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When my family and I moved to Greenville in May of 2003, I took such a big salary cut that I eventually got a paper route in a high end neighborhood to make ends meet (after my daughter broke her arm and ran up a bunch of bills).

What a rough time that was… personally and for our business.  I was departing on a journey to build a business and didn’t know if I could do it and what it would take.  There wasn’t enough income to pay me a salary so my dad said you can come but you’ll have to go earn your salary.  What a scary situation to be in… but what a motivation!  I had a wife and some little kids so this move had to work.  God was going to have to do His work to meet our needs.

I remember calling the Greenville Magazine one day and tried to get my name in the back of the magazine to announce that I had come to work with my dad.  I had a little trouble because I wasn’t an advertiser, and they mentioned that they would fit me in if they could.  When it finally came out, I quickly checked the back of the magazine to see if my goofball picture and announcement had been listed.  I finally made it after a month or two… and I’m sure you never saw the announcement.  Big freakin’ whoop.

So my journey to build my business had started, with a lot fear driving me to put groceries on the table.  I began calling people I had some slight introduction to, sent letters to introduce myself and took many people to lunch.  I gave tax seminars, fed free information to our clients and gave my time to people I wanted to serve.

Now, I’ve made it to the cover of the magazine, and developing real relationships has been the reason.  I’ve learned so much in the almost 6 years it took me to go from the back to the front of the Greenville Magazine.  And we intend to grow in major ways in the very near future, and our pledge is to serve you as our clients, build real solid relationships with you, and commit our time and resources to serve you better each year.  I believe we can still do this even if we grow… I’m asking you to keep us in check.

Thank you Greenville for letting us serve you – we are in awe that we get to serve some of the best clients in the South.  You are truly the bomb, and I love you.

Thanks, Jason M. Blumer

I’m listening to Tom Siebel, formerly of Siebel Systems (which later merged with Oracle Corporation) on a Stanford Technology Ventures Program podcast called Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

Tom Siebel

Tom Siebel

They have fascinating guests on this program, some of which are so smart I can’t quite understand what the heck they are talking about.  Well, Tom’s pretty smart and I understood him to say:

1.  Growth in the world wide human population will be what drives substantial opportunities for innovation and growth.  As a matter of fact, by the year 2050, there will be a lot of older people in our own country.

2.  New opportunities for innovation will be about food, water, population growth, energy and health care (not information technology, computers, plastics, the Internet, etc.).

3.  Government regulation will continue to drive many areas of major production, innovation and growth.

4.  Tom Siebel and some other philanthropic individuals are giving away a $20 million prize to anyone who can create an energy-free (a zero energy footprint) home at the current costs of traditional residential construction – very hard to do.  That is how much he cares about the future responsible uses of energy.

5.  He said get on a boat and get off at Shanghai if you want to see what the US is competing with.

Be careful with what you perceive as the future of your industry and business.  It may not be what you think it is.  Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.

As you look 30, 40 or 50 years out in your career, are you focused on the right opportunities and career?  How will you change the world?  Tell me in the comments section of this post.

Intuit‘s February 2008 report on the Future of Small Business details the prediction of the upcoming 10 year changes in our economy.  They dub the changes they see as “Barbell Economics.”

Here are some details they note, which should affect how you think about your business’ growth over the next ten years:

-The next ten years will find highly niche-oriented small businesses begin to arise as a major business factor, while large businesses become larger through acquisitions and mergers.  The economy will look somewhat like a barbell with small businesses on one side and very large businesses on the other side.  There will be a few middle-sized companies somewhere in between.

-Smaller businesses will be more effective in providing highly niched needs of the individual consumer.  And as the world becomes a smaller place to do business and more global in it’s reach, smaller business can respond to these changes and challenges more rapidly than larger industries.

-Larger businesses will be able to outsource a lot of highly-niche oriented services and the creation of specialty products to the small business community, further enhancing the need for the smaller business in the next ten years.  Many small businesses could actually provide exclusive services and/or niche products to a few large clients in their highly focused area of expertise.  This is known as collaboration.

