Posts Tagged ‘business’

How do I launch a magazine?

November 21, 2008

This week a reader asked, “How do I launch a magazine?”  I have watched countless people with good hearts and intentions launch magazines, using borrowed family and friends’ money, only to lose it all and fade from view six months later.

There are three legs to any successful magazine.

  1. Ad Sales.  This is the biggie – look at O magazine.  It’s 80% ads.
  2. Newstand Sales.  Yes it’s challenging to get into the big racks at Barnes & Noble but without this, you will not likely survive.
  3. Subscription Sales.  If you think you can just sell ads and then give your magazine away you have reduced yourself to only one of these three legs.  With the rising cost of ink, paper and postage you have a very questionable business plan. 

I know there is a lot of appeal to having a great magazine on parenting, marriage, gourmet food or Cocker Spaniels.  But don’t let your emotions get ahead of creating a good business plan.

Change or Die

September 11, 2008

Last Saturday Joanne and I were returning from a few days in Washington DC.  At the Reagan airport we ran into my good friend and blogging coach Bill Seaver.  So the three of us boarded the plane for Nashville.

Amazingly, there were only 2 other passengers.  Bill whipped out his little Flip Ultra Video camera and shot this video of me describing the nearly empty flight.  This is a glaring example of why you can’t do business as usual anymore.  What worked ten years ago may not work at all today.

If you’re doing the same things today that you were doing ONE YEAR ago you are likely falling behind.  Make sure you’re watching, learning and realigning every day.

Better to Try and Fail — or Fail to Try?

June 9, 2008

Last night I watched the 2007 movie Lions for Lambs with my son, Jared.  In this movie a brilliant but apathetic student asks his professor (Robert Redford), “Is there any difference in trying but failing, and simply failing to try – if you end up in the same place anyway?”  He was attempting to justify taking the safe route; never really taking a stand or trying anything big.

What do you think?  Do you cringe at trying something big because of the possibility of failure?  What if you tried for the promotion but failed to get it, started a business but lost your investment, or tried a MLM system but got nothing other than a garage full of vitamins – are you somehow better off?  Or would your life have been better if you had avoided the hassle and the disappointment altogether? 

Yes, I hear from people every day who tried and failed.  One gentleman lost $11 million in a gas and oil business.  Another lost $3.2 million inherited from his grandmother in a failed retail clothing business.  Research shows that if you are under thirty years old, the chances that you will be fired in the next twenty years is 90 percent.  Bernie Marcus was fired from a job as manager of the Handy Dan Improvement Center, then went on to start Home Depot.  In 1988 I experienced a horrible “failure” in business – having to borrow a car to drive to start generating income again.  Should I have avoided the pain and anguish by taking a safer route, or was that experience the necessary catalyst for learning the principles that launched the success I enjoy today?  My friend Dave Ramsey lost his real estate business and suffered personal embarrasement after trying to become rich through his investments. Should he have taken a safer career path?

What has your life experience taught you about trying big things?  Have you learned to keep a low profile to avoid failure?  Or have you found that “failure” leads to bigger successes?

The “Instapreneur”

April 3, 2008

I have always loved the term “entrepreneur” and have considered myself one since I was old enough to say the word.  Several years ago I coined the term “Eaglepreneur.”  Go ahead, check it out – see where this takes you:  http://www.eaglepreneur.com/.  Now I’m seeing other variations, like “Instapreneur.” 

Here’s the deal.  Today you can be in business with no start-up capital, no inventory, no employees, no warehouses, no minimum orders, no sign permits, no leases and no long-term commitment.  Just jump on an idea and start shipping products this afternoon.

If you want to write a book but don’t have a publishing deal and don’t want to have to invest $25,000 for your first minimum order?  Check out Lightning Source right here in my own back yard in LaVergne, TN.  Submit your manuscript, have it available on Amazon and start taking orders tomorrow.  You don’t need to buy any – just sell them one at a time and keep the profits.

