Dollar Stores Saving Day for Investment Firm

If you’ve ever taken your kids into the dollar store, and bought one of those dollar generalcandy-filled grab bags – you know that sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don’t.  Well, investment firm KKR has been putting together their own grab bag of investments over the past several years, and while most have turned out to be stale candy corn, their acquisition of Dollar General, has turned out to be the full-sized chocolate bar.

KKR as a whole is bleeding money, with reported 2008 losses of $1.2 billion.  After buying 6 new companies in 2007, five of them were down in value by 20 to 50 percent.  The only one making money was Dollar General, which reported revenues of $10.5 billion in 2008.

While companies like Tiffany’s and Sak’s Fifth Avenue are struggling to survive, Dollar General is planning 450 new stores which will generate over 4000 new jobs.

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The almighty dollar (store)

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$7 Trillion for Clean Energy

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CNN has “Pressure, Private Cash, Driving Clean Energy”  – a quick review on a report from the CERA (Cambridge Energy Research Associate).   Daniel Yergin, the Chairman of the CERA,  is estimating that $7 trillion will be invested in clean energy by the year 2030. 

I personally believe that $7 trillion is probably a light estimate, and they’re pegging wind power as the next big thing, when I think it’s going to be solar, but it’s a great reminder, that even in hard economic times, there are areas that will flourish. 

Recession Smession – WordPress gets $29.5 million in Series B

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Just spreading some positive news, I know that we’re all focused on the depths of the recession, but there are still millions and millions of dollars being spread around – on good ideas.

I like WordPress – I think it’s a good product – and I’m happy they secured the investment dollars that they were looking for.

We can clearly see that good business dynamics are always good business dynamics. If you have a solid target market, there’s no reason not to plow ahead with your business, recession or not – just stay smart, lean, and nimble.

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The Recession is Coming – Now What?

main.jpg“I’ve Not Failed – I’ve Just Found 10,000 Ways That Won’t Work” – Thomas Alva Edison

I stumbled across this quote, at the bottom of a chain letter actually, and as soon as I read it all I could think was: “That pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it.” 

The economic news gets worst every day,  over 2 million people are going to lose their homes to foreclosure,  and Wall Street is in full skid, with the Dow losing over 4%, the S&P dropping 5.4 % and Nasdaq dropping 4.1%, just last week. 

We’re all reading the news with knots in our stomach, but inevitably, what are you going to do, roll over or roll with it? Do you give up or get smart? 

The news isn’t all bad.  Reuters is reporting that 1 in 4 small/medium sized business in the U.S. have at least 1 position that they can’t fill.   That’s alot of jobs.  Yahoo Finance reminds us that there was a 6 year high of $29.4 billion in VC investment in 2007.  That’s alot of money. 

I’m not suggesting that we throw on the rose coloured glasses and pretend that the Emperor has clothes, but the sky isn’t falling either.   This is the time for preparation, not panic.  If you’re employed, figure out what you’d do if you lost your job – could happen – have a back up plan – you always have to have a back up plan. You could start a whole new career, you could start a new business, the back up plan could actually become the best thing that ever happened to you.

If you already own your own business, this is just the time to play hardball.  Find new markets for your products/services, and sell like you’ve never sold before.  Let your market know you’re the best and never back away from it.  Keep your competition in mind, but envision them as small dots behind you in the race.  Ask for help when you need it, learn to say no when you have to, and make your suppliers treat you as well as you treat your clients. 

This isn’t the first recession, it won’t be the last.  Our grandparents survived, our parents surived, we’ll survive.  But there’s no reason for this to be a time of just survival, handled properly, this can be a time of change and transformation. 

Free Sex is Apparently A Good Investment

I think we’ve just found the next wave in online porn (and let me remind you that online porn generates $97.06 billion dollars every year, with 72 million monthly visitors, 1/3 of them women)

If you’re ever in Prague, you can swing by the Big Sister brothel and have sex with a prostitute, for free. All you have to do is agree to have your rendezvous taped and put up on their website – which is currently receiving 15,000 hits per month, and charging a $45 monthly subscription fee.

It’s one of those ideas that was right there all along – but it’s a 26 year old marketing manager named Carlos, and his secret Swiss backers that have put it together. The brothel was renovated in 2005, with theme rooms and video equipment, and has generated more then $5 million euros since then.

I can just imagine the mad scramble happening with porn investors since this was reported in Bloomberg last week.  How many designers are working on “Pirate” and “Roman Slave Girl” theme rooms right now?

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Turn Trash “Green” and Attract Fortune #3 Investment

trash.jpgAnother case and point that investment dollars are chasing down “Green Projects”

Although we don’t know the exact dollar figure yet, it’s being reported that General Motors (NYSE:GM) is investing in Coskata, a biology based renewable energy company. Coskata holds the patent on a process that turns wood chips, farm waste, pop bottles, and other trash, into ethanol gas. Ready for market in 2 years, the cellulosic ethanol is expected to be priced $1.00 cheaper then regular ethanol.

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