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Archive for the ‘Finance’ Category

2009 Angel Capital Summit with Chuck Blakeman

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

In This Podcast Episode

Rob McNealy interviews Chuck Blakeman of TeamNimbusWest about the Angel Capital Summit, which is taking place in Denver on November 17th at the Colorado Convention Center.

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Chuck Blakeman’s Bio

Charles BlakemanChuck Blakeman has experience with companies as small as $100,000 and as large at $120 million. He re-positioned, started and sold businesses, and obtained multi-million dollar contracts with Fortune 100s. He has extensive experience leading companies, and in business development, operations, marketing, and major account management.

Mr. Blakeman is a lifetime business practitioner who now uses his experience to help other companies create success. His company, TeamNimbusWest, provides outcome-based mentoring, peer advisory, and consulting for Business Owners, CEOs, and their growing businesses. He is a regular convention speaker, trade journal contributor, and non-profit board member.

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Surviving Debt with Mitchell Allen

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

In This Podcast Episode

Rob McNealy offers a timely interview with Mitchell Allen, author of A Survival Guide to Debt: How to Overcome Tough Times & Restore Your Financial Health.

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Mitchell Allen’s Bio

Mitchell AllenMitchell L. Allen is the founder, president, and chairman of Debt Education and Certification Foundation, a leading provider of personal debt management courses. Courses he helped develop have been used in over 200,000 counseling sessions, and he has personally conducted more than 1,000 interviews with individuals in financial crisis.

Mitchell previously worked for Citigroup and The Associates Financial Corporation as senior director of modeling, where he led a team of economists and statisticians in developing statistical models to predict response, risk, and fraud within various private label credit card portfolios.

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Green Business Opportunities with Teddi Davis and TiE Rockies

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

In This Podcast Episode

Rob McNealy interviews Teddi Davis about green business opportunities and the TiE Rockies event Stimulus Funding for Energy, taking place this Thursday, August 6, 2009 in Broomfield, Colorado.

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Teddi Davis’ Bio

Teddi DavisTeddi is Vice President of Strategic Marketing for EcoAlign, a strategic marketing agency focused on energy and headquartered in Washington, D.C.  The near future will be full of fundamental changes for businesses, customers and regulators as we confront carbon legislation, smart and green homes, interactive technologies, clean tech products, re-engineering of value chains, changing customer preferences and values. There is a gap, however, between what customers say they want around energy and what they actually do.  Ecoalign was formed to help fill this gap and help align corporate and consumer behavior with the future of energy and environment

Before joining Ecoalign, Davis was Director of Customer Choice and Renewables Marketing at Xcel Energy, one of the nation’s most progressive and largest investor owned utilities serving customers in eight states. In her position she contributed to the company’s environmental leadership aspirations through the development and management of customer choice options for residential, commercial and industrial customers, such as payment and billing programs, optional rate programs, self service strategies, information programs that helped customers better understand their energy usage, and choice renewables programs such as Windsource–the #1 green pricing program–and Solar*Rewards–the #4 solar rebate program in the nation. She also helped develop marketing strategies for the company’s SmartGridCity program in Boulder, Colorado, and was also responsible for the company’s demand response programs including Saver’s Switch. During her tenure at Xcel Energy, Davis was responsible for Product Development for all conservation and energy efficiency programs, and managed residential DSM programs as Director of Consumer Product Marketing for the company.

Teddi is also co-chair of the TiE-Rockies Sustainable Energy Initiative, with the missing of supporting entrepreneurism in the clean energy space, including energy efficiency.

You can register or find out more about the TiE Rockies presentation: Stimulus Funding for Energy at their website.

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Common Legal Issues in Business with Attorney Kevin Houchin

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

In This Podcast Episode

Rob McNealy interviews attorney, author and artist Kevin Houchin about naming, branding and common legal issues faced by business owners.

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Kevin Houchin’s Bio

Kevin HouchinKevin E. Houchin lawyers from a wholly different perspective. Kevin knew from a very young age that his purpose in life was to help people reach their potential. Entering law school at 33 enabled him to mindfully integrate his experience as a graphic designer and his dozen or so years as a small business and brand development consultant. His artistic eye, his marketing skills, and his legal knowledge combine to make him a highly effective counselor.

Kevin advises creative people on how to maximize creativity, build businesses, and protect intellectual property. He enjoys discussions that turn toward relationships and creative collaboration which enable him to play the role of business and life coach in addition to attorney and marketing consultant.

