A FREE electronic magazine... May 8, 2002
B I G B U C K S I N A B A T H R O B E
Make More Money & Have More Fun With Your Small Business!
Publisher: Dave Balch, "The Stay-at-Home CEO"(tm)
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I n T h i s I s s u e . . .
1. A "Quickie" - Personal Observation
2. Feature: Article
3. Feature: "Ask Dave" - Can I help with a business problem?
"Should I go into business with this guy?"
4. Feature: "Meanwhile, back at the ranch..."
"Visitors from the porch"
5. About "Big Bucks in a Bathrobe" Newsletter
6. Who the Heck am I, Anyway?
7. How to Subscribe / Unsubscribe
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Copyright (c)2002, A Few Good People, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
11111 A "Quickie" - Personal Observation
I recently bought some shoes at a discount shoe store. After I
made my selections and brought them to the counter, the cashier
very carefully opened each box, made sure that each had a left
and right shoe of the same size, and laced-up each shoe that
It doesn't take much to give that little extra touch of customer
service, does it?
22222 A r t i c l e "No Rules"
By Dave Balch, "The Stay-at-Home CEO"(tm)
For an interesting experiment, I suggest that you go to any local
event where there are a number of different small businesses
exhibiting or selling their wares. A swap meet would be a good
example, or a street sale, or a local fair. When you are there,
observe the different styles of the businesses.
Some people put their merchandise on a table and then just sit
there and wait for the customers to come. Others arrange
everything "just so" with colorful table coverings, plants, and
other decorations to create an inviting look. They put up signs
that describe who they are and what they offer, and then they
greet the passersby with a friendly smile. Then there are the
outrageous ones who dress-up in costumes, have loud music blaring
from behind the tables, or try to entice customers with
entertainers. The variety of approaches to accomplish
essentially the same goal is fascinating.
But, as usual, there is a lesson here: there are no rules about
how to conduct your business. Sure, there are some basic things
you should do, but the key word here is "should". For example,
it's simply common sense to treat your customers with respect,
but even that can be ignored as in the case of a restaurant that
I know where the big attraction is that the servers are rude to
their guests! Insults are the "special of the day", and believe
me they let 'em fly! It's a successful business, too. Go
Since we're talking about rules, let me clarify one thing: there
are definitely rules to follow as stipulated by the management of
the event. If they say that you can't have loud music, then you
can't. If they say that you have to stay within your assigned
booth when doing business, then you do. I just returned from
sharing a booth at a book fair. Some of the people in the booth
chose to ignore that particular rule, and they evicted us! They
actually came on the morning of the second day and moved all of
our materials into the street so that new occupants could move
in! It was unreal, and it was done in a rude, arrogant, and
unprofessional manner (but that's another article!).
The point is this: don't worry about the "right" way to do your
business, but rather worry about what works! Just because others
in your field do things a certain way doesn't mean that you have
to as well. I think it's important to stand out from the crowd,
so don't be shy! I walked around that book fair (which drew
75,000 people the first day) in a bright white terrycloth
bathrobe with a sign proclaiming myself as "The Stay-at-Home
CEO"! Do you think that other authors were doing that, or
anything remotely like it?
We have a local tourist-oriented magazine and it carries a number
of advertisements from real-estate professionals. One particular
page caught my attention because there were at least a dozen
business-card-size ads that were virtually identical except for
the photos. I was astonished. What is it that would cause a
reader to pick one particular agent out of the crowd?
So, write your own rules. They are the only ones that matter.
33333 "A s k D a v e"
(Can I help you with a business problem? I will field
business questions in every issue. Send them to
Ask whatever you'd like... all letters will remain anonymous.
Maybe my 2-cents'-worth will help you make "Big Bucks"!
I have been involved (but not in paper yet) in a dry-cleaning
office pick up and delivery business for about 3 weeks now.
I have a strong background in inside sales and have the
personality to take my skills outside, too. I am also very
creative and had been told have a good mind for organization and
practical structure. Basically, I could probably build my own
business if I had the money and the drive.
My big concern is this: I tend to think in terms of putting
everything in black and white, my partner is not. He says we'll
be splitting 50/50 but he has not even sat down and figured out
which pie are we going to split: after cost? after taxes? which
cost is legitimate? which is not?
I admire my partner for his vision and 'go-for-it-ness.' He is
undaunted by any obstacles along the way. But he is also known
for his lack of organization and a tendency to be misinformed
where it matters, such as: he thinks everything he spends
personally can be written off as "business expense."
I want to adopt a positive attitude and think that "He is
'teachable.' It's just a matter of making him see." Still I
don't want to assume that he would learn these things WITHOUT
great cost such as an IRS audit or something similar.
Am I right in going with this guy? Or am I better off going it
alone? My objective in taking part in his business is this: To
achieve financial independence through an economically viable
business without using too much capital; and to achieve this goal
within five years.
In a word: "Run!"
Many marriages (the romantic kind) fail because one of
the parties expected to be able to "change" the other to
their way of thinking. Like it or not, a business
relationship like you are describing is a marriage as
well, but of a different kind. If you go into it
expecting him to change, I think you're in for a rocky
Besides, what you have described indicates to me that he
is uninterested in IRS regulations, which is, in and of
itself, pretty scary. You can get in very deep, very
And the definition of what it is that you are going to
split is without question the most important thing in
your entire potential relationship. You say it isn't
defined yet; when will it be? And how? When it comes to
the money, you had better have all of your "I's" dotted
and your "T's" crossed BEFORE the fact or, quite frankly,
you are doomed.
The first business I started was a partnership with two
other men. It took us almost a year (part time on the
weekends) to put together an agreement that we were all
I hate to be the bad guy, but based on what you've told
me I think going with this person, although he seems to
have some good qualities, would be a mistake.
44444 "M e a n w h i l e, b a c k a t t h e r a n c h..."
A glimpse into the life of this "Stay-at-Home CEO"
(Photos and short bios of the complete "cast of characters"
are posted at http://www.TheStayAtHomeCEO.com/theranch.htm )
We have been enjoying beautiful spring weather when, very
suddenly it seemed, it got cold again. The nighttime temperature
dropped by 30 degrees in about 48 hours.
That meant that some of our potted plants had to come back in the
house after being outside for several weeks. The largest of them
was on the front porch, so we dragged it into the living room
until the cold spell passed.
That night, Emma was staring intently at something on the carpet;
it was a frog about the size of a quarter! We knew that frogs
lived in the big potted plant on the front porch, but it never
occurred to us that they were in there so early in the year. We
figured that we better rescue it before Emma decided to have some
fresh frogs legs for a snack, but when Chris went to cup it in
her hands, it jumped about 2 feet. We were all startled, but I
don't know why; it's not all that unusual for a frog to jump!
The little guy was successfully rescued, but before we were able
to put the plant out again we had 3 more of them hopping around
the living room.
...and to think that I was actually concerned about running out
of material for this column!!
55555 A b o u t "Big Bucks in a Bathrobe" N e w s l e t t e r
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66666 W h o t h e H e c k a m I, A n y w a y ?
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software business and I have a lot to share with you about how I
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77777 H o w to S u b s c r i b e / U n s u b s c r i b e
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