-Manufacturing will be reclaimed by the small business community due to heavy advances in technology, logistics and the innovation of new highly-niched products (I have a client that is already doing this and pulling new customers away from China and India).

-Smarter technology, which will possibly be smaller, lighter and more agile, will lower the capital commitment and investments typically required by the small business.  Sometimes, the cost of this investment is a barrier to entry into the marketplace.  Not anymore.  Intuit dubs this new technology as plug-and-play infrastructures.  Because of this, smaller businesses will be able to be highly competitive (which means you better be!)

-Business will become more and more borderless for the small business.  Intuit predicts that by 2018 almost half of the US small businesses will be involved in global trade.  I see great promises in this area for the Creative Group we serve.  Their product can be delivered anywhere.  In addition, social networks will fuel this new borderless economy, so get thee to twitter.

Heed the word of the blog!  Change is not coming… it is already here!  Begin now in internal innovation, collaboration relationship building with larger businesses, and rethinking your current business models.  If you are behind you will be left behind.

Heed the word of the blog, dang it.  freakin’ a.

My Model Week, which is a model of how I plan to spend my time each week, has a special time allotment from 1:00 pm until 2:30 pm each Friday.  It’s a spot I look forward to because it allows me to do what I love.  That block of time is titled “Write/Research/Internal Growth & Development”.

That title sounds pretty weird for a CPA who is running a CPA/Consultancy firm.  But, actually, I think time to be internally innovative and focus on growth and development in your organization should be normal for everyone in business.

As you and I work in our companys from day to day, busy with the many activities we have to manage, we lose the forward-thinking lenses of Innovation.  Allowing time in your schedule for Innovation (or self-evaluation of your personal and business operational habits, as I think of it sometimes) will allow you to stay fresh in your industry. 

Innovation will allow you to stop thinking the same way you were thinking when you started your company.  What has stopped working in your business?  Have you even noticed?

Innovation will allow you to out think your competition.  What is your next business move, acquisition or strategic development of a new line of revenue?

Innovation will allow you to change your business model to better meet your client/customers’ needs.  You think you know what they are, but do you really?

Innovation will allow you to question, question, question your future in your industry, why anyone would ever want to do business with you, and how you fare against your competition.  Well, why would anyone want to do business with you?

Innovation will allow you to do something that might be taboo in a lot of industries, but which is critical for all industries and their owners… change.  Are you able to change from year to year as needed and dictated by the market and your clients?

I would go as far as to say that time to reflect on Innovation in your business is urgent.  That means you must do it now!  Your competitors are innovating, questioning their models of business, changing how they do things and improving.  You must also… of you will not survive.

So you don’t have time for innovative thought now?  Will you answer the same way 10 years from now?

We serve three main groups in our firmThe Medical Group (doctors, dentists, etc.), The Professional Group (attorneys, engineers, real estate, CPAs, etc.) and The Creative Group (designers, web developers, artists, illustrators, etc.).

It’s pretty well known that it’s hard to make a living in the Creative category… or at least that is what most people think.  Are the creatives lacking in entrepreneurial ability?  How about valuable offerings or business acumen?  Any business strategy out there among my creative clients?  Freak yeah!  We don’t serve clients that lack these abilities.  We fire them (really, we do).  There are no business endeavors that you can’t learn from, exploit for profit or further your business knowledge in.  And if there are, you need to find a new job.

I have many young creatives who are totally concerned about proper business tax structures, internal business processes, and growing efficiently and profitably. They give me business books I need to read.  That’s why this article totally intrigued me.  Dr. Elliot McGucken, who teaches Artistic Entrepreneurs at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill says, “those who create art should have the skills to own it, profit from it and protect it.”  Amen, dang it.  Preach it.  He must’a been in my class.

As I said at a recent talk I gave to some other professionals we serve, “if you can’t track it, profit from it and know why you are failing, then go get a real job.”

This change in the entrepreneurial knowledge of creatives excites me, and that is why we serve this group.  They have a vision and can apply it to business (which is really art anyway).  So, creatives, no more excuses… profit in your industry or go get a real job.

Just Tweeted by @JasonBlumer…

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