Your Business Plan Isn’t Just For Your Banker

I talk to a great many people who are trying to borrow money to start a business or expand their business. Most don’t have a business plan competed. If you’re going to borrow money to try to start or grow a business, you must have a business plan which includes a pro forma financial analysis … Read more

Is Your Advertising Making You Money? Know Your Customer Acquisition Cost.

Whenever you are wondering whether you should continue to run an advertisement or whether your last mailer was worth the cost, you need to consider customer acquisition costs.  Customer acquisition cost is not hard to understand, but few businesses do the math required to evaluate their advertising efforts. I first learned about calculating customer acquisition … Read more

Are Your Employees Sharing Teeth?

Three old men are at dinner. They have a splendid meal, but they have a problem. They have only one set of teeth. It’s going to take them a while to eat. I’ll let you imagine whether they share a little at a time or one finishes before passing the teeth on. Gross, I know. … Read more

Tools for Success: Surround Yourself with People Who Will Do Things That You Won’t, Can’t or Shouldn’t Do — And That Are Smarter Than You!

You should surround yourself with people who are smarter than you are. Being successful in business takes brains. No doubt that you are smarter than some of the people who work for you. However, if you are always the smartest on in the room, you need to do a better job hiring. The person in … Read more

Has the Money Truck Hit You?

Over the last 20 years, I have consulted for and watched as my friends and myself sold out to the consolidators. At this year’s ARA convention in Dallas on November 12th, I spoke on “Succession, Sales and Yard Valuation.” Here’s a summary of my presentation: All of us are getting older and eventually, it will … Read more

It’s Not About Luck It’s the Plan!

I believe trouble comes in bunches. There’s no such thing as luck, good or bad. We all have storms in our life. Some weather the storms better than others. By working hard and being honest, you’ll find that when a storm comes your way, you will always have the money, friends, and resources to see … Read more

The Bridge Plan — How Are We Going To Get There?

When my partners and I bought Ford’s auto recycling subsidiary, it was losing huge buckets of money. As we prepared our financial forecast on the turnaround, the asset-based lender and venture capital firm that were our stakeholders wanted to understand exactly how we were going to increase sales and reduce expenses. The stakeholders required us … Read more

What is my Business Worth, Ron?

My comments here are very philosophical and general in nature, but because I get so many inquiries on this topic, I thought it might be good to discuss it. Most, if not all of the principles here, apply to most any business, not just recycling businesses. I have been hired many times to help determine … Read more

Make a Plan And Know Your Customer

Chapter 2 of my book, How to Salvage Millions from Your Small Business, discusses making a plan and understanding your customer. It’s funny how we wave our arms in the air (figuratively speaking) and talk about what we are going to do, but never get around to putting the plan on paper. Equally humorous is … Read more

Best Practices for Your Web Strategy

Are you really on your game on the net, or did your cousin Vinnie put up your website? What a bargain! He charged you only $250, and you found a place to host it for free 8 years ago, and you have a Facebook account for the business. Today, that’s just not enough to claim … Read more

Ron, All I Need is More Money

I get so many calls from folks who insist that their only problem is that they need more money. Read my lips: “If your only problem is that you need more money, then you don’t have any problems.” This is true in almost all the cases I have seen. Trust me: there is PLENTY of … Read more

Do You Need Free Advertising?

I know, I know, you don’t have much money for advertising. But… surely you are interested in it if it’s free? Don’t underestimate the value of press releases for your business. In fact, you should set a goal of issuing one every other month, no less than 6 times a year. It’s easy and costs … Read more

Pay for Performance for Your Team

You have sat in class after class, talked to other yard owners about switching over to paying employees for performance, and you are still paying them hourly, thinking all your employees will walk out or that making this change might cause chaos in the business. Yes, just like you, I was slow to change to … Read more

Do You Need Free Advertising?

I know, I know, you don’t have much money for advertising. But… surely you are interested in it if it’s free? Don’t underestimate the value of press releases for your business. In fact, you should set a goal of issuing one every other month, no less than 6 times a year. It’s easy and costs … Read more

Is Bigger Really Better?

Chapter two of my book How to Salvage Millions from Your Small Business discusses this month’s topic. Bigger can be better, but many times it simply isn’t. First, you have to make several decisions: Do you really want to be bigger, with the commensurate problems? Are you willing to tolerate more mediocrity that will inevitably … Read more

My Business is Down, What do I do?

I continue to hear from folks who say their business is tougher than it has ever been. I always chuckle when I hear from a recycler that business in his area is off, after I’ve just spoken with another recycler in the same area who is having record sales and/or profits. How can this be? … Read more

Ask for the Sale

The first article in this series listed more than 25 tactics to increase your business success, all of them based on my experience. I started with nothing and didn’t get to college, so I know you can achieve maximum success, regardless of your education. E-mail me to get the first article (or any of the … Read more

The Ability to Build a Brand is Dead. START SELLING!

