Two things can happen when you pass the football and 2 are bad.

Focus as closely on your businesses financial matters as its operational aspects and you will be able to react quicker to avoid troubles before they begin.  You need to have an equal emphasis on sales, operations and financial matters.  If you are weak in an area then you need to admit that and assign someone to help you in this area.  There are many ways to get this type of help and it may not cost much, if anything.  Develop relationships with business owners in your community and ask for advice in areas which you are weak.  In the same way, always offer to reciprocate in an area where you have expertise. This can be done in a formal manner through a service organization such as Rotary, Kiwanis or Lions clubs or informally with a coffee or breakfast club of your peers in the business community.

Have a great week and safe Memorial Day weekend.

Written by pacelinebiz

May 24, 2010 at 8:17 pm

Posted in Business

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Luigi’s Pizza and other things I miss…

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This week let’s take a vacation from the economy, sovereign debt, interest rates and anything else too serious.  I hope this week’s topic will bring back some fond memories.  My list of things I miss (in no particular order):

  • Full service gas stations with free air
  • Old friends
  • Old style pull tabs or “pop tops” – in Margaritaville
  • STP commercials – the racer’s edge!
  • Walter Cronkite
  • Drive In movies
  • Cars with the headlight dimmer switch on the floor
  • Cars with “Wing” windows
  • Gilligan’s Island re-runs
  • Locally hosted afternoon movies that offered a chance to win money if you were watching.  I remember it being called the Money Movie or Dialing for Dollars growing up.    
  • Locally owned hardware, sporting goods, appliance and clothing stores
  • Christmas club accounts
  • Dialing the time and temperature.  I can still remember my old number, it was 347-7751
  • Another thing I miss about the telephone? I remember when all I had to do was dial (on an old rotary phone) 7-7751 to get the time and temperature.  Now in some places you have to dial the area code to call your neighbor!
  • Luigi’s Pizza from my home town.  Still in business since the 1950’s but I haven’t had one of their pies in years.  Oh, it is so good!  I am going to make that a goal by the end of the year to eat a Luigi’s Pizza.  Oh, by the way, I still know their number DI7-3812.
  • I miss scrounging for bottles to get the deposit money so you could buy a pack of baseball cards.
  • The absolute excitement of waking up Christmas morning to a tree surrounded with shiny presents bedecked with ribbons and bows.

 Well, that is all for now I am off to get a pizza.  Have a great week.

Written by pacelinebiz

May 17, 2010 at 8:10 pm

The Euro Zone – The Ghost of Christmas Future?

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The sovereign debt crisis in the Euro Zone has been averted for now with a Trillion dollar bail out over the weekend. The good April jobs report was overlooked on Friday due to all the fears coming from Europe’s debt crisis.  We created a net 290,000 jobs in April and about 230,000 were non-government related.  March employment was revised up 68,000 to 230,000 net jobs.  February was also adjusted upwards by 52,000 too. 

April’s number was not quite as good as the 400, 000 I was hoping to see but it was still about 100,000 more than the consensus estimate.  According to the household employment survey, which is a cross section of all business not just larger companies, there have been an amazing 1.6 million jobs created since the beginning of the year.  That number annualized is 4.8 million jobs which is much better than most expect and the economy is just heating up now! 

My real point to today’s blog is to call attention to the crisis in Europe over their debt to GDP ratio.  The socialist programs that are now being geared back with “Austerity” programs are causing riots and fatalities in Greece.  They are upset that the retirement age may have to go up from 55 to 57!  The big government freebie approach is falling apart before our eyes in Europe while we are moving closer to the European model.  If we do not reign in our recently explosive deficits, what we are seeing in Europe will be happening here soon enough.  We have already seen social security payments begin to exceed social security receipts so the problem is at our door step. 

I hope our government can learn a lesson from the crisis in Europe.  We still have enough problems in our nascent recovery without adding to it by continuing the massive expansion of government.   Perhaps the Euro Zone is doing us a favor by being a harbinger of our future.  Now is the time to wean off of stimulus and get our house in order.

 Have a good week.

Written by pacelinebiz

May 10, 2010 at 10:10 pm

It was bound to happen!

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After 34weeks the inevitable has happened.  I have found myself staring at a blank page without anything to say!  Fear not, I do have something to share with you this week.  Consider this a 2010 version of “The Best of Carson”. 

 The following is advice that I gave to a young man who asked for some general advice on how to approach life as an adult.  I am not sure they are really that profound but he thought they were pretty good.  So I will share them with you today.

 In no particular order.

  1.  Always spend more for quality because you will never regret it.
  2.  Find a job that you enjoy and you will never work a day again in your life.
  3.  Happy wife, happy life.
  4.  Set realistic goals and do your best, if you fail you probably did better than without setting goals.
  5.  Live on 80% of what you make save 10% give away 10%.
  6.  Never get the extended warranty.
  7.  Change your oil every 3,000 miles.
  8.  Take care of your teeth and they will take care of you.
  9.  Always try to cut your grass on Thursdays to minimize the days you need to cut your grass on the weekend.
  10.  Learn how to cook 10 things reasonably well.
  11.  It is always better to build bridges than burn them.
  12.  Learn how to sew a button on pants/shirt.
  13.  Know how to tie a necktie.
  14.  Play by the rules. They are probably for your benefit.
  15.  The poor man probably isn’t lazy and the rich man probably isn’t ripping you off.
  16.  Believe in God – Pascal’s Wager (look it up)
  17.  Only buy on credit cards what you can pay off when the bill arrives next month.
  18.  Acknowledge a person’s birthday with a note, card, e-mail etc. it sets you apart from the crowd. Most people don’t get recognized much and will appreciate it.
  19. Pick a hobby that you can enjoy the rest of your life.
  20.  Learn how to eat a well balanced diet and exercise regularly so you can achieve item 19.
  21.  Don’t let the “good” crowd out the “best” when making choices in your life.
  22.  Seek guidance from people you respect.
  23.  Have a mentor and be a mentor.
  24.  Be well versed in a variety of topics and interests.  Not just football to baseball but football to poetry. It helps with the opposite sex and in business and makes you a more interesting person.
  25.  Learn how to fix minor things around the house – unclog a sink, hang vinyl siding, change a faucet, put up shelves in closet/garage, change a light fixture, lay shingles etc.

 Have a good week!

Written by pacelinebiz

May 3, 2010 at 8:49 pm