Kevin writes about how to get the most out of law school in his book Fuel the Spark: 5 Guiding Values for Success in Law School & Beyond. He is also the author of the forthcoming The Secrets of Creative Business. Both books are published by Morgan James Publishing. He also contributes a chapter on the legal issues of social media in Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time, by Joel Comm (Wiley Publishing).

Kevin writes a regular column for the leading business journal in Northern Colorado, blogs compulsively, and has a large following on Twitter.com. He speaks regularly for creative entrepreneurial business, continuing legal education, and law school audiences.

Kevin’s diverse background helps him provide expert counsel to people seeking to reach their creative potential. To fuel his own spark of creativity, Kevin enjoys creating fine art and cooking without a recipe. His favorite art medium is batik, because it combines his design and planning skills with an element of chance. His favorite cooking medium is the grill because it is a perfect catalyst for a really rockin’ party.

A native Iowan, Kevin is an active father and husband. He lives with his wife and their three children in the mountains outside Fort Collins, Colorado where on a clear day you really can see forever.[ad#horizontal]

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Which Virtual Assistants are Top on Twitter

Monday, January 19th, 2009

Virtual AssistantAs our various business ventures grow, its a total understatement to say that we’re a little overwhelmed with tasks like answering and returning customer calls and setting up appointments.  We place a high value on offering excellent customer service, but we’re also mindful of the need to keep our costs under control.

We’ve been toying with the idea of hiring a virtual assistant for the past few months, but haven’t made the leap yet.  We also know plenty of entrepreneurs and small business owners who are in the same position.

So, to that end, we’d love to hear from our readers about the best virtual assistants in the Twitterverse.  We can’t promise we’ll be making a hire, but we can gaurantee a link and some promotion to our readers’ top picks.

Leave us a comment below with your nomination for the best virtual assistant on twitter.  Be sure to include their twitter handle, and why you think they rock.
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10 Tips Your Small Business Can Use to Beat the Recession

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

There is a lot of hype about the looming collapse of the economy.  Whether or not we’ll actually fall into a New Great Depression is yet to be seen.  In either case, here are some tips to prepare you and your small business for the uncertain future:

Cut Your Spending - Rethink every one of your expenses.  Do you really need cable TV at the office or that nice rental espresso maker?  Mr. Coffee and CD players are nice replacements. How about land lines? Stop buying 10 supernormus sized lattes, and put that money into your petty cash jar.  You may need it.

•Stop Using Credit Cards – We all have credit lines, and collecting points and miles is a great benefit when done correctly.  However, many people tend to get caught up in spending, instead of actually pay those debts off on a monthly basis, which makes those interest rates wash away any net benefit from miles. Stop using credit cards unless it’s an emergency.

•Pay Vendors Early – If your suppliers extend credit to you, check to see if you get a discount for early payments.  Many suppliers might knock an additional 2% off your bill for paying within two weeks.  That’s free money. If your vendors don’t currently offer you a discount, ask for one.

Pay Off Your Debts – I know this sounds like a pipe dream, but it’s not. Make it a priority – budget, work harder.  It will take time, but it is so worth it.

•Save Your Money – Do you have the ability to run your business for six months without any revenue?  You should save up a six month emergency fund.  You never know when things will get tougher.

•Haggle on Everything – Right now it’s a buyer’s market.  You can buy virtually anything at the price you want.  That includes good talent, real estate, equipment, supplies, you name it.  Haggle with every person you do business with.

•Diversify Streams of Income - I like to say that in a good economy, you should be hyper focused on your core business, however, in a down economy, it may be wise to diversify or create multiple revenue streams.  This could still be in the same line of business.  For example, I currently run a flooring company called Natural Wood Floors, but I just took some training and became a Certified Wood Flooring Inspector.  I can now do floor inspections, on top of running a flooring business.

•Network Everyday - I mean this.  How many times have you known a guy that recently got laid off and suddenly starts networking to find a job?  Well, had that same guy been networking all along, he may not have had to work very hard to find a job.  This applies to running a small business.  It takes discipline, time and patience to build a solid network.  It many instances, it take about a year to two years to reap what a network has to offer, so start now.  A good friend of mine says “never eat alone,” meaning, every meal (or coffee) should be had with someone you are networking with.

•Offer Great Customer Service - Learn to offer world class customer service.  We are hear this, but rarely do I ever encounter it.  Undersell and over deliver with each and every customer.  It’s sad, but we are conditioned to expect horrible customer service, so when we end up finding it, we revel in it.  We brag about it; we promote it.  Spend a little time doing this, and you will be amazed at how quickly your business grows.

