My Journey With Tinnitus

Since I was in my teens, I’ve heard a high pitch sound in my left ear. Like many of you, I was exposed to loud music from my rock band. Protecting ears wasn’t really a conversation anyone was having in the 60’s and 70’s. Still I wasn’t really bothered by it. That is until this past March of 2018. The sound seemed to suddenly explode. It sounded like someone just turned the volume up to 10+. At first, I thought the sound was coming from external sources, so I started to walk around the building I was in. No matter where I went, the sound seemed to follow me and was still ringing very loud. I was scared. After going to three different ENT doctors, I was diagnosed with Tinnitus, a medical term for auditory perceptions heard in the ear(s) or head, but not produced by external sound. I’m not alone. Approximately 50…

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What keeps you up at night?

  When asking an MI owners where the pain points are, here's what they tell me. Cash Flow:  "Not having the right balance of cash flow is not allowing us take advantage of additional discounting opportunities. I estimate there is a  $75,000 impact to my business each year." Expansion Projects: "Because I suffer from the tyranny of the urgent, I'm not able to launch the expansion projects we have been committed to. We estimate this impacts our bottom line by $100,000 a year. Life / Work Balance: "All work and no play is no fun. My wife tells me I'm not spending enough time with my family. I'm often stressed. It's hard to put a price tag on being unhappy. For this exercise I'll say $50,000 a year I'm loosing because as my passion diminishes, so does my earning potential." To help "heal" the pain, request a link to our Pain Points…

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Are you ready for a LARGER Store?

Considering a new building or buying out your partner? Explore SBA Loans. Often MI owners don’t have a barrel of spare cash hanging around. Their wealth is locked up in the business. So, when there is a need to write a large check, owners need to get creative and ought to consider the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), as a resource. Let’s look at two examples. Scenario #1:  Manchester Music Mill. Let’s say you’re ready to expand your music store by purchasing a new building. Consider an SBA 504 loan which provides fixed rate financing for major fixed assets, such as land and buildings. SBA 504 loans are made available through Certified Development Companies (CDCs), SBA’s community-based partners for providing 504 loans. In 2013 Joe Lacerda, owner of Manchester Music Mill, had an urgent need to purchase a building to meet the ever-expanding needs of his customers. Check out my August…

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First MI Retailer Financial Outlook Survey.

While reading the headlines in my Bloomberg feed I quickly read the letters NAM regarding a survey. After my double take thinking this was a NAMM sponsored survey, I discovered the article was actually referring to NAM, an organization I never heard of. “The National Association of Manufacturers* (NAM) poll for the second quarter of 2018 covered 560+ executives of varying sized firms. NAM reports that its survey reveals an “astounding 95.1 percent of manufacturers registered a positive outlook for their company, the highest level recorded in the survey’s 20-year history. Additionally, expected growth for investments, hiring and wages is reaching historic highs.” After reading the piece I was inspired to get a sense for  how MI retailers were feeling about the balance of 2018. So I created a survey with only one question. ( I do hate long surveys). "Please tell me on a scale of 0 to 10, if…

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Want more profit? Look to your intangible assets, not your inventory.

As the S&P Market Value chart indicates, in 1975 tangible assets which consists of your inventory, building and other balance sheet items, represented 83% of  S&P 500 corporate value. By contrast intangible assets, which consists of  primarily people and enabling technology, represented only 17% of S&P 500 corporate value. Now turn the numbers upside down, because in 2015, intangible assets represented a whopping 87% of value and tangible assets was only 13%. For the MI retailer this observation is key, because of the inordinate amount of time & resources invested in inventory & other tangible assets. “In today’s knowledge economy, company value is no longer driven primarily by physical or tangible assets, but is increasingly attributable to non-financial business drivers — the intangible assets of an enterprise.” CGMA- Chartered Global Management Accountant The two primary business models retailers can chose from is either the Apple model, or the Amazon model. A hybrid puts you in the…

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Musical Instrument Museum: A model for music retailers.

Is their a need for physical shopping spaces in a world of AI intelligence and a global community tethered to their device? Yes according to retail guru Doug Stephens. I agree.  I believe that consumers, will pay according to the value of the emotional connection they have for the special “moments” only brick & mortar retailers can create; aka customer experience. This is not pie in the sky talk. Humans are wired to shop, to interact with people, to be entertained, to share stories. This is how joy central  kicks in and releases the beloved dopamine we all want and can't get enough of. In fact customer experience is so important to the world of global commerce, there is even a Customer Experience (CX Index). Forrester's Customer Experience Index is based on consumer survey data. Criteria for Customer Experience Index rankings include how effectively respondents felt their needs were met and how they assessed the…

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Exit Planning Summit

I had the opportunity this past Monday and Tuesday to share ideas with some of the most respected thought leaders in the exit & succession planning space. The Exit Planning  Institute sponsors and annual event where advisors can share ideas, and connect with old and new friends. Peter Hickey, the CEO of Maus Software, Peter Christman, the original Exit Planner, and Chris Snider, the President of The Exit Planning Institute were all inspiring. My three point takeaway from the event: 1- Your intangible assets aka intellectual capital— human capital, customer capital, structural capital, personal wellness capital—are your key value acceleration drivers. 2- Most entrepreneurs find structural capital which is concerned with documenting processes the most difficult intangible to implement. 3- Peter Christman and Peter Hickey reminded me that managing one's intangible assets successfully requires practice. That's no surprise to me. As a musician, I have been practicing the guitar every day since…

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