The starting point for any new venture or product is the idea. What product or service will our business offer that will be a winner?

A great many people can’t get past this idea phase. It seems to me that many of them stall out because they are waiting to hit upon some kind of revolutionary new idea – a concept of such power that it will appeal to everyone. They want bells to go off in their heads. They want brilliance. They want a blockbuster idea.

The fact is, there’s not a lot that’s new under the sun. Most businesses, even highly successful businesses, are founded on a very ordinary, very mundane idea, pretty far removed from brilliance. It’s luck, timing, and execution that transforms a ho-hum idea into a good business. Key chains, mugs, corkscrews, backpacks, chairs, sunglasses, shoes, etc. are established ordinary products, yet new companies are entering the market place with them, and many succeed.

All of us would like to come up with a show-stopper of an idea that will cause customers to flock to us when they recognize the brilliance of our creation. This scenario is rare. You can take comfort in the fact that most new businesses and products are based on an existing, well known, and possibly boring entity. Their success is founded on new and better executions. Higher quality, value added features, new areas of distribution, outworking competition, better timing, superior service, license added, etc.

Think of Scrabble where you add one letter to an existing word, and you get full credit for the other person’s word. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.


7 Tips on Barter for Small Business

Barter, an $8-12 billion dollar industry, is one of the businesses that flourishes in bad economies, as it offers entrepreneurs many opportunities to acquire things they need and want for no or little cash. Here are some of the things you should know about Barter, a great Bootstrapping activity.

1. It is the exchange of goods and services for other goods and services with little or no cash involved.


2. Small Businesses exchange almost every imaginable product or service like medical services, media, landscaping, clothing, food, real estate, legal services, toys, cruises, cars, hotels, etc. The list goes on forever.


3. The advantages of Barter are:

    You receive goods or services you need without paying cash.

    You receive full retail value for what you are trading which enhances your balance sheet.

    It allows you to utilize your excess capacity or time.

    Can help you get new customers from the company you bartered with as they will continue to buy from you for cash when they run out of credits, if they are pleased with your offering and service. This satisfaction generates the most effective form of advertising: word of mouth which will get you new customers.


    4. Most Barter works through exchanges who locate the buyers for you and offer the huge range of products you can acquire through the trade dollars you get when you sell your product. This way you do not have to find buyers for your products as they did in the early days of Barter.


    5. You pay a fee of about 12% to the exchanges for their services. Most exchanges charge to join.


    6. All Barter transactions are taxable.


    7. To locate the Barter Exchange that best fits your needs, go to a major search engine and type in Business Bartering or go to, the Industry Association.




      There are many occasions in the life of a Small Business where a lawyer is needed. . .a rental lease. . .a royalty contract. . .an employment contract. . .a business partnership. . .an investor, a lawsuit, etc. Small Businesses rarely have a full-time lawyer and staff, so the CEO hires one for the specific task needed. Here are some things to think about when hiring a lawyer.

      1. The lawyer works for you because you pay them. Some attorneys can be very intimidating and want to make your business decisions for you. Don’t let them. You set out what you want them to do for you and if they cross the line, call them on it.
      2. If any negotiating is required, decide early who will do the negotiating. I always preferred to do my own negotiating and then have the lawyer make sure the legalese represents the agreement accurately with no loopholes. If you feel that your lawyer is a better negotiator than you, then by all means, let him/her do it, but with you setting the parameters.
      3. Always set a timeline for the lawyer. Often they take too long, particularly if they are on an hourly fee compensation.
      4. Never let a lawyer ask for more in negotiations with 3rd parties, without your permission. This will only delay the agreement and the other party will then take off the table, some of their concessions given to you.
      5. Keep in mind the mindset of many lawyers (not all) some tend to think there is only winning or losing. You should only focus on the key things you want from this agreement. You also need to understand your leverage position. Even if you can dictate the points in an agreement, let the other party have their way on some  of their key desires that are not particularly important to you. You want the other party to feel they’ve been treated fairly. You may be dealing with them in the future.
      6. Stay involved with your lawyer on the whole process. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
      7. Do not hesitate to negotiate fees with your attorney. They are negotiable. Also try to establish a maximum fee which can be difficult. Try to set out stages of your lawyers work and cost of each. They should lay out their strategy and tell you the odds of your success. Going to trial can be very expensive, and you may feel it is cost prohibitive for you to proceed to that stage.
      8. Check out the credentials and specialty of your lawyer before engaging them and be sure to know and meet the lawyer who will be handling your case. Many times you meet a partner who will then assign a fresh hire, just out of law school, which may or may not be okay.

      Remember, don’t be intimidated.


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