GM’s Deal with Govt. To Close Mon or Tuesday

The New York Times is reporting that we’re one step closer to having the GMimages mess cleaned up.

Judge Robert E. Gerber released his 95 page decision today, which overturned the 850 objections to the Government buyout, and gave his approval for the American taxpayers to lend the company $1.17 billion dollars.

I am not a fan of government backing, I believe in free enterprise, but I’m almost not a fan of feeling a complete collapse of one of the largest companies in the world.  I’m not that brave.

Read Full Details At The New York Times

Plan To Sell G.M. Assets Approved


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Deep Breath Time – Surviving The Recession

main1.jpgIt’s 9:00 a.m. on Monday morning. You have your cup of coffee and you sit down at your computer; time to check the email. And it’s it’s warming up, it’s logging on, and it’s checking, checking… checking an-n-n-n-n-n-d, there’s nothing. You decide to check again because there’s probably something wrong with the server. ——- Still nothing.

You take a deep breath- no email isn’t that big of a deal.   You’ll spend a few moments checking job boards. Board #1-nothing. Board #2-nothing. Board #3-nothing; in fact-there’s been nothing new on this board for two months.

You begin to hyperventilate.

This has been the same scenario for two weeks now. You’re wondering if you can get your old job back. Yes, you called your boss a balding, stupid, lazy idiot-but that was a while ago, maybe he’s forgotten. Your friend is quitting her job, maybe you can leap into her space.

Stop. Take another deep breath and begin to think clearly. No one ever said working for yourself was going to be easy. All businesses face tough times but you have to be a survivor. Remember all the advice that you’ve given your clients and remember all the great work that you’ve created. It’s time to put all of your talent into yourself.

First, don’t take the set back personally. Everyone is experiencing pains right now and the lack of work has nothing to do with your capabilities.

Secondly, keep working. Whatever you do, do not give up. Do work on commissions, reduced rates or even volunteer. Anything is better than nothing. Your mind will stay active and who knows what other great leads or ideas you may stumble across.

Start reading. Read every trade magazine/journal for your expertise. You’ll ensure that you have only the most up-to-date information and these publications can be an incredible source for business leads. You’ll know who’s expanding, who’s shrinking and what new projects are on the horizon.

Touch Base with all of your old clients. Make sure they remember you and the fantastic work that you performed for them. You might hit at just the right time when they could use a little help.

Start cold-calling-become the salesman that you never wanted to be. Selling yourself can be the most daunting task but you have to become a superstar. Remember, the worst that can happen is you can be told no. We’ve all heard that word before and it’s not that bad.

Expand your skills. Use this time effectively, if you’ve never built a website, try. If you’ve never submitted to search engines, do it. If you’ve never designed a database, give it a shot. The more skills you have the more marketable you become.

Remember, this too shall pass. The economy is based on peaks and valleys and what goes down will come up. Be ready for the next upswing.

Telecommuting – A Simple Solution for Many Problems

telecommute.jpgWe talk about economical slow-downs, we talk about the environment, we talk about innovation, but we’re overlooking the most obvious, immediately available solution to all these problems: 

Telecommuting 

We are supposed to be operating in a global business community but we can’t let go of the cubicle, or the hours every day in highway hell.  In Canada only 10% of Canadians telework, in the U.S. it’s 15%. The average Canadian spends 288 hours every year commuting to work, the average American, 100.  

We’ll email the person sitting next to us – we’ll hear about company updates on the blog – we’ll have access to all company records through an online database – but we’re still to nervous to trust employees to work from home – even after study after study has shown that telecommuters are actually more productive then their in-house counterparts.

Many managers are still under the false impression  that employees will only work if they are being watched. Well, from the amount of chainletters that arrive via Facebook daily, I can pretty much guarantee that they’re not working while they’re being watched.  But companies like Intel, who have 50% of their 85,000 workers telecommuting, have shown hat a progressive, productive workforce is the result of happy, motivated people.  And who wouldn’t be happy and motivated, not spending entire days of their lives in their cars, not spending a small fortune in gas, and having that extra time to use for both work and fun? 

Companies that work with telecommuters are reaping the benefits, they’re saving thousands in office rent and overhead, they’re attracting a highly qualified workforce, they’re finding the right person for the job, not just the closest, and they’re keeping 10’s of thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide out of the air.  

But don’t just take my word for it, here’s an excellent report from The Globe and Mail , and great resources from Innovisions Canada  .  The future, both near and far, is not going to be dominated by modular desks and matching grey carpet in concrete office towers.  Any company who’s not looking towards telecommuting, is not looking towards staying competitive.   

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You Can Still Start A Business in A Recession

1039-woman.jpgYes, you can start a business in a recession. 

We know the headlines are bad, and this is not downplaying the effect of the economic upheaval the U.S. is facing, but no matter what, the world is not going to stop.  You can still start a business, you can still follow your dream, your entrepreneurial fire; you just have to be a little smarter and a little original. 

Recession fears haven’t slown down the venture capitalists, they invested a 6 year high of $29.7 billion dollars in 2007 :

“The industry’s optimism stems from a belief that many of today’s hottest concepts either are recession-resistant or are developing moneysaving products that may have even more appeal during an economic downturn.

The investment areas spurring the optimistic outlook include: health care and biotech; the Internet; and technology aimed at developing alternative energy, reducing pollution and promoting conservation”

         -Yahoo News

A word of caution, I’ve mentioned it a few times already, this is not the time to head into social networking.   If you don’t already have an idea of how to completely revolutionize social networking – please don’t start now.  I believe I’ve reported on at least 6 new sites in the past month; the market is becoming clogged; this is not the time to try to squeeze in.   

Not that social networking isn’t an important aspect of any marketing/promotional campaign in 2008,  just don’t bet the whole kitty on it – don’t be another social networking site.

Look for a niche – find something new – look towards green, the environment. Just because it’s good, doesn’t mean it’s not profitable, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  I wasn’t kidding about the designer grocery bags – with plastics being banned with increasing freqency, it’s going to take a special bag to stand out at the grocery store. 

Keep your eyes open, look for that opportunity to jump out, and no matter what you do,  write a business plan. Do not just take off running, this is not your college road trip.  Work it through,  there are details you haven’t even thought about thinking about yet. 

I’m putting together a detailed post on what should be included in a business plan.  In the meantime, feel free to email me for a business plan outline. 

Recession Smession – WordPress gets $29.5 million in Series B

Blog and Run:

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.

read more | digg story

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.