Conventional or traditional advertising for most recyclers, including print and direct mail, has declined in value and ceded ground to the web for most recyclers. The other advertising mistake I see businesses, including recyclers, making is trying to build a brand or just making sure that prospects are seeing their name out in the marketplace. … Read more

13 Traits of the Best Successful Leaders

What is a successful leader? My definition, which is likely different from those of many others, is one that is well liked by all his stakeholders in his business world and loved by those in his personal world. He or she has proven the ability, maybe even multiple times, to “bring home the bacon”, build … Read more

Converting Your New Website Traffic Into Cash

In last month’s issue, we discussed how creating content can increase traffic, the psychology of how users interact with your website, and how to grab their attention, leading them to take a specific action. In this issue, we’re going to discuss how you convert this newly acquired traffic into leads and ultimately new revenue for … Read more

The Advantages of Doing More in Less Time

Of course, we only have a limited amount of time; it’s not something we can get more of, so we better learn to do more with the time we have. In the business world, there are two main reasons to hone the skill of valuing and managing your time: Lower Stress and Better Quality of … Read more

Focus on the Customer

Focusing on the customer is almost always the right place to start. Whenever you are thinking about changes in strategy, marketing, or other policies that could affect the customer, try to error on the side of doing what benefits your customers. When the customer wins, you will likely win. In 1978, when I opened, we … Read more

Thinking Out of the Box

After blocking and tackling (another in this series), you have to think out of the box to stay ahead of the competition and the industry in general. Here are a few ways to stimulate your out-of-the-box thinking: Read, read, and then read more. Your competitors aren’t doing it, so they don’t know what they don’t … Read more

You Simply Must Have Modern Computer Skills

I am always amazed at the quality of computer skills those that are looking for work have, or don’t have. We use Excel a lot and test for it when hiring. Most applicants say their skills are rusty, but in reality can’t even create a simple 9-cell spreadsheet. What amazes me even more is that … Read more

On Your Mark, Get Set, Don’t Go!

I get a few calls a month from “I want to be an entrepreneur, and this is my business idea.” My investor friends tell me that the world is full of great ideas, and the world is awash with money to fund them. There are very few people that can connect the ideas and the … Read more

Understanding your Profit and Loss Statement

The first article in this series listed more than 25 tactics to increase your business success, all of them based on my experience. I started with nothing and didn’t get to college, so I know you can achieve maximum success, regardless of your education. E-mail me to get the first article (or any of the … Read more

The Pie Conspiracy

The first article in this series listed more than 25 tactics to increase your business success, all of them based on my experience. I started with nothing and didn’t get to college, so I know you can achieve maximum success, regardless of your education. E-mail me to get the first article (or any of the … Read more

Tools for Success: Master Blocking and Tackling

The first article in this series listed more than 25 tactics to increase your business success, all of them based on my experience. I started with nothing and didn’t get to college, so I know you can achieve maximum success, regardless of your education. E-mail me to get the first article (or any of the … Read more

Tools For Success : Pulling People Through Keyholes

The first article in this series listed more than 25 tactics to increase your business success, all of them based on my experience. I started with nothing and didn’t get to college, so I know you can achieve maximum success, regardless of your education. E-mail me to get the first article (or any of the … Read more

Tools For Success: Inventory Turns and Purchasing

The first article in this series listed more than 25 tactics to increase your business success, all of them based on my experience. I started with nothing and didn’t get to college, so I know you can achieve maximum success, regardless of your education. E-mail me to get the first article (or any of the … Read more

Tools For Success: Shine Your Flashlight for Results

The first article in this series listed more than 25 tactics to increase your business success, all of them based on my experience. I started with nothing and didn’t get to college, so I know you can achieve maximum success, regardless of your education. E-mail me to get the first article (or any of the … Read more

Use Email and Texts When Efficient

The first article in this series listed more than 25 tactics to increase your business success, all of them based on my experience. I started with nothing and didn’t get to college, so I know you can achieve maximum success, regardless of your education. E-mail me to get the first article (or any of the … Read more

Tools For Success: Building a Network List

The first article in this series listed more than 25 tactics to increase your business success, all of them based on my experience. I started with nothing and didn’t get to college, so I know you can achieve maximum success, regardless of your education. E-mail me to get the first article (or any of the … Read more

Keep Shooting the Gun

The first article in this series listed more than 25 tactics to increase your business success, all of them based on my experience. I started with nothing and didn’t get to college, so I know you can achieve maximum success, regardless of your education. E-mail me to get the first article (or any of the … Read more