•Learn to Sell – This tip is really for you introverts and tech guys out there.  Every employee, owner and partner in the company should be prepared to look for sales opportunities at all times.  Opportunities are everywhere.  A good example, which drives my wife crazy, is that every time we go out to eat at a fine restaurant I look at the floors.  If they need some work, I will ask for the manager.  Even though my wife gets embarrassed by this, I landed a contract for a chain of restaurants this way.

This list is by no means comprehensive, but I think it’s a good guide to get you thinking about your business and how to survive these tough economic times.  What steps have helped you streamline your business?  Leave some comments below.
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Business Valuations and More with Chris Kauza of Soltus Group

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

In this Podcast Episode

Rob McNealy interviews Chris Kauza of Soltus Group about the services the Soltus Group provides Mid-Market and Emerging Growth companies in the areas of investment banking, business valuations and business operations.

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Chris Kauza’s Bio

Chris Kauza

As a Managing Director with the Soltus Group, Chris Kauza brings over 18 years of professional experience across diverse industries, in both type and scale. The Soltus Group helps companies grow in ways that best fit their strategy and situation.  Their professional consulting and services-oriented group focuses on recognizing, realizing, and growing corporate value for their clients and subsidiaries.  They help clients to develop world-class Advisory Boards, to create strategic partnerships for new market growth, and to assist with strategic capital placement.

Chris managed large and small mission-oriented teams for major institutions within the telecommunications, consulting, information technology and outsourcing industries. In each role Chris, consistently inspires, motivates, and leads by example to deliver quality results. Chris’ previous work includes Ameritech, AMS, Sun Microsystems, and ACS, and is an active volunteer to several charities and non-profit organizations.

Chris is a Founding Board member of Ubuntu Now, a non-profit organization that actively promotes the practice and principles of peace and kindness, with direct focus on victims of trauma and violence, creating economic opportunities for marginalized and underprivileged classes, and support for other social causes that provide stability to our world.

Chris received his BAs and an MS in Public Policy Analysis from the University of Rochester, and holds an MBA from Pepperdine University.
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Twitter Policy and Philosophy

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

[ad#250by250]Twitter is an amazing tool.  I have been fortunate to connect to some amazing people and great things have developed from the relationships that I have begun on Twitter.

Recently, I have been asked a lot of questions about how I use Twitter, and how I connect with people.  So here is my general Twitter policy and philosophy:

1. Privacy

I will respect your DMs.  Please respect mine.

2. Content and Subject Matter

Your screen time is valuable. I promise to make my tweets as interesting and non-boring as possible.  I am a news junkie and read about a dozen websites and blogs from around the world on a daily basis.  I will regularly post content from sites that I am not affiliated with, because I find the content interesting, and think that you might  too.  I will also periodically post things that I am working on and I will strive to post valuable content over self promotion as much as possible.

I am very interested in many topics and have strong opinions about politics, government and religion.  I will restrain my opinions as much as I can, though I am only human and reserve the right to  jump into any debate if I feel I can add a salient point.  However, I am here to make friends, not to argue with people on a daily basis. When I am asked, I will be honest.

For the record, I am an independent politically, and sometimes will feel obligated to discuss the failings in the current two party system. I am not religious or an atheist.  I have a strong belief in God, however, I feel God belongs in church, not the schools, my doctor’s office or in government.  Conversely, I think government should stay out of churches, doctors’ offices and bedrooms. I think that is fair.  You can find out more about my background on the Rob McNealy Bio page.

3. Responses, Replies, and Pitches

I will do my best to respond to all @ replies and direct messages.  However, due to my limited bandwidth, I may not always get to them, and sometimes, a few will slip by and I may not see them.  Please do not take it personally if I do not respond.

I openly accept all pitches for Startup Story Radio, but please use the Startup Story Radio Contact Form to send them to me.

4. Following/Unfollowing

I am very Libertarian when it comes to following people.  I look at Twitter like a large cocktail party, and the more people at the party the more interesting it is for me.  Therefore, I will periodically follow people based on common interests, mutual followings, and areas of expertise.  I regularly use the search function of Twitter, as well as other available tools to locate people that I may want to follow.

There is a debate in social networking about quality versus quantity of connections, followers and friends.  I think there is quality in quantity and therefore like to grow my online networks.  The more people I can connect with, the greater the content will be and more varied the prospective I learn from.

I reserve the right to unfollow you at anytime, for any reason.  I regularly unfollow people that do not follow me, are rude, or not active on Twitter.  It’s hard to dialogue with you if you aren’t listening.  I also respect your right to unfollow me at anytime.