If you want to design posters, mugs, bumper stickers, calendars or Mother’s Day cards, you can jump over to Razzle, of Redwood, CA and have your products ready to ship in 24 hours.  You can design your Hillary Clinton bumper sticker, take orders and pay Razzle as they are being sold.

If you want to create your own line of prom dresses, make it happen at StyleShake from London.

Want a cool t-shirt?  Put in your text or design at SpreadShirt and join over 500,000 other t-shirt shops around the world.

Have an idea for jewelry or furniture?  No problem.  Just upload your blueprint at Ponoko and when a customer puts in an order, your piece will be manufactured and delivered.  Sell your coffee table for $250, pay Ponoko $125 for the manufacturing and shipping and bank the rest.  No equipment or employees needed.  And you won’t cut a finger off trying to do something you have no business doing anyway.

Want to get an eco-friendly grocery bag ready to sell at your local April 22nd Earth Day celebration.  No problem.  At CafePress you can choose the template, upload your photo or image and print one — or ten thousand.

Want to join the No More Mondays ranks?  Now you can’t fall back on all the typical excuses for not starting your own business.  It’s just too easy.  What are you waiting for?  You can be the next “Instapreneur.”

How Low Can We Go?

January 28, 2008

Last week, here in the wonderful city of Nashville, TN representative Rob Briley apologized for his recent behavior.  While on a drunken rampage, he led the police down busy streets at 100 mph, cursed at the officers as they handcuffed him and then pleaded with them to shoot him in the head.  His wife says he has repeatedly been unfaithful and she’s filed for divorce.   But last week, from the front of the house chamber, he acknowledged having problems and asked for forgiveness.  Some of his colleagues applauded and hugged him.  It seems all is well and we can go back to making decisions that affect all the little people. 

Rep. Gary Moore, D-Joelton, comforted him by saying other politicians have demons, too.  “I don’t see that you’ve done anything that any of us in this room have not done,” Moore told him. “Some of us are alcoholics. Some of us are thieves. Some of us are adulterers. Truth of the matter is, we reflect society.

Hey, there’s a high standard to be proud of.  Let’s just accept that we are a bunch of maggots and go on with the reality of our miserable lives?  And with that “We reflect society?”  Is that really a rationale for excusing behavior that puts other lives in danger?  Would you tolerate this level of compromise in your company?  Whatever happened to striving for excellence and for expecting more of those in positions of leadership and power?  Does having money and power provide a pass on ethical and moral excellence – or should it raise the bar even more?  I frequently take prospective business partners to lunch at a local restaurant.  Watching them interact with the “lowly waitress” weighs heavily in telling me whether or not I want to do business with them.

Can’t even slow me down

January 2, 2008

On December 21st I received a certified letter from the publishing company of one of my previous books.  They informed me that a miscalculation had been made in my last royalty check and I needed to send them a correction check for $42,787.60 immediately.   On responding via email and phone I received messages that no one would be in the office until Jan 2nd.  No phone call, no “gee Dan we think we made a mistake,” just a certified letter demanding payment.

 Not exactly the way I would recommend doing business, but then again the publishing world is full of dinosaurs and business midgets.  But the point is this:  I could mope and be in gloom and despair right during Christmas, or I could choose a different response.  Actually, I shot a note to my attorney — and got an autoresponder from him as well that he would be back in the office on Jan 2nd.  Oh well —

So I spent the time during the holidays brainstorming with my sales manager about some new applications for our 48 Days Seminar that we now think will add $2 million to our revenue this next year.   That’s always been my response to financial challenges — just look at the opportunities to knock it out of the park in another area.

 Tomorrow we are leaving for Colorado for a week — I won’t be available to respond to this outrageous letter.  And trust me, it won’t in any way keep us from enjoying this time of fun with family. (Just to clarify, sales of that book title in question continue to be extremely strong – I probably have enough royalties due to compensate for their error — but being myopic thinkers they would rather balance their books quickly than to preserve what has been a very profitable relationship for them.)  Please, if you’re doing business of any kind, try to use some common sense in dealing with your customers.  The relationships you build with vendors, customers and neighbors will ultimately determine how successful you will be.