Trade Show Skills, Part I

SoftBaugh has released an article on trade show skills. Trade shows are often overlooked by many small businesses, or approached with unreasonable expectations by others. Trade shows can run the gamut between inexpensive $100 or less booths at gun shows or local hobby shows, all the way up to many thousands of dollars for booths and accessories at industry events. Some exhibitors, such as those at home shows, will spend upwards of six figures on their displays, even building little kitchen, living room or deck mock-ups on site.

» ( Read more of Trade Show Skills, Part I… )

Heirloom Blueberry Cuttings, Part II, The Cuttings

Old School Tech continues its heirloom blueberry cuttings series, this time about preparing and soaking the cuttings themselves. Although this experiment deviates a little from normal cuttings techniques, it appears to be producing promising results so far. As mentioned last week, we had great results a couple of years ago from these same plants. This time, we’re giving it a try without rooting hormones, and with a simpler method that lets us take care of the new plants as a batch.

No Fructose Corn Syrup

At the trade show last week, no outside food or beverages were allowed. Instead, vendors inside were giving food and beverages away to promote their products to the attendees. Because our family had stopped drinking sugared beverages a long time ago, I asked the show operators if we could bring in water. The operators said no, that there would be vendors with water in the show. Sure enough, two major soft drink makers were there, and had a high percentage of their own bottled water brands. It turned out that this high percentage wasn’t high enough.

» ( Read more of No Fructose Corn Syrup… )

Small Business Credit

SoftBaugh has released an article introducing small business credit, starting with a company credit card. Credit is often misunderstood by new small business owners, especially in the face of movies and television programs which completely misrepresent the subject. Saved for later is the broader issue of business loans, particularly balloon loans. Balloon loans are a destructive weapon aimed directly at small businesses. This weapon systematically destroys many small businesses which would otherwise be viable, and financially wrecks their owners as well. We’ll cover these topics in more detail later, including some interviews with people who have lived through those nightmares. The important point for now is that limited and disciplined use of small business credit cards can be a helpful tool, while the larger loan options are best avoided.

Homeschool CLEP: Info Systems

The Thursday before the trade show, I reported that our homeschooled daughter passed the Chemistry CLEP, good for up to 8 hours of college credit, including lab segments, with a score of 57/80. The next day, she passed the Information Systems CLEP with a score of 72/80. She now has somewhere above thirty credit hours under her belt, but most colleges do not give credit for this particular test. She wanted to take it though, and it does help document some of her homeschool studies at a minimum. My children rarely ask for anything, so I indulge.

» ( Read more of Homeschool CLEP: Info Systems… )

Heirloom Blueberry Cuttings, Part I, Background

Old School Tech has released an article introducing a new series on heirloom blueberry cuttings. This project is simple, uses simple materials, makes a great homeschool earth science project, and can create a large number of new plants from a single shoot. As the article mentioned, we had the material for hundreds of new cuttings back in 2014, but because of the subsequent burglary and city government shenanigans, we became distracted and those cuttings which we did process and start ultimately died from neglect. This new process is easier for us to maintain and monitor, so we are optimistic that it will turn out better than the previous effort.

» ( Read more of Heirloom Blueberry Cuttings, Part I, Background… )

Trump Week In Review, 17 Mar 2017

This evening, we returned from a week at a trade show helping a company launch a new product, so we’ve been out of the loop on Trumpenings and world events. More on this side of things next week.

In business news, the show was a huge success. It has been over a decade since I’ve seen this much optimism and enthusiasm at a trade show. Although it was our first time at this particular trade show, veteran exhibitors said it was the most successful they have seen. Public attendees had a spring in their step and their eyes would light up at many booths. Exhibitors told us that this perception is a significant tick upwards from past years. All booths were sold out, and there was record public attendance. Many exhibitors were excited to talk not only about their current offerings, but also about new projects that have only recently been green-lit.

Private conversations with many exhibitors, and a few attendees, revealed a common theme of all of us having dodged a Hillary-shaped bullet. There was also a common understanding that the reprieve is most likely temporary. Despite this single caveat, the entire experience was very encouraging overall and entirely consistent with what we’ve been reporting here from our other conversations over the past few weeks.

Introduction To Prospecting

SoftBaugh has released an article on the subject of prospecting for the small business owner. As with many of the articles in this small business article series so far, this article introduces the topic at an introductory level. Future articles will build on these introductory topics. We think that starting small is the right approach, particularly to help young people get started. Because of more than a decade of dwindling economic opportunity, some Millennials have little significant financial or business experience. It isn’t an insult to say that for some of them, using their parents’ credit card is their primary source of goods and services. A similar number have probably never filed a tax form more complicated than the 1040-EZ. While these articles aren’t at that low of a level, the goal for now is to get most readers up to a fundamental level of expertise. Old hands at business may recall fondly their earlier, bright-eyed younger years when just getting started. These articles also make great business and economics lessons for the homeschooler.

Local Papers As Information Sources

In your local civil affairs efforts, you will often find that local papers will tend to whitewash various local officials and public figures. We’ve discussed this in other articles; the tendency is to want to ignore the local rags because of how obviously lop-sided their reporting can be. As it is above with mainstream media and national news and public figures, so it is below with local media and local news and public figures. This doesn’t mean that the local papers should be ignored. Far from it. Even in the whitewashing, local rags can reveal many useful bits of information. Plus, once you see the pattern between the whitewashed image and the real thing, future whitewashing will help you fill in the gaps in your intelligence operation, or at least direct you onto interesting collection targets. Today, Leech City released an article that was prompted by a local paper source.

» ( Read more of Local Papers As Information Sources… )

Trump Week In Review, 10 Mar 2017

Seven weeks, and plenty is happening on the geo-political front. Everyone has heard of the Wikileaks dump and the wiretapping of Trump Tower by the Obama administration during the campaign. A civil war has been reported between Trump’s nationalists and the cuckservative moderates sprinkled in the mix, and the revised travel ban looks like it may stick. We’ll see how these shake out.

Closer to home and with more immediate impact are the latest rumblings about job creation projections and Obamacare Lite. Various mainstream media sources appear to be grudgingly acceding that a pro-American stance by the national government might actually help create jobs for … Americans. The horror…

» ( Read more of Trump Week In Review, 10 Mar 2017… )