5. Spam, Self Promotion, and Commercialization

I am not big on Twitter spam.  I will unfollow and or block you if you are DM spamming me or just keep following me to get me to follow you.  I am pretty open to following most people.  If I don’t follow you, there is a reason.

I don’t mind if you promote your content and are reasonably self promoting.  I followed you to get to know you, and your business is part of you.  However,  if you go over the top, I may unfollow you.  If you are close to me, I will tell you ahead of time.

I have no moral issue with you using Twitter advertising services such as Magpie or TwitAd, just as long as you provide valuable content as well.  If you are only on twitter to run ads, I most likely will unfollow you.  Again, I am here to make friends.

This policy is subject to change at anytime.

Oh, and if you’d like to connect with me, I’m @RobMcNealy on Twitter.

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Online Banking with eMoney Market Accounts

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

Considering the state of the US economy, money has been on almost everyone’s mind these days.  While money is tight for most, those that do have cash saved up or invested are wondering just what to do with it.  With the growing popularity of online banking, a multitude of internet bank account choices are becoming available.  One new possibility is the M&T Bank eMoney Market Account, which boasts a 3.0% APY and a convenient online application process.

The new internet based money market account from M&T Bank is FDIC insured, and carries no minimum balance requirements or monthly fees.  If there is a single dollar in your account, you’ll be earning interest.  In addition to the convenience of applying and banking online, M&T also has over 1600 ATMs.  For those who are skeptical of banking online, the only drawback is that the application for the emoney market account has to be completed online.  On the other hand, this is probably a plus for those who loathe standing in line at the bank.  Once your account is established, you can bank in person at any traditional M&T Bank location, in addition to your online access.

Like any variable fee account, there is no guarantee that you’ll continue to earn the advertised 3.0% APY, but you have control with 24/7 online access to your account to remove or manage your funds.

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Thin Air Summit New Media Conference with Goldie Katsu

Sunday, October 5th, 2008

In this Podcast Episode

Rob McNealy interviews podcaster and security analyst, Goldie Katsu, about the Thin Air Summit, a new media conference happening in Denver from November 7-9.

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Sponsor:  Try GotoMeeting free for 30 days! For this special offer, visit www.gotomypc.com/podcast

About the Thin Air Summit

Attend Thin Air SummitThe Thin Air Summit, which is being organized by Goldie Katsu and Kit Seeborg, was born from the idea that getting Colorado’s New Media professionals and out-of-town guests in the same venue for two days of intensive learning and collaborating is a win-win for the area’s New Media community!  Conference speakers include Dave Taylor, Jeremiah, Owyang, and Startup Story’s own Rob McNealy.

The conference is organized in three tracks – blogging, audio and video.  An optional introductory workshop on new media will be presented on Friday.  Seating for the conference is limited to 100 attendees, in order to provide a comfortable and intimate setting for attendees to ask questions and engage in discussions on any number of topics. The opportunities to interact with presenters and fellow attendees are endless.

Register for the Thin Air Summit now.  Don’t wait.  Seats are filling fast, and this event WILL sell out.

Goldie Katsu’s Bio

Goldie KatsuOnce an explorer always an explorer.  Goldie Katsu has been playing with technology since her childhood.  She first explored social networking and “new media” back in the dark ages of the network through usenet newsgroups and UNIX system forums. In the latest incarnation of social networking and new media she has been an early adopter and explorer of how to use and benefit from social networking tools and new media. On her blog she explores themes in technology, society, law and how all this relates to our increasing public and connected world.

In addition to writing she is actively involved in web video on streaming video sites such as Blogtv and Ustream, stored video sites like Viddler, and conversational video sites such as Seesmic and 12seconds.tv, and was an early user of many of these sites.

Her participation and content is valued by others and she has been an integral part of the growth of new media. In a recent newsletter Chris Brogan stated in reference to Goldie’s blog  “Goldie’s Gabs – Want a grab bag of thoughtful, personal, touching, and insightful stories? In video, text, and beyond, Goldie Katsu delivers. She’s a great producer of content, and someone you feel you know after just a few posts.”

Located in Boulder, Colorado, Goldie joined the Denver Area Podcaster’s meetup. It was at this meetup that the idea of a new media conference for Colorado first came up. Inspired by the idea she gathered a team of interested community members and this has become the Thin Air Summit.

Goldie Katsu can be found on twitter.com/goldiekatsu and at her blog at http://blog.goldiesgabs